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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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51  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: In Defense of Obama on: October 13, 2014, 11:51:32 am
I do not see Obama being known as a great president. He has not got Americas invovled in enarly enough wars. The wars he did get America involved in (such as Libya) were short, professionally handled and not nearly enough quirky anecdotes were created. Also, no historian will look kindly on a president who actually thinks the U.S. millitary is not the answer to every foreign policy question. No, Obama will rank the middle of the pack and chill out with Gerald Ford and Chester Arthur. That should be a good conversation, though.
52  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is Pat Quinn one of the most talented politicians in the country? on: October 13, 2014, 11:47:07 am
I would say so. It takes a lot of talent to b a Democrat who wins Cook County by a landslide margin and thus carries the whole state. Pat Quinn is very talented in that regard.
53  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Sore loser Mitt Romney, still humiliated by 2012 spanking, still attacking Obama on: October 13, 2014, 11:44:29 am
Hmm...I see your point. It is quite odd, in this day and age, for Republicans to attack Democrats. I wonder what Romney was thinking?
54  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should texting while driving be banned? on: September 30, 2014, 03:18:50 pm
Why ban what cannot be enforced? That is simply an afront to the rule of law. I say no.
55  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The Godfather vs. The Shawshank Redemption on: September 30, 2014, 03:16:46 pm
I was no fan of The Godfather. Any mafia film fan must place Road to Perdition or Goodfellas over Godfather. I thought all three were quite bad. The Shawshank Redemption was at least entertaining to watch and had fine acting in it. I guess I will go with it.
56  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite Disney Movie? on: September 30, 2014, 03:14:15 pm
The Great Mouse Detective as Vincent Price is simply wonderful in the villian's role.
57  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: MW: September 2014 Elections (Althing/Archduke) on: September 20, 2014, 05:26:53 pm
Ballot for Midwest Archduke:
1. Cris

Ballot for Most Serene Representatives:
1. RR1997
2. Gass3268
3. GAworth
58  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1789 Presidential Election on: September 10, 2014, 03:24:24 pm
59  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1992 Presidential Election on: September 09, 2014, 07:47:24 am
Marrou by a mile. He has to be one of the most intelligent men to ever run for president.
60  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean on: September 07, 2014, 03:04:19 pm
I personally prefer John Owen Jones and Alexander Gemignani in the role of Valjean but Wilkinson is wonderful in the role. The 10th Aniversary Les Miserables concert is probably the best cast collection of the musical.Phillip Quast is by far the best Javert (though Norm Lewis is great) and Lea Salogna is by far the best Eponine.
61  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you have a job or a career? on: September 06, 2014, 08:04:51 pm
I've taught special education for many years now. If I am lucky I'll have quite a good government pension waiting for me.
62  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1880 Presidential Election on: September 06, 2014, 08:00:26 pm
Hancock the Superb of course!
63  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: September 06, 2014, 03:36:50 pm
The Election of 1856, Part III

The American Party would add much flavor to the soup of 1856. An election like 1856 had not been seen since the log cabin, hard cider campaign of 1840. The ballyhoo and hubbub makes for a great general election campaign to match the incredible pre-election build-up. The Democrats and Republicans squared off for the first time in a battle for the nation's very soul. Democrats had the upper hand in many ways. Buchanan was a well-known and respected politician. Fremont, the Republican leader, was not trusted by very many. Fremont was court martialed during the Mexican War, only to be saved from dishonorable discharge by his father-in-law Senator Thomas Hart Benton. Fremont was also a notorious land speculator who had made dishonest money in the California land boom of 1850s while serving as one of the Golden State's first U.S. Senators. Fremont's trouble was not that he was unknown, it as that he was well known for the wrong things. In St. Louis, Missouri, former U.S Army Major and broke firewood peddler Ulysses S. Grant would cast his first vote of his life for James Buchanan. His reason: "I knew Fremont."

The Democratic mud fest make the election of 1856 a great deal of fun. Calling their opponents "Black Republicans" Democratic politicians scared the dickens out of Wall Street by screaming, as Governor Wise of Virginia declared: "If Fremont is elected there will be revolution!" The issue of secession was one of the major points of the campaign. While Republicans desperately tried to convince the South that they had no interest in their slaves the Democrats made hay of the fact that the party did not support the expansion of the curious institution. Businessmen in New York and Boston, needing cheap southern cotton for textile production and a harmonious nation for Wall Street stability, decided to "take the Buck by the horns" and filled Democratic coffers with thousands of dollars. Secession would destroy the U.S. economy and business was not going to be party to that folly.  New York Herald editor and Fremont supporter Horace Greeley, who had agreed to serve as treasurer for the campaign, said flatly, "We Fremonters of [New York City] have not one dollar where Fillmoreans and Buchaneers each have ten!"

While the Democrats bathed in money the Republicans made do with old fashioned grassroots activism. In New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois the Republican organized Rocky Mountain Clubs, Wide Awake Clubs, Freed Clubs and (in Fremont's California) Bear Clubs. These groups paraded through city streets with songs mocking the South for being backwards and feudal in nature. The Young Americans of Douglas jumped to Fremont and declared that Buchanan and Fillmore were "old fogies" opposed to American expansion and exceptionalism. In Clermont, Ohio, a young boy decided to make some money from the election and make some hay from the famous Republican Wide Awake marches. The wide awakes were young men whom would march through the streets of cities after dark with bright torches and signs decorated with a big wide eye. They wanted to show the nation that the Republicans were awake to the threat of slavery and the great aptitude for the United States. A boy in Clermont was selling puppies as some Republican Wide Awakers marched by. One Republican saw the pups and asked the boy, "Are these Fremont pups?" The boy said they were and the man happily bought two of them. The next morning the Republican marcher overheard the boy doing business with a prominent local Democrat. "My lad," the Democrat asked, "are these Buchanan pups?" "They're Buchanan pups sir," he boy replied. Angered the Republican confronted the boy. "See here, you young rascal!" the Republican intoned, "didn't you tell me last night that these pups were Fremont pups?" "Y-E-S sir," the little boy replied with a smirk, "but those pups were sleeping. It was night and their eyes were closed." Pointing to the blinking puppies the boy quipped: "These are Buchanan pups. Their eyes are open."
Puppies would not prove to be the greatest threat to Fremont. The Know Nothings, angered by their losses at the convention, dedicated themselves to stopping the election of Fremont. The best lie of the election was started in October 1856 by a Know Nothing newspaper in Baltimore. The paper declared that Fremont was a secret Catholic. According to the article Fremont had told a professor at West Point that he was a Romanist, he worshipped at a Catholic Cathedral in Washington, D.C., he had been married by a Catholic priest and he refused to say the Episcopal prayers of the Episcopalian prayer book. Fremont, to his credit admitted that some of the accusations were true. Fremont had been married by a Catholic priest but it was not through a Catholic marriage ceremony. Fremont and Jesse Benton had fallen in love but her powerful father did not want her to marry the army officer. The two ran away and married quickly before the father could ever now. The person who married them was a man of the collar, a Catholic priest. Fremont told his friends he was an Episcopalian but he did not deny th charges. He had two reasons for this, one political and the other profound. First, Fremont knew that the accusations of Catholicism could HELP him in New York and New Jersey, where many Irish Catholics lived. Second, Fremont did not see a point in attacking Catholics. He brought up the point that religious tests were not allowed under the Constitution and that Catholics had as much right to the presidency as any protestant. Thus he did very little to counter the scandal. In the end this hurt his candidacy because he did not gain very many Irish Catholic votes but he did lose the support of Whigs-turned-Know Nothings. This loss of Northern Whigs undid Republican hopes in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana and New Jersey.

The final outcome of the 1856 election is as satisfying as the campaign itself. The sectional Republican Party won eleven Northern states, including the key states of Ohio and New York. Buchanan-backed by big money-won the race, but it was far closer than anyone expected. The results from Maine in October 1856 had scared the Democrats. The Republicans won big in the traditionally Democratic state. The influential Massachusetts Whig Rufus Choate, who had spoken for Buchanan in Maine, angrily declared that Maine was foolish for voting for a sectional party based on "glittering generalities." Poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, a good Republican, shot back at Choate: "Glittering generalities? Glittering ubiquities rather!" All the American Party and Democratic fear over Maine proved to be much ado about nothing. Buchanan won with 45% of the popular vote and 174 electoral votes. He had won states in the North, South and West. The Republicans were the party that had only won the in North. Fillmore won only the Know-Nothing controlled state of Maryland but the 25% of the popular vote he won showed that former Whigs were still a sizable minority. They would return in 1860 with John Bell, the Tennessee statesman, as their nominee and great white hope.

Though Democrats won a sizable victory it cannot be understated how exciting it is to see a party not yet three years old come in second in a national contest. The power of the Republican Party in 1856 is akin to the electricity of the 1912 Bull Moose campaign. Both parties were powered by grand ideas, puritanical principles and a lightning rod of a presidential candidate. The Republicans even cheered the loss as a "victorious defeat." Poet John Greenleaf Whittier penned a poem:

Then sound again the bugles
Call the muster-roll anew
If months have well-nigh won the field
What may not four years do?

The 1856 election is a wonderful race for the White House. The three candidates battled it out with a nation on fire as the backdrop. Any fan of antebellum American politics must hold this race up as the marquee election of the age. All the classic Jacksonian issues were present along with immigration- an issue of the future- and slavery, the issue that would tear the nation asunder. 1856 is an election which the muses of history wrote well.
64  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: September 06, 2014, 03:35:37 pm
The Election of 1856, Part II

Bleeding Sumner and Bleeding Kansas make a great background for a great election.

The second reason why this race is worth following is that it was the first election to feature a new party known as the Republican Party. On February 28, 1854, a number of anti-Kansas-Nebraska Act Democrats and Whigs met at a small school house in Ripon, Wisconsin, to recommend the formation of a new political party opposed to the expansion of slavery. This meeting led to a mass meeting on July 6, 1854, in Jackson, Michigan, where strange remnants of liberal Democrats, Conscience Whigs and Northern capitalists came together to form the Republican Party. A party dedicated to upward mobility, capitalism and free soil, the Republicans opposed expansion of slavery in the Western territories and wished to see it eradicated from the District of Colombia. This party is unique due to the fact that it was the first sectional party in U.S. history. The Republican animal was a Northern one. The South hated the party due to the fact that it was a real threat to their way of life. After all, upward mobility and anti-slavery sentiments were in no way a Southern tradition. By the fall of 1854 the Republicans were a power in the East and the Midwest. While some Whigs, such as Abraham Lincoln and the sons of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, were slow to join the amalgamation, the Republicans were a force to be reckoned with.

The 1856 Republican Convention in Philadelphia was a mixed bag. It is exciting to read about the first presidential convention of one of America's major parties but the race for the nomination was no memorable contest. The front-runners for the nomination were famed "pathfinder" John C. Fremont, Supreme Court Associate Justice John McLean and Speaker of the House Nathaniel Banks. Fremont was a colorful candidate. Known as the "Wooly Horse" for his massive beard, Fremont was the husband of Jesse Benton Fremont, the belle of Washington society. When Fremont won the nomination of the first ballot as his fans cried, "Free men, free soil and Fremont!" Former Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln won a good deal of votes for the vice-presidential nomination but the nod went to New Jersey Senator William Dayton. The highly energetic Republican Platform did not pander to Southern views. It called for the abolition of slavery in D.C., the admission of Kansas as a free state, opposition to the annexation of Cuba, opposition to slavery in the territories and held up an economic system based on centralized banking, internal improvements, inflationary currency and a railway to the Pacific. The Republicans knew they would not win a single vote in the South and wrote a platform that assured it.

While the Republicans did not see a competitive convention the Democrats more than made up for the disappointment. The third reason why 1856 is a race for the ages is the Democratic imbroglio in Cincinnati. The Queen City hosted a battle royale between the three political giants of the Democratic Party of the 1850s. President Pierce and Senator Douglas, basking in the blood of Kansas-Nebraska, took on one another for the nomination. Both of these Democratic standard bearers had made themselves unelectable through the failed compromise of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Douglas, who had introduced the bill in an attempt to make easy money from cheap land in Nebraska, hoped to lead his Young America movement into the White House while Pierce sought vindication for his presidency through re-nomination. Southern Democrats united around Pierce on the first fifteen ballots. Douglas lingered behind Pierce, but James Buchanan was the man to beat. Buchanan, a popular Pennsylvania Democrat, was not tainted by the Kansas-Nebraska troubles. A career politician, Buchanan had served as a congressman, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State under Polk. He had spent the last four years serving as the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James, thus he was an ocean away from the bleeding years of 1854-1856. Buchanan was also backed by Northern and Western Democrats. Pierce and Douglas combined their strength on the 16th ballot to try to stop Buchanan but the efforts of Handsome Frank and the Little Giant proved useless. Buchanan, who was not offensive to many people, won the nomination and, in order to appease Southern slave owners, Congressman John Cable Breckinridge of Kentucky was selected for vice-president. Breckinridge was only thirty-six years old and had not coveted the vice-presidential nod. In fact, he had been one of the convention's delegates and was pushing for the nomination of former Speaker of the House Linn Boyd for the veep nomination. The exciting convention concluded with a rather dull platform. The great irony was that while the convention had rejected Pierce the platform it adopted vindicated his policies. Pierce's Kansas-Nebraska Act popular sovereignty, low taxes and tariffs fiscal strategy and opposition to massive internal improvements projects were all approved of unanimously by the convention. Sitting in the White House Pierce and his good friend Nathaniel Hawthorne mocked the convention for "accepting the message but shooting the messenger."

A fourth flourish of the 1856 campaign is the wonderfully vindictive presence of the Know Nothings. A powerful society of Catholic hating and immigrant bating WASPS, the Know Nothings had taken control of the American Party and had coopted many former Whigs into their ranks. While the Know Nothings made much of their hatred of the pope and the Irish, the American Party leaders tried in vain to show that they were not the same as their shadowy benefactors. In 1854 and 1855 the American Party seemed to be the shining light of compromise in a nation destined for the bloody travail of civil war. The American Party found the support of steamboat magnates Cornelius "the Commodore" Vanderbilt and the enigmatic George Law. Law and Vanderbilt, rivals who used to race each other’s steamboats in the Narrows of New Jersey, were both potential presidential candidates in 1856. Vanderbilt backed the American Party as the only sane choice in a nation caught between extremes. The party had taken control of the governments in Maryland and Massachusetts and had managed to elect congressmen in states across the nation. It seemed to many voters that the American Party was the national party of compromise and constitutional theory. This was all a facade to a house divided falling.

When the convention opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in February 1856 the American Party was divided into three parts, all hating each other and demanding control of the party. Anti-immigrant activists (the Know Nothings) demanded that the platform attack the pope and include a plank accusing Irish immigrants of being a part of a wide scheme to pollute the U.S.A. with willing agents of Rome. George Law, a serious businessman, shook his head at these conspiratorial comrades. He represented the business wing of the party whom were good Protestants but did not hate Catholics. The second part of the American Party was comprised of pro-Kansas-Nebraska Southerners. The third part was led by the American Party of Ohio. The Ohio branch of the party had passed an anti-Kansas-Nebraska Act platform plank at their 1855 convention. Many Northern American Party members walked lockstep with their leaders from Ohio. On the first day of the convention the battle of the platform was waged. Law prevented the Know Nothing conspirators from polluting the platform with their inane theory but he failed to stop them from forcing a twenty year residency requirement for U.S citizenship and a "Catholic Cap" on immigration into the platform. Law's failures were minimal when compared to the coup of the pro-Kansas delegates. The convention narrowly approved a plank approving of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The convention went crazy and would prove to be a prequel to the 1860 Democratic Convention in Charleston. Delegates from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, New England, and other northern states bolted when a resolution declaring that no candidate that was not in favor of prohibiting slavery north of the 36'30' parallel. These delegates would form their own party called the North American Party and nominate Speaker of the House Nathaniel Banks for president. Banks would decline the nomination and the anti-slavery American Party would back Fremont. The regular American Party nominated former President Millard Fillmore for president over George Law and, to appeal to Democrats, paired him with newspaper editor and presidential in-law Andrew Jackson Donnellson.
65  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: September 06, 2014, 03:34:16 pm
#23: The Election of 1856

Coming in at number twenty-three is the election of 1856. This election is a pleasing campaign for all fans of the Civil War Era as well as those who revel in the immortal rivalry between the Democrats and Republicans. With a bleeding Kansas and a nation poised on the brink of Civil War as the backdrop to this historic election, election history buffs should find this contest a great treat.
The first reason why 1856 stands out as a good election is that the times that surrounded the campaign could not be any better. The year 1856 was a year of violence. "We are treading upon a volcano," grimly stated Senator Thomas Hart Benton. The volcano, Benton feared, would erupt at the slightest trouble and engulf the nation. The troubles of 1856 were long in coming. The major issue of sectionalism had been annoyed time and time again by the politicians in Washington. The overarching issue of slavery seemed to be the most perplexing of the sectional issues which threatened the unity of the United States. President Franklin Pierce, who had been overwhelmingly elected in 1852 over a hapless Winfield Scott, had tried to appease both sides during his presidency. Pierce vetoed unconstitutional internal improvement laws to appear Southern and Eastern Democrats. In 1854, with the backing of Northern Democrats and Senator Stephen Douglas, Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 was a law introduced by Douglas, a Northerner, for Northern industrialists and farmers. The point of the law was to organize Kansas and Nebraska intro territories so that they could elect a legislature. The legislatures would then issue land grants to Northern farmers and those wishing to invest in a Transcontinental Railroad. Douglas himself owned land in Nebraska and was hoping a railroad through the land would make him a wealthy man. Countless Northern businessmen lobbied for the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

The South, however, was opposed. Southerners did not want the law because a transcontinental railroad would only diminish the usage of the Mississippi River and Southern ports such as Mobile and New Orleans. Pierce, whom wanted to unite the Democratic Party across the nation, and Douglas, whom desired the White House in 1856, introduced to the bill what seemed to be a fine compromise. Southerners desired an expansion of their political and economic power yet their entire political and economic system was based on chattel slavery. The expansion of this odious institution was strongly opposed by Northern capitalists for multiple reasons. First, the Western territories, won during the Mexican War, were lands fertile for free labor and free men. The territories, according to free soil Whigs and Democrats, were meant for free white farmers. Congressman David Wilmot expressed this idea clearly in his famous Wilmot Proviso. Second, Northerners did not want slaves to enter territories due to the fact that they would give the South extra votes in Congress under the 3/5th Compromise. Despite these arguments Pierce and Douglas introduced to the Northern-backed Kansas-Nebraska Act the stipulation of popular sovereignty. This term meant simply that those who moved to a territory were given the right to vote on the issue of slavery in the territory. This is why the term is sometimes referred to as "squatter sovereignty"- in reference to the right of squatters, settlers to decide the issue of slavery in the territory.

Senator Douglas and President Pierce saw the Kansas-Nebraska Act as the answer to all the sectional strife of the last several years. The North would get great deals of nearly free farm land and a transcontinental railroad. The South would get very little except the chance that they would be given new slave states. To Douglas slavery was not the problem, the slavery controversy was. The Little Giant of Illinois believed that the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which passed comfortably, would cement his path to the presidency. Senator Douglas was completely wrong on all fronts. The Kansas-Nebraska Act is a fine example of how the best laid political plans of mice and men can go wrong in an eic way. The creation of the Kansas and Nebraska Territories opened up a bloody battle for domination which sensational newspapermen in the East dubbed "Bleeding Kansas."
Free-soilers and pro-slavery settlers descended on Kansas Territory like a plague of locusts. Both sides were driven by a lust for political power and the blood of their enemies. Missouri slavers crossed the border and stuffed ballot boxes when the elections for the first Kansas Legislature occurred. More people voted in the elections than lived in the territory and the pro-slavery side won. The Lecompton Constitution was written with Kansas as a slave state. Anti-slavery forces, armed illegally with rifles from anti-slavery minister Henry Ward Beecher which arrived in boxes marked "Bible", formed their own government in Topeka and adopted a constitution admitting Kansas as a free state. A brief civil war broke out in Kansas. While it can be argued how bloody Bleeding Kansas really was, there is no denying that a crop of crazies were indeed raised amongst the wheat and sunflowers of the Prairie State. John Brown, a perennial bankrupt and deadbeat, declared that God had spoken with him and that he had commanded him to kill all pro-slavery settlers in Kansas. Brown, his sons and followers massacred unarmed men who did not even own slaves with broad swords at Pottawatomie Creek. The madness in Kansas added to the stress of the year.

Nothing, however, makes a finer backdrop to the 1856 election than the proceedings on the floor of the United States Senate in May 1856. Senator Charles Sumner, a stuffy yet brilliant barrister from Massachusetts, delivered a blistering speech for two days called "The Crime against Kansas." This feat of excessive hyperbole skewered the South for the practice of slavery and Sumner attacked South Carolina Senator Andrew F. Butler of South Carolina most fiercely. Sumer declared that Butler was the "Don Quixote of Slavery" and mocked him as choosing, "a mistress to whom he has made his vows, and who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him...the harlot Slavery!" This line gained applause from the abolitionist press but the anger of Congressman Preston Brooks, the nephew of Senator Butler. On May 22, 1856, Brooks appeared on the floor of the United States Senate with a cane in hand and a mission of blood in his mind. "Mr. Sumner I have read your speech twice over carefully!" Brooks boldly declared to a stunned Sumner, at work at his desk. "It is a libel to South Carolina and to Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine..." As Sumner sighed and looked up in his haughty manner, Brooks beat the Massachusetts radical over his thickly maimed head with a stout gutta-percha cane. Blood blinded Sumner as he fell from his desk, pulling it from the bolts on the floor. "Don't kill him!" cried the elderly statesman from Kentucky John J. Crittenden. Brooks guffawed: "I did not intend to kill him but I did intend to whip him!" Two New York Congressmen entered the chamber and held back the angry South Carolinian. This caning stunned the nation. Southern fire-eaters cheered Brooks and sent him new canes to beat Sumner with. "Hit him again!" cried the Richmond Whig, whom also lauded the beating as "a good deed." Northern presses were frightened by the beating. While an investigation chided Brooks the congressman resigned his post only to be reelected to it by a landslide in the special election. Northern Congressmen began to arm themselves and one even challenged Brooks to a duel in Canada, where the anti-dueling laws of the U.S. would not affect them. Brooks turned down the duel as was mocked by Northern press:

To Canada Brooks was asked to go,
To waste a pound of powder or so,
But he quickly answered, NO, No, No.
For I'm afraid, afraid, afraid,
Billy Brooks's afraid
66  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: Midwest Voting Booth: War Powers Amendment on: September 04, 2014, 08:58:25 am
67  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 28, 2014, 09:10:01 pm
1796  election, Part III

Hamilton realized that the only way he could get Pinckney elected president was to steal votes from Adams. To elevate Pinckney to the post of president and relegate Jefferson into the powerless position as vice-president was far too sweet a perspective for Hamilton to turn his scheming mind away from. The mischievous Hamilton began working behind the scenes to elect Pinckney over Adams by convincing Jefferson electors from South Carolina to cast their second votes for Pinckney. This would lead Adams to finish third and go home to Braintree a bitter former vice-president. Hamilton’s little scheme ultimately failed when one of the South Carolina electors chose to go public with the deal, but it set the stage for tension between Adams and Hamilton for the next four years. In Pennsylvania supposed Federalists electors did listen to Hamilton and bolted to Jefferson’s fold. In February 1797, Samuel Miles, Federalist electors from Pennsylvania, cast one of his votes in the Electoral College for Jefferson. “What!” cried an angry “Gazette of the United States”, “Do I choose Samuel Miles to determine for me whether John Adams or Thomas Jefferson shall be President? No! In choose him to act, bot think!” That is one of the greatest comments in the history of voting.

In the end Adams, at the age of sixty-one and boasting few functional teeth, was elected the second president but not by a wide margin. When the balloting was over, Adams won71 electoral votes to 68 for Jefferson, 59 for Pinckney and a mere 30 for the devious Burr. Republicans jeered Adams as “president by three votes” and Federalists let out a collective sigh of relief. It was assumed that the Hamilton-Washington economic system was safe for four more years. Despite the backstabbing and name calling one also has to applaud Adams and Jefferson for remaining friends during the struggle. Jefferson shook hands happily with Adams and declared that he, “has always been my senior.” The last great treat of the 1796 election is the fact that America ended up with a divided executive branch for the first and only time in its history. The Federalist President John Adams and Republican Vice-President Thomas Jefferson took the oath of office on March 4th, 1797, as Washington watched on. The nation saw a peaceful transfer of power.

The 1796 election was a wonderful contest. Two men of high skill and intelligence ran against each other as the world burned behind them. They stayed as friends as their two parties waged bitter partisan and personal warfare. The political environment of partisanship that Washington had wrought through his years at the helm was seen perfectly through the kaleidoscope of the 1796 presidential contest. The election of 1796 is a fantastic election with good characters, high drama and a flash finish ending. All students of early American history should study the election of 1796. It perfectly shows the challenges which Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Hamilton faced as the American Republic was awkwardly finding its place in the world.      
68  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 28, 2014, 09:09:32 pm
1796 election, Part II

Why such anger at a man who should have been a national hero? Had the frozen waters of the Delaware and the drunken Prussian blood of Trenton lost its staying power? The answer is a simple yes. One of the reasons why 1796 is a great election for election buffs is because it falls during one of the greatest moments in the history of human freedom. The French Revolution was still festering in Europe. The Council on Public Safety had fallen, Robespierre had his jaw and head removed, Marat was murdered and the Directory ruled in Paris. The Terror was over, yet the Hamiltonian Federalists had not forgotten it. Benjamin Franklin Bache hated Washington primarily for his perceived “treason” against France, America’s first ally. The Neutrality Act, declaring that America would not side with France or Britain in their never ending war over the Revolution, was viewed by the Republicans as a blanket endorsement of British economic and foreign policy goals. Jay’s Treaty, which Washington saw as his signal foreign policy achievement, was also hated by Jeffersonian Republicans due to the fact that it named Britain as America’s chief trading partner while refusing to mention the crisis of American impressment and slavery to the Royal Navy. Jefferson saw Washington as a puppet of Hamilton. Hamilton saw Jefferson as a radical Jacobin atheist who would not rest until the crimson blood of capitalists dripped from his agrarian collectivist fangs. “Washington’s Farewell Address,” remarked Congressman Fisher Ames of Massachusetts, “was a signal, like dropping of a hat, for the party races to start.”

1796 could not ask for a better cast of characters. The luminous names of the combatants for the presidential crown are something to behold. The Federalist Party presidential nomination was not a contest of wills, but the struggle of two men. Alexander Hamilton did not like John Adams, the rotund vice-president of the United States. The bald, almost toothless but highly intelligent Adams had served eight miserable years as vice-president. He was refused the honor to speak in the Senate, made a few tie breaking votes and twiddled his thumbs as he waited for his chance to win the leading role. Hamilton, whom Adams referred to as the “bastard brat”, far preferred Thomas Pinckney, former Governor of South Carolina. The son of one of America wealthiest women, Pinckney looked to Hamilton like the perfect puppet to keep him in power for four years more. Adams, “The Atlas of Independence”, proved himself to be more than a match for Hamilton’s machinations. While by no means as popular as Washington, John Adams was admired the nation over for his statesmanship during the Second Continental Congress and his eloquence as the first American Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Federalists electors around the nation seemed to agree on Adams for president and Pinckney for vice-president, much to the chagrin of Hamilton. Hamilton would not be beaten so easily and he would plot to deny the presidency to Adams.

The Republicans did not have a Judas-like figure such as Hamilton to throw mockey wrenches into their system. They instead had a marble man in the form of the imperfect Thomas Jefferson. A deist who denied the existence of miracles and invented swivel chairs in his spare time, Jefferson was the renaissance man of his time. They did, however, have Aaron Burr. The wily New Yorker Burr had bested Phillip Schuyler, Hamilton’s wealthy father-in-law, in a New York Senate election and had tried for the vice-presidency in 1792. The brilliant but abominable Burr had built a powerful Republican political network in New York and was being credited with the Jeffersonian comeback in the Empire State. The son of a president of Princeton University, Aaron Burr expected the Republicans to give him their nod for vice-president. Jefferson was supported by most Republicans but Burr was not. The New Yorker gave even his own Republican Governor George Clinton a terrible feeling. It seemed to Clinton that Burr wanted power too much and commented that Burr should remember what ambition had done to Lucifer. One can only imagine that Burr would not have minded having a kingdom in Hell; at least he would have a kingdom.

The first real presidential contest in American history is deliciously venomous. It is worth reading about to simply list the number of sins that Jefferson and Adams are accused of by the unfair and highly biased news publications of the day. Federalists painted Jefferson as the “candidate of guillotines.” The former Secretary of State was attacked as being an atheist, Jacobin and parlor Robespierre. Publications spread rumors that Jefferson was planning to outlaw religion and that his presidency would be marked by children’s heads impaled upon pikes and piles of Bibles being burned in the streets. Jefferson was a riotous revolutionary who would instill an American Terror to achieve an agricultural anarchy in his time. The Republican presses and pamphlets gave as well as they took. Adams was a highly unlikable figure. Short tempered, vain and egotistical, Adams had a dislike of the common people that entered the realm of elitism and bordered on monarchism. The Republican press mocked Adams’s lack of faith in the people and his preference for high handed government. Adams was attacked as being an “avowed friend of monarchy” who was preparing to name his sons as his “seigneurs and lords of this free country.” Jefferson, on the other hand, was the opposite of a king for the Federalists. He was a rabble rouser who was the leader of “cut-throats who walk in rags and sleep amidst filth and vermin.” One should comment that the comments made about young Obama voters in 2008 and 2012 were polite when compared to that previous statement. The viler the campaign the more fun it is to watch and 1796 is one of the most vile.  

Foreign policy is another great boon to the campaign. In October 1796 the Republican Party was embarrassed by Pierre Adet, the French ambassador to the United States. Monsieur Adet publicly denounced the Federalist foreign policy and proudly declared that French-American relations would improve under a Jefferson Presidency. While Republican campaign partisans quickly denounced and sitanced themselves from Adet the damage was done. Federalists reminded people that Jefferson had dined with the controversial Citizen Edmond-Charles Genêt, the French ambassador to the United States, during the French Revolution. Citizen Genêt had publicly called for America to war with Britain on behalf of Revolutionary France, had used American ports to build privateers from captured British ships and had used his position to raise an American Army to battle British troops in France. Genêt had been removed from his position when the Terror government had fallen and was ordered to return to France to face trial and execution. Washington had granted Genêt asylum in New York City and he had faded into supposed obscurity. The Adet issue brought the forgotten citizen back into the forefront and Federalists reminded the nation that Jefferson had honored the controversial Genêt with dinners and toasts. Jefferson had never disavowed his support of Genêt and now the Adams Campaign made sure the nation knew it. They loudly screamed that Adet’s statement was “an outrageous attempt on the dignity of an independent nation” and indignantly claimed that it proved that Jefferson was the tool of a foreign power. The Republican campaign never really recovered from Adet’s not very adept comments.

The final great moment of the campaign came during the weeks of balloting that marked the first several elections in American history. States voted for presidential electors in many different ways. Some elected them by popular votes, others had the governor appoint them to the position while others gave the job of selecting presidential electors to the state legislatures. Aaron Burr worked hard in New York City to win the state of New York for the Republican legislature candidates. He was not successful in 1796 with the wind of Washington’s legacy in his face. Burr would be back in four years and he would not fail. The failure of Republicans to win the legislatures in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey doomed Jefferson and Burr in terms of the election. However, salvation came in a strange form for Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton did not want to see Adams as the second president of the United States. Hamilton knew that Adams, a smart and independent man, would never allow his government to be manipulated by him. Hamilton needed Pinckney to be his willing puppet at the president’s chair. The fact that electors were allowed to vote for two candidates allowed Hamilton to try his hand at manipulating the presidential field in 1796.      
69  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 28, 2014, 09:08:24 pm
#24: The Election of 1796

Taking the number twenty-four spot is America’s third presidential campaign and first partisan throw down. The Washington Presidency- the deceiving lull of partisan agreement- was drawing to a conclusion. As a weary George Washington prepared to hand over the yoke of public office to a worthy successor the nation prepared for a battle royale between two of the Founding generations’ most accomplished statesmen. The development of political parties charge this election as nothing had since Franklin’s lightning rod.

The 1796 campaign arguably began as soon as George Washington started his second term as president. The “spirit of party” overtook Washington’s brilliant cabinet. Thomas Jefferson, his brilliant Secretary of State, and Alexander Hamilton, his ambitious Secretary of the Treasury and close friend, saw America as two different nations. Hamilton, who had risen from poverty to become the chief advisor to the nation’s first president, viewed America as an expansive industrial empire of finance, factories and high finance. His shining city on a hill was a modern city of bankers, lenders and merchants. Jefferson, the son of agriculture, saw this city as the city of Dis. Jefferson dreamed of a nation separated into small wards, a government small enough to drown in a washtub and an economy based on farmers, small shopkeepers and simple pleasures. The struggle between the Hamiltonian central authority and the Jeffersonian agricultural system smothered Washington, whom fancied himself “above” the business of party.

This is as if Washington was a non-partisan. The American Fabius was hardly above the political games of the 1790s. Firmly in the Hamiltonian camp, President Washington added a great deal to the partisan rancor of the time. His presidency established a powerful national bank, opened up a pro-British foreign policy in the form of Jay’s Treaty and brutally enforced federal taxation, such as the unfair Whiskey Act introduced with the hope that Hamilton and his cronies could skim money off the top. While Washington played innocent when Thomas Jefferson angrily resigned his cabinet position, there is no denial that he had played on Hamilton’s side in terms of all major foreign and domestic policy questions. Hamilton was the son Washington never had.

One could easily argue that the greatest moment of the 1796 election came from Washington himself. In September 1796 Washington, who had wanted to retire four years earlier, officially released his much lauded Farewell Address. The first president warned against the political party system his policies had nourished, urged no foreign entanglements while his treaties seemed to always favor Britain against France and applauded his centralized economic system as the proper vision for the nation’s future. Like all farewell addresses President Washington’s was highly partisan and political, even though he claimed that it was not meant in that spirit. Washington’s valedictory attracted praise from Federalists and anger from Republicans. Hamilton praised the farewell as a “reservoir of wisdom” and circulated copies of the speech in every major Federalist publication. Republicans saw the speech as nothing less than an unabashedly partisan Hamiltonian screed. The Republican newspaper Aurora was not shy in sharing their open feelings about Washington’s final public address.  Editor William Duane panned the Farwell as, “fraught with incalculable evils to your country” and declared: “Would to God [Washington] would have retired to a private station four years ago…” Duane’s negative review was a mere love tap when compared to what Benjamin Franklin Bache, Dr. Franklin’s grandson, said about Washington. Lightning Rod, Junior, wrote bluntly: “If ever a nation has been debauched the American nation has been debauched by Washington.” When it came to telling it like it is the grandson was just like his celebrated grandfather.  The irascible pamphleteer Thomas Paine, recently imprisoned in Revolutionary France, added to the assault on Washington's reputation by calling him a treacherous man unworthy of his fame as a military and political hero. Paine described Washington as an incompetent commander and a vain and ungrateful person. In a scathing open letter to President Washington in 1796, he wrote: “the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any.”
70  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1832 Presidential Election on: August 27, 2014, 03:43:24 pm
Jackson was the far preferable choice in this race.
71  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Do teachers these days still use overhead projectors? on: August 27, 2014, 10:42:51 am
I use one weekly. I just refuse to assimilate to the computer culture. I am sure one day the forces that be will take it from me.
72  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Teddy Kennedy, 5 years gone on: August 27, 2014, 10:00:59 am
I heard that Teddy was pretty good at bridge.
73  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Past Election What-ifs (US) / Re: 1948: MacArthur (R) vs. Truman (D) on: August 24, 2014, 08:15:50 pm

MacArthur/Halleck (R): 297 EV
Truman/Barkley (D): 196 EV
Thurmond/Wright (Dixiecrat): 38 EV

MacArthur runs a far more aggresive campaign than Dewey did in real life. He attacks Truman relentlessly on the issue of Soviet expansion and Truman responds belligerently. This serves to alienate some more liberal Democrats and thus Wallace would have done a little bit better than he did in real life. Wallace may break 2 million votes, thus finishing ahead of Thurmond in terms of popular votes but still fail to break into the electoral college. Wallace's percentage in New York would increase from a considerable 8% to 10-15% of the total  vote of the state. This is what tips New York to MacArthur and with it the election.

A President MacArthur from 1949-1953 creates a great deal of alternative paths to follow. Truman, in our timeline, intervened in the Korean War and did not rule out nuclear strikes. This was primarily for effect. However, President MacArthur may not have simply thought about usage of tactical nuclear weapons in Korea or to save Nationalist China. This creates a Cold War scenario which could become quite hot and quite soon.
74  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Past Election What-ifs (US) / 1948: MacArthur (R) vs. Truman (D) on: August 24, 2014, 02:05:43 pm
In 1948 General Douglas MacArthur was seriously talked about as a top tier presidential candidate. He made a half-hearted bid for the Republican nomination which got nowhere. He apparently hoped he would be drafted at the convention and by that time Governor Dewey had already dispatched of Taft and Stassen in the primary season.

What would have happened if MacArthur had seriously entered thwe 1948 Republican Primaries and bsted Dewey in the New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Oregon Primaries? MacArthur is nominated on the 1st balllot and paired with conservative Congressman Charles Halleck of Indiana as his running-mate. The war hero of the Pacific Theater declares that he and Halleck will run a strongly anti-communist campaign and attack Truman for cost of living issues.

President Truman is nominated as in our timleline and is still paired with the ancient Senator  Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky as his running-mate.

It's Truman vs. MacArtur three years earlier! Who wins this heavyweight battle for the White House? I'll make a map soon.
75  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of right-to-work laws on: August 24, 2014, 01:42:13 pm
They are laws needed for prosperity to flourish.
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