Has the Fourth Turning Begun?

Thom Hartmann
7 min readNov 10, 2022

Republican policies have already created crises that challenge our very survival as a species — will these crises be solved by Zoomers?

Image by S. Hermann / F. Richter from Pixabay

The pundits are mystified by Tuesday’s election outcome: they were certain a red wave was on its way.

They missed the Zoomers.

They missed the Fourth Turning.

It’s been 76 years since the Silent Generation birthed the first Boomers after World War II in 1946. That’s exactly four times nineteen years per generation (4 x 19 = 76).

From 1901 to today, we call these generations: Greatest, Silent, Boomers, Xers, Millennials, Zoomers, Alpha.

Each lasts roughly 17–20 years, before the next generation steps onto the world’s stage.

And there’s something extraordinary about every fourth generation (those bolded above).

On September 6, 1789, US Envoy to France Thomas Jefferson, who would be America’s first Secretary of State in a mere six months, sat down at his desk in Paris to write to his protégé James Madison.

Working from a mortality table published by the French scientist M. de Buffon, he proposed his take on a science of history based on the study of generations. Each generation’s influence extended over 19 years, he believed, then gave way to the next generation.

“[I]t may be proved,” he wrote to the Father of the US Constitution, “that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. They may manage it then, & what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct. They are masters too of their own persons, & consequently may govern them as they please.” (ital added)

Thus, Jefferson proposed, every 19 years a new generation rose to power and that new generation had both the ability and the obligation to make the world anew. So completely, he believed, that they could even reinterpret and rewrite the American constitution.

“Every constitution then, & every law naturally expires at the end of 19 years,” Jefferson wrote. “If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, & not of right. It may be said

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Thom Hartmann

America’s #1 progressive talk show host & NY Times bestselling author. Thom’s writings also appear at HartmannReport.com.