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1776- 1789

American Revolution 1776 1789 Democracy Republic Popular Will Constitution Radicalism

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#1
caltrek

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I have just started to re-read my copy of The Creation of the American Republic, 1776 - 1787.  I am struck by how relevant what I am reading is to the headlines of today.  Having in mind the rise of Donald Trump and the rebellion breaking out against that rise casts the book in a whole new light. One passage might serve as an opening example:

 

 

 

However violent and class-conscious the ideology sounded, the revolution in Pennsylvania could scarcely be regarded as a s rising of the masses against the few.  The grievances so widely expressed in pamphlets and press were not the sort that went deep into society. The internal revolution that took place was very much a minority movement; the radicals who claimed to speak for the people, and who manned the instruments of revolution - the committees and militia companies - and wrote the new Constitution actually feared the traditional deference of the people to their established leaders.  They were continually hard put to enlarge their support and weaken their opposition, resorting on one hand to exaggerated popular rhetoric and a broadened suffrage in order to attack new groups and on the other hand to military intimidation and test oaths and disenfranchisement in order to nuetralize their opponents.  Such measures, together with over-representation of the western counties, were necessary, for, as the radicals complained, "the poor commonality" seemed strangely apathetic to their appeals, too habitually accepting of the traditional authority.  The ideas of government in the past had too long been "rather aristocratical than popular."  "The rich, having been used to govern, seem to think it is their right," while the people, "having hitherto had little or no hand in government seem to think that it does no belong to them to have any."  To convince the people that they rightfully had a share in government became the task of the Pennsylvania radicals and of radicals in all the states in the years ahead.  Indeed, it became the essence of democratic politics as America came to know it.

 


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#2
caltrek

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One of the ideas I had when I started this thread was to discuss mercantilism. Then I brought up the subject in the Trump thread.  I thought I would also post an extract here before my post disappears into the middle of the Trump thread (as opposed to the last page).

 

 

 Mercantilism pre-dates capitalism in that it was the economic form in effect prior to the rise of the industrial mode of production. Industrial production first came into existence in the 19th century. Mercantilism derives it's name from the word "merchant".  Pre-industrial producers under mercantilism included not just farmers but also carpenters (who built not only homes but ships as well) blacksmiths, tailors, etc. 

 

Government policy in mercantilist times was characterized by dual strategies of promoting exports while erecting protectionist measures to control and minimize the impact of trade on home-country businesses. Foreign countries were valued as markets for exports and as sources of raw materials.  Neo-Mercantilism can thus be seen as essentially post-industrial capitalism that is highly protectionist in nature.  That is highly diligent against export of basic industries. Because they are highly protectionist, I would argue that they can be seen as being differentiated from "Globalists".  I would further argue that many Globalists are in turn highly capitalistic in nature.  This has all come about in part due to the liquidity of capital. That is, the ability of capital to assume its money form so that it can transplant organs of production from mother country to "developing" countries.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#3
caltrek

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Military Developments 1776 – 1783

 

The British seize Newport.[i]  1776 A.D.

Charles Cornwallis serves under Sir Henry Clinton in the British campaign to capture New York.[ii]  1776 A.D.

British forces consisting of thirty two thousand troops and ten thousand seamen arrive in New York harbor.[iii]  August 12, 1776 A.D.

The British are victorious at the Battle of Brooklyn.[iv] - August 1776 A.D.

Manhattan falls to the British.[v]  September 1776 A.D.

Nathan Hale is executed as an American spy. Prior to his death, he proclaims “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”    [vi] - September 22, 1776 A.D.

Jonathan Eddy from Machias, Maine, invades Nova Scotia with seventy-two men and lays siege to a British fort at the head of the Bay of Fundy before being dispersed by British troops.[vii] October 1776 A.D.

Washington commands his forces to cross the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.[viii]  December 7, 1776.

George Washington convinces his ragged, hungry remnants of an army to stay together for one more month.[ix]  December 1776 A.D.

American troops under Washington defeat British troops under Charles Cornwallis at Princeton.[x]  January 3, 1777 A.D.

The Marquis de Lafayette arrives to help the rebels.  He is accompanied by other European officers, including Kalb, a German in the service of the king of France.[xi]  July 27, 1777 A.D.

Elders of the Cherokee are forced to sue for peace. To end a war they had not waged themselves they agree to give up most Cherokee land in the Carolinas, including what was left of the Valley and Middle towns. They narrowly avoid ceding all that remained north of the Tennessee River.  The land is saved by the eloquent appeal of Onitositah (also known as Corn Tassel). [xii]  1777 A.D.

The British under General Howe defeat Americans under George Washington at the Battle of Brandywine and capture Philadelphia.[xiii]  September 1777 A.D.

British troops from Canada under General John Burgoyne are defeated at Saratoga by American forces under Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold.[xiv]  October 17, 1777 A.D.

News of the victory at Saratoga allows Benjamin Franklin to play upon French fears that England will concede to colonist demands in order to keep the colonies under British rule. The Franco-American Alliance is signed[xv] on February 6, 1778 A.D

Built in France for the Continental Navy, the Deane arrives at Portsmouth Harbor.[xvi] May12, 1778 A.D.

The British send a force of loyalists and Iroquois warriors to massacre settlers in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania.[xvii]  July 3 to July 6, 1778 A.D.

Louis XVI declares war on England in support of the American rebels.[xviii]  July 10, 1778 A.D.

The French fleet gives up its idea of attacking New York and runs aground off of Newport.[xix]  August 1778.

The British send forces to Cherry Valley of New York to massacre settlers.[xx]  November 1778 A.D.

Savannah Georgia falls to a British expeditionary force.[xxi]  December 1778 A.D.

The Deane sails from Boston Harbor under the command of Captain Samuel Nicholson.[xxii]  January 14, 1779 A.D.

Lafayette returns from America and asks the king for more money for the revolutionaries.[xxiii]  1779 A.D.

The Deane returns to Philadelphia having captured the armed H.M.S Viper.[xxiv]  April 17, 1779 A.D.

The Protector, under the command of Captain John Foster Williams, engages the English privateer Admiral Duff.[xxv]  June, 1779

Under the command of General Sullivan, American troops score a minor victory over a British garrison at Stony Point near New York City.[xxvi]  July 16, 1779 A.D.

The Deane joins with the Boston to guard a convoy of merchantmen out to sea.[xxvii] July 29, 1779 A.D.

General Sullivan’s troops win another minor victory at Paulus Hook.[xxviii]  August 15, 1779

The Deanne and the Boston arrive in Boston Harbor carrying two hundred and fifty prisoners captured from British warships.[xxix] September 1779

Louis XVI sends 6,000 men to New England under the command of Rochambeau to reinforce the revolutionary force.[xxx]  May 2, 1780 A.D.

Troops under Sir Henry Clinton, with Charles Cornwallis second in command, capture Charleston.[xxxi]  May 1780 A.D.

British Major John Andre is convicted and hanged having been captured with incriminating papers from Benedict Arnold revealing the defenses of West Point to the British.[xxxii]  October 2, 1780 A.D.

In New York, the Iroquois are devastated by American troops.  This is due to George Washington’s orders, who desires to discourage an attack while the Americans are engaged in the war with Britain.[xxxiii]  1780 A.D.

Charles Cornwallis is left in command of troops in the south when Sir Henry Clinton departs for New York.[xxxiv]  June 8, 1780

Eleven French warships under comte de Rochambeau are bottled up by a superior British fleet at Newport harbor.[xxxv]  July 1780 A.D.

Forces under Charles Cornwallis defeat American forces under Horatio Gates at the Battle of Camden.[xxxvi]  August 16, 1780 A.D.

Charles Cornwallis achieves victory at Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina but loses over a quarter of his forces in the process.[xxxvii]  March 1781 A.D.

Besieged by land and unable to be relieved by sea because of the strength of the French navy, British forces under Charles Cornwallis surrender at Yorkton, Virginia.[xxxviii]  October 18, 1781 A.D.

Word reaches New York from London that the House of Commons had voted to end all offensive strikes in the American colonies, though military occupation would continue.[xxxix]  March 1782 A.D.

The government of Great Britain formally acknowledges the independence of what were once its American colonies as the United States of America.[xl]    February 3, 1783 A.D.

The Treaty of Paris formally ends the American Revolution.[xli]   September 3, 1783 A.D


[i] Cayford

[ii] C&P

[iii] Harcourt

[iv] K&Y

[v] K&Y

[vi] K&Y

[vii] Woodard

[viii] Harcourt

[ix] C&P. Harcourt attributes Washington’s success at having many of his troops actually re-enlist due to a victory at Trenton on December 25, 1776.

[x] K&K

[xi] K&K

[xii] Wright

[xiii] K&Y. Webster.

[xiv] K&K. Harcourt.

[xv] K&Y. Harcourt. See also NG & K&K.

[xvi] Cayman

[xvii] Harcourt

[xix] K&K

[xx] Harcourt

[xxi] Harcourt

[xxii] Cayman

[xxiv] Cayford

[xxv] Cayford

[xxvi] Harcourt

[xxvii] Cayford

[xxviii] Harcourt

[xxix] Cayford

[xxx] K&K

[xxxi] C&P.  See also Harcourt.

[xxxii] Gratwick

[xxxv] Harcourt

[xxxvi] C&P. See also Harcourt.

[xxxvii] C&P.  Harcourt characterizes the battle at Guilford Courthouse as one in which Cornwallis was “lured in into (a) ..trap”.

[xxxviii] C&P. See also K&K.

[xxxix] K&Y. C&P.

[xl] K&Y

[xli] K&K


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#4
TheComrade

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I have just started to re-read my copy of The Creation of the American Republic, 1776 - 1787.  I am struck by how relevant what I am reading is to the headlines of today.

 

Despite our big differences, we at least have something in common: love to serious historical books. I too currenctly re-reading the "Peripheral Empire" of Boris Kagarlitsky - one of our modern marxist historians (i once posted his article - "paralysis of the will" - about Bernie in "election 2016" thread). The book is exactly about age of mercantilism, but focused on Russia: why was capitalist development so slow and why Russia remained on the periphery of the forming new world?

 

Intersting question, but clearly an off-topic in your thread...

 

 

Mercantilism pre-dates capitalism in that it was the economic form in effect prior to the rise of the industrial mode of production. Industrial production first came into existence in the 19th century. Mercantilism derives it's name from the word "merchant".  Pre-industrial producers under mercantilism included not just farmers but also carpenters (who built not only homes but ships as well) blacksmiths, tailors, etc. 

 

Maybe another offtopic and a word game, but mercantilism is not a distinct socio-economic formation, this is just an early transitional form of capitalism. Those merchants of XV - XVIII centuries otfen acted as "collective capitalist" towards late medieval farmers and artisans: provided them with materials and orders, then bought all their products for fixed low price. A kind of semi-feudal and semi-capitalist exploitation.

 

Government policy in mercantilist times was characterized by dual strategies of promoting exports while erecting protectionist measures to control and minimize the impact of trade on home-country businesses. Foreign countries were valued as markets for exports and as sources of raw materials.

 

This is logical, isn't it? Politics of "free trade" is wonderful as long as you have an overwhelming advantage over your competitors (like Britain in middle XIX century). Otherwise, protectionism is a better choise.


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#5
caltrek

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Maybe another offtopic and a word game, but mercantilism is not a distinct socio-economic formation, this is just an early transitional form of capitalism.

 

 

Fair enough.  One point I would make is that it was this "early transitional form" that was in place during the time frame in question.

 

A laissez-faire ideology, though traceable in its origins to the 17th century, really did not come into its own until the 19th century, at least not in the United States. Concurrent with the rise of industrial capitalism.

 

These points are a theme contained within Contours of American History by William Appleman Williams.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#6
caltrek

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From  The Creation of the American Republic, 1776 - 1787:

 

 

"It is a Maxim," proclaimed the Massachusetts General Court in January 1776, "that, in every Government, there must exist, Somewhere, a Supreme, Sovereign, absolute, and uncontroulable Power; But this Power resides, always in the body of the People, and it never was, or can be delegated, to one Man, or a few."  In one sense this was a traditional utterance, for no one doubted, even most Tories, that all power ultimately resided in the people...The trite theory of popular sovereignty gained a verity in American hands that European radicals with all their talk of power in the people had scarcely considered imaginable except  at those rare times of revolution...American liberty seemed in fact to have made revolution perpetual and civil disorder legitimate.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#7
caltrek

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Also from the book cited above by Gordon Wood:

 

 

"An emulation to excel in virtue is laudable, it gives vigor to every political nerve, advances the meritorious, and produces the most happy effects in community, but a desire of excelling in power, granduer and popularity, tends to the certain ruin of society."  Who was to distinguish? Who else but the people?  But were they any more capable than the Crown had been?


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#8
caltrek

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Also, from the Wood book:

 

 

 

Like Puritanism, of which it was a more relaxed, secularized version, republicanism was essentially anti-capitalistic, a final attempt to to come to terms with the emergent individualistic society that threatened to destroy once and for all the communion and benevolence that civilized men had always considered to be the ideal of human behavior.  Right form the beginning of the Revolution there had been some Americans who had doubted the ability of any people, including the Americans, to surrender their individual interests for the good of the whole.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#9
caltrek

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It is interesting to view the period in question through the prism of class.  For if we are to admit that the economy was at least an early form of capitalism, then class must have been an issue.  The earlier cited work of Gordon Wood makes abundantly clear that this was indeed the case.  In fact, the clash between the Anti-federalist and the Federalists had elements of class struggle.  The Federalists were the leaders of their time -the aristocrats who owned land and knew how to extract wealth from that land.  The Anti-federalists were the populists of their day. Suspicious of of the ambitions of the aristocrats, yet some times the,selves able to obtain power through their own popularity.  

 

The Federalists perceived the need to strengthen the central government.  They saw state governments as all too often falling under the control of populists type leaders who were of great ambition but had little understanding of the principles of good governance. Certainly not in their viewpoint. So it was the Federalists who pushed for a new Constitution, one that would erect a government that would be protective of the gains of the revolution.  Naturally, the Anti-Federalists were suspicious of the motives of the Federalists.  The Bill of Rights came out of this struggle.  It established rights that Anti-federalists were most keen to protect.  Freedom of religion, of the press, of the right to bear arms, of the authority of states in matters where no explicit authority was given to the federal government, etc.  

 

The Federalist some times argued that such a Bill of Rights was not needed because of course the federal government would naturally be  inclined to protect such rights.  Wisely, the Anti-federalists insisted upon such guarantees in writing. To establish the strong federal government that the Federalists supported, they eventually relented to the demands of the anti-federalist by way of compromise.  Of finding common ground which gave confidence to all.  

 

Of course not all questions were answered for all time.  The question of slavery was postponed to a later generation with disastrous consequences.  Other amendments, involving far less spilling of blood, would also be enacted.  The Constitution we have today is the end result of that long process.    


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#10
caltrek

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One thing that I find amazing about this period is the extent to which the people of that era could multi-task.  Just to keep track of the chronology, I drafted up a time line.  I soon found that military events and political events made the narrative much more complicated, so I separated the military events and presented that time line above.  Here I am, an amateur historian, and yet just understanding the history was confusing.  because of the entanglement of war with other politics.  Imagine how it must have been for the settlers of that time.  Surrounded by the for of war, they still needed to create a government on the fly.  They had to do this not only to fight the British, but to prove to themselves and their followers that they could create a government that would be superior to that imposed on them by Great Britain.  They had common law and already established institutions to draw upon, but they also had to decide between different systems of possible  governments.  Moreover, those institutions were now called upon to perform functions that were not envisioned when they were first created.  After all, an assumption of a certain deference to the king was at the base of many of their institutions.

 

With that preface in mind, here is the timeline I produced:

 

 

A Timeline of Political Developments

 

New Hampshire draws up a preliminary state constitution. The assumption in January by the Provincial Congress of even a temporary government provokes opposition from all sides.[1] January 5, 1776 A.D.

 

Common Sense by Thomas Paine is first published anonymously.  January 10, 1776, A.D.

 

Written as a response to Paine’s work, The True Interest of America Impartially Stated by Charles Inglis is published. Also in response is Plain Truth by James Chalmer.[2]  1776 A.D.

The Address to the Convention…of Virginia; on the Subject of Government by Carter Braxton is published. It is critical of republicanism.[3] 1776

The provincial congress of South Carolina establishes a republican constitution.[4]  March, 1776 A.D.

The Continental Congress authorizes privateering against British ships.[5]  March 1776 A.D.

The Continental Congress forbids the further importation of slaves and declares open trade to all except Great Britain.[6]  April 1776 A.D.

Thoughts on Government by John Adams is published anonymously.  1776 A.D.

The Rhode Island congress repeals the law requiring allegiance to the king.[7]  May 4, 1776 A.D.

A congressional resolution advises the colonies to adopt new governments “where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs have hitherto established.”[8]  May 10, 1776 A.D.

A group of radicals, desiring to press the Delaware Assembly into declaring independence, first thought “it was best to present petitions to the Assembly,”  but then “changed the mode into Instructions…”[9]  May 1776 A.D.

George Washington arrives in Boston to take command of the continental army.[10]  1776 A.D.

Forces under Generals Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis and Admiral Sir Peter Parker attempt to enter Charles Town harbor.  They are met by deadly fire from a fort constructed of palmetto logs and dirt.  After a ten hour duel the British withdraw.[11]  June 28, 1776 A.D. This belongs in the military timeline.

Virginia adopts a state constitution. The Virginia Constitution provides for a senate of twenty-four elected by the people directly out of county districts.  No special qualifications either for the electors or for the senatorial candidates were felt necessary. It prohibited the Virginia Senate from altering, let alone initiating any money bills.  The Senate challenged restrictions on its authority over money bills the following year.[12]  June 29, 1776 A.D.

 

The Genuine Principles of the Ancient Saxon, or English Constitution is published in Philadelphia.[13] Late Spring of 1776 A.D.

 

A Massachusetts act attempts to bring representation in the legislature in line with the population of various towns by allowing each town an additional representative for every 100 voters it possesses over the base figure of 120. The act also allowed for towns with fewer than the base number to combine with others to send a representative.[14]  May 1776

 

New Jersey adopts a state constitution.[15]  July, 1776 A.D.

 

Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress. July 4, 1776 A.D.

 

Delaware adopts a state constitution.[16] September 20, 1776

 

Pennsylvania adopts a state constitution.[17] September 28, 1776 A.D.

 

Maryland adopts a state constitution.[18]  November 9, 1776 A.D.

 

North Carolina adopts a state constitution.[19]  December 18, 1776 A.D.

 

Vermont, whose integrity and independence no other state recognized until the 1780’s, frames its government.[20]  July 8, 1777 A.D.

 

The New Jersey legislature changes the wording of that state’s constitution.[21] 1777 A.D. 

 

General Frederick Haldimand becomes Governor in Chief of Canada. September 18, 1777 A.D.

 

Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation.[22]  November 15, 1777 A.D.

 

South Carolina revises and more firmly establishes its revolutionary Constitution drafted two years earlier.[23]  March 19, 1778 A.D.

 

 

The Assembly in Pennsylvania resolves to give the people an opportunity in the following spring to vote on the convocation of a new convention to revise the Constitution of that state. A flood of opposition petitions resulted in the legislature backing away from the promise of a convention to revise the state Constitution. Up through 1783-1784, Republicans are unable to secure the required two-thirds vote to convene a convention[24] November 28, 1778 A.D.

 

Essex Result, by Theophilus Parsons is published by the Essex County Convention in Massachusetts. The Convention met to consider the proposed Constitution[25] of 1778 A.D.

William Whiting presents his Address to the Inhabitants of the County of Berkshire, Respecting Their Present opposition to Civil Government.[26] 1778 A.D.

 

The courts in Hampshire County in Massachusetts are re-opened.[27] 1778 A.D.

 

The General Court of Massachusetts issues a call to the towns for every male inhabitant over twenty-one to elect representatives “to form a Convention for the sole purpose of framing a new Constitution” which as to be ratified by two-thirds of the same electorate.[28]  June 1779 A.D.

 

Massachusetts adopts a new Constitution. This constitution granted the Senate the power to amend but not the power to originate money bills. The new constitution also eliminated the qualification of the Senate’s electorate to those with sixty pounds clear estate. Article III declared that “As the happiness of a people, and the good ...(order) and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality,” and gave the legislature the right to establish and promote public worship and religious training – a right that in the eyes of many seemed contradictory to the Constitution’s profession of the liberty of religious conscience. Historians widely regard this as the most consequential state constitution of the era.[29]  1780 AD.

 

Following the Constitution of the state taking effect, the courts in Berkshire are reopened.[30] 1780 A.D.

 

American Farmer’s Letters by J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur published[31] – 1782 A.D.

 

Albemarie County elects Thomas Jefferson as delegate to the House of Representatives.  Jefferson submits his refusal and is informed by the Speaker of the House that his resignation is not accepted.[32]  May, 1782 A.D.

 

 Job Shattuck, of Groton, organizes residents there to physically prevent tax collectors from doing their work.[33] 1782 A.D.

 

The government of Great Britain formally acknowledges the independence of what were once its American colonies as the United States of America.[34]    February 3, 1783 A.D.

 

In the central Massachusetts town of Uxbridge, in Worcester County,  a mob seizes property that had been confiscated by a local constable and returns it to its owners.[35] Feb. 3, 1783 A.D.

 

The Treaty of Paris formally ends the American Revolution.[36]   September 3, 1783 A.D.

 

The Virginia Church acquires a bishop, making it truly “episcopal”. [37] 1783 A.D.

 

After unsuccessful attempts in the previous two years, Massachusetts ratifies a Constitution by the requisite majority of the people.[38]  1783 A.D.

 

Despite constitutional language to the contrary, the Massachusetts Senate claims to have authority equal to the House in initiating money bills.[39]  1783 A.D.

 

The Northwest Company at Montreal is organized.[40] 1783 A.D.

 

Kingston, Ontario and Saint John, New Brunswick are founded by the United Empire Loyalists.[41] 1783 A.D.

 

Maryland prohibits the slave trade, which has now been banned in all northern states.[42]   1783 A.D.

 

Alexander Hamilton conspires with army officers to threaten a military coup unless Congress granted extra pay to establish them as a nascent aristocracy after the war.[43]  1783 A.D.

 

The Trespass Act is passed.[44]  1783 A.D.

 

Pennsylvania’s Council of Censors meets[45] during the winter of 1783-1784 A.D. It determines that there is to be a bi-cameral legislative body, a governor who would appoint judicial officers and leading civil officers, rendered “unnecessary” that all bills were to be referred to the people-at-large before they became law, and recommended that its own body, the Council of Censors, be abolished.

 

Thomas Jefferson produces his Notes on Virginia.[46]  1784 A.D.

 

A pamphlet is written by Thomas Tudir Tucker entitled Conciliatory Hints, Attempting by a Fair State of Matters, to Remove Party Prejudice.[47] 1784 A.D.

 

William Thompson, a tavern keeper is threatened with banishment and reprimand by the Carolinian House of Representatives for allegedly insulting one of its “Nabob” members, John Ruteldge.  For some Carolinians, this is seen as an example of an abuse of legislative privilege. [48] 1784

 

Cape Breton and New Brunswick  are politically separated from Nova Scotia. New Brunswick is separated on August 16 and Cape Breton is separated on August 26, 1784.[49]

 

New Hampshire adopts a state constitution.[50]  1784 A.D.

 

Rutgers v. Waddington resolved a conflict between common law, or law of nations and the Trespass Act of 1783 in favor of the law of nations.  The court justified its decision on the basis that that the Trespass Act did not expressly repeal the law of nations, thus avoiding a direct conflict between the court and the legislative branch.[51]  1784 A.D.

 

The first daily publication in America, Packet and Daily, appears on the street of Philadelphia.[52]  September 21, 1784 A.D.

 

Provisions for an educational land fund are included in the Land Ordinance[53] of 1785 A.D.

 

John Adams publishes A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States.  - 1786 to 1787 A.D.

 

Congress negotiates its first federal treaty with the Cherokees, the Hopewell Treaty.[54]  1785 A.D.

 

In Boston, a tea club is established.  It is immediately attacked in the press. Complaints include that the club was designed “to lull and enervate these minds already too much softened, poisoned and contaminated by idle pleasures, and foollish gratifications.”   The “etiquette” and “stile” of the club were considered more destructive of republican character “than an evening spent in a back chamber of a tavern, among a group of wretches.” [55]  1785 A.D.

 

The Council of Virginia guarantees religious freedom. Virginia’s 1786 act for the establishment of religious freedom declares “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than on opinions in physics or geometry.”[56]  January 16, 1786 A.D.

 

Some have become so impatient with British trade restrictions and conflicting state laws that they arrange for an interstate meeting at Annapolis, Maryland, to consider the extension of national authority to the regulation of commerce. They draw up a proposal to Congress and the several states to convene another convention in Philadelphia for the purpose of making “the constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union.”[57]  1786 A.D.

 

Shays' Rebellion.[58]  1786 - 1787 A.D.

 

C. Inglis is appointed Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia – the first colonial bishopric in the British Empire.[59]  1787 A.D.

 

Provisions for an educational land fund are further included in the Northwest Ordinance[60] of 1787 A.D.

 

After four years of bitter contention, the South Carolina legislature admits that only “a Convention of Delegates chosen by the people for that express purpose and no other” could establish or alter a constitution.  1787 A.D.

 

James Madison composes Vices of the Political System of the United States. Initially, it is written for private circulation..  Later, it is incorporated into The Federalist Papers..[61]  1787 A.D.

 

Iin Germantown, Pennsylvania, a group of inhabitants announce they are banding together “as a shield against the rapacity of the law,” resolving to settle all cases among themselves by arbitration in order to “prevent the people from wasting their property by the chicane of the law.”[62]  1787 A.D.

The Constitutional Convention is held in Philadelphia.[63]  May 25 to September 17, 1787 A.D.

 

Congress passes the Northwest Ordinance laying principles under which territories to the west were to be settled and eventually incorporated as states into the union.  Slavery is forbidden in these territories. A pledge of goodwill and respect for Indian’s property, rights, and liberty is included.[64]  1787 A.D.

 

In Bayard v. Singleton the North Carolina Supreme Court declared an act of the legislature void due to a finding that it was unconstitutional.  The ruling reinforced the right to a jury trial for those whose property was seized by the government. James Iredell served as attorney for the plaintiff. Iredell would later serve on the Supreme Court[65]  1787 A.D.

 

Pennsylvania ratifies the new Constitution that has been drafted in Philadelphia.[66]  December 12, 1787 A.D.

 

Massachusetts ratifies the new Constitution.[67]  February 6, 1788 A.D.

 

Almost the entire city of New Orleans is destroyed by fire.[68]  March 21, 1788 A.D.

 

Virginia ratifies the new Constitution.[69]  June 26, 1788 A.D.

 

Ratified by nine states, the American constitution comes into force. By this time, only New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island had failed to ratify the Constitution.  Several States that had ratified included recommendations for amendments.[70]  June 21, 1788 A.D.

 

Alexander Hamilton persuades New York to ratify the Constitution.[71]  July 26, 1788 A.D.

 

Kings College in Windsor Nova Scotia is opened.[72]  1788 A.D.

 

Whites, led by John Sevier, create the breakaway “state” of Franklin. They murder a party of old Indian chiefs, including Onitositah, under a flag of truce.[73]  1788 A.D.

 

George Washington is inaugurated President of the United States.[74] April 30, 1789 A.D.

 

The Department of Foreign Affairs, the first executive agency in the USA, is set up, with Thomas Jefferson at its head.  Within a few weeks its name is changed to the Department of State.[75]  July 27, 1789 A.D.

 

A United States war department is created, with Henry Knox at its head.[76]  August 2, 1789 A.D.

 

The ninth bill passed by the First Congress authorizes lighthouse construction.[77]  August 7, 1789 A.D.

 

Noah Webster’s Dissertations on the English Language is published. His American Spelling Book also appears in the same year. [78]  1789 A.D.

A treasury department, headed by Alexander Hamilton, is created.[79]  September 2, 1789 A.D.

 

Congress proposes twelve amendments to the constitution known as the Bill of Rights.  Ten of them are eventually approved.[80]  September 25, 1789 A.D.

 

Congress votes to create a United States army.[81]  September 29, 1789 A.D.

 

A Spanish squadron lands at Nootka Sound and claim it for Spain.[82]  1789 A.D.

 

North Carolina ratifies the new Constitution.[83]  November 21, 1789 A.D.

 


[1] Wood.

[2] Wood

[3] Wood

[4] Harcourt.  See also Wood.

[5] Harcourt

[6] Harcourt

[7] Harcourt.  Wood – thereby cutting its ties to the crown.

[8] Wood

[9] Wood

[10] K&K

[11] Harcourt

[12] Wood.

[13] Wood

[14] Wood

[15] Wood.

[16] Wood

[17] Wood

[18] Wood

[19] Wood.

[20] Wood

[21] Wood

[22] K&K

[23] Wood. 

[24] Wood.

[25] Wood

[26] Wood

[27] Wood

[28] Wood

[29] Wood.

[30] Wood

[31] Crevecoeur

[32] Boorstin

[34] K&Y

[36] K&K

[37] Boorstin

[38] Wood

[39] Wood

[40] Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

[41] Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

[42] K&K

[43] The Nation, “Alexander Hamilton’s Trickle-Down City.” March 13, 2017

[45] Wood.

[46] Boorstin

[47] Wood

[48] Wood

[49] Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.

[50] Wood

[51] Wood

[52] K&K

[53] Boorstin. See also Dowd.

[54] Wright

[55] Wood.

 

[56] K&K. Wood.

[57] Harcourt

[58] Wood

[59] Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

[60] Boorstin

[61] Wood.  

[62] Wood

[63] NG. Harcourt

[64] Harcourt. Donovan.

[66] Harcourt

[67] Harcourt

[68] K&K.

[69] Harcourt

[70] K&K. 

[71] Harcourt

[72] Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

[73] Wright

[74] Harcourt

[75] K&K

[76] K&K

[77]Islands , Caldwell

[78] Boorstin. See also M,C & M

[79] K&K

[80] K&K

[81] K&K

[82] K&K

[83] Harcourt


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#11
caltrek

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From Ten Fascinating Birthday Facts About James Madison:

 

https://www.yahoo.co...-100207860.html

 

Extract:

 

  • Madison didn’t fight in the Revolutionary War. Small in stature and sometimes sickly, Madison served briefly in the Virginia militia and then entered politics at a young age. He was also the youngest delegate at the 1780 Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
  • Madison really was the Father of the Constitution. He arrived 11 days early for the event, presented his Virginia plan of checks and balances as the foundation of the Constitution, and then worked tirelessly to get the Constitution ratified. Toward the end of his life, a modest Madison said the Constitution “ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands.”
  • Madison wasn’t keen on writing the Bill of Rights–at first. Madison feared that actually listing individual rights in the Constitution would possibly limit other, unlisted rights. He had a change of heart when it became apparent that a Bill of Rights was needed to get the Constitution ratified. During the 1st Congress, Madison presented the first draft of the Bill, which he had written. It had nine articles with 20 amendments.

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#12
caltrek

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One thing I wanted to highlight in regards to the second timeline I presented.  Notice all of the state constitutions adopted.  Notice how these were adopted prior to 1789, when the U.S. Constitution was adopted to replace the Articles of Confederation. So the framers of U.S. Constitution had the benefit of experience in writing the state constitutions.  They were able to benefit from the feedback they had recently received regarding how well those constitutions were working.

 

Another aspect of this which Wood dwells on at length is the developing notion of sovereignty. Today, Wikipedia defines this term as follows

 

 "Sovereignty is understood in jurisprudence as the full right and power of a governing body to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies."

 

Because the revolutionaries were instituting a new form of government, they were forced to think out exactly who and what would be "sovereign'.  The English king and accompanying apparatus of royal governance could no longer be relied upon to do the job. One option would have been to make George Washington a king, but Washington made clear that he was not interested in assuming such a role. So gradually the solution presented itself:  the people were sovereign.  The people had ultimate authority.  Under this radical new notion, government officials were servants to the people and not the other way around.

 

One can see this notion emerging as illustrated by one of the timeline entrees:  "A group of radicals, desiring to press the Delaware Assembly into declaring independence, first thought “it was best to present petitions to the Assembly,”  but then “changed the mode into Instructions…”[9]  May 1776 A.D.

 

The identity of the radicals morphed from petitioning the sovereign to redress grievances to "instructing" representatives as to what the people wanted.  Conventions became the mode by which people gathered to express their will, or at least sent representatives to negotiate with representatives of other areas.  Government was grown from the bottom up, not imposed form the top down.

 

Seen in this light, kleptocracy is a profoundly dangerous rival form of government.  In a sense, sovereignty is stolen from the people and lodged into the hands of an economic and political elite.  Allowing a president to ignore the emoluments clause of the constitution is profoundly dangerous to the republic.  A mistake that may not easily be corrected in the future. Kleptocrats may not readily surrender their "sovereign" authority. A generation that allows this to happen may be condemning future generations to a regression back to the time of absolute rulers and to the re-establishment of a ruling class not accountable to the people. A mistake that will only be corrected by a future revolution. One in which capitalism may be an unintended victim.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#13
TheComrade

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I don't even know where to start. First and foremost, i consider myself marxist (in general, with many reservations, but nevertheless...) This mean i consider self evident that:

 

1) Society divided into social classes with mutually contradicting interests.

2) Any person belongs to one of these classes and (in average) tend to defend and promote interests of his own class. Do not take it too literally: people aren't that cynical and can sincerely believe they're fighting for "common good", but their vision of this "common good" will be radically different and (in average) pre-defined by their class.

3) There is no abstract "nation" and "government", there are only individuals and groups which belong to... see items 1-2.

 

Now about USA and your founding fathers. I'm not a big expert in all this, but it is obvious that early USA was a kind of unique society: have not experienced feudalism, not yet experienced capitalism, relatively low social inequality (i do not mean black slaves, they weren't considered as part of society), excess of free land... these unique historical circumstances has led to such an unique document as US constitution. Perhaps your founding fathers (unlike their European collegues) didn't even understand the true meaning of class differences. One of them (i don't remember who exactly) dreamed about USA as "republic of farmers". But this all did not last long. Indusrtial revolution quickly destroyed this "republic of farmers" and USA was turned into usual capitalist society...

 

Now about kleptocracy. What you described - "sovereignty is stolen from the people and lodged into the hands of an economic and political elite" - is NORMAL situation for any advanced capitalist society. Marxists could describe this as "real political power belongs to major bourgeoisie". Perhaps you meant such thing as "crony capitalism"? Yes, true, this is exactly what we have today in Russia. But the only difference between "crony" and "usual" capitalism is that first is rude and straightforward and second is more refined and hypocritical.

 

I can even say an offensive (for you) and heretical thing: there is NO any serious differences between Russian and US political systems. The difference is only in details and nuances. Russian elite is more arrogant and sincerely describe their power as "managed democracy". US elite is still insist they're nothing but humble "public servants" while in reality "sovereignty" is long ago "stolen from the people"... details are different, ESSENCE is the same.

 

About Putin. You're calling him kleptocrat, but he is rather a succesfull mediator between different oligarchic clans. Before he came to power, these clans were much more powerful and literally tore Russia apart. When he consolidated his power, they were offered a kind of social contract: "you stay away from public politics, and I let you keep your property". This social contract is still working, though there were some exceptions. The most famous exception was Mikhail Khodorkovsky...

 

Not so much but, perhaps, this "social contract" saved the very Russian statehood in its darkest years. For this, i also grateful to Putin.


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#14
caltrek

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 One of them (i don't remember who exactly) dreamed about USA as "republic of farmers". 

 

 

Sounds like Jefferson.

 

 

 

Now about kleptocracy. What you described - "sovereignty is stolen from the people and lodged into the hands of an economic and political elite" - is NORMAL situation for any advanced capitalist society.

 

This is where your Marxism leads you astray.

 

 

 

I can even say an offensive (for you) and heretical thing: there is NO any serious differences between Russian and US political systems.

 

Considering who we have as president, my disagreement with you might not be as extreme as you imagine.

 

 

 

US elite is still insist they're nothing but humble "public servants" while in reality "sovereignty" is long ago "stolen from the people"... details are different, ESSENCE is the same.

 

1) Depends on what locality you are looking at and in what time frame.  There are locality/time frames where your description is perfectly accurate.

2) Marx himself said something like government elites function as the "executive committee of the bourgeoisie."  I will admit that often the most powerful individuals in the United States operate in the private sector.  Government employees are thus delegated some autonomy and authority.  So government officials are the "public servants."  So a theory based on the idea that elites rule  is not necessarily in conflict with the theoretical propositions that I am putting forth.

3) I am talking about theory.  Theory that in the case of the founding fathers was based on actual experience. That government in practice has often fallen short of the ideal is pretty much a given - or at least should be acknowledged as such.

4) "Sovereignty" is a legal concept.  It matters little if the theory upon which it is based is "correct" or "incorrect", whether it is based in reality or just the imagination. What matters is how do the courts interpret issues related to "sovereignty". A related example is "corporation".  A "corporation" is a legal fiction. It becomes real through a process of reification.* 

   

 

 

 

About Putin. You're calling him kleptocrat, but he is rather a succesfull mediator between different oligarchic clans.

 

Not mutually exclusive descriptions, but we can carry on that debate in other threads.

 

 

When he consolidated his power, they were offered a kind of social contract: "you stay away from public politics, and I let you keep your property". This social contract is still working, though there were some exceptions. The most famous exception was Mikhail Khodorkovsky...

 

Not so much but, perhaps, this "social contract" saved the very Russian statehood in its darkest years. For this, i also grateful to Putin.

 

 

I defer to your "insider" status.  One who lives "inside" Russia although perhaps not among the power elite.

 

*Definition: Reification (also known as concretism, hypostatization, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity.

 

I encounter the concept it most often in reading works of Marxist scholars


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#15
TheComrade

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This is where your Marxism leads you astray.

 

Well, maybe... but actually, i don't think so. Anyway, i meant not legal concepts but exactly the real power and ability to make decisions. To me, this is self-evident that real power belongs to very narrow circle of major bourgeoisie (call them as you wish - elite, establishment, banksters, reptilians, deep state, etc). This power is already well established, secured and structurized but this rude and unpleasant truth is still hidden and decorated by many rituals & main of them called "national elections".

 

In one regard, USA is even further from democracy than Russia. You have already formed a real aristocracy: all (or not? at least the vast majority) of your senators coming only from upper-class families, no one is surpised by "dynasties of politicians" or when son / wife of previous president also run for presidency. Commoners are still free to "choose", but only from this narrow circle.

 

Unlike this, Russia still have no any "hereditary deputies", and some existing ones often coming from the social bottom. But, i suspect, someday we'll also come to US standard.

 

I defer to your "insider" status.  One who lives "inside" Russia although perhaps not among the power elite.

 

I'm very far from elite, but some things are obvious. I was a student when Mikhail Khodorkovsky crossed the red line. I very well remeber his billboards near my bus stop, something like: "Tell me, people, what do you think about current situation? Let's gather together and discuss..." And i very well understood that such "discussion" can only lead him to prison, instead of Kremlin. So it happened, and the billboards disappeared.

 
Sometimes, what is clear to middle-grade student, is not clear for powerful oligarch...
 

I am talking about theory.  Theory that in the case of the founding fathers was based on actual experience.

 

Yes, but times have changed.

 

As for the near and middle-term future, i'd bet on further institutionalization and closening of this new elite. I just don't see who or what would stop this process. "Democracy" will still exist, but it will have less and less sense & it will be harder and harder to hide the obvious. Social inequality will continue to grow, not in style "rich becoming richer, poor becoming poorer" but rather "rich became 50 times richer, poor became 10% richer". One way or another, since some certain moment, borders between classes will become virtually inpassable. By that moment, the industry and services will be much more automated than they are today. The big part of population will sit on "guaranteed income" that will make them totally dependant from elite... unlike Joe00uk, i do not believe in any "worker revolution" in developed countries. This is not more real than plebeian revolution in ancient Rome: "Kill the emperor and senators? Are you mad? Who then will provide us with bread and circuses?"


#16
joe00uk

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The big part of population will sit on "guaranteed income" that will make them totally dependant from elite... unlike Joe00uk, i do not believe in any "worker revolution" in developed countries. This is not more real than plebeian revolution in ancient Rome: "Kill the emperor and senators? Are you mad? Who then will provide us with bread and circuses?"

Well, yeah, I suspect a large part of the population would have this attitude but I don't see why another large part of the population wouldn't be revolutionary. The proletariat amongst itself, as you of course know, is very much divided along many different ideological lines. Some portion of them will think as you suggest, and some portion will (in all likelihood) think as I suggest.



#17
caltrek

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Here is another item to include in the timeline that is found in an old history textbook:

 

 

Congress establishes custom duties on all imports.  July 4, 1789 A.D.


Two weeks later Congress places a tonnage duty on all shipping, with high rates for foreign vessels and low rates for American ships. Income from these duties would be applied to the national debt.

 

 

Here, the mercantilist nature of the early republic shines threw.  Not yet a dominant world power, protectionist measures were the order of the day.  Leaders like the Clintons should have taken better notes in their history class.  With the U.S. declining in its status as a dominant power, perhaps this country should return to a more protectionist stance. To a point, old industries an be protected and the cultural and social shocks of sudden unemployment can be mitigated, though perhaps not completely eliminated. To not follow such mitigating policies is to risk placing men like Trump in control.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#18
caltrek

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The big part of population will sit on "guaranteed income" that will make them totally dependant from elite... unlike Joe00uk, i do not believe in any "worker revolution" in developed countries. This is not more real than plebeian revolution in ancient Rome: "Kill the emperor and senators? Are you mad? Who then will provide us with bread and circuses?"

Well, yeah, I suspect a large part of the population would have this attitude but I don't see why another large part of the population wouldn't be revolutionary. The proletariat amongst itself, as you of course know, is very much divided along many different ideological lines. Some portion of them will think as you suggest, and some portion will (in all likelihood) think as I suggest.

 

 

Well, both of you are on to something as far as understanding the underlying economic forces at work.  More to the point, how those forces might manifest themselves in political reality.

 

What is missing is a realization that substantial amendments to the Constitution are not needed.  The early Constitution was indeed the result of a pre-industrial people throwing off the last vestiges of a fuedalistic past.  It is more the work of mercantilists than industrial capitalist.  Even the abolition of slavery that came later can be seen as a further cleansing of the Constitution of a vestige from an earlier time.  Perhaps to make way for industrial capitalism, but in any event a definite step forward.

 

Industrial capitalism may have impoverished political and economic theory, but legal theory was left in place as developed.  Of course, how that legal theory was enforced and interpreted very much depended upon who was doing the enforcing and who was doing the interpreting. Still, the Constitution itself can be interpreted in socialist/populist ways simply because many populists were involved in its formation.

 

One process that further impoverished the development of political and economic theory was the alien character that socialism came to assume.  

 

Today, pollster snicker at "uneducated" individuals who identify passages on the Constitution as being "socialist" in nature. Actually, the great unwashed who answer the questions in that way are trying to tell us something.  That socialist notions are not as foreign as the elite would like us to believe.  It is the pollsters asking the questions who truly "don't get it."    

 

Likewise, revolutionaries who think we need to replace the Constitution through a revolutionary process also don't get it.  Quick to dismiss it's rules as "capitalist" they fail to see the potential for a populist usage of that document.  Shred the Constitution, and you have taken a step back away from socialism, and not a step toward it.  

 

For you revolutionaries out there - don't respond to me with some platitude.  Read the Constitution and tell me which parts are incompatible with a socialist democracy.  Perhaps a clause or two will pop up as problematic.  Something that could be fixed by an amendment.  Not the whole document, or even a significant share of that document.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#19
TheComrade

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For you revolutionaries out there - don't respond to me with some platitude.  Read the Constitution and tell me which parts are incompatible with a socialist democracy.

 

No, only not me... as i already told in this same thread, i'm not a big expert in US history, all i can say is exactly the "platitude". Also, i'm far from being revolutionary...



#20
caltrek

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For you revolutionaries out there - don't respond to me with some platitude.  Read the Constitution and tell me which parts are incompatible with a socialist democracy.

 

No, only not me... as i already told in this same thread, i'm not a big expert in US history, all i can say is exactly the "platitude". Also, i'm far from being revolutionary...

 

 

 

Fair enough.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






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