Rise and Fall of the American Empire

Rise and Fall of the American Empire
Richard J. Bishirjian, Ph.D.

In Rise and Fall of the American Empire, the author explains that divisions in American society that are troubling Anericans today are the result of changes in the form of American government from a democratic republic into an American Empire.

Table of Contents

Birth, Growth, Senescence and Death of an Empire
Historical Timelines of Imperial Growth
Chapter 1: Celebrity and Culture

Chapter 2: How We Got Here:
Declaration of Independence of 1776
Founding of a Democratic Republic in 1787
Two Views of the American Regime
The Constitutional Convention of 1787

Chapter 3. The Real Constitution
Federal vs. National

Chapter 4. Opposition to National Power
The Antifederalists
19th Century Whigs

Chapter 5: How We Got Here
Political Religion in the American Tradition
American Transcendentalists and Civil War

Chapter 6 How We Got Here
Progressives and World War I
Herbert Croly
Woodrow Wilson
World War I

Chapter 7. How We Got Here
FDR and LBJ–Making of a Modern State
Progressives and the Great Depression
The New Deal
Great Society
The Cold War
After the Cold War
Rise of Islam

Chapter 8. Rise of the American Empire

Chapter 9. Why “Thousand Year Reichs” Fall

Annotation of Madison’s “Notes” on the Constitutional Convention in Four “Act”
Port Huron Statement
Sharon Statement

Prologue (Statement of the theme: The country that was new in 1789, when its Constitutional order was ratified, no longer exists. And the Constitution intended to order and organize politics has been challenged to a breaking point. Though specialists have observed the growth in power of the American presidency since the Great Depression, the first sign of an “imperial” Office of the President became visible on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Where before our Presidents were chosen to execute the powers of office, JFK’s assassination revealed that Americans had begun to seek Emperors to represent the nation in history.

Introduction (Because the death of everything living is preceded by a natural process of birth, growth and senescence, death is an end point for all “being things.” Rise and Fall of the American Empire examines, therefore, the transformation of a democratic public into an American Empire and what causes will lead to its inevitable death)

Chapter 1: Celebrity and Culture (The instability that Americans are experiencing in their politics is due to features of democracy in America, and features of all democratic regimes. In principle, democracies tend to deter the best and the brightest from seeking elective office and tend to elevate the less gifted to positions of political leadership. That is exacerbated by another feature, that of celebrity. Persons who are known for their “knowness” have always been attractive candidates for high office.)

Chapter 2: How We Got Here: From the Founding to the Civil War (An examination of debates at the Constitutional Convention and literature that event generated reveals the intent of the Framers to establish a government in which the most representative branch, the Congress, was supreme. This formula was challenged by conflict with the institution of slavery and failure to resolve that conflict without civil war. The attempt to constrain President Andrew Jackson by John Calhoun and Henry Clay left a legacy of statements about limited government that were insufficient to overcome a strong millennial pattern of belief evident in civil religion.

Chapter 3: The Constitution (In a case dealing with “titles,” Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, the Supreme Court pulled out from under the States the theoretical rug of the social contract upon which they had built their concept of a national government. Gone was the theory that the states as original parties to a contract that created the government. The term “federal” now meant “national.”

Chapter 4: Opposition to National Power (To the Framers of the Constitution, the three branches of the national government were unequal–not equal. Of the three branches, the legislature was supreme, the Executive was more powerful than the Judiciary, but for that reason the Framers suspected that if any mischief were to occur, it would probably occur in the Executive. The popular myth that the Constitution established three separate but equal branches of government has no basis in fact.)

Chapter 5. How We Got Here: Millennialism and Transcendentalism (One effect of the Civil War and Darwin’s Origins of Species was loss of faith in Protestant Christianity as the bedrock on which the American Republic was founded. The American nation was now a secular nation-state.

Chapter 6. From the Progressives and World War I to the Great Depression through the Cold War (It took many years to diagnose modern “ideology” as civil religions, but not before what came to be understood as “totalitarian” movements overtook Russia, Germany and Italy, threw Western Europe into two “World” wars and submerged the United States in military engagements in Korea and Vietnam. American totalitarianism may be traced to two persons, Herbert Croly and Woodrow Wilson who believed that politics was not mere politics, politics was a special capacity to announce the immanence of a new age certified by a political leader who experienced a special revelation.)

Chapter 7. FDR and LBJ: Making of a Modern “State” (With the demise of the Soviet Union, all the powers of a centralized administrative state pushed the American democratic republic into new modes of “control.”)

Chapter 8. Rise of the American Empire. (All that was necessary for the rise of an American Empire was for the Congress to lose understanding of its true powers and for willingness of a President of the United States to assume that power unto himself.) The Party system that sustained the post World War I “Internationalist” system of cooperative agreements failed and led to the assertion of “America First.” Translated that phrase came to mean, the first American Empire.)

Chapter 9. Why “Thousand Year Reichs Fail: (So much of what Tocqueville writes in L’Ancien régime et la revolution seems familiar to contemporary American readers today. That is because there are indications of a possible revolution in the United States that is similar to what Tocqueville saw in France in 1858.)

Annotation in Four Acts: Debates in the Federal Convention of
1787 as Reported by James Madison
Port Huron statement
Sharon Statement
About the Author