Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The American Empire

By Richard E. Noble

The United States of America has been around now for over two hundred years. The Roman Empire survived for nearly one thousand years. As I read about the Roman Empire I see that it was on the brink of catastrophe at nearly every moment of its existence. It was constantly under attack from without or within. How it survived is a constant study for scholars, and historians. The two hundred years for the U.S. doesn’t really seem to be any different.
The American Revolution almost didn’t happen. Most colonists really weren’t all that excited about the whole idea. I truly think that if it wasn’t for the inflammatory writings of Tom Paine it would never have gained enough popular support to get off the ground.
It then nearly collapsed from lack of support with the tentative Articles of Confederation. They no sooner got passed that, than everybody was ready to tuck it all in over taxes, federalism, and the idea of maintaining a military ... the symbol of power, war and aggression to most colonists. Then the British were back, and the Capital was sacked.
After that, slavery brought the States to the brink of dissolution. The Union could have very easily been dissolved over this issue. The United States could have very well went the way of the Old World and divided up into many separate republics. It took the bloodiest war to that point in history to keep it together ... for better or worse.
The Civil war was followed by a long period of internal turmoil and discontent. Not only was the South unhappy, undergoing reconstruction, but the spread of Capitalism and the no holds barred antics of the Robber Barons and the powerful and prosperous in general was spawning a revival of Roman Christian Communism, more commonly called Socialism. This was a period filled with violence, terrorism, and battlefield size confrontations. Wilson had his hands full, and if it weren’t for our involvement in World War I, it could have been all over for America the beautiful.
Next we have Alcohol and big-time gangsterism, coupled with the re-invigoration of the Christian-communist/socialists; unionism, strikes, and their counter-part ... strike breakers. It was war in the streets, all culminating in the Great Depression. Herbert Hoover, the hero bureaucrat of World War I was now the most hated man in America. He was booed, attacked and surrounded by armed guards everywhere he traveled. Then, according to some, came our first Socialist president. The super wealthy were so unhappy with the antics of F.D.R. that some of them (Duponts and friends) organized a subversive militia, and actively pursued an armed takeover and assassination of the president and the Government. Roosevelt nearly triggered a rightist coup, but his presence quelled a leftist uprising that could have easily resulted in a Russian style American revolution.
World War II was then followed by internal (McCarthyism) and external challenges to the Republic (Korean War).
Then we had civil rights and Vietnam. This was the worst period in American History for my generation. And for those of us who were there, it wasn’t pretty. John F. Kennedy and his brother gunned down; followed by Martin Luther King and other black rights activists. I remember thinking that the United States of America, the home of the brave and the land of the free was about to dissolve right before my eyes.
And today, it’s Osama bin Ladin. He almost seems easy.

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