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1790’s here we come!

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posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 03:27 AM
First I want to confront those who are criticize the whole left-right paradigm. This thread is not about the political parties per se but rather about the individuals and the bottom-up approach I foresee that will soon arises, quite possibly is arising, in our modern political world here in these United States. I am generally discussing the American citizens division and the supposed division growing within the parties, so please refrain from just yelling “The left-right paradigm is a sham” because well, I know it pretty much is in our political system.

Now I shall begin with a little context due to the title of this thread. When you think about the politics of the 1790’s you are mostly thinking about the new Republic, George Washington, the rise of Thomas Jefferson, and the Constitution. Well the 1790’s were a very turbulent time in American politics as many feared that the strain put on the nation from that decade could tear our young nation apart.

There were two ideologies that divided the nation at the time. In one camp sat those who supported the US Constitution, a strong central government, Britain over France, organic unity, economic nationalism, and preservation of the culture. In the other camp sat those who supported the Articles of Confederation, a weak central government, France over Britain, individualism, free trade, and at the time ‘radical secularism’.

This division came when 85 articles were written in the late 1780’s known as the ‘Federalist Papers’ which advocated for ratification of the Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation. Quickly the anti-federalists wrote articles which favored keeping the Articles of Confederation instead of ratifying the Constitution.

By the 1790’s George Washington began to side overwhelmingly with Alexander Hamilton, United States Secretary of the Treasury, over Thomas Jefferson, United States Secretary of State, on the issues. Jefferson soon began to oppose Washington and decided to resign as he felt with the conflicting ideas between the two Jefferson could not serve Washington appropriately.

When Jefferson left, President Washington was surrounded heavily by those who were labeled ‘establishment’. Thomas Jefferson became known as the leader of the opposition. Soon these two camps formed into political parties known as the Federalists, which Alexander Hamilton led, and the Democratic-Republicans, which Thomas Jefferson led.

Rhetoric grew very heated over what sort of nation the United States would be. Alexander Hamilton envisioned an industrial nation with a strong central government. Thomas Jefferson envisioned an agrarian nation with strong state governments. These two ideologies were obviously in strong opposition but throughout the 1790’s the Federalists prevailed.

In 1796 John Adams ran as a Federalist for President and Thomas Jefferson ran as a Democratic-Republican for President. In this election Jefferson was defeated by Adams but since he won the second highest amount of electoral votes under the system at that time he became the Vice President of the United States where he would use that power to try and limit and curb in whatever ways possible the policy initiatives of John Adams.

By the end of the 18th century and the election of 1800 Thomas Jefferson won the backing of Alexander Hamilton which gave him enough to support to launch him into the Presidency. Never again would the Federalist Party ever come back to power in the United States.

With the Federalist name so tarnished no political party would claim they descended from them. With a period of political opposition to the Democratic-Republicans nearly demolished several new parties arose to try and defeat them but it wasn’t until 1829 that someone who was not a Democratic-Republican would become President again.

So what does this have to do with today’s politics? Well I am beginning to see some striking similarities. It is beginning to traverse the whole established Conservative-Liberal that we have grown use to over the past 80 years, now we are beginning to see a new rise. With the Tea Party movement, hijacked or not, the people of that movement overthrew the ‘establishment’ candidates in Republican Party primaries in favor of the more libertarian candidates.

In the United States however libertarian is not necessarily someone who is opposed to the idea of government but rather someone who is opposed to the idea of Federalism. Many here on ATS are Philosophical Libertarians and while you might agree with the TPM the truth of the matter is that in the United States libertarianism is synonymous with states’ rights over federalism. Thus the argument is once again coming down to what is the chief role of the government; should we have a strong central government (establishment) or strong state governments and a weakened federal government (anti-establishment).

Now what makes this so important is because this issue is not merely party aligned but rather it is involved in both political parties. The ‘establishment’ Republicans were kicked out because they were Federalists while these Tea Partiers were elected because they were anti-Federalists.

This is the whole 1790’s debate arising once again in the 2010’s. While many could argue the whole issue of states’ rights versus federalism has been the defining division throughout our nation’s history, which is a legitimate argument, only one decade can really be used as the poster child for the raging debate.

The ideas of states’ rights are growing more popular among Independents and Republicans specifically but we must also analyze where this sentiment of states’ rights coming from. Once again just like in the 1790’s and every other period of American history the argument against federal government is coming from the geographic Southeastern United States.

What I foresee occurring within this decade is a possible entire restructuring of our political ideological system. While Washington might be nearly unresponsive they will ride any wave if it will get them elected. So do not be surprised to see a lot of party switching as the two parties must now leave behind the ideologies of strict social liberalism versus social conservatism, hell even Liberalism and Conservatism altogether, as they shed their old skin their new skin will be coming in.

Thomas Jefferson is the father of the Democratic Party as the Democratic-Republicans might have had many names ‘Republicans’, ‘Democrats’, or ‘Jeffersonians’ they are the original Democratic Party which was later founded under President Andrew Jackson. The Republicans arguably came from the Federalist Party which when collapsed became the National Republicans, Whigs, Anti-Masonic, and American Know-Nothing, almost all members of those parties became members of the Republican Party when it was finally founded.

That is why I do not believe the parties are about any one ideology but rather where their geographic dominance is from. Until the election of 2010 the South still had many Democratic officeholders because still so many Southerners couldn’t tolerate voting for a Republican but now the Democrats have them so disaffected any possibility of Southern Democratic return is virtually vanquished.

In the 1960’s to 80’s the Southern Democrats on the national level soon became Republicans and Northern Republicans on the national level soon became Democrats.

After analysis I have formed the conclusion that this decade will be politically polarized, we will see a restructuring of political parties ideologies, and the old arguments around cultural issues will soon turn into arguments of the role of the Federal Government as the central theme which will tell whether an American is a Democrat or a Republican.

I foresee the Republican Party becoming a party which incorporates social liberals such as Libertarians into an alliance of anti-federalists and the Democratic Party becoming a party which incorporates social moderates/conservatives such as Liberal Republicans into an alliance of pro-federalists.

By 2020 my expectation is that the Democratic Party will be synonymous with strict Federalism and the Republican Party will be synonymous with strict States’ Rights.

edit on 1/9/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 03:36 AM
more or less all i have seen is neoconservatism from both sides, and i think that is already what our 2-party system has become.

puppet on the left or puppet on the right.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 07:01 AM

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 09:37 AM
That was an extremely well written analysis / recap leading to present day. I applaud your efforts in writing / sharing.

While many posters on this forum have somehow gravitated beyond the entire "left vs right paradigm" as a ruse and portray many of us as mindless sheeple, I agree that we will continue to fall into two primary camps. Hopefully the fluidity of party changers will at least yield some common ground by those who in their past subscribed to opposing views.

If we cannot find better ways to work in unison with common goals for America I sadly think our experiment with democracy will fail. I hope and pray it doesn't take another 911 type of event to restore the short-lived solidarity we briefly experienced.

While no system of government is perfect, your thread serves as a reminder of the brilliance and foresight of our forefathers. I thank you for that. This is an important observation worthy of lengthy discussion.

edit on 9-1-2011 by kinda kurious because: typos and tidy up

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 09:57 AM
Very nice analysis. The divisiveness that we are currently seeing reminds me very much of what we saw in the early 1800's especially leading up to the Missouri compromise (Damn there is that word again). Unfortunately with technology today, people don't just write pamphlets and broadsides, they are able to spew electronically whatever rhetoric supports their position. Until the middle manages to gain voice and over ride the fringe, this country will continue to decline with the pendulum swinging from neo-con to neo-lib. We need to stand up and stop the wild swings, and allow it to stand and swing softly in the middle. The majority of people in this country do not live their lives on the far left or far right of anything.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 11:06 AM
Thank you to the two posters above me for your opinions on this issue. I must agree with BubbaJoe on the analogy that the pendulum should swing gently back and forthe between the center-right and the center-left instead of the polarized left and right that it currently swingly violently in between.

I am basically in the middle of the road here in the US politics. But I must ask a question, on the Federalist versus Anti-Federalist debate, who's side are you on?

edit on 1/9/2011 by Misoir because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 12:57 PM
reply to post by Misoir

I probably fall on the side of the federalists. Especially in certain area, I believe we need a strong federal presence. In other areas I believe things could be much better handled at a state or local level. We do not live in a local or regional economy as we did even a few short years ago. These days, everything must be thought about on a national or even international level.

Having lived and raised children in several states has led me have very strong opinions on education, and I think national standards and control are needed in this area. I will point to the recent Texas text book discussions for my rationale.

I think welfare/charity could be much better handled at the state or local level, people in Montana have some different fundamental needs, and resources, than those in Louisiana or Florida.

I could go on and on about various issues, but being in the middle of the road, I do not, overall, see federal control as good or bad, it depends on each issue. Each issue needs to be considered on a national basis, and then control placed where it is better utilized. I hate to see the polarization of the population, as I feel this will lead us no where good.

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