James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Some Political Definitions

Lew Rockwell mentioned in his blog, "To criticize the founder of the Second Republic is to criticize the current regime (though we might argue that FDR inaugurated the Third Republic) and its militarism, corporatism, centralism, and suppression of civil liberties, all of which were prefigured by Lincoln."

It seems to me that describing American history as different Republics (1st Republic 1789-1861; 2nd Republic 1861-1933, 3rd Republic 1933-2001) is another handy, if not entirely precise (they never are), way to define our political terms:

"right-wing extremist": nostalgic for the 1st Republic.

conservative: nostalgic for the 2nd Republic

liberal: nostalgic for the 3rd Republic

neo-conservative: a builder of the 4th Republic, based on the worst ideas that emerged in the 2nd and 3rd Republics.

Libertarians, of course, are not nostalgic, but rather critical of government in all ages.


  1. Interesting thoughts. One former conservative turned pseudo-liberal writer, Michael Lind, identifies three different republics in his writings. The first is the same, but he lumps together the Lincoln and FDR revolutions. Then around the 1960s he sees a third American revolution. Not sure if I agree that Lincoln and FDR should be lumped together, but I do think that the 1960s changed a lot.

  2. I have to admit I'm kind of nostalgic for the 1774-89 period. Where does that fall in the schema?