Posts Tagged ‘United States’

TheElection of 1808

February 17, 2014

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.

 

 

 

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America as Number 37

November 25, 2013

Dinesh D’Souza has an interesting theory about Barack Obama’s foreign policy goals.

There is a material allure to America, but when I think of my own life, what has mattered most to me in coming to America is that here is a country where I get to write the script of my own life. Here is a country where my destiny isn’t given to me, it’s constructed by me. Here is a country where my life is a blank sheet of paper and I am the artist. I think this is why young people around the world are magnetically drawn to America: because America represents the self-directed life. This is the core of the American dream.

And then we have a different dream. This is Obama’s dream. Before we get into Obama’s dream, I do want to point out that there is a common view even among conservatives, even among Republicans, that the problem with Obama is that he is a bungler, he is an amateur in the title of a recent book, he tries to do x but he gets y.

This has produced a whole set of conservative punditry essentially lecturing Obama on things like, “Obama, don’t you realize that confiscatory taxation does not produce economic growth?” “Oh, Obama, don’t you realize that by blocking oil drilling in America you aren’t going to create jobs?” “Oh, Obama, may we advise you that Assad, the dictator of Syria, or the Mullah’s in Iran are not our friends?” “Obama, you should wake up to the fact that if we slash our own nuclear weapons this will not inspire the Iranians to do the same.”

Now you can begin to see why people get conspiracy theories about Obama. He’s a traitor. He’s a secret Muslim. He’s a Manchurian candidate.

I would like to offer a little different theory, and that is that Obama subscribes to an ideology that aims to reduce America’s influence in the world. He wants to cut America down to size. He doesn’t want America to be number one. He would be perfectly happy if we were number 18 or number 37.

Why does Obama want to reduce America’s footprint in the world? Because he believes we’ve been stepping on the world. This is his ideology. What Obama really wants to do is redistribute power globally. He would like to see many countries on the world stage – Brazil, India, China, Russia, all vying for power. No single superpower calling the shots.

If it is true that Obama wants to see America weakened and cut down to size, than he is the most dangerous man ever to sit in the Oval Office. A world without America as the superpower would not be a better world. It would be a world less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, especially if many countries are vying for power. If a power vacuum caused by the decline of American power by Obama’s policies results in another world war, than Obama will be responsible for the deaths of millions, not that he is ever likely to take personal responsibility for his failures.

 

The Election of 1800

November 2, 2013

The election of 1800 was one of the nastiest and most contentious in American history. We have had other close elections and many campaigns that descended into the worst sort of character assassinations, but 1800 stands out. For one thing, the election of 1800 was the only election in American history that ended in a duel. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

As I have mentioned before, the rules for electing the president were slightly different in the first four elections. Each Elector in the Electoral College had two votes which he cast for two different men. The candidate with the largest number of votes would be President and the next largest Vice-President. This worked well enough in the first two elections when everyone knew that George Washington would be President and John Adams Vice-President. It worked less well in 1796 when John Adams, the Federalist, was elected President with Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic-Republican. Although the two men were of opposing parties, they had long been friends and Adams had every expectation that Jefferson would be as loyal a Vice-President as Adams himself had been to Washington. He was badly disappointed with Jefferson. Jefferson spent the next four years undermining Adams at every opportunity and preparing to run against Adams in 1800.

In 1800, the Federalists selected John Adams to run for re-election, even though he was not especially popular in the party. Adams was really too independent to belong to any party and he and the Federalist party leader Alexander Hamilton hated each other, especially since Adams discovered that the members of his cabinet, holdovers from Washington’s administration, were more loyal to Hamilton than to him. For vice-president the Federalists selected Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, the brother of Adams’s running mate in 1796. Pinckney had been the U.S. minister to France and had famously said, “Not a sixpence” when French officials had tried to bribe him in the XYZ Affair.

For their part, the Democratic Republicans selected Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr again.

The election of 1800 turned out to be one of the nastiest in American history. Adams was accused of wanting to set up a monarchy. He was for aristocracy and against giving any role to the common man in politics. He was said to be arranging for his sons to marry King George III’s daughters and hoped to have the United States rejoin the British Empire. Jefferson was an atheist, a deist,and a radical.  He was planning to bring the Jacobin Terror to America. Under a Jefferson administration all common decency would be forgotten and Bible would be burned. Newspapers and speakers of both parties gleefully spread the most scurrilous stories about the opposing party’s candidate.

As in the election of 1796, both parties tried to make arrangements so that their Vice-Presidential candidate would receive one fewer vote than their Presidential candidate, and as in 1796, something went wrong. The Federalists won all of New England along with New Jersey and Delaware. The Democratic Republicans won the South except for North Carolina, which along with Pennsylvania and Maryland split its vote. The total electoral vote for the Federalists was 65 votes for Adams and 64 votes for Pinckney. The total electoral vote for the Democratic Republicans was 73 votes for Jefferson and 73 votes for Burr, a tie. This presented a problem.

The Election of 1800

The Election of 1800

According to the constitution, if no candidate gets a majority of the electoral vote, the House of Representatives would select the President from among the top five candidates, with each state getting one vote, which was determined by a majority of that state’s representatives. If there were a tie vote, the Congressional delegation would have to turn in a blank ballot. In 1801 there were sixteen states in the Union so a candidate had to have at least nine states supporting him in order to win the election.

On the first ballot, Jefferson got eight votes, Burr six, and the remaining two states were tied. For six days, vote after vote was taken with no change in the results. Many Federalists began to consider supporting Burr as the lesser of two evils. They tried to negotiate with Burr, offering their support in exchange for his maintaining Federalist policies. Burr listened, but didn’t commit himself. Then, the unexpected occurred. Alexander Hamilton intervened, on the side of his arch enemy, Jefferson.  Jefferson, he acknowledged was a “contemptible hypocrite” and “tinctured with fanaticism”, yet he did have some “pretensions to character”. Burr, by contrast, was without principles or honor, the “Catiline of America”. Catiline was a Roman Senator who had been accused of conspiring to overthrow the Republic in the 60’s BC. To educated Americans of the time, that was about the worst name Hamilton could have called Burr. Hamilton’s support of Jefferson was something like if Rush Limbaugh had supported Gore during the Florida recounts in 2000.

Alexander Hamilton

As a result of Hamilton’s lobbying, the deadlock was broken on February 17. Several Congressmen who had been supporting Burr abstained and as a result, Jefferson got ten votes to Burr’s four. Jefferson was elected President just two week before Inauguration Day. Shortly after, the twelfth amendment to the Constitution, which changed the procedure of the Electoral College so that each elector has one vote and votes for the President and Vice-President as a team, was adopted to prevent anything like the election of 1800 from occurring again.

About the duel, that occurred in 1804. Jefferson never trusted Burr after the election, for obvious reasons, and saw to it that Burr had no role in the government. As the election of 1804 neared, Jefferson decided to replace Burr as his running mate with George Clinton. Burr decided to run for governor of New York, but once again his fellow New Yorker, Hamilton, opposed him and he lost the election. Burr seized on Hamilton’s description of him as “despicable” and challenged Hamilton to a duel. At the duel, Hamilton fired into the air, but Burr shot him in the abdomen, killing Hamilton and his own political career. Burr had to flee to avoid prosecution for murder and was eventually implicated in a conspiracy to seize power in the Spanish southwest and create his own empire. He was tried for treason but acquitted and spent most of the rest of his life in Europe.

Politics has always been a dirty and excitable business but it has gotten a lot tamer in recent years. Imagine if the contentious election of 2000 had been handled like 1800. We might have ended up with Bush and Gore fighting a duel. Oh well.

The good old days

 

President ADD

October 27, 2013
Barack Obama

Look! Squirrel!

I begin to wonder if President Obama has Attention Deficit Disorder. Not in the clinical sense, I am not competent to make such a diagnosis, but in the popular usage of the term to refer to someone who is easily distracted. Or, perhaps he believes the American people are easily distracted. In any case Organizing for Action is changing direction, presumably on Obama’s direction.

David –

When we talk about passing comprehensive immigration reform, what we’re really talking about is people.

That might be difficult to believe if you listen to some of reform’s opponents — with all the name-calling and spin, some people in Washington are clearly more interested in sabotaging progress than solving problems.

Our immigration system is broken — and fixing it is a no-brainer, for our families and for our economy. The Senate already passed a comprehensive immigration bill with overwhelming bipartisan support this summer. And members of both parties in the House have signaled they’re ready to get this done.

OFA is doubling down on immigration reform right now — say you support comprehensive immigration reform, and join this important fight.

Now that the shutdown is over, the President has called on Congress to get back to the real work Americans sent them there to do — solving problems instead of creating them.

At the top of the agenda is immigration reform.

It’s tough to see how the same members of Congress who huffed and puffed over increasing the debt ceiling can oppose a comprehensive reform package that would reduce the deficit by an estimated $800 billion and add more than three million jobs to our economy.

OFA is going to be turning up the pressure on the House. Will you join this fight today?

http://my.barackobama.com/Join-this-Important-Fight

Thanks,

Pedro

Pedro Morillas
Immigration Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

—————-
The other side will spend millions to maintain the status quo. We’re fighting for change — chip in $5 or more to support OFA today.

If the president is really interested in solving problems, why isn’t he focusing all of his attention on trying to get his Obamacare website in working order? Why isn’t he focusing on the economy and on jobs? Why isn’t he working on damage control over revelations that the NSA has spied on the leader of our allies? It seems that he keeps wanting to change the subject away from his current policies to what he wants to do next. Either he really is hoping that Americans have short attention spans or he believes if he keeps throwing things at Congress, eventually they will pass what he wants.

As for immigration, it seems to me that the place to start would be to enforce the laws we already have and actually act to keep people from entering this country illegally. Those who are already here should be required to return to their home countries. No doubt Pedro Morillas will think my position harsh, but the United States, like every other country in the world with a functioning government has laws on  who may enter. Those laws should be enforced. If they are bad laws, they should be changed. If we need more people from Mexico, or any other part of the world to immigrate here,then change the laws. We must not, however grant amnesty to those who have broken the existing laws. That rewards the law breakers and is unfair to those immigrants which have patiently waited in line and filled out all the necessary paperwork to come here.

The irony here though, is that while the Obama administration seems to want to make it easier for people to immigrate to the US, the president seems to be trying his best to make us into the sort of country no one would want to immigrate to. If things continue on the same trajectory as they have been, in ten or twenty years the Mexicans may be trying to keep American immigrants out.

Redrawn Map

September 17, 2013

I have been having fun with the e-mails that I have been receiving from the Democrats for quite a long time now, but fairness demands that I also have some fun with the e-mails that conservative groups send me, at least when they descend into silliness or apocalyptic paranoia. Such is the case with this one I got from Townhall.com.

Dear Reader,

The America you know and love could look completely different in a matter of weeks.

Under a plan circulating the D.C. corridor right now, up to 16 states are at risk to be terminated due to epic fiscal mismanagement.

These states would simply be wiped from existence and merged into their neighbors.

We’ve even seen the redrawn map of the U.S. and it’s nothing less than terrifying.

California may be forced to become a part of Mexico without any state strong enough to absorb it!

Last week Treasury Secretary Jack Lew even took the time to urge congressional leaders to take action before events unfold that could lead to this national tragedy.

But it may already be too late.

To see the redrawn map of the U.S. and learn if your state is targeted for potential termination, it’s essential that you watch this short video we’ve produced.

It could be the slight head start that saves your entire future.

View it here, for free, right now.

This is an advertisement for Wall Street Daily, some sort of financial newsletter that seems to cater to survivalists and doomsday preppers. The link leads to a video of a fake news report of the federal government defaulting on its debts. I didn’t have the patience to watch it all the way through so I haven’t seen the redrawn map. I think Indiana would be relatively safe since our fiscal situation is strong thanks to former governor Mitch Daniels. I hope they don’t add Kentucky or Illinois to our state. I don’t want them. I also have no objections at all to giving California back to Mexico. The nuts and the crazies have long since taken control of that state and run it into the ground. Let the Mexicans straighten them out.

 

9/11 Again

September 11, 2013

I am not sure just how to say it, but the twelve years since 9/11 have not been what I expected and I am a little disappointed. I had expected that the tragic events on that day would bring Americans closer together. That is the only good that can come of something that takes so many lives. Instead, it seems that Americans are farther apart than ever.

911-fake-planes

I do not expect everyone in a large country like ours to agree on everything. That is not possible in a free country, nor is it desirable. If I wanted a country where every citizen marches in lockstep, I would move to North Korea. What I mean is that ever since the Vietnam War, and perhaps even before, there has been a certain percentage of Americans who simply hate their own country and all it stands for. They often say that they are for peace and social justice, but their actions indicate that they are for a defeated America and for tyranny. They seem to have sided with every one of our enemies throughout the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, with the exception of the Nazis in World War 2. The various tyrants that these people have supported, the Stalins, Maos, Castros, etc, have always talked a lot about helping the oppressed and it is possible that the Progressives have been naive enough to believe their propaganda more than their deeds. They could fool themselves into believing they supported fellow progressives. I might have thought that these progressive liberal-minded people would at least be able to oppose religious fanatics who scorn the liberal ideals that the progressives say they are for and who want to take the entire world back to the seventh century. I imagined that while Osama bin Ladin never had the sort of military capability of a Hitler, anyone could see that he was just as evil. I thought the progressives would believe that America was in the right, for once, or at least would be too ashamed to show their faces.

We did have unity for a short time, but then the America haters among us crawled out from under the rocks they had hidden under. True to their nature, they blamed America for the terrorist attacks on 9/11. We had it coming. It was wrong to invade Afghanistan to capture bin Ladin. He was a victim. We shouldn’t pursue the terrorists but show contrition for our sins. Thus we get Obama’s World Apology Tours.

I also thought that 9/11 would wake Americans up to the fact that we live in a dangerous world. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, too many Americans started to believe that there was a new world order of peace and prosperity. We didn’t need to worry about any enemies or rivals. Everyone was friends now. We could safely ignore the rest of the world altogether. We could cut back on our military strength and readiness. It was this kind of thinking that enabled President Clinton to not take the terrorist threat of Osama bin Ladin and al Qaeda very seriously. Osama bin Ladin declared war on us, and we ignored him.

9/11 did wake us up, for a few years. Now, I am afraid that too many Americans have fallen asleep again. We elected a fool who believed that all the problems of the world were the fault of his predecessor and all he needed to do was to reset everything and make speeches. He believed, and probably still believes that the melodious sound of his voice and his soaring oratory can end ages old disputes and reconcile enemies. We can see the results in America’s declining influence all over the world.

There is one other thing that did not match my expectations, though I wouldn’t call it a disappointment. There have been no other successful major terrorist attacks against the United States. It would be nice to believe that it was due to the diligence of law enforcement and Homeland Security, but it is more likely the truth that it is a lot harder to plan and execute a really large terrorist attack than anyone anticipated. I think that al Qaeda used up most of its resources in the attack on 9/11 and was never able to recover once we started hunting them in earnest. It is also likely that Osama bin Ladin was not really the terrorist mastermind we took him to be or as he imagined himself to be.

It could be that we were actually lucky on 9/11. Perhaps a more capable or determined enemy with the full backing of a foreign government could have done a lot more damage. We might not be so lucky next time, and there will be a next time. I wish I knew how to wake up my fellow Americans who are forgetting how dangerous the world really is. We cannot turn our backs on the world. The world won’t let us. We may not long have as much margin for error or foolishness as we now enjoy. I hope it doesn’t take more loss of life.

 

 

UN Concerns About the Trayvon Martin Shooting

September 7, 2013

I hadn’t thought that I would write anymore about this incident but it would seem that the United Nations has taken an interest in the matter, specifically if it has been properly investigated as a hate crime. I heard about this story courtesy of The Last Resistance.

3 September 2013 – A group of United Nations independent experts today called on the Government of the United States to finalize the ongoing review of the case involving the death of teenager Trayvon Martin, an African –American teenager who was shot in 2012 by a neighbourhood watchman in the state of Florida.

“We call upon the US Government to examine its laws that could have discriminatory impact on African Americans, and to ensure that such laws are in full compliance with the country’s international legal obligations and relevant standards,” said human rights expert Verene Shepherd, who currently heads the UN Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent.

The death of Trayvon Martin sparked a new debate about racial profiling in the United States after the unarmed black 17-year-old was shot and killed in Florida by George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watchman. Mr. Zimmerman, who argued that he acted in self-defence and with justifiable use of deadly force, was found not guilty of all charges against him.

The US Department of Justice, the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are currently evaluating the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial, trying to establish potential civil rights charges linked to the case.

“The Trayvon Martin case has highlighted the importance of the need to review those existing laws and policies that can have a discriminatory effect on the basis of race, as African Americans become more vulnerable to such discrimination,” Ms. Shepherd said, recalling that the US has been party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since 1992, the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination since 1994, and many other international human rights law treaties.

“States are required to take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists,” said the Special Rapporteur on racism, Mutuma Ruteere.

According to the 2011 US Department of Justice Hate Crime Statistics, 71.9 per cent of the total number of victims of hate crimes reported to the nation’s law enforcement agencies were victims of an offender’s anti-black bias. In a 2012 survey, the local non-governmental organization Malcolm X Grassroots Movement found that at least 136 unarmed African Americans were killed by police, security guards and self-appointed vigilantes over the course of a single year.

I wonder how many Whites were victims of an offender’s anti-white bias, or perhaps that doesn’t  count.

If you go through the roster of the 193 members of the United Nations, you will find few, if any, countries that have not discriminated against some group on the basis of race or ethnicity, as well as religious discrimination, discrimination against women, etc. In many places this is still very much an ongoing problem. You will also find that there are few countries that have made more of an effort to redress past and present discrimination than the United States. If the United Nations is really interested in fighting against discrimination and violations of basic human rights, there are many places where there efforts are more urgently needed than here in America They could, for instance, take up the problem of the Christians in the Middle East, the Kurds in Turkey, the Tibetans and others in the People’s Republic of China, etc. In other words, the US has one of the best human rights records in the world and we certainly do not need to be lectured to by a corrupt organization composed of dictators and kleptocrats.

In Enemy Occupied Territory

August 15, 2013

Lately, for perhaps the last five or so years, I have had the oddest feeling that I have been living in a country occupied by an implacable enemy bent on demoralizing and fundamentally changing this country as much as possible. It’s silly, I know, but Sarah Hoyt has been having somewhat similar thoughts.

We’ve talked about this before, but in fact, I don’t think there has ever been a country like ours, where our elites are deliberately taught – in our best schools – to hate and despise everything that we are, everything that makes us unique.  I don’t think there has ever been another country where our elites are taught to be ashamed to call themselves by our national name.

Or rather, there have been countries like that – but they were countries who’d lost a war, and where the governing elite were in fact puppets of their erstwhile enemy, sent in to utterly destroy what the country used to be and to make sure that it did not rise again and (maybe) next time win the war.

Did we lose the cold war?  Well, of course not.  Of course we didn’t. The Sov Union fell apart.  Their internal economy was a shambles – communism does that – and they are suffering the fate of the defeated in a material and obvious way.  The name for prostitute in most of Europe (and the Arab countries) is Natasha. Their population is crashing.  Their men are dying of alcoholism and internally they are being taken over by a hostile minority.  Ignore the invasion of Georgia, those are the spasms of the dying bear.  It’s inevitable, in material terms to be aware that when it comes to the si devant Sov union  the applicable Latin phrase is Vae Victis.

But here’s the thing – long before communism had lost the cold war, it had won the propaganda war.

Part of this was their saber rattling and the craven and raw nature of our intellectual classes.  Craven because they know themselves to be weak.  Dueling with your mind might be an exciting sport – it is, I know, I do it – but it avails nothing when confronted by thugs with hobnail boots.  Most of those who labor in the vineyard of words find themselves utterly naked and defenseless in even the most minor physical confrontation.  (Note, I said most, not all.  I would not advise you to pick a fight with most of Baen.  Even myself and Dave Freer who are relatively mild put bite into any fight – he, because he’s a devious bastage and I say that in the most profound affection [if I ever govern anything he’ll be my secretary of dirty tricks.  The man has no bounds.] and I because I’m built like a tank and I berserk.)  So they both turn coward – and justify it in big words – by cleaving to the people they think are going to invade and kick their butts.  Now it’s Islam, but once upon a time it was communism; and they glorify and have a sort of hard on for violent sorts.  Hence, their worship of that despicable, blood tinged psychopath, Che.

And they were really scared of communism.  It also made sense in their minds – communism, I mean – as it can only make sense in the minds of people who live in the sheltered world of academia or the irrational world of art.  And so… they turned.

Now many of these people, from the president on down seem to be running things. I wonder again, where do all of these people who seem to hate their own country really come from? Why do they have such hatred for one of the freest and most prosperous countries the world has ever known while idolizing the cruelest, most blood thirsty tyrants. Are they really cowards, or simply fools? Maybe there should be some sort of psychological study done of this phenomena.

 

The Election of 1792

August 6, 2013

The election of 1792 was, in many ways, a repeat of the election of 1789. There were the same candidates and the same result, Washington winning by a unaminous vote of the electoral college and John Adams being re-elected Vice President. George Washington really didn’t want to run for a second term. Although his first term had been very successful, Washington had not enjoyed it. He wanted nothing more than to retire from politics and go back to his home at Mount Vernon.

One thing that had especially exasperated Washington was the growth of partisan politics in the new republic. None of the founding fathers had anything good to say about political parties and they all warned of the dangers of factions. Despite these warning, the first party system was already forming around Washington’s two chief cabinet officials; Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Both of these men were very intelligent and ambitious. Both of them had grown up without a father, Jefferson’s dying when he was 14 and Hamilton’s abandoning his family. In all other ways, however, the two men were opposites and rivals.

Alexander Hamilton favored a strong federal government. Since he had been born outside the thirteen colonies, he had never developed any intense loyalty to any one state, instead viewing the United States as a whole. He believed that the United States should become an industrial power and wanted a national bank to finance investments and improvements to the infrastructure for that end. Hamilton was also something of an elitist, believing that the people should be guided. Thomas Jefferson was a Virginian. He, like almost everyone at the time, was loyal to his state first and then to the nation. He wanted a weak national government, and believed that state’s rights were paramount. He believed that the United States should have a primarily agricultural economy and distrusted banks. His opinion was that only a republic of sturdy independent farmers could endure. He professed to have great love for the people. Even in personality the two men differed. Hamilton was hyperactive, always making plans and working on projects. Jefferson was more laid back, in some ways even lazy. In foreign policy, Hamilton favored an alliance with the British on the grounds of common culture and trade. Jefferson wanted to support France as a fellow republic after their revolution. The two men caused Washington quite a lot of trouble with their endless bickering, especially when the newspapers they were financing starting to attack each other. Soon the followers of Hamilton were calling themselves Federalists while Jefferson’s supporters were the Democratic-Republicans.

The one thing that Hamilton and Jefferson did agree on was that Washington should run again. The country was still too young and things were still too unsettled to go without Washington’s guidance. Washington reluctantly agreed. All thirteen of the original states were able to participate in this election and Vermont and Kentucky had been added to the Union so there were 132 electoral votes. All 132 electors cast one of their votes for Washington, giving him a unanimous vote for President. With their second vote, they gave John Adams 77 votes, making him Vice-President again. George Clinton received 50 votes.

Missing the Point

August 5, 2013

I found this picture posted on a Facebook group called Americans Against the Republican Party.

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This graphic was titled, “Welcome to the real world, not GOP fantasy land”.

I think the person who put this together is missing the point on several levels. For one thing, many of these rankings are debatable and some are subjective. How did they rate levels of democracy or press freedom? Different countries use different criteria for things like infant survival, crime rates, etc making direct comparisons not as easy as one might expect. There are no citations given, so who knows if any of the rankings are actually true? Even taking them all at face value, no one but a fool has ever said that the U.S. is the best at everything.

If the U. S. is number one, it is because we have the largest economy, somewhere around 25% of the world’s total, and the largest and best military. Because of these facts, American has more influence on world events than any other nation. In soft power, the U. S. has more diplomatic and cultural influence than any other nation. The President of the United States is the closest thing we have to a leader of the whole world. Whenever there is a crisis anywhere in world, all the other nations look to the United States for leadership. We have become, at this time, the indispensable nation. Without America the world would be less prosperous, less peaceful, and less technologically advanced. If America should fail, the world would become an uglier place very quickly.

I am writing all of this not to brag about my country. These are simple facts. America is number one at this moment in power, wealth and influence. We do have many flaws and are far from being a perfect nation. No one who has any sense would deny it. The people who made this picture are attacking a strawman, arguing that the Republicans live in a fantasy land in which American is first in every field.

I have to wonder, when did patriotism become a partisan issue? How is is it that Republicans seem to be the only patriotic party. I would not believe this to be the case, but Americans Against the Republican Party evidently believes it to be. They themselves certainly seem to want to belittle their country. I said that America has its flaws and I do not believe we should whitewash or deny them. I think America is a great country despite its flaws. These people, however, seem to take a certain glee in putting down America. I think that in the not too distant past both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives believed themselves to be patriotic and that America was an exceptional nation. Now it seems that many Democrats go out of their way to assert that America is not very exceptional at all. We have people who consider themselves liberal who feel that patriotism is somehow vulgar and beneath them. How did this happen? Is it because the radicals from the 1960′s have managed to infiltrate so many of our institutions?

I am a patriot. I love my country. I love it not because it is wealthy and powerful, although I am glad it is. America and Americans have done great things and I am proud of that, but that is not why I love my country. I love my country simply because it is MY country. There are some who might feel that this sentiment is old-fashioned; a antiquated impulse that sophisticated people should have abandoned. I don’t think so. Homo sapiens is a pack animal and it is only natural and right for us to love our own; our family, our tribe, our nation. This instinct can be taken too far, of course. It can be perverted into the kind of poisonous nationalism that inspires war and genocide. But, any natural human instinct can be perverted. There some some people who derive sexual gratification from hurting or killing others. The sexual instinct in such people is perverted, but that doesn’t mean the sexual instinct itself is bad. So it is with many other natural instincts of humanity. Patriotism may be perverted, but patriotism is itself a good thing. As Sir Walter Scott wrote:

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name

Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.

Do these people who are so quick to deride their own country really have dead souls? I wonder.

 

 


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