Constitutional Longevity. Was Religiosity...

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Sat Jun 13 07:42:07 PDT 1998

Dan writes:

> Less than 75 years after adoption, the Constitution gave rise to a Civil War
> in which some 600K lives were lost. Thereafter, came massive corruption, Jim
> Crow, stifling conservatism, repeated red scares, massive repression of labor,
> urban collapse, and yet more political corruption. This is stability?

It struck me many years ago that the claim as to the longevity of the U.S. Constitution was simply silly. The Constitution as originally written was in actuality discarded in 1861 and as it now exists was a joint product of the War of the Slave-Drivers Rebellion, the new amendments (*particularly the 14th amendment, as interpreted to apply to corporations), and the defeat of Reconstruction. The best dramatization I know of that new constitution is that racist movie, *The Birth of a Nation*. That constitution was challenged but not fundamentally changed by the Civil Rights movement, and the Carter-Reagan-Bush-Clinton administration has devoted itself centrally to reaffirming that Post-Reconstruction Constitution.

The United States as it exists now is little over a century old. The first U.S. nation barely outlasted the FSU. It lasted less than half as long as the ancient Athenian Democracy.

Recognition of the actual state of the U.S. today is also confused by the common practice of seeing Hitler's Germany as the generic manifestation of repressive states. Cockburn's claim that the U.S. is a fascist state invites (because of the lack of a clear term for the repressive capitalist state) mockery through comparisons with Hitler's germany but is essentially correct. (I agree with Wojtek's commentary here.)


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