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The movement, Lenz believes, has grown significantly since then. To put that in perspective, the Weather Underground was estimated to contain hundreds of members. Some guesses put the number of Black Panthers as high as 10,, a debatable figure. Both the Underground and the Panthers—who talked a great deal about the justification for violence but managed to commit relatively little—caused immense panic in the late sixties and seventies and massive responses from the FBI. Sovereign citizens, and antigovernment extremists as a whole, are part of a much larger movement, many are armed, they anticipate the government to fall in some capacity, and they are responsible for about a dozen killings a year.

The FBI has addressed them, and their growing menace, as domestic terrorism. Theirs is a totalizing vision of absolute individual freedom and resistance to a state they believed is ruled by an unjust government. Rooted historically in racism and anti-Semitism—they hovered on the extreme fringes of American politics until the housing crisis and the election of Barack Obama—sovereign citizens believe they are sovereign unto themselves and, therefore, can ignore any local, state, or federal laws and are not beholden to any law enforcement.

According to the SPLC , the sovereign citizens believe that the federal government is an entity that operates outside the purview of the US Constitution for the purposes of holding citizens in slavery. Ultimately, the movement boils down to a series of conspiracy theories justifying nonobedience to government agents.

Turner was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. Bruce A. At other times, the spirit of disobedience expresses itself in straight violence, as in the case of Jerry and Joseph Kane, a father-son pair who, in , killed two police officers at a routine traffic stop in West Memphis, Arkansas. During the first drought, the declines are small.

The year after is more serious. Food prices spike. Inflation rises, leading to a sharp jump in unemployment. This causes every other country to panic and sell their holdings as well, bringing China closer to becoming the global reserve currency.


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With the US bond market routed, higher interest rates ripple through the economy, slowing it down. The hardest hit are the farming communities dependent on commodity crops. The antigovernment movements in these areas swell and organize. They elect local politicians, particularly sheriffs. Pockets of the southern and midwestern states, under these sheriffs, believe that the federal government has no legitimate authority over them. By this time, a Democratic president has come to power, with significantly more socialistic ideas than any president in history.

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She eventually passes legislation imposing national education and health care programs. The local authorities take these programs as illegitimate government interference and, in the heated rhetorical climate, claim the mantle of resistance, which is also taken up by armed insurgencies. The National Guard swiftly imposes order. But the states consider themselves, and are considered by others, to be under occupation. T he borders of North America are, in their ways, as patchwork as those in the Middle East and as nonsensical.

The French lost to the English. The British lost to the Americans. The Mexicans lost to the Americans. The South lost to the North. The alignments of any political unity are forced; they defy historical experience, geography, ethnicity, or political ideology.

History: American Civil War for Kids

The antigovernment extremists know who they are. They see themselves as the true Americans. What could be more American than tax rebellion, the worship of violence as political salvation, a mangled misinterpretation of the Constitution, and a belief system derived sui generis that blurs passionate belief with straight hucksterism? The next American civil war will not look like the first American Civil War. It will not be between territories over resources and the right to self-determination.

It will be a competition over distinct ideas of what America is. It will be a war fought over what America means. Is the United States a country of white settlers or a nation of immigrants? Charles III accedes to the throne. Despite the prospect of having his face on the money, there is no serious attempt to challenge the status quo. The refugee crisis at the border continues to grow, quickly outstripping the ability of border agencies to manage it effectively. Calls for order grow louder. Asylum centres appear as in Germany and Denmark.

Despite restrictions on refugees from the United States, Canada remains scrupulously multicultural. Innovators cannot just head south when they encounter the inertia which defines so much of Canadian life. The stolid cultural industries and the tech world lose their garrison mentality, at least somewhat. T o sum up : the US Congress is too paralyzed by anger to carry out even the most basic tasks of government.

Bibliography of the American Civil War

Trust in government is in free fall. The president discredits the FBI , the Department of Justice, and the judicial system on a regular basis. Border guards place children in detention centres at the border. Antigovernment groups, some of which are armed militias, stand ready and prepared for a government collapse.

All of this has already happened. How much longer before we realize that we need to disentangle Canadian life as much as possible from that of the United States? How much longer before our foreign policy, our economic policy, and our cultural policy accept that any reliance on American institutions is foolish?

Two ways to read the story

Insofar as such a separation is even possible, it will be painful. In , the Sons of Liberty were spoiling for a fight. In the s, Jayhawkers and Border Ruffians were equally primed to hit back. That pushed the nation to civil war. Evidence from history and our own eyes tells us that we are deep into phase four.

Three takeaways show us how close we are to real battle. Both sides rush to tear down the constitutional order. Just since the election, we have witnessed a rolling thunder of Blue and Red elite rhetoric— packing the Supreme Court, abolishing the Electoral College , repealing the Second Amendment , wholesale state nullification of federal law, shackling of voter rights, and Deep State invocation of the 25th Amendment. Over time each party becomes emotionally invested in the lust to dismantle the old and make something new.

Hence, constitutional norms exist only conditionally, until such time as they finally be dismantled, and only as long as a precariously balanced electoral divide holds firm.


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  • A big historical tilt in favor of one party over the other would very quickly push the nation into crisis because the party with the new mandate would rush to enact its program. The very threat of such constitutional dismantling would be sure casus belli. Such tilts in the early s against Britain, and later in the s against the slaveholding party, were the real tipping points.

    Not only was Dred Scott v.

    Sandford just such a tipping point in , but subconsciously its legacy weighs heavily on Americans today, as they contemplate—often with hysterical passion—the dread consequences of a Kavanaugh appointment. The dead hand of the last civil war grabs us from the grave. If the poisonous hatreds of the s again inform our civil anger today—i.