Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Going Rogue


Speaking of "Rogue Republics," that must have been the way the fledgling United States with its Articles of Confederation was seen by Great Britain.  After a long war and much hemming and hawing between the states it was finally decided that these Articles needed to be revised.  Of course, the state legislatures which appointed the delegates were stunned to see a whole new Constitution presented for ratification, which resulted in some fierce political lines being drawn that remain to this day.

We read Pauline Maier's impressive account of the Ratification, but perhaps even more interesting is how the country held together between 1777 and 1789, the pride many of these states took in their charters and the constitutions they had drawn up, which they didn't want infringed upon in anyway.  Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood have written extensively on the subject.  I'm a big fan of Bailyn's The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution.  He gives the events the intimacy they deserve.

I think herein, we also find the roots of such firebrand "parties" as the Tea Party.  Their brand of "nativism" has many precedents, but since they love to cite American history, maybe they should familiarize themselves with the Articles of Confederation, which is much closer to their ideological bent than is the Constitution they claim to uphold.

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