The Shift Episode 72: The History of Freedom with Clyde Cleveland

In this episode, host Doug McKenty takes a deep dive into the history of the American Revolution with author and activist Clyde Cleveland. Using the writings of political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville as a foundation, Clyde and Doug discuss the fundamentally cooperative nature of American society from before the Revolution to the publishing of de Tocqueville’s classic, Democracy in America, in 1835. The conversation focuses on the little-known history of The Assembly system, formed in the early 1770’s, based on a completely decentralized power structure that prioritized the power of the township over any state or federal organization. Clyde goes on to describe how the creation of a standing army led to the Articles of Confederation and ultimately a Constitution that allowed power to centralize in the hands of a few. The conversation also includes a historical interpretation that recognizes how the atrocities of slavery and Native American genocide were perpetrated as a result of the centralization efforts that ultimately lead to a powerful standing army and the primacy of the corporate system over the cooperative spirit described by de Tocqueville as the primary characteristic of American culture in the early days of the Republic. Find out more about Clyde and his work at commonsenserevisited.com.

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