The first stage of American history was the founding itself — the Revolution and then the establishment of a national government with the adoption of the Constitution. This Washingtonian era began with the Albany Plan of Union in 1754, and lasted 46 years..
The second American epoch was the great territorial expansion, which was largely the work of Jefferson, Jackson and their proteges, and of the Democratic Party they founded. For 60 years, from 1800 to 1860, we gradually established our control over the better part of North America, and became the continental Empire of Liberty that the founding fathers dreamed of.
This era ended with the Civil War, and the ascendance of a new party, the Republicans under Lincoln. In our third national epoch, lasting 72 years, the business of America was business. Laissez faire capitalism was the order of the day. The United States became the most powerful economic force in the world.
The next, fourth great stage of our history was the work of the Democratic Party and Franklin Roosevelt and his successors. Truman, Johnson, Clinton and Obama were all carrying on FDR’s New Deal tradition. For 84 years, from 1932 to 2016, the work of expanding the welfare state continued, albeit in fits and starts.
All of these historical epochs lasted roughly a human lifetime. All were identified with one dominant political party. All came to an end, their mission completed. First we became a nation. Then we conquered most of North America. Then we became the world’s leading economy. Then we became a welfare state.
Washington founded our country. Jefferson and Jackson gave it the borders we have today. Lincoln and the Republicans gave us our national wealth. FDR, Johnson and Obama have given us the welfare state. Now it’s time for something new.
This new era will initially be identified with Trump, and he deserves this honor. He saw that his time, and the time of a great American revival, was at hand, and he seized it. But he isn’t really responsible for this new era. The New Deal and the Democratic Party were exhausted, they were out of ideas and out of gas. Any political party that would nominate a candidate as bad as Hillary Clinton is clearly on its last legs. Trump saw weakness, and pounced.
Trump is implementing the ideas of conservative thinkers going back to William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater in the 1950’s and 60’s. I know because that’s how long I’ve been a conservative political activist. I subscribed to National Review in 1961, founded a chapter of Young Americans for Freedom in 1963, campaigned for Goldwater in 1964, and became Chairman of the U. C. Berkeley Young Republicans in 1965. And I’ve been at it ever since.
So it is with a great deal of satisfaction that I view current political developments. I feel as though everything I’ve worked for and believed in is being vindicated. My first and favorite political hero, Barry Goldwater, would be proud.
If this is, indeed, a new political epoch, the Republicans will need to win four or five Presidential elections in a row. It begins in 2020. And things look good.
Just look at the opposition.