When America was established, it was based not in only one region, but three regions. Northern, Middle and Southern Colonies -- each with their own various political charters and slightly differing Christian doctrine. Political and cultural expansion is a complex political and cultural process that takes decades to accomplish, but only at a snail’s pace. The American Colonies started off representative of what our Christian nation would come to be founded upon—an orderly Christian society. One based upon the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, guaranteeing prosperity, as promised in Scripture. Over time, corruption of American doctrine and certainly poor pastoral leadership weakened throughout our nations existence would give way to the adaptation of certain aristocratic principles with a slave-driven business theory to the state.
Now step back for a moment and look at the economics of the South at that time. The economy of the South was largely based on agriculture. Cotton, tobacco, rice, sugar cane, and indigo (a plant that was used for blue dye) were sold as cash crops. Cotton ultimately became the most important staple crop after Ely Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin. More slaves were now needed to pick the cotton and as a result of this slavery became absolutely essential to the South’s economy. This flaw in their radical method of economics, politics, and culture would begin to slowly emerge over time. The Democratic Party officially formed in the 1828 election when Andrew Jackson ($20 bill) defeated (Federalist) John Quincy Adams in the presidential election that year.
Lead positions in the local governments of the South were typically elected by the minority of farm owners, whom also were elected due to their status as the wealthy farm-elite. Because of this, the South’s policies were ultimately determined by the upper-class plantation owners and their families. Only children of plantation owners received any education. Essentially, the South revolved around plantation life. It’s no surprise that the Southern government municipalities were all monopolized by the "Democratic Elite", this gave the government and business elite the ability to manipulate the decentralized laws set in place for individual states and local governments. Remember, slaves were considered property and not of human value giving them zero political or human rights whatsoever.
The Confederate’s (The Democrats, along with some radical Republicans) fought and lost the Civil War with the fundamental basis of slavery as their way of life. May I remind you all that just because you lose a war it does not mean that you completely lose or even change your ideology. The slaves were 'freedmen' with no social or economic safety net, nor given any formal re-education into American society. At the end of the Civil War, much of the conquered Confederacy lay in ruins. The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 and 1868 placed most of the southern states under military rule, requiring Union Army governors to approve appointed officials and candidates for election.
Enfranchised to Disenfranchised
They enfranchised African-American citizens and required voters to recite an oath of allegiance to the Constitution, effectively discouraging still-rebellious individuals from voting and led to Republican control of many state governments. This was interpreted as anarchy and upheaval by many residents. However, Democrats had regained power in most Southern states by the late 1870s. Later, this period came to be referred to as "Redemption". From 1890–1908, the Democrats (which will now be called the radicals for the rest of this article) passed statutes and amendments to their state constitutions that effectively disenfranchised most African Americans and tens of thousands of poor whites. They did this through devices such as poll taxes to vote and literacy tests to “qualify” (among other underhanded tactics). By the late 1950s, the Democratic Party again began to embrace the Civil Rights Movement, and the old argument that Southern whites had to vote for Democrats to protect segregation grew weaker.
The Democratic party realized that regardless the outcomes of the Civil War and Reconstruction, the policy of "slavery-by-color" was over. Even segregation became an option not viable to their parties ethics, which is to oppress the poor regardless of color. So how did they do this? Well, modernization had brought factories, national businesses and a more diverse culture to cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte and Houston. This attracted millions of northern migrants, including many African Americans. They gave priority to modernization and economic growth over preservation of the "old ways" of the Democratic party. With the Southern economy being agricultural, and more recently industrial -- the Southern economy (owned by the majority Democratic elites) shifted their ideas towards a seeming process of mass-manipulation. Over the years, from 1950 to the present day, the radicals have knowingly shifted their policy of slavery inward -- meaning slavery is now not just for people of color or of poverty, but all those people in our communities nationwide that are easily manipulated, fooled, or inherently ignorant.
The radicals shifted their focus to an emphasis on societal engineering that would ultimately program our society into being ego-driven, self-centered, ignorant, and constantly pushed by the liberal media to chase a never-to-arrive dream of money, fame, and power. This new programming in our society started with television (ads & sitcoms) and its ability to mass-manipulate American society, full well knowing that the most vulnerable place to attack a person’s psyche is their own home and place of comfort. Scientists, psychologists, and technologists have all been part of this planning -- knowingly and unknowingly. Radical leaders have set up institutions specifically aimed at buying up mainstream media outlets and funding universities for the benefit of pushing their political agenda and ethos. Keeping the average family divided morally, and constantly in debt -- moral and financial slavery. This ultimately attacks one’s own personal and fundamental direction in life. Slavery. Enough said.
A Wake Up Call
President Lyndon B. Johnson (a Democrat) was a President whom I believed was the 1st President to come into the full knowledge of certain political shifts and the public’s manipulation. The quote appeared for the first time anywhere on page 33 of Ronald Kessler’s book, Inside the White House: The Hidden Lives of the Modern Presidents and the Secrets of the World’s Most Powerful Institution, published in 1995: Johnson, like other presidents, would often reveal his true motivations in asides that the press never picked up. During one trip, Johnson was discussing his proposed civil rights bill with two governors. Explaining why it was so important to him, he said it was simple: “I’ll have them ni**ers voting Democratic for two hundred years.” Further, “That was the reason he was pushing the bill,” said MacMillan, who was present during the conversation. “Not because he wanted equality for everyone. It was strictly a political ploy for the Democratic party. He was phony from the word go.” The “MacMillan” referenced above was Ronald M. MacMillan, a former Air Force One steward Kessler interviewed for Inside the White House.
This example illustrates today's radical establishment, which does not reflect the earlier Northern-Democratic party of the early 19th century that carried moderate principles. It seems as though radical policies had been adjusted to remake the Democratic party of the 1860's. The political agenda of slavery has not stopped since abolition after the Civil War. enslaving an entirely different group of people; an ignorant people – siding with any entity that they can to achieve the means to the ends. This is not a political rant slamming the Democratic party, as much as it is a chronological and historical revelation to certain facts pertaining to our political and cultural origins. America has been fighting the same cultural battles since the Civil War, however, these battles are being fought in the much larger context of what is American culture.
Today’s information received by the public is much more complex to grasp, and even harder than ever before to find an individual understanding of what “truth” actually means. I guess Phil Collins was right when his band Genesis made the music billboards in the late 1980’s with their hit song “Land of Confusion.” It was not just a play on American societal direction and what was to follow in the aftermath of the 1980’s, but a seriously powerful and honest observation by a common man with a gift. Misleading the public is a serious pitfall that will have consequences for our society. Discernment about everything today from our life choices made daily, to the information we are taking into our heads.
Daniel L. Smith,
*Resources are omitted for lack of space. Contact for bibliography.
Poor white people. It's an interestingly good topic. It never gets brought up. About one-third of the cotton-belt’s white population did not own land or slaves. I guess this is why it’s important to understand more about how this particular selection of people in this particular region identified with their status and place in society.
The Panic of 1837 was a financial collapse reminiscent of Wall Street’s plunge in our more contemporary times. It utterly destroyed everything associated with finances, and the lower classes would take the brunt of the early-American financial collapse. Even small-time farmers and landholders found themselves quickly stripped of their earnings, and savings. Throughout the 1840’s, biting at the ankle of the recession, almost one million slaves spilled into the deep south. The economic displacement for unskilled and partly-skilled white laborers was overwhelming. Plantation slavery made any sort of white labor completely unnecessary—of course unless it was to fill a serious labor need—like during the planting and harvesting seasons specifically (kind of like Walmart at Christmas). Unemployment and underemployment was extremely high with long periods of time in between. Socioeconomic consequences for these poor whites were a certain part of the fallout of living in a slave society, although daily violence, mistreatment, and humiliations were behaviors they were not subjected too.
Even when these poor white’s increasingly shifted their labors towards work that did not involve agriculture, the deep south could not afford the full employment. Daily and seasonal labor was the only typical work available, and even then it left many people without work for most parts of the year. Many white laborer’s found work that had them traveling long distances—this would cause them to completely leave their families and belongings behind. This was just for short term work! In the South, the more available jobs to take were the most dangerous. Digging ditches for agricultural aqueducts, or mining—work labeled “too dangerous for Negro property.” I think the hardest thing for poor white laborer’s was the threats of constantly being told that there were thousands of blacks ready to take their place if they choose to ask for better wages or ask for a safer work environment.
In the latter years of the 1850’s that a white laborer by the name of Isaac Grimes wrote: “…awful scarce. Couldn’t hardly get work [and] wages [were] so low – I have worked that time for $5.00 a month and board. Worked with oxen’s, all [I] could get for work.” Another white laborer from Georgia mentioned: “…the slaveholders could get the slave for almost nothing and the poor young men like myself, could not get a job.” Not only did poor whites possess class awareness to their status in society, they became resentfully bitter of slave owners. These poor whites would see their labor made useless. Some of them would even choose to leave the southern antebellum altogether. Some would live off the land, and other would run from the law. Still, others would work the odd-job to make their own ends meet.
It was the heavy emphasis on hiring slaves throughout the 1840’s and 1850’s that compounded on class troubles. As poor whites moved into the large southern cities from rural areas, racial tensions continued to mount. It was to no surprise that poor class whites became upset, and even at times hostile, about their positioning in the southern economy. As a result of their class awareness, they would threaten to leave slave politics altogether. They would make their points heard about the viability of the institution of slavery and how necessary support from the working poor class citizens made that stability happen. Ultimately, they made their unhappiness to the upper classes known. A great example of this aforementioned issue: White laborers protested and made a call to action stating “the suppression of the abuses committed by the owners of negro mechanics in ‘permitting their slaves to go at large, trade as free men, [and] hire themselves out’…to the…direct injury of the mechanical classes in open violation of social right.”
Even R. H. Purdom would give a stark warning: “early, decided course for the speedy suppression of the intolerable abuses” taken on by white workers was absolutely necessary for the “permanent welfare of the institution of slavery itself.” Mr. Purdom was a master mechanic who stood up to address a meeting in Jackson, Mississippi gave a stark warning to the elite’s controlling the southern economy. It was by this point that even the poor working white class were ready to turn coat on their own institutions—and their own people. This event proves that the ancient institution of slavery, which had been broken by Moses and the Israelite's from Egypt as commanded by God, was an unstable and nonviable solution from the beginning of its contemporary conception. George Mason of Virginia, a representative who championed abolition mentioned, “Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven upon a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.”
As a historical researcher, I am convinced of this argument.
Further, I am also convinced that the poor whites of early-America were well aware of their "social status".
Daniel L. Smith,
 Richard M. Morris, “The Measure of Bondage in the Slave States,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 41, No. 2 (Sept. 1954): 223; 228.
 Colleen M. Elliot and Louise A. Moxley, eds. The Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires, Vols. 1-5. (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1985), Vol. 3, 966; Vol. 3, 1057.
 “Mechanical Association,” Mississippian State Gazette, Dec. 29, 1858, 3.
 Beliles, Mark A., and Stephen K. McDowell. "The War for the Union." In America's Providential History, 3rd ed., 227. Charlottesville: Providence Foundation, 1989.
Jesters were a key part of many Medieval courts. But are Jesters still among us?
The Jester was common in the times of castles, villages, chain-mail, and treachery. In Medieval Europe, the elites and nobility would hire jesters in which the aristocratic family would regard them as “mascots”. These characters were well-educated individuals who came from a variety of diverse upbringings. Jesters are known for their crazy styles and abstract apparel. All of this for the attention of the court of course, and sometime the humility. These people were hired to amuse the lord and the lord’s guests. At times, Jesters, oddly enough, were paid to criticize them too!
These people of humor and talents had a privilege given to them by their master: freedom of speech. Interestingly enough, Jesters were one of the few people in their lord’s presence that could speak their minds freely without risk of punishment. They typically used humor and parody to joke around and “razz” the nobles and elites. Bringing bad news was another job for the Jester to deliver to their master - when paid appropriately.
Types of Jester
Excessive misbehavior though, would result in some form of harsh punishment. There were two primary types of Jesters in Medieval Europe – the natural fooland the licensed fool. The natural fool was known as moronic in social setting; whereas the licensed fool had the legal privileges granted to them to avoid the mentioned court punishments for bad behavior.
The most apparent description of the Jester is a person who worked under the employment of a European noble, telling jokes and providing entertainment. Bright colors with eccentric hats and bells were a calling card for Jesters. A couple of surprising details pertaining to symbolism are the hat and scepter that Jesters often wore and carried. There was a head usually carved into the top of the scepter, representing the actor. The scepter was more or less ornamental and it was called a “marotte”. This staff was symbolic in representing the authority of the royal court.
Overall, many of these actors held small roles in the courts they worked for (or were pressed into) and livened up most social events. It was some serious responsibility and even obligation for the Jester to bring a smile to a sick or often angry King or Monarch. This position was one held purely for the amusement and humor of his master. Assisting in preventing state affairs from becoming too serious was a main priority to the Jester, as well as bringing excitement to courtly meals, apparently to help assist in aiding with digestion.
How The Jester Is Portrayed Today
Most of the Jester’s entertainment in the courts or within the master’s domain would likely include music (vocal and with an instrument), prop and physical comedy, storytelling and myth bringing. Some historians also suggest that some Jesters juggled and were acrobatic. Basic tools, props, and instruments were all that was necessary for performances in the court.
Jesters are comparable to today's clowns. They also parallel Hollywood actors and musical artists. Today’s artists essentially do the same job as the Jester of the feudalistic courts. The only difference is artists are able to connect to mass audience; whereas the Jester could only reach the royal courts and social gatherings. I mean – the printing press didn’t even arrive until the 15th century!
Indeed, there are a number of similarities between Jesters and modern-day entertainment. For example, soap opera characters are sometimes corporate people working against one another’s rivals and family members. This could be because some Hollywood entertainment is produced and designed to be geared towards the elites and higher classes of American society. Again, this mimics the Jester entertaining the master and getting paid for it.
It is the same today in modern America, just as the elites and nobility would have done behind castle walls. Today, actors are hired in Hollywood, and some powerful people could consider them as “mascots”.
These actors, actresses, and musicians today are typically well-educated individuals who come from a variation of diverse upbringings – just as the Jesters of the past.
Actors, actresses, and musicians today are known for their crazy styles and abstract apparel – just as the Jesters of the past. All of this for the constant need for attention from the audience at home – just as Jesters would in court of course.
Actors, actresses, and musicians today are people who are hired to amuse the master (the elite) and the master’s guests (the voters) – just as the Jesters of the past.
And finally, at times, Jesters were paid to criticize the nobility at court…
Just like the actors, actresses, and musicians today in Hollywood who are using television and radio for their political and social arguments using their platforms… which is something that you would not find from Jesters of the Royal Courts for fear of cruel punishment.
Jesters are not a thing of the past. They are here today.
Daniel L. Smith,
1. Billington, Sandra. “A Social History of the Fool,” The Harvester Press, 1984. ISBN 0-7108-0610-8
2. Doran, John. “A History of Court Fools,” 1858.
3. Hyers, M. Conrad, “The Spirituality of Comedy: Comic Heroism in a Tragic World.”1996 Transaction Publishers ISBN 1-56000-218-2
4. Otto, Beatrice K., "Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World,"Chicago University Press, 2001
5. Southworth, John, Fools and Jesters at the English Court, Sutton Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-7509-1773-3
6. Welsford, Enid: “The Fool: His Social and Literary History”(out of print) (1935 + subsequent reprints): ISBN 1-299-14274-5