What is so significant about the year 1913? For the United States of America, it represents, quite possibly, the beginning of the downfall of our republic.
Politically-speaking, there were some pretty bad events that occurred in 1913.
Don’t get me wrong though, there were some good things that happened that year.
For instance, in 1913, the Ford Motor Company introduced the first moving assembly line, which led to less expensive production of motor vehicles, which, in turn, led to the American public having more ability to afford to purchase a motor vehicle.
Also in 1913, the Lincoln Highway was dedicated. The Lincoln Highway was the first automobile road that stretched across the United States. Essentially, it was the first freeway.
I would have to say that these were some good things that happened in 1913.
Additionally, there were some events that occurred in 1913 that were neither good, nor bad. Both the Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce were established. One could say these were negative in that they created more bureaucracy in the federal government and I would agree with them on that point but when compared to the 4 events that I will discuss next, they pale in comparison in negativity.
Those 4 events were the following:
The passage of the 16th Amendment, the passage of the 17th Amendment, the establishment of the Federal Reserve, and the beginning of the presidential term of Woodrow Wilson.
Prior to 1913, the federal government got its revenue from levies and tariffs and these revenues funded our federal government without individual income tax. In 1913, the 16th Amendment was passed, giving Congress the power to tax an individual's income. When the founding fathers declared their independence from Great Britain and created the United States of America, it was their intention to create a country where an individual could prosper by keeping the fruits of their labors. With the passage of the 16th Amendment and the institution of the income tax, this ability to prosper for the average American diminished greatly. The income tax led to the federal government having the ability to take money away from people to pay for programs that they did not agree with and to fight in wars they did not wish to take part in.
Prior to 1913, Senators were selected by state legislatures, making them accountable to their state and not to corporate lobbyists or special interest groups. But in 1913, the 17th Amendment was passed, making Senators elected by the people and not accountable to their respective states. This amendment was the beginning of the decline of the influence of the states in modern federal government. It led to the rise of the influence of special interest groups and the overall decline in accountability of the members of the U.S. Senate.
Prior to 1913, Congress had the sole authority to handle our monetary system. In 1913, this authority was given to the Federal Reserve, a non-federal agency that is operated by private individuals. The Federal Reserve has thus far, never been audited and is responsible to nobody except its shareholders. This private organization has, in my opinion, entirely too much influence in the economy of the United States. Fortunately, the tide against the Federal Reserve is turning and recently, the U.S. House of Representatives have passed a bill requiring a full audit of the Federal Reserve. Whether or not this bill will pass in the Senate, or even be heard in the Senate for that matter, remains to be seen.
Lastly, 1913 brought about the beginning of the Woodrow Wilson administration. In my opinion, Woodrow Wilson was one of the worst Presidents in our nation’s history. In a book written by the former President, he wrote about his rejection of the principles of the separation of powers and the idea of checks and balances in our system of government. He said in this book that “Government does now whatever experience permits or the times demand.” He also wrote, in Constitutional Government in the United States, that “The President is at liberty…to be as big a man as he can be. His capacity will set the limit.” To me, this sounds like a man that thought the Presidency was bigger than the foundation of government itself. This was a President that campaigned for peace, stating he “kept us out of war” and as soon as he was re-elected to another term, forced the United States into a war it had no business fighting. His actions led to the collapse of a long and glorious history of non-intervention by the United States into foreign conflicts. This was a President that had a strong disdain for the free market system. Wilson once said that “…It was [President Thomas] Jefferson who said that the best government is that which does as little governing as possible…But that time has passed. America is not now and cannot in the future be a place for unrestricted individual enterprise.” Not a place for unrestricted individual enterprise. These words came from a President of the United States!
So even though there might have been a couple of things that happened in the United States that had a positive impact on our country, they certainly do not outweigh the things that happened that had a severe negative impact on our country.