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America The Beautiful? - Part Two

by Joe Keenan

Friends, it has been our misfortune to welcome the white man. We have been deceived. He brought with him some shining things that pleased our eyes; he brought weapons more effective than our own. Above all he brought the spirit-water that makes one forget old age, weakness and sorrow. But I wish to say to you that if you wish to possess these things for yourselves, you must begin anew and put away the wisdom of your fathers. You must lay up food and forget the hungry. When your house is built, your store-room filled, then look around for a neighbour whom you can take advantage of and seize all he has. Red Cloud of the Oglala Sioux. (Quoted in Hugh Brogan, The Penguin History Of The United States Of America. p.51.)

Introduction.

I can scarcely imagine anywhere that would be more alien to me than Rupert Brooke's Grantchester. Nonetheless, like Grantchester men I observe the Rules of Thought. Or once I did, and mostly still do. By and large.

What is, is. It can be nothing other than what it is.

Adobe Photoshop is a fine well-complicated computer program which is everything that its designers designed it to be. It is an image manipulation program which generates great differences of effect for very little expenditure of its user's energy, thought, imagination, or even absence of mind. Consequently it is very, very, complicated. And, with a perfect equilibrium of consequence, it is not in the least complex. It is not complex at all.

Its designers may not be at all complicated. For all I know, for them it is 1912, and all Rupert Brooke's rhetorical, fanciful, questions may be answered in the affirmative.

Oh, is the water sweet and cool,
Gentle and brown, above the pool?
And laughs the immortal river still
Under the mill, under the mill?
Say is there Beauty yet to find?
And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
Deep meadows yet, for to forget
The lies, and truths, and pain?...oh! Yet
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?

Yes, there is honey still for tea. And there will be honey still for tea still in August two years away!

However uncomplicated they may be, however unstudied in their inconsequence, the designers of Adobe Photoshop are human beings. Inevitably, they are very, very, very complex.

Adobe Photoshop will never suddenly grasp the joke of itself and turning aside to laugh, laughingly murder its brother. It is complicated, but it is not complex.

Adobe Photoshop will never feel the air vibrate and the earth shake with the force of its love as it lovingly tears a town apart to discover what makes a town's heart beat. It is complicated, but it is what it is which can be no other, and it obeys the law of the excluded middle. It is a human construct which is not itself human and so must needs be what it is and only that. It is complicated and only that.

If only humanity could be only that: what it is that can be no other and must obey the law of the excluded middle. If only humanity were only complicated, more or less, by a relativity of effort and effect.

If only...but there is no sense in dreaming.

Arthur O'Shaughnessy explained why there is no sense (and no lasting sense of relief) in such dreams.

We are the music-makers
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;-
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying,
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

Shakespeare had it the wrong way round: dreams are such stuff as we are made on; we are the wild night mare, and also its prey.

New Worlds (And Words) For Old.

It can do no harm to point out that the most usual function of words is to disguise the significant in any discourse. Thus savagery should be used to indicate a state of peaceful coexistence; humanity in equilibrium with the natural world and even its unnatural self. And civilisation should denote the wild hunt of serial genocide that began when we moved into cities and took a notion of ourselves. That they are very rarely, if ever, used as they should be is no excuse for failing to recognise the substantial meaning of such words in the patterns of behaviour they purport to signify.

In fourteen hundred and ninety two, having sailed the ocean blue, Columbus wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain...

So tractable, so peaceable, are these people that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbours as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy (quoted in Dee Brown, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, p. 2).

In 1494, the first Spanish colony was established by Columbus on Hispaniola. By 1515 there were seventeen towns and a workforce of Indian slaves on the island. That same year the Indian population, which 21 years before had been a quarter of a million, fell to fourteen thousand. A few years later the Indians of Hispaniola were extinct and negro slaves had to be imported from Africa to work the Spanish mines and plantations.

In 1497 John Cabot, employed by the English, explored the Atlantic Coast of North America from Newfoundland to Delaware. In 1500, Gaspar Corte-Real of Portugal sailed to Newfoundland and Labrador, where he plundered two shiploads of native slaves. (According to Angie Debo, in A History Of The Indians Of The United States, Oklahoma 1970, p. 19, Labrador means the place of labor material.)

In every case that I am aware of the pattern of first contact between savagery and civilisation was seamlessly of a piece. The savages welcomed the civilised with all hospitality. The civilised then robbed, enslaved and slaughtered the savages.

Some years ago (in the Labour and Trade Union Review, June 1996) I attempted to explain to a Mr. Walter Cobb that the codified laws of civilised peoples are machines of oppression.

Law was not invented for any purpose whatsoever: it was a development in the social life of more or less settled human communities which won the allegiance of those communities to the extent that it facilitated the internal resolution of more or less unsettling disputes. As such the development of law may most usefully be viewed under two aspects. Firstly, as a narrative of class struggle and its outcome in the original establishment of property relations in land, labour power and the products of labour. Secondly, as the surviving record of the elemental social struggle that ultimately gave rise to you and I and Mr. Cobb: that between necessity and freedom, custom and code, law found and law declared, spoken and written law.

The point here at issue between Mr. Cobb and myself arises under this second aspect of the matter.

Tribal society was anything but lawless. It was, on the contrary, society groaning under the weight of customs and taboos which regulated every conceivable element, the most minute detail, of daily life. Tribal society was not composed of individuals who could engage in 'personal violence' or take 'personal vengeance'. Such purposeful individual activity was literally inconceivable. Violence, defence and vengeance were collective affairs, conducted by kin-groups and totem societies in ritual forms heavily imbued with religious significance. There was, in consequence, very little of it.

When the coup-counting, eagle-feather collecting warriors of the Sioux and Cheyenne engaged in war with the civilised, law-abiding, United States they encountered the New York Irish and a thorough-going violence that they could not previously have imagined (L&TUR, No.55).

All socially enduring theft, most especially land theft, requires a legal basis. Here is the original legal basis of the theft of North America, as set out in the seventeenth century by the Puritan John Winthrop, first governor of the colony of Massachusetts.

DIVERSE OBJECTIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN MADE AGAINST THIS PLANTATION WITH THEIR ANSWERS AND RESOLUTIONS.

Objection 1. We have no warrant to enter upon that land which hath been so long possessed by others.

Answer 1. That which lies common and hath never been replenished or subdued is free to any that will possess and improve it, for God hath given to the sons of men a double right to the earth. There is a natural right and a civil right. The first right was natural when man held the earth in common, every man sowing and feeding where he pleased. And then as men and the cattle increased, they appropriated certain parcels of ground by enclosing and peculiar manurance (occupancy). And this in time gave them a civil right. Such was the right which Ephron the Hittite had in the field of Mackpelah, wherein Abraham could not bury a dead corpse without leave, though for the out parts of the country, which lay common, he dwelt upon them and took the fruit of them at his pleasure. The like did Jacob, which fed his cattle as bold in Hamor's land (for he is said to be the lord of the country), and other places where he came, as the native inhabitants themselves. And that in those times and places men accounted nothing their own but that which they had appropriated by their own industry appears plainly by this: that Abimelech's servants in their own country when they oft contended with Isaac's servants about wells which they had digged yet never likewise between Jacob and Laban---he would not take a kid of Laban's without his special contract, but he makes no bargain with him for the land where they feed; and it is very probable if the country had not been as free for Jacob as for Laban, that covetous wretch would have made his advantage of it and have upbraided Jacob with it, as he did with his cattle. And for the natives in New England; they enclose no land, neither have any settled habitation, nor any tame cattle to improve the land by, and so have no other but a natural right to those countries. So as if we leave them sufficient for their use we may lawfully take the rest, there being more than enough for them and us.

2. We shall come in with the good leave of the natives, who find benefit already by our neighbourhood and learn of us to improve part to more use than before they could do the whole, and by this means we come in by valuable purchase. For they have of us that which will yield them more benefit than all the land which we have from them.

3. God hath consumed the natives with a great plague in those parts so as there be few inhabitants left (from U.S Colonial History, Readings And Documents, David Hawke (ed), Bobbs-Merrill, 1966 pp. 50 - 51).

That the benefit which the natives had of the neighbourhood of John Winthrop and his wee puritan pack was a great plague in those parts is really neither here nor there. The pack had their land, and the basic law of Christian civilisation on their side, and that was that.

Colonial America was, in the heart of its formal, legal, established existence, a Christian society. But its Christianity was sectarian and splintered and so the federal aftermath decreed a separation of church and state, the better to maintain an overall Christian unity; that being the core of its legal claim to the land itself.

In the seventeenth century that imperative was understood in particular, though never practised in general, as toleration under the aegis of an Anglican establishment.

In 1669 the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, drawn up by the Earl of Shaftesbury and his secretary, John Locke, were first issued. These never in fact became the basic law of the colony but were nevertheless the basis of all thought about American law.

(...it is well told that Shaftesbury, who in old days had sat a keen-eyed politician among Barebone Saints, replied to a fair inquirer, 'Madam, wise men are of but one religion'---Which one was that?---'Madam, wise men never tell', G. M. Trevelyan, England Under The Stuarts, Pelican, 1960, p. 332.)

"95. No one shall be permitted to be a freeman of Carolina or to have any estate or habitation within it that doth not acknowledge a God; and that God is publicly and solemnly to be worshipped.

"96. As the country comes to be sufficiently planted and distributed into fit divisions, it shall belong to Parliament to take care for the building of churches and the public maintenance of divines---to be employed in the exercise of religion according to the Church of England, which, being the only true and orthodox and the national religion of all the king's dominions, is so also of Carolina; and, therefore, it alone shall be allowed to receive public maintainance by grant of Parliament. [Note in John Locke's Works: 'This article was not drawn up by Mr. Locke, but inserted by some of the chief of the proprietors, against his judgment; as Mr. Locke himself informed one of his friends, to whom he presented a copy of these constitutions.']

"97. But since the natives of that place, who will be concerned in our plantation, are utterly strangers to Christianity, whose idolatry, ignorance, or mistake gives us no right to expel them or use them ill; and those who remove from other parts to plant there will unavoidably be of different opinions concerning matters of religion, the liberty whereof they will expect to have allowed them, and it will not be reasonable for us on this account to keep them out, that civil peace may be maintained amid diversity of opinions; and our agreement and compact with all men may be duly and faithfully observed. The violation whereof, upon what pretense soever, cannot be without great offense to almighty God and great scandal to the true religion which we profess; and also that Jews, heathens, and other dissenters from the purity of Christian religion may not be scared and kept at a distance from it, but, by having an opportunity of acquainting themselves with the truth and reasonableness of its doctrines and the peaceableness and inoffensiveness of its professors, may by good usage and persuasion, and all those convincing methods of gentleness and meekness suitable to the rules and design of the Gospel, be won over to embrace and unfeignedly receive the truth; therefore, any seven or more persons agreeing in any religion shall constitute a church or profession to which they shall give some name to distinguish it from others.'

"100. In the terms of communion of every church or profession, these following shall be three, without which no agreement or assembly of men upon pretense of religion shall be accounted a church or profession within the rules: (1) 'That there is a God.' (2) 'That God is publicly to be worshipped.' (3) 'That it is lawful and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth as in the presence of God, whether it be by laying hands on or kissing the Bible, as in the Church of England, or by holding up the hand, or any other sensible way.'

"106. No man shall use any reproachful, reviling, or abusive language against any religion of any church or profession; that being the certain way of disturbing the peace and of hindering the conversion of any to the truth, by engaging them in quarrels and animosities, to the hatred of the professors and that profession which otherwise they might be brought to assent to.

"108. Assemblies, upon what pretense soever of religion, not observing and performing the above said rules, shall not be esteemed as churches, but unlawful meetings, and be punished as other riots.

"109. No person whatsoever shall disturb, molest, or persecute another for his speculative opinions in religion or his way of worship." (op. cit. pp. 158 - 59.)

In any account of America considered as a subject of history all roads will be found eventually to lead to Monticello. And here we are.

Jefferson himself wrote the inscription for his tombstone, memorialising what he thought of as his achievements:—author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.

By the Revolution, Massachusetts and New York had no established church. Jefferson and Madison carried a separation of church and state in Virginia and throughout the Union. The Sage of Monticello was a deist who professed Scepticism in philosophy and understood that Christianity owed more to Plato than to Christ. Nevertheless, 'religious freedom' was, above all else, a requirement of that political union of White Christian sectarians which underlaid the permanent revolution of manifest destiny.

Jeffersonian Democracy.

In the first part of this series I described Jefferson as ...an oligarch, the author of the Declaration of Independence, pioneer of the separation of Church and State, a Francophile and a racist. All of which was true enough, but inadequate to the raw complexity of an elemental force. Jefferson's preference for an oligarchic state of affairs is made clear in his Notes on Virginia:—

The political oeconomists of Europe have established it as a principle that every state should endeavour to manufacture for itself: and this principle, like many others, we transfer to America, without calculating the difference of circumstance which should often produce a difference of result. In Europe the lands are either cultivated, or locked up against the cultivator. Manufacture must therefore be resorted to of necessity not of choice, to support the surplus of their people. But we have an immensity of land courting the industry of the husbandman. Is it best then that all our citizens should be employed in its improvement, or that one half should be called off from that to exercise manufactures and handicraft arts for the other? Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phaenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example. It is the mark set on those, who not looking up to heaven, to their own soil and industry, as does the husbandman, for their subsistance, depend for it on the casualties and caprice of customers. Dependance begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. This, the natural progress and consequence of the arts, has sometimes perhaps been retarded by accidental circumstances: but, generally speaking, the proportion which the aggregate of the other classes of citizens bears in any state to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion of its unsound to its healthy parts, and is a good-enough barometer whereby to measure its degree of corruption. While we have land to labour then, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a work-bench, or twirling a distaff. Carpenters, masons, smiths, are wanting in husbandry: but, for the general operations of manufacture, let our work-shops remain in Europe. It is better to carry provisions and materials to workmen there, than bring them to the provisions and materials, and with them their manners and principles. The loss by the transportation of commodities across the Atlantic will be made up in happiness and permanence of government. The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.

Sentiments straight out of the Politics of Aristotle's thinking shop. But Jefferson added to such sentiments an instinct for permanent revolution that takes him into an entirely different political dimension.

Winning its revolutionary war left America with an oppressive weight of debt. Its foreign debt was considerable but owed mostly to a sympathetic and accomodating France. Domestic creditors were very much less forebearing. To satisfy these taxes had to be increased and, more to the immediate point, collected. This was a particular problem in Massachusetts where, in 1786, it led to Shay's Rebellion.

Though the rebellion was quickly and almost painlessly suppressed it sent shivers down the spine of the body politic. Washington was more than a little disturbed, declaring:---

What a triumph for the advocates of despotism, to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves, and that systems founded on the basis of equal liberty, are merely ideal and fallacious. Would to God that wise measures may be taken in time to avert the consequences we have but too much reason to apprehend (quoted in Hugh Brogan, op. cit. p. 197).

Jefferson's reaction could not have been more different. Writing to James Madison from Paris on January 30, 1787, he was not terribly worried:---

I am impatient to learn your sentiments on the late troubles in the Eastern states. So far as I have yet seen, they do not appear to threaten serious consequences. Those states have suffered by the stoppage of the channels of their commerce, which have not yet found other issues. This must render money scarce, and make the people uneasy. This uneasiness has produced acts absolutely unjustifiable; but I hope they will provoke no severities from their governments. A consciousness of those in power that their administration of the public affairs has been honest, may perhaps produce too great a degree of indignation: and those characters wherein fear predominates over hope may apprehend too much from these instances of irregularity. They may conclude too hastily that nature has formed man insusceptible of any other government but that of force, a conclusion not founded in truth, nor experience. Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable.

1. Without government, as among our Indians.

2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states, in a great one.

3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics.

To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the 1st condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty & happiness. It has it's evils too: the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, & as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions indeed generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

Nor did Jefferson restrict himself to a stand of moral outrage regarding the possibility of territorial secession.

In 1790, with Washington as President and Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury, the federal government took on the outstanding debts of the states from the Revolutionary War (not Virginia's which had been paid off). This increased national debt was funded from a tariff and excise duties.

In 1794, an increase in excise charges led to the whiskey rebellion in western Pennsylvania. Hamilton led an army across the Appalachians to suppress the sedition.

Writing to Madison, from Monticello on December 28, 1794, Jefferson took a more sanguine view of the proceedings:---

...with respect to the transactions against the excise law, it appears to me that you are all swept away in the torrent of governmental opinions, or that we do not know what these transactions have been. We know of none which, according to the definitions of the law, have been anything more than riotous. There was indeed a meeting to consult about a separation. But to consult on a question does not amount to a determination of that question in the affirmative, still less to the acting on such a determination; but we shall see, I suppose, what the court lawyers, & courtly judges, & would-be ambassadors will make of it. The excise law is an infernal one. The first error was to admit it by the Constitution; the 2d., to act on that admission; the 3d & last will be, to make it the instrument of dismembering the Union, & setting us all afloat to chuse which part of it we will adhere to. The information of our militia, returned from the Westward, is uniform, that tho the people there let them pass quietly, they were objects of their laughter, not of their fear; that 1000 men could have cut off their whole force in a thousand places of the Alleganey; that their detestation of the excise law is universal, and has now associated to it a detestation of the government; & that separation which perhaps was a very distant & problematical event, is now near, & certain, & determined in the mind of every man. I expected to have seen some justification of arming one part of the society against another; of declaring a civil war the moment before the meeting of that body which has the sole right of declaring war; of being so patient of the kicks & scoffs of our enemies, & rising at a feather against our friends; of adding a million to the public debt & deriding us with recommendations to pay it if we can &c., &c...

On January 29, 1804, as President, following the Louisiana Purchase, he wrote to Dr. Joseph Priestley:—

...I look to this duplication of area for the extending a government so free and economical as ours, as a great achievement to the mass of happiness which is to ensue. Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern, and I feel myself as much identified with that country, in future time, as with this; and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power.

Neither Pennsylvania nor the Louisiana Purchase seceded from the Union. But the areas in which support for Jefferson, in his struggles against Hamilton and Adams and as President, was concentrated did secede.

In the 1796 presidential election which Jefferson lost to Adams, the voting followed very closely party, which in fact meant sectional, lines. The South and Pennsylvania were for Jefferson; the North and Maryland for Adams. But the divisions in both parties were sufficiently acute for thirty-eight votes to be scattered among four other candidates. In the end, the fact that one elector from each of three Republican states gave his vote to Adams put him by that much ahead of Jefferson... (Max Beloff, Thomas Jefferson And American Democracy, Pelican 1972, p.121).

Two years later Jefferson was opposing the Federal Government's Sedition Acts. He framed a set of resolutions for the Kentucky legislature. Madison followed suit with regard to Virginia.

According to Beloff:---

The resolutions set forth, in comparatively familiar terms, the notion that the Federal Government was the product of a compact between the several states to delegate certain of their powers and no others to a single authority. What was novel was the assertion that the Federal Government was in no way the judge of the extent of these powers...For the moment the only positive suggestion made was that other states should join with Kentucky in petitioning Congress for a repeal of the Acts.

The replies received from other states showed the hardening of the geographical line between parties. In every state north of the Potomac, the state legislature disapproved of the resolutions, and in most cases adhered to the view that the decision as to the constitutionality of legislation had been entrusted to the Federal Judiciary. The Republican states (i.e., those south of the Potomac, J.K.) endorsed the protests and denied the exclusive claim of the Courts to pronounce on the validity of Acts of Congress, without always assenting to the view that it lay with state legislatures to declare them void (Beloff, ibid, p. 128).

All American roads lead to Monticello; and some, passing through, run on to Shiloh, and Gettysburg, and Appomatax Courthouse.

Manifest Destiny.

Jefferson's social policy, indeed the whole of his political life, was predicated on the inevitable expansion of the white race throughout North America.

Writing to James Monroe, then Governor of Virginia, on November 24, 1801, concerning the possibility (actually the impossibility) of colonising freed slaves within their own (very) little bit of North America, Jefferson looked forward to a white future:---

The same question to ourselves would recur here also, as did in the first case: should we be willing to have such a colony in contact with us? However our present interests may restrain us within our own limits, it is impossible not to look forward to distant times, when our rapid multiplication will expand itself beyond those limits, & cover the whole northern, if not the southern continent, with a people speaking the same language, governed in similar forms, & by similar laws; nor can we contemplate with satisfaction either blot or mixture on that surface.

John L. O'Sullivan did not use the phrase until 1845 or so, but Jefferson was thinking the thought at the turn of the century; Manifest Destiny.

Monroe went on to win the Presidency in 1817 (following Madison, who had followed Jefferson) and has a doctrine named after him, but actually it is Jefferson's doctrine (at least, the principles which inform it are Jeffersonian principles).

On 24 October, 1823, Jefferson outlined to Monroe the details of the Monroe Doctrine which was announced to Congress in a Presidential message of 2 December, 1823:—

The question presented by the letters you have sent me, is the most momentous which has ever been offered to my contemplation since that of Independence. That made us a nation, this sets our compass and points the course which we are to steer through the ocean of time opening on us. And never could we embark on it under circumstances more auspicious. Our first and fundamental maxim should be, never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe. Our second, never to suffer Europe to intermeddle with cis-Atlantic affairs. America, North and South, has a set of interests distinct from those of Europe, and peculiarly her own. She should therefore have a system of her own, separate and apart from that of Europe. While the last is laboring to become the domicil of despotism, our endeavor should surely be, to make our hemisphere that of freedom. One nation, most of all, could disturb us in this pursuit; she now offers to lead, aid, and accompany us in it. By acceding to her proposition, we detach her from the bands, bring her mighty weight into the scale of free government, and emancipate a continent at one stroke, which might otherwise linger long in doubt and difficulty. Great Britain is the nation which can do us the most harm of any one, or all on earth; and with her on our side we need not fear the whole world. With her then, we should most sedulously cherish a cordial friendship; and nothing would tend more to knit our affections than to be fighting once more, side by side, in the same cause. Not that I would purchase even her amity at the price of taking part in her wars. But the war in which the present proposition might engage us, should that be its consequence, is not her war, but ours. Its object is to introduce and establish the American system, of keeping out of our land all foreign powers, of never permitting those of Europe to intermeddle with the affairs of our nations. It is to maintain our own principle, not to depart from it. And if, to facilitate this, we can effect a division in the body of the European powers, and draw over to our side its most powerful member, surely we should do it. But I am clearly of Mr. Canning's opinion, that it will prevent instead of provoking war. With Great Britain withdrawn from their scale and shifted into that of our two continents, all Europe combined would not undertake such a war. For how would they propose to get at either enemy without superior fleets? Nor is the occasion to be slighted which this proposition offers, of declaring our protest against the atrocious violations of the rights of nations, by the interference of any one in the internal affairs of another, so flagitiously begun by Bonaparte, and now continued by the equally lawless Alliance, calling itself Holy. But we have first to ask ourselves a question. Do we wish to acquire to our own confederacy any one or more of the Spanish provinces? I candidly confess, that I have ever looked on Cuba as the most interesting addition which could ever be made to our system of States. The control which, with Florida Point, this island would give us over the Gulf of Mexico, and the countries and isthmus bordering on it, as well as all those whose waters flow into it, would fill up the measure of our political well-being. Yet, as I am sensible that this can never be obtained, even with her own consent, but by war; and its independence, which is our second interest, (and especially its independence of England,) can be secured without it, I have no hesitation in abandoning my first wish to future chances, and accepting its independence, with peace and the friendship of England, rather than its association, at the expense of war and her enmity. I could honestly, therefore, join in the declaration proposed, that we aim not at the acquisition of any of those possessions, that we will not stand in the way of any amicable arrangement between them and the mother country; but that we will oppose, with all our means, the forcible interposition of any other power, as auxiliary, stipendiary, or under any other form or pretext, and most especially, their transfer to any power by conquest, cession, or acquisition in any other way. I should think it, therefore, advisable, that the Executive should encourage the British government to a continuance in the dispositions expressed in these letters, by an assurance of his concurrence with them as far as his authority goes; and that as it may lead to war, the declaration of which requires an act of Congress, the case shall be laid before them for consideration at their first meeting, and under the reasonable aspect in which it is seen by himself. I have been so long weaned from political subjects, and have so long ceased to take any interest in them, that I am sensible I am not qualified to offer opinions on them worthy of any attention. But the question now proposed involves consequences so lasting, and effects so decisive of our future destinies, as to rekindle all the interest I have heretofore felt on such occasions, and to induce me to the hazard of opinions, which will prove only my wish to contribute still my mite towards anything which may be useful to our country. And praying you to accept it at only what it is worth, I add the assurance of my constant and affectionate friendship and respect.

Clearly the Monroe Doctrine is the necessary corollary of a policy of Manifest Destiny that had yet to be named.

For Jefferson Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine guaranteed the permanently open frontier that was his revolution. Taken together they enabled an oligarchy to oversee a continuing expansion of the democratic franchise within the context of the expansion into its North American destiny of the white race.

All the roads of America lead to Monticello. The night mare rides them all.

Link to part 3

Contents

Home Page

Reason And Authority

Peter Abelard And Bernard Of Clairvaux

Deliver Us From Evil

What's God Got To Do With It?

The Lord Thy God Is A Jealous God

In A Concluding Homage To Sextus Empiricus…

Of Prods, And Gods, And Dancing Girls; And Censorship, And Things

Coleridge And The End Of Christian Economics

Innocent's Ward—The Wonder Of The World

A Sufficiency Of Grace

Beware The Ides Of March!?

Suspensions Of Disbelief

Hugh Shapland Swinny—Nationalism And Anti-Theology In Ireland At The Start Of The Twentieth Century

The Wage The Faithful Earn

An Overview Of Slavery In The Southern United States

The Darwin Controversy

America The Beautiful?

Puritanism And The Theatre

Meet the editorial staff of the Heresiarch

Index To Past Issues

Athol Books Web

Athol Books HomePage

Aubane Historical Society

Athol Books Secure Sales

Labour & Trade Union Review