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What accounts for their concern? Research on the American political system shows that the Congress now is more divided than ever, pulled apart by two starkly different conceptions of government. Many in the media and in Congress complain that the nation’s politics have become too ideological. Congressman Jeb Hensarling, for instance, the co-chair of the supercommittee set up to trim the budget deficit, has declared that “the committee did not succeed because we could not bridge the gap between two dramatically competing visions of the role government should play in a free society.”
The election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was an emotional and hard-fought campaign. Each side believed that victory by the other would ruin the nation.
Federalists attacked Jefferson as an un-Christian deist whose sympathy for the French Revolution would bring similar bloodshed and chaos to the United States. On the other side, the Democratic-Republicans denounced the strong centralization of federal power under Adams's presidency. Republicans' specifically objected to the expansion of the U.S. army and navy, the attack on individual rights in the Alien and Sedition Acts, and new taxes and deficit spending used to support broadened federal action.
Overall, the Federalists wanted strong federal authority to restrain the excesses of popular majorities, while the Democratic-Republicans wanted to reduce national authority so that the people could rule more directly through state governments.
Things got ugly fast. Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."
In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."
As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.
For those who detested Andrew Jackson, there was a goldmine of material, as Jackson was famed for his incendiary temper and had led a life filled with violence and controversy. He had taken part in several duels, killing a man in a notorious one in 1806. When commanding troops in 1815, he had ordered the execution of militia members accused of desertion. Even Jackson’s marriage became fodder for campaign attacks.
Those opposed to John Quincy Adams mocked him as an elitist. The refinement and intelligence of Adams were turned against him. And he was even derided as a “Yankee,” at a time when that connoted shopkeepers reputed to take advantage of consumers.
In the election of 1876, the Republicans nominated Rutherford B. Hayes, the governor of Ohio, while the Democrats, out of power since 1861, selected Samuel J. Tilden, the governor of New York. The initial returns pointed to a Tilden victory, as the Democrats captured the swing states of Connecticut, Indiana, New Jersey, and New York. By midnight on Election Day, Tilden had 184 of the 185 electoral votes needed to win. He led the popular vote by 250,000.
But Republicans refused to accept the result. They accused the Democrats of using physical intimidation and bribery to discourage African Americans from voting in the South.
Florida, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina each submitted two sets of electoral returns to Congress with different results. To resolve the dispute, Congress, in January 1877, established an electoral commission made up of five U.S. representatives, five senators, and five Supreme Court justices. The justices included two Democrats, two Republicans, and Justice David Davis, who was considered to be independent. But before the commission could render a decision, Democrats in the Illinois legislature, under pressure from a nephew of Samuel Tilden, elected Davis to the U.S. Senate, in hopes that this would encourage Davis to support the Democrat. Instead, Davis recused himself and was replaced by Justice Joseph Bradley.
Bradley was a Republican, but he was considered one of the court's least political members. In the end, however, he voted with the Republicans. A Democrat representative from New York, Abraham Hewitt, later claimed that Bradley was visited at home by a Republican Senator on the commission, who argued that "whatever the strict legal equities, it would be a national disaster if the government fell into Democratic hands."
Bradley's vote produced an eight-to-seven ruling, along straight party lines, to award all the disputed elector votes to Rutherford B. Hayes. This result produced such acrimony that many feared it would incite a second civil war.
originally posted by: crazyewok
a reply to: burdman30ott6
I think politics would be so much funner with duels.
originally posted by: Azureblue
The Falacy that American Politics are More Divided than Ever Before. This statment is true.
The claims about polarision, are there to mislead the stupid puplic who are silly enough to believe it. Politicians in the US like politicans elsewhere in the world could quite easily feel at home on both or either sides of the fence.
No doubt manny of them join the party they join because a) that party holds the seat where they live or b) because it has the best chance of winning and holding the seat.
The art of proaganda is get the massess to see the truth as a lie.
I have been a observer of Americian Politics for 30 years and I am still trying to work out the differences between them as, in my view, there are just so many issues where they are both on the same side of the fence. The prolem for me is try and work out which side of the fence that is, the left or the right.
The US strikes me as an extremely harsh place in which to live. There seems to be extremely harsh laws there. It seems one (of the masses) can be put away for ever for exremely little there.
originally posted by: Vector99
American politics are a joke to say the least. There is ONE party, but the people think there are 2. That way they get a choice of who will # them the next four years.
originally posted by: burdman30ott6
a reply to: neo96
I disagree. I think what makes them look identical is a chunk of paper called "The US Dollar." If money, or at least the combination of corporate lobbying and lower income vote buying, were removed from the equation, we'd truly have two differing parties (or more.)