America Belongs to the Americas - Monroe Doctrine - RR252A1

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Contents

Lesson

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: America Belongs to Americas-Monroe Doctrine
Course: Course - Aspects of American History
Subject: Subject:History
Lesson#: 3
Length: 1:23:16
TapeCode: RR252A1
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Aspects of American History.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission


[the beginning of the lecture was missed]

... was a decadent empire, inefficient, incompetent to a great extent, and unable to do anything to restore its own power over Latin America. There was some fear however that the holy alliance of Russia, Prussia, and Austria might move against these newly formed states in order to try to subjugate them once again to Spain.

The problem at the time was that the powers of Europe were very deeply disturbed by the recent events on the continent; the French revolution, and the aftermath of the French revolution. Their fear was that any kind of independents movement would lead to a worldwide desire on the part of people to find independence of their rulers, their monarchs.

And so they felt that whatever their personal differences it was necessary for the great powers, the monarchs, to come together to oppose any move, anywhere in the worlds, by any people, to over throw the power of an empire or a monarchy. They felt there was a dangerous current abroad of revolution, and hence their desire to move against any group that had declared its independence of Spain. There was thus a very real problem.

On top of that, one of these three powers was Czars Russian, you will recall that yesterday when we delved with the fact of the number of flags that have flown over California, we saw that one of them was Russia. There was some fear also that Russia would attempt to expand its powers along the Pacific coast. And therefore the Monroe Doctrine was promulgated. [00:02:43]

Now, the Monroe Doctrine has until fairly recently

Now, the Monroe Doctrine has until fairly recently, remained as one of the cornerstones of American foreign policy. It does not have the status of law, it was never approved by congress, and there was no need to approve it. It was simply a presidential statement together with his secretary's state to the powers of the world. However, although the Monroe doctrine has never had any legal status its power in American history has been considerable, in that it has been a summary statement of basic American policy.

The Monroe Doctrine has in essence four main points. First, the Monroe Doctrine declares that there shall be no future colonization’s in the Americas, North, South, and Central, by European powers. Implied in this of course was the idea that any foreign power was barred from the Americas. At that time there was no possibility of some Asiatic power being involved.

So in essence the idea was, the Americas belonged to the Americas. Therefore any attempt by Spain or any combination of foreign powers to interfere with these newly established Latin American states would not be permitted by the United States.

Then second, no attempt would be permitted to extend the European political systems to the Americas. Now see this is a little different from saying that no European power will be allowed to colonize, what it in effect means that we were not going to permit their political ideas to be propagated and furthered in the Americas.

To illustrate; this would mean if [?] in our time that we would not permit say Communisms to take over any of the Americas. To turn the Monroe Doctrine we should not have tolerated [?] coming to power because it mean that Marxist state allied to the Soviet Union now had established a beach head in the Americas, the same would have been true during the nineteen-thirty’s of any attempt to establish Nazism or fascism in the Americas.

This means of course that we’ve not been too strict about establishing this policy in recent years, as a matter of fact as we shall see to all practical intent we have abandoned the Monroe doctrine. But, first no colonization, second the political systems of Europe cannot be adopted in the Americas or allowed to extend themselves to Americas, and third we promised however that we would not interfere with existing European colonies. [00:07:01]

Thus we said we will not interfere with the British

Thus we said we will not interfere with the British colonies, the Dutch colonies, the Spanish colonies, or any existing ones. So that any colonies that will remain belong to the mother country and we will not interfere. Thus, in a sense we were saying we recognize the status quo. Now in a sense we did not abide by this, somewhat later; what did we do to interfere with one colony? One aspect of an empire? In fact we went to war over it...can anyone think of what war we fought with the European empire to help free one of their colonies.

[Audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] Good! You didn’t fail me. The Spanish American war. Now we had various excuses, and we won’t have time to go into that. But we did claim that there were extenuating circumstances in that war, so that it was not a violation of the Monroe Doctrine. And yet it can be argued that in the Spanish -American war we did NOT abide by our promise to avoid interference with existing European colonies

Then fourth, in the Monroe Doctrine we declared that we are not concerned with Europe’s quarrels. If Europe is having a war and a quarrel- a division- we declared we are neutral to it, we are not involved. Nor do we intend to get involved. This of course makes clear what we have done in recent years to the Monroe doctrine. In World War 1 we DID get involved. In World War 2 we got involved. In the Korean War, in the Vietnam War, we became involved in foreign affairs, foreign wars!

And in our diplomatic policy we have been in involved in the Swiss crisis and in a number of other crisis in recent years. Where we are definitely concerning ourselves with European quarrels and with the quarrels of various powers of the world. So to a very real degree the Monroe doctrine is now no longer operative. Not because any foreign power has violated it, but because the United States itself has consistently violated, especially the latter part of the doctrine, this fourth point. [00:10:38]

Yet, ironically we have not abided by our pledge with

Yet, ironically we have not abided by our pledge with regard to the second point! For example, Chile was taken over by Communist regime... true it was voted in but it was very closely aligned to foreign Marxism. In a very real sense it involved a violation of the Monroe doctrine and yet we abstained from action in the name of noninterference in foreign affairs when at the same time we were involved in a foreign war in Egypt!

So the Monroe doctrine; a very remarkable step in the diplomatic position of the U.S. was undercut, and to all practical purposes nullified by the U.S. itself. This is why although you know about the Monroe doctrine, unless the country changes drastically in the next ten or 20 years, your children may know very little about it. It may be a forgotten doctrine. Dropped out of the history books because nobody is concerned with it; it’s dead and it is a part of our history, so that perhaps no one will bother to remember.

This has happened to the Polk doctrine; president James Nocks Polk, who was president from 1845 to 1849 promulgated the Polk doctrine. Now it is important for us to deal briefly with the Polk doctrine, to understand what it means. We touched upon an important aspect of European policy and politics when we dealt with the balance of power.

To review briefly, balance of power politics is that type of politics where various powers are determined that they shall have the ascendancy, they shall have the primacy on the continent of Europe. And if any other power begins to rise to challenge them they will help a third power gain additional strength in order to attack the second power. The idea being that your rivals are to cancel each other out we saw how Louie the 14’th used the balance of power, how Britain especially is the dominant force in Europe for some time and used the balance of power to destroy the old French monarchy, then to destroy Napoleon, then in world war one, or even after the destruction of Napoleon, to destroy Napoleon III When Napoleon the third became very powerful, to destroy Kaiser Wilhelm and his German empire, to destroy Nazi Germany after they had risen to power as a result of their manipulation and also to foster with Churchill's famous Westminster college speech, the Cold War between the U.S.S.R., the Soviet Union, and the U.S. [00:14:52]

Now, the Polk doctrine is concerned with this balance

Now, the Polk doctrine is concerned with this balance of power politics. At that time Texas had become an independent country. Territorially, Texas has more than enough power to be independent. It is bigger than many nations in Europe, but territory does not determine strength! Resources, industrial capacity, and other factors, do. As a result, Texas while technically an independent country, in reality did not have the ability to remain independent. Texas was mostly cattle, a small amount of farming, its resources were limited. The government could not exist very well, in those days in particular, without foreign subsidies.

Now one of the interesting facts is that immediately Texas had all kinds of friends! As a matter of fact Britain was ready to lend all kinds of money to Texas, in effect, what the British policy would have done would have been to make Texas, more or less, a branch of the British empire to all practical intent without any violation of the Monroe doctrine. Texas would have been so financially dependent on Britain, the Texas policy would have been dictated by British policy, Texas would have been involved then in the balance of power politics in Europe. It would have meant that whenever Britain needed to exercise any pressure of the United States it would have a lever right down in the south-west in Texas. This posed a tremendous threat. It meant that without colonizing and taking over Texas Britain now had a tremendous means of using force against the United States. Exercising pressure.

Polk was immediately aware of the threat; moreover President Polk recognized there was technically no violation of the Monroe doctrine... so that he could not say to the British government “You have violated the Monroe doctrine and we protest.” of course the British could always say “We don’t recognize the Monroe doctrine” and been accurate, but on the other hand the British government knew that a policy of the United States that had been laid down as their basic policy with regard to the America’s, if they did violate it, it was going to mean some kind of conflict and trouble.

But, by financing Texas, by using this round about means they were not violating the Monroe Doctrine. So Polk declared as the Polk doctrine, the other great cornerstone of American foreign policy in the last century “No country in the Americas can be involved in the European balance of power politics.” In other words, not only are the European powers to stay out of the Americas, unless they already have a colony, but they cannot involve the Americas in the balance of power politics. [00:19:48]

That’s the Polk doctrine

That’s the Polk doctrine. Very simple. But extremely important. Well, again, we destroyed the Polk doctrine. We got ourselves involved in a number of things where the balance of power was at stake. Theodore Roosevelt was the first to do this. Does anyone know what war he involved us in without military action on our part, but to intervene, to protect one country from defeat, to establish a balance of power? This is not an easy question; do a little thinking. [00:20:48]

[pause]

[Rushdoony] Theodore Roosevelt charged in as the peace maker and saved one country that had won early victories from radical defeat, and made a great nation out of it, when previously it had been of no consequence to the world.

This was early in the nineteen hundreds.

[another pause]

[audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] No- but you are partly right about one of the countries involved, Russia.

[another pause]

[Rushdoony] What war was Russia involved in?

[another pause]

[Rushdoony] Can anyone think? I’ve given you half the answer. Doesn’t anyone know? Don’t you know??

[laughter from the audience]

[audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] What? …. No, it was before, some years before. The Russo Japanese War. Now what happened in this war, and the Russo Japanese war, which was fought of course on the Pacific coast, the Japanese attacked Russia. Well, that’s not necessarily the case, but the two countries went to war. And immediately the Japanese took the attack. Russia because its center was in Europe had a real problem in getting supplies to the Pacific coast. So in the early stages of the war, Russia took one staggering defeat after another because it was so far from the battle line.

Now, the results were quite disastrous to Russian moral as well as to Russian prestige all over the world. Russia was one of the great powers of the world and here a little far Eastern country, up until now no consequence in the world affairs, was beating them badly!

However, as the war progressed to a certain point it became very obvious that Japan was going to be overwhelmed. Why? Because the Russians were slowly getting the men and the equipment across Siberia, and as they moved this vast amount of equipment and man across Siberia to the war front, it was clear now they were going to be in a position to overwhelm and to defeat Japan thoroughly.

The great powers did not want this. Their attitude was that it would be nothing short of a disaster for Russia to defeat Japan and to have the door opened to taking a big bite into China on the next go around. And so bidding was “We have got to do something there! We have got to prevent this Japanese victory from being turned into a defeat and a collapse. Therefore some kind of interference should take place here.” And so they prevailed upon Roosevelt, who foolishly felt that it was a great honor to be asked by the great nations to play the role of a peacemaker, to step in there and stop the war before anything happened, in the name of “world peace”. [00:25:31]

And so Russia was stopped by pressure from the great

And so Russia was stopped by pressure from the great powers and the United States from going any further and turning a defeat into a victory. Since then, we have made the same very serious blunder, and we have saved a country from radical defeat. Does anyone know when this happened? This time it was the Russians who asked us to do it. We played peacemaker and created no end of trouble.

[audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] Egypt! Yes, in the Israeli war just recently, at the very first things went badly for the Israeli because they were caught by surprise. Then, things began to turn around. The Israeli armies were marching toward Damascus and especially in Egypt, they had crossed the west, the Egyptian armies were in panic and in flight, Egyptian resistance was collapsing, and there was nothing to prevent the Israeli from over whelming all Egyptian forces. So at that point when we didn’t fully appreciate -because we had such poor intelligence- we didn’t fully appreciate how far gone the Egyptian situation was, we stepped in at the request of the Soviet Union and saved their friend Egypt and at that point Kissinger was made into a total fool and Nixon as well! Now the only thing we gained out of it was that the Arab powers, instead of being grateful to us, promptly hit us with an oil embargo.

So it was a thorough act of stupidity and it was a violation of our historic foreign policy. So you see--- Yes?

[audience member speaks] [?] Military aid... [?

[Rushdoony] Not necessarily, if we sell them things on a cash basis. On an economic basis. We maintained that right to trade in the war of eighteen twelve.

Now there was another famous example in the last century of an attempt by foreign powers to violate both the Monroe and the Polk doctrine. And its real purpose was to destroy the U.S.! Does anyone know what that attempt was? This is an extremely important thing. Very, very important. It concerned Mexico. What happened in Mexico during the civil war?

[pause]

[Rushdoony] Yes?

[audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] True. Now, who were they using as a front there?

[audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] Yes, but what individual? Who became emperor of Mexico during the civil war? Did I hear someone speak... yes--- [00:29:52]

[Audience member speaks]...

[Audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] Maximilian! Good for you. Now, when we became involved in the civil war, one of the immediate results was of course that there was a great deal of European support for the South. This support was not premised on any feeling of sympathy for the south or being pro southern. The whole point of the European support for the south and the hostility to the Union was “This young country, the United States, is getting too powerful. If we see it split, if we help it to split, we will keep this country from becoming too strong. And possibly it will help us again to treat the America’s as an area where we can interfere at will.” In other words we can nullify the Polk and Monroe doctrines; we can treat the America’s as open country. As a result, when the war continued it was apparent that there was not going to be a quick victory, that it was going to be a long drawn out affair that could possibly lead to a Union defeat; the powers of Europe- Britain, France, Spain, Austria and others exclusive of Russia (this time Russia did not go in because the Czar was pro American) supported Maximilian of Austria.

Maximilian was sent to Mexico with an expeditionary force of foreign troops, to be made emperor. Now Maximilian was a naive soul and he sincerely believed what his foreign advisers kept telling him “Max, the people love you. You’re going to be the great benefactor of Mexico! They need a wise and intelligent ruler like you!” As a result, later when the foreign troops were pulled out, Maximilian was foolish enough to believe that the people there wanted him. Well they wanted him to kill, so they promptly executed him. And his empress Carlotta, who had taken the ship and gone back, went from one court in Europe to another pleading for help for her husband. She lost her senses and lived insane the rest of her life. I believe she died in the nineteen twenty’s, and this was in the eighteen sixties.

However Maximilian was sent to Mexico with foreign troops and the point was that he was to build base there from which not only was there a threat to the United States, but if and when the war ended, a weakened United States could very easily be challenged by the foreign powers from Mexico with highly professional foreign troops. The threat was very real. As a matter of fact, in much of the union the feeling was that the country was finished. The irrespective of what happened in the war with the south which was under way. The union was finished! The European powers through Maximilian were going to destroy the United States.

Now there were good grounds for such fears. What would happen?

[Audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] Right. I think I’ve discussed this with you once, a few years ago.-- Yes?

[Audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] The Czar sent the Navy to sea with sealed orders. One fleet -the pacific fleet- was told to go to San Francisco, the other was sent to ports on the Atlantic, Boston and I believe Washington D.C. [00:34:38]

Well, consider what this meant when a great navy landed

Well, consider what this meant when a great navy landed at both ends of the United States. The accounts of the day tell us that when the fleet landed, America’s in Boston, San Francisco, and elsewhere met the Russian sailors with tears. Women were going up and kissing the Russian sailors and crying, “We’ve been saved, we’ve been saved!” and with good reason. They had been. The Czar had actually saved America and this instituted a period of very great friendship for a long time with Russia on the part of the U.S. because at a critical point in our history, when the foreign powers were ready to destroy us the Czar of Russia had come to our rescue.

Now, when this happened, the immediate reaction of the foreign powers was “We cannot do it, because we have a power behind us there Russia to the east of Europe with its vast army and we have the Russian fleet there, San Francisco and on the Atlantic Coast so they immediately gave orders to their troops in Mexico to with draw. They withdrew, and the result was the collapse of Maximilian’s government. He was urged by the foreign advisers to leave the country and he said “No, my place is here with my people. They love me!” Well, he was immediately taken prisoner by them and Juarez refused to allow any quarter to be given unto him, and his execution took place.

Now, there was another thing that Russia did for us at that time, and we did for them apparently as a favor. So it was to be a mutual favor to indicate their friendship. Does anyone know what this other Russian act was?

[pause]

Yes? [00:37:18]

[audience member speaks]...

[audience member speaks]

[Rushdoony] Yes! The purchase of Alaska. To indicate their co-operation and their feeling that the United States should have a future determination of this continent, Russia offered Alaska for sale to us and we, as a favor to Russia, to indicate our appreciation of what they did, bought it. Now even then as you recall from your U.S. history, there were Americans who criticized what they called sure folly- to have bought that vast hunk of ice, Alaska. Which turned out to be one of the greatest assets the United States had, a gold rush, the fur, and so on and now of course an even more important asset in terms of our enormous energy crisis, Alaskan oil. The wealth we gained there was enormous. And all of this is a part of the Czars feeling of the necessity of defending the United States the extent of influence this had on this country was so great that even when the Russian revolution took place there were many people who were ready to be friendly to Lenin and his regime because the sentiment in America intensely pro-Russian. Russia was our friend- that was the people. And indeed in the last century Russia did demonstrate itself to be one of our greatest friends, this, in spite of the fact that we had under Theodore Roosevelt, more than a little damage in the settlement of the Russo Japanese war.

Now we’ll stop for a few moments for questions. Are there any questions? When does this period end, by the way? I keep forgetting. 10:00pm? Oh, I’m sorry! I keep forgetting.

[general commotion... the audience moving around and speaking to one another]

[00:40:07]

[long pause]

Our concern now is with voluntarism and reform. Voluntarism and reform. We have been dealing in our evening classes with the principal of voluntarism, where by, after seventeen-forty and the great awakening in particular. Instead of things being handed down from above by statist action the American principal has it developed and became a unique contribution to world history was for voluntary action from the grass roots springing out of faith. Out of the convictions of the individual man, so that churches created not as established churches, state supported, but supported by the people.

Various reformed movements, schools, everything. Instead of state established, representing the faith and the convictions of the people. As a result, a wide variety of reformed movement in the early half of the eighteen hundreds began to spread and for better or worse became major forces of the American sea.

Of these, perhaps the most conspicuous was the antislavery movement. Now it is ironic when we examine the origins of it, how insignificant is was. The most fanatical, the most extreme of the anti-slavery or abolitionist agitators was William Lloyd Garrison; who published “The Liberator” he was so extreme that even those who were anti-slavery were very angry and embarrassed by his activity. They felt his extremism discredited the entire movement. That there was no future for the anti-slavery movement when rabble rouser’s and hot heads, extremists like Garrison, took it over.

When some of the first issues of the liberator in eighteen thirty-one came out Southerners who first encountered them went up in smoke because Garrison was so extreme. Garrison made it clear that the only thing that mattered to him was freedom! On one occasion he publicly burned a copy of the constitution to express his contempt for a document that allowed slavery to exist. In one way or another, the public acts of Garrison were extremely offensive.

But when he first began the issues that the Southerners picked up so upset them that they wrote to the mayor of Boston to protest the kind of rabble rousing activity of William Lloyd Garrison and the Liberator. Now Odis, when he received the letter from the South was very puzzled! “What was all this talk about Garrison and “The Liberator”?” He’d never heard of either one. So he did some investigating and he found that there was one man with a handful of colored ex slaves operating in a little cubby hole of an office on next to no funds, issuing these papers from time to time proclaiming the gospel of abolitionists. [00:45:16]

He was very relieved and he wrote a letter to the Southerner

He was very relieved and he wrote a letter to the Southerners saying, “You have nothing to worry about! Here in Boston we didn’t even know this man existed. And I assure you he is nobody and there is no-one who follows him.” However, the startling fact was that within a few years some of the finest young men from the most important families in Boston were reading and following Garrison! And Garrison’s influence was spreading everywhere.

Influence of Garrison in the abolitionist movement instead of being insignificant became tremendously important. Because Garrison as an extremist, hits savagely and hard on the issue. He made even people who disliked him intensely feel a little bit guilty because they weren’t making an all out stand on a moral issue! His power as a result grew enormously in spite of his extremism or perhaps because of it.

Garrison, in other words, was pushing ideas to their nth degree he was demanding that people take an either or stand! And as a result he became progressively a powerful force on the American scene in spite of the fact that his following was never too great. I’d like to read now, a few things from the first issue of “The Liberator”, which appeared as a weekly paper.

January 1, 1831.

Garrison Rd.

“In Defending the Great Cause of Human Rights”

“I wish to derive the assistance of all religions and of all parties assenting to the self-evident truth maintained in the American Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I shall strenuously contend for the immediate enfranchisement, or freeing of our slave population.

I am aware that many object to the severity of my language... but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write with moderation. No, no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a ‘moderate’ alarm. Tell him to ‘moderately’ rescue his wife from the hands of a ravisher. Tell the Mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire from which it has fallen... But urge me NOT to use ‘moderation’ in a cause like the present! I am in earnest! I will NOT equivocate, I will NOT excuse, I will NOT retreat a single inch, and I WILL be heard. [00:49:21]

The apathy of the people is enough of make every statue

The apathy of the people is enough of make every statue leap from its pedestal and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.”

Now this is strong language and it in particular began to spread rapidly among a segment of the population in New England in particular. Does anyone know where its appeal was?

[pause]

Does anyone know the kind of following the abolitionist had? It was among the Unitarians, the Transcendentalist, the Rationalists, the various people who had no gospel. Who, having abandoned the historic Calvinism of New England and having moved into a Unitarian of varying forms no longer had a real gospel. But they hungered for some kind of word to proclaim to people; a word of freedom, a word of liberation. And so it is they looked to various thing as a new gospel. For Horace Mann the new gospel became state control of schools, Horace Mann proclaimed the saving power of the common school or of the public school. He visualized a future in which America would be crying free, prison free, free of all moral and social problems. How? Through the state schools. He imagined that people looking back a century later would think that people in the eighteen thirties lived very primitively and crudely because by that time under the enlightening and blessing influence of the state schools, crime would disappear, poverty and ignorance would disappear, and people would live in peace, prosperity, and happiness. What had happened for Horace Mann was that government control of schools had become the new means of salvation!

Now the Unitarians and Transcendentalists went into one movement or another seeking salvation. [00:52:22]

These movements by the Unitarians attracted their zeal

These movements by the Unitarians attracted their zeal and their fervor so that they had all the passion of the old time Puritans; ready to go out and conquer the world! Only, not for Christ now, but for their faith. What they did was to take the Puritan attitude which still lingered in their midst and transfer this into a totally secular, totally humanist, context. And so Garrison could say “On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write with moderation.” Subsequently abolition became so powerful in Unitarian circles that a group of very, very wealthy Unitarians formed a council The Secret Six, The Secret Six was made out of six very wealthy Unitarians, and then a second six was made out of Unitarian thinkers of whom Emerson was one. Emerson was a part of the secondary six. It is interesting, and I referred to this “Nature of the American System” one of the secret six was a very wealthy Unitarian who was also a Unitarian minister although usually not in church work, cause he didn’t need to work; Thomas Wentworth Haggenson; a very powerful man who once said he always had money for treason. He was influential in the support of Horace Man, he was influential in the support of abolition, he was influential in the support of-- can anyone think of a man that The Secret Six used?

[pause]

Not too far from here. John Brown. John Brown, a hoodlum and a killer, John Brown was financed by The Secret Six to try to start a war, because they felt the best thing that could happen for the cause of abolitionism and centralism or socialism would be a war! And they were right. The sad fact is that John Brown failed at Harper’s ferry {?} to start a war and the South Carolinian’s foolishly did John Brown’s work for him when they fired on Fort Sumter. [00:55:45]

Now this was one of a number of movements

Now this was one of a number of movements. Another was Dorothea Dix’s movement on prison reform. Dorothea Lynn Dix was a New England woman, a Unitarian like the others, who got herself involved in reform. Her name was so famous; incidentally, that another woman picked it up some years ago and created the Dorothea Dix letter column. For a long, long time when I was of your age, the most popular column in the U.S. was the Dorothea column. Which was like the Abigail Van Boerum and Ann Landers column. Like the two combined. Everybody in the United States read the Dorothea Dix column. Well the woman who adopted that name had borrowed it from the original and the real Dorothea Dix. Dorothea Dix began to visit prisons, poor houses, institutions for the mentally disordered, and began a reform movement to improve these prison facilities which were often very poor. And she, in January of 1843 presented a memorial to the Massachusetts legislature in which she pleaded for a correction of the abuses and she did get action out of the legislators. [00:57:43]

She wrote, “I come to present the strong claims of

She wrote, “I come to present the strong claims of suffering humanity. I come to place before the legislature of Massachusetts the condition of the miserable, the desolate, the outcast. I come as the advocate of helpless, forgotten, insane, and idiotic men and women. Of being sunk to a condition from which the most unconcerned would start with real horror. Of beings, wretched, in our prisons, and more wretched in our alms houses, men of Massachusetts: I beg, I implore, I demand pity and protection for these of my suffering outrage sex. Fathers, husbands, brothers, I would supplicate for this boon. But do I say? I dishonor you; divest you at once of Christianity and humanity. Does this appeal imply distrust? If it becomes burdened with a doubt of your righteousness in this legislation, then, blot it out. While I declare confidence in your honor not less than your humanity, here you will put away the cold calculating spirit of selfishness and self-seeking. Lay off the armor of local strife and political opposition. Here and now, for once, forgetful of the earthly and perishable, come up to these halls and consecrate them with one heart and one mind to works of righteousness and just judgement.

Injustice is also done to the convicts. It is certainly very wrong that they should be doomed day after day and night after night to listen to the ravings of mad men and mad women. This is the kind of punishments that is not recognized by our statutes and is what the criminal ought not to be called upon to undergo. The confinement of the criminal and of the insane in the same building is subversive of that good order and discipline which should be observed in every well regulated prison. I do most sincerely hope that more permanent provision will be made for the proper insane by the state- either to restore Wooster Insane Asylum to what it was originally designed to be, or else make some just appropriation for the benefit of this very unfortunate class of our fellow beings.”

Now this is the kind of thing that abounded in that day. One kind of moral reform after another- some good, some bad. But influenced by the spirit of voluntarism that was as it was carried outside of the Christian fold into the Unitarian and other circles. [01:00:45]

Another such movement was the women’s rights movement

Another such movement was the women’s rights movement. In 1848 there was the Seneca Falls declaration and resolution on women’s rights. Now there was some cause for the women to feel distressed. In Biblical law, I deal with the movement and I point out how after the war of independence the laws with regard to woman went downhill and the woman was progressively deprived of all her rights, so that a woman could be literally robbed of everything she inherited by her husband and she had no recourse. The condition was truly an ungodly one, and it is to the shame of the churches of the day who had been so caught up in emotionalism that they did nothing about it! And it remained for the securely minded to do something about it. But even then these women who did work on it were while justified in a great deal of what they did, operating of humanistic and egalitarian premises.

Now the Seneca declaration is very interesting in that it was in effect a copy of the Declaration of Independence of 1776. I’m going to read it to you because I think it is so interesting, and yet in spite of its egalitarian ideas much that it had to say about what had been done to women was true.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied but one to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them a decent respect of the opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes that impel them to such a Course. We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men and Women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends it is the Right of those who Suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it and to insist upon the institution of a new Government. Laying it’s foundation on such principals and organizing its powers in such form as then shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness...” [the Corsiva font is my own touch] [01:04:00]

And then it goes on to speak of the long train of abuses

And then it goes on to speak of the long train of abuses and usurpation's, and to declare that such has been the patient suffering of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled. And then they go on to give a long list of complaints and resolutions. In a sense it was justified, in spite of their egalitarianism. Because the women could say, as they did say, some of us are well treated we have good husbands, but as far as the law is concerned we are, to all practical intent, the moment we marry, slaves! We’ve been stripped of all legal rights. And in the eyes of the law we are like children; incompetent. Wherein are we different from the black slaves? After all many of the blacks have good masters, who treat them well, who are very earnestly concerned about their welfare; so many of the masters are like many of our husbands, good husbands, good masters.

So we’re not complaining just because some masters are bad, that slavery is wrong, or because some husbands are bad, that the situations is wrong, but that in principal the enslavement of women, stripping her of all legal rights, reducing her to the status of a minor who is mentally incompetent and who’s affairs, who’s money, who’s wealth, who’s property immediately passes to her husband when she marries, is without justification.

Now on this point they were clearly in the right. The condition of women was not a product of scripture, it did not exist in the Middle Ages nor did it exist in the colonial period... it was a product of the enlightenment. The enlightenment deified reason. And when it deified reason it saw man, the male, as reason. As though somehow more rational than women are. You still find this attitude surviving.

I don’t know whether you’ve seen the movie “My Fair Lady”? If you haven’t you’ve missed a real treat, it’s a delight. And there’s a song in it that goes “Why can’t a woman be like a man?” and, ah, Professor Higgins goes on and on “why can’t she be sweet and reasonable the way men are? Why can’t she be sensible like a man?” and so on, and so on, and so on. The whole thinking being, just in line with this: Men are reasonable. There’s no problem until they tangle with a woman! And women are SO unreasonable. And of course, this is the thinking of the enlightenment. That reason is the property of man and emotions are the property of women.

And in terms of this, because the enlightenment deified reason, it put man firmly in control and said “Well, since the woman represents emotion, she obviously is incompetent!” Now there’s nothing like this in scripture! What does say, is while the man is the head, this doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the smartest. And a man may be an officer, and there may be a lieutenant under this officer who is smarter than the officer, but the captain is still in charge! You may be a lot more intelligent that the pilot who’s flying the plane... but he’s still in charge of the plane. There is the principal of authority. [01:09:00]

So, in the church and in the home, the man is given

So, in the church and in the home, the man is given authority over the woman. But it’s not the authority of a being over a slave, but the relationship is as a king with his prime minister. And if you want to see the kind of authority and power and dignity the woman has, look at Proverbs 31. A very competent woman, a wise business manager who can handle her husband’s affairs and estate.

But with the enlightenment, all this was changed. And the result of this kind of thing, the worship of reason and the downgrading of emotions and saying that women somehow didn’t have reason they were just emotional creators. A woman became something that was incompetent by definition and therefore was consistently downgraded. We still have a great deal of this kind of thinking amongst us, we haven’t wiped it out of our mind. Because habits of a couple centuries of thought, habits of thought for two centuries, do not disappear from a culture immediately! [01:10:48]

But the effect of this was deadly, and it led to the

But the effect of this was deadly, and it led to the enslavement of women! Their total deprivation of rights. There are one or two states where this type of thing is still on the books and rather ungodly things happen. For example, this woman whose husband was an alcoholic, of no account, immoral, who deserted her and yet she didn’t have the ability to get a divorce in terms of some of the laws of the state because of desertion so many years of waiting were required, she went to work and built up a business and began to make a life for herself and her children and her husband was able to walk in after several years, take all that, leave her with nothing but the clothes on her back and it was entirely legal.

Now that still prevails in certain places, unless it’s been changed in the last year or two. But this kind of legislation in particular in those areas where the European influence was the strongest, Texas law with regard to woman is very bad. Some of the Eastern states still have it. The further west you go the more the woman has, a better status. But some of the old laws from the influence of the Enlightenment still prevail in some of the Eastern states. I don’t know what it’s like in Pennsylvania it could have been changed in the last few years, the laws of Pennsylvania used to be very unfair to women. VERY unfair.

As a result the woman’s rights movement had a great deal of justification and it began to make great head way but because the nation became involved as a result of the Civil War in a long war and then after that all the problems that ensued, reconstruction, conflict over that. The women’s rights movement was shoved to the side and it took the beginning of this century for it again to get under way. To be able to command public interest.

I have referred already to another one of the reformed movements that represented a new gospel for the liberal Unitarian traditional Horace Mann and his idea’s. I’d like to read a few verses from Horace Mann’s report, twelfth annual report to the Massachusetts board of education in 1848.

“And it came what he expected the public schools to do.” He wrote, “Vast and over shadowing private fortunes are among the greatest dangers to which the happiness of a people and a republic can be subjected. Such fortunes would create a feudalism of a new kind. But one more oppressive and unrelenting than that of the middle ages now surely nothing but universal education can counter work this tendency to the domination of capital and the servility of labor. If one class possess all the class and education while the residue of society is ignorant and poor, it matters not by what name the relation between them may be called. The latter in fact and in truth will be the servile dependents and subjects of the former. But if education be equally defused it will draw property after it by the strongest of all attractions, for if such a thing never did happen and never can happen as that an intelligent and practical body of men should be permanently poor.

Property and labor in different classes are essentially antagonistic. But property and labor in the same class are essentially (praternal?). But the people of Massachusetts have in some degree appreciated the truth that the un exampled prosperity of the state, it’s comfort, it’s confidence, it’s general intelligence and virtue, is attributable to the education more or less perfect which all its people have received. That they are sensible of the fact equally important, namely, that it is to the same education that two thirds of the people are indebted, for not being the vassals of as severe a tyranny in the form of capital as the lower classes of Europe are bound to in the form of brute force.

Education then beyond all other devices of human origin is the great equalizer of the conditions of man. The balance wheel of the social machinery. I do not here mean that it so elevates the moral natures that make man disdain and abhor the oppression of their fellow man but I mean that it gives each man the independence and the means by which he can resist the selfishness of other man. It does better than to disarm the poor of their hostility toward the rich, it prevents being poor.” [01:16:48]

Education in other words, Horace Mann said, will save

Education in other words, Horace Mann said, will save mankind. Men will be saved by education. Therefore, if we emphasize education strip it of this nonsense of the Christian presuppositions which clutter up our schools- this was his implied premise. We will verify change in the world. Beginning of course by changing this country, and so the school -this was the means of salvation.

Of course there were other gospels of salvation that were very popular in the day. Socialists, {fourierists?}, they attempted to establish communes all over the country, Owen’s and his experiment, the Oneida colony, sexual communism, the Brooks farm in New England, one experiment after another whereby man was going to be saved by a new social arrangement of people. By communistic ideas. By sexual reform. One way or another salvation. Of course we have these things again today this sexual freedom leak, the new left, the communes... we again have these same beliefs voluntaristic in principal but not having the gospel seeking the gospel in some social arrangement, in some environmental factor.

Again we had other ideas of salvation gospels propagated by various groups having a variety of plans of salvation. One of them we have with us today in a name of a particular food. The Graham cracker. The Graham cracker gained its name from a man named Graham who believed that he was going to regenerate mankind through certain kinds of foods. As a result there were a wide variety of politics, whether it was food or something else. [01:19:42]

They were going to save mankind by this means

They were going to save mankind by this means. There were some who believed that the only way to renew man was to avoid extremes in foods, anything that was too hot or too cold. Therefor ice water was bad for you and soft drinks were bad for you and tea and coffee were bad for you. Not because of the ingredients- that of course is knowledge we have since acquired about some of those things- but because you should avoid the extremes of hot and cold.

Such idea’s as I indicated became extremely popular, and one group after another arose on the American scene especially in the 1940’s and 50’s. With one wild idea of reform after another. Now these groups were especially popular in the cities and among the people of intelligence who had as a result of their education at Harvard and other schools, lost their faith! And having lost their faith they were looking around for a new gospel. They very often came up with some very, very ridiculous ideas.

Someone wrote a book on one aspect of this period, which he titled “The Mad Forties”. Because there were so many of these Salvationist ideas that were the height of absurdity. Now, are there any questions?

[pause]

We still of course as I indicated not only have this, but such movements are very very strong with us today and they do a great deal of damage, sometimes even to good ideas. We have health food cults as they did then, who do a great deal of harm, for example, to the very important, nutritional ideas that health foods do authorize. And we have the environmental people with their ideas of salvation by going back to a supposedly perfect untouched environment.

Well, if there are no questions we’ll continue this evening.

[audio ends]

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