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A Huge Shift is Coming to America – Oliver DeMille

constitutional-amendmentWe entered a new cycle of history during 2013.

Like any cycle, this one started small. But it is growing quickly, and it is already swaying the future.

To understand this, let’s briefly go back to the beginning — when this cycle was first described.

In 1836, even before Alexis de Tocqueville finished his famous classic, Democracy in America, a British official named Henry Taylor published a book entitled The Statesman.

Taylor’s main point was that the Anglo world had been focused on forms of government for too long, ever since 1787 when the Americans wrote their Constitution. Taylor noticed that that there are two main types of political leadership:

  1. Setting up forms and systems of government (statesmanship)
  2. The business of governing (politics)

The first, which consists mostly of writing and discussing what is the best constitution or model of government, is always led by statesmen.

The second, which consists of day-to-day politics that focus on the issues, is dominated by political parties, special interest groups, politicians, and bureaucratic agencies.

The first usually emphasizes freedom and liberty, while the second is all about increasing government spending and regulations.

Statesmanship vs. Politics

In 1836, Taylor’s message was that Europe and America had spent sixty years focused on the first kind of leadership, and he argued that it was time, in his words,

“to divert the attention of thoughtful men from forms of government to the business of governing.”

It was statesmanship versus politics, and Taylor believed that it was time to forget statesmanship for a while and emphasize politics. The era of the politician had come.

Specifically, the statesmanship era from 1776 to 1836 was followed by an era of politics from 1836 to 1913, which was followed by an era of statesmanship (changing constitutions and overarching societal systems) from 1913 to 1945. Then came another era of politics (increased government spending and regulations by politicians and bureaucrats) from 1945 to 2013.

We are on the verge of another major shift today, and the changes will be drastic.

Instead of the major national dialogue focusing on issues (e.g. immigration, abortion, energy policy, national security, health care, gun control, education policy, etc.), the increasing focus will be on how to change the Constitution.

It has already started, in fact. Less than a year ago, for example, Georgetown professor Louis Seidman wrote an article in the New York Times entitled “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution.” He argued that the Constitution is outdated, and that it is time to “scrap” it and write something better.

This brought a series of angry rebuttals from the Right, and a number of strong suggestions from the Left, but few seem to realize that this is the beginning of a new era of the American debate.

Several others have entered this growing discussion, like David Brooks, who wrote in the New York Times on December 12, 2013 that the U.S. should alter our system to “Strengthen the Presidency.”

And New York Times bestselling author Mark Levin wrote a series of new amendments that he feels should be added to the Constitution to fix our current system and get America back on track.

Just a couple weeks ago, almost 100 legislators from 32 states met in Mount Vernon, Virginia to discuss the possibility of adding amendments to the constitution through a convention of the states, as authorized by Article 5 of the constitution.

The Next Shift

leadershift-coverWhen Orrin Woodward and I wrote the New York Times bestseller LeaderShift and released it earlier this year, neither of us knew that 2013 would be the year of this major shift — from politics to statesmanship, from issues to changing the whole system.

This is momentous, and our book outlines nine specific changes, in the form of proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, that would put American prosperity, freedom, strength and power quickly back on line.

I am convinced that LeaderShift is representative of the best of this new trend, this growing debate on how to change our system to get it headed in the right direction once again. And you can read all four of the new commentaries in this emerging debate (Seidman, Levin, Brooks, Woodward and DeMille) and decide for yourself.

Make no mistake: this is THE debate of the coming decade. As a nation, we have concluded that Washington is broken. The American people generally feel that the system is fractured and needs to be fixed, and those who are focused on daily governing will miss out on the real tide ahead: coming changes in our overall system.

Since such changes aren’t usually the focus in elections, many people won’t realize that this is happening. But as I already noted, the debate has already begun.

Issues and Politics

When Orrin and I were interviewed by many journalists about our book, it was a bit of a surprise to us that nearly every interviewer wanted to focus on issues, issues, issues and partisan politics, politics, politics.

That’s been the tone in America for over sixty years, so we probably should have expected it.

But now the tide is shifting. This isn’t something we can afford to get wrong. Change is upon us. President Obama was elected by promising such change. Yet if we make the wrong changes, it can only hurt this great nation.

Change is here, and it is the kind of change that focuses on our Constitution and the very fundamentals of our society and national system.

The debate will grow in the years ahead, the way such changes always do — slowly for a while, and then all at once.

Yet the ideas at the center of this debate, the ideas right now argued by Seidman, Brooks, Levin, Woodward and DeMille, and others who join the discussion, will sway the 21st Century.

I wrote in my book, 1913, that the year 1913 was a pivotal time of change. It looks more and more like its century year 2013 will be even more significant. This is the year we began the shift from politicians, bureaucrats and issues to and major changes to our Constitution and system.

Some will argue that we should change nothing, that the old Constitution is the best. But in reality we haven’t been following the original principles of the Constitution for many decades, and the primacy of the Constitution continues to erode due to the way Washington skirts, reinterprets and at times ignores it.

Whatever you think of our current system, change is imminent. The only question is: How will we change, what precisely will we change?

That is what this debate is all about. A LeaderShift is happening, right now, under our noses. America is changing while its citizens sleep.

What we need is a new generation of Madisons, Adams, and Jeffersons.

We need more men and women who understand how to write constitutions and amendments that create and protect real freedom. If you are one of these people, or should be, it is time to join the debate.

It is time to take action, so we go in the right direction.


odemille Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.


  1. The US Constitution is just fine and perfect. What the country needs are educated members of the Congress and a US president who will follow what the Constitution prescribes. We need a proactive Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution without being asked.

  2. We are at the point when it would be better for 1 man to be forcibly removed from office than an entire country suffer his narcissistic, petulant rants. Provisions for this are within our Constitutional reach and is our responsibility & duty.

  3. There is nothing wrong with the American Constitution. What is wrong is the system of checks and balances has become badly skewed by corruption and self interest of its politicians. Further the nature of the Supreme court has been changed by appointing liberal left wingers and Catholics as the Judges none of whom have an interest in keeping the Constitution. The whole supreme court is now full of internationalists who have no belief in the Nation State.
    To suggest giving more power to the President is madness. It was what destroyed Rome and the rights of its citizens till they were nothing but fit for bread and circuses.
    Before this amazing document written by God fearing men the Americans should take a long breath and then not do it. Put an older man in charge who has proven to be corruptible as an ombudsman to oversee the Constitution.

  4. Our current form of government is coercive, oppressive, and leading to war, poverty and slavery. A new system that is without theft, force and fraud is desperately needed. The only way to thrive is to build the free voluntary market system and let the forced theft system go by the wayside like the horse and buggy!

    Regarding statesmen, Edward Gibbon says the job of the statesman is to subdue millions. Craft and concealment must be used. Sounds like Machiavelli. None of this is wise for the good of mankind!

  5. Chris Nichols says

    The Constitution isn’t the problem. It’s how it’s been implemented and subsequently corrupted. However, talk about the Constitution only matters when it serves the purposes of people who hold the reins of power in D.C.

    1913 was a terrible year for freedom and we are now seeing the rotten fruit that those seeds produced. Consolidation and centralization of money and power in D.C. are that fruit.

    I believe the Statesman’s role is to help re-balance the scales so that the 7 elements of society – Family, Media, Business, Government, Church, Education, Community. Family, Church and Community are being suppressed. Education is controlled by Business and Government (Common Core) and a complicit Media provides the circuses and has lost it’s objectivity.

    I believe Statesmen need to rise from the local level and advocate for Family, Church and Community. I encourage everyone to get involved with their local governments. Your influence is far greater than you know.

  6. Chris, you sound just like Oliver.
    For me, the bottom line question is…
    Is force, lying, and theft always right, sometimes right or never right?

  7. Orrin Woodward states Oliver Demille is one of the leading minds today on our constitution, amendments, declaration of independence and so forth. If you know anything about Orrin Woodward from a personal experience not some faceless person online you know every fiber in his being portrays integrity+courage=character so what he states is true. That being said Oliver knows what he is talking about. In his book leader shift it gives wonderful examples of the changes that if made would make America great for the next generation to educate themselves on leadership and then make their changes. Don’t get me wrong there is one point I would love to argue with Oliver and Orrin. However, I am in the process of growing my leadership business so I can earn thier time not waste it. I suggest if you have not studied the book leadershift start there. Then study as many leadership books as possible to make and educated decision. Not an uneducated ignorant one.

  8. Whether the US Constitution is perfect, flawed, needs fixing, or not is really irrellevant to what is happening and what Oliver is pointing out.

    Change is happening. There is nothing sacred about the Constituion itself, only the principles that it upholds. We must stop arguing about whether the Constitution should be changed (because change is happening), and start making sure that whatever changes happen, are true to the principles of freedom, justice, virtue, etc.

  9. As many have said on here, the problem is NOT the Constitution! The problem is the people who don’t stick to it.

    I’m shocked and disheartened to discover that you are behind the Con-Con push. I just spoke to your wife on FB today and asked if she would consider joining our coalition and then I read this from you? I thought that TJED was supposed to be about teaching the importance of our Founding Era and the gift that the Framers gave us?

    We don’t need a new Constitution created by politicians and attorneys. DEFEND and restore it, instead! Join our coalition and don’t give up on the Rule of Law that has created the freest nation the world has EVER known!

  10. Change is happening. Huge changes!
    Are we going to ASSUME this is all about politics and “statesmanship”
    Are we going to follow the conservatives and hold on to the past or the progressives to the future?
    Any attempt by the grasshoppers to help the ants is not going to make things better. Force, coercion and theft are win-lose solutions. Walk away from the jobs that require stealing from your neighbor! It is not right in the first place.

  11. I, for one, do believe in fighting a losing battle, so I can appreciate the sentiment expressed here again and again in support of the original Constitution. I hope that those who revere the American Founders pay the price to do more than homage, but honor them as well by knowing what they knew so that we can respond to our freedom crisis today as effectively as they did in their day. Celebrating their greatness, and the legacy they bequeathed us, does us credit. But it’s going to take more than that to perpetuate freedom that is currently under siege. I think those who suppose that Oliver does not respect the Constitution either did not read this article, or did not understand it. If there is any doubt of his intentions, or the merits of his proposals, one might do well to read 1913, We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident, FreedomShift, The Coming Aristocracy and LeaderShift. Remember – Patrick Henry was an Anti-Federalist. To suppose that he was not a patriot is obviously ludicrous. Desperate times require of us to invest ourselves in creative and effective dialog to not just animate those who already agree with us, but to synthesize solutions with the loyal opposition. Consider the Constitutional Convention — which by the by, ignored their mandate to amend the Articles of Confederation, and submitted itself to a rigorous and painful process of debate and compromise. One of the great disappointments (at the time) to Madison and others who had a vision for America’s future was the Great Compromise, and yet, it was that Compromise that turned out to be one of the great auxiliary precautions that led to a stable and free government for the past 2 centuries. Some considered it a deal with the devil at the time, but the genius of that “concession” was critical! We need this kind of thinking today, as the Constitution is already hanging by a thread. To celebrate the document crafted in the 19th century is a moot point, as it is neither exists now in that form, nor is it followed. We must not do away with it. We much step up and say, as the founders did in their day, What is needed? What must be done?

  12. I am surprised that anybody who read this article could come away with the idea that I somehow support a new Constitutional Convention. I do not support such a convention because I believe it would be run by current politicians and attorneys, and would take us far away from our founding roots. I consider the ConCon idea a VERY bad idea, and I have always vocally argued against it – as anyone who has followed my materials knows. There was nothing in my article about a ConCon, and there certainly was not anything in my article that was in any way supportive of a ConCon. In fact, my article was meant to communicate exactly the opposite. I just went back and re-read my article to be sure, and it says exactly what I meant to say, to whit: There is a great push in our nation to move away from the principles of the original Constitution, and we need a lot more freedom-loving citizens who understand the Constitution at the level of the American founders to stand against this attack. My article cites 3 major publications from recent months that attack the Constitutional principles, vs. 1 publication, our book LeaderShift, which stands for Constitutional principles.

    My point is that the battle is already underway. Those three publications are arguing for abandoning our Constitutional principles, while our book LeaderShift is arguing for a return to constitutional principles.

    The purpose of my article was 1) to point out that the battle is ongoing, and 2) to call freedom-loving Americans to study the Constitution and constitutional principles more deeply so that they can stand up and defend the Constitution against further attacks. They need to know the Consitution so well that they can understand any negative proposals from the attackers of the Constitution and respond with the right kind of proposals that support the founding principles.

    They need to understand the Constitution so well that when calls come to amend the Constitution or ignore it in negative ways, they can write amendments and proposals that return the Constitution to its original format – back to the way the Founders intended it, instead of the way it has been watered down today.

    This reminds me of when Thomas Jefferson cut out the writings of Jesus from his copy of the Bible so that he could study the original words of Christ, and one historian twisted this by saying that Jefferson liked the Bible, but cut out all the words of Jesus so he could study the Bible without Christ’s words.

    That was exactly the opposite of what he was doing, and this response to this article is exactly the opposite of what I am doing. We all need to stand for the Constitution, and we need to understand its principles so well that we can defend it in whatever way is needed. That is the crux of my article.

  13. I find it confusing how anybody could read the article and assume he is against the constitution. People! Read the article and THINK before you criticize somebody who is one of the most influential defenders of Constitutional principles.

  14. Camille Dille says

    The stated purpose of the Concention of States is to “reduce the power of he federal government.” It seems to me that the risk of a runaway convention that must seek ratification for amendments from 38 states is slim enough to take a chance on. And the education that can come from making the effort may be without parallel. As well as the fact that all the years spent trying to push for citizens to become educated, has seen nothing but decline at the voting booth, which tells us it’s NOT working. There is risk either way, but to do nothing but what we’ve been doing and continue to hope for change is unrealistic at best.

  15. The problem with a Convention of the States is it is still a top down attempt to fix the problems. There needs to be a truly organic societal revolution that starts with people organizing themselves into communities to address community issues and growing from there.

  16. Camille Dille says

    Everything I have read about the COS is that it is completely a Grass Roots effort. It is people at the organic level giving power to their state legislatures to make amendments to the constitution that reduce the power of the federal government. Micheal Ferris is leading it. He is not a legislator. This does not seem like a “top down” attempt. Also, once the people give the power to their state legislators, they are not going to just sit by if that power is abused. Giving them the power is just the beginning. The real battle for the people, which is well understood, is ensuring that the right thing is done with that power. Here in Arizona, if our delegates to the COS begin at any point in time to fail at their given task – to create amendments that reduce the power of the federal government – they can be put in jail. That is how serious the crime is for going against their given task. What has happened in Arizona is proof of the power of this grass roots movement. More than anything, I feel that because of the division within the ranks of the conservatives, we will loose this and any battle to save our country. We must unite! And why not unite behind a power The Founders gave us? The other options; to get everyone to educate themselves on all the history and all the aspects of the entire constitution are not only not working, or are not working fast enough. I have many wonderful, conservative family and friends who care about their country, but because of their conveyor belt education, can’t even picture themselves ever actually reading the constitution and if they ever did, they don’t see themselves understanding it. So most of them simply never will. But, they can quickly gain an understanding of just Article 5 and it is doable to send a quick email or make a quick phone call to their state legislatures. This option is just SO much more likely and just as importantly, it is FASTER! And as Dr. DeMille has stated, we are coming into a 4th Turning – we are running out of time to save our country. Although we should never stop encouraging the “educate and vote” method to make needed changes in our government, we must accept that more bad can happen at the federal level than good before we get enough people to that point. It seems that a Convention of States is worth a shot! It seems to me that a fear of a COS is a fear of the power the Founders gave us. Some things are worth fighting for, in spite of fear.

  17. By top down solution, I meant that the Constitution itself is top down in nature. Most of it is about how the top should be organized and what it should be doing. A Constitutional Convention operates on the assumption that the problem lies in Washington and at the state capitals. Those are the places where the problem is most evident, but that is just the symptoms. The problem lies with the people who do not see themselves ever reading the constitution, and who would more likely gain a simple understanding of the 5th amendment, which cannot be understood correctly without a basic understanding of the principles embodied in the rest of the constitution and bill of rights.

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