Many of you may be familiar with the Foundation series by Issac Asimov. In it, mathematician "Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory. Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale; it is error-prone on a small scale."
In practice, we can see that this would be theoretically correct: we study history precisely because human nature is relatively the same and the same events recur with the same predictable responses. If history really were chaos--a muddle of events appearing randomly and being resolved in unpredictable ways--there would be no point in studying it.
So what of 70 years? It seems that American politics goes through a roughly 70 year long cycles where it swings from one side of the political pendulum to the other. For example, if we start in 1789, which marks the real beginning of the United States as asingle nation with the inauguration of George Washington as the nation's first president under the Constitution, the passage of 70 years suddenly puts us on the cusp of the U.S. Civil War in 1859 as the nation was getting set to try to tear itself apart.
From then, Random Jottings' David Weidel notes a general 70-year cycle in American politics:
The theory says that America became a Republican country starting about the year 2000. (From 1860 Republicans were dominant, and then the Dems starting about 1930.) Each cycle is about two political generations. The 70 years before 1860 don't have today's parties, but they fit otherwise, with the Revolutionary generation and then a follow-on generation stuck in old habits of thought. And then a problem that needed a new political alignment to solve.
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