American Populism


In the midst of the Industrial Revolution, growth and development ran sporadically which led to over-speculation and subsequent economic slumps. The post-Civil War Reconstruction Era had a strong focus on the role and power of the federal government, and the Populist movement wanted to get federal support for economic recover and developing new regions of the US.

Our values of independence and state sovereignty were increasingly being replaced with a focus on the nation as a whole. This, mixed with the rise of socialism in America led the way for the corporatism of the 1930s that we talked about last time. Polarized opinions forced to live together within the confines of “the Union”, powered by the ever increasing alleged authority of the central government.

Unordnung (Confusion) -An attempt is made to restore balance or achieve synthesis (Problem->Reaction->Solution).
(*3rd Stage of Discord)

Populist-Cartoon-1894The Populist policies of the Reconstruction Era helped create the infamous Federal Reserve Board which attempted to establish a national security net with federal tax funding after the economy crashed in 1907. The Federal Reserve was something that most Americans would have rejected… if the creators of the Federal Reserve had not propagated the idea that it would limit the power of the banks and big businesses by preventing economic disaster.

“A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit… We are no longer a government by free opinion….”
Woodrow Wilson – “The New Freedom”

Corporate-Fascism-47367335431We had compromised our patriotic values for nothing -economic cycles would continue; we had just given control and monopoly privilege of that recovery and development to the very people we thought the Federal Reserve would be protecting us from. Hooked on federal politics, we passed an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the sale of alcohol for recreational use, creating one of the largest and wide-reaching black markets in the history of mankind. We would eventually pass the first federal gun laws, restricting access to fully automatic machine guns and other weapons of high damage capacity -this is particularly ironic because it was just at the turn of the 20th century that we even started offering standard issue firearms to policemen.

FE_DA_080310cartoon_11006185x205Something was terribly wrong, here. Our patriotic pride had been subverted into mindless faith in the state, and this state was being turned against us. While the populist movement gave the mid-western farmers usable land, we had all but sold our souls to the devil to get it.

We were losing our rights, our values, our money, and worst of all -control of our government. World War I would leave Americans returning to an isolationist mindset, but this wouldn’t last for long. Within not-even 20 years of the creation of the Federal Reserve net, the American economy would completely collapse, triggering a global depression.

To understand the subversion of our values and the role it played in the stages of discord, we have to go back a little further, still. Next, we’ll look at the rise of nationalism and the formalization of the American social contract.


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