Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Publick Record

I found a volume, years 1803 - 1807, entitled "State Papers and Publick Documents of The United States ..."

Imagine my surprise to find the first document's subject: "relative to Morocco" !

"From the president of the United States to Congress. Nov. 4, 1803.

"By the copy now commuicated of a letter from captain Bainbridge of the Philadelphia frigate to our consul at Gilbralter, you will learn that an act of hostility has been committed on a merchant ship of the United States by an armed ship of the emperor of Morocco. This conduct on the part of that power is without cause, and without explanation. It is fortunate that captain Bainbridge fell in with and took the capturing vessel and her prize ; and I have the satisfaction to inform you, that about the date of this transaction such a force would be arriving in the neighborhood of Gilbraltar, both from the east and from the west, as leaves less to be feared for our commerce from the suddenness of the aggression."

This is Thomas Jefferson writing! He sounds like a CEO, making a report to his Board and chief investors.

Obviously the resources of the United States government were regularly used, in fact primarily used, to protect the profits of certain citizens ... merchants, insurance companies, producers etc. This is the reality of the "political process" to this very day.

The masses, the farmers, the natives, etc. had no part in these affairs.

This is just a snapshot, but a useful one. The government & the military grew up together, organically, to protect the interests of the profit-taking class, a small minority of the population. The shape of that state-corporate relationship is the standard history of the US. Nothing has really changed, except that the masses fought for their rights, and gained a measure of the country's resources. Now these are almost completely lost, again.