Taming of Democracy

An excerpt from Sam’s Branch Essays, a book I am working on.

A book by Terry Bouton beckoned me to take a look inside– below the title Taming Democracy in small print  it claimed that the American Revolution had a troubled ending.

According to Bouton, Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, there was a counter-revolution after the revolutionary war. When the Articles of Confederation were replaced by the Constitution, America went from a democracy, the expected fruit of the revolution, to control by what Robert Morris approvingly called “moneyed people.” Bouton writes that the second revolution replaced the more democratic Articles of Confederation with a constitution that concentrated the government in the hands of the rich.

Robert Morris, the wealthy banker who financed the Revolutionary War, organized the constitutional convention to replace the Articles of Confederation. The Articles gave too much power to the states and were too democratic for Morris and his protégé, Alexander Hamilton. Morris, Hamilton and others of the elite founders devised our present constitution with a strong central government whose laws take precedence over legislation passed by the states. In an unsuccessful attempt to ensure that the elite would maintain control, Hamilton even wanted the president and senators appointed for life.

The constitution we got from the elite founders gives the President and the Supreme Court vetoes over the feared democratic impulses of the House of Representatives and created a Senate to put brakes on those same impulses. Senators were to be appointed by state legislatures, which guaranteed a Senate composed of “moneyed people”

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to Amazon.com to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (wvhighlands.org), and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation (ksff.org). I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at martinjul@aol.com or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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