Trail of interventions

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The Trail of Interventions is a developing listing of major interventions by The State against human beings.

Since their formation, states and other instruments of aggression have subjugated human beings brutally, violently, incessantly. By listing the most egregious of those interventions and their occasional reversals, it is hoped the pattern becomes clear, ideally paving the way to the peaceful path of voluntary human cooperation.

(If you are unsure if an intervention should be included, consider posting it on the accompanying Talk/Discussion page first.)

United States



  • The Stamp Act of 1765 is imposed on the British American colonies by the British Parliament
  • On 18 April 1775 at Lexington and Concord, near Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Province, British soldiers exchange gunfire with colonists, starting the American Revolutionary War.
  • On 2 July 1776, the Declaration of Independence is signed, signifying the colonies’ attempt to secede from England. The document does not directly acknowledge the individual rights of Native Americans or enslaved individuals, since doing so would have prevented unanimous passage of the Declaration. Among the colonists of European ancestry, 20% were pro-England “Loyalists” (all figures are approximations), 40% pro-independence “patriots”, and the remainder were, according to historian Robert Calhoon in 2000, undeclared, neutral, pacifist, or non-political.[citation needed]
  • In March of 1781, the Articles of Confederation are ratified by representatives of the 13 colonies. Many counsel against their adoption, justifiably concerned over any kind of overarching government.[citation needed] Unanimity among the states’ voting representatives was required for adoption and subsequent alteration. Individual residents do not sign the Articles but are expected to adhere to them.
  • On 3 September 1783, the Treaty of Paris is signed, formally ending hostilities between British colonies and England, recognizing the United States as a sovereign country, eliminating all coercive interventions of the British crown upon the American colonies
  • In 1787, after being authorized only to amend the Articles of Confederation, the states’ representatives meet in secret in Philadelphia and write the basis of a new Constitution of the United States. Contrary to the Articles, the new Constitution would be considered ratified when only 9 of the 13 states’ representatives voted to approve. Further, subsequent amendment would also require only 9 of the 13 states. At the time of signing, it is considered understood that states can subsequently withdraw their approval and therefore not be bound by the Constitution. Lysander Spooner later states in his 1867 No Treason that the U.S. Constitution is not a binding contract upon most individuals, since they themselves did not sign it.
  • December 1791: The Bill of Rights is officially ratified and becomes part of the new Constitution.
  • In 1793 the first Fugitive Slave Act was passed, as authorized by Article IV of the new Constitution. With this Act it became a federal crime to assist an escaped slave.


  • In 1831, unwilling Choctaw residents (and later other Native American nations) are evicted from their homelands and forced to march to lands west of the Mississippi River. The ethnic cleansing was described by a Choctaw chief as a "trail of tears and death" and is now known simply as the Trail of Tears.
  • The Tariff of 1842 is implemented by the Whigs controlling the U.S. Congress in that year. Among the many tariffs from 1789 to 1861, it is one of the most extractive and tends to benefit the Northern states at the unwilling expense of the South.
  • By 1861, slavery had expanded into 15 states as the country grew. In order to avoid the dissolution of the Union, any new slave state joining the Union had to be accompanied by a free state and vice versa, thereby leaving the continuing problem of involuntary servitude unaddressed.
  • 1 January 1863: The Emancipation Proclamation is signed as an Executive Order by Abraham Lincoln. Only a limited number of slaves were freed by this Order, and later scholars suggest it may have been a mere political move that avoided the real reforms that radical Abolitionists sought.[citation needed]
  • April 1865: The American Civil War ends, seemingly ending secession as an effective check on the expansion of the federal American state.
  • December 1865: The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States.
  • In 1873, the Supreme Court allowed the Slaughter-House cases to stand in a 5-4 decision. It effectively gutted the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment and further paved the way for intervention in economic matters.
  • In 1887, the Interstate Commerce Act further authorized federal intervention in and regulation of private industry in the U.S. beginning with the railroads. It was later amended to regulate others kinds of transportation and other forms of commerce.
  • In 1898, the Spanish-American War is initiated by the U.S. after the mysterious sinking of the American battleship Maine in the Havana harbor in Cuba. The war is often seen as the first major intervention in other countries by the United States government.