Really well written analysis on the evolution of the American Republic over the past 233 years. It is a piece well deserved to be shared and very possibly archived into the History lessons of our schools of higher learning.
Yours In Truth ;-) Shelly
By James V. DeLong Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The Special Interest State that has shaped American life for 70 years is dying. What comes next is uncertain, but there are grounds for optimism.
The United States has been called the oldest nation in the world, in the sense that it has operated the longest without a major upheaval in its basic institutional structure.
From one perspective, this characterization is fair. The nation still rests on the Constitution of 1787, and no other government can trace its current charter back so far. Since then, France has had a monarchy, two empires, and five republics. England fudges by never writing down its constitutional arrangements, but the polity of Gordon I is remote from that of George III. China’s political convolutions defy summary.
Shift the angle of vision and the continuity is less clear, because we have had two upheavals so sweeping that the institutional arrangements under which we now operate can fairly be classified as the Third American Republic. Furthermore, this Third Republic is teetering (these things seem to run in cycles of about 70 years) and is on the edge of giving way to a revised Fourth Republic with arrangements as yet murky to our present-bound perceptions.
This prediction should be seen as optimistic, not pessimistic, despite the stresses the transition puts on those of us standing on the ice as it cracks. At the risk of practicing “Whig history”—a term applied to the interpretation of history as a story of progress toward the enlightened present—the infelicities of the Third Republic grow tedious, and reform is needed to clear space for the progress of American, and world, civilization.
Understanding the current upheaval is aided by a brief description of the earlier ones.