In 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto.
In it they defined the communist ideology as "from each according to his
abilities: to each according to his needs."
The communist ideal was to hold all means of production in common by the people.
The idea was to prevent having a few wealthy individuals owning the means of
production (i.e. factories and big businesses) and collecting huge profits while
keeping their employees impoverished. Instead of "the rich getting
richer and the poor getting poorer" (as happens in a capitalist economy),
communism sought to spread the wealth equally to all citizens.
The US immediately decided that communism was the greatest crime and most
horrendous sin ever conceived of. This reaction probably originated with the
few wealthy individuals who owned "the means of production" in the US.
These were the rich who wanted to get richer, and who didn't give a damn about
anyone else. They pitted the idea of communism against "free enterprise"
in the "land of opportunity" in which everyone had the possibility of
getting rich (the "American dream").
It didn't bother them in the least that in a world of finite resources
every rich person must, of necessity, be counter-balanced by countless
As we'll see, the United States' intense unreasoning hatred of communism has led
to untold misery around the world.
In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed. It required all citizens to assist
federal officials in capturing and returning escaped slaves to their "owners".
Slaves were not given the right to testify: the slave owner's statement was taken as proof.
In 1854, in a clear violation of the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine, Commodore Perry landed
a large naval fleet in Tokyo Bay, Japan, and issued a list of demands from US
President Fillmore to the Emperor. The Japanese, who had their own isolationist
policy, capitulated under the military threat, and were forced to begin trade with the US.
In 1857, the Supreme Court of the US ruled that Dred Scott, an African American
slave who sued for his freedom after spending four years in free states,
"could not bring suit in federal court because he was a Negro, not just a slave.
No Negro whether slave or free, could ever be considered a citizen of the
United States within the meaning of the Constitution."
It seems in this instance that the US failed to put into practice the ideal that
"all men are created equal."
On December 26, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln wrongly hung 38 men of the
Santee tribe of the Dakota nation: the largest mass hanging in history.
In 1864, Colonel John Chivington, an elder in the Methodist church, and a former
missionary, attacked the Sand Creek village of the Cheyenne and Arapaho.
A few days earlier Chivington had been officially informed that these people
had voluntarily disarmed themselves to prove that they were not "hostile",
and that the government considered them to be harmless disarmed prisoners of war.
Chivington responded with, "Well, I long to be wading in gore."
As Chivington rode in with 700 heavily armed soldiers, chief Black Kettle tied a
white flag to a lodge pole, and above that he tied a US flag. He held the pole high
and gathered his family around him -- all to show that this was not a hostile camp.
He kept calling out to his people not to be frightened: he knew that the camp was
"under protection" and so there was no danger.
Then the soldiers opened fire. Most of the men were away on a buffalo hunt. The
soldiers were killing women, children, and old men. The description by eyewitnesses
of this slaughter is too disturbing to include here. Suffice it to say that it
would make you sick. We are talking about inhuman mutilations. We are talking about
murdering children. All of the victims were scalped. Many were mutilated. Fingers
and ears were cut off in order to steal jewelry from the dead. I will only relate
one of the incidents:
There were some 30 or 40 squaws collected together in a hole for protection;
they sent out a little girl about 6 years old with a white flag on a stick; she
had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed...
Evidently proud of his accomplishment, Chivington issued a press release claiming
that he had won "one of the most bloody Indian battles ever fought,"
in which "one of the most powerful villages in the Cheyenne nation"
US President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt later called the Sand Creek Massacre,
"as righteous and beneficial a deed as ever took place on the frontier."
In the summer of 1866, in the city of New Orleans, a crowd of police and whites
attacked several hundred black demonstrators parading in favor of suffrage.
Thirty-six people died.
It seems the right to "freedom of assembly" was forgotten in this instance.
England had outlawed slavery in 1833. But it continued to be legal in the US until 1868 (when the
14th Amendment to the Constitution finally granted citizenship to African Americans).
And this was only after the bloodiest war in US history had been fought over the matter.
Buffalo once roamed the western plains in abundance. The white immigrants virtually wiped
them out, partly out of greed, and partly to starve out the indigenous people. As General George Sheridan (commander of the
western army) put it:
Let them kill, skin, and sell until the buffalo is exterminated; as it is the only
way to bring lasting peace and allow civilization to advance.