The First Great Awakening
The shift from rationalism to emotionalism in the life of colonial America can best be seen in the writings of Jonathan Edwards. He began with his youthful speculations on science: “. . . it is self-evident I believe to every man, that Space is necessary, eternal, infinite and omnipresent. But I had as good speak plain: I have already said as much as, that Space is God. And it is indeed clear to me, that all the Space there is, not proper to the body, all the Space there is without the bounds of Creation, all the Space there was before the Creation, is God himself; . . .”159. Yet he was to write that lengthy defense of “sweet” emotionalism, the Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections (1746).
René Descartes was the intellectual godfather of the youthful Edwards—God as Space was clearly not Newtonian—but Newton was surely the intellectual godfather of the Edwards of the Great Awakening.
1754, The Battle of Jumonville Glen (or present-day Uniontown, Pennsylvania) and how it was the decisive battle for George Washington. Gary North says that “George Washington was the most important American in the history of America. In my opinion, he was the most important American in the history of the modern world. His 15-minute disaster, disguised as a victory, the battle of Jumonville Glen, destroyed the old world order. It was the most important single event that did so. He pulled the trigger. The gun was loaded; the hammer was cocked, and it was aimed at the French Empire. Then came the Seven Years’ War, the Stamp Act crisis, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, Napoleon, Waterloo, and the rise of the modern world.
George Washington doesn’t get enough credit for the battle of Jumonville Glen, but he surely gets credit for the American Revolution and the Constitution, where he really was crucial. This is not mythology. This is real. Without him, the outcome might have been different.”
Wikipedia explains that that war “was a contributing factor in the start of the Seven Years’ War in 1756.”
1765-1783, American Revolution
1765, [Dr. North teaches] the English 3 course for the Ron Paul Curriculum. This week, I am producing ten lessons on verbal persuasion. I begin with debates. They will read these debates for two weeks. I begin with the British Parliament’s debates over the taxation of the American colonies: 1765 (Stamp Act) and 1775 (closing Boston harbor). Also included: the Quebec Act of 1774. William Pitt argued against the Stamp Act and the Quebec Act. Edmund Burke argued against the closing of Boston Harbor and all taxation of the colonies’ internally. They said such taxation was a mark of tyranny and in violation of traditional English liberties. They pulled no verbal punches. In two debates, Pitt won the first and lost the second. Burke overwhelmingly lost. But everything he had predicted then came true. The British spent a fortune, but the Americans won the war. If the British had listened to Pitt in 1774, we probably still would be part of the Commonwealth. It was too late by the time Burke gave his speech. Three weeks later, Paul Revere rode.
1769, Four American Pioneers: Daniel Boone (1769), George Rogers Clark, David Crockett, and Kit Carson.
Thomas Fleming books.
A precursor to American Revolution. . .
1775, “The colonists had a sweet deal in 1775. Great Britain was the second freest nation on earth. Switzerland was probably the most free nation, but I would be hard-pressed to identify any other nation in 1775 that was ahead of Great Britain. And in Great Britain’s Empire, the colonists were by far the freest.”
1775-1783, American Revolutionary War.
1776, Virginia Constitution.
Virginia Constitution of 1776.
First written constitution adopted by the people’s representatives in the history of the world.
Implemented on June 29, 1776, with Patrick Henry’s inauguration.
Fulfillment of Virginia’s republican independence (May 15, 1776)
Virginia Constitution of 1776 was chiefly awarded to George Mason from the Potomac area.
—Preceded by a Declaration of Rights (after the model of 1688) (George Mason)
—Laid out basic constitutional principals
—Government’s responsibility to protect citizens’ rights, but not slaves’
—separation of powers.
1777, Beginning of Abolitionist Movement in the United States in America? Following the Revolutionary War, Northern states abolished slavery, beginning with the 1777 state constitution of Vermont, followed by Pennsylvania’s gradual emancipation act in 1780.
1780-1860, INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The Industrial Revolution. Scottish equality opposed French equality. What were the differences? Out of the industrial revolution came innovation. Out of that innovation came enrichment. Londoners in the late 1700s were living on 2 sterling pounds a day; today, it is approximately 80 sterling pounds a day. That’s an increase of 3900%. Nothing like it in the history of the world: not in China, nowhere. This period was ushered in by the Scotts asserted two important attitudes to usher in unmatched innovation: 1) Human dignity and 2) human legal equality. Let people innovate, do what they can without harming others and you get a remarkable achievement. (Video below is thanks to Gary North.) “Everyone” in the immortal English expression, “can have a go.” “And when everyone has the confidence to have a go, amazing things can happen” explains Deidre McCloskey. Social theories of the 19th century proved to be mistaken–socialism, nationalism, national-socialism, eugenics, etc. 19th century shows that the 18th century, Scottish equality, “a man’s a man for all that.” That struts and stares and all that.” He’s but a coufe for all that.” that point in Burns’ great egalitarian poem is the core spirit of the modern world. Out of that came innovation, and out of that came enrichment. What didn’t cause the modern to conclude is that government and trade union compulsion. She’s not against unions; she’s a member of one. It’s not union struggles that made us rich; what made us rich is 1) the embodiment of the economy in bright ideas like cheap steel, and 2) universities. The wretched of the earth (i.e., the poor) will be made prosperous, if we let this amazing spontaneous order of market-tested betterment grind on. “The letting people have a go experiment has worked poorly in the 20th century.” The poor are not poor because the rich are rich. Redistribution does not benefit the poor. L’Oreal’s charitable foundation is one half of one percent; not exactly Andrew Carnegie. Carlos Slim (which means “clever” in Afrikan) introduced cell phones to Mexico. He engaged in voluntary trade: cash for cell phones. The improvements of the working class from economic growth are 20 to 30x more than redistribution. Economic improvements in China and India have done more for the poor than redistribution.The 1% per year per capia. This year India is growing at 7% per year per capita, which solves a lot of social problems. General-limited liability didn’t happen til the middle of the 19th century in France. Ideas cause institutions. Institutions can’t work without ethics. Can’t have laws without instituted courts. So institutions are intermediary causes; they’re not the spark. The spark is an ethical change in the valuation of other humans–value driven. Up to 1900, science is not terribly important. You don’t get artificial fertilizer without German organic chemistry. Nor do you get German warfare. The true spirit of capitalism is not so much about capital accumulation, but about innovation. And the Anglo-sphere does not have any particular advantage under capitalism than do other civilizations. In order for a society to have adopted English Common Law, there must be an ethical conviction between the prosecutors, judges, and lawyers. Taken Pakistan, for example. It has English Common Law; the judges wear white wigs. The counter force that stopped the modern world, to begin with, was the absolute conviction that order could only be achieved by the “great chain of being.” Letting people have a go was a terrible thought. Innovation until the 19th century was a bad word. It is a theological word. Innovation means you’re going to change the order of the mass, or that you’re going to introduce some theological idea that I don’t like. “Curiositas” is a sin in medieval Latin. Forces of order and fear by the elite of losing power and the fear of environmentalism impede the old English adage of “let ’em have a go.” Adam Smith lived in a Scotland where everyone was expected to read from a schoolmaster. Only 1 private university in the United Kingdom? Did not know that. It’s the bourgeois deal. You let me have a go, start a factory or university or a convenience store, let me keep the profits. In the second act, alas, there will be others who will compete with me. But I am allowed to do it. In the third act, I will make you, the working class, rich. That’s how it works. It’s not let me form a trade union and that’s what made me rich. Big potatoes are the result of the bourgeois deal. Small potatoes still have to struggle. 1848 is crucial here. Why? The clericy or intellectuals, painters, novelists, playwrights, and movie makers turned against their fathers. So a fathers versus sons thing. Strongest opponents of market-tested betterment are the manufacturers, lawyers, etc. Why do people still believe in socialism? Where are the authors of prosperity? A family is a socialist economy. Income mysteriously appears and is distributed, fairly or unfairly. When a child of a middle-class family encounter very poor people is to get daddy’s wallet and help the poor. She is pro-poor person through business. Swedish politics has been dominated by a metaphor of a national home. Trade testing or market test. Your idea turns out to be a bad one. We use the same model in sports, art, and music. [The Difficulty of Being Good] Equality is not the point; raising up the working class is. Let people have a go is the best way to do that. A safety net, yes, but we don’t need the government to do that.
Richards is a UMass/Amherst history professor. The University of Pennsylvania Press published this book in 2003.
Based on original and “arduous” research, it overturns the textbook view that the rebellion was an uprising of indebted farmers against the state government of Massachusetts. It became clear to Richards early in his research that “the standard story of Shays’s Rebellion did not wash” because a good number of prominent creditors were part of the rebellion. It wasn’t debt that triggered Shays’s Rebellion, he argues, but the new state government and ‘its attempt to enrich the few at the expense of the many.’
Yet Shays is the perennial poster child for the consequences of weak government and is usually cited as the catalyst for the Constitutional Convention. Again, Richards is not a libertarian providing a new twist on the standard data, but a researcher drawing conclusions from primary sources no one else had bothered to explore. To dispute his conclusions one would have to reject his data. At the very least the book should be controversial, yet it has only 8 reviews on Amazon and its current sales rank is 441,663. If it’s creating any kind of a disturbance in the public discussion of ideas, I haven’t noticed. For the most part it seems to be ignored.
In his review of Richards’ book, DGN writes:
Shays’ Rebellion provided an opportunity for a majority of a group of 55 men, more than half of whom were lawyers, to break the law of the land and get away with it. This is not how historians of the Constitution have treated the Convention in Philadelphia.This fact provides additional support for the ancient rule of historiography, indeed, its only known rule: the victors write the textbooks.
<“John Hancock’s Big Toe and the Constitution”, http://archive.lewrockwell.com/north/north247.html>
For the victors to remain unchallenged after publication of Richards’ book is astounding to me. Is there nothing that can break the grip they hold?
Shays’s Rebellion: The American Revolution’s Final Battle [Kindle Edition] by Leonard L. Richards, http://tinyurl.com/q3y6rov
1787, Madison tried to get the revision at 1786: the Annapolis Convention. It failed. So, using the free trade argument, he called the 1787 convention. It was a ruse to fool state legislatures. He promised a revision of the Articles, not a replacement. He lied. It was a set-up from day one, literally. On day one, there were multiple submissions for the replacement.
The 1787 convention would not have taken place had it not been for John Hancock’s big toe. That sucked Washington into it. He had resisted until then.
Gary North writes on Shay’s Rebellion and John Hancock, “But would these taxes actually be collected? After the Revolution, the most popular politician in Massachusetts was John Hancock, the ex-smuggler/merchant whose signature is so large on the Declaration of Independence. He was among the richest men in the state. He was lenient to all poor debtors who owed him money personally. He let them pay him in depreciated paper money. The rich had to pay in silver. He was elected governor in 1780 and served for five years. He also was elected in 1787 and served until his death in 1793. He did not serve in 1785 – 87, the crucial period. He declined to run in 1785 because of gout. Gout normally affects the big toe. It can accurately be said that the great turning point in post-Revolutionary America was John Hancock’s big toe.”
One commenter noted that “If a person is in anyway aware of the events of 18th century America, they know for a fact that things were horrible and unworkable under the Articles of Confederation. Shay’s Rebellion was an outburst of anarchy that would have eventually destroyed us all, and that the Constitutional Convention saved us all. Yet all these facts are as fictitious as Romulus and Remus. National foundation mythologies are dug in too deeply to be uprooted easily.”
1787, Ryan McMaken on the strength of a national document to restrain the state. Even Patrick Henry knew that assumption was childish.
The old opponents of the 1787 Constitution, the Anti-Federalists, understood this well, and they feared the new powers implied in the new constitution that could allow the federal government to nationalize the local militias.
Those who feared these new power were derided as paranoid, of course. “The president would never wage war without the approval of all the people under law.” they were told. “If the Federal government gets out of hand, we shall “assemble the people” and put an end to tyranny.” Patrick Henry was ready with a retort, however:
Oh, Sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only necessary to assemble the people! Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves are gone…Did you ever read of any revolution in any nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? A standing army we shall have also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny: And how are you to punish them? Will you order them to be punished? Who shall obey these orders?
Liberals from Patrick Henry to Jefferson to Richard Cobden all understood standing armies as engines of government force.
1788, U.S. Constitution ratified. And that wiped out the Christian foundation of the United States of America. It was systematic and it was deliberate. Conspiracy in Philadelphia. Took place one week after the Presbyterian Church sold us out. Took out the Confessions of Faith in the application to politics and they ratified it at the same the Constitution was ratified. It was executed by John Witherspoon, who taught James Madison the rule.
1789, Rousseau and conformity to the will of the state, Gary North.
1789, French Revolution. The French Revolution: A Study in Democracy, 1919.
1799, Charles Burris On Republicanism, the U.S. Constitution, and Thomas Jefferson.