The Giant Sucking Sound , A Sharp intake of Breath, A duel to the death. The New United States Republic 1776-2016.
In 1729 Benjamin Franklin wrote a pamphlet ´´A modest Enquiry into the nature and the necessity of a paper Currency.”
a modest enquiry,
”There is no Science, the Study of which is more useful and commendable than the Knowledge of the true Interest of one’s Country; and perhaps there is no Kind of Learning more abstruse and intricate, more difficult to acquire in any Degree of Perfection than This, and therefore none more generally neglected. Hence it is, that we every Day find Men in Conversation contending warmly on some Point in Politicks, which, altho’ it may nearly concern them both, neither of them understand any more than they do each other.
Thus much by way of Apology for this present Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency. And if any Thing I shall say, may be a Means of fixing a Subject that is now the chief Concern of my Countrymen, in a clearer Light, I shall have the Satisfaction of thinking my Time and Pains well employed.
To proceed, then,
There is a certain proportionate Quantity of Money requisite to carry on the Trade of a Country freely and currently; More than which would be of no Advantage in Trade, and Less, if much less, exceedingly detrimental to it.
This leads us to the following general Considerations.”
This statement serves as my introduction, When the British Banned Colonial Scrip the first Giant Sucking Sound of the prosperity of the United States Colony being appropriated by the British Ruling Class and the Money Interests, amongst other complaints lead to the Formation of the first United States republic.
Set against the British the new Americans Found an Ally in King Louis XVI of France who Started sending Supplies in 1775, We find Benjamin Franklin in France December 1776 to rally support, the rest is history suffice to say The events of the formation of the First French republic are not un-connected to the large expense of funding foriegn wars.
The first French Republic was founded on 22 September 1792, the evolution of the factions into the Dissolution into the First Empire of 1804 under Napoleon is another story. An apocryphal parallel in the US to the factions vieing for representation and power in the french Republic
is perhaps seen in a Duel Fought between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Van Buren . On July 11, 1804, the enemies met outside Weehawken, New Jersey, at the same spot where Hamilton’s son had died. Both men fired, and Hamilton was mortally wounded by a shot just above the hip.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Burr
Aaron Burr was Jeffersons Vice President and Hamilton a Federalist lets look at what they both stood for.
Major Outlines of the First Two American Parties
Talented leaders; meritocracy
Strong federal government
States’ rights/limited federal power
Strong legislature; weak courts
Permanent debt financed by wealthy
Elimination of national debt
Support farmers, artisans
Property qualifications to vote
Evolved into Whigs in the Jackson years, then Republicans in 1854.
Evolved into the Democratic Party under Jackson in 1828.
Important Early Political Figures
WASHINGTON: Tried to stay “above politics”; was generally sympathetic to Federalists—sided with Hamilton over Jefferson. Probably could be called a Federalist.
HAMILTON: Had a noted business-financial bias; believed in original sin—the natural depravity of human beings, therefore strong controls called for; he had authoritarian inclinations and an entrepreneurial spirit.
ADAMS: Adams had an agricultural bias but otherwise thought much like Hamilton. He was a true republican, though accused of monarchical sympathies. Deserved a second term as president.
JEFFERSON: He had an agricultural bias; he also believed in human perfectibility and was wedded to ideas of reason and science; he therefore mistrusted government because of his belief in human goodness.
MADISON: Began as Federalist but after the Constitution was adopted he turned more toward Jeffersonian ideals and became Jefferson’s disciple and successor as president. Many historians, myself included, believe that Madison was the most brilliant political thinker of the age.
John MARSHALL: He was a strong Federalist who carried out much of the Federalist agenda as chief justice—well into the Madison-Monroe-Jackson years, served as chief justice from 1801 to 1835.
Hamilton was also notable as the ”Father of American Capitalism.
”Hamilton can truly be called the father of American capitalism. Whether ones approves of the capitalist system or not, it was still a great achievement by that most controversial of the founding fathers. His achievement as first Secretary of the Treasury was to create a stable and sound federal financial system, without which the economic development of America would have been severaly hampered.”
The Developments in France over the next Half Century lead us to the momentousevents of European PoliticalEconomy in 1848, where there were many revolutions. The events in France are analysed by Karl Marx in this Essay. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte Written: December 1851-March 1852;
The preface tothe 1869 edition tells us all we need for our purposes here.
”From the above facts it will be seen that the present work took shape under the immediate pressure of events and its historical material does not extend beyond the month of February, 1852. Its republication now is due in part to the demand of the book trade, in part to the urgent requests of my friends in Germany. Of the writings dealing with the same subject at approximately the same time as mine, only two deserve notice: Victor Hugo‘s Napoleon le Petit and Proudhon‘s Coup d‘Etat. Victor Hugo confines himself to bitter and witty invective against the responsible producer of the coup d‘etat. The event itself appears in his work like a bolt from the blue. He sees in it only the violent act of a single individual. He does not notice that he makes this individual great instead of little by ascribing to him a personal power of initiative unparalleled in world history. Proudhon, for his part, seeks to represent the coup d‘etat as the result of an antecedent historical development. Inadvertently, however, his historical construction of the coup d‘etat becomes a historical apologia for its hero. Thus he falls into the error of our so-called objective historians. I, on the contrary, demonstrate how the class struggle in France created circumstances and relationships that made it possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play a hero‘s part. A revision of the present work would have robbed it of its particular coloring. Accordingly, I have confined myself to mere correction of printer‘s errors and to striking out allusions now no longer intelligible. The concluding words of my work: ―But when the imperial mantle finally falls on the shoulders of Louis Bonaparte, the bronze statue of Napoleon will come crashing down from the top of the Vendome Column,‖ have already been fulfilled. Colonel Charras opened the attack on the Napoleon cult in his work on the campaign of 1815. Subsequently, and especially in the past few years, French literature has made an end of the Napoleon legend with the weapons of historical research, criticism, satire, and wit. Outside France, this violent breach with the traditional popular belief, this tremendous mental revolution, has been little noticed and still less understood. Lastly, I hope that my work will contribute toward eliminating the school-taught phrase now current, particularly in Germany, of so-called Caesarism. In this superficial historical analogy the main point is forgotten, namely, that in ancient Rome the class struggle took place only within a privileged minority, between the free rich and the free poor, while the great productive mass of the population, the slaves, formed the purely passive pedestal for these combatants. People forget Sismondi‘s significant saying: The Roman proletariat lived at the expense of society, while modern society lives at the expense of the proletariat. With so complete a difference between the material, economic conditions of the ancient and the modern class struggles, the political figures produced by them can likewise have no more in common with one another than the Archbishop of Canterbury has with the High Priest Samuel.Karl Marx, London, June 25, 1869
(My Italics at the end).
The US fought a Civil War from 1861-1865 with sojourns into the 1st and second world wars and the nixon shock we might find at these points in US history the analogues to the numbered french Republics.
If we fast Forward to the 2016 Presidential Debate and the Al Smith Memorial Dinner. What we see is a GOP candidate who does not represent the GOP Establishment and Democratic Party candidate who does represent both the GOP and Democratic Party Establishment both having become Federalist, in the old sense of the original two party contextualising of what the Republic was to be .
There are two striking factoids about the Al Smith Memorial Dinner and those are that 1948 and 1992 are the only two years in its 67 year history that the respective candidates for president did not address the dinner those years are 1948 and 1992.
In 1948 A democratic Candidate Truman, was on the ticket that had been installed by the establishment against the popular choice Henry A Wallace had lost out to Truman for Vice president in 1944 and in 1948 ran as an independent.
The 1992 Election had the third candidate Ross Perot and also Bill Clinton came from out of the blue to secure the Democratic Nomination and topple the incumbent George Herbert Walker Bush for the presidency.
The other notable year is 1960 when Kennedy beat Nixon. Kennedy’s address to the Dinner in 1960 is instructive in its reference to the 1928 Election when Smith Lost to the Republicans
This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A copy of the text of this speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers here at the John F. Kennedy Library.
”Actually the first Presidential candidate to conduct a nation-wide campaign was General Winfield Scott in 1852. But, although he made many speeches, he insisted that his only motive was to find a suitable site for a military hospital. “I do not come here to solicit your votes,” he said, “I come on a mission of great public charity.” I am sure tonight that Mr. DeSapio and the other political leaders gathered here know that I would not dream of coming to solicit their votes – I also come on a mission of great public charity – to aid the Alfred E. Smith Wing of St. Vincent’s Hospital. That great institution has truly been what Cardinal Spellman declared it always would be: “A house of healing wherein the sick and suffering, be they rich or poor, Negro or white, Protestant, Jew or Catholic, may find comfort, cure and refuge from pain and sickness.” No other cause is more worthy of our support.
But we are also here tonight to pay tribute to a great American, Al Smith. I never knew Al Smith. I can claim no association with his career. And so it is difficult for me to know just how to speak of him tonight – what memories to recall to those of you who knew him well – what qualities to bring back for their present day values.
It would not do, I am convinced, to speak of Al Smith only as a Democrat. To be sure, we in the Democratic Party are proud to claim him. And to be sure, he was attacked by his partisan adversaries in the past. But a different generation honors him now. – and he belongs to them as well. The presence here tonight of so many distinguished Republicans reminds us that Al Smith holds a place of affection in their hearts equal to the one he holds in the hearts of the party he served so long and so well – as Assemblyman, Sheriff, President of the Board of Aldermen, Governor of New York and Presidential nominee.
Neither would it be enough, I am convinced, to speak of Al Smith only as a New Yorker. To do only that would also devalue his worth. He was indeed, as his enemies claimed, up from the sidewalks of New York – the Fulton fish Market – and Tammany Hall. He was indeed rejects as strange and alien by many who lived in other parts of the country – who feared or sneered at the New York ways of Al and his Katie – declaring “They’re not our kind of folks.” But a different generation knows better. It knows that he made this state of New York a social laboratory, in which were developed for all America the laws of light which hurled back the dark age of industrial revolution.
Finally, I am convinced that it is not enough to speak tonight of Al Smith only as a Catholic. To be sure, that was his creed, his faith and his strength – and some say his political weakness. And that is how most political columnists refer to him and his campaign today. But to emphasize only this aspect of his life is to ignore the vast range of Al Smith’s intellectual horizons –his uncompromising devotion to America and its Constitutional values – his passionate belief in religious liberty and religious equality – his untiring efforts on behalf of the public schools – and his deep-felt dedication on other issues (including his party, and Prohibition) which were equally responsible for his defeat in 1928. It overlooks the kind of man whose speech to a group of intellectuals at Cambridge, Massachusetts held them fascinated for over an hour – one professor observing later: “How Aristotle would have liked that address!”
Yes – the party, the city and the Church he loved are all important parts of Al Smith’s life. But what is most important for us to recall tonight, it seems to me, is another quality that best sums up Al Smith’s career – and that was his passion for the hard, unvarnished facts, his sometimes brutal and sometimes humorous candor, his insistence throughout the years that the American people just “look at the record.” He was, at all times, a realist, a hard-headed, tough-minded fighter from Oliver Street and the Fulton Fish Market. He knew how to put the facts before the people, how to strip an issue of all pretense and how to unmask hypocrisy, double-talk and visionary schemes for what they really were. Using a phrase picked up from Fulton Sheen, he often said that “the world would be better off if there was more blarney and less baloney.” He could hand out the blarney with the best of them – the dialect jokes, the Irish songs, the stories and the praise – but he had no stomach for political “baloney.”
When farm income fell in the 20’s he criticized those who “promised relief – and gave nothing but three cheers.” When Prohibition became a farce and an evil, he spoke out with contempt for those who dodged this politically hot issue by calling it a “noble experiment.” When religious and racial intolerance was a whispering issue in the National Convention of his party, even before he was its standard-bearer, he brought that issue out into the open. “The Catholics of the country,” he said, “can stand it. The Jews can stand it. But the United States of America cannot stand it.”
Al Smith lived up to the principle first set forth by Carlyle: that the essence of true heroism is true sincerity. In vetoing those bills which rode a crest of popular anti-Socialist hysteria after the First World War, he denounced those who had built this “red scare” up out of all proportion, forgetting, as he said, “the traditional abhorrence of a free people of all kinds of spies and secret police.” When as an Assemblyman in the New York State Legislature, he was asked by the fish canners for an exception under his bill providing for a six-day work-week, he told them: “I have read carefully the commandment, ‘Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy’; but I am unable to find any language in it that says, ‘except for the fish canners’.” And he laid another opponent low with the retort: “If bunk were electricity, that man would be a powerhouse.”
It was perhaps his greatest quality, the old New York Sun said – “his scorn of pompous pretense.” When the managers of his gubernatorial campaign asked him to wear his hat straighter – and less on the back of his head – he told them: “The people of this state don’t care how the outside of my skull looks. They want to know what’s inside it. If I’ve got to change the way I wear my hat, you can get yourselves another candidate.” When he started out on his tour of the nation in 1928, his council of strategy reportedly voted unanimously against his even wearing the brown derby – but he alone voted “aye” – and the brown derby stayed.
When his opponents in that campaign prophesied that the election of Smith would end prosperity to such an extent that grass would grow in the streets, Al replied that he could use a putting-green in Times Square. And earlier, when an engineer whom he wanted to head the Department of Roads said he knew nothing about politics, Governor Smith told him: “That’s one of the reasons I want to appoint you. We have had a good many political superintendents of highways – and now we want one who knows how to build roads.”
He was, in short, truly the “Happy Warrior” – able to ridicule adversity, pomposity, hypocrisy and falsehood – but nevertheless determined to fight them all the way. And Al Smith was a happy warrior because, more perhaps than any other leader of his time, he lived up to these words of Pericles burying the Athenian dead. “The secret of happiness, said Pericles, “is freedom – and the secret of freedom is a brave heart.” Al Smith had a brave heart – and we need more such brave hearts and more such happy warriors today.
For the hour at which we are arrived in American life today is strangely similar to the one in which Al Smith emerged ready to do battle – against sloth and drift and decay, against hypocrisy and pomposity and prejudice. In a surface view, perhaps, life in our time – as in Al Smith’s time – is gay and careless, prosperous and contented. People come and go, more concerned with the good life than with the good society. They live by themselves, with themselves and for themselves alone, with no concern for the hard, rough road that lies ahead.
Pleasure is our goal – leisure is our ideal. Obligations, standards, old-fashioned devotion to “duty, honor and country” – these are all passé, neglected, forgotten. The slow corrosion of luxury – the slow erosion of our courage – are already beginning to show. Our profits may be up – our standard of living may be up – but so is our crime rate. So is the rate of divorce and juvenile delinquency and mental illness. So are the sales of tranquilizers and the number of children dropping out of school.
Nearly one out of every two American young men is rejected by Selective Service today as mentally, physically or morally unfit for any kind of military service. Nearly one out of every three American prisoners of war in Korea was guilty of collaborating with the enemy, in either a major of minor way. Nearly one in seven engaged in major offenses, such as broadcasting propaganda or spying on his fellow prisoners. For the first time in history, not one American prisoner escaped. And 38 per cent of our men died in captivity, the highest rate in all our history. And yet, on the other hand, among Turkish and Colombian soldiers taken prisoner – many of them injured and many of them poorly educated – not a single one died – not a single one collaborated in any significant way – and the whole group maintained a remarkable sense of discipline.
And that is why I say today we need Al Smith’s candor and courage, his sense of reality and responsibility. For in his day, also, the nation had seemed to lose perspective and drive. As F.D.R. said in nominating Al Smith in ’28: “The soul of our country, lulled by material prosperity, has passed through eight gray years.” The nation was fat contented to hold on to what it had – to keep out new immigrants and new ideas. It had lost its vision of far horizons. Its outlook was petty and nearsighted, following the words of Omar Khayyam: “Take the cash and let the credit go – nor heed the rumble of a distant drum.”
And then Al Smith emerged to lead the charge, in the best of all wars. It was the war of thought against matter, of reason against slogans, of the public good against private appetites, of responsible leadership against aimless drift, of moral accountability against moral indifference. It was the war to unmask the imposters, to replace the false with the true, to throw the money-changers out of the temple, to raise the inert mass of men to the dignity of an alert, choosing people, consciously and gladly assuming the burdens of advancing mankind.
“A great nation,” said Woodrow Wilson “is not led by a man who simply repeats the talk of the street-corners or the opinions of the newspapers. A (great) nation is led by a man who speaks a new principle for a new age; a man (to whom) the voices of the nation … unite in a single meaning and reveal to him in a single vision, so that he can speak what no (one) else know, the common meaning of the common voice. Such is the man who leads a great, free, democratic nation.”
And such a man was Al Smith – not personally victorious in the end – but a great leader – an unusual man – an outstanding man. As Robert Moses reminded us in a perceptive article last year: “Fate tried to conceal him by calling him Smith; but as the brown derby brushed the stars, the anvils of a thousand Smiths rang out, and a great shout arose ‘Emanuel!’.”
We need that kind of leadership today. We need Al Smith’s kind of candor today – that willingness to tell the people the hard facts that face us. We need to be told that the next decade is not all peace, prosperity and progress – that we cannot take for granted our security, our liberty or even our future. We need his ability to ridicule the diplomatic pomposity that passes as wisdom. We need to recall – when sweet, seductive voices tell us to relax, that the Cold War is ending that no sacrifice is needed, that the future is going to be easier and more secure – that Al Smith would have said: “yes – but let’s look at the record.”
We need to wake up the young men who are born old, cowering in their ruts, afraid of the unknown worlds that lie beyond the map. We need to cut through the shibboleths of contentment and reassurance, and recognize, in John Boyle O’Reilly’s words, that:
“The world is large when its weary leagues two loving hears divide;
But the world is small when your enemy is loose on the other side.”
Al Smith himself warned: “In the height and glory of every nation, men are prone to forget their responsibilities.
We dare no longer forget our responsibilities – to our nation and its heritage, to all the free word, to all the generations yet unborn. We dare no longer neglect the fact, as Charles Malik has put it, that “Communism cannot be met by a mere nay; it requires a mighty yea.” We dare no longer ignore the fact that the world is changing – our cities, our maps, our frontiers and even our adversaries – all are changing. And in this era of change and challenge, we need the hard, tough leadership and the frank, fresh call of Alfred Emanuel Smith.
For legend has it that after the bloody battle of Thermopylae, the victor Xerxes prepared to spread a purple cloak over the body of his vanquished enemy Leonidas, out of admiration for his valor. But as he was about to lower the cloak, a strange voice out of nowhere called out: “No. Take that cloak from me. I will accept no favor from the Persians.” And Xerxes knew that it was Leonidas, speaking to him from the other world. And he called out into space: “But thou art dead, Leonidas. Why hate the Persians even in death?” And, according to the legend, back came the stirring reply: “The passion for freedom dieth not.”
Al Smith’s passion for freedom did not die with him. It is ours to nurture today. May we all be true to that great legacy.”
1992, I made this video.
Giant Sucking Sound, Dont Get fooled again. #MAGA
A strong theme emerges from the 1928, the 1960 and the 1992 elections as they do form the stages of the US republic along with the 3 catastrophic US Wars. Governments rule by consent and ignore the plight of the people at their peril. Now is one of those times.
I have struggled with this Broad sweep of historical Narrative, usually when sconfronted with so many interlocking and symbiotic themes , (each of which deserves much study in its own right), I write a Poem in the epic tradition. Time does not allow for such a poem to be wirtten ahead of the US Election so I offer up this inadequate smorgs board of half complete ideas hopefully some coherence will emerge in the minds of readers who can add their own colour and probably better grasp of all the historical facts.
Here are My Notes compiled over the past fortnight which will all go into my final work of poetry. Contected events are cyclical and history acts as a pendulum. A pendulum overcomes momentum at the extreme of its travel and gravity provides action in the opposite direction, has the pedulum swung to its summit and how far and fast events fall to the equilibreum on its travel to the other extreme remains to be seen. We do have the historical record of the ebbs and flows of the US story and the french Stories since the first republics were formed to provide us with some lessons.
Notes. Folder at link.
All Of this Inspired this Shorter poem relevant to todays date. Novemenr 5th and the gunpoder plot in the United Kingdom.
November The 5th, Bonfires Flames and Embers ( a poem)
November The 5th.
Bonfires Flames and Embers
Around the bonfires stand communities
Children Burn Sparklers and Adults Candles
Effigies atop the bonfire fear the flames
At the seat of the Fire Embers Accumulate
Dreaming at Home Communities retire
Slumber hangs over the Town
The Bonfire smolders unobserved
Effigies, Sparklers and Candles All Embers Now
Flames lick the skies spectacular
Sparklers delight and perform fleetingly
Candles support but one fragile flame
Embers , wax and Magnesia
Calliopsis or Magnesia fueled from embers
The Health of the embers combustible flames
Who celebrates the embers endeavors
Who sees the symbiosis of the combustion and the fuel
All fate leads into the embers
All Embers fate to blow as dust
All Flames from the embers driven
Do the flames celebrate the embers for their finery?