Anti-Federalists Alert

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From Governor Schwarzenegger's inauguration speech:

When I became a citizen 20 years ago I had to take the citizenship test. I had to learn about the history and the principals of our Republic. I know it will be hard to put aside years of bitterness. I know it will be hard to overcome the political habits of the past but for guidance let's look back in history at a period that I studied when I became a citizen. In December of 1787 delegates of the original 13 states were meeting in Philadelphia; the dream of a new nation was falling apart; divisions were deep; events were spiraling downward—merchant against farmer, big states against small, north against south. Our founding fathers knew that the fate of the union was in their hands—just as the fate of California is in our hands. What happened in that summer of 1787 is that they put their differences aside and produced the blueprint for our government, our constitution. Their coming together has been called the Miracle of Philadelphia. Now, the members of the legislature and I must bring about the Miracle of Sacramento.

Like all history, the story of the Constitutional Convention was written by the winners. Any of you Articles of Confederation fans want to contest this version? Kevin Carson, where are you? In the name of President John Hanson, speak!

NEXT: Words, Words, Words

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  1. Looks like I hit the big-time.

    Most of those myths about America “falling apart” under the Confederation were extensively debunked by Merrill Jensen in (sensibly enough) *The Articles of Confederation*. The only thing the country was doing a bad job of under the Articles was making money on the government tit for war bond speculators and land barons. And boy, howdy, did the new Constitution take care of that deficiency, in short order!

    It’s hard to blame Ah-nold, though; the publik skool system’s history texts still recycle the “men of little faith” myth, and I’d be surprised if the dumbed-down, official version of history taught in citizenship classes didn’t do the same.

    Peter,

    Even adding the Bill of Rights was only enough because the ratifying conventions were extremely unrepresentative of the general population of small farmers and self-employed tradesmen. Had ratification been subject to a popular vote, we’d be living in L. Neil Smith’s America.

    Come to think of it, Rhode Island refused to accede (that’s right, Mr. Webster, I said accede!) even after the Bill of Rights was added. She only called a new convention and ratified two years into Washington’s first term, because Congress passed a punitive tariff and her merchant ships were rotting in dock. Congress did this largely at the behest of a Rhode Island federalist community in exile, lobbying energetically against their former homeland.

    This is pretty infuriating; Madison, in the Federalist, had dismissed questions of relations between ratifying and non-ratifying states if the Constitution were ratified. It was so speculative it did not bear looking into, he said–but he was confident that such relations would be governed by amity.

  2. Some libertarian Arnold is. Imagine if he were a follower of Lysander Spooner and William Lloyd Garrison:

    “What happened in that summer of 1787 is that they came together in a conspiracy to achieve arbitrary dominion over others, and produced a covenant with death and an agreement with Hell!”

    Oh man, what a satisfying speech that would have been. The reaction from the press (not to mention the neocons and the soccer moms) would have been even more entertaining. 🙂

  3. >>we’d be living in L. Neil Smith’s America.

    we would be living in the fantasy land of a shitty SF novel?

  4. Anon,

    I thought THIS was the shitty SF novel.

    Russell Hanneken,

    That’s pretty much what M.E. Bradford said when Reagan nominated him to head the NEH, and that’s exactly what the soccer moms and neocons did to him. God help Tom DiLorenzo if he ever gets nominated for anything.

  5. Had the anti-federalists succeeded, there would have been no fugitive slave law and no 3/5 clause, hence probably no Civil War.

  6. It’s not just the schoolbooks. Once when I read an encyclopedia article on U.S. history, it occured to me that the part about the Articles of Confederation period read like a federalist propaganda tract.

    Even if the anti-federalists were wrong, it would be good for our histories to take note of their arguments.

  7. “Like all history, the story of the Constitutional Convention was written by the winners.”

    This is one cliche I’d like to see permanently retired. “Official” Japanese history books rarely mention the attrocities commited in China and elsewhere. Japan lost that war, remember?

    History is written by whomever has a pen and a publisher and at least one gullible reader.

  8. Kevin,

    Boy, I wish we were still under the Articles of Confederation. Just look at how shitty American has turned out under the Constitution!

    My God. I like libertarians enough to consider myself one, but no other group of people would ever get into this argurment. Then there’s the “Lincoln was a fascist!” one. That’s my second favorite.

  9. >>I thought THIS was the shitty SF novel.

    and you claim not to be a gnostic? (!)

    (ps: your cut about “democratizing the world” in the other thread was mis-aimed. my handle here is purely ironic)

  10. PNAC Infiltrator,

    Actually, there was an earlier version of the Matrix in which Shays’ rebels had won and the Articles were still in place. But the human mind is not built to tolerate perfection.

  11. Mr. Anderson: i see plato lives. too bad you are so negative on the neocon’s dark lord, Agent Strauss or you may learn the lesson…that there is no cave…

  12. The most positive thing about Arnold’s speech was his reference to the nation as “our republic.” Not “democracy,” mind you, but “republic.” A small thing, but refreshing.

  13. Being an American, I wouldn’t know anything about it. Perhaps you should ask some people in Lebanon.

  14. The important thing to remember about the antifederalist states is that the intent and political purpose of the Bill of Rights was to win them over, and it worked. The inclusion of the Bill of Rights, and not just the original product of the Constitutional Convention, was the principaled resolution on which all thirteen states could accept. Any construction which loses sight of this is flawed.

  15. It’s been a number of years since I read the Federalist/Anti-Federalist papers (I must re-read them) but basically (as I remember) the big concern was a too powerful central govt. The Bill of Rights addressed much of their concerns, but even so, the Constitution, while not overwhelmingly popular, was considered the best that could be done at that time.

  16. I had to learn about the history and the principals of our Republic.

    You learn something new every day, particularly from Austrian immigrants. Who knew that the early American republic was run by school administrators?

  17. John Hood,

    Who do you think the real power behind the Illuminati (and thus the writers of the Constitution) were?

  18. once again someone is trying to smear anti-consitution people by bringin up the Illuminati. whats next, tinfoil hats and anti-sematism?

    everyone knows it was the banks, UFOs, the Royal Family and the Papacy that perpetuated the tyrannical fraud known as the consititution!

  19. I’d say Arnold essentially gets his history right. But I’m much more interested on his take on current events.

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