An interesting debate is taking place in the United States on how to determine the year 2021. Capitol’s attack earlier this year was reminiscent of the situation in the United States before the American Civil War of 1851 (1861-1866). Historians hope that the same storm will eventually lead to the renaissance of American democracy. After three horrific political assassinations, the demands of the civil rights movement were drawn up in parallel with 1968, when it was finally politically fulfilled.
The beauty of the American Revolution is based on two pillars that must continue to inspire us, especially now. The Americans wanted to remove the privileges of the king, the clergy and the aristocracy. They chose a qualification in which people are determined based on their achievements, not their appearance or religious status.
The second aspect may be even more important. Creating a board is hard, but it’s just the beginning. What is important is that the body of government that governs itself through the constitution is elected. Thomas Jefferson, one of the draftsmen of the American Declaration of Independence (1776) and involved in the later American Constitution (1788), studied Montesquieu in depth. The US Constitution therefore severely divides powers between the legislature, the judiciary and the executive branch. The opposite force is needed for any kind of power to prevent abuse of power.
Jefferson understood that a strong central (federal) government would strengthen the country economically and militarily. At the same time, he feared that the federal government would harm individual liberties and opted for a federal structure in which the states held more power. He was also a strong supporter of the Bill of Rights in his 1778 letter to James Madison. This led to the first ten amendments to the Constitution of 1781 in 1791.
America today stands at a crossroads. Will it choose to restore a democracy that has been reduced to power like in the 18th century or will it become a civil war like in the 19th century? In other words, does 2021 appear to be the successful year for the civil rights movement before the American Civil War (1861-1865) or before 1968, after three horrific assassinations (King, two Kennedys)?
In 1858 everything went wrong in America. The southern member states did not believe that federal construction would serve their interests, and they left one by one. The northern member states, which sought to abolish slavery, did not accept secession and waged war on southern Sri Lanka. Between 1861 and 1866, the North won the American Civil War. The federal union was restored, but there were many tensions.
Slavery was officially abolished, but there was racism and discrimination. For example, blacks are not allowed to vote in the South. Since 1877, segregation laws aimed at racial segregation have been introduced. They were legally valid from 1964-1965.
1968 saw the first integrated electorate in the United States. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited racial discrimination in the exercise of the right to vote, and gained practical significance only during the 1968 presidential election. Only then did the United States enjoy a multi-ethnic democracy protected by the Constitution. In the same year, the Fair Housing Act was enacted to prohibit discrimination in the housing market.
The Republican Party has today emerged as a reactionary movement. In the past, Republicans have advocated the abolition of slavery and Democrats have opposed it. This changed in the twentieth century when Republicans focused more on conservative votes. Today, Republicans are primarily concerned with restricting the voting rights of people of color. This is contrary to the 1965 Voting Act, which was first enacted in 1968.
As if this weren’t enough, Republicans are making it even more colorful these days. In early 2021, Capitol was looted by Trump’s Republican rhetoric claiming the election victory was illegal. Most Republicans still think the election was rigged by Democrats. In fact, Republicans are involved in legislating in many states, which allows them to claim electoral victory in the event of a contest. It will announce the end of democracy in the United States.
1968 of 1858?
So 2021 is like 1858. Republicans are ready to do everything to overthrow American democracy. The Confederates were preparing to leave the United States in 1858, which led to the American Civil War. The big question is whether Trump’s return in 2024 and the abolition of democracy will lead to a new civil war.
One more positive scenario is fiction, it was 1968. Will the majority of Americans punish Republicans in elections if they restrict the voting rights of minorities and undermine democracy? It doesn’t look like that yet. No one in the Republican Party dares to clash with Trump. If they do, they pay a higher price.
You may now think, “All of this will take your time.” “Let those weird Americans boil in their juices”, I hear you think. Well, this is a serious mistake. If America is no longer a democracy, the democratic world will lose a light bulb. It is already the case that only one-fifth of the world’s population lives in an independent country. If America falls, dictators and populists will crawl from every nook and cranny to bury the last democracies. Happy 2022 to you!
“Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator.”