Having been born in 1943, I have a unique view of our last 167 year history. I got to spend a lot of time with my grandfather who was born in 1886 and my great grandmother who was born in 1857. Great Grandma could tell me about the civil war and the beginnings of the industrial revolution. Grandpa could repeat her accounts and add his own observations of the myriad advances that were made. Grandpa grew up on a farm and graduated from medical school in 1905 and had 12 children. My aunts and uncles had also heard these stories, so I was able to retrieve them for a long time. While my family lived in St. Louis during the 1800s and early 1900s they experienced the most impactful transformation of how they lived in human history.
While that was going on in the cities, the West was being settled without much local government “assistance”. Farms and ranches were being developed by families. Everybody had a gun and self-defense was the order of the day. Indian raids occurred until the 1870s. Cattle rustlers were lynched without a trial. Stage coaches and wagon trains served for travel. Railroads were being built. Telegraph lines were strung. Towns sprang up. Salons opened and Sheriffs were hired. Everybody homeschooled until the town could build a schoolhouse and hire a teacher. Property owners built roads and churches and barns for each other. Firefighting and everything else was “do it yourself. Water came from wells and everybody had an outhouse. Kitchens were separated from houses. Bathing and clothes washing took place in a tub. Food had to be gathered and preserved.
Back in the East, cities had already been established and were bureaucratizing. The industrial revolution was in full swing and manufactured goods ruled the roost. Immigrants and farmers arrived to take factory jobs of all sorts. Grain and meat were shipped in and processed. Bakeries and butcher shops provided food. General Stores provided grain and dry goods. City Police and Fire Departments were formed. Ordinances were passed. Parks were built. Roads were maintained.
There was a big difference between the rural parts of the US and the urban cities. The rural areas continued to develop based on the needs of the families who owned land and they limited the spread of government because they really didn’t need it. The families who controlled the West were the “owners”, but in the cities, the industries ruled.
Self-reliance had to be modified if you once owned a farm and now you were an employee in somebody else’s manufacturing company. Your new vision of self-reliance could mean that if you saved your money and learned a trade, you could someday own your own small business.
The US did very well as a free market, private sector oriented economy and not so well in a centrally planned socialist economy. We need to return to the free market system.
Now in 2017, self-reliance needs to be modified again. We need to regain our freedom and take responsibility to chart our own course to self-reliance. We need to return manufacturing to the US to provide higher paying jobs to those who are now working in fast food. We need more tradesmen to take skilled jobs. We need US citizens to become technical experts, engineers and computer programmers.
We need to shrink government and return to free market consumer price control. We need to reform education and healthcare to be controlled by the free market. We need to double our free market private sector economy.
Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader