Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blame Wisconsin

Author John Galt, at the weblog Shenandoah, has an interesting article title “Blame Wisconsin,” which discuss the role progressives from Wisconsin played in the ushering in of the ideal and laws that came to be in 1913, and the linkage to socialism.

The first two were completed quickly in America and the final part can be summed up with the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution where the state’s powers were finally diluted by the use of the direct election of Senators. Senator Robert La Follette was critical in the passage of this amendment and it was long believed it was a reward for his dropping his opposition to the establishment of the Federal Reserve. ...

La Follette never forgave Roosevelt for his actions and this division effectively ended the growth of a viable third party in the United States for decades to come. This splinter and reduction of effectiveness did not destroy the Progressive idealism as it was adopted by many in the Democratic Party and one of the key pieces of legislation which diminished the power of the states, the 17th Amendment, was ushered through the Senate as a tireless part of Senator La Follette’s efforts. With this history behind it, the complexities of the Wisconsin Idea and its expansion from the state level experiments to the national level is quite obvious with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, the 16th, and the 17th Amendments to the Constitution. Progressivism has consequences, two of which we are reminded of every April 15th and every two years with the direct election of Senators. The other consequence is that the idealism behind the use of the education system integrated with economic, administrative and social decisions at every level of government is now a precedent which could take decades to properly segregate to save the Republic. ...

Comment: I am not a historian so I won’t evaluate the post on the basis of historical analysis, but I too have always seen the hidden hand of socialism behind the enacting of the 16th and 17th Amendments and the Federal Reserve Act. This article certainly provides an interesting perspective highlighting the ideals that emerged from Wisconsin and found it way into a very contentious place in US History.

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