Sunday, November 2, 2014


Well getting the one came close to a miracle. Ever catch the chariot race in Ben Hur? Imagine a chariot with not four horses, but thirteen. None of them wants to go in the same direction and at least one of them is trying to get in the chariot with the driver. That's what our not so sainted founding fathers were faced with in the summer of 1787.

Just finished literally blasting through E Pluribus Unum by Forrest McDonald. Book originally dates to the early seventies. It's a fairly short, often irreverent survey of the (dis)United States of America in the years between the start of the revolution and the ratifying of the constitution.

He goes section by section, state by state (briefly). Some states come off better than others. And his description of traveling conditions in say North Carolina, remind me just how easy we have it. Fronted by sand bars and barrier islands it was easier to ship exports up or down the coast and ship through Philadelphia, New York or Charleston.

And next time somebody tells you they "don't have time to go cast a ballot" ask them how far they live from their polling place. There were more than a few back country farmers who owned enough property to be eligible to vote but couldn't afford to from one to three days (both ways) to cast their ballots.

There was a whole lot of horse trading, private planning, arm twisting and down right chicanery that went into the creation of and ratification of the final version of the constitution. As for original intent. There wasn't one, in my opinion. More than a few of the delegates still called their home states their country and weren't in any hurry to allow more power to a central, national government.

McDonald refers to farmers, planters, storekeepers, sailors, ship builders, butchers, bakers and candle stick makers. Nowhere does he mention corporations. Probably because corporations as we know them DIDN'T  exist in 1787. I suspect that Patrick Henry for one would consider treating a corporation as a "person" as outright blasphemy if not underhanded chicanery.

No comments: