The planet Uranus has transited over the Midheaven of the United States three times since the country was born. Uranus is the planet of revolution and the Midheaven represents our public position in the world, so one would expect just by combining those two symbols that this transit would suggest a revolution in the way we are seen or present ourselves to the world, in our public persona. Let’s see how that plays in in reality. Unlike Uranus transiting the IC, where the effects will be hidden from public view, transits to the MC will be public and apparent to all the world.
The first time Uranus reached the MC of the United States was 1799-1801. This time represented an important Presidential election for the country, its fourth. In the first two elections, George Washington was easily elected. He represented the Federalist Party which was all there was at the beginning, since initially it was thought that there was no need for political parties, that the president would represent everyone. In the first two elections Washington was unopposed. Washington chose not to run for a third term, which amazed outside observers since it was thought that he would continue to be president for his life, or in other words a king, much like what European countries were use to. By the time of the third election in 1796 there was a party other than the Federalist, the Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson, and he ran against the Federalist candidate, John Adams, who had been Washington’s Vice-President, and who won the election. This was the first contested election, with Thomas Jefferson serving as vice president, even though he was from a different party than Adams.
By the time of the fourth election, things got more interesting. Adams was again running against Jefferson, along with Aaron Burr as Republicans. But not all the bugs had been worked out of the election process, and there was no separate President and Vice President, a problem that the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution was passed to fix. The person receiving the highest votes was suppose to be President, and the person receiving the second highest was to be Vice President. But both Jefferson and Burr got the same number of votes in the Electoral College.
This was the second contested presidential election in United States history and the first where the power would transfer from one party to the other; people were not sure that the transfer would be peaceful. In France they had had a Revolution ten years previously, it had gotten violent, and now a dictator by the name of Napoleon had taken over the country just a year before, so people were wondering if the United States would go the same way as France.
After the Electoral Collage vote tied, the election fell into the House of Representatives, where each state had one vote. But each ballot was the same, with both Jefferson and Burr getting the same number of votes. This process stretched out towards Inauguration Day in late March, and tempers were rising. There was even talk of a civil war. It began to look like America would be another failed state. The balloting had gone on 35 times and still there was no winner. If it hadn’t been for the three-fifths clause of the Constitution, which gave states extra electoral votes based on three-fifths of their slave population, Adams would have won and the election would not have been thrown into the House. Finally, on the thirty-sixth ballot, one person changed his vote and Jefferson was elected as President and Burr became Vice-President. Jefferson later called this the “Revolution of 1800.” The United States survived its first election where the office of the President changed hands to a different faction.
Uranus has a period of 84 years; the next time Uranus went over the Midheaven of the United States was the middle of the 1880s. Important activities were happening regarding labor relations — the May Day celebration in Chicago comes to mind, most notably the Haymarket Massacre on May 4, 1886. This was a rally to support the eight hour work day. A bomb was thrown into the rally resulting in gunfire, chaos, and the death of seven police and at last four civilians. Some anarchists were convicted on little evidence. Four were executed as a result of the trial, while another killed himself just before his execution. Others were pardoned. This was a very important milestone for labor relations in the United States, and it resulted in the annual observation of May Day as a labor celebration. It also served as a warning to the middle and upper classes that the workers below them were unhappy with the state of labor.
But I believe the most important event at the time, which has even more meaning now than then, took place initially in California and eventually ended up in the Supreme Court of the United States where a decision was handed down that changed the real rulers of the country. This was the decision known as Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad. The argument before the Supreme Count and the decision took place in the first half of 1886, but it had been in process for years. That county in California wanted to tax that railroad, but the railroad did not want to be taxed. Th upshot of the decision, the one that is still with us today, came from a headnote to the decision and not the decision itself. Interestingly, the headnote was not written by any Justice but by a court reporter who had been the president of another railroad. Basically, the headnote said that corporations were persons as far as the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was concerned. At the time of this decision this Amendment had been passed only 18 years previously. The Fourteenth Amendment has been applied more often to corporations than the freed slaves it was intended for. Some think that this assumption of corporations as people was possible because that amendment uses the term “persons” instead of “natural persons” which is legally more applicable to flesh-and-blood people. In any case, recent Supreme Court decisions such as the infamous Citizens United have only built on the structure of that earlier Supreme Court decision that took place over 125 years ago.
The third passage of Uranus over the Midheaven of the United States, and one that happened relatively recently, needs no introduction, since the year in question has many books with the year as a title. This transit was in 1968 and 1969. The listing of “revolutionary” events of these years almost becomes repetitious. This was near the end of the Sixties, and passions had built up over the years. A brief mention of the events of 1968 in America includes the assassination of Martin Luther King in April, the assassination of Robert Kennedy in June, and the police riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in August. 1969 saw the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in August, the Moon Landing in July, and the Concert at the Altamont Speedway in California in December, which was declared the death of the Sixties. (For a take on that concert from a group that was there, check out “New Speedway Boogie” by the Grateful Dead from their album Workingman’s Dead released the next year.) Also in December the followers of Charles Manson, inspired by another rock song “Helter Skelter” from the album The Beatles (called the “White Album”) brutally murdered five people at a Hollywood home, and two more the next day. Another important but rarely mentioned event of 1969 was the assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton by the FBI in December. This is one of the events that helped radicalize even more the Weathermen (“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” Bob Dylan sang in the song “Subterranean Homesick Blues” from the album Bringing It All Back Home) a splinter from the New Left group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that was widespread in the Sixties. The Weathermen would go on in the next couple of years to make waves in society with their violence.