Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Sunday Funnies

Attention Doomsayers:
We who ignore history are not destined to repeat it. We're still living it.

The following paragraphs from the college textbook, Western Civilization Since 1500, illustrate the painfully slow pace of positive economic, social, and political change even in the most democratic nation ever to grace the face of the earth, the United States of America.

Bear in mind that these words were written many decades ago by the noted historian, Walther Kirchner, during the Eisenhower administration, and that they concern only the years 1830 through 1848.

United States. Unencumbered by old-established aristocratic traditions, the United States, a republic in a world elsewhere dominated by monarchs and vested landed interests, continued during the period 1830 to 1848 to escape most of the complex social problems confronting other Western nations.

Internal Conditions. The United States’ population enjoyed civil rights. Hereditary privileged classes did not exist; the franchise, accorded in England and France to no more than a tenth or twentieth of the population, was almost universal; the government and law courts were democratically organized. The settlement of western lands continued to act as a powerful force for democratization. Although life (except for the upper middle class of the eastern states and the plantation owners of the South) was comparatively hard and competition was sharp, America held out promise for all and, with her geographic advantages, offered opportunities for material progress unequaled in the Old World. Yet, numerous social issues persisted, even though they were of a kind differing from those in other parts of the Western world. Among them were the race problem and slavery, the question of unity between the agricultural South and the increasingly industrial North, and the issues of protective tariffs, centralized government, enforcement of law, westward expansion, and immigration.

Foreign Policies. Despite her safe geographical location, the United States early had shown strong nationalistic tendencies. Fearful of European colonialism, she had proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine (in 1823), which aimed at preventing foreign powers from gaining additional footholds in the New World. The successful development of the nation simulated nationalistic feelings and a measure of imperialism. This was evinced by the fact that the westward movement was often accompanied by the eviction or extermination of Indians; by economic imperialism, reflected in the tremendous growth of the lumber industry and in the swift development of mining for copper, silver, and gold; by foreign wars and the annexation of territory—for example, Texas in 1845, and other large Mexican areas in 1848; and by treaties, such as the compact with England regarding the Canadian border. Thus, while domestic unrest and international calm marked the European scene, in North America the situation was reversed. Internally, the country progressed without revolutionary outbreaks; but externally, expansion and wars marked the period from 1830 to 1848."


Add to these continuing problems those of the effects of globalization, climate change, international terrorism, rapid technological change causing worker displacement, widening income disparity and the crisis of having a worldwide leadership vacuum and you've got a good case to continue reading, "The Sunday Funnies". God Bless Blondie and the United States of America.

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