I was quite relieved to read this NY Times story that Steve Bannon reads solid American history, summarized here. Their historical theory is that American history moves in predictable 80-year cycles of crisis and renewal, from the revolution to the Civil War to World War II to the present Trumpian moment. Totally. (And it just happens to be popular in Leninist and Alt-Right circles).
So this is my chance to share my bar mitzvah theory of American history, a turning point every 12 or 13 years (it can become a “bat mitzvah” theory after the 19th Amendment in 1920, but I’m not sure America is ready for that even today). Trust me, it ends with a progressive president, single payer health care, and world peace by 2021.
1756-63: the Seven Years War/”French and Indian” War that leads to the Revolution.
1774-75: The Intolerable Acts and Lexington and Concord start the Revolution (1776 is so overrated).
1787: The Constitutional Convention
1800: The Jeffersonian revolution and the first-ish peaceful democratic transition in power in human history
1812-14: The War of 1812
1824: Andrew Jackson wins a plurality of the Electoral College, but Henry Clay helps JQ Adams “steal” the presidency. The beginning of the “Jacksonian revolution”?
1837: The Panic of 1837 destroys the economy, and transforms state banks and state constitutions. See my book.
1846-1850: Mexican American War to the Compromise of 1850, a turning point in slavery politics.
1861: The Civil War
1873: The Colfax massacre and the real end of Reconstruction
1886: Haymarket! May Day! Or for Admin nerds: 1887, Congress creates the ICC. See my article.
1898: The Spanish-American War on the rise of American imperialism
1912: The election of Woodrow Wilson, ushering in a wave of progressive legislation.
I could keep going, but why not just write a crazy book about it, and see if a crazy presidential advisor will buy it?