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A Tale of Two Cities   Leave a comment

After World War 2, stark contrasts could be drawn between East and West Berlin.

Image result for image of the difference between east and west berlinIn West Berlin, a vibrant market-based economy had stimulated a material and economy recovery accompanied by respect for civil liberties. You’d almost not have thought the Germans lost the war, since there were no real consequences of actively or passively collaborating with the Nazi regime.

On the other side of the wall, East Berlin was drab and gray, wrapped in an omnipresent dictitorial system of secret police, directed from Moscow by Stalin and his successors. Much of the rubble of World War 2 still surrounded East Berliners.

It was hard to deny the contrast between these two worlds seperated by a wall, built to keep the captive communists in and the ideas and hopes of freedom out.

And, yet, the market-oriented economies of the West weren’t truly free markets. These economies were wrapped with and hampered by varying degrees of government regulatory intervention and redistributive welfare. The interventionist welfare states of Western Europe were more extensive and intrusive than what existed in the United States, but they were all managed, manipulated and partly planned societies within obstensibly democratic political regimes.

 

Posted September 25, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in History, Uncategorized

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John Adams on the American Revolution   1 comment

From John Adams to Hezekiah Niles, 13 February 1818

Quincy February 13th. 1818

Mr Niles,

 

The American Revolution was not a trifling nor a common event. It’s effects and consequences have already been awful over a great part of the whole globe. And when and where are they to cease?

Image result for image of john adamsBut what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American War? The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the People. A change in their Religious Sentiments of their Duties and Obligations. While the King, and all in authority under him, were believed to govern, in justice and mercy according to the laws and constitutions derived to them from the God of Nature, and transmitted to them by their ancestors— they thought themselves bound to pray for the King and Queen and all the royal Family, and all the authority under them, as ministers ordained of God for their good. But when they saw those powers renouncing all the principles of authority, and bent up on the destruction of all the Securities of their Lives, Liberties and Properties, they thought it their Duty to pray for the Continental Congress and all the thirteen State Congresses, &c.

There might be, and there were others, who thought less about Religion and Conscience, but had certain habitual Sentiments of Allegiance And Loyalty derived from their Education; but believing Allegiance and Protection to be reciprocal, when Protection was withdrawn, they thought Allegiance was dissolved

Another Alteration was common to all. The People of America had been educated in an habitual Affection for England as their Mother-Country; and while they Thought her a kind and tender mother, (erroneously enough, however, for She never was Such a Mother,) no Affection could be more Sincere. But when they found her a cruel Beldam willing, like Lady Macbeth, to “dash their Brains out,” it is no Wonder if their fillial Affections ceased and were changed into Indignation and horror.

This radical Change in the Principles, Opinions Sentiments and Affection of the People, was the real American Revolution.

By what means, this great and important Alteration in the religious, Moral, political and Social Character of the People of thirteen Colonies, all distinct, unconnected and independent of each other, was begun, pursued and accomplished, it is surely interesting to Humanity to investigate, and perpetuate to Posterity.

To this End it is greatly to be desired that Young Gentlemen of Letters in all the States, especially in the thirteen Original States, would undertake the laborious, but certainly interesting and amusing Task, of Searching and collecting all the Records, Pamphlets, Newspapers and even hand Bills, which in any Way contributed to change the Temper and Views of The People and compose them into an independent Nation.

The Colonies had grown up under Constitutions of Government, So different, there was so great a Variety of Religions, they were composed of So many different Nations, their Customs, Manners and Habits had So little resemblance, and their Intercourse had been so rare and their Knowledge of each other So imperfect, that to unite them in the Same Principles in Theory and the Same System of Action was certainly a very difficult Enterprize. The compleat Accomplishment of it, in So Short a time and by Such Simple means, was perhaps a Singular Example in the History of Mankind. Thirteen Clocks were made to Strike together; a perfection of Mechanism which no Artist had ever before effected.

In this Research, the Glorioroles of Individual Gentlemen and of Separate States is of little Consequence. The Means and the Measures are the proper Objects of Investigation. These may be of Use to Posterity, not only in this Nation, but in South America, and all other Countries. They may teach Mankind that Revolutions are no Trifles; that they ought never to be undertaken rashly; nor without deliberate Consideration and Sober Reflection; nor without a Solid, immutable, eternal foundation of Justice and Humanity; nor without a People possessed of Intelligence, Fortitude and Integrity Sufficient to carry them with Steadiness, Patience, and Perseverance, through all the Vicissitudes of fortune, the fiery Tryals and Melancholly Disasters they may have to encounter.

The Town of Boston early instituted an annual Oration on the fourth of July, in commemoration of the Principles and Feelings which contributed to produce the Revolution. Many of those Orations I have heard, and all that I could obtain I have read. Much Ingenuity and Eloquence appears upon every Subject, except those Principles and Feelings. That of my honest and amiable Neighbour, Josiah Quincy, appeared to me, the most directly to the purpose of the Institution. Those Principles and Feelings ought to be traced back for Two hundred Years, and Sought in the history of the Country from the first Plantations in America. Nor Should the Principles and Feelings of the English and Scotch towards the Colonies, through that whole Period ever be forgotten. The Perpetual discordance between British Principles and Feelings and those of America, the next year after the Suppression of the French Power in America, came to a crisis, and produced an Explosion.

It was not till After the Annihilation of the French Dominion in America, that any British Ministry had dared to gratify their own Wishes, and the desire of the Nation, by projecting a formal Plan for raising a national Revenue from America by Parliamentary Taxation. The first great manifestation of this design, was by the Order to carry into Strict Executions those Acts of Parliament which were well known by the Appelation of the Acts of Trade, which had lain a dead Letter, unexecuted for half a Century, and Some of them I believe for nearly a whole one.

This produced, in 1760 and 1761, An Awakening and a Revival of American Principles and Feelings, with an Enthusiasm which went on increasing till in 1775 it burst out in open Violence, Hostility and Fury.

The Characters, the most conspicuous, the most ardent and influential, in this Revival, from 1760 to 1766, were;—First and Foremost, before all, and above all, James Otis; Nex to him was Oxenbridge Thatcher; next to him Samuel Adams; next to him John Hancock; then Dr Mayhew, then Dr Cooper and his Brother. Of Mr Hancock’s Life, Character, generous Nature, great and disinterested Sacrifices, and important Services if I had forces, I Should be glad to write a Volume. But this I hope will be done by Some younger and abler hand. Mr Thatcher, because his Name and Merits are less known, must not be wholly omitted. This Gentleman was an eminent Barrister at Law, in as large practice as anyone in Boston. There was not a Citizen of that Town more universally beloved for his Learning, Ingenuity, every domestic & Social Virtue, and Conscientious Conduct in every Relation of Life. His Patriotism was as ardent as his Progenitors had been, ancient and illustrious in this Country. Hutchinson often Said “Thatcher was not born a Plebeian, but he was determined to die one.” In May 1763, I believe, he was chosen by the Town of Boston One of their Representatives in the Legislature, a Colleague with Mr Otis, who had been a Member from May 1761, and he continued to be reelected annually till his Death in 1765, when Mr Samuel Adams was elected to fill his place, on the Absence of Mr Otis, then attending the Congress at New York. Thatcher had long been jealous of the unbounded Ambition of Mr Hutchinson, but when he found him not content with the Office of Lieutenant Governor, the Command of the Castle and its Emoluments, of Judge of Probate for the County of Suffolk, a Seat in his Majesty’s Council in the Legislature, his Brother-in-Law Secretary of State by the Kings Commission, a Brother of that Secretary of State a Judge of the Superiour Court and a Member of Council, now in 1760 and 1761, Soliciting and accepting the Office of Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature, he concluded as Mr. Otis did, and as every other enlightened Friend of his Country did, that he Sought that Office with the determined Purpose of determining all Causes in favour of the Ministry at Saint James’s and their Servile Parliament.

His Indignation against him henceforward, to 1765, when he died, knew no bounds but Truth. I Speak from personal Knowledge and will [. . .] For, from 1758 to 1765, I attended every Superiour and [. . .] Court in Boston, and recollect not one in which he did not invite me home to Spend several Evenings with him, when he made me converse with him as well as I could on all Subjects of Religion, Morals, Law, Politicks, History, Phylosophy, Belle letters Theology, Mythology, Cosmogeny, Metaphysicks, Lock, Clark, Leibnits, Bolinbroke, Berckley, the Preestablished Harmony of the Universe, the Nature of Matter and Spirit, and the eternal Establishment of Coincidences between their Operations; Fate, foreknowledge, absolute—and we reasoned on Such unfathomable Subjects as high as Milton’s Gentry in Pandemonium; and We understood them as well as they did, and no better. To such mighty Mysteries he added the News of the day, as the Little Tattle of the Town. But his favourite Subject was Politicks, and the impending threatening System of Parliamentary Taxation and Universal Government over the Colonies. On the Subject he was So anxious and agitated that I have not doubt it occasioned his premature death. From the time when he argued the question of Writs of Assistance to his death, he considered the King, Ministry, Parliament and Nation of Great Britain as determined to now model the Colonies from the Foundation; to annul all their Charters, to constitute them all Royal Governments; to raise a Revenue in America by Parliamentary Taxation; to apply that Revenue to pay the Salaries of Governors, Judges and all other Crown Officers; and after all this, to raise as large a Revenue as they pleased to be applied to National Purposes at the Exchequer in England; and farther to establish Bishops and the whole System of the Church of England, Tythes and all, throughout all British America. This System, he Said, if it was Suffered to prevail would extinguish the Flame of Liberty all over the World; that America would be employed as an Engine to batter down all the miserable remains of Liberty in Great Britain and Ireland, when only any Semblance of it was left in the World. To this System he considered Hutchinson, the Olivers and all their Connections dependants, adherents, Shoelickers and another epithet with which I shall not pollute my writing, and entirely devoted. He asserted that they were all engaged, with all the Crown Officers in America and the Understrapors of the Ministry in England, in a deep and treasonable Conspiracy to betray the Liberties of their Country, for their own private personal and family Aggrandisement. His Philippecks against the unprincipled Ambition and Avarice of all of them, but especially of Hutchinson, were unbridled; not only in private, confidential Conversations, but in all Companies and on all Occasions. He gave Hutchinson the Sobriquet of “Summa Polestatis,” and rarely mentioned him but by the Name of “Summa.” His Liberties of Speech were no Secrets to his Enemies. I have Sometimes wondered that they did not throw him over the Barr, as they did Soon afterwards Major Hawley. For they hated him worse than they did James Otis or Samuel Adams, and they feared him more,—because they had no Revenge for a Father’s disappointment of a Seat on the Superiour Bench to impute to him as they did to Otis; and Thatcher’s Character through Life had been So modest, decent, unassuming—his Morals So pure, and his Religion so venerated, that they dared not [. . .] attack him. In his Office were educated to the Barr two eminent Characters, the late Judge Lowell and Josiah Quincy, aptly called the Boston Cicero. Mr Thatcher’s frame was Slender, his Constitution delicate. Whether his Physicians overstrained his Vessels with Mercury, when he had the Small Pox by Inoculation at the castle, or whether he was Overplyed by publick Anxieties & Exertions, the Small Pox left him in a Decline from which he never recovered. Not long before his death he Sent for me to commit to my care Some of his Business at the Barr. I asked him Whether he had Seen the Virginia Resolves. “Oh yes.—They are Men! They are noble Spirits! It kills me to think of the Leathargy and Stupidity that prevails here. I long to be out. I will go out. I will go out. I will go into Court, and make a Speech which Shall be read after my death as my dying Testimony against this infernal Tyrrany they are bringing upon us.” Seeing the violent Agitation into with it threw him, I changed the subject as Soon as possible, and retired. He had been confined for Some time. Had he been abroad among the People he would have complained So pathetically of the “Lethargy and Stupidity that prevailed,” for Town and Country were all Alive; and in August became active enough and Some of the People proceeded to unwarrantable Excesses, which were [. . .]nted by the Patriots than by their Enemies. Mr Thatcher Soon died, deeply lamented by all the Friends of their Country.

Another Gentleman who had great influence in the Commencement of the Revolution, was Doctor Jonathan Mayhew, a descendant of the ancient Governor of Martha’s Vineyard. This Divine had raised a great Reputation, both in Europe and America by the publication of a Volume of Seven Sermons in the Reign of King George the Second, 1748, and by many other Writings, particularly a Sermon in 1750, on the thirtieth of January, On the Subject of Passive Obedience and Non Resistance, in which the Saintship and Martyrdom of King Charles the first are considered, Seasoned with Witt and Satyre, Superior to any in Swift or Franklin. It was read by every Body, celebrated by Friends, and abused by Enemies. During the Reigns of King George the first and King George the Second, the Reigns of the Stewarts, the Two Jameses, and the two Charleses were in general disgrace in England. In America they had always been held in Abhorrence. The Persecutions and Cruelties Suffered by their Ancestors under those Reigns, had been transmitted by History and Tradition, and Mayhew Seemed to be raised up to revive all their Animosity against Tyranny, in Church and State, and at the Same time to destroy their Bigotry, Fanaticism and Inconsistency or David Hume’s plausible, elegant, fascinating and fallacious Apology in which he varnished over the Crimes of the Stewarts had not then appeared. To draw the Character of Mayhew would be to transcribe a dozen Volumes. This transcendant [by choices]threw all the Weight of his great Fame into the Scale of his Country in 1761, and maintained it there with Zeal and Ardour till his death in 1766. In 1763 Appeared the Controversy between him and Mr Apthorp, Mr Caner, Dr. Johnson and Archbishop Secker on the Charter and Conduct of the Society for propagating the Gospels in foreign Parts. To form a Judgment of the debate I beg leave to refer to a Review of the whole, printed at the time, and written by Samuel Adams, though by Some, very absurdly and erroneously ascribed to Mr Apthorp. If I am not mistaken, it will be found a Model of Candour, Sagacity, Impartiality and close correct Reasoning.

If any Gentleman Supposes this Controversy to be nothing to the present purpose, he is grossly mistaken. It Spread an Universal Alarm against the Authority of Parliament. It excited a general and just Apprehension that Bishops and Diocesses and Churches, and Priests and Tythes, were to be imposed upon Us by Parliament. It was known that neither King nor Ministry nor Archbishops could appoint Bishops in America without an Act of Parliament; and if Parliament could Tax Us they could establish the Church of England with all its Creeds, Articles, Tests, Ceremonies and Tythes, and prohibit all other Churches as Conventicles and Sepism Shops.

Nor must Mr Cushing be forgotten. His good sense and Sound Judgment, the Urbanity of his Manners, his universal good Character, his numerous Friends and Connections and his continual intercourse with all Sorts of People, added to his Constant Attachment to the Liberties of his Country, gave him a great and Salutary influence from the beginning in 1760.

Let me recommend these hints to the Consideration of Mr Wirt, whose Life of Mr Henry I have read with great delight. I think, that after mature investigation, he will be convinced that Mr Henry did not “give the first impulse to the Ball of Independence,” And that Otis, Thatcher, Samuel Adams Mayhew, Hancock, Cushing and thousands of others were labouring for Several Years at the Wheel before the Name of Mr Henry was heard beyond the limits of Virginia.

If you print this, I will endeavour to Send You Something concerning Samuel Adams, who was destined to a longer Career, and to Add a more conspicuous and, perhaps, a more important Part than any other Man. But his Life would require a Volume. If you decline printing this Letter I pray to return it as Soon as possible to / Sir, your humble Servant

John Adams

Posted August 29, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Liberty, Uncategorized

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Grand Sachem   2 comments

What historical event would you have liked to witness?

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Wow, that’s a great question. As a history geek, it might be easier to ask what historical event I would NOT want to witness – which would be the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I’ll stick with the movie version, thank you. That said, if they ever invent a time travel device, I’d take a grand tour of history and probably not come back.

Image result for image of tarheBut … honestly … I guess I have to narrow it to ONE event ….

I’m going to assume I’m a fly on the wall …. Following the prime directive of time travel, I don’t get to interfere in the event because space-time continuum pollution is a BAD thing.

Rather than a single event, I would like to follow a person and a series of events in his life. Sachem Tarhe is probably the most famous Wyandot Indian in history — a war-leader with a gift for diplomacy – variously known as  Tarhee, Tarkee, Takee, the Crane or – by the French – as Le Grue, Le Chef Grue, or Monsieur Grue.

Born near Detroit to a woman of the Porcupine Clan, Tarhe’s name might mean “tree”, which makes sense since he was 6 ft 4 in a day and age when six foot was considered tall. The name is now pronounced Tar-hee, but the earlier writers indicated that the accent was on the second syllable (so Tar-Hay). Tarhe was a warrior who served in most if not all of his nation’s battles, possibly even the Braddock fight when he would have been 13 or 14 years old. It’s known he was at Dunmore’s War and conspicuous at the Battle of Point Pleasant. He was a contemporary with Tecumseh, but they often disagreed sharply, especially on the need for peace with the white settlers and the value of negotiation.

The Wyandots were prominent in the defeat of Braddock in 1755. A Huron/Wendat from Lorette, Quebec, commanded all of the Indians in the battle. Although there was French support, it was truly an Indian victory. A contingent of Ottawa warriors led by Chief Pontiac were at Braddock’s defeat. Tarhe supported Pontiac at Detroit eight years later, so it would be interesting to know if the older man noticed the young Wyandot at that early age.

Pontiac depended heavily on the Wyandots in 1763. The chieftain whom Parkman refers to as “Takee” was almost certainly Tarhe. Another Wyandot, Teata, went along (with some reluctance), but his group of Wyandots never exhibited the enthusiasm of Tarhe’s followers.

Historians identify the Wyandots (also known as Wyndake) as the premier warriors of the Midwest and victories at the Battle of Bloody Bridge, Fort Sandusky, Presque Isle and elsewhere could hardly have been won without the Wyandots’ contribution. By 1763, when barely 20 years of age, Tarhe was regarded as a leading warrior.

Tarhe became Sachem – a war leader, but he never became chief, which carried the title of Ron-Tun-Dee, or Warpole. Although regarded as a very brave man, Tarhe was not considered a truly great warrior by his own tribe. The Wyandots loved and respected him but they believed Round Head, Zhaus-Sho-Toh, Khun, Splitlog and others to be superior warriors. In a nation of warriors excellence was commonplace.

The Grand Sachem was the titular head of the warriors of the Wyandot nation (women were the chiefs of non-war matters … including land distribution, which is why when whites negotiated with the sachems, the agreements were not wholly binding under Indian tradition). Truly great war chiefs (Grand Sachem) held the title of Sastaretsi. Wyandots didn’t have royalty, but the title of Sastaretsi was in actual practice often inherited. developing a hereditary line of chiefs. If Sastaretsi died without a suitable heir, the tribal council (controlled by the women) selected a successor.

Such an occasion arose in 1788 when Too-Dah-Reh-Zhooh died. he was better known by his many other names, such as Half-King, Pomoacan, Dunquad, Daunghuat and Petawontakas.

Tarhe was chosen to be the successor of Too-Doh-Reh-Zhooh. There is no record of any other member of the Porcupine Clan having become Sastaretsi up until that time. Sachems had always come from the Deer, Bear and Turtle clans. Tarhe, a Porcupine, had exhibited unique abilities as war leader and was selected by general consensus to guide the Wyandots in the desperate days as the new American military sought to gain control of the old Northwest Territory that included Ohio and parts of Michigan. Although he assumed the duties and powers of Grand Sachem, it is not believed that Tarhe ever assumed the title Sastaretsi.

And, I’d like to know why. Tribal legend says he was a fairly humble  man, so perhaps it was a personal choice. Some folks assume it was clan bigotry, but he was given all the power of Sastaretsi which puts the lie to bigotry. So why didn’t he assume the title?

Tarhe had already gained the respect of the various tribes and of the French, British and Americans long before this time. In 1786, Tarhe and his son-in-law, Isaac Zane, were listed among the witnesses to a United States treaty-signing with the Shawnee. Zane was a captive white raised in Wendat culture. He was later reunited with his white family, but chose to return to the Wyandots. He later married Tarhe’s daughter and served as Tarhe’s primary interpreter.

Tarhe became Grand Sachem in 1788, a critical time when the American government sent Arthur St. Clair into the Ohio Territory to reestablish peace (and pave the way for the founding of Marietta, Ohio, which was being built as Adelphia (brotherhood) at that time). St. Clair had been instructed to offer back to the tribes some lands north of the Ohio River and east of the Muskingum River in exchange for disputed territory where settlers already were. St. Clair defied orders and instead threatened the tribes with attack and then bribed several pliable chiefs into a one-sided agreement called the Treaty of Fort Harmar on January 9, 1789.

 

I’d love to be a fly on the wall in 1788 to see what transpired … to actually know rather than just surmise why Tarhe agreed to this devil’s deal. Was it because he was brand-new as Grand Sachem? Some historians believe the women tribal leaders might have instructed their freshly selected Grand Sachem to sue for peace at any cost. Did his interpreter not explain the negotiations properly? I kind of doubt that because Isaac Zane was a tribal member whose sympathies lie with the Wyandot and by all accounts he spoke English and Wendat fluently.

In later years, Tarhe helped negotiate many treaties as Grand Sachem, attempting to hold his tribe together, serve the other tribes in the area and relinquish each parcel of land only after the pressures had become unbearable. It makes no sense that he’d agreed to the Treaty of Muskogum as a successful and intelligent war chief only two years before, but then he’d agree to accept the Treaty of Harmar which completely contradicted that earlier treaty. After the Harmar treaty broke down, he personally led the fights against Clark, Bouquet, Harmar, St. Clair and Wayne. Although Tarhe was eventually defeated, both his enemies and his friends knew he was dedicated first and last to the welfare of his people.

So what happened in 1788 that he didn’t defend his people’s’s interests? There are legends that claim Tarhe chose not to accept the “gifts” St. Clair offered.  There’s the theories about the women and his interpreter. I never heard one in which people accused Tahre of being greedy, though it is said of other war leaders who signed the treaty. I’m not sure which of these I believe and I’d rather know for certain. This man is a hero of my tribe. Did he deserve that honor? I wish I knew.

The last battle Tarhe fought in personally was Fallen Timbers in 1794. The Indian alliance in the Ohio region was tattered by that time and Fallen Timbers was a devastating defeat for them. The only tribe to fight with distinction was the Wyandots. Pinned down near the river, they suffered heavy casualties — of the 13 chiefs who entered the battle, only Tarhe survived and he was severely wounded.

Most Indians realized their cause was lost after Fallen Timbers. The British had promised to support them if they attacked the American settlers and then failed to do so and the tribes could no longer assemble a force capable of opposing Wayne. Almost all of the Indian leaders in the Midwest responded and pledged peace at Greenville in July 1795. A notable exception was Tecumseh. At this great assemblage of Indians who met with Wayne, the acknowledged leader of the Indians was Tarhe, and a principal interpreter was Isaac Zane, his son-in-law.

During the lengthy negotiations Tarhe made several speeches. The following example of his eloquence gives some measure of his intellect:

“Elder brother! Now listen to us. The Great Spirit above has appointed this day for us to meet together. I shall now deliver my sentiments to you, the fifteen fires. I view you, lying in a gore of blood. It is me, an Indian who caused it. Our tomahawk yet remains in your head- the English gave it to me to place there.

Elder brother! I now take the tomahawk out of your head; but with so much care you shall not feel pain or injury. I will now tear a big tree up by the roots and throw the hatchet into the cavity which they occupy; where the waters will wash it away to where it can never be found. Now, I have buried the hatchet, and I expect that none of my color will ever again find it out. I now tell you that none in particular can justly claim this ground- it belongs in common to all. No earthly being has an exclusive right to it.

Brothers, the fifteen fires, listen! You now see that we have buried the hatchet. We still see blood around, and in order to clear away all grief, we now wipe away the blood from around you, which together with the dirt that comes away from it, we bury with the hatchet in the hole we have made for them, and replace the great tree, as it stood before, so that neither our children, nor our children’s children can ever again discover it.

 

Brother! We speak not from our lips, but from our hearts, when we are resolved upon good works. I always told you that I never intended to deceive you, when we entered upon this business. It was never the intention of us Indians to do so. I speak from my heart what I now say to you. The Great Spirit is now viewing us, and did he discover any baseness or treachery, it would excite his just anger against us.”

 

Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2) by [Walsh, Richard, Andersen, Diane, Brumley, Bokerah, Knowles, Joseph, Markham, Lela, Chiavari, Lyssa, Biedermann, Heather, Schulz, Cara, Johnson, Mark, Mickel, Calvin]Chief Tarhe died in November 1816, at Cranetown near Upper Sandusky Ohio. The funeral for this 76 year old man was the largest ever known for an Indian Chief. Among the Indians coming from great distances was Red Jacket, the noted leader and orator from Buffalo, New York. The mourners wore no paint or decorations of any kind and their countenance showed the deepest sorrow.

By the way, I have been so fascinated by this question that when asked to write an alternative historical fiction short story with libertarian influences, I chose to focus on what the Treaty of Harmar could have been if only someone had had the vision … and the US Constitution had not been ratified. “A Bridge at Adelphia” can be found in Echoes of Liberty, a project of the Agorist Writers Workshop, which comes out with an new anthology this fall … and, yes, I have another story in it, a modern Alaskan take on the fable “The Mouse and the Lion”.

And now that I think about it, it is really sad that the prime directive of time travel is don’t interfere because I would love to see what America would have become if Europeans had assimilated to American Indian culture rather than just flooded in and took over. I suspect we’d be different and, hopefully, better, retaining both elements of our combined culture.

State Unchanged   Leave a comment

From “The State” by Randolph Bourne

 

Image result for image of randolph bourneAn analysis of the State would take us back to the beginnings of society, to the complex of religious and personal and herd-impulses which has found expression in so many forms. What we are interested in is the American State as it behaves and as Americans behave towards it in this twentieth century, and to understand that we have to go no further back than the early English monarchy of which our American republic is the direct descendant. How straight and true is that line of descent almost nobody realizes. Those persons who believe in the sharpest distinction between democracy and monarchy can scarcely appreciate how a political institution may go through so many transformations and yet remain the same. Yet a swift glance must show us that in all the evolution of the English monarchy, with all its broadenings and its revolutions, and even with its jump across the sea into a colony which became an independent nation and then a powerful State, the same State functions and attitudes have been preserved essentially unchanged. The changes have been changes of form and not of inner spirit, and the boasted extension of democracy has been not a process by which the State was essentially altered to meet the shifting of classes, the extension of knowledge, the needs of social organization, but a mere elastic expansion by which the old spirit of the State easily absorbed the new and adjusted itself successfully to its exigencies. Never once has it been seriously shaken. Only once or twice has it been seriously challenged, and each time it has speedily recovered its equilibrium and proceeded with all its attitudes and faiths reinforced by the disturbance.

The modern democratic state, in this light, is therefore no bright and rational creation of a new day, the political form under which great peoples are to live healthfully and freely in a modern world, but the last decrepit scion of an ancient and hoary stock, which has become so exhausted that it scarcely recognizes its own ancestor, does, in fact, repudiate him while it clings tenaciously to the archaic and irrelevant spirit that made that ancestor powerful, and resists the new bottles for the new wine that its health as a modern society so desperately needs. So sweeping a conclusion might have been doubted concerning the American State had it not been for the war, which has provided a long and beautiful series of examples of the tenacity of the State ideal and its hold on the significant classes of the American nation. War is the health of the State and it is during war that one best understands the nature of that institution. If the American democracy during wartime has acted with an almost incredible trueness to form, if it has resurrected with an almost joyful fury the somnolent State, we can only conclude that the tradition from the past has been unbroken, and that the American republic is the direct descendant of the English State.

And what was the nature of this early English State? It was first of all a medieval absolute monarchy, arising out of the feudal chaos, which had represented the first effort at order after the turbulent assimilation of the invading barbarians by the Christianizing Roman civilization. The feudal lord evolved out of the invading warrior who had seized or been granted land and held it, souls and usufruct thereof, as a fief to some higher lord whom he aided in war. His own serfs and vassals were exchanging faithful service for the protection which the warrior with his organized band could give them. Where an invading chieftain retained his power over his lesser lieutenants a petty kingdom would arise, as in England, and a restless and ambitious king might extend his power over his neighbors and consolidate the petty kingdoms only to fall before the armed power of an invader like William the Conqueror, who would bring the whole realm under his heel. The modern State begins when a prince secures almost undisputed sway over fairly homogeneous territory and people and strives to fortify his power and maintain the order that will conduce to the safety and influence of his heirs. The State in its inception is pure and undiluted monarchy; it is armed power, culminating in a single head, bent on one primary object, the reducing to subjection, to unconditional and unqualified loyalty of all the people of a certain territory. This is the primary striving of the State, and it is a striving that the State never loses, through all its myriad transformations.

When the subjugation was once acquired, the modern State had begun. In the King, the subjects found their protection and their sense of unity. From his side, he was a redoubtable, ambitious, and stiff-necked warrior, getting the supreme mastery which he craved. But from theirs, he was a symbol of the herd, the visible emblem of that security which they needed and for which they drew gregariously together. Serfs and villains, whose safety under their petty lords had been rudely shattered in the constant conflicts for supremacy, now drew a new breath under the supremacy that wiped out this local anarchy. King and people agreed in the thirst for order, and order became the first healing function of the State. But in the maintenance of order, the King needed officers of justice; the old crude group-rules for dispensing justice had to be codified, a system of formal law worked out. The King needed ministers, who would carry out his will, extensions of his own power, as a machine extends the power of a man’s hand. So the State grew as a gradual differentiation of the King’s absolute power, founded on the devotion of his subjects and his control of a military band, swift and sure to smite. Gratitude for protection and fear of the strong arm sufficed to produce the loyalty of the country to the State.


Bourne was clearly no fan of the modern State as created by Edward the Confessor. He saw the monarchy as pure force that people were grateful to be subjugated by because it meant a modicum of safety compared to the feudal era. It’s tough to rule a large area by yourself, so the King establised an administration under devoted subjects and his military might. The people were loyal mainly for the protection.  Lela

Making the Bolshevik Revolution Possible   1 comment

My friend Mila sent this to me because she’s an American citizen who was born in Russia and she’s concerned about where the United States is headed right now.
https://www.rbth.com/history/326865-guns-rifles-russia-revolution
Konstantin Yeremeychik/TASS
Packing heat in the country is no easy task. You need to pass a strict background check and only then can you own a hunting rifle or pneumatic gun. Things were different when the tsars ruled over the land though: Every man and his dog owned a weapon.

The famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin enjoyed a rather odd pastime: After waking up he would lie in bed and shoot a pistol at the wall.

 

In Tsarist Russia, people loved guns. Officers, merchants, students, respectable dames, and young ladies all had a favorite handgun, sometimes more than one. However, by the end of the 1917 Revolution the authorities had restricted the right to carry firearms.

Shooting indoors no more

Before the Revolution, guns were in abundant supply in major Russian cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg. Newspapers advertised Brownings, Nagants, Mausers, and other models of handgun which were as popular as they were affordable: A brand new Mauser would set you back 45 or so rubles, so there were also plenty of cheaper secondhand guns floating around; to put this into perspective, a janitor’s average monthly salary in Moscow was 40 rubles.

Newspapers advertised Brownings, Nagants, Mausers, and other models of handgun which were as popular as they were affordable.

But even then Russians were not completely free of governmental intervention when it came to firing hot lead. The existing restrictions, however, did not regulate the ownership of guns; they regulated their use instead.

Random and frequent indoor shootings were a serious worry in 17th century Moscow, where almost all buildings were made of wood – a spark from a gunshot could start a fire very easily. In fact, such blazes were so common that a 1684 tsarist order prohibited pulling the trigger indoors.

Naturally, judging from Pushkin’s example everyone seemed to ignore the new rule until much later.

A new wave of restrictions came in 1845, when a comprehensive set of gun laws restricted owners even further. The legislation prohibited shooting outdoors in crowded places unless clearly necessary.

Although Russians were now stripped of their right to shoot for fun, nobody threatened to take their guns away – but this all changed with the Revolution.

Total disarmament

The Bolshevik Revolution put an end to the free circulation of guns among the general public. The leaders of the uprising knew only too well what the masses were capable of, especially if armed up to the teeth, and moved to monopolize gun ownership.

In 1918 the Bolsheviks initiated a large scale confiscation of civilian firearms, outlawing their possession and threatening up to 10 years in prison for concealing a gun.

The only exception was made for hunters who were allowed to possess smoothbore weapons. Gun licenses, however, were strictly regulated and only issued by the NKVD, the police organization known for its role in Joseph Stalin’s political purges.

It was only a matter of time before Russia became an almost totally gun-free nation. Some people believed Russians would regain their right to own guns after the collapse of the Soviet Union but despite firearms becoming available on the black market during the 90s, the new government did not risk liberalizing the gun market.

Today, Russians can only legally buy smoothbore guns for hunting and sports, as well as pneumatic firearms for self-defense. Applying for a gun license also involves a pretty rigorous background check.

In a nutshell, Russians can buy some guns even today but luckily most have abandoned their ancestor’s favorite pastime of shooting indoors.

Posted March 24, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Gun control

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A President of Principle (Draft)   Leave a comment

I don’t have many politicians that I look on as heroes. Wally Hickel from Alaska comes close. I respected Sarah Palin’s refusal to allow the Alaska Legislature to increase the budget in an era of high oil revenues. I am amazed Ron Paul managed to remain as untainted as he did for as long as he served. And ….

Calvin Coolidge, bw head and shoulders photo portrait seated, 1919.jpgYeah, that’s about it. Lincoln got knocked off his pedestal when I began to respect the Constitution. George Washington too. Learning more about these men convinced me that all politicians are corrupted and

In fact, the only US President I truly admire in history is Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president. When he voted a congressional salary increase, he told Congress:

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

That’s Coolidge as a man. Not only was he deeply concerned with tax reduction and the federal budget, he was also highly dedicated to serving of both his neighbor and nation. Coolidge had a special understanding of public service and never swayed from his foundational beliefs. These qualities made him the beloved man that he was. Although soft-spoken, Coolidge showed immense amounts of courage in serving his nation and staying true to his fundamental convictions.

An important way in which Calvin Coolidge showed this courage was in his approach to public service. Prior to his term as Commander-in-Chief, the government had grown unchecked for years under the Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson administrations. Wealth redistribution, government regulation, and the strength of unions were on the rise during this era of progressivism. Soon after stepping into the Oval Office, Coolidge promptly went on a budget- and tax-cutting spree to abolish what he referred to as “Despotic Exactions.”

Although scoffed at by many, this decrease in taxation and government spending saved the average American over $200 per year (about $1,500 today – sound familiar?). Coolidge wanted to help the poor, and he saw that this was the only way to enact true, long-term change toward raising the American standard of living. He and his Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon, referred to this policy as “Scientific Taxation.” Coolidge once said:

“Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”

This informed approach was his creative service to the least of these, the poor in our society.

It took an immense amount of courage on Coolidge’s part to abandon previous methods and take a new approach to public service. This new approach was both utilitarian and grounded in a strong respect for people’s basic human rights. Though unorthodox, his principled fiscal stewardship caused many poor Americans to succeed in achieving a better life. With the national debt being cut almost in half, the 17.5 percent increase in the nation’s wealth, and illiteracy being cut in half as well, his presidential term was a success by any standard.

Inaction can benefit a nation more than action, as demonstrated by his numerous vetoed bills.

Although seemingly reserved, Coolidge was a man of strong principles. He called his fellow citizens to return to the proven principles of the American political tradition and encouraged them to examine their own beliefs in light of these principles. He believed strongly in the limits of social engineering, the nature of wealth, individual responsibility, and society’s dependence on moral and religious values. His ability to stand by these fundamental convictions in the face of adversity is rare among men.

In her book entitled Coolidge, Amity Shlaes refers to President Coolidge as our “Great Refrainer.” She suggests that inaction can benefit a nation more than action, as demonstrated by his numerous vetoed bills. “This was the boy with his finger in the dike, stopping a great progressive tide,” she accurately states. Throughout his life, Calvin Coolidge rejected what Bastiat called “legal plunder” and worked toward the creation not only of wealth but of beauty.

Calvin Coolidge’s messages regarding public service and his fundamental convictions have held true for almost a century. These firm principles were the groundwork for his ability to enact change for the better in America through public service. The way he thought determined the way he lived; his form followed his function. Calvin Coolidge lived by the principles that defined him. His belief system never aged. Even in the culturally diverse, globalized world we live in where people are desperate for new answers, ideas, and solutions, the simple social and moral code by which he lived remains as relevant as ever.

Posted February 20, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in History, Uncategorized

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Constitutional Ignorance   Leave a comment

Found on Lew Rockwell

by Walter E. Williams

Image result for image of walter e williams on blackmailHillary Clinton blamed the Electoral College for her stunning defeat in the 2016 presidential election in her latest memoirs, “What Happened?” Some have claimed that the Electoral College is one of the most dangerous institutions in American politics. Why? They say the Electoral College system, as opposed to a simple majority vote, distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy because electoral votes are not distributed according to population.

To back up their claim, they point out that the Electoral College gives, for example, Wyoming citizens disproportionate weight in a presidential election. Put another way, Wyoming, a state with a population of about 600,000, has one member in the U.S. House of Representatives and two members in the U.S. Senate, which gives the citizens of Wyoming three electoral votes, or one electoral vote per 200,000 people. California, our most populous state, has more than 39 million people and 55 electoral votes, or approximately one vote per 715,000 people. Comparatively, individuals in Wyoming have nearly four times the power in the Electoral College as Californians.

Many people whine that using the Electoral College instead of the popular vote and majority rule is undemocratic. I’d say that they are absolutely right. Not deciding who will be the president by majority rule is not democracy. But the Founding Fathers went to great lengths to ensure that we were a republic and not a democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution or any other of our founding documents.

How about a few quotations expressed by the Founders about democracy? In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wanted to prevent rule by majority faction, saying, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” John Adams warned in a letter, “Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide.” Edmund Randolph said, “That in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.” Then-Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”

The Founders expressed contempt for the tyranny of majority rule, and throughout our Constitution, they placed impediments to that tyranny. Two houses of Congress pose one obstacle to majority rule. That is, 51 senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators. The president can veto the wishes of 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto. To change the Constitution requires not a majority but a two-thirds vote of both houses, and if an amendment is approved, it requires ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures. Finally, the Electoral College is yet another measure that thwarts majority rule. It makes sure that the highly populated states — today, mainly 12 on the East and West coasts, cannot run roughshod over the rest of the nation. That forces a presidential candidate to take into consideration the wishes of the other 38 states.

Those Americans obsessed with rule by popular majorities might want to get rid of the U.S. Senate, where states, regardless of population, have two senators. Should we change representation in the House of Representatives to a system of proportional representation and eliminate the guarantee that each state gets at least one representative? Currently, seven states with populations of 1 million or fewer have one representative, thus giving them disproportionate influence in Congress. While we’re at it, should we make all congressional acts be majority rule? When we’re finished with establishing majority rule in Congress, should we then move to change our court system, which requires unanimity in jury decisions, to a simple majority rule?

My question is: Is it ignorance of or contempt for our Constitution that fuels the movement to abolish the Electoral College?

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