Wednesday, May 27

American History: The People vs. The Tyrants (Part I pre-20th century)

Been busy lately and haven't had much time to blog but this right here is my thesis on the entire Span of U.S. History. Its a rough draft in the making for my AP US class. I'll put sources up later in part II where I cover the twentieth century in more detail. This is sort of just the preamble. I decided to start at the revolution in order to show how the roots of the capitalist sham were rotten to begin with, and remain that way today despite the gains made by people through centuries of heroic struggle.


When one studies American History in depth, no matter what period, the events that have taken place only make sense when analyzed through a lens of the rich landowners fighting a war against the common American citizen. From the inception of the revolutionary war where the planters hijacked the struggle of farmers and workers discontent with oppressive colonialism, until the crackdowns on unions and “red subversives,” and the tyranny of reaganomics; America’s story has been one of ordinary people struggling for human rights against their all powerful “representatives.”
The revolutionary war was a war with its roots in the working people. Ordinary people who wanted the right to free speech written in stone due to their proud tradition of self-governance that emerged due to the impossibility of royal rule three thousand miles from Britain. Blacksmiths, farmers, young field hands some as young as fourteen or fifteen took up arms and organized in the Sons and Daughters of Liberty to rid America of royal tyranny. Yet it was the planters, lawyers, and wealthy merchants who took up command positions and argued in the continental congress. The rural and urban poor who fought and died in the war went unremembered and unpaid, while the wealthy planters who had remained behind the lines of combat rung in all the praise Washington, Jefferson, and Madison probably didn’t fire a bullet yet they took the glory and fame. This theme would remain a constant in American History from this point onwards.
You see the progress we’ve made to bring us to the point in history we are today, having recently elected a black president and having won certain rights like union laws and important civil rights, is only due to the struggles of movements of people against tyrannical government. Throughout the antebellum period and the period of “Jacksonian Democracy” supposed “grand” reforms were made to make the United States more democratic like abolishing property ownership as a requirement for your right to vote. Jackson was forced to take these steps in order to appease farmers like those who nearly overthrew the government in the Whiskey and Shay’s Rebellion. It still however left black people disenfranchised which led to the civil war.
The Civil War was essentially a contest between Northern Industrialists who realized slavery was not profitable because it left half the country to be content with the backward plantation economy unchanged since the slavery’s beginnings, and southern plantation owners who figured why even pay for the people’s labor? Lincoln was not a real abolitionist and the emancipation proclamation only came because of the pressure abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison and John Brown had shown, as well as the support of blacks in fighting for the union and paralyzing the southern economy by fleeing to northern lines. Government approved text books like McGrawHill American History A Survey frames the rioters against the New York Draft as throroughly racist. The reality is that these were working people who didn’t want to die in a rich mans war. Of course many who participated were racist and blamed blacks for the draft, but this was because the divide and conquer tactics of the ruling class makes the masses fear each other and hate each other based on race, ethnicity, religion, or whatever they find convenient to use in order to super-exploit a group a make higher profits as they had done for hundreds of years with black people and now do today with Mexican and Latin American people.
Reconstruction after the civil war gave the north power over the south and so in the name of “taking it too the south”, progressive reforms were passed giving blacks voting rights, civil rights, and power like never before. Yet the rulers ended this experiment quickly because in the end, the lives of those who died in battle fighting against slavery didn’t matter to much when compared to a new era of focusing on industrializing and exploiting working people like never before.
The Gilded age saw laissez-faire capitalism evolve to its fullest and most ruthless form in the name of industrialization. Workers worked in miserable factory conditions with no labor rights and no fair wages. When workers unionized the government and bosses attempted to suppress them with the army, national guard, police, and private detective agencies like Pinkerton Detective Agency. This continued into the 20th century thanks to the stubbornness of the government and industrial bosses in granting workers any rights at all from the start of militant union in the early 1860s until the early 1900s when progressivism forced the government to make some reforms to appease the militant strikes that rocked the country conducted by the Industrial Workers of the World Union, the Western Federation of Miners, and other militant unions.

To be Cont'd

2 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

I don't disagree with your essay. I think the tone is incorrect.

An example is the victory of the Union forces in the Civil War. Marx personally sent a letter to Lincoln, congratulating him. My point is that steps forward, should be analyzed in relationship to their time in history.

Send me an email, at my address on my profile. Are you on Facebook?

Socialism or Barbarism said...

This is interesting. There are very serious issues about early US society and its dissimilarities with Europe (specifically Britain). Marx himself references them in one of the final chapters in Capital Volume 1 - about the difficulty in retaining a non-slave based workforce. It is an issue of some significance to the overall trajectory of history even up to today. Your essay recognises this to some extent but maybe its something you might look at in greater detail. Begin with the class structure and how it reflected the nature of an expanding land-base and was segregated by migrant groups. From a distance that seems to have been decisive for US history for the first 100-150 years. But interesting. Liked your old site.