Tyranny and Crisis: The Early Years of the American Republic

Tyrannies are spawned in crisis. Wars, economic catastrophes, and civil strife often provide the government with a mandate to seize absolute control of a country. A republic whose Constitution is eroded through democratic processes may usher in a popularly elected dictator, who rewards the electorate with draconian economic controls and disastrous military campaigns.

Modern history is clear about how national crisis clears the way for tyranny. The hyperinflation of pre-Nazi Germany, caused by the parliament overworking the printing presses to pay war reparations to vengeful powers, created ripe conditions for the ascent of an elected strongman.

The First World War bred hunger, poverty, and fatigue making the Russian people receptive to socialist sloganeering like “Bread, Land, Peace.” The raging Chinese Civil War waged between the nationalist Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China led to the victory of the Maoists, and the formation of the bloodiest regime of the twentieth century.

These are but the most memorable examples of how various kinds of crisis give rise to authoritarian states. Less appreciated is how deeply in American history the political exploitation and even the fabrication of crisis runs. The present series of articles on tyranny and crisis will explore this subject and attempt to answer the following questions.

Is America in crisis or heading for a major crisis? If so, does tyranny lurk on the country’s horizon? What is the nation’s current situation in a historical perspective? How does America bounce back from crises? If we are in a crisis of some kind, how might America recover, if it recovers? And if the stirrings of tyranny are upon us, how might the formation of an authoritarian government be avoided? [Continued on Freedom Beacon]

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