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The American "Founding Fathers" Were Enemies of "We the People"

by John Spritzler

April 18, 2019

Instead of relying on what we were taught in school about the Founding Fathers, I suggest reading--to start with, at least--three excellent academic (meaning based on real documentary evidence) history books:

1. Shays's Rebellion: The American Revolution's Final Battle, by Leonard L. Richards

2. An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, by Charles A. Beard

3. The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution, by Thomas P. Slaughter

If you read these history books you will learn things you were not taught in school:

Shays's Rebellion

George Washington and the 'Founding Fathers' wanted to rule what became the United States instead of allowing King George III to rule it. In order to mobilize an army to fight King George's British military force and achieve "American independence" George Washington told the subsistence farmers, whom he needed to join his "Revolutionary Army," that the "War for Independence" was a war for equality and for things like "no taxation without representation" democracy. The subsistence farmers (who made up the vast majority of the population) were inspired by Washington's noble rhetoric and joined the Revolutionary Army in huge numbers.

These small farmers made a huge economic sacrifice when they joined the army because it meant not planting and harvesting the crops that they relied on to earn any money. General George Washington paid these farmer/soldiers with pieces of paper that promised that the United States government would "pay to the bearer" an indicated number of dollars, plus accrued interest, in the future when the new United States government was independent. Essentially these pieces of paper were IOUs, sometimes referred to as "securities."

After the Revolutionary War when independence had been won, the former soliders--now extremely poor and financially desperate small farmers--hoped that they would finally be paid for their "service to their country." But no! The Founding Fathers said the government had no money to pay the debt on those IOUs.

Guess what happened then? The small farmers realized that their IOUs were essentially worthless.

And guess what happened next? Rich people (many of the Founding Fathers like George Washington who was a big time slave and land owner and their upper class friends) said to the desperate farmers, "I'll buy your IOUs."

And guess how much the rich people offered to pay for those IOUs?

Practically nothing.

But "practically nothing" was more than nothing, so the desperate farmers sold their IOUs to the rich people and tried to make a life as a small farmer as best they could.

But you'll NEVER guess what happened next (if you've only been "educated" by the American ruling class's school system and mass media). What happened next is mind-boggling awful.

The rich people and their Founding Father buddies came up with a brilliant idea. (It was apparently Alexander Hamilton's idea, God bless him, although somehow the Broadway play, Hamilton, curiously neglected to include this deed among all the deeds for which it praises the man to such wonderful music!)

What was Hamilton's brilliant idea?

Like all brillian ideas, it was simplicity itself. Here we go. Fasten your seat belt.

Have the state government of Massachusetts (at first; later they used the new national government) TAX the poor farmers to get the money to pay back the IOU debts to the "bearers" of those IOUs (who just happened, now, to be the rich buddies of the Founding Fathers.)

But wait! There's more! Have the government pay the bearers of the IOUs not only the amount of dollars specified on the IOU, but ALSO the accrued interest for the years since the end of the Revolutionary war until the present.

Guess how the poor farmers felt about this? "Furious!" would be an understatement.

In central Massachusetts the farmers refused to pay the tax, and when the Massachusetts state government tried to collect the tax, the farmers organized a military rebellion against the state goverment that came very close to seizing the state's armory at Springfield and thereby overthrowing the government of the rich. This rebellion is named after one of the several leaders of it, a man named Shays: Shays' Rebellion.

The Shays' Rebellion consisted of small farmers and included the better-off small farmers in their ranks. Of note, the renowned poet, Emily Dickinson's great-grandfather was one of the leaders in the rebellion, joined by many other Dickinson family members at the time, and the Dickinson's--though only small farmers--were the leading family in Amherst, Massachusetts at the time.

While you're enjoying that Sam Adams beer you might want to pause between gulps to think about this. Sam Adams called for the Shays's rebels to be hung! Oh the Founding Fathers--gotta love em, uh?

George Washington helped mobilize a private army of rich people and mercenaries to attack the Shays's Rebellion farmers, and--due in large part to chance--it defeated the Rebellion. But history is written by the victors. The Founding Fathers and their descendants have declared that the Shays' Rebellion rebels were just a bunch of low-lifes who refused to "pay their debts." (Who says that G.W. Bush's WMD lie was the biggest lie ever told by rich Americans?)

The U.S. Constitution

When the Founding Fathers gathered to write the U.S. Constitution (to replace the Articles of Confederation) guess what dominated their concern, as evidenced by their correspondence?

Fear!

Fear that the Articles of Confederation did not give the national government the power it needed to suppress future Shays's Rebellions. The new U.S. Constitution was largely a response to the Shays's Rebellion that occurred just before the Constitutional Convention. The Founding Fathers stuck that famous "We the People" line in the preface to the the Constitution to cover up the reality that it was a document designed by and for "We the Rich People." Read more about the Constitution here.

The Whiskey Rebellion

After the rich Americans had their new strengthened national government and George Washington was its president, another tax--this time national--was levied against the poor farmers in states south of Massachusetts that included the Appalachian mountains. These poor farmers could only obtain money for their crops by distilling some of it into whiskey and selling the whiskey. The U.S. government, in order to pay back the interest on loans made to it by rich people, decided in its infinite wisdom (again, largely the wisdom of Mr. Alexander Hamilton) to get the money by taxing this whiskey. This led to the Whiskey Rebellion, which forced George Washington to suppress it with another private army of rich people and mercenaries that he organized--an army of "12,950 militiamen...an army approximating in size the Continental force that followed him during the Revolution" against King George III! Washington just happened to own ten thousand acres of prime land in these western regions, in addition to the land back east where he owned slaves. But never mind--poor farmers, not the likes of George Washington, would have to pay the rich the interest on their loans to a government of and for the rich.

The Whiskey Rebellion rebels understood perfectly that the rhetoric about equality and no taxation without representation was just rhetoric, and that the new rulers of the "independent" American government did not intend to honor that rhetoric at all.

This is the real history of We the People. Read these books and you'll learn how the United States has been a dictatorship of the rich right from the beginning. When people ask, "When did we lose our democracy?," the answer is that we never really had it.

What Now?

Let's pick up where We the People left off back in the days of the Shays' and Whiskey Rebellions.

To read some ideas about how we can do that, please visit www.PDRBoston.org .

 

 

 

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READ THE BOOKS IN THE "NO RICH AND NO POOR" SERIES

 

Articles by Dave Stratman

Articles by John Spritzler

Turn the World Upside Down (John Spritzler's blog #1)

End Class Inequality (John Spritzler's blog #2)

 

Books

We Can Change the World: The Real Meaning of Everyday Life by Dave Stratman

The People as Enemy: The Leaders' Hidden Agenda in World War II by John Spritzler

NO RICH AND NOPOOR: The Populist Goal We CAN and Must Win

DIVIDE AND RULE: The "Left vs. Right" Trap