Friday, April 15, 2011

What is an American? Part IV

The Committee for Public Safety

Any law which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all. - A Leader of the French Revolution*

Revolutions are dangerous things.  Although the goals may be admirable, often times the result is far from what those goals were.  The French Revolution is a case in point.  Today it would have been called a popular uprising.  The peasants rising up against an oppressive King....storming the castle and celebrating freedom.  That is how it should have been, but something went terribly wrong.

The king must die so that the country can live. -A Leader of the French Revolution*

The King and Queen were both executed by the victorious mob...then the friends of the King...then the families of the King's friends...then anyone that posed a threat, or was perceived to pose a threat were executed.  During the period known as the Great Terror between 16,000 and 40,000 people were executed.  When you consider that the Great Terror only lasted a year...that is a very large number.

The Revolution was to remove a repressive monarchy, and was replaced by an oppressive dictatorship under the guise of the Committee of Public Safety.  Supported by the population the committee considered terror as the approved method to control the population.  All decisions by the Committee were for the public good.  All the while the economy of France was crumbling.  Taxes increased, farmers were pressed into service against their will.  For the people the only change was that things got worse.  In the end...King Louis was replaced with Emperor Napoleon.

What does the French Revolution have to do with being an American?  The American Founding Fathers believed in the virtue of people.  They knew that the people needed to be more than just part of the Government...the people were the Government.  That is why our constitution starts with "WE the people..".

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America".

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution sets the context for the document.  As simple as the statement may seem it is used by those who want to change the landscape of America...and change what an American is.  From the day it was written and ratified the Constitution has been under assault.  Although America did not fall into the black period of the Great Terror as France did...235 years later we may be facing that prospect.  Our devolution from a free people, to a Government controlled country has been in progress for a very long time.  

What was an American..and what is an American has changed.  Today for many Americans the purpose of Government is to provide for us.  We can live our lives in complete freedom from responsibility for our actions...we can not worry about providing for ourselves..we turn to Government to feed us, clothe us, and heal us.  At no cost....well...except for our freedom.

Is it too late?  I do not believe so.  In 2009, Millions of Americans began a Great Awakening.  For the first time since the revolution the people have began seeing what those little changes have done to our world.  The question is...will we make it through without suffering a Great Terror?

In part V I will provide examples of how average everyday Americans are reshaping the American Dream...and the part our latest wave of immigrants are taking to that end.

* The quotes attributed to "A leader of the French Revolution" were made by Maximilien Robespierre.   Robespierre was the head of the Committee for Public Safety and was responsible for the Great Terror.

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