The Lesson Of "The 'Spot' Resolutions"

by Lyndon LaRouche

Printed in the American Almanac, November 26, 1997

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One-hundred-fifty years ago, on December 22, 1847, Abraham Lincoln, as a U.S. Representative from Illinois, introduced a celebrated motion into the U.S. Congress. This motion contained eight proposed resolutions, whose mere submission exposed U.S. President James Polk as a liar. This document became known in the history books as ``The `Spot' Resolutions.'' [fn1] Although the full importance of Lincoln's motion did not begin to be recognized until more than a dozen years later, his action proved ultimately to have been among the most important turning-points in U.S. history. That lesson has special, crucial bearing upon the challenge which now confronts President Clinton, because of a presently accelerating, global, systemic financial catastrophe, the greatest crisis in all modern history.

The essential facts of the matter are detailed by Anton Chaitkin, in his reports on this matter immediately following. The point of my prefatory remarks here, is to point up the invaluable object-lesson to be applied to those increasingly perilous circumstances, the which now threaten to destroy the U.S.A. even as early as some time, soon, before the time of the 2000 Presidential primary campaigns.

The essence of the story of the ``Spot'' resolutions, is located in the exemplary, degraded relationship between two key figures of Polk's Presidency. These are Tennessee Democrat, slave-owner, and lying scoundrel, James Polk, himself, and a vile creature deployed by Yankee opium-trafficking interests, ``anti-slavery'' changeling George Bancroft. Bancroft, as Chaitkin indicates, was a scurrilous Democrat, later turned Republican, a character who later acquired a richly undeserved reputation as an American historian. Here, we leave the remainder of the ``yellow sheet'' on these two wretches to Chaitkin's literary mercies; it is the significance of the partnership between slave-owner Polk and Yankee Bancroft which points to the crucial historic issues.

To understand the implications of Lincoln's actions then, and later, it is necessary to push aside the idle gossip, misnamed ``American History,'' which teachers and textbooks used to peddle to their victims, the pupils.

In those former classrooms, legend ran to the effect, that the history behind the issues of the American Revolution and Civil War began approximately 1763, when the end of France's colonies and bases in Canada eliminated that principal, strategic motive, which had, earlier, prompted the British monarchy to tolerate the economic and other liberties previously enjoyed by its North American colonies.

Contrary to popularized classroom mythologies, those post-1763 repressive measures taken by King George's Crown, merely brought the long-embedded, irreconcilable conflict with the British monarchy into the open, making acutely intolerable what were already long established, opposing notions of God, man, and nature. [fn2]

- The roots of the conflict -

The Seventeenth-Century English colonization of North America had two principal roots. One, the positive impulse, was the general optimism which affected the growing, literate portion of western Europe's industrious classes, under the continuing influence radiating from the revolutionary, Fifteenth-Century, Italian Renaissance. Beginning approximately the period of the accession of James|I to the throne of England, the failure of Europe to free itself of oppressive relics of feudalism, prompted frustrated republicans to pursue the development of the new form of society at a relatively safer distance from the immediate overreach of the powerful, parasitical, landed and financier aristocracies of Europe.

The successes of the English Seventeenth-Century colonies, the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania most notably, contrasted sharply with the savage worsening of the political situation in the British Isles during the period from the accession of England's James|II through the accession of George|I. The December 1688 seizure of top-down control, by the mass-murderous tyrant, William of Orange, and, later, his protégés, the Duke of Marlborough and George|I of Hannover, accelerated the republicans' impulse for building up the colonies in North America, at the same time that the victory of that depravity which became known as the Liberal Party in Britain, deepened the spiritual gulf between that monarchy and all decent men and women in both Europe and the Americas.

So, the philosophical and political conflict between the republican spirit of the colonists and the oligarchical mind-set of the British ruling oligarchy, was well established before those developments of the 1760s and 1770s. The post-1763 actions by the monarchy, forced the philosophical differences into what became their expression as the 1776 Declaration of Independence and first, 1776-1783 U.S. war against our mortal, British enemy.

Although North America was relatively free of the kind of oligarchy which crushed the population of the United Kingdom, the spores of that same fungus were implanted on our territory. The existence of such alien infestations was addressed by Cotton Mather, in his fight against the Bogomil-like, self-designated ``elect'' among the New England Puritans. Later, the local opponents of Mather became the core of the British East India Company's opium-trafficking Yankee traders. Nation-wide, our domestic species of social saprophytes and parasites, came to be identified with three principal oligarchical groupings: the New England ``Tories'' who, from the 1790s onward, based their financial power on the cornerstone of the British opium trade; the Manhattan bankers, such as treasonous Aaron Burr, and, later, the Morgan and August Belmont interests; and, the southern slave-owning classes.

Thus, although there were Hobbesian varieties of practical, competing interests between the American, oligarchically-minded ``Tories,'' and their British oligarchical cousins, down to the present day, the respective imperial and provincial oligarchs shared the same general philosophical-political outlook, that of Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke--with a bit of ``Hell Fire Club'' varieties of imported British satanism blended in. These sometime competitors naturally tended to coalesce against their common adversary, against the American republican, anti-Locke faction centered around Leibniz-follower Benjamin Franklin.

Under the conditions from 1789 until the aftermath of the Crimean War, when every leading government in Europe was, or was in the process of becoming a mortal adversary of the United States, the British were able to build up this three-headed, polymorphous perversion, ``American Toryism,'' as a more or less actively treasonous element inside the U.S.A. The 1814-1815 families of the notorious ``Hartford Convention,'' like the later Confederate States of America (CSA), were expressions of the most actively treasonous phases of this social-political slime-mold, this British oligarchical influence, polluting the domestic life and strife of the U.S.A.

As stated above, and in other published locations, the essential characteristic of this history of the combined foreign and domestic conflict (between the American patriots, on the one side, and the oligarchical forces of both the British Empire and the Holy Alliance, on the opposing side), must be understood as a conflict between irreconcilably opposing conceptions of God, man, and nature. [fn3]

It is fair to say, and essential to understand, that there were no proper Christians among the leaders of our European adversaries, including the nominally Christian ones, or among the leaders of the ``American Tory'' parties, either. A person either accepts the fact, that all individual persons, man and woman alike, are made in the image of God, by virtue of that divine spark of reason whose expression is typified by scientific and technological progress, or one is no Christian. [fn4] So, one must read the Apostle Paul's I Corinthians 13. This defines the real Christian, whom Abraham Lincoln, as we know him as a patriotic public figure, typifies with a special excellence, both during the Civil War, and, earlier, as author of the ``Spot'' resolutions.

The fruit of later Civil War victory, was already present, as seed, in Lincoln's authorship of the ``Spot'' resolutions of December 1847. While the issue of a lying President Polk's filibustering war against Mexico, was the nominal issue of those resolutions, the subsuming, real issue, was the conflict between patriotic persons and the combined forces of that oligarchical fungus which spilled over from the upper-class cess-pots of Europe, into the Americas. The fungus was aptly represented by both Polk and his backer, Bancroft, the first representing the slave-owners, the second, what became the typical, opium-flavored, Yankee ``abolitionist'' Tory.

- `Single-issuism' is immorality -

The saying goes, sometimes accompanied by tearful expressions of sincerity: ``He may be a mass-murdering thief, but he was always good to his family, attended church regularly, and never cheated on his wife.'' Thus, the name for those whose political activity is defined in terms of selected, moralizing ``single issues,'' is the proper definition of the term ``hypocrite.'' The most appropriate synonyms for ``hypocrite,'' in such cases, are ``charlatan,'' ``sophist,'' ``scoundrel.''

Even to this day, there are many ostensibly well-meaning sophists, in addition to the abundance of charlatans and kindred scoundrels, who make the false and foolish argument, that Lincoln's opposition to slavery was ``opportunist,'' that he placed ``Union'' above the urgent issue, that of human rights of slaves. People who are taken in by that sort of sophistry, would be wise to keep their mouths shut, and listen, when serious political issues are being discussed; their best self-interest, is to learn, rather than to preach. Better than speak such rubbish, they should study, and emulate the beautiful souls of the greatest civil rights leaders, such as the wonderfully noble Frederick Douglass and the martyred Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Unlike the silly single-issue rabble, serious statesmen recognize that the choice between good and evil in the social relations of so-called ``ordinary people,'' is a matter of institutions, not shibboleths.

The fight against slavery could be won, only by eliminating the institution of slavery, by expelling from power, those laws, and, above all else, those people, who followed the philosopher of English liberalism, John Locke, in Locke's institutionalized dogma of ``Life, Liberty, and Property,'' as the Confederate States of America did. In other words, without destroying the continued existence of that Confederate States of America, and without reducing to absolute penury and political harmlessness, the entire class of slave-owners and their political agents, slavery could not be eliminated. Any other view of the matter, is less than worthless opinion.

Similarly, one is a hypocrite if he or she proposes, today, to eradicate racism from public practice, without ripping out the institution of racism currently embedded in the permanent, civil service bureaucracy of the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division. One can not eliminate the evils of poverty and related conditions in the U.S. today, without ripping the venereal disease called ``economic liberalism'' out of our financial institutions, including the present chairmanship of the Federal Reserve System, or even that intrinsically unconstitutional System as a whole.

If there is any systemic form of evil in society, one must eliminate the institution which imposes that evil, and establish the institutions which will ensure the cause of the good. [fn5]

The entire history, and known prehistory of mankind, until Europe's Fifteenth-Century Renaissance, is a record of the failed efforts of mankind to triumph over evil, an evil which prevailed for lack of that kind of ruling institutions which submit themselves to a certain principle of natural law: that each person is made in the image of God, and that society must be so composed, that it affords each and all such beings the social and related conditions of life suited to such a noble creature.

In other words, the fight is not for individual arbitrary freedom of choice. The individual person is mortal, and, in isolation, more or less defenseless against overreaching institutions of power. The fight for any right principle of law or customary practice, is to establish institutions which will ensure the victory for the causes of truth and justice, against the evils not only of wicked tyranny as such, but also the moral degradation inhering in political and related pragmatic compromises.

In dealing with an oligarchy, one is dealing with a pagan institution, an heirloom of that Mesopotamian tradition which the Apostle John identified as the ``Whore of Babylon.'' The object of our dealings with such evils, must be, to deprive that institution of the right to shape the policies of society, hopefully without injustice to the natural individual human rights of the ``prodigal son'' found among that oligarchical class. The essential object must be, to establish that absolute supremacy of such republican institutions as will efficiently provide the quality of freedom to the noble creatures each man and woman are born to become.

Lincoln's ``Spot'' resolutions, like his leadership as President, attacked the enemy as a class, attacked the evil institution, rather than as some single-issue sophist, or, some disgustingly, morally impotent pragmatist might have done, who focussed merely on the particular offense secreted as an expression of the culpable institution's inherent propensity for evil. In the ``Spot'' resolutions, he attacked the institution of evil as represented by Polk and Bancroft, rather than narrowly debating the issue of the war with them, rather than seeking a negotiated compromise of a single issue. He established, thus, then, in December 1847, as a bench-mark, that point of reference out of which the United States became, during the 1861-1876 interval, the most powerful, most advanced economy of the world, and the model for all other societies capable of providing the means of true freedom to the entirety of their populations.

As the ensuing developments of 1861-1865 attest, and the revival of the Lincoln tradition as our font of moral strength under President Franklin Roosevelt, Lincoln's 1847 ``Spot'' resolutions, coming at the break in the unity of our nation's adversary, the British pact with Metternich's ``Holy Alliance,'' were the opening blow leading our republic out of the terrible isolation of the 1789-1848 period, into becoming its true self once more, under President Abraham Lincoln's 1861-1865 war of national renewal.

We need such leadership again today. We need it desperately, for the sake of all our posterity.

  1. Congressional Globe, Thirtieth Congress, First Session, 1848, p.|64. The text of Lincoln's original draft is found in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Roy P. Basler, ed. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953), Vol. I, pp.|420-422.

  2. H. Graham Lowry, How the Nation Was Won (Washington, D.C.: Executive Intelligence Review, 1987).

  3. Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., ``What Economics Must Measure,'' EIR, Nov. 28, 1997.

  4. In Germany, among the Lesergesellschaften which rallied to the cause of the American War of Independence, a metaphor was popularized, identifying Benjamin Franklin's dual role as the intellectual leader of the American Revolution and as a leading scientist in the philosophical tradition, and among the still-existing networks of Gottfried Leibniz, in both North America and in Europe. ``Divine Spark of Reason'' was equated by notables of the period, such as Georg Forster, with Franklin's leading participation in contributions to the founding of electrodynamics. This was expressed by the Götterfunken of Friedrich Schiller's An die Freude, as adopted by Beethoven for his Ninth Symphony. A counter-action against this metaphor came from the agents of British Foreign Office's Jeremy Bentham, by Bentham asset Mary Shelley's anti-American rant, her 1818 Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus [Dr. Franklin|=|Dr. Frankenstein], in which this issue of ``God's sparks,'' was featured. During the later Nineteenth-Century, British effort, to debase the Franklin whom the monarchy hated, this was expressed by the propaganda efforts of the Newcomen societies.

  5. This argument is a practical one, but it has the most profound scientific basis. As in physical science, the selection of those propositions deemed suitable for institutionalized practice, is governed by what Plato's Socratic method identifies as an hypothesis: a set of definitions, axioms, and postulates, which determines which propositions will be allowed as theorems of that system, and those which will not. In government, as in science, the ruling definitions, axioms, and postulates, express ruling assumptions respecting God, man, nature, and the interrelationship among these three. In the western Christian situation, this conception of statecraft was developed from the standpoint of reference provided by the struggle to free mankind from worship of pagan gods, in the development of Greek Classical culture. To this end, the notion of Reason as developed in the work of Plato, defines the hypothesis (set of definitions, axioms, postulates), which provided the setting for a notion of society and its ruling institutions premised on the notion that the inborn power for Reason in the individual, defines all persons as made in the image of God, and that society must be crafted to meet the requirements which that conception of God, man, and nature implies. See Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., op cit., passim.

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