Spinning History in Service to The State: The Legend of Henry Clay

I have often said there are two faces to History: The PUBLIC Face, or the side of history me and you were taught in school and what a majority of people believe to be true and the REAL face, or the side of history that is not openly discussed and is very often “swept under the rug” because it stirs up controversy that is contrary to what is convenient for the STATE. No where is this more evident a fact than in the History surrounding Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Despite what some may think, the “twisting” and at times, outright fabrication of this “history” effects us even today as it pertains to States Rights, Race Relations, Southern History being Demonized and a host of other things.  I encourage you not to take my word for it, but to search the facts out for yourself. Thomas DiLorenzo’s books (The Real Lincoln is a good one to start with) and his bibliographies are a great place to start your research! SF

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When the American history profession produces one of those rankings of American presidents their criteria always seem to be geared toward giving the highest rankings to whomever ignores the Constitution the most, over-spends and over-taxes the most, kills the most people in wars, drives up the national debt the most, passes the most freedom-destroying laws, and grows government while shrinking individual liberty the most. That’s why Lincoln, FDR, and Woodrow Wilson are always ranked at the top.

In sharp contrast, several years ago Ivan Eland published an “alternative” presidential ranking in the form of his book, Recarving Rushmore, in which his criteria were based on how good a job presidents have done in preserving “peace, prosperity, and liberty.”  His number one ranking went to John Tyler, who served as president from April 4, 1841, to March 4, 1845.  Tyler “exhibited restraint in dealing with an internal rebellion, a bloody Indian war, and a boundary dispute with Canada.”  He “supported a sound policy of limiting the money supply, and he generally opposed high tariffs, a national bank, and federal welfare to the states.”

Tyler did all of this despite violent opposition by his own Whig Party, led by Henry Clay, who saw to it that Tyler was kicked out of the party and hung in effigy in front of the White House.  Clay was the political descendant of Alexander Hamilton and spent his entire political career agitating for the neo-mercantilist policies of protectionist tariffs, corporate welfare for roads, canals, and railroad-building corporations, and a central bank.  He and Hamilton called this British mercantilist scam “the American System.”  Naturally, it is Henry Clay, not John Tyler, who is lionized and celebrated by the “mainstream” history profession.

A good example of how the history profession spins history to lionize statists and demonize the champions of peace, prosperity and liberty is a recent biography of Henry Clay entitledHenry Clay: The Essential American, by David and Jeanne Heidler.  The book, which is prominently displayed for sale in the shop at Ashland, Clay’s former Kentucky slave plantation that is now a museum, describes Clay on the inside cover as “a shrewd and sincere defender of the ordinary man who would be his eventual political base.”  He is “commonly regarded as the greatest U.S. senator in history,” say the Heidlers.  (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Chuck Schumer would undoubtedly disagree).

Read the Remainder at LEW Rockwell

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