Friday, April 14, 2017
This is not an America bashing post, but more of a... think about our past and learn from it post.
I had someone the other day essentially say... what is the point of studying history, the past isn't useful.
Now... I did not flog them, I wanted to... but I refrained.
This is one of those reasons, well to me at least.
America kind of idolizes the guys who put together the government and I get it to a point, but we have to understand that the real beauty in American democracy does not lie with a bunch of dead dudes who wore white wigs and lived in the 18th century... its our history of compromise and working together and we need to know and understand that BECAUSE for some reason our politicians have completely forgotten it and sometimes resemble the guys in this picture a bit more than I am comfortable with....
During the American Revolution...when those guys up there were contemplating about what our country, what America should look like... they had some pretty interesting concepts of individual freedom, citizenry, and the franchise (aka voting).
Gordon S. Wood has a pretty awesome book called The Radicalism of the American Revolution that I totally recommend and in that book Wood delves into early ideas about civic participation. In part II of the book, Wood delves into how Republican-minded Patriots worked to overturn the traditional system of patriarchy and patronage that plagued the pre-revolution colonial governments. One way this rejection manifested was by the Patriots disavowing the coercive relationship between landowner and tenant...arguing that a landowner often tried to rule and influence the way his tenants behaved and thought, something that would endanger a Republican system of government right?????
They had a solution:
The solution was to prohibit non-landowners from voting. Yes, that is what I just said. Thus, the Patriots were technically removing the influence or abuse of influence of landowners on elections... BY MAKING THE FRANCHISE ONLY AVAILABLE TO LANDOWNERS... yea.
We need to know that freedom took time and compromise and we need to know how our government was forged or the entire country is going to believe that prior to 1776 we were all these oppressed serf-like colonists and immediately post-Revolution we were independent and democratic citizens where everyone had a say.... every white male landowner had a say I mean.