When Did the U.S. Government* Start Being Hostile to Ordinary Americans?

by John Spritzler

October 5, 2018

How far back does one have to go to find when the United States government started being hostile to ordinary Americans? The answer is that one has to go back to when the British army surrendered to General George Washington. That's when ordinary Americans discovered that the new government they hoped would be one that truly represented them and be for equality, was no such thing.**

Here are three books to read if one wants to understand the profound conflict between the Founding Fathers and ordinary Americans:

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

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

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

All three authors are excellent scholarly academic historians. I strongly suggest reading these books, to undo some of the brainwashing that American schools inflict on us.

Anybody who reads these books will realize that, right from the beginning with the Founding Fathers, a handful of very rich and greedy people ruled over the rest of the population, the "little" people: slaves, landless whites, farmers of small or medium sized farms, trades-people.

These rich greedy people included absentee owners of tens of thousands of acres of land. Washington owned ten thousand acres west of the Appalachian Mountains, not to mention his slave plantation in the east. They were producers of slaves for sale. Jefferson remarked about his slaves:

“I consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more profitable than the best man of the farm,” Jefferson wrote in 1820.

Jefferson impregnated his female slaves and was quite hostile to his slaves. Breeding slaves was part of the business model of slave plantations such as Jefferson's Monticello:

“The American Slave Coast explores how the slavery business made the reproductive labor of the people it referred to as ‘breeding women’ essential to the expansion of the nation. The children born to enslaved women were not only labor, but merchandise and collateral, all at once. One of the two principals of the antebellum slave economy was staple crops – primarily cotton, the United States’ major export – which provide the cash flow. The other was enslaved people, who counted as capital and functioned as the stable wealth of the South." [source]

The earliest United States rulers who were members of the government or the people with the most influence with members of the government were slave owners with enormous plantations raising tobacco or grains such as wheat, and breeding slaves for sale; they were enormously wealthy merchants (up to their necks in the slave-based economy); and they were super-rich speculators in land and in the government IOUs that were given instead of money to soldiers who fought in the Revolution; the rich speculators bought these IOUs dirt cheap from the soldiers after the war, able to do so because when the war ended the soldiers--who were mainly poor subsistance farmers--were broke because they were soldiering instead of farming and knew the IOUs they possessed were worthless because the government was not honoring them.

These rich greedy people--the circle that included the Founding Fathers--wanted independence from King George III, and so they came up with a wonderful new ideology to justify their American Revolution and persuade ordinary people to fight for and support it: no taxation without representation, and all men are created equal with inalienable rights; they put these ideas into their eloquent Declaration of Independence.

But here's the thing. As soon as these rich greedy men gained independence from King George III, and became the ruling elite in a "country of their own," they renounced all of that wonderful ideology that was in the Declaration of Independence, and they ruthlessly, violently, attacked the "little" people who had taken that ideology to heart and who rose up against oppressive [you have go read the books above to fully appreciate how devastatingly oppressive] taxation without (genuine) representation in rebellions such as Shays's Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion.

The rich and greedy people (who hung out in the east coast cities and controlled the governments (state and national) that were located there) wanted to tax the "little" people--the small farmers who were veterans of George Washington's army who were paid worthless IOUs and sold them dirt cheap to rich speculators--to pay the speculators (who now owned all those government IOUs that they purchased for practically nothing) the full face value of the IOUs plus interest!! This is why people launched rebellions.

Shays's Rebellion, we are taught, was just a bunch of low life bums who fought to avoid paying legitimate debts they just didn't want to pay. Not so! The leading relatively well-off families in western Massachusetts towns (who were by no means rich, and simply owned medium-sized subsistence farms) provided Shays's rebels disproportionately to their numbers. The Dickinsons were the leading such family in Amherst, MA, and Emily Dickinson's great grandfather was one of the Shays's Rebels.

Sam Adams and his fellow "revolutionaries," with big help from George Washington, raised a private army (paid for by the rich and greedy people) to smash Shays's Rebellion. Sam Adams called for hanging the rebels! (So much for the great revolutionary.)

George Washington and Alexander Hamilton were furious at the "little" people west of the Appalachian mountains for daring to oppose the Federal government in the name of the ideas propounded in the Declaration of Independence. These founding fathers mobilized an army with upper class ass-hole officers and drafted "little" people--an army of almost 3,000 soldiers (about as many as who followed General Washington against King George III)--to violently crush the "little" people in the Whiskey Rebellion--a rebellion against extreme oppression by these rich and greedy people.

When these rich and greedy people got together in 1787 to write the Constitution, it was for the purpose of making sure they had a government that, unlike the weak one based on the Articles of Confederation, would be able to crush the "little" people; they were scared to death of Shays's Rebellion that had only just been suppressed the year before. Fear of another, God forbid successful, Shays's rebellion dominated the conversations of these founding fathers, as Charles Beard demonstrates. The people in the Shays's and Whiskey rebellions understood this: they called themselves anti-federalists and friends of liberty.

But nowadays, the ruling class has us viewing these "Founding Fathers" as if they were great and noble men. BS! It's as if, some time in the future, Americans were taught that the Bush family and the Koch brothers and the Clintons were great and noble people. But hey, don't take my word for it. Read some real history books and find out for one's self.



Abraham Lincoln did not free the slaves. The slaves freed the slaves, when they left the plantations in huge numbers and tried to join the Union Army. But Lincoln ordered these slaves turned away initially, until their insistence made that impossible. Newton Knight was a poor white Mississippi farmer who formed an army of poor whites and slaves together during the Civil War that fought the slave-owners to free slaves (successfully in many cases) and fought against the Confederate army because they knew (contrary to today's ruling class "white privilege" BS!) that racist discrimination against blacks HARMED (not benefited!) poor whites. Abraham Lincoln refused to support Newton Knight's army even though Knight kept asking for support from the Union Army. Read about this in The State of Jones by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer. A good video about the Civil War, by the way, is this interview of a white Southerner.


“I want to save our system, the capitalistic system,” FDR told an emissary of the archconservative newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. To do so, Roosevelt said, “it may be necessary to throw to the wolves the forty-six men who are reported to have incomes in excess of one million dollars a year.” [Read the source here.]​

The context of FDR's New Deal was not FDR's supposed benevolence towards the working class but, on the contrary, his and his fellow upper ruling class members' fear of the working class. Here are just two examples of what so frightened the American upper class in the 1930s, from the many other examples that I give in my book (pg. 62-4, with sources fully referenced).

 Example #1

 On May 9, 1934 longshoremen on the West Coast went on strike, "cutting off nearly 2,000 miles of coast land." The strike spread to teamsters, sailors, marine firemen, water tenders, cooks, stewards, and licensed officers. On the forty-fifth day of the strike the San Francisco Chief of Police sent 700 policemen to the docks with tear gas and riot guns to break the picket lines of 5,000 strikers. A reporter wrote, "It was as close to actual war as anything but war itself could be." Two strikers were killed and 115 hospitalized. That night the governor of California ordered in 1,700 National Guard soldiers with armored cars and machine gun nests and ordered them to shoot to kill. By July 16 there was a general strike in San Francisco of 130,000 workers which spread to Oakland and then up the Pacific Coast. Authorities brought in 4,500 National Guard troops including infantry, machine guns, tank, and artillery units.

​The Los Angeles Times wrote:

"The situation in San Francisco is not correctly described by the phrase 'general strike.' What is actually in progress there is an insurrection, a Communist-inspired and led revolt against organized government. There is but one thing to be done--put down the revolt with any force necessary."

So how did the "champion of the people" FDR respond? FDR's National Recovery Administration chief, General Hugh S. Johnson, went to San Francisco and declared the general strike a "menace to the government" and a "civil war."

​Example #2

 On July 16, 1934, twenty thousand textile workers in Alabama began a strike that spread throughout the South and East Coast until by September 5th 325,000 textile workers, many of them women, were on strike and using "flying squadrons" to spread the strike from mill to mill, often battling guards, entering the mills, unbelting machinery and fighting non-strikers.

The New York Times warned,

"The grave danger of the situation is that it will get completely out of the hands of the leaders...The growing mass character of the picketing operations is rapidly assuming the appearance of military efficiency and precision and is something entirely new in the history of American labor struggles. Observers...declared that if the mass drive continued to gain momentum at the speed at which it was moving today, it will be well nigh impossible to stop it without a similarly organized opposition with all the implications such an attempt would entail."

The governor of South Carolina declared martial law on September 9th, announcing that a "state of insurrection" existed. Fifty strike squadrons of 200 to 650 strikers moved south in the Carolinas on a 110-mile front, undeterred by National Guardsmen with orders to "shoot to kill." On September 5th a striker and a special deputy were killed in a two-hour battle at a mill in Trion, Georgia, and three pickets were shot, one fatally, in Augusta. 

The violence spread to New England, and by September 12th National Guard troops were on duty in every New England state except Vermont and New Hampshire. That evening a crowd of 2,000 was fighting National Guardsmen in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Guardsmen fired 30 shots into the crowd, hitting four, one fatally. The crowd was outraged, grew to 8,000, and was only quelled by two more companies of National Guardsmen who put the city under military rule. Governor Green of Rhode Island declared that "there is a Communist uprising and not a textile strike in Rhode Island," and then declared a state of insurrection.

At the same time, Washington [NOTE: This means FDR, the great "champion of the common man"!] mobilized detachments of regular Army troops prepared to leave for Rhode Island "at a moment's notice" (and not for the purpose of helping the striking workers prevail against the anti-strike National Guard, that's for sure.) 

FDR's New Deal was launched not because FDR was a "good guy" but because he and his class were afraid of what would happen if they didn't implement a New Deal.


The American ruling class has been the enemy of ordinary Americans right from the very beginning. And their Constitution is nothing but a fig leaf for class inequality, as I discuss in "U.S. CONSTITUTION: HELP OR HINDRANCE?"


* There was no "United States government" before the American Revolution, although the upper class people in those British colonies obviously were treating ordinary people, and especially the Native Americans, like dirt long before they had their own independent government. See for example American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World by David E. Stannard, my Myths about Slavery and Racism and They Were White and They Were Slaves: The Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America, by Michael Hoffman. The genocide of Native Americans was orchestrated by the upper class of European descent; many ordinary people of European descent actually preferred to live with Native Americans peaceably, as I discuss here.

** Of course some ordinary Americans--in the sense of non-upper class people who lived in what became the United States--knew long before the American Revolution that the powers-that-be (whatever they called themselves) treated them like dirt: I refer to Native Americans and slaves.




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