Chapter 11 - The Commonwealth in America

 
    From the signing of the Mayflower Compact in1620, through to the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the greatest triumph in the ordering of human affairs, in all of history, was accomplished. It was accomplished largely by Europeans, but Europeans who had come to these shores to create something which was no longer possible in Europe. As John Winthrop said, they came to create “A City Upon a Hill,” to serve as a beacon of liberty for the rest of a humanity which was rapidly falling under the domination of the Anglo-Dutch Empire.

    Few people today even begin to grasp the profound historical importance of the American Revolution. For Americans, the heritage of that revolution lives on as part of our culture, and the lives of Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt, remain today a living memory within each American citizen. However, over the years, the deeper comprehension of that history has been dulled, as well as deliberately distorted by the Anglophile oligarchy. For others, particularly Europeans, the American Revolution remains a mystery, obscured, as though behind a veil. The long reign of the oligarchy and its Central Banking System has produced a 21st century Western European culture, in which the oligarchical shackles on the minds of the people have become invisible to them, and the Renaissance idea of Commonwealth has become practically incomprehensible. Most present-day Western Europeans are incapable of seeing that what came into existence between 1775-1787 was not a new nation but a new species of nation.


    Most of the 20th Century writings on the American Revolution are just horrible, incompetent, trash. This is particularly true of the Marxist/pseudo-Marxist view of the Revolution as a battle among competing “capitalists.” Not surprisingly, the more-recent “neo-con” analysis coheres with that view, as they re-write history to show that the Revolution was a fight against “big government,” in favor of libertarian free market values. This is outrageous “snow is black” lying. It’s all trash, and not a word of truth in any of it.


    Over the last thirty years, the LaRouche political movement has given a gift to humanity, by re-discovering the true history of the founding of the American Republic. A selection of published writings to that end is included in the bibliography to this chapter. These writings demonstrate conclusively that the founding of the United States was the culmination of the Renaissance Commonwealth project. They also dispose of many of the lies routinely taught in university classrooms.


    For example, the claim that John Locke was a major influence on the founding of the American republic, is simply untrue, and provably so.1 It was not the pro-slavery Locke who influenced the founding fathers, it was the networks associated with Gottfried Leibniz – the actual allies of Benjamin Franklin – who provided the political and moral inspiration for the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Among those individuals were Cotton Mather, James Logan, Rudolph Erich Raspe, Baron Gerlach Adolf von Münchausen, Abraham Kästner, Moses Mendelssohn, Gotthold Lessing, and Emmerich de Vattel. These were the individuals who shaped the debate between 1775 and 1787.


    In different ways, all of these individuals contributed economic, political, and philosophical ideas that flowed from Leibniz’s concept of happiness, a concept which Leibniz called "an active and progressive state in which new degrees of perfection are constantly being attained." This concept of human happiness – as opposed to the oligarchic fixation on bestial pleasure – is the distinguishing moral feature of the Commonwealth, as well as the American Republic.


    Eleven years before the Declaration of Independence, Raspe published Leibniz’s
New Essays on Human Understanding, the work which destroyed the oligarchic prescriptions of John Locke. It is the precise concept of human happiness, which Leibniz discusses in the New Essays, that we see enshrined in the words of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.


   To repeat, it is a species difference we are looking at here. The Vitoria-Grotius-Locke-Hobbes-Mandeville-Smith-Bentham view of man and society, is not just different by degree; it is fundamentally at odds with the republican-Commonwealth concept of man. Think of the earlier sections of this work, particularly the words of the apologists of Empire, as you read the following quotations from individuals who actually helped to create the American republic.



Quotations

You are become a body politic, using among yourselves civil government, and are not furnished with any persons of special eminence above the rest, to be chosen by you into office of government, let your wisdom and godliness appear, not only in choosing such persons as do entirely love and will promote the common good, but also in yielding unto them all due honor and obedience in their lawful administrations...
    John Robinson, Pastor of the Plymouth Church, Of Faith, Hope, and Love, Reason and Sense (1620)

Society must be based on “two rules whereby we are to walk one towards another: Justice and Mercy... The former derived from the Natural Law of Creation, the latter from the law of grace.The care of the public must oversway all private interests.”
    John Winthrop, leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, A Model of Christian Charity (1630)

"It is an invaluable honor to do good; it is an incomparable pleasure. A man must look upon himself as dignified and gratified by God when an opportunity to do good is placed into his hands. He must embrace it with rapture as enabling him directly to answer the great end of his being. He must manage it with rapturous delight as a most suitable business, as a most precious privilege...we ought to be glad when any opportunity to do good is offered to us. We should need no arguments to make us entertain the offer; but we should naturally fly into the matter as most agreeable to the Divine Nature whereof we are made partakers.
    Cotton Mather, Bonifacius, An Essay upon the Good (1710)

“But it is the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths which distinguishes us from mere animals, and gives us reason and the sciences, raising us to knowledge of ourselves and God. It is this in us which we call the rational soul or mind... “Indeed in general I hold that there is nothing truer than happiness, and nothing happier and sweeter than truth.” (1670)
    Theologian: But what is to love?Philosopher: To be delighted by the happiness of another.” (1673)
    Gottfreid Leibniz

"Happiness is the point where center all those duties which individuals and nations owe to themselves; and this is the great end of the law of nature. The desire of happiness is the powerful spring that puts man in motion: felicity is the end they all have in view, and it ought to be the grand object of the public will.”
    Emmerich de Vattel, The Law of Nations (1758)

The good of man cannot consist in the mere pleasures of sense; because when any one of those objects which you love is absent, or cannot be come at, you are certainly miserable; and if the faculty be impaired, though the object be present, you cannot enjoy it... “I have showed you what it (“the good”) is not. It is not sensual but rational and moral good. It is doing all the good we can to others, by acts of humanity, friendship, generosity, and benevolence; this is that constant and durable good, which will afford contentment and satisfaction always alike, without variation, and diminution”
    Benjamin Franklin, Dialogue between Philocles and Horation, Concerning Virtue and Pleasure (1730)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
     The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776


The New Nation

    Much has been written about the debates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and the ensuing battle to ratify the Constitution, but most of these writings fail to grasp the fundamental principles which constituted the essence of the new nation. The nature of the American Republic is derived from the two greatest principles of the Commonwealth, the concepts of sovereignty and the general welfare. These two ideas are inseparable. A defense of the general welfare is impossible without true sovereignty, and sovereignty has no reason for existing except to protect and further the general welfare. Today, “national sovereignty” is routinely denounced by mouthpieces of the oligarchy, like George Soros. It is derided as outmoded and counterposed to “new” ideas like globalization or “universal democracy.” “Nationalism” is regularly blamed for all of humanity’s past wars. This is not only absurd historical lying, it is a (deliberate) mis-definition of the term sovereignty. Sovereignty does not mean a world governed by individual nations, each of which is engaged in a Hobbesian geo-political competition with other nations. That, in fact, is one of the characteristics of Empire. The fundamental idea of sovereignty – the Commonwealth idea of sovereignty – is sovereignty over the oligarchy.


    Think of Locke’s words in The Two Treatises of Government, where he says that oligarchical Private Property Rights are “natural law” rights; that those Property Rights come down to us from Creation; that they pre-date all governments; and that governments exist solely to protect those Property Rights. That is the Empire outlook. That is the outlook of the slave and drug-running Dutch and British East India Companies. Sovereignty is the opposite. It is based, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, on the idea of “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” or, as it is defined in the Preamble to the United States Constitution, the General Welfare principle. Sovereignty means, that the nation – a physical manifestation of the Commonwealth idea – recognizes no higher, or outside, or supposedly pre-existing entity whose interest is allowed to take precedence over the defense of the General Welfare. The sovereign nation retains the responsibility -- and the full authority -- to defend the General Welfare against all the encroachments of Empire.


    This is why the United States, at least up until our present Bush-Cheney era, has always been an anti-colonial nation. From John Quincy Adams, through Abraham Lincoln, and up to Franklin Roosevelt’s battles with Winston Churchill, America was the foremost enemy of colonialism in the world. How could it be otherwise? The Commonwealth idea of the innate dignity of Man, the concept that “all men are created equal,” cannot co-exist in a universe where whole categories of human beings are enslaved, exploited, and treated as expendable.



The American System

    The Constitution's charge to defend the general welfare is not to be taken as advice to a group of social workers. It means to defend the well-being of the nation against oligarchy, and to that end the Constitution grants full sovereign power to our American government over all monetary, credit, and banking policy. No financial oligarchy, no private Central Banking System, is allowed to exert financial or economic power superior to that of government. It is the government, i.e., the elected representatives of the citizens, who will control the economic affairs of the nation, and direct it in such a way as to benefit the Common Good.


    Some will charge “That is socialism.” No, it is not. It is called the American System of Economics. It is the system of economics which made America the greatest industrial and scientific power in all of human history. The truth is that there is no such thing as “capitalism.” It is a meaningless term. For the last 220 years, human history has been largely determined by a battle between two economic systems: the British (Empire) System of Free Trade, and the (protectionist) American System of Economics. The United Kingdom and the United States are not two capitalist societies. One is based on the principles of Empire; the other is a constitutional republic based on the American System.

    Under the Empire’s private Central Banking System, the individual governments of nations have no sovereign control over their own monetary affairs. They have ceded their power over credit-generation, and even the issuance of money, to private banking interests. One of the key methods, by which the oligarchy then controls the destinies of nations is through the issuance of usurious debt, which has no other function but to enrich and enhance the power of the financial oligarchy. Under the American System, it is the government which maintains the sole monopoly right to issue currency, and it is the sovereign credit-generating powers of the government which are used to develop the nation to benefit the Common Good. The evidence of the benefits of this system are abundant throughout the history of the United States, and even today, American schoolchildren are still taught about the building of the Erie Canal, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.


    This is a key point. Think back to the discussions earlier in this work concerning the subject of money. For John Locke, and the rest, money is a self evident thing. It exists, as an independent entity, within the invisible “free market.” This free market system of money exists independent of all governments. Governments can only get access to this money by borrowing, taxation, or other means, and only under conditions allowed by the Central Banking System. Contrary to this, in the United States, money has no independent existence whatsoever. It is a product – a tool – of the credit-generating power of the government. The American System is a sovereign credit system, not a money system.


    The economic policies of Empire -- as we have seen increasingly since 1971 -- create monopolies, particularly financial monopolies, with power concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The livelihoods, and productive powers, of the vast majority of people are driven downwards, again, as we have witnessed since 1971. The American System, as Roosevelt challenged Churchill in 1945, is a system which uplifts people, utilizing sovereign power to regulate and direct financial practices to the benefit of all.

    The American System is a protectionist system. This may involve protective tariffs as we saw under a number of Presidents, including John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and William McKinley. Those tariffs worked. In his piece Financial Crises: Their Cause and Effects, Henry Carey wrote:


“The history of the Union for the past half century may now briefly thus be stated: We have had three
periods of protection, closing in 1817, 1834, and 1847, each and all of them leaving the country in a
state of the highest prosperity - competition for the purchase of labor then growing daily and rapidly,
with constant tendency towards increase in the amount of commerce, in the steadiness of the societary
action, and in the freedom of the men who needed to sell their labor.


“We have had three periods of that system which looks to the destruction of domestic commerce, and is
called free trade-that system which prevails in Ireland and India, Portugal and Turkey, and is advocated
by British journalists-each and all of them having led to crises such as you have so well described, to wit,
in 1822, 1842, and 1857. In each and every case, they have left the country in a state of paralysis,
similar to that which now exists


“Turn to the years which followed the abandonment of the protective policy in 1816, and study the rapid
growth of pauperism and wretchedness that was then observed. Pass on to those which followed the
passage of the protective tariffs of 1824 and 1828, and remark the wonderful change towards wealth
and freedom that was at once produced. Study next the growth of pauperism and destitution under the compromise tariff, closing with the almost entire paralysis of 1840-42. Pass onward, and examine the
action of the tariff of 1842 -remarking the constant increase in the demand for labor-in the production and consumption of iron, and of cotton and woolen goods-and in the strength and power of a community which
had so recently been obliged to apply, and that in vain, at all the banking houses of Europe, for the small
amount of money that then was needed for carrying on the government.


“Pauperism, slavery, and crime, as you have seen, follow everywhere in the train of the British free-trade system."

    Today, it is routine for mouthpieces of the Empire to attack protectionism, and many people have been taken in by this. But consider the fact that the United States is constitutionally a protectionist system. Consider also that protectionism should not simply be understood as a matter of tariffs alone. It defines a broader commitment to the industrial, scientific, and educational development of the nation. It defines infrastructure development. It defines capital intensive development of the physical economy, and the uplifting of the skills and educational levels of the citizenry. This is, of course the opposite of the “buy cheap – sell dear” free trade policies of the British Empire.


    Some of the individuals associated with the American System of Economics are still known today. Many are not. A (very) partial list includes: Alexander Hamilton, Matthew Carey, Friedrich List, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Henry Carey, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon LaRouche.

    It was Alexander Hamilton, with his 1791 Report on Manufacturers and his creation of the First National Bank of the United States, who was the founder of the American System of Economics. Later, it was Henry Clay’s Whigs (including Abraham Lincoln) who popularized a three-pronged American System electoral platform, calling for: a national bank, protective tariffs, and “internal improvements.” In 1827 the German-American Friedrich List, the ally of American patriot Matthew Carey, authored the Outlines of American Political Economy, Written at a time of intense political warfare, this work is both a thorough analysis of the difference between the American System and the British System, and a defense of the sovereign power of the nation-state. In it, List says:

"Without interference of national power there is no security, no faith in coined money... no security for the
health of seaports, no security for the commerce at sea by the aid of a navy... no titles to land, no patents,
no copyright, no canals and railroads. Industry left entirely to itself would soon fall to ruin, and a nation
letting everything alone would commit suicide.
"


    In 1861, the great President Abraham Lincoln revived the American System, with a policy of high protective tariffs, the issuance of a national currency (“Greenbacks”), and in-depth development of the productive powers of the economy, typified by such projects as the Transcontinental Railroad.2

    In the 1890’s, President William McKinley would implement the highest protective tariff in American history, and later, during the crisis of the 1930’s Franklin Roosevelt would return to the American System policies of Hamilton, Carey, Lincoln, and McKinley in his measures to take sovereign control over U.S. monetary and credit policy, and to implement measures to rebuild the nation. Exemplary of Roosevelt’s approach are his 1933 actions to de-link from the British Gold Standard and reorganize the banking system, as well as his use of the credit-generating powers of the government and his deployment of Harry Hopkins to unleash a massive rebuilding and improvement of the nation’s internal infrastructure.

    All of this, from Hamilton through Roosevelt, was done by utilizing the sovereign power of national government to direct economic and financial policy to serve the Common Good.


Empire against the Commonwealth

    From the earliest days, the London based Empire was determined to destroy the potential for a Commonwealth in America. Throughout the 17th century there were continuous economic and political attacks on the New England colonies. This culminated in 1684 when the Crown revoked Massachusetts’ colonial Charter, and then, in 1686, imposed on Massachusetts a Royal Governor. This situation worsened after the Dutch takeover of England in 1688, with the creation of John Locke’s Board of Trade and Plantations, and the founding of the New East India Company. The coronation of the Hanoverian George I in 1714 resulted in yet more repression against the colonies. These were not “disputes” between Boston and London merchants. Recall that this was the period of British domination of the world slave trade, and the beginnings of mass opium production in India. That future is what the colonists resisted.


    After the American victory in the Revolutionary War, the British made repeated attempts over the next 80 years to destroy the new nation. These included Aaron Burr’s British-backed treason, the British invasion during the War of 1812, the London-directed destruction of Hamilton’s national banking system (including Martin Van Buren’s insane policy of “free banking”), and the London-controlled insurrection known as the “Civil War.”3


    As a result of the Union victory in the Civil War, after 1865, and particularly after 1876, the methods of the American System of Economics spread all over the world. Japan, China, Germany, Russia, and other nations rebelled against the British policies of Free Trade, and began to develop their economies, using protective tariffs to encourage industry and constructing large-scale infrastructure projects.


    During this period, and continuing all the way through to the election of Franklin Roosevelt, the British Empire waged a decades long battle to stop the spread of American System economic methods, and to even turn America against her own republican heritage. This present work is not the place for an exhaustive treatment of that 1876-1932 struggle between the Empire and the American Republic, but fortunately such a treatment has been produced and is available on the internet.4 I urge you to view it.


    Throughout the 19th century, this London-based system of Empire relentlessly pursued the expansion of its global reach, imposing ever more death and destruction, as described in the previous chapter of this work.  Agents of the Empire – such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill – in their writings on utilitarianism,5 proclaimed that the philosophy of this Empire would not be the Commonwealth/Leibnizian notion of the “pursuit of happiness,” but instead the pursuit of pleasure, as defined earlier by the enemy of America, Adam Smith, in his Theory of Moral Sentiments.  Thus, they justified the greatest global looting in history.

Franklin Roosevelt

    To conclude this chapter, it is important to make a few brief remarks about the Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Following the speculative financial binges of the 1920’s, Franklin Roosevelt’s campaign in defense of the forgotten man was a trumpet, heralding a return to the Constitutional principle of the General Welfare. Foolish present-day populists, who decry Roosevelt as an “internationalist,” are simply incredibly clueless. Every action Roosevelt took demonstrated a deep-rooted patriotic commitment to the absolute sovereignty of the nation, beginning with his break with the British Gold Standard in 1933.


    Roosevelt’s bank reorganization, his regulation of the financial markets through such measures as the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act and the 1934 creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and his actions against commodity speculation all demonstrate the proper role of a sovereign government, acting on behalf of the Common Good. One example of such sovereign action was Roosevelt’s 1936 creation of the Commodity Exchange Administration, which imposed federal regulation on all financial “futures trading,” and outlawed completely all “options trading” (a ban lasting until 1981).


    Simultaneous with his attacks on financial and commodity speculation, Roosevelt acted to expand the nation’s productive capabilities. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the Works Progress Administration, and other agencies all utilized government generated credit to carry out tens of thousands of construction projects in the United States. Schools, bridges, hospitals, canals, irrigation projects, flood control projects, dams, port facilities, and highways were built by the hundreds. Rural electrification was accomplished. The great “Four Corners” projects (including the Tennessee Valley and the Colombia River projects) were built.


    Farmers were guaranteed a fair price through the Roosevelt farm “parity” policy. The elderly were rescued from destitution by Social Security. Labor reform gave working people the right to fight for a livable wage. Health care reform, which eventually resulted in the Hill-Burton legislation, ensured medical care for all Americans, regardless of income.


    Do not confuse any of this with the European idea of the “welfare state.” Roosevelt’s accomplishments, and methods, are derived directly from Alexander Hamilton, Henry Carey, and Abraham Lincoln. This was the American System. This was our government acting as it was intended to act, a sovereign power acting on behalf of the General Welfare.




1 See bibliography for: Valenti - The Anti-Newtonian Roots of the American Revolution; Shavin - From Leibniz to Franklin on ‘Happiness;’ Trout - Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness: How the Natural Law Concept of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Inspired America's Founding Fathers

2 For the implementation of American System economic policies by the Lincoln administration, see The Civil War and the American System, by Alan Salisbury.

3 See Treason in America, by Anton Chaitkin

4 See the video “1932,” available at www.larouchepac.com

5 An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, by Jeremy Bentham, 1781, published by Batoche Books, Kitchener, 2000