“In politics, nothing happens by accident; if it happens you can bet it was planned that way.” (Attributed- probably inaccurately- to President Franklin Roosevelt.)
I assume that most of us are aware of the concept of “conspiracies” throughout world history, and we’ve probably heard that term used for much of our lives. Even today we hear the ridicule of political conspiracies, often from popular but ill-informed “talking head pundits” all over the political spectrum who love to attack and disparage “conspiracy theorists” (people who are convinced that there are genuine conspiracies among us at this very time, based on evidence they feel is compelling). The more politically astute and educated among us like to discuss the pros and cons regarding whether “conspiracies”—political or otherwise-- have existed in the past or exist now, and what has been the affect upon history of such activities. I suggest that the first order of investigation into “conspiracies” is to define the word:
According to various on-line dictionaries, a conspiracy is:
- A secret plan by a group (two or more) of people to do something unlawful or harmful;
- The act of conspiring together;
- An evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; i.e. “a plot”.
The thing to keep in mind regarding “a conspiracy” is that it MUST be for evil or unlawful purposes, as well as being kept a secret from those not directly involved. Two or more people planning an event or a surprise party, etc. may be doing it in secret, but it is not for an “evil purpose”, therefore that is NOT a conspiracy—it is “networking”.
Back in the early 1970’s, the late patriot, Gary Allen, wrote a fascinating book titled, “None Dare Call It Conspiracy”. It sold millions of copies throughout the U.S. and the free world, and I was one of those millions who were shocked by its contents. To delve into this topic further, let me give you a couple of quotes from Allen’s book:
“We believe that many of the major world events that are shaping our destinies occur because somebody or somebodies have PLANNED them that way.” (P. 8).
“Every conspirator has two things in common with every other conspirator: He must be an accomplished liar and a far-seeing planner. Whether you are studying Hitler, Alcibiades, Julius Caesar or some of our contemporary conspirators, you will find that their patient planning is almost overwhelming.” (P. 24).
But, you may counter, we’ve long been assured by our “ever-wise” politicians, by the “experts” of our main stream media, and by those “super knowledgeable” teachers and professors in academia that “conspiracies are figments of right-wing imaginations”, have no basis in fact, and are spread by “extremists” to create fear among our people, and to allow them to control us and persuade us to buy their books and read their blogs, etc. Always remember that those who assure the rest of us that there are no such things as political or criminal conspiracies, and especially that they do not currently exist in the world of national and international politics, often have agendas of their own that they strive to keep concealed from the rest of us, the “unwashed masses” who are expected to keep quiet, pay our taxes, and do the bidding of our political masters.
For anyone who is even remotely familiar with history, the flow of time is replete with large numbers of “conspiracies”, some of which have changed the future. So let’s review a few of those historical conspiracies, as we compare those examples to today’s political world, and decide for ourselves whether those who currently deny the existence of present-day conspiracies are being truthful, deceitful, or just plain stupid.
- 63 B.C.: The Catiline Conspiracy:
This was one of ancient Rome’s most scandalous conspiracies (and there were LOTS of those in ancient Rome). Roman Senator Lucius Catiline was foiled in his political ambitions, and conspired with sympathizers to foment an uprising against the Republic. He formed an army of malcontents and mercenaries and planned to march on Rome and take over the government. Fortunately, his political opponent was a staunch Roman patriot, the great Senator Marcus Cicero, who was serving as a Consul that year and discovered Catiline’s plot and his preparations for revolt, and publicly condemned him several times in the Roman Senate. This caused Catiline to flee from Rome and launch his military attack against the Republic, probably prematurely. He was defeated and killed in battle along with thousands of his followers.
- 44 B.C.: The Conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar:
A smart and ruthless Roman military leader, Caesar also had ambitions to become First (and only) Consul, and perhaps even had grander ambitions, which became a cause of great concern to some of his so-called friends, and even some of his relatives, who eventually conspired together to stop Caesar’s rise to total power by assassinating him, which they did in 44 B.C., in the Roman Senate (see the picture of this event at the top of this article). This, of course, caused a civil war that killed untold thousands of Romans, caused the rise of Gaius Octavian Thurinus (usually called ‘Octavian Caesar’ after Julius adopted him), and ultimately—in 27 B.C.—caused the demise of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire under its first “Princeps”—or Emperor—who changed his name from Octavian to Augustus Caesar.
- Ca. 33 A.D.: The Conspiracy to kill Jesus, the Messiah:
All people in the Western world, particularly Christians, know of the plot to arrest and kill our Blessed Savior, Jesus the Messiah. One of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, conspired with the Chief Priest,, Caiaphas, and other religious leaders in the Temple, who conspired with each other and with King Herod to arrest, try, and kill Jesus. World history was changed by Judas’ acceptance of his blood money—30 pieces of silver. We all know that Jesus was condemned by false witnesses, was tried before Herod and Pontius Pilate, was beaten, whipped, mocked, and eventually crucified. That this was in the eternal plan of God the Father doesn’t mean that this was not a “conspiracy”, because in worldly terms it was!
- April, 1478: The Pazzi Conspiracy:
This was a conspiracy, or plot, instigated by Pope Sixtus IV, by the Archbishop of Pisa (Italy), and several others, including members of the powerful Pazzi family in Florence, to take the Province of Tuscany from the control of the very powerful Medici Family. Giulli and Lorenzo de’Medici were attacked by a group of the plotters. Giulli was stabbed to death, but Lorenzo suffered only one wound, and survived to have his revenge. The coup by the Pope and his friends failed when, eventually, an enraged citizenry decided to support the de’Medici family. Many were killed or later executed, and the government seized all of the assets of the Pazzi Family and exiled them from the country.
- March, 1605: The Gunpowder Plot
This was a plot, or conspiracy, on the part of pro-Catholic partisans in England to blow up Parliament when all of its members AND the despised, anti-Catholic King James 1 were meeting in it. They rented a room underneath the Parliament building, filled it with kegs of gunpowder, set the fuse, and assigned a man named Guy Fawkes to light the fuse when he was given the signal, thereby blowing up the building above and killing as many as possible. Fortunately, someone informed the authorities of the plot, the room under Parliament was searched, Guy Fawkes was captured before he could light the fuse, and a major conspiracy was foiled.
- 1775: The Conspiracy by Tories to murder General Washington
In the year of 1775, John Jay, who would later become a Supreme Court Justice, chaired Congress’ Committee For Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies. In the first year of our War of the Revolution, there were many Tories—those sympathetic to the British government and its harsh treatment of the colonials—who conspired to murder General George Washington, who they apparently perceived as a great threat to maintaining British control over their American colonies. The first conspiracy detected by that Congressional committee involved the planned assassination of General Washington. The conspirators were informed on by someone who had become aware of their plot, and were all brought to trial, convicted, and imprisoned or shot. One of the conspirators was one of General Washington’s personal bodyguards, who was found guilty and executed by hanging in front of the entire U.S. Continental Army.
- March, 1783: The Newburgh Conspiracy
We all know that even before the end of the War of the Revolution there was much dissatisfaction among the rank and file soldiers—indeed, even among the officer corps. Our soldiers, always battling shortages of food and clothing, and almost never receiving any kind of regular compensation (and NONE since 1782), eventually became totally frustrated with the new Confederated Congress’ inability to provide these items. As the army was encamped near Newburgh, New York, they became particularly incensed over Congress’ inability (or unwillingness) to keep its promises of back pay and pensions. Several of George Washington’s high-ranking officers began circulating a letter written by one of them, Major John Armstrong, which threatened that if Congress didn’t keep its commitments, the military would abandon the war effort and force its way “into the government’s coffers” at gunpoint. This conspiracy, or plot was personally quelled by General Washington himself, who sympathized with his officers and his troops. Coming among his officers at his encampment at Newburgh, New York---facing the plotters-- Washington put on a pair of spectacles that almost none of them had ever seen him wear, and reminded them that “he had grown gray and almost blind in the service of his country”. The love that his men had for him eventually shamed them to abandon their threatened violence; many of them broke into tears that they had even considered insubordination against the man they so loved and respected, the man who had equally sacrificed beside them, suffered hardships and defeats with them, and who, more than just about any other person, kept their mutual dreams for liberty alive throughout the darkest days of the Revolution. Before the day was done all of his officers had agreed to wait for Congress to satisfy their legitimate demands.
From the above examples, it should be obvious to all but the most
close-minded deniers of truth that “conspiracies” of one form or another have existed throughout history. Next time, we’ll continue to look at more historical examples of “conspirators” or “plotters”, especially those who were trying to remake society—indeed the entire world—into their own collectivist vision.