“We need change – real change,” said Barack Obama in 2008. What will be the effect of this change? William Federer answers that question in a concise history of the struggle for power over the past 6,000 years. It's called Change to Chains: The 6000 Year Quest for Control explains the historic record of how chains are forged when a country does not keep adequate checks on governmental power to balance out the continuing struggle for control. The book is rich in examples and quotations from the Founding Fathers and past presidents.
Change to Chains surveys the major governments throughout history. It shows that power is first concentrated in the hands of a monarch, then separated into the hands of the people, and then concentrated back again into a ruler. Unfortunately for liberty, power naturally tends to concentrate rather than separate unless there is a concerted effort on the part of the people. It starts with a crisis and chaos which is brought into order by one person concentrating the power into himself. He rules for a while until the people are able to take back some of their liberties and separate the power among themselves again. Eventually, the people become immoral and lazy and, when another power challenges them, as is inevitable, they are too weak to defend themselves and power is concentrated again in a new ruler.
Unique from other countries, the United States was formed as a Constitutional Republic. Ultimate authority comes from the people, while our Constitution gives us the rule of law. Representation in Congress balances state and individual rights. Federer credits American freedom to an emphasis on religion, morality, personal responsibility, and economic freedom. But what might happen in America if we follow the pattern of change we see in history? Change to Chains makes clear that power will flow back to the hands of tyrants in a time of crisis if the people allow it. We must remember what has made America different. A country like America only happened once in 6,000 years and we are not guaranteed that it will ever happen again.
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