Who Rules America: A Century of Invisible Government

Some while back I received a wonderful and gracious email communication from a LRC reader regarding a book I had recommended in an article on power elite analysis first published in 2012. The book is Who Rules America: A Century of Invisible Government, by John McConaughy. This extremely rare 1934 volume is presently unavailable at Amazon. My correspondent obtained his copy from India, and I received one of my first edition copies from Ireland via Abe Books. It is one of the most incredible books I have ever read. While it is almost impossible to find (read it and you will know why it has been actively suppressed) it is masterfully written, unflinching in its boldness, and authoritative. I have found nothing which supersedes it in dissecting this formative period of the American state. Below is my Amazon review of this classic:

“‘Invisible Government’ is a phrase for which it would be difficult to formulate a dictionary definition without sacrifice of accuracy to brevity. It may perhaps be best described as the political and economic control of the community — or the political control for selfish, if not sinister, economic purposes — by individual men, or groups or organizations, who are careful to evade the responsibility which should always accompany power. They operate behind a mask or puppets in politics and business, and these must take the blame in courts of law, and before the bar of public opinion, for any errors in the technique of knavery.” — John McConaughy

Author McConaughy impiously rips the masks off our elitist ‘Funding Fathers’ and their ‘invisible government’ for special privilege.

In what is one of the finest and most powerful histories of the early years of the American state, McConaughy demonstrates that the adoption of the Constitution amounted to a coup d’etat by these forces of ‘invisible government’.

Although the names and faces have changed over time, this is the same predatory plutocracy behind the Federal Reserve’s monetary meltdown and the Wall Street bankster bailouts of today.

McConaughy discusses how Federalists George Washington, Robert Morris, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall believed in nationalism — a strong, consolidated national government, weak states, an elastic interpretation of the Constitution, a central bank with special privileges creating an elite ‘paper aristocracy,’ and ‘internal improvements’ (corporate welfare at the national level).

By contrast, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Taylor of Caroline County, Virginia, John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia, etc. composed the Republicans. They believed in a constitutional Republic, not an Empire.

The Republicans opposed Hamilton’s vicious system of public finance.

The Republicans believed in federalism (a delegation of explicit limited powers to the central government, the bulk of power residing with the states and local government), a strict interpretation of the Constitution limiting the power of the central government, no central bank created by the ‘Funding Fathers’ benefitting a financial elite, no paper currency (gold was ‘the people’s money’), no special privileges, no corporate welfare.

Yet in perhaps the most instructive portion of the book, McConaughy shows how Jefferson and Madison compromised and caved in to expediency. It is here he vividly contrasts Republican John Taylor (who held fast to principle) and nationalist John Marshall. He writes in summation:

“In this writer’s view, it is not to Hamilton and Jefferson that we should look to see how the battle-lines were at last firmly drawn between the champions of the people and the forces of invisible government, but rather to John Marshall and to John Taylor. Marshall, by virtue of his unique position and his swift boldness, backed by one of the most adroit and incisive minds of history, was easily victorious in that early and all-important conflict. Those who should have been Taylor’s leaders refused to be even his followers. They surrendered in the hour of victory.

“Yet Taylor has millions of followers today — millions who have never even heard of John Taylor of Caroline. Beneath the sham-battles of our current politics the intuitive wisdom of the mass of men may be temporarily doped, but it does not die. And this power may at any time again break forth to bring about a sharp re-alignment of the only two forces which have ever existed in our polity — those who believe in a free and individualistic commonwealth, and those who believe in government for special privilege. Nothing savoring of the Marxian socialization of those fields of human action which we hold to inherently individualistic has ever gained a place in our political psychology, save in those instances where the servants of invisible government have held it to be the duty of the national Government to subsidize a favored few in their economic activities, and to come to their aid with the tax-funds of the people when corruption and incompetence have brought these favored ones the the edge of ruin.”

John Taylor’s courageous spirit is indeed alive today in the millions who resist the invisible government’s destructive welfare-warfare state, its unconstitutional preemptive wars, its overstretched empire overseas, its police state tyranny at home, and its Federal Reserve — the predatory enabler of it all.


8:24 pm on January 28, 2022

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts