Chapter 3: Building the new empire

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Building the New Empire

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: In God is our trust.
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave (Francis Scott Key).

Overt racism (1787-1964). Virtue principles were codified in the US Constitution (Library of Congress, 2016) in addition to those found in the Declaration of Independence, to extend and confirm the right to equality, freedom, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all human persons who were to live in the new nation. But in Article 1, Section 2 of the same Constitution, a racialized double standard was instituted from the outset by defining a slave as three-fifths of a whole free person, for the manifest purpose of official representation in Congress and the Electoral College. Slaves had been imported into the US from Africa and the trade had not ceased. Article 1 thus defined African Americans and human persons of African descent as less-than-human, denying them the right to official representation in the new democracy (de Tocqueville, 1835-1840/2000). The latent intent of Article 1 was to legitimize slavery as a way of maintaining a cheap agricultural and mining labor population for those of White colonial stock.

The Judiciary Act of 1789 (1 Stat. 78) established the diversity jurisdiction of the nation to define foreign citizens and subjects as aliens. The Naturalization Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 103) restricted US citizenship to “free White persons” (Ancheta, 1998) – in practice, White males. In theory, therefore, America was a functioning democracy. In practice, however, it was a racialized plutocracy (Thandeka, 1999).

Translocation of the Indians. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 (4 Stat. 411) and multiple removal treaties facilitated the translocation and re-education of Native Americans through the 1950s, ostensibly to protect and ‘civilize’ them into American culture. In reality, the forced translocation of the natives facilitated more governmental land appropriation through the practices of covert genocide and legalized land fractionation for cotton-growing, these actions extending the border-frontier of the nation by millions of acres. Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the US, had declared these removals necessary for “pecuniary advantages” (Richardson, 1908). He also considered the natives to be childlike, decadent, and rude savages.  Continue reading “Chapter 3: Building the new empire”