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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/10/21

Taking a short stroll into some infamous US history

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History Brief: The Second Continental Congress and the Olive Branch Petition In this video, Second Continental Congress meets and George Washington is selected to lead the Continental Army. For teaching resources to accompany this ...
(Image by YouTube, Channel: Reading Through History)
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Painting of the 2nd Continental Congress selecting George Washington as the 1st President of the United States

Today I'd like to take a short stroll into some of our infamous history.

Question. Was America built at the expense-exploitation-of others? Any honest reading would clearly indicate it was.

It would be evident even from the time of Columbus with his exploitation and sometimes murder of the indigenous "Indian" peoples he found in his midst's. These peoples were "savages" to be dealt with as he pleased. He was after all a Christian from a higher civilization so he could dominate and exploit such lesser peoples.

Yet let's skip those early centuries and go from the aftermath of the revolution or better the writing and establishment of the Constitution ratified in 1788 by 9 states with its effective date March 4, 1789. On that date 8 states were slave states including New York and New Jersey as well as Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia. Only Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania were free states.

So slavery was a dominant feature of most of the nation from its inception. Not only slavery but voting excluded land less white men, all women, slaves and indigenous people. Only white land owners, merchants, lawyers could vote and those selected to run for office to the Congress came from those groups. The electoral college was put in there as another safeguard against the popular vote. So the exploitation of most of the people in the US from its inception was built into the Constitution.

Even today with women permitted to vote since 1920 and all white, black and indigenous peoples permitted to vote, those selected to run are mostly those candidates whose campaigns are underwritten by big moneyed corporations, billionaires, special interest groups, lobbyists, foreign dark money and the like so the reign of the powerful remain intact. Which includes both major parties, Democrats and Republicans alike.

What we've been taught in the schools is mostly propaganda we've been indoctrinated with. The land of the free and the home of the brave, from sea to shining sea, "manifest destiny" are feel good mirages because the lands were stolen from the indigenous peoples. White pioneers were encouraged to travel into these western territories and settle on these lands. The so called Indian wars and treaties with them-all subsequently broken-were meant to legitimize pioneers owning of the lands they settled on. Much of the rest of the continental US was usurped by war the US government initiated with Mexico, bought from Napoleon's France-Louisiana Purchase- who didn't want any of it and annexed from Spain as was Florida..

Of course to the US government none of the lands were "stolen" from the indigenous peoples. They had no concept of "owning" the land. They lived communally on the lands where they hunted then often moved as the seasons changed.

But "ownership" of land was an integral part of the federal government of the United States and supported by its Constitution of laws and regulations.

Now the indigenous peoples were considered "savages" and didn't "own" the lands they inhabited. Yet the land of the US was owned by the states and the US territories to the west were open to settlement by mostly white pioneers. The Homestead Act of 1962 passed by Congress helped solidify the process of ownership of the lands whereby settlers filed an application, lay claim to 160 acres of surveyed government land and after 5 years filed for deed of title.

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