Navigating the Fourth Turning, by Jeff Thomas

Fourth Turnings are a bear. From Jeff Thomas at

Navigating the Fourth Turning

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”

So, Thomas Paine wrote in 1775 in his publication of “The American Crisis.” Not so well-remembered today are the words that followed that famous quote:

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

At that time, Colonial America was passing through the early stages of a “Fourth Turning,” an historical time of crisis that occurs roughly every eighty years.

As a point of reference, a First Turning is a period of renewal; one in which a historical crisis has ended. The populace has risen to the occasion, thrown off tyranny and conquered social, political and economic tribulation. Having done so, they now create a renewal, based on hard work, personal responsibility and moral integrity.

A Second Turning occurs a generation later, when the rewards of a First Turning have resulted in prosperity and stability. Those new adults who have grown up during a First Turning will be well-off and will seek to pursue high-mindedness and social concerns. Along the way, they will also pursue self-indulgence. (A deterioration begins.)

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