In 1946 a corrupt government was overthrown in Athens,TN by a fed up citizenry. Corruption in the election process had made it impossible for the
citizens votes to be counted. The corruption was finally met by brute force and rule of law was established once again. The entire nation took notice
and citizens across the nation demanded an end to the corruption existing in their towns as well. The Battle of Athens still stands as notice to
corrupt politicians that Americans have a breaking point that they dare not cross. The people will eventually say enough is enough and take action if
the voting process is corrupted and thugery runs rampant.
"The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation ... forms a barrier against the enterprises
of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of." -- James Madison (1788)
McMinn A Warning — By Eleanor Roosevelt
New York, Monday — After any war, the use of force throughout the world is almost taken for granted. Men involved in the war have been trained to
use force, and they have discovered that, when you want something, you can take it. The return to peacetime methods governed by law and persuasion is
We in the U.S.A., who have long boasted that, in our political life, freedom in the use of the secret ballot made it possible for us to register the
will of the people without the use of force, have had a rude awakening as we read of conditions in McMinn County, Tennessee, which brought about the
use of force in the recent primary. If a political machine does not allow the people free expression, then freedom-loving people lose their faith in
the machinery under which their government functions.
In this particular case, a group of young veterans organized to oust the local machine and elect their own slate in the primary. We may deplore the
use of force but we must also recognize the lesson which this incident points for us all. When the majority of the people know what they want, they
will obtain it.
Any local, state or national government, or any political machine, in order to live, must give the people assurance that they can express their will
freely and that their votes will be counted. The most powerful machine cannot exist without the support of the people. Political bosses and political
machinery can be good, but the minute they cease to express the will of the people, their days are numbered.
This is a lesson which wise political leaders learn young, and you can be pretty sure that, when a boss stays in power, he gives the majority of the
people what they think they want. If he is bad and indulges in practices which are dishonest, or if he acts for his own interests alone, the people
are unwilling to condone these practices.
When the people decide that conditions in their town, county, state or country must change, they will change them. If the leadership has been wise,
they will be able to do it peacefully through a secret ballot which is honestly counted, but if the leader has become inflated and too sure of his own
importance, he may bring about the kind of action which was taken in Tennessee.
If we want to continue to be a mature people who, at home and abroad, settle our difficulties peacefully and not through the use of force, then we
will take to heart this lesson and we will jealously guard our rights. What goes on before an election, the threats or persuasion by political
leaders, may be bad but it cannot prevent the people from really registering their will if they wish to.
The decisive action which has just occurred in our midst is a warning, and one which we cannot afford to overlook.