Empire or Republic? A Choice
On July 4th, 1776, a nation was conceived under the premise that Mankind has the right to self government and is endowed with unalienable rights. With the adoption of a Constitution on September 17th , 1787, the Republic of United States of America was born. Fifty nine years later, April 26, 1846, with the beginning of the War on Mexico, the Republic of the United States of America died and a new United States Empire emerged. The Empire has been expanding ever since. Today, the United States Empire has over 200,000 troops stationed in 144 countries and territories. At any given time, it usually has another 20,000 sailors and Marines deployed afloat on Navy ships. Ostensibly for the security of the American People.
John Quincy Adams on July 4th, 1821, defined the role of the Republic of the United States in his address on U.S. foreign policy. He said:
“She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit…. America’s glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.
Liberty, as John Quincy Adams so aptly put it , was Our Glory as a Republic. Intervention in the internal affairs of foreign nations, the acquisition of territories, foreign military outposts, and the imposition of rule are all the hallmarks of Empires. All hegemonic empires such as the United States has become inevitably collapsed under the weight of their hegemony. Liberty in an Empire erodes not just for those under the thumb of the Empire but also for the citizens whose labor supports its hegemony and expansion.
There are those that would say The United States must be engaged in the world at large for the security of its own people. They might say to withdraw our troops from foreign nations and to back away from imposing "The American Dream” worldwide necessitates an isolationist policy that would endanger our way of life. The Founders of our Republic never intended that the United States be isolated from the nations of the world but they did believe in nonintervention. Engagement through fair and free trade, leadership by example and true friendly relationships were their policy goals. George Washington in his farewell address warned of binding ties with foreign nations:
“So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.”
Where lies the interest then of the hegemonic Empire? Certainly not in the Liberty of its citizens as is the main responsibility of a Republic but in its own expansion and influence regardless of the effect upon those citizens.
Many would deny the existence of the United States Empire. They will acknowledge only that the government is acting to secure the interests of its people worldwide. The question begs to be asked then: What interest do the American people have in imposing democracy upon another people thousands of miles away who culturally haven’t come to the decision of an American style democracy for themselves? This has been done time and time again and is ongoing today. Is this not the arrogance of an Empire? What Our founders instituted in the founding documents was a Republic as an example of Liberty and Prosperity that other peoples of the world could emulate if they so chose, not one that would impose any form or substance upon another. As people gather together in nations it is their right to form the government of their choice. Freedom will eventually prevail. Freedom is the natural state for all people. We can only be an example of self government for the world if in fact we allow others the freedom of their own choice. The interests of the United States of America lie within its borders and in the liberty and prosperity of its People. Foreign entanglements and influence are not necessary to the security or defense of America.
The United States government for decades in its pursuit of a Hegemonic Empire has brought the Nation to near bankruptcy. The Unites States has spent $7,882,410,000,000 on foreign wars since 1846 and the onset of the American Empire building with the War on Mexico. It has spent over 1.6 TRILLION DOLLARS on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone with no end in sight. The U.S. is currently in debt to the tune of over 17 TRILLION dollars and growing. The Empire is broke, yet it continues its expansion.
The Republic of the United States of America can survive. The Empire of the United States of America will not. The means to the revival of the Republic lie in Its Charter Documents, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights. An adherence to the Founders intent that the United States of America be an independent nation dedicated to the preservation of liberty for its people with friendly relations with all nations of the world but no binding ties to any will preserve and revive the Republic. It is not to late to reject the false promises of empire building and return to the true measure of independence and liberty so dearly fought for by Our Revolutionary Founders.
John Quincy Adams as U.S. Secretary of State delivered this speech to the U.S. House of Representatives on July 4, 1821, in celebration of American Independence Day. His words defined the United States Republic. Should the American Citizens have the will to dismantle the United States Hegemonic Empire and return to the blessings of a Republic they can if they return to the precepts Adams outlines in this July 4th speech that answer the question, What has America done for the benefit of mankind?
“Let our answer be this: America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government. America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity.
"She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights.
"She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own.
"She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.
"She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right.
"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.
"But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.
"She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
"She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.
"She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.
"The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force….
"She might become the dictatress of the world.
"She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….
”[America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.“
These words of John Quincy Adams define the Nation Abraham Lincoln so eloquently spoke to in his Gettysburg address "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”, but sadly our government has strayed from them. Instead We are now an Empire with military posts worldwide and engaged in nation building in foreign lands.
The United States Empire is antithetical to the principles set forth in its Charter Documents. Only the dismantling of the Empire and a return to the principles of the Republic as it was founded will return to the citizens of the United States a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Only a return to the Republic of United States of America can bring about the prosperity and liberty the next generation of Americans deserves. For as Dwight Eisenhower said in his farewell speech:
“As we peer into society’s future, we -– you and I, and our government -– must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”
The policies of the American Empire are hurling this Nation toward becoming “the insolvent phantom of tomorrow”. We have the means but do we have the will and desire to return to the blessings. hardships, rights and responsibilities that liberty through virtue in a Free Republic demands of its citizens? The answer lies only with the American People.