1913: The Turning Point

The New American – In 1913, Woodrow Wilson was the newly elected president. Wilson and his fellow progressives scorned the Constitution and the Declaration. They moved swiftly to replace the Founders’ republic with a new regime.

There is widespread agreement that Wilson did not always show good judgment – for example, in his blunders in international relations – but in the project of overturning the Founding, he and the movement he led selected their targets shrewdly. By the time he left office, the American republic was, as they say, history. The fundamentals of the new regime were in place, and the expansion of government under FDR, LBJ, and Obama was made easy, perhaps even inevitable.

Nineteen-thirteen gave us the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution. That year also saw the creation of the Federal Reserve. This burst of changes marks the effective beginning of the Progressive Era in American politics, the era in which we now live. Wilson was to do much more that would once have been considered out of bounds, but these three changes were enough to change everything. In 1913, the fundamental agreement the Founders made with the American people about the relation of the states and the federal government was broken.

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