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The Death of a Political Party

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mike Kuykendall       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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I have posted a few times on how I believe the Republican party is in dire trouble, and without modifying their base of support, it is possible they could reduce themselves to a minority party for decades to come.  That is if they don't disintegrate completely.

As you can expect every post in that vein has drawn freepers out like cockroaches when the lights go out.  It infuriates them for me to even hint that the GOP is fallible, much less mortal and thus able to die.

As a history lesson to those who may not have been awake during American Government (for me it was Social Studies) I'd like to present a couple of American political parties that have gone down the same road.  Take a look and see if you can catch any similarities between the demise of these parties and current goings-on;

Federalist Party- Formed by Alexander Hamilton and pals, this party started in 1793 and met its end anywhere from 1816 to somewhere in the 1820's, depending on which historian you talk to.    In a sense this party died when Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel;
After John Adams, their candidate, was elected president in 1796, the Federalists began to decline. The Federalists' suppression of free speech under the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the assumption of closer relations with Britain instead of France, inflamed Jeffersonian Republicans. In 1801 Jefferson, with Vice President Aaron Burr at his side, assumed the presidency.

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The Federalists feared and hated Jefferson, but partly due to infighting, they were never able to organize successful opposition. A last great hope -- that the New England states would secede and form a Federalist nation -- collapsed when Jefferson won a landslide reelection in 1804, thanks to the Louisiana Purchase. Alexander Hamilton was left with little power -- and with no choice but to meet Aaron Burr on the dueling ground in hope of reviving his political career. But Hamilton was doomed, and so was his party. The Federalists would never again rise to power.
Whig Party- Formed to oppose the policies of President Andrew Jackson in 1832, this party lasted until 1856;
In its 26-year existence, the Whig Party saw two of its candidates elected President of the United States—Harrison and Taylor—and saw Harrison die in office. Four months after succeeding Harrison, Whig President John Tyler was expelled from the Party, and Millard Fillmore was the last Whig to hold the nation's highest office.

The party was ultimately destroyed by the question of whether to allow the expansion of slavery to the territories. Deep fissures in the party on this question led the party to run Winfield Scott over its own incumbent President Fillmore in the U.S. presidential election of 1852. The Whig Party never elected another President. Its leaders quit politics (as Lincoln did temporarily) or changed parties. The voter base defected to the Republican Party, various coalition parties in some states, and to the Democratic Party.

The main similarities here are elitist parties suffering after huge nationalized failures (pushing secession to avoid Jefferson or trying to expand slavery.)  Not too different than driving the country over a cliff following ephemeral and constantly shifting policies justifying the war in Iraq, or any of the other issues the Bush administration has been pushing.

One thing to remember after today's history lesson; even political parties don't last forever.  Well, strike that- maybe some do (emphasis mine);
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, the other being the Republican Party. It is the oldest active political party in the world today.
The party of Jefferson, formed in 1792, carries on today fighting for the rights  of everyday people.  Any other interest is transitory; only progressive movements will stand the test of time.


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Mike Kuykendall is a progressive, patriotic veteran of the U.S. Air Force, fighting hard to save our democracy.

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