I want to dramatically call everyone’s attention to a fantastic recently published book, The American Counter Revolution in Favor of Liberty: How Americans Resisted Modern State, 1765 -1850, by Professor Ivan Jankovic.
Explicitly in the Rothbardian tradition, it is one of the most amazing books I have ever read.
Upon beginning to read it I was totally blown away.
This brilliant book is everything I hoped for and much more.
The analytical paradigm of the author is revolutionary in impact, an amazing synthesis of history, philosophy, economics and culture
It has challenged the court history interpretations and reaffirmed virtually everything I have believed about American history and the founding of the American nation state and subsequent history.
I have learned substantial new factual and interpretative information on each and every page of the volume.
I came across reference to this book in an unrelated article by the author.
I looked it up on Amazon and him on Google.
There is an abbreviated version of the book at Google Books.
I read the introduction.
It became immediately clear that this is the book I have been looking for, hoping for, to be published for almost 50 years (at least since I was an undergraduate political science/history student intensively studying the American Revolution, especially by reading Murray N. Rothbard, “Modern Historians Confront the American Revolution,” and Bernard Bailyn (The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, and The Origins of American Politics).
In the subsequent decades I have read countless books and articles about what this new book finally puts into a brilliant and cohesive synthesis.
I have also written much on this myself and incorporated these ideas in my high school curriculum when teaching US History.
Essentially the book is about how there have been two parallel and competitive political belief systems in America. The first one drew upon European ideas and traditions of modern state building from the time of the Reformation.
This set of mercantilist ideas mimicked what was happening in Europe and led to the formation of American nationalism and the impetus behind the Coup d’état of the Constitution and subsequent centralization of political control.
The author’s book only discusses the historical period from 1765-1850 (and concludes with discussion of John C. Calhoun).
The untold story continues however, in the following decade with the War for Southern Independence or Lincoln’s War for Coercive National Unification (at the same time Bismarck was consolidating the imperial German state), and could be traced to the Progressive era, the New Deal and Fair Deal, and the National Security Act of 1947 which formally created the deep state.
The other ideological tradition existed before the Revolution, and was decentralist, libertarian, and antistatist. It was strongly influenced by centuries of Medieval political thought and centuries old traditions (especially concerning localism, individual freedom, and representation in Parliament) and later the British “country party” writers who opposed centralization and consolidation of statism in the early 18th Century. These authors were the primary influence upon the Founding Fathers.
It continued through the Revolution in the hearts and minds of a large sector of persons engaged in that struggle against efforts of the British imperial state to centralize and control what for centuries had been essentially a state of anarchy and spontaneous order.
This ideological tradition continued after the Revolution with the Anti-Federalists, the Democratic Republicans of Jefferson and Madison, the Tertium Quids or Old Republicans such as John Taylor and John Randolph, the libertarian elements of the Jacksonian Democrats, etc. up to the modern libertarian movement of today.
What the author describes is very similar to a powerful statement found in Vernon L. Parrington’s Pulitzer Prize winning Main Currents in American Thought: Volume One: The Colonial Mind 1620-1800.
Published in 1927, it is one of the most famous and influential works by an American historian in the 20th Century.
Parrington has been a key seminal resource for me for 40 years since first becoming acquainted with his three-volume masterwork.
The striking passage below is a crucial statement concerning the American Revolution which has perplexed and challenged me for four decades.
But a new economic order required a new political state, and as a necessary preliminary, the spirit of nationalism began that slow encroachment upon local frontiers which was to modify profoundly the common psychology. Americanism superseded colonialism, and with the new loyalty there developed a conception of federal sovereignty, overriding all local authorities, checking the movement of particularism, binding the separate commonwealths in a consolidating union. This marked the turning point in American development; the checking the long movement of decentralization and the beginning of a counter movement of centralization — the most revolutionary change in three hundred years of American experience. The history of the rise of the coercive state in America, with the ultimate arrest of all centrifugal tendencies, was implicit in that momentous counter movement.
Our Libertarian American Revolution (Amazon book list)
Constitutional Controversies and Debates (Amazon book list)
“Old Republican” Opponents of Federal Tyranny (Amazon book list)
I strongly urge everyone to buy and read this book.12:04 am on October 8, 2019 Email Charles Burris