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JReed

(149 posts)
29. All of America is based on myth
Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:59 PM
Jan 2013

Most Americans know that the framers met for three months in closed session, but this is generally forgiven on the grounds that the then Congress of the United States had not commissioned them to write a new Constitution, and neither revolutionaries nor counter-revolutionaries can do all their work in the open. What few modern-day Americans realize, however, is that the framers did their best to ensure that we would never know the details of their deliberations. All the participants in the convention were sworn to life-long secrecy, and when the debates were over, those who had taken notes were asked to hand them in to George Washington, whose final task as chairman of the convention was to get rid of the evidence. American's first president, it appears, was also its first shredder.

Fortunately, not all the participants kept their vows of silence or handed in all their notes. But it wasn't until 1840, a half century after the Constitution was put into effect, with the posthumous surfacing of James Madison's extensive notes, that the American people could finally read what had happened in those three crucial months in Philadelphia. What was revealed was neither divine nor diabolical, but simply human, an all-too-human exercise in politics. Merchants, bankers, ship-owners, planters, slave traders and slave owners, land speculators, and lawyers, who made their money working for these groups, voiced their interests and fears in clear, uncluttered language; and, after settling a few, relatively minor disagreements, they drew up plans for a form of government they believe would serve these interests most effectively. But the fifty years of silence had the desired myth-building effect. The human actors were transformed into "Founding Fathers." Their political savvy and common sense were now seen as all-surpassing
wisdom, and their concern for their own class of property owners (and, to a lesser, extent, sections of the country and occupational groups) had been elevated to universal altruism (in the liberal version) or
self-sacrificing patriotism (in the preferred conservative view).

The founding documents were designed to reign in the "mob" - the mob that had actually fought and won the Revolution.

K&R DeSwiss Jan 2013 #1
... xchrom Jan 2013 #2
Yeah, but if you happen to realize this consciously you are thought insane if you mention it Fumesucker Jan 2013 #3
nicely put. nt xchrom Jan 2013 #5
Yes, well put. I might add, "and the man claiming to have sight would be king and he'd poke out the rhett o rick Jan 2013 #19
ive known "America" was a farce sense birth willhe Jan 2013 #4
they talk about freedom in the world but dont want it for everyone in america. Flashmann Jan 2013 #7
+1. SammyWinstonJack Jan 2013 #8
The 1% want and have unlimited freedom, supported by the blood and guns of our soldiers. nt valerief Jan 2013 #10
What we're really trying to free from the clutches of the despots Jackpine Radical Jan 2013 #26
Exactly right. Everybody born into any of the underclasses always knows that the stories are lies. Egalitarian Thug Jan 2013 #34
Please...Like all of us, you didn't know anything "at birth". whathehell Jan 2013 #36
K&R newfie11 Jan 2013 #6
Bloody well written! nt Demo_Chris Jan 2013 #9
Isn't it, though? Delphinus Jan 2013 #20
autoxchromeDURec KG Jan 2013 #11
I grew up believing it too. zeemike Jan 2013 #12
Powerful...thanks. Faryn Balyncd Jan 2013 #13
Other than someone feeling depressed, does the author offer any concrete examples? randome Jan 2013 #14
It's not unproductive to arrive at the scene of a massive automobile accident obamamyprez Jan 2013 #18
Did you read it? tama Jan 2013 #22
at the same time live outside of America JCMach1 Jan 2013 #15
It angers me when lessens learned are allowed to fall by the wayside... socialindependocrat Jan 2013 #16
I grew up in a bubble that lasted until elementary school obamamyprez Jan 2013 #17
This message was self-deleted by its author rhett o rick Jan 2013 #21
Eisenstein is a rare bird. GliderGuider Jan 2013 #23
Another piece by Einstein JReed Jan 2013 #28
True. But change happens superpatriotman Jan 2013 #24
Charles makes that point in his talks GliderGuider Jan 2013 #25
Equality only looks equal to one looking down on others. n/t RKP5637 Jan 2013 #27
All of America is based on myth JReed Jan 2013 #29
Our brains are not the boss! nt gulliver Jan 2013 #30
I adore Charles Eisenstein. Question for those who click on this post.... OneGrassRoot Jan 2013 #31
+1 xchrom Jan 2013 #32
We have finally qualified and quantified our very existence Rex Jan 2013 #33
Yes! whatchamacallit Jan 2013 #35
k/r marmar Jan 2013 #37
K&R woo me with science Jan 2013 #38
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