As we mere mortals reach for the stars and the moons and the galaxies, we must first ground ourselves in Truth for it is this Truth that paved our way to the stars, moons and galaxies.
God’s creation is an orderly approach to what then become the creations of men and women. Notice that there is nothing humankind can create that isn’t from an existing element which only God could create. In nature, only elements up to atomic number 94 exist; to go further, it is necessary to synthesise new elements in the laboratory. All synthetic elements are unstable, but they decay at widely varying rates: the half-lives of their longest-lived isotopes range from microseconds to millions of years.* Scientific methods are human made. We should not consider ourselves as God because only His creations, including you and me, are infinite.
Alternatively, the human mind is much more than a creation of God. Human kind can use the mind to imagine and act out a multitude of scenarios. The mind is chaotic and requires proper guidance. But who’s guidance? I believe it must be guidance by God. Hence the formation of the Torah, the Bible and other religious books and systems. ‘In the beginning was the Word’ means ‘at the beginning of everything, there was the entity we know as God, who embodied, and created, the rational principle on which everything is founded’. Divinely inspired Truth is the fundamental basis of human thought which lead to the natural rights ensconced in the U.S. Constitution. This is what makes us a free people in America.
Beware the man made “systems” that remove God’s meaning and purpose. Secular is non religious yet was never meant to be non God. Religion is a man made system for being with and relating to God as science is a man made system for being with and organizing God’s creation on earth. Likewise government is a man made system for organizing a community of humans. Humans are a creation of God which He saw as good. However humans have the capability of committing acts both good and bad which is why God also created boundaries by handing down The Word through prophets and articles like the 10 Commandments. This is where secularists and atheists always get stuck…The “separation” of church and state is not a clause in the Constitution. Instead the Constitution guarantees no establishment of one religion for the state or states https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/885/establishment-clause-separation-of-church-and-state … Belief in God and the individual’s practice of religion was sacrosanct.
We have taken this freedom for granted. We can witness this in the human chaos that is all around us. The frailty of the human spirit is reflected in the blatant rejection (“revolution”) of the boundaries of scientific methods, man’s laws and the constitutional limits all of which have been traditionalized in our secular world. This rejection has conditioned many people to believe in human made false gods such as climate change, critical race theory and party politics…Modern day golden idols shining as stars and moons and galaxies for those who worship them and attempt to control others through them. Man’s misuse of the military industrial complex is an unfortunate outcome of this Godless control.
Ground yourself by getting real with God. Place importance in objective truths. If your faith in God is weak then you are vulnerable to the evils, the false gods, the golden idols of our material world. You don’t need to follow a church or a preacher, but you do need to educate yourself with The Word by following a kind and humble path with similar seekers. God is Love, Light and the Way.
Our government seems to be conditioning its citizens into believing that those who were elected to represent them are actually working on their behalf. I’m not talking about how the government “gets things done”. Those “things” are probably not at all needed by the citizens of a Liberty-minded nation. Every one of those “things” must be measured within the context of the Constitution and existing law…Capitol Hill’s charter. I’m talking about how the government enriches itself by using its power to manipulate legislation according to the demands of the corporate donor class.
Think about this, President Trump was very successful growing the economy and building workable treaties and agreements with and among nations. Most of his actions were challenged in the courts and this was fine…It’s one method of checks and balance in our system. When the economy grew, jobs were available, innovation was allowed to thrive, the tax base expanded and our CO2 emissions actually went down. https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/greenhouse-gas-emissions-continue-decline-american-economy-flourishes-under-trump-0 … And, try as hard as they might, Congress was unable to remove a President that understood the underbelly of the corporate donor class. Trump was elected by we the people to represent middle class America and the entrepreneurial spirit.
Well, what does an elected ruling class like Congress do when their perceived power is interrupted by a successful President? Everything in their power of course. We saw this play out in almost every format available to these corporate brown nosers when mainstream media colluded by disseminating misinformation, social media canceled opposing opinions and a multitude of “crises” overwhelmed traditional systems.
Build Back Better is nothing but a Biden Administration term for corporate cronyism. His decades of time spent on Capitol Hill makes him a certified corporate brown noser. His track record of helping credit card companies over consumers’ best interests shows how compassionate he is to corporate banks which now under the global economy will impose ESG scores on businesses that don’t comply with new global “norms”… https://www.alva-group.com/blog/what-is-an-esg-score-and-how-is-it-calculated/ Free markets will be demolished.
It’s time for voters to take a serious and honest look at how their representatives (Nationally and locally) have used their power, understand that both political parties have abused their power, look closely at their records and listen to how they answer tough questions. What do they consider a real crisis and how do they plan to fix it? Does the plan focus on actionable measures with clearly defined results? Is there precedence to learn from before enacting such measures? Voters must focus on policies and not personalities…Anyone can seem like a nice person or be rough around the edges, but what are their results?
A government that isn’t willing to self reflect on their own abuses is not a government of, by and for the people. The commander in chief must hold their justice department accountable to those who are not in power and investigate the federal agencies; agencies that spend more and more taxpayer dollars to undermine taxpayer rights.
I’m waiting patiently for Congress to get a grip on themselves. This will only come when we the people elect representation that respects the rights of the individual and the entrepreneur. Anything else is cronyism and self serving.
Which group is your group? To whom do you pledge allegiance? When your little world falls apart, where do you turn next?
These questions are easy for many people to answer, however there are just as many people who are unable to answer one or more of them. I for instance would rather not have one group be my group because I would find that my little world would not be very interesting. My God given curiosity would never allow for me to stop learning, questioning and voicing my opinion.
Imagine that I never left my family unit until I was forced to marry into a different family and that my entire education was formed by what society intended for my outcome. Imagine further that this outcome meant that my offspring would be bound by their roles, males bear all responsibility of ensuring their family remains a growing generational unit, females marry into a new family and nurture all members to fulfill their respective roles. It seems to me that this patriarchal system would effectively need to keep me in its allegiance because my limited education did not allow for my potential to grow beyond my usefulness as a nurturer. Also, males in the family unit would be limited in their education because their outcome and allegiance dictates that only they can control the established order. Education becomes a means to an end…The end of which is patriarchal control established in law, religion and governance. But isn’t this our system in the USA? Of course not!! Yet many groups forming in this country like Antifa, BLM, Democratic Socialists and the Poor People’s Campaign actually believe it is the system and they want to take it down, destroying the Constitution and all systems of law and order. I believe these groups are made up of nothing more than tyrannical Marxist revolutionaries working on behalf of fringe elements who hate life.
The diversity of people and thought in the USA is exceptional and therefore we must never allow Marxism to permanently take over this great country. Groups here are encouraged to form around a community purpose but not around hateful genocide. Individuals can belong to more than one group and have many facets to their beliefs and ideals. Educational standards are grounded in facts and are merit based because we know that ALL people are blessed intellectually in ways which are special to them. Our freedoms are based on natural rights and allow each one of us to discover our unique purpose in our own time. Our Constitutional protections allow each one of us to keep what we earn. It is our family of choice who we turn to when our little world falls apart, traditional or not traditional. Ultimately the rule of law offers us protection from patriarchy and interminable chaos. Ours is the only system of its kind and this means we must continually strive to keep our Liberty from falling into the hands of tyranny. God bless the men and women who died in battle to preserve this exceptional country!
US Congress Oath of Office: I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
“…enemies, foreign and domestic…” Who are these “enemies” and how is this phrase applied to the work of our US Representatives?
I believe the first sentence of the oath is clear that Congress supports and defends the Constitution against these “enemies”. It does not say that Congress supports and defends democracy or even an ideology against these “enemies”.
Democracy is defined as control of an organization by the majority of its members.*
An ideology is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it.**
A constitution is a body of fundamental principles to which an organization is acknowledged to be governed.*
In the US Constitution the control is defined and enumerated among three distinct branches of government, and ideology is best left to the individual as a right of belief.
Given all the above definitions we can easily see that Congress today is leading from a perspective of CONTROL and IDEOLOGY. This is not their charge!! Congress has moved so far from their Constitutional powers that they have in fact become a domestic enemy. Their efforts to have a political party assume majority powers has made them believe that they can impose their political ideology AND that they have the moral authority to do this. Over the past twenty years I have seen the decay of Congressional leadership…No more compromise or negotiation toward bills that incorporate the best ideas from all sides of an issue. The best ideas are where we achieve the greatest form of diversityand move our country toward progress…A diversity NOT based on gender, race or ethnicity!
I believe Congress’ domestic enemy status has perpetuated the unfortunate circumstance of allowing foreign enemies to invade our soil through a porous border and the relaxed policing standards within our states. One party rule has meant that our Republic is no longer functioning as it should. Our representatives in the Senate and the House must be sent a daily message that We the People will not stand for their tyrannical behavior. Call, email or write your representatives in Washington DC. Tell them that they do not honor their oath by not working across the isle with the minority…This is the way it has been in the past and must continue to be. God help us all!
If the United Sates Constitution is simply words on a page then how could these words bind us as a nation to follow their charge? Are the words mere words or do the words carry the burden of ownership? The document is clear…It is ALL the people who live under the scope of this document that MUST commit to its meaning. Government officials swear an oath to God to follow it, citizens have the right to hold their government accountable to it and non-citizens aspire to become citizens because of it. Our Creator (not government) is the ultimate judge of us all which is why we have freedom of conscience in this Constitutional Republic. But what if a bias is imposed as to how everyone MUST think or act in this country? Does bias supersede our Constitution?
Bias is natural to humans…It helps us form our opinions and questions. Without bias we are merely automatons all thinking and behaving alike. But God does not make automatons, only people do. How? Through manipulation. One such tool being used for this manipulation is the computer or any other web device that most humans now own. These devices can cause an automatic dependency for goods, services and information. They are helpful and fun, but the Artificial (or “automated”) Intelligence (AI) employed in them does not have a conscience. AI is a tool used by the developer to understand habits and potentially to train actions. It can gear the mind toward need and want, joy and sorrow, outrage and shame, all the while being unaccountable for the user. Some typical user actions can be:
Purchasing above your means,
Feeling depressed or anxious,
Having hatred for those you don’t even know personally,
Being hated by people who don’t even know you personally,
Being a slave to the device’s abilities,
The list goes on…
But the worst action imaginable is the manipulation toward a bias which may never have been held before. Being fed a series of images and verbal hedges without truly knowing the source is Evil of a new magnitude. Combine this manipulation with the absence of being taught critical thinking skills of discernment, and the social fabric can be changed dramatically. The Evil is AI.
The good news is that this Evil can be pointed out as having a definite source. Just like the snake in the Garden of Eden, Evil had to make itself known in the physical sense in order to service its ends. AI is the snake in the web of information manipulating us to be it’s means toward societal evil. We question our own conscience instead of verifying the information directly, and by doing so we give up on our God given gift of discernment. God did not leave Adam and Eve alone in the garden after the snake had its way with them…God instead gave them pain to remind them of their transgression. Life would never be easy again. Trust but verify or face the unintended consequences.
AI is a means to a manipulated Utopia and it relies on us distancing ourselves from our relationship to God…The end game is a stream of bias for a unified Marxist solution toward enforced world peace and climate stability, making us slaves to elitist tyrants that tell us it is they who know what is best for us. Evil is real, always present, and waiting to deceive. Try as hard as we might to remove our pain the only cure is to accept that it exists in many forms, use fact-based knowledge which reveals truth (not bias), and help each other through whatever painful events are sure to exist. Preparedness is key…Only the individual has the power to understand their obstacles, prepare for their security, and place their faith in a justice loving God.
If our representatives swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic then who are the enemies? This is the topic of my next blog post…
The Covid 19 pandemic has helped the USA (AKA America) to discover its founding roots, and Liberty is stronger than ever!
I don’t know what some of these governors were thinking when they implemented controls on what could and could not be done to purchase specific items, worship in various socially distant ways, or enjoy the outdoors…But when those thoughts became actual rule, people rightly stood their ground to confront the tyranny.
This is exactly how the fight for civil rights began. Individuals must have dominion over there autonomy otherwise government actions will be encouraged to encroach on their personhood. Our Creator made us whole beings in order to experience a life rich with wonder, joy, risk and pain…This is the Love that is God, not the protection that is the mommy state.
In the USA the government can give certain rights, but the government itself does not have the civil right of a tyrant because our representatives are elected to make sure the balance of power leans on the side of the people, each of whom have the responsibility of their own actions. One, two or thousands of individuals can protest the government when their Constitutional rights are infringed upon, that’s why we have a Constitution to list these rights out specifically!!
This pandemic is quite a bit different than the pandemic of 1918. A century ago we had the radio and the press to inform the masses, yet very little was known about viruses and their transmission. A News of the World report from November 1918 lists the following as recommended precautions against contracting the flu: “Wash inside nose with soap and water each night and morning; force yourself to sneeze night and morning then breath deeply; do not wear a muffler; take sharp walks regularly and walk home from work; eat plenty of porridge.” Hygiene practices were much different with indoor plumbing and sanitation being mostly for the wealthy. And there were far fewer hospitals not to mention life saving technology.
Today’s pandemic is brought to you by the World Health Organization. The WHO’s primary role is to direct international health within the United Nations’ system and to lead partners in global health responses. This organization has been politicized because of various governmental influences and funding. It is very American to question the authority of the WHO. If America is basing it’s health informatics on information coming from this organization, and this organization recommends tracking the health of EVERYONE on the planet…would we do this? Of course not!! But then again, if a simple majority of our population in America is sufficiently frightened of what “could be” then perhaps the government would implement this authoritarian system, and if some of us “opt out” does this add to the polarization in our country? I think some of our government leaders would just love for this to happen because it would reinforce their need to be in charge and force compliance…Sound familiar? Isn’t this what is currently happening in various communities in regard to covid19?
Here’s a good Jeopardy question: What two words describe outcomes of a purposeful action that are not foreseen? Answer: Unintended consequences.
Unintended consequences are the polar opposite of progress, and many progressive actions lead to unintended consequences. My previous two blogs focused on defining the methods of progress and progressivism by giving historical reference and some results for each method. Both methods ultimately have a humanitarian goal, however only one of them uses higher consciousness to obtain the most compassionate outcome. Progress is achieved by people who are directly impacted by trauma to find healing and practical outcomes (i.e. solutions) for themselves. Progressivism is a forced outcome by “experts” on a broad spectrum of people…Although the intention of a progressive action is perceived by some as good, the outcome is minimally effective and invariably produces a new trauma.
In the USA it is each individual and their liberty that define the nation. Only the individual can feel and know their happiness, and only the individual can feel and know their bondage whether it is self imposed by the mind or forced on them by another. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the responsibility of the individual.
What is an unintended consequence of smoking? You are free to smoke and you may take happiness in it, but if you are addicted to it and are susceptible to physical ailments the unintended consequence could mean chronic health issues or death.
What is an unintended consequence of spending above your means? You can take a loan for a car or home with all the bells and whistles because it is what you have always wanted, but the payments could be a strain on being able to save for the unexpected.
The USA should not be defined by its government or its corporations. Neither of these entities should be trusted to always act in a manner that can ensure a guaranteed positive outcome for people’s best interests. The government’s responsibility is to defend the nation and enact laws. Corporations and businesses help to create wealth for a nation to thrive.
What is an unintended consequence of a corporation employing unqualified or corrupt managers? The corporation has a great product or service and employs many staff who enjoy their jobs and incomes, but risky actions taken by senior management could mean harm to consumers or staff as well as layoffs or closing.
What is an unintended consequence of the government imposing a month long mandatory stay at home order on the vast majority of its population during a pandemic? Certain communities might gain time to prepare for increased hospitalizations of some people, but many more people run the risk of losing their incomes, depression and suicide, rising domestic abuse and the deterioration of individual liberties.
If you take the time to notice them, governments and corporations take progressive actions all the time with perceived moral goals, but the outcomes are not necessarily moral for everyone and inevitably lead to unintended consequences. Only individuals can use their mind and heart to judge what is right and wrong for themselves, form the basis for what is needed, and make progress in society. Governments and corporations are influenced by the individual constituent/consumer need and act in relationship to them, thereby ensuring their welfare (not giving welfare).
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist
“…establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty…” – From the Constitution Preamble and the direct responsibility of elected officers.
My last blog post “Progress vs Progressivism” attempted to explain that progress is a condition of our U.S. Constitution and Progressivism is a construct that hinders such progress. I used examples from the Civil War and Reconstruction era to show the difference.
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s was also an important time of progress in our history. Not all activists of the 60’s can be considered hero’s for the changes they wished to achieve. I am currently reading Great Society by Amity Shlaes. I would like to relate to you why the details in this book have affirmed my conclusions about why our society’s current focus on Progressivism lead by a “Social Democrat Party” is bad for our culture…But first some historical context:
Since about 1880 Jim Crow Laws were enacted in the southern states by white Democrat-dominated state legislatures. The Supreme Court decision Plessey vs Ferguson (1892) upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine. Jim Crow Laws were Progressive actions that resulted in commonplace separate public accommodations based on race (see my blog Progress vs Progressivism for definitions). Today we look back on such laws as absurd, but the governmental leadership at the time and throughout the seven or eight decades since were allowing powerful Democrat political forces to dictate cultural norms. Republican insistence on States’ Rights made this no better…Civil Rights as it pertained to individuals and races were just beginning to be understood.
Timeline of these decades:
1870 to 1914…2nd Industrial Revolution leap forward in technology and society (people lead actions)
1914 to 1918…World War 1 (government lead action)
1920…Congress passes the 19th Amendment – Women’s right to vote (people lead action)
1920 to 1929…The Roaring Twenties time of prosperity (people lead action)
1929 to1933…The Great Depression (spurred on by government greed in the twenties)
1933 to 1939…The New Deal (government intervention)
1939 to 1945…World War 2 (government lead action)
1945 to 1989…Post war economic expansion (people lead action)
1961 to 1975…Vietnam War draft era (government lead action)
What we notice in this timeline is that during the 2nd Industrial Revolution the formation of groups such as the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Suffragettes were instrumental in obtaining crucial reforms to working conditions and the women’s right to vote. These reforms needed to be lead by the critical mass of non-political people lead actions in order for hearts and minds to change and common sense to prevail in Congress. This was progress!
Wars and the Depression however were instigated by government lead actions. The timeline shows an interesting back and forth between non-political action (changes made by people) and political action (initiatives made by governments). By the time of the Post World War 2 economic expansion, the U.S. was ready for another critical mass of non-political people lead activity, namely the Civil Rights Movement. It was helpful that this movement aligned with the Vietnam anti-war people lead activism. Individuals would not be “used” by their government’s activities any longer!
It was Reverend Martin Luther King JR who lead the people toward necessary civil rights changes. Society needed the common place Jim Crow laws to be eliminated, and this could only happen with a ground-swell of people power. Under this pressure, President Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights act that eliminated Jim Crow laws and the 1965 Voting Rights Act that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Ending our involvement in the Vietnam War would prove to be more difficult.
In Great Society we learn that during the late 50’s and early 60’s companies like General Electric and Ford Motor Company were employing, expanding, and creating with great speed. The AFL which had now become the AFL-CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) along with progressive leaders like Walter Reuther (United Auto Workers) and anti war political activists like Tom Hayden were working their powerful influence on government systems to help President Lyndon Bains Johnson (LBJ) form his anti-poverty programs…After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, LBJ as the new President, began to implement a plan with Reuther and Hayden to end poverty in America. His “Great Society” vision was the center of his 1965 election bid. What I found most interesting about LBJ during this bid for election was that in order to obtain the African American vote he promised them that they could caucus at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) so that they would have delegates appointed for the election process. This did not happen because the (racist) DNC would not allow it. LBJ was courting the African American voters with programs and promises aka “Progressivism”. LBJ managed to retain their votes anyway and won the 1965 Presidency in a landslide.
By this time it was apparent to the Democrat majority that more government programs were the way to maintain leadership power. With the help of Union Leaders and Progressive Activist Leaders the federal government worked to replace the authority of mayors and local leaders…Federal funds flowed to jobs program oriented organizations. Locally elected leaders were instructed to add community activists to these organizational boards. These activists liked to stir up tension on city streets. Eventually the mayors and local leaders caved to federal pressures and ever since then the federal government has procured more authority over social benefit programs at State and Municipal levels.
For example; Federal “experts” redefined eminent domain laws to remove entire neighborhoods where low income families lived and worked in comfort, condemning these areas as “blighted”. The new wisdom was that federally built high rise low income housing projects would be more beneficial. However, there were consequences to these actions, mainly that whites decided to move to the suburbs thus leaving the struggling black population to remain…Struggling because there were few jobs available for black men in these cities due to union bias. Federal welfare programs during this time discouraged fathers to remain in these government subsidized housing projects…Fathers needed to be out of state in order for mothers and children to qualify. We now know the consequences of these “Great Society” actions. This begs the question of why weren’t the Great Society jobs programs helping. Well, they weren’t helping because these funds were pocketed by greedy, prejudiced, progressive union lead program officials…Progress for African American workers and families was stunted by these government actions.
In short, I believe that progress happens best when affected people unite through first understanding how government inspired systems shrink their civil liberties, then changing hearts and minds in the process, and ultimately solving problems in fair and sensible ways. Progressivism lead by government “experts” and corporate or union cronies is infused with unintended consequences…Or are they unintended? My next blog post will focus on this question.
I am not a big fan of what is currently called “identity politics” which seems to be infiltrating many discussions (political or not) these days. I think the focus on marginalized people only adds to the struggle our country has to free itself from the scourge of “ism’s” that should not define people. I’ve heard it argued that it is because of our whiteness in the United States that people of color have little success in our culture. In this case the “whiteness” means that white people who hold all the privileges unconsciously exclude people of color (POC) in hiring practices and/or promotion choices and if they consciously exclude POC then this practice is biased and racist, and that without exception white people are all racist as well as the U.S. culture itself including its science and curricula.
I have also heard it said that it takes three generations to get past a traumatic experience…This makes some sense. As Erich Fromm puts it, “…something life defining and deeply intimate is over.” The child recognizes how the former generation as shaped their own experiences and how they have been charged through the stories and experiences to carry the trauma into the future. One helps to heal future generations by rising above the remnants of these past injuries. This is the very definition of the word progress. AND I believe this progress works within cultural traumas as well.
Our most recent example of a cultural trauma is 9/11. My generation bore witness to a tragic man made event which killed thousands of people on American soil on September 11, 2001. My children are growing up with the stories about the event which include stories that affected my family who were traveling by plane from Boston on that morning. Now, every time my children travel they must listen to my admonition to be safe and stay aware of their surroundings, look for exits and never let down their guard. They were in elementary school at the time of 9/11 so these stories have been transferred to them in ways that I might not totally comprehend, yet they live their lives with less attachment to this event as will their children who will hopefully not even need to experience the left-over wars against terrorism that still exist today. My grandchildren will live with the televised memorial ceremonies, but they will be far removed from the actual trauma. This progress toward healing is culturally significant and forever part of U.S. history because we must never forget in order to not repeat these actions. Experience is felt on an individual basis…My experience isn’t the same as your experience.
With identity politics the marginalized groups will never experience the progress of healing if their stories are not allowed to have generational closure. When no closure occurs, then Progressivism is allowed to rear its ugly head. Progressivism advocates social reform with goals that are politically motivated. It demands radical change in current cultural systems in order to “improve” society. The people who push for progressive methods care little for historical context. Instead, the leap forward must be made based on current thought, expert advise and/or empathetic emotion.
If we take a look at the historical context of the Emancipation Proclamation, we can learn a lot about progress vs Progressivism:
The Civil War started in 1861 because the Confederate southern slave states did not want to be part of the United States if they could not keep slavery in tact. It wasn’t until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that the slaves were finally freed…Many of these freed slaves fought in the Civil War against the Confederacy, and the addition of these men to the Union effort helped to win the Civil War against the Confederacy. There were many proud acts of heroism by Negro soldiers during that time.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, Congress enacted the Freedman’s Bureau and passed the Civil Rights Bill in 1866 after Lincoln’s death because the southern states which were majority Democrat began to pass their own “black codes” to hinder the progress of Negroes in their states. Congress at that time was majority Republican. Andrew Johnson (Lincoln’s Vice President and now President after Lincoln’s assassination) did not want to force reconstruction of the south because he was determined to respect states’ rights, however the Congress over-rode his veto of The Reconstruction Act of 1867 and both the 14th and 15th Amendments. For ten years Negroes enjoyed the freedoms of all free male citizens and held many state and Congressional leadership roles. During this time the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) targeted many Republicans, whites and blacks who were sympathetic to the reconstruction.
Even though great strides were being made toward civil freedoms at this time, uncontrollable events happened to cause an economic depression during 1874. The financial panic of 1873 was a result of over-expansion in industry and railroads, a drop in European demand for American farm products, and a drop off of European investment. To compound matters, the U.S. Congress (which had long held its Republican majority) was pushed to pass the Compromise of 1876 which resulted in the U.S. federal government pulling the last troops out of the South ending the Reconstruction era. After this happened the southern states reverted many Negro owned lands back to whites, enacted segregation laws and worked to disenfranchise the negro. These regressive conditions would remain in place for a century until the 1965 Civil Rights Movement.
What can we learn from these historical events? Here are my thoughts:
1) The country was divided philosophically. There were slave states where slavery was legal and “free” states where slavery was illegal. Abolition of slavery was being thought about since about 1830, one generation before the Civil War.
2) “Rights” were understood as property rights and state’s rights, therefore the Confederacy of southern states saw Lincoln’s actions as tyrannical. We should keep in mind that at this time “civil rights” were not a concept, for instance during this time women could only own inherited property and their rights were limited to state enacted laws.
3) Slaves were “property”. The Civil War happened because the southern slave states wanted their autonomy as slave states, but Lincoln and the Republican controlled Congress did not want a “divided” country.
4) The Emancipation Proclamation was finally given almost two years after the war started because the Confederacy’s strength needed to be crippled.Freed slaves signed up for the fight against the Confederacy even though they had no guarantee of a sure outcome. Their heroism needs to be recognized in our history books and with more statues since these stories and their context in history help future generations heal from the trauma of slavery.
5) The Civil Rights Bill of 1866 was the first federal law to define citizenship and affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law without regard to race, color, or previous condition. We must remember that a law does not necessarily change hearts and minds…The southern states still had the autonomy to pass laws to curb the conduct of Negroes therefore Congress passed the 14th amendment (no state shall enact laws that abridge the privileges or immunities of U.S. citizens) and 15th amendment (the right of citizens to vote can not be abridged by the U.S. or any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude). Also, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act to enforce compliance by the southern states after the Civil War.
6) The Republican Congress at that time was in a struggle with President Andrew Johnson over Presidential powers…Johnson wanted to be more lenient with Reconstruction. What does his impeachment teach us about the balance of power during that time?
7) Reconstruction enforcement remained for only ten years…Economic uncertainty and politics unfortunately did not allow for the new conditions under military enforcement to remain for longer because if they had remained for at least ten more years, I believe the next generation would have been closer to healing the trauma of slavery. Instead, southern Democrat leaders began to implement “progressive” laws to deal with “improving” society in their states, and the KKK was allowed to run rampant.
8) The actions from 1830 to 1876 were progress for the anti-slavery movement and the future “civil rights” that we think of today…REMEMBER that only white men with property could vote during much of this time AND reason prevailed. “Whiteness” could not necessarily be equated to being “Racist”.
The Preamble ratified June 21, 1788:
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States of America, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America...This Preamble sets the tone for progress!
My next blog will focus on the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement and the progress that was made during that time toward civil justice.