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CoastLine: Violence in American democracy and its long-term relative impotence

Attributed to Frederick Kemmelmeyer
Public Domain, from Metropolitan Museum of Art
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George Washington Leads Troops to Crush the Whiskey Rebellion. Artist Unknown

America was born out of violence in a battle against taxation without representation.  After winning a bloody eight-year war against Great Britain, Americans created the first modern constitutional democracy.   Ratified in 1788, the United States Constitution set up a system that relied on self-government through democratic elections – theoretically, anyway, rendering violence unnecessary.  But getting there included repeated violence, even terrorism, and that ideal has not held up – as we see from Shay’s Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion, the Civil War, even Wilmington’s own 1898 coup d’etat.   Most recently, we witnessed the insurrection of January 6, 2021 – in an attempt to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

What is the role of violence in democracy?  What are the means for ousting a government that becomes corrupt or oppressive?  Which forms of protest actually create change? 

Guest:

David Houpt, Assistant Professor, History Department, University of North Carolina Wilmington

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/178984

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