A Continuing Civil War in Three Short Acts
It seems that a legion of political pundits are talking about the re-election of President Obama as proof of how divided the United States is as a country. But is that actually true and if so what is so startling about it? Firstly I don’t think the country is as divided as some would suggest but having said that I do think those who have historically held privilege and power are becoming increasingly more divided. Notice I did say “historically” becuase this division began almost before the Colonial Militia fired the first shot at Concord Bridge. This is the introduction to Act One of this drama.
Briefly, the European powers who had initially vied for control of the Eastern Seaboard were ultimately reduced to one colonial power and that was Great Britain. Great Britain being the economic world power that it was saw the colonies that she had established in the “New World” as white Europeans called it as economic assets that would produce great wealth for the Empire. The colonists were almost incidental except that they provided the manpower, much of it slave labour, to manufacture this wealth. The growing problem for the wealthy class in Britain was some of those colonists were extensive land owners themselves and they like their counterparts in Britain wanted more and more wealth and more and more control over it. These colonists saw the colonies as assets as well and that included not only the human traffic of slaves but the conquest and or eradication of the Native Peoples which made their lands easy targets for exploitation. But Great Britain was selfish and wanted most of the wealth for itself and they looked to a very cooperative Parliament to insure the realization of their desires.
Now in the colonies talk of independence and self determination was stewing in the intellectual and philosophical pot and the wealthy colonial class began to see in this stew a way to protect their new found wealth and status. But to do so they had to have the support of the “common man” and by the common man they meant white males and especially white males who either owned land or wanted to, who they could lure to their cause with impassioned appeals to liberty and freedom. But make no mistake they had no intention of expanding the concept of freedom and liberty to include anyone else. They had no intention to end the slave trade and practice nor did they have any intention of respecting the sovereignty of Native Nations. But despite their best efforts to contain the contagion of liberty the seeds were sown that would take root in the American character that would someday begin to transcend and transform profit and wealth.
The wealthy needed the poor to fight their war of Revolution so that the colonial wealthy planters and merchants could manage their own wealth without interference from the British wealthy class and Crown. This they managed to do and in so doing win control for themselves and they hoped for no one else. But many of yeomen farmers and even some of the wealthy believed it was their sacred duty to remain loyal to the King and loyal they were. It has been said the the bloodiest and most savage battles were fought between the rich man’s armies of the Revolution and the King’s loyalists. Just for the record there was three African American Marines serving on American warships during the Insurrection Against the Crown and as soon as war was over they were ordered discharged and no Blacks were allowed to serve in the Corp until World War II! End of Act I!
Act II begins with the first notion of who has the ultimate authority in matters of civil liberties and the battles with the Supreme Court begins. White males with property believe that the newly written Constitution gives them and the States that authority while more and more common folkes are beginning to look to the Federal government. The early Supreme Court was by in large the final legal recourse for the wealthy landed and merchant class. As the push towards more territory began the white males in controlled the government decided that Native Peoples were in the way and as such needed to be forcefully removed from their lands. In the Removal Act of 1830 such genocide like measure such as “The Trail of Tears” happened. In addition slavery continued to be fiercely defended by politicians and the Supreme Court that ultimate ruled not only against the so called “Missouri Compromises” but even affirmed that Africa Americans had absolutely no rights under the Constitution in the infamous “Dred Scot” decision. The Second Great Civil War was on the horizon even as slave owners from Tennessee settled in a province of Mexico that was called Texas hoping to force the U S government eventually to come to their aid and invade Mexico which they finally did and not only robbed Mexico of its province of Texas but also of New Mexico and California! Again it was the interest of the wealthy that dictated the course of action of the US government under the guise of a “righteous cause”! There was a small diversion called the War of 1812 which the US lost and in fact it almost begged the UK to accept an American cease fire that was in fact a surrender! The so called “Monroe Doctrine”, “Manifest Destiny”, and the ideology of “The White Man’s Burden” gained ever increasing support and acceptance amongst the masses and the corporations that were benefiting from them. Just as before there were those who saw this charade for what it was and this was particularly true of the abolitionists and the increasing numbers of freedmen who at great risk to themselves and families had escaped slavery in the South. In Europe the ferment for radical change even revolution social and political was beginning to churn and the modern secular state was in the womb of that continent.
Lincoln is elected and all hell breaks loose! The Second Great Civil War begins. It would be a bloodier war than the Revolution and in fact would sustained more causalities than any other war the US has fought. Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation technically freeing the slaves in “those territories now in rebellion”, it did not free any slaves in any state that was still in the Union. Lincoln was advised that if he did not issue this document Britain would come to the aid of the Confederacy and perhaps the first world conflict would have resulted. The military war ended in 1865. This second civil war had thousands of poor young men dieing to keep the wealthy planter wealthy, the poor poor and Afro Americans enslaved becuase once again the wealthy were successful in getting the economically disenfranchised to protect them in the name of a false self determination that extended only to those of European decent. Reconstruction begins and ends in failure and is only attempted in the defeated Old South. The North wanted no part of equal rights and in 1875 and again in 1896 the Supreme Court handed down decisions that said Afro Americans could not demand equal protection from the States. Jim Crow would be alive and well way into the 1960s and vestiges even until the present day. As the Age of Predatory Wealth dawned and workers were treated like company serfs the labour movement began and the earliest Civil Rights organizations were formed. Many people would die at the hands of police, company thugs, and lynch mobs simply becuase they wanted their civil liberties and a decent life for themselves and simply becuase they were poor and or people of colour. The Spanish American War, a war designed and engineered by the Robber Barons would bring the US into its own colonial imperialism. Not satisfied at the near eradication of the Native Peoples and their way of life, not to mention all their lands and resources, the wealthy elite turned their eyes to Cuba, Panama, Pureto Rico and any and all nations that could be bought in the service of corporate colonialism. The Great Depression would almost create a true revolution but Roosevelt stopped the momentum by programmes the Robber Barons passionately despised. WWII would help in the struggle for Civil Rights and would culminate in the election of Barack Obama by the New Majority that is Hispanic, Asian, Afro American, Native American, Gays and Women With his election the Act Three has ended and the next Act of the Great Civil War has just begun. The White Male dominated nation of the last three hundred years is no more but for those born to this privilege they refuse to sound the Retreat just yet. But for these out moded and out dated disciples of “American read White male Exceptionalism” time, history, and statistical math is not on their side and they are disappearing!!! Thank God
- Posted in: Uncategorized