Second American Revolution
The first American Revolution spanned from 1775 to 1783, after which the United States received recognition of independence by and from Great Britain. Rhetorical or hyperbolic references to a Second American Revolution have been made on a number of occasions throughout the history of the United States.
- A second (or third, or fourth) American revolution was conceived early on as attainable via the Article V Convention, as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Occasional conventions were envisioned by many of the country's founding generation of leaders to be a sort of institutionalized avenue toward the ideal of revolution every twenty years, often attributed to Thomas Jefferson. According to Samuel Williams of Vermont (1743-1817), it was to be the means to accomplish periodic constitutional adaptation to changing times. Born the same year as Jefferson, Williams saw the federal constitutional convention as the vehicle for what loose constructionists today term the “living, breathing constitution.”
- The War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom is sometimes referred to as the second American Revolution, stemming from the second British recognition of 1781 American borders. John C. Calhoun was perhaps the first to make this claim.
- The Confederates believed that they were fighting a second American Revolution by attempting to secede from the United States during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865.
In popular culture
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- American armed resistance to a fictional Soviet invasion in Amerika was described by its supporters as a Second American Revolution.
- In the 1992 alternate history novel The Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove, the Confederates officially refer to the American Civil War as the Second American Revolution after their victory in 1864.
- The National Secessional Forces in the 2000 video game Deus Ex are stated to believe that they are fighting the Second American Revolution.
- In The Venture Bros. universe the OSI (Office of Secret Intelligence) was created during or after the Second American Revolution (the "invisible one").
- In the novel Power Games (Operation Enduring Unity I), 14 western states take advantage of the political chaos in the country and form their own “legitimate” Federal Government, sparking a US civil war.
- In the alternate history novel Back in the USSA by Eugene Byrne and Kim Newman, both a second revolution and civil war occur after the corrupt presidency of Charles Foster Kane. He had become the 28th president after Theodore Roosevelt won the 1912 presidential election, but was assassinated before taking office and Roosevelt had him as his running mate. By 1917, the US had become unstable politically and socially. That year, the Socialist party led by Eugene Debs gains increasing support and the Second American Revolution breaks out, following which Kane is ousted from The White House and overthrow and executed for treason, and the United States becomes the United Socialist States of America (USSA) with Debs as its president, serving until his death in 1926.
- In the alternate history novel The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith as part of the North American Confederacy Series, the Whiskey Rebellion becomes a Second American Revolution in 1794 after Albert Gallatin intercedes to help the farmers rather than the US Government as he does in real history. This eventually leads to George Washington getting overthrown and executed by firing squad for treason, the U.S Constitution being declared null and void, and Gallatin being proclaimed as the second president and would serve until 1812. In 1795, a new caretaker government is organized with all taxes being repealed. A revised version of the Articles of Confederation are ratified in 1797, but with a greater emphasis on individual and economic freedom.
- In the short story "Dispatches From the Revolution" by Pat Cadigan contained in the anthology Alternate Presidents, a second revolution occurs after a bomb is planted at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois in August 1968, which explodes. The explosion kills President Lyndon B. Johnson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Senator George McGovern, and Senator Eugene McCarthy, wiping out the most prominent contenders for the 1968 Presidential Election. This leads to major chaos and the United States eventually becomes an autocratic state with Ronald Reagan as the president.
- The dystopian science fiction novel Alongside Night by J. Neil Schulman has the novel set prior to a Second American Revolution.
- Samuel Williams, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 2 vols. (Burlington VT, Samuel Mills, 1809) 2:395-96. Congregational minister, Harvard professor, author of the first history of Vermont, and founder of Vermont's oldest continuously published newspaper; Rev. Williams considered a rigid, unchanging constitution to be high folly, in that "no policy would appear more puerile or contemptible to the people of America, than an attempt to bind posterity to our forms, or to confine them to our degrees of knowledge, and improvement: The aim is altogether the reverse, to make provision for the perpetual improvement and progression of the government itself….”
- War of 1812 - The Second War for Independence
- The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, pg. 498