History

On Snap Backs

I’ve written a few times already about cultural and political snap backs; instances where resistance to some change or new direction mounts and results in a snap back severe enough to change the direction of the country for the short or even long term.

Trump is a snap back to Obama. Fill in the blanks on why.

Having plowed through 800 pages of Chernow’s Hamilton over the last two weeks it affirms my belief in the central role snap backs play in our past.

The Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation were a snap back against British meddling in colonial affairs.

The Constitution and Federalist Washington/Hamilton institution building were snap backs against decentralization of power.

Jeffersonian Republicanism and the election of 1800 was the snap back against Federalist might.

From there we went two or three generations without a snap back as mostly slave owning Jeffersonian disciples held office for the next 50 years. The tectonic shift that came from there was the Civil War.

Placing the anti-executive Jefferson in the executive office with the buffer of Adams in between Hamiltonian executive mania may have been the moderating coincidence that made the whole thing work. And by work I mean grow institutionally to the point that it could survive the inevitable war over slavery.

I’m not sure what the snap back against Trump will look like. My hope is that its a reversal of divisive politics and not a swing to the polar opposite of Trump-ism. We’ll know in about 18 months.

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