TheElection of 1808

Thomas Jefferson’s second term was not nearly as smooth as his first. The war between Britain and France heated up again, and both nations seemed determined to draw the United States into the war. Once again both Britain and France seized American ships who traded with the other nation, ignoring America’s position as a neutral. The British began to impress American seamen into their navy, as they had while Washington and Adams were president. The United States had every right to declare war on one or both of the warring nations, but Jefferson professed to be a man of peace, and the still young nation was hardly capable of fighting one of the superpowers of the time, let alone both. Jefferson, instead, decided on a policy that would be called economic sanctions today. In December 1807, Congress established an embargo on trade with Britain and France, in the hope that their economies would be damaged enough to come to terms.

It didn’t work. It turned out that the still under developed American economy needed the manufactured goods of Europe more than Europe needed American raw materials. The only people the embargo hurt were American farmers who could no longer export grain and New England merchants who were ruined by the lack of trade. The Federalists were quick to attack the Democratic-Republicans on this policy, referring to it as the “Dambargo” and the embargo temporarily stopped the Federalists decline into irrelevance.

Under the circumstances, Thomas Jefferson had no desire to run for a third term. He had intended to follow Washington’s example all along and serve just two terms, and the increasingly tumultuous world situation led him to believe that the time was right for a younger man to take over. Jefferson had just the right younger man in mind, his friend Secretary of State James Madison. In addition to serving Jefferson as Secretary of State, James Madison had had a distinguished career in the Virginia legislature and the United States Congress. He had been one of Virginia’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention and his influence on the proceedings was great enough for Madison to be regarded as the father of the constitution. He along with Thomas Jefferson had founded the Democratic-Republican Party so he was a natural successor to Jefferson. The Democratic-Republican caucus had little trouble selecting James Madison as their nominee for president. For vice president they nominated George Clinton, the sitting vice president.

 

The Federalists went with their candidates from the previous election, Charles C.Pinckney and Rufus King.

The states held the election from November 4 to December 7 1808. In those days only six of the seventeen states selected their electors by a statewide popular vote, as is the way today. Four states were divided into electoral districts and seven states still had their electors appointed by the state legislature. The Federalists did better than they had in the 1804 election, but the Democratic-Republicans still won by a landslide. They won 112 electoral votes, winning every state outside of New England except for Delaware, although six delegates from New York voted for George Clinton for president. The Federalists won all of New England except for Vermont and won Delaware and a few votes elsewhere for a total of 47 electoral votes. The popular vote was 124,732 for Madison against 62,431 for Pinckney, although as I noted, not every state had a popular vote.

The Election of 1808
The Election of 1808

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Peace Prize for Edward Snowden

The other interesting email I got from Melanie Jones is in support of the proposal that Edward Snowden be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his actions.

 

Dear David Hoffman,

Edward Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Two Norwegian MPs have put forward the whistleblower’s name for one of the world’s highest honors for “[contributing] to a more stable and peaceful world order” and speaking out against abuses of power.

If President Obama, a man responsible for mass drone killings, can win the Peace Prize, then there’s nothing barring the man who helped expose his unconstitutional overreach and threat to international transparency.

Please, join us in calling on the Norwegian Nobel Committee to listen to these MPs and put Snowden on the shortlist in March, helping him secure asylum in sympathetic nations and showing Obama he deserves to be pardoned.

PETITION TO NORWEGIAN NOBEL COMMITTEE: Put US whistleblower Edward Snowden on your shortlist for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Click here to sign — it just takes a second.

Thanks,

— The folks at Watchdog.net

Image representing Edward Snowden as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

 

Since the main criteria for recent winners of the Nobel Peace Prize seems to be acting against the interests of the United States and the West, I suppose Snowden is as good a candidate as any, especially since unlike a certain recent Nobel Prize laureate, he has managed to do something before being nominated.

 

To tell the truth though, I am not sure to what extent Snowden should be regarded as a hero. He has indeed helped to expose some of the more egregious abuses of power by the NSA and other agencies. I would fell more comfortable assigning him the role of hero  if he were not currently residing in a country that has been historically known for spying and abusing its citizens. I also can’t help but consider that he has done more to help the bad guys in the world, terrorists and authoritarian nations like China and Russia than he has helped any Americans. It’s good to oppose the misdemeanors committed by the US government, provided you don’t aid and abed felonies committed elsewhere.

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
%d bloggers like this: