Despotization And Delusion

‘We find that our democratic theories and forms of government were fashioned by but one of the many races and peoples which have come within their practical operation, and that that race, the so-called Anglo-Saxon, developed them out of its own insular experience unhampered by inroads of alien stock. When once thus established in England and further developed in America we find that other races and peoples, accustomed to despotism and even savagery, and wholly unused to self-government, have been thrust into the delicate fabric. Like a practical people as we pride ourselves, we have begun actually to despotize our institutions in order to control these dissident elements, though still optimistically holding that we retain the original democracy.’


JR Commons 1907


One thought on “Despotization And Delusion

  1. It’s interesting to note that back in 1907, the author was not simply referring to non-white populations as we typically do today, but he was lamenting the immigration of eastern and southern Europeans as well. These peoples did bring great change to the government of the United States, adding numbers to the forces who sought to centralize government and expand its reach into daily lives.

    With populations even more alien today, the tendency to match the Old World’s typical centralization, incompetence, and corruption only accelerates.

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