So far in this series of articles, we’ve looked at FDR, the New Deal, and American Progressivism (Social Liberalism) -Lincoln, the “Civil War”, and American Nationalism… now, we’re going to go back to the very foundation of this nation. Many people see the “Constitution of the United States of America” as a great beacon of reason and sensibility in a world of madness and government, but an overwhelming number of people are not familiar with the history behind this document, let alone, understand its significance.
In truth, even “the founding fathers” couldn’t agree on how best to handle the situation. The Declaration of Independence set the tone for the revolution, but beyond that, there wasn’t must agreement on how to go about establishing this free republic. We had just fought-off the most powerful nation on the planet at that time (Britain), we owed a ton of money to the second most powerful (France), and we were 13 drastically different communities that had to find a way of establishing a centralized system of co-ordination and co-operation that could manage all of this and not stifle each other or give favor to one or another.
Verwirrung (Chaos) -It is the point from which everything begins and the source to which everything returns.
(*1st Stage of Discord)
This was much more difficult than it sounds -the First and Second Continental Congress established the need for some minimum federation between the free-states. To fight off the British Empire, we had to do it together -tension had been building all across the colonies after a rash of excessive taxes and other impositions on the colonists, but the decision to revolt was not shared by all, at first. Roughly 80% of the colonists were rural farmers who saw far less direct effect from these impositions than people in northern colonies who were more commerce-based and in more urban environments where public opinions could spread much faster. The early stages of the Revolution were propagated by wealthy businessmen like Sam Adams who saw the effects of the British Empire more directly than most -but since they were all here to either escape persecution or look for opportunity, it wasn’t difficult to spur the Revolution with the grip of the Empire growing tighter and tighter.
After the Revolution, we established the Articles of Confederation -a constitution between the States that created a legislative body that could levy taxes and issue payments for soldiers. The event that led to our current constitution is known as Sheys’ Rebellion. The issue was that the government had no money to pay their soldiers, and IOU notes were issued which became worthless in light of hard assets like gold or other resources. Farmers traded their IOUs for pennies on the dollar -the vultures that hangout around capital hill bought them up and passed legislation in Massachusetts that enforced the full value of the IOU notes. This new government was already being used against us, but this wasn’t the cause of the reformation of the federal government -no. The people overwhelmingly accepted this as a lesson learned, and it wasn’t until these wealthy movers-n-shakers began to lock these farmers up in debtors court that people really did anything about it -they stormed the court and refused to allow this abstraction of justice to occur.
There was no executive branch -no police force to stop them, so Washington had to gather 60,000 men and march all the way to Massachusetts to put down this rebellion. After this, many of who we call the “Founding Fathers” secretly gathered in a courthouse in Pennsylvania to resolve this lack of ability to quell such uprisings, but giving the government authority to do such a thing meant that a level of power must be taken from the people and given to the federal government to empower the states to maintain order. We’re talking about 1% of the population secretly deciding the fate of the nation… a handful of wealthy businessmen and lawyers playing God with the fate of the people… which apparently is still a problem, today. Yes -the federal government exists to prevent mob rule; it’s not the bastion of democracy that you thought is was. It seems these founding fathers didn’t really favor freedom, at all. This is what happens when you elect a commanding General and later President of your free-republic for the first several terms merely because he was the tallest man in the room -your values go right out the window.
Everyone still knew that we couldn’t trust the government, though some argued heavily in favor of a stronger federal government. They established separate branches of the government to keep each other in check, outlining the limitations of government, and anything that wasn’t mentioned would be handled by the states to maintain and exercise their sovereignty in the federation… but this wasn’t enough. There were many who had caught wind of this meeting, and had addressed their own concerns about the limitations of power that were placed on this government. They basically stormed the courthouse and demanded that a bill of rights be added to the constitution to prevent the government from infringing on our rights as sovereign individuals.
So you really have two sets of founding fathers to which we can attribute this nation… a misguided mediation of power levied between the minority of ultra-“haves” and the majority of us who are just trying to get by day to day -resulting in a supreme authoritative body that balances power between opposing ideals. The stage was set for a totalitarian takeover… all it would take was time, and a believable enough reason.