How America Became a Police State – From the Peacekeeping Night Watch, to Militarized Pursuit of Victimless Crime
How did the United States come to have a militarized police force that pursues victimless crimes with incredibly elaborate, aggressive, and sophisticated methods? A summary of the US transformation from a country of ideals based on liberty, prosperity, and freedom from unwarranted tax, to a society where militarized police enforce every single law the out of control government wishes follows.
By Cassius Methyl (June 16, 2013)
In 1625 America, the first organization resembling a police force was created in what is now New York, known as the “Night Watch”. The Night Watch had not many powers, other than to keep the peace, prevent violent crime, alert people if a fire was to break out, or do things that genuinely serve a community of people. The Night Watch soon grew to be a presence in other American cities such as Boston, and Philadelphia.
After the American Revolution, for what one might call a brief period of time, it seemed this new nation was truly free. There were no militarized police preventing smoking cannabis many grew for hemp, the will of a corrupt body of politicians wasn’t being forced down the throats of the masses, prosperity due to the free market reigned, and one could see, in hindsight, that this form of self governance, a philosophy of self ownership, truly brought prosperity.
Some grew cannabis, smoked and drank as they pleased, and enjoyed a variety of things a free life can bring [at least the white landed male gentry], while enjoying peace, with the concept of self ownership breeding few criminals. Today, the state and the chains brought down on the people from a state, induce crime, poverty, lack of happiness/prosperity. Rational investigation into the era supports this analysis. [The author omits the egregious institution of slavery along w/the disenfranchisement of women as a counter-analysis.]
Unfortunately, the “system”, the soon appointed sheriffs and police, the federal government, along with other power structures, would ruin this freedom/prosperity. It slowly faded. Today, we have some few of our constitutional rights left, but many are gone. They remain to be taken back. A seminal event leading to this change occurred around 1833, when Philadelphia established its own 24-hour police force.
In 1935, those claiming license to bureaucratic rule over Chicago did the same thing. In the early history of these American cities, the masters issuing directives to the new police departments were groups of the privileged/robber barons who paid their way while beginning to infect the cities with corruption, using the newly minted police for their own personal means, their own political agendas.
From the outset, the police in America were unnecessary, illegitimate, and too often corrupt/incompetent. Some cities, today a part of the modernized US, had military style police-rule before officially becoming part of America, as illustrated, for instance, by New Orleans, under the authority of Spanish Colonial Governor Baron De Carondelet, which created its first police department in 1796. The United States would buy this territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase six years later.
In the era following the 1830’s and before the Civil War, Americans began to lose their right to police themselves. In 1845, the NYPD was created. Shortly after, they tried to use their power to enforce city ordinances, requesting some taverns be shut down due to non-compliance with city ordinances. Riots broke out.
In 1875, after the Civil War, America saw its first hint of the war on drugs by the police when a San Francisco city ordinance banned the smoking of opium in its opium dens. Until the 1900’s, the only examples of a police force locking people in cages for victimless crimes in the U.S. were instances of city ordinances. Many of these were created as a result of corrupt influence, were protested en mass, ignored, or unenforced. They were roughly as ineffective as the current ‘war on drugs’, though much less pursued by the enforcement arms of government.
In the 1800’s, the industrial revolution era spawned small towns known as “company towns”, owned by corporations. They resembled concentration camp blocks, yet they were voluntary to live in, as they were houses in a neighborhood entirely owned by the company. The company towns had company goons policing the places where the workers lived, enforcing whatever rules the decision makers in the company wished, as terms of employment. [How little times have changed!] It has been said the company town model is what influenced today’s movers and shakers to make the entire U.S. into a region patrolled by police, including remote rural areas.
Arresting people for victimless crimes is king of tyranny. It is not warranted by the Constitutional, it does not serve to prevent any violent crime or crime with victims [force or fraud]; the ‘drug war’ does not benefit the public [Mexico and Prohibition being a classic example]. The era when Americans were most free, demonstrates the government which governs least governs best is the formula for prosperity/stability. Even with today’s vastly different technologies and capabilities, this cornerstone of freedom and prosperity is self evident. The police were never properly warranted to do what they do today: warrantless searches, excessive force, routinely lying under oath and in their sworn written reports, unfettered surveillance. It is patently unlawful for the NSA has to record and store data from all electronic/telephonic communications. It is also a violation of the natural rights of all human beings.
This system is ripe for collapse. Those righteous citizens demanding freedom from a tyrannical government may bring about a 3rd [the Civil War being the 2nd] American revolution. We can hope it will be a peaceful one. It is long overdue. The pillars holding up the current cesspool are corporate lapdog media, public schools of indoctrination, and the government’s monopoly on force and imprisonment.
“When the people are afraid of the government, that’s tyranny. When the government is afraid of the people, that’s liberty!” -B. Franklin-