Humanity's Coming Dark Age (a pragmatic warning)

The rise and fall of empires
The Rise and Fall of Empires
Symptoms before each collapse: ignorance, superstition, religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, intolerance, rejection of science.
  1. The chart above was first published by Marc Widdowson in 2003 to illustrate the rise-and-fall of six major empires.
    • This chart is from a European perspective; the Persian, Indian and Chinese empires are conspicuously absent.
    • In To Govern the Globe (2021) historian Alfred McCoy informs that the documented number of empire collapses is closer to ninety. He also claims that China will overtake the USA in world affairs by 2030.
    • The only positive information from the chart is that both the amplitude (height) and period (horizontal length) of each wave are decreasing with time. This chart still delivers bad news for anyone living during a decline.
    • The third gray box labeled European Dark Ages appears too narrow because Edward Gibbon provides convincing arguments that the 300-year rise of Christianity resulted in a thousand year dark age which Europe did not recover from until the beginning of the Renaissance or the Enlightenment. As an example, compare the culture of Jesus' time with these earlier events in Greece:
      • Aristarchus introduced the correct heliocentric model of our solar system 250 years before the birth of Jesus.
      • Eratosthenes proved the Earth was round two hundred years before the birth of Jesus then used trigonometry to compute the size to within 10% of the currently known value.
      What would the world look like today had the Roman emperor Constantine chosen the natural philosophy of Greece instead of the religion of Judea?
    • The Vatican trial of Galileo (1632) is proof that religion delayed scientific progress by more than 1,800 years (200 BC to 1632 AD).
    • So why did Greek culture not prevail?
      • Decline began with political and cultural differences between Sparta (conservative, religious, pro-war) and the Athenians (liberal, less religious, pro-education). Sparta and Athens supported each other from foreign attacks until Sparta went to war against Athens then won. From that time on, neither was able to offer collective protection against outsiders.
      • A series of wars on the Greek peninsula caused the whole thing to eventually come under control of Alexander the Great of Macedonia. This whole area was later annexed by Rome then renamed Achaia.
      • I think about this whenever I hear dogmatic religious American conservatives criticizing pragmatic less-religious American liberals.
    • Is BREXIT an example that the British Empire is still collapsing? Many think so.
    • Does the current political divide in the USA signal the decline of the American Empire? (these authors think so). In fact, Americans refuse to use the word "Empire" (probably because their president would be branded an Emperor) and yet they maintain more than 800 military bases outside of the United States which fits the classic definition. But what about the religious divide? Look at the changes over the past 60 years. Presidential candidate, John F Kennedy, gave a speech to the Southern Baptist Convention (1960-Sep-12) stating that a vote for him would never involve his Catholic faith or the Pope. By 2020 we see that 5-out-of-9 supreme court justices are Catholic and are siding with the religious right on many issues (a clear violation of the separation between church and state). In American society we now see Christian Evangelicalism being overtaken with a newer form of Christian Pentecostalism. I wonder if Jesus would recognize these offshoots.
  2. Declining empires sometimes will attempt to reassert power though military adventurism which can produce unpredictable results. For example:
    • The wars of Greek city-states (conservative Sparta conquered liberal Athens for political reasons) weakened both for easy conquering by Macedonia. The whole area eventually became a province of Rome.
    • The Spanish-American war can best be explained as the Spanish Empire in decline going up against an American Empire on the rise.
    • World War One is best explained by European Empires miscommunicating (how else does an assassination of an Austrian in Serbia trigger a worldwide conflict?)
    • American president Woodrow Wilson tried to help fix this problem having the USA join The League of Nations but this never passed congressional approval.
    • World War Two (in Europe) is best explained as a continuation of World War One where a combination of "steep German reparation payments" combined with "the great depression" created a perfect storm for right-wing populism.
    • World War Two (in the Pacific) can best be explained as the Japanese Empire in decline going up against an American Empire on the rise.
    • Anthony Eden's self-made Suez Crisis resulted in the world's reserve currency to be shifted from the British pound to the US dollar.
    • Margaret Thatcher's Falklands War helped make some think she was making Britain Great Again but this did nothing for the general economy. It did throw a bone to the British weapons manufacturing industry.
    • The USA continues to borrow/print trillions to support a +20-year continuous conflict in the Middle East while propping up American defense contractors and NATO. Only a cancer cell would think this is sustainable.

"Political Philosophy" as a new form of religious dogma?

  • It seems that humanity is currently trapped between dogma and pragma. While dogmatic thinking is usually associated with religion, and pragmatic thinking is usually associated with science, hearing people talk about their faith in "this politician" or "that party" makes politics sound more like an expression of religion.
  • While I am no fan of communism, notice that Chinese citizens do not waste time discussing politics (probably because they cannot affect change - and they know it) but look at the efficiencies:
    • since religion in China is discouraged as a form of magical thinking, churches there are not allowed to obtain charitable tax status. On top of that, you never hear about Chinese citizens advocating for religious-based schooling and/or home-schooling.
    • the Chinese government employs 5-year and 10-year plans then (more-or-less) stick to them. Contrast this with party-based government in the west where one government may support something (like renewable energy) then 4-years later another may be elected to cancel everything (usually to satisfy their political donors)
  • And what about political ego? Look at all the things that Donald Trump terminated ONLY BECAUSE it was an accomplishment of his predecessor, and archrival, Barack Obama:
    • shut down the Washington epidemic preparedness group in 2018 (making the USA the worst G7 country during the COVID-19 crisis)
    • removed the USA from the Paris accord on climate change.
    • removed the USA from the JCPOA in 2018 (this, after the USA convinced the P5+1 nations to enter the agreement in 2015 in the first place)
  • This behavior would never be tolerated inside a corporation so why is it acceptable in politics? I wonder if Americans will finally listen to the advice of George Washington who advised AGAINST FORMING POLITICAL PARTIES (in those early days, the person with the most votes became the president whilst the closest rival became vice president).
  • In June-2021 I heard a statistic indicating that you can reliably determine which Americans received a COVID-19 vaccine by asking if they voted for Trump or Biden (which is ridiculous since it is well known that the whole Trump family has been vaccinated)
Food-for-thought: it is entirely possible that humanity's future will be a world without empires but, we will not experience any progress unless we actively suppress our tendency toward: ignorance, superstition, religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, intolerance, rejection of science. This will only be possible with massive increases in public education. The proof of my argument can be seen through the transformation of China under Deng Xiaoping which resulted in more than 350 million Chinese citizens being elevated from poverty into the middle class (note: this number is larger than the current population of the USA). Deng started this transformation by sending more than 1.3 million Chinese students out into the western world to receive a modern education THEN BRINGING KNOWLEDGE HOME. The USA was a recipient of this business which I personally witnessed as a field-engineering student in Boston during the late 1980s. Kudos to the Chinese for embracing education. Meanwhile, here in the west, conservative governments are reducing their financial support of public education while, at the same time, attempting to privatize it (extreme capitalism running amuck?). Many students now graduate with a huge amount of personal debt which makes me think that the West is moving backwards. Heck, some conservatives refer to people with an education as "an elite" as if that's a bad thing.

Supporting Material

  1. The Phoenix Principle and the Coming Dark Age (418 pages) by Marc Widdowson (British military analyst and educator)
    subtitled: Social Catastrophes – human progress 3000 BC to AD 3000
  2. The Coming Dark Age by Roberto Vacca - 153 pages.
    • This book was first published in 1973 then updated in 2000.
    • Quote from reviewer, Isaac Asimov: I read this book in a palsied fascination of horror. I have never read a book that was at the same time so convincing and so frightening.
  3. While there are many complicated and interacting reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire, I am convinced that Edward Gibbon was correct when he stated that the primary reason was due to the effect of organized religion. There are many ways that religion can affect society, but the most obvious influence is to induce society into reliance on magical thinking. We know from the writings of Roman historians (Pliny the Elder is one of many) that Ancient Rome began its decline not long after Romans began to replace observational science given to them by the Greeks with so-called common sense. Roman civilization stagnated then decayed from within. Without science, we, too, should all prepare for increased incidences of malaria, cholera, typhus, and plague (diseases that ancient Rome and medieval Europe were all-too familiar).
    • Religious Method (dogma): Fiction, Assertion, Suppression.
    • Scientific Method (pragma): Observation, Hypothesis ('hypo thesis' literally means 'below thesis'), Experiment (test), Publish your prepared thesis, Debate in the community, repeat.

    Perhaps western government handling of corona virus COVID-19 will be one wake-up call for voters but I doubt it. Humanity mostly ignored other corona viruses like SARS (2002-2003) and MERS (2012). On top of that, we quickly forgot the lessons learned during influenza pandemic on 1918 by jumping into the roaring twenties.
  4. Many westerners were once fond of the expression "If we can go to the moon then why can't we (fill in the blank)?" but today some people now joke "If we can go to the moon then why can't we go to the moon?" To be clear, it was only the Americans who were able to send twelve men to the moon between 1969 and 1972. The rest of humanity was merely sharing in their triumph. But after Richard Nixon gutted the American manned space program to help keep America solvent while it fought a pointless war in Vietnam, and Ronald Reagan cozied up to Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority to win the presidential election of 1980, America has barely been able to put humans into orbit. Since the demise of the space shuttle program, Americans can only visit the ISS (International Space Station) by hitching a ride with their former cold-war enemy, Russia. So, it is now apparent that America's place in the original space race was nothing more than a cold-war political stunt (paraphrased: we think science and technology are important because the Russians think that way). I'm not sure why Americans love their smart phones and tablets while simultaneously hating the pure scientific research which enabled the technologies behind them.
  5. But the situation is now much worse. Many North American's who identify with the Christian Right (which masquerades as the Religious Right) only possess a Sunday-school understanding of the English Christian bible (comment: many own bibles but have never read one word from them while others take the English translation literally) and yet believe they are doing god's work when they publicly argue with highly educated scientists about such topics like: evolution, the age of the earth, and climate change to only name three topics of many. This has been going on for a long while and is only getting worse. Here are two examples of many:

    1) In 1963, Richard Hofstadter published his book Anti-intellectualism in American Life which was awarded the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction (comment: since 1963, the world has watched the rise of American TV Evangelists, the opening of Christian theme-parks, the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, and the re-branding of "creationism" as "intelligent design" so that religion could be taught as science. These are only four examples of many attributed to "American Protestantism's anti-intellectual tradition" described in Hofstadter's book)

    2) This quote from author-educator Isaac Asimov (PhD Biochemistry) perfectly describes modern life in North America where citizens become uninformed and misinformed by accessing social media sites like Twitter and Facebook (run by billionaires like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg) or politically biased outlets (run by publishing billionaires like Rupert Murdoch). The graphic reads:
    "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

    Isaac Asimov (Newsweek, 21 January 1980) 

    A cult of ignorance
  6. When I first read this quote from Carl Sagan in 1995, it seemed to me to be an unlikely prophesy (but it is already true with the advent of mobile-social-media starting in 2007)
    There's another reason I think popularizing science is important, why I try to do it. It's a foreboding I have -- maybe ill-placed -- of an America in my children's generation, or my grandchildren's generation, when all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when we're a service and information-processing economy; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest even grasps the issues; when the people (by "the people" I mean the broad population in a democracy) have lost the ability to set their own agendas, or even to knowledgeably question those who do set the agendas; when there is no practice in questioning those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and religiously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in steep decline, unable to distinguish between what's true and what feels good, we slide, almost without noticing, into superstition and darkness.

    The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

    Carl Sagan 
    "Wonder and Skepticism", Skeptical Enquirer 19-1 
    (a similar quote can be found in his book: The Demon-Haunted World

  7. Recent news:
    • The Dark Age symptoms (ignorance, superstition, religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, intolerance, rejection of science) which were published 5-years before the 2008 American-caused worldwide financial debacle now seem shockingly accurate
    • A British referendum on 2016-06-23 voted 51.9% to leave the European Union (an organization formed to bring peace to Europe) which is now colloquially referred to as BREXIT.
      • There have been allegations that politicians in the LEAVE camp may have played fast-and-loose with facts resulting in poorly informed voters (see "ignorance" above)
      • It appears than many people now get their news from social media (Facebook, Twitter, and blogs) rather than traditional sources like newspapers, magazines, or fact-checked news programs on television (see "ignorance" above)
      • It appears that many people under age 40 are upset with the result even though only ~ 30% of that group bothered to vote (see "ignorance" above)
      • Google tells us that the most searched phrase in Britain the day after the vote is "what is the EU?" (see "ignorance" above)
      • Time and time again I heard radio interviews claiming that Britain now contains too many immigrants (see "xenophobia" above)
      • Other radio commentators claimed this was a vote against "the elites" (if this refers to "well educated politicians" then this could be interpreted as political fundamentalism; if this refers to "well educated scientists" then this might be considered a rejection of science)
      Now it appears that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar wish to exit the United Kingdom in order to stay within the European Union. Whatever way you view it this is not an example of Britain's Finest Hour
      Question: is BREXIT a further example of the decline of the British Empire?
    • In her recent book SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, author Mary Beard tells us that Rome changed for the worse after 60 BCE. Prior to this, any educated wealthy man (like Cicero) could become a consul of Rome. But ten years later only extremely wealthy men (like Cassius, Pompey, and Caesar) were able to do so.
      Comment: Americans have flirted with wealthy presidential candidates for a decade or two now with the names "H Ross Perot", "Mitt Romney", and "Donald Trump" springing to mind. But with Trump as president, and with many buildings in Washington D.C. looking like ancient Rome, it makes me wonder about the future of American democracy. Perhaps it is time to stop telling American school children "you might be president one day"
    • If you are worried about the rise of populism in western politics, or are worried about the next economic crash then I suggest you read the 2018 book America: The Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges. If you do not have the inclination to read another book at this time, then watch one of these video interviews with the author.
So now I urge you to return to the chart at the top of this page and ask yourself "am I comfortable living on the most recent decline?"
If the answer is "no" then I suggest you suppress your expressions of ignorance, superstition, religious fundamentalism, xenophobia, intolerance, rejection of science. Then tell everyone around you to do the same.

Speculation on how the American Empire might end.

Executive Summary: Political ideology can be polarizing. So much so that you see your closest ally as an enemy while the both of you are surrounded by true common enemies (but your political ideology will blind you to danger). Many people do not believe this is possible, but it has happened before.

A few years back I finally got around to reading The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War (1998) by Robert B. Strassler. The book weighs in at ~ 800 pages (a whole lot less than the original eight books written by Thucydides) but even this publication was something only academics and historians would love. Nevertheless, I muddled my way through. Here I present several oversimplifications to make my point.

The 3km (10,000 foot) View

  • The Second Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was primarily three wars between two Greek cultures: Athens (and its empire) and Sparta (allied with the Peloponnesian League). Although they were both Greek, Athens and Sparta were quite different from each other as this simplified table will attest:

    Sparta Athens
    1 conservative liberal
    2 oligarchy democracy
    3 superstitious less so
    4 religious less so
    5 militaristic more interested in developing philosophy, logic, mathematics, science
    6 army navy (during times of war; merchant marines otherwise)
    7 institutionalized slavery (required so that Spartan men could join military schools starting at age 7 rather than working in other ventures like agriculture) slavery was frowned-upon
    8 kept no written records (everything we know about Sparta comes from others; so, in the eyes of Romans the Spartans were barbarians) kept written records about themselves and others
    exported Greek knowledge around the Mediterranean
  • The war was started by the Spartans who were always vying for military control of the region.
  • In the end, the Spartans win this war with help from Persia (yep, the same people they fought against in 480 BC during the Battle of Thermopylae which was popularized in the film The 300 Spartans)
  • Athens and Sparta are both weakened in other conflicts like these two of many: the Corinthian War and the Battle of Leuctra
    comment: from this point on they were unable to defend each other (together we stand; divided we fall?)
  • The rivalry between Athens and Sparta was brought to an end in 346 BC when Philip II of Macedon conquered all of Greece except Sparta
  • Phillip's son, Alexander, conquers lands to the east (Persia and parts of India) and south (Egypt)
  • Sparta is annexed by the Achaean League which Rome eventually conquers naming it the Roman province Achaea

But it gets worse.

  • While the Romans were not barbarians (they maintained a written record), there were virtually no scientific or mathematical developments by Rome over their entire 1000-year rule (458 BC to 476 AD).
    • Romans were very religious so added the Greek gods to their own (renaming them on the way)
    • Romans were very superstitious (one reason why most calendar months contain an odd number of days)
  • They did discover concrete which they used to build roman roads and aqueducts; they refined metals which were primarily used to create weapons; they moved to a solar calendar (which they picked up from Egypt); but that is pretty much it.
  • Because the Athenians were a naval society, much Greek culture (including science, mathematics, and philosophy) found its way into many other countries. Book-copying policies under the Islamic Caliphate meant that this information was preserved in their vast libraries which Islam developed further.
    • modern words like: alcohol, algebra, alkali, algorithm, azimuth, cipher, nadir, soda, and zenith (to only name a few) all come from the time of the Islamic Caliphate when Europeans were behaving badly and non-religious books were in decline


  1. Why did Athens and Sparta focus more on their political and cultural differences while failing to notice that they were both surrounded by common enemies?
  2. If Athens and Sparta had put aside their political and cultural differences, could they have prevented the military expansion of Macedonia?
  3. If yes, then might the world have been spared the bloody activities of Alexander the Great?
  4. If yes, then the Macedonian General Ptolemy (under Alexander) would not have transformed Egypt into something which could be later exploited by Rome (Cleopatra was a twelfth-generation ancestor of Ptolemy making her Macedonian rather than Egyptian)
  5. This is a lot of "ifs" but now for the big question: would the Greeks have been able to hold their own against a less-strong Rome?


  • The American civil war (1861-1865) forced the secessionist South to remain part of the union.
    • The primary reason the North beat the South was because the North was more industrial while the South was more agricultural.
    • Many have already pointed out that the American South (more religious, more militaristic, pro-slavery) were more like the Spartans than the Athenians.
    • Watching the push-back against the American civil-rights protests in the 1960s leaves most with the impression that the South never got over their loss (and never saw non-whites as equals). In fact, despite the problems, Southern African Americans appear to have learned more about how to treat people than their white counterparts.
    • Would the world be better off today if Lincoln had allowed the South to go their own way? Perhaps.
  • The United States (who had to be dragged kicking and screaming into World War 2) have since become very militaristic (Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, First Gulf War, Afghanistan (again) then Iraq, Syria).
    • The Korean War ended in 1953 during the first year of Eisenhower's presidency.
    • When Eisenhower left office in 1960, his exit speech warned about the dangers associated with the Military Industrial Complex (this coming from an ex-General no less) is evidence that the USA has become the Sparta of the Western world (militaristic).
    • When Johnson pushed through his civil-rights legislation in 1964, he famously said “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come” or “for your lifetime”.
  • Politics
    • It appears that the Republican Party is more Spartan-like while the Democratic Party is more Athens-like. Although no one is advocating slavery, things like voter identification laws seem to indicated the American view that "some people should not be allowed to vote"
    • Civil problems in the United States today are not "North vs. South" but rather "Right vs. Left". Armed with their own right-wing facts (from Conservapedia , to Fox News to talk-radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh ) the hatred of anything "not right wing" reminds us of the hatred Sparta felt toward for Athens.

If the Greek Empire fell, and the Roman Empire fell, and the British Empire continues to fall (BREXIT will trigger the departure of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and British Gibraltar) then who among us can claim that the United States won't fall or at least decay from within? It seems to me that politics and populism instill a kind of madness in us all.

Sparta Athens Rome USA
1 conservative liberal conservative everyone is becoming more conservative, including the liberals
2 oligarchy democracy 500 years as a democracy republic
500 years as an empire
3 superstitious less so superstitious superstitious (perfected conspiracy theories)
4 religious less so religious religious
5 militaristic more interested in developing philosophy, logic, mathematics, science militaristic mixed but appears to become ever more militaristic starting with the end of world-war-2
6 army navy (during times of war; merchant marines otherwise) army + navy army, navy, air force
7 institutionalized slavery (required so that Spartan men could join military schools starting at age 7 rather than working in other ventures like agriculture) slavery was frowned-upon institutionalized slavery (approximately 1 in 4 citizens was a slave) slavery allowed up to 1866; people of color treated very badly for following 100 years
8 kept no written records (everything we know about Sparta comes from others; so, in the eyes of Romans the Spartans were barbarians) kept written records about themselves and others kept records; developed philosophy and law; no began as a liberal bastion for enlightened thought (at least for white Europeans); now appears to be attacking science and scientists whenever they disagree with the political zeitgeist (e.g., in 2017 the USA announced NASA budget cuts for gathering climate-change data)

Thoughts on alternative-facts (from Skeptic Magazine)

Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? No, me neither. In fact, people seem to double down on their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence against them. The reason is related to the worldview perceived to be under threat by the conflicting data. Creationists, for example, dispute the evidence for evolution in fossils and DNA because they are concerned about secular forces encroaching on religious faith. Anti-vaxxers distrust big pharma and think that money corrupts medicine, which leads them to believe that vaccines cause autism despite the inconvenient truth that the one and only study claiming such a link was retracted and its lead author accused of fraud. The 9/11 truthers focus on minutiae like the melting point of steel in the World Trade Center buildings that caused their collapse because they think the government lies and conducts “false flag” operations to create a New World Order. Climate deniers study tree rings, ice cores and the PPM of greenhouse gases because they are passionate about freedom, especially that of markets and industries to operate unencumbered by restrictive government regulations. Obama birthers desperately dissected the president’s long-form birth certificate in search of fraud because they believe that the nation’s first African American president is a socialist bent on destroying the country. Click here to read more.

Americans Love to Kill (they always have)

Everyone was shocked to learn that 20 children were fatally shot in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School (Newtown, Connecticut). But when I heard that right-wing conspiracy nuts were claiming the whole thing was staged by the government, that is when I realized "That Americans Love to Kill" and it no longer mattered if children were involved. Around each mass shooting (there have been many more since 2012) you always hear outrageous statements by the uneducated or uninformed Americans about such topics like "second amendment rights" so allow me to address some of their main talking points with facts.

Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

  • Was written into law in 1791 (so not by the founding fathers of 1776 or 1787, but by their sons)
  • Does not give citizens the right to keep and bear arms as current arm-chair politicians claim. Here is an excerpt of the actual text:
    A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
  • Most modern Americans assume the right of gun ownership was meant to protect against violent actions by the British, or native Indians. But the history of the second amendment is shocking because it appears that the authors were attempting to placate slave states where slavery was still bringing is a lot of money. For example, read this brief blurb on preserving slave patrols:
    quote: Virginians James Madison, Patrick Henry and George Mason were concerned that "slave patrols," organized groups of white men who enforced discipline upon enslaved African Americans, needed to remain armed and, therefore, the Constitution needed to clarify that states have the right to organize white men in such militias. Most Southern white men aged 18-45 were required to serve on such slave patrol. For example, Georgia law required the slave patrol militia, led by commissioned militia officers, to visit each plantation each month, to inspect slave dwellings for weapons and to apprehend and punish slaves who were found off premises. Patrick Henry formulated his concern that: "If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress...Congress, and Congress only [under the Constitution without a Second Amendment], can call forth the militia."
  • I should not need to mention that most firearms in 1791 were muzzle loaders where the skilled shooter needed to pour gunpowder into the business end during the reloading process. Repeating firearms didn't change much until the Industrial Revolution enabled American manufacturers to improve guns for the American Civil War.
  • Now every time I hear someone say, "you're not going to take away my second amendment rights" I think "slave patrols".

Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

  • In 1863, president Abraham Lincoln published the Emancipation Proclamation by executive order and this only affected the status of northern slaves
  • The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (to abolish slavery) was passed by the senate on April 8, 1864 and the house on January 31, 1865
  • Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865 but the American Civil War did not end until May 9, 1865, and this was by proclamation
    quote: "Despite the fact that there were still small pockets of resistance in the South, the president declared that the armed resistance was "virtually" ended and that nations or ships still harboring fugitives would be denied entry into U.S. ports."
    which means that many in the South did not capitulate.
  • The amendment was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865, and proclaimed law on December 18, 1865.
  • Anyone reading this would already be aware of the fact that the KKK, or Ku Klux Klan, first formed in December 1865 because they wanted to take matters into their own hands. I could post more information here, but inquiring minds should start by reading the Wikipedia article associated with the previous link.
  • The first instance of the Klan only existed between 1865 and 1871 when it was suppressed by the Enforcement Acts of the US congress.
  • Many gun clubs started in 1871 out of disbanded KKK chapters.
  • The NRA (National Rifle Association) also started in 1971 but there is no evidence that this involved KKK members (remember that the NRA was started by three people from the Union States: Ambrose Burnside , William Conant Church , George Wood Wingate)

Amending the Constitution

  • Now let me state the obvious. This amendment to the 1787 constitution was just that: an amendment. The founding fathers wanted their government documents to "live and breathe" with the times. Not be stuck in the past.
  • Don't believe these things can change? First read the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which declares the production, transport, and sale of alcohol (though not the consumption or private possession) illegal
  • Now read the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution which is unique among the 27 amendments of the U.S. Constitution for being the only one to repeal a prior amendment
  • I am certain the founding fathers would have taken a different path with the second amendment had they known about assault rifles like the AR-15. But then again, perhaps they expected future legislatures to act (which they did not do).
  • But does the second amendment need to be repealed or just tweaked? With only one repeal on the books since the original constitution in 1787 I do not think this could be called a slippery slope.


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Neil Rieck
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.