Friday, August 26, 2016

America is a republic, not a democracy

The founding fathers of the United States, the people who created and signed our founding documents -- the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence -- did not like democracies because they believed they lead to chaos. They didn't want the new nation to become chaotic over time, so they created a republic and not a democracy. 

The founding fathers did their homework, and knew democracies did not work.  W. Cleon Skousen, discussed this in his book "The 5000 Year Leap: Principles of Freedom 101," discussed this fact. He said: 
"There are many reasons why the Founders wanted a republican form of government rather than a democracy. Theoretically, a democracy requires the full participation of the masses of the people in the legislature or decision making processes of government. This has never worked because the people become so occupied with their daily tasks that they will not properly study the issues, nor will they take the time to participate in extensive hearings before the vote is taken. The Greeks tried to use democratic mass-participation in the government of the city-states, and each time it ended in tyranny."
He said that while a democracy becomes "increasingly unwieldy and inefficient as the population grows," a republic "governs through elected representatives and can be expanded indefinitely."

So, a democracy demands the participation of all the people. A republic, according to founding father James Madison, "derives its power directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior."

Madison continued:  It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans and claim for their government the honorable title of republic."

Around the turn of the 19th century, progressives took the term republic hostage and started referring to their programs as democratic. They did this in order to make their agenda appear to be driven by the masses, as opposed to being created by a few people in an office. They did this to make their agenda appear more appealing to Americans. They did this to make their Marxist agenda appear democratic and American.

This was necessary, because Marxism, or fascism, or whatever you want to call it, had spread at the turn of the 19th century and had gained steam in Europe and the United States. It grew fast in many European nations, although was slow to grow in the U.S. due to the Constitution.The horrors of socialism were well known by Americans, and they did not want that here.

This was known by the progressives of the era, so they had to come up with a major public relations campaign to make their agenda appear less Marxist and more democratic. So, you see, they decided that what better strategy than simply to abscond the term democracy. Their writers were writing the history books and textbooks kids were reading in schools. So they simply decided to replace republic with democracy. 

A perfect example of this occurred in 1921 when Marxism fell out of favor in the U.S. due to what was happening in Europe. So anyone who wanted to implement progressive programs had to find a friendly way of referring to it. So this is exactly what happened.  Socialists in the U.S. started referring themselves as "The League for Industrial Democracy."  You see, this had a much more appealing taste than if they were true to their agenda and simply said "The League for Industrial Socialism." 

The long term consequence is that teachers and journalists started referring to the United States as a democracy. Younger generations of Americans grew up hearing democracy instead of republic. 

During WWI, Woodrow Wilson, a progressive, added to the confusion when he hailed, "Make the world safe for Democracy." 

I frequently hear people of various political affiliations referring to the U.S. as a democracy. I even did this once, and was corrected by a democrat. Recently I heard a democrat refer to the U.S. as a democracy, and I had to correct her. 

I think the only way to fix this problem is for teachers and journalists to start teaching about the founding intentions, and why the Constitution was written as it was. It was created in such a way so that, even after the founding fathers passed away, the country would continue to run strong. They believed a democracy would lead to chaos, and so they established a republic. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The political spectrum should be a circle, not a line

Figure 1
People have traditionally looked at ideology on a straight line. It goes something like this (see figure 1).

In the center of the ideological line you have centrist or moderates. You have moderate democrats or moderate republicans. You have the modern media.

To the right of that are establishment republicans, conservatives, libertarians, monarchists, Theocracy, and then fascists. People on the right are considered right wing. Fascists, Nazism, and  Hitler are considered far right. To the left you have establishment democrats, liberals, socialists, and communists. People on the left are considered left wing, with socialists being far left.

Yet this is the wrong way of looking at it, because it makes it look like radical, dictator thugs like Hitler are right wingers. So many times you hear liberals refer to Hitler as a right winger. You hear them talking about guys like Saddam Hussein as a right winger. Many Jewish people say they don't like conservatism because Hitler was a radical right winger, and conservatism is right wing.

If you make diagram the political spectrum as a circle it solves this problem (see figure 2). At some point on these circles everybody meets. At the top of the circle the fringes of both right and left meet, and this is where you Socialists like Stalin and Fascists like Hitler. Mussolini also fits in this area, and so too might Hussein. This is where you have the cook fringe people, the totalitarian dictators who abdicate liberties for the good of the state.

Nazism is an extreme left wing ideology. It is national socialism. His desire was for national healthcare, He wanted to expand government to bring everyone under his control. He was a socialist. He was a radical leftist. This is how he mesmerized people, and got them to support his radical agenda. He told everybody that he was going to solve all their problems. He said he would give them everything for free.

Yet then when they voted for him, the in essence gave up their liberties in exchange. No longer could they make decisions on their own. He, in essence, controlled the people. He then decided to cross over to the other extreme, and took it upon himself to kill Jews. This was fascism, and this was far right. It was Hitler deciding who was fit to live and who wasn't. But it's not really far right, it's a form of government right next to national socialism.

Most people ignore the fact that Hitler's ideology was far left and focus on the fact that he killed Jews, and therefore was far right. But if you diagram the ideological spectrum as a circle, they are one and the same, at the top of the circle. So Hitler cannot be labeled as conservative. He was not far right. He was lunatic.

So many times we listened as liberals called George Bush Hitler-like. This is because they were ignoring the fact he was a far left wing national socialist and were focusing on the fact he was a far right wing fascist. But if you diagram the political spectrum as a circle, you can see that George Bush was not anything close to what Hitler was. Actually, you could probably make the argument that Obama is closer to Hitler than Bush or conservatives.

Ahmadinejad was often described as a conservative, but that's because those doing the describing were looking at a straight line. Once you draw the circle and put it in real perspective, Ahmadinejad is on the lunatic fringe of both sides.

Monday, August 22, 2016

What is Communism?

Americans have traditionally viewed Communism as the antithesis of upward expansion and liberty. Liberals, on the other hand, believe the basic tenets of Communism will work if the right people are put in charge of it with a sufficient amount of money. So what is the reality of Communism?
Let's start with a quote from Chris Cuomo.  His is the son of the former liberal governor of New York, Mario Cuomo.  He traveled with Obama to Cuba as Obama became the first sitting U.S. President to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge did it in January of 1928.

Alisyn Cameroto asked Chris: "Hey, Chris, we can't help but notice your culturally appropriate garb that you're wearing. Tell us the history of your shirt."

Mario said: 
"My guayabera? This shirt belonged to my father. It was given to him by Fidel Castro. It marked conversations going on decades ago that were the same as those today. The concern was the freedom of the people. What is the point of this communist regime if it is not to truly make everyone equal, not at the lowest level, not by demoralizing everyone, but lifting everyone up. My father, generations of politicians have been fighting this. So I wear this shirt as a reminder of that."
Obama coddling Raul Castro, a totalitarian, dictator thug.
Castro called for an end to the Embargo,
and Obama asked Congress to end it.
Castro blames poverty in Cuba on the Embargo,
not on the failures of Communism.
We are the only country that doesn't trade with Cuba,
still, our embargo is blamed for their failures.
And liberals believe this stuff. 
So, what does this mean? It means that Cuomo has a positive view of Communism. What he said is probably representative of the liberal view of Communism. It makes sense, as liberals often speak glowingly of the Soviet Union system, and opposed Ronald Reagan in his efforts to stop it. They often speak glowingly of Castro, despite the Cuban embargo signed by Democrat John F. Kennedy on Feb. 3, 1962.

Obama even called on Congress to end the Embargo. claiming that normalization "is a long journey." The embargo was intended to be in effect until Cuba reduced its alignment with Communist powers. Obama began the journey to normalize relations a year ago, and he promised not to visit Cuba until freedom and liberty had been was improved on the island. Yet none of these stipulations have been met by Cuba, nor are there any signs that they will be met.

So it appears that liberals must indeed believe that Communism can elevate people up out of poverty, and that Communism is about freedom and liberty. Obama must already believe this about Cuba, otherwise he wouldn't have gone gone to Cuba.

They hold out hope that if only the right people were in charge of it with a sufficient amount of money that it would work.

To understand this you have to understand where liberalism and Communism come from. I described it in my post "What is Fascism?"  Here is a snippet of what I wrote:
"Fascism, commonly known as Marxism, is a form of government whereby the state is worshiped as a religion, and experts in the state make rules that attempt to prevent many of the flaws of men. The police-state then enforces these laws, and the end result is an ideal world or euphoric world where everyone has a job with equal pay, and everyone has health care, and there is world peace. Fascism is a movement that began around the turn of the 20th century, and it grew roots in nearly every western nations. What form it took depended on what country it was formed in."
Early forms of it entailed progressivism in the United States, Communism in the Russian Soviet Union, Socialism in Italy, and Nazism in Germany. Modern versions of it are European Socialism and Liberalism. Modern liberals even refer to themselves as progressives, or as Democratic Socialists.

It makes sense that modern liberals would deny any link to Carl Marx, as Hitler's version of it, and Stalin's version of it, and Mussolini's version of it soured the image of Marxism. It therefore has traditionally been viewed as anti-American, anti-Capitalism, anti-Freedom, and anti-Liberty. It was viewed as a form of government the traps people in poverty and only allows upward expansion for those running the government.

It was viewed as a form of government that forced people to conform to policies established by government. Those who spoke out against it were prosecuted, imprisoned, or even executed. It was a form of government that caused many to want to escape, and to prevent this walls were built, such as the Berlin wall in Germany.

Because they are all of the same ilk, liberals held out hope that Communism was the best hope for sameness, equality, and equality of outcomes. They believed that because Communism was initiated in nations that were not burdened by the U.S. Constitution, and therefore they hoped to see it prosper; held out hope that it would.

They tell kids in schools that it's about individual freedom, economic prosperity. They tell them that everyone will enjoy it, because everyone is doing their best. They sell it as everyone is being the same, with the same opportunities and the same outcomes. They sell it as nobody losing, no competition, and total freedom.  They tell kids that they can do whatever they want and the state will make sure that everybody ends up with a lot.

They tell kids that Communism is how you get to utopia. Utopia is where everybody is happy. It's Heaven on Earth. It's where everybody gets what they want. It's where there is no crime because everybody is happy. It's where there is no terrorism and no wars because everybody is happy.

What kid wouldn't want that?

So the best way to get kids to see Communism for what it truly is is to teach the truth about it. Show them that, once people learn what Communism is, they have to build walls to keep people in. Many people have defected Cuba to the United States, and the reason is because they hate it. People are put in jails and executed for opposing it. So they are forced to conform.

And forcing people to conform means forcing them to abdicate their freedoms and liberties. It means forcing them to give up their Bibles and their rifles. It means forcing them into public schools that are completely run, and completely controlled, by the elite. You cannot be free if you are forced to be the same as everyone else. And you will not be happy. And you will not be rich. And you will definitely not be elevated.

They say their ideas will lift people, elevate them out of poverty. But there is nothing in socialism, nothing in liberalism, nothing in Communism, nothing in ISIS, nothing in dictatorships, nothing in monarchies, that will elevate people. You cannot be elevated if everyone is the same. In order to be elevated, you need people to be unique, which they are. When people are allowed to be unique, that's where you get ideas from that help to elevate people. You don't get that from sameness.

This system on its face fails because it assumes everyone is the same and can be the same and can be treated the same. It assumes every outcome can be equal. It assumes the every person in a country can be upper middle class.

It fails because everyone is not the same. Every person has different opinions, values, morals. Every person thinks differently. Every person is unique. And for this reason, the utopia that some people believe can be created via socialism can never, has never, will never, work. It's designed to make everyone poor. It's designed to make everyone the same. It's designed to make everyone miserable. It's designed to provide a system whereby the leaders are the only ones who have what they want.

If that's what you consider utopia, then that's what you'll get if you support Communism. The only Utopia can be found in Heaven. Anyone who reads the Bible knows that.

People have to be taught the Communism will not result in upward mobility because it is impossible in the Communist system. The only people who have any chance of bettering their lot in lives are those running government and their friends and family members. This is no better than what 99.9% of governments offered prior to the United States. Most governments prior to the U.S. were totalitarian dictatorship governments where only the ruling class lived well That's exactly the type of system Marxism wants to revert back to.

Communism has never worked.  The U.S.S.R. lasted from 1922 to 1992. That was 70 years. And yet it collapsed because, since everyone made the same amount of money no matter what they did, no one had an incentive to work. There was plenty of food, but no one was willing to pick it, put it in trucks, and ship it to stores. So there were people starving. Because the nation was so economically deprived, it could not keep up with the United States. The U.S.S.R collapsed. Down fell the Berlin Wall.

Communism has been given 50 years to work in Cuba. It has been an abject failure. Communism, Socialism, liberalism, progressivism, whatever you want to call it, never works. Every time it's been tried, every place it's been tried, whatever form it takes, it fails. In fact, if Communism in Cuba works so well, then why are people constantly trying to flee it, often risking their lives for a small chance at liberty? Why are people constantly defecting Cuba for America? Why would anyone want to abandon such a paradise?

Communism, socialism, fascism, progressivism, is based on good intentions, and it keeps getting a free pass even though it never succeeds. Look in the United States where it's been tried. Look at the war on poverty. There are just as many people in poverty today as when it started. Yet it's hailed as a success. Then look at Capitalism. If it's not perfect, if one person falls through the cracks, it's hailed as a failure.

So now you understand why so many people continue to worship Communism. Now you understand why Obama went to Cuba to lend credence to a Communist, totalitarian dictator thug who imprisons and kills people who disagree with his form of governance. That's the modern day Democratic Party.

Further reading

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chester A. Arthur: A laid back reformer

Chester A. Arthur was Vice President under James A. Garfield.  When Garfield died as the result of an assassins bullet less than 200 days into his term, Arthur became President.

He was born the son on October 5, 1829, in Fairfield, Vermont, to a Baptist minister who had emigrated from Northern Ireland. In 1848 he graduated from Union College. He taught school, practiced law, was admitted to the bar, and became a New York lawyer. He served as Quartermaster for the State of New York during the Civil War.

He was a very laid back person who cared a lot about what he looked like, and took particular detail to make sure he was dressed sharp. He loved wine, and ate well.  He enjoyed drinking wine at the finest restaurants and at the finest clubs in New York.  He enjoyed fishing, and often did so with his good friend, New York Senator Roscoe Conkling.

A major issue within the republican party at this time, and a serious source of contention, was a battle over civil service reforms. Half Breeds tended to be more conservative and wanted to keep the spoils system. Stalwarts, on the other hand, tended to be more progressive and wanted to end the spoils system in favor of a merit system.

A spoils system is one where elected officials nominate or appoint their friends and family members who helped them get elected to public offices. A merit system is one where elected officials nominate or appoint only the most qualified people to public offices.

Both Arthur and Conkling were Stalwarts. Arthur's  political career began as a result of the Spoils system. Essentially, after Ulysses S. Grant became President in 1870, Arthur was appointed to the post of Collector of the Port of New York at the Customs House as a political favor for helping Grant get elected. He worked as marshal over the thousands of Custom's House employees, and he worked for his good friend Conking.

President Hayes, in an attempt to reform the Custom's House, released Arthur from his duties. To remedy the situation, Conkling tried to get former President Grant nominated during the election of 1880. His efforts failed. After a long conference, on the  ballot, James A. Garfield, a Half Breed, was nominated as president, mainly because he was viewed as a moderate. To keep the stalwarts happy, Arthur was nominated as Vice President.

As Vice President, Arthur remained loyal to Conkling, even while Garfield and Conkling battled each other over Garfield's nominations for public offices. When Garfield nominated a Half Breed to lead the Custom's House, Conkling became irate. He worked hard to position the Senate to block Garfield's nominations. Conkling would end up resigning from the Senate, and Garfield's nominations were confirmed.

Less than 200 days after Garfield was elected president, he was shot twice by a disgruntled Charles Guiteau, who believed Garfield owed him a patronage position for helping him get elected. After Garfield collapsed, Guiteau shouted, "I am a stalwart, and Arthur is now president." Guiteau was captured, found guilty, and hanged.

This sort of changed the political spectrum within the republican party, and civil service reform was made a leading issue. Dorman Bridgeman Eaton wrote a bill that required politicians to fill federal government jobs based on merit and not political affiliation. It required new government workers to start at the bottom and only to move up based on merit exams. George H. Pendleton of Ohio was the bill's main sponsors in the Senate, and for whom the bill was named. 

Partly due to the assassination of Garfield, partly due to republican defeats during the midterm elections of 1882, and partly because he didn't want to be viewed as being controlled, Arthur signed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act in 1883. 

It is true that Arthur was viewed as a laid back president. He strolled into office at 10 a.m., signed papers, and was done by 4 p.m.  He would then go for a walk, take a nap, and have a peaceful meal with his family and friends. Yet he was very effective during the few hours he did work. 

Some believe that the administrative experience he obtained while working for the Custom's House gave. He was very skillful at his administrative duties. However, it should be noted that the number federal employees in 1880 paled in comparison with 2016. For instance, the Secretary of State was served by only three assistants. 

Likewise, while Garfield was nominated partly on a ticket that was for higher tariffs, Arthur saw a need for a reduction in tariffs. Part of the reason was because it was difficult to administer tariffs, and another part was because the Treasury had an embarrassingly high tariff while money was in short supply. So, he would end up signing the Tariff Act of 1833. This is an action that conservatives can be proud of. 

He then adamantly opposed the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1882. This was a "pork barrel" bill whereby government surplus would be spent on river surveys made to clean out and deepen selected waterways and to make various other river and harbor improvements. He believed that any Federal spending should be spent on projects that benefited all Americans, and that this bill would mostly benefit Southern states. 

He vetoed the bill, but Congress overruled his veto. He then argued that any Federal surplus in funds should be given back to the people via tax cuts rather than pork barrel spending projects. For this he can be heralded as a good conservative. 

By 1872, Americans were growing increasingly fearful about the economic effects of Chinese laborers legally entering the United States from China. Of course, worsening this fear was growing concerns that these laborers would not be willing to assimilate into American culture.  This resulted in Congress passing the Page Act of 1875, which limited which Chinese laborers could enter the Union.

This bill actually made sense, because it banned any Chinese person convicted of a felony, any Chinese woman who would engage in prostitution, and any laborer who would participate in forced labor from entering the Union.  The bill was named after it's main sponsor, republican representative Horace F. Page, who said the bill would "end the danger of cheap Chinese labor and immoral Chinese women."

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 took these restrictions to another dimension, banning all Chinese laborers from legally entering the Union for 20 years. The bill passed Congress by huge margins, but Arthur went against the grain and opposed this bill claiming that the 20 year ban was unreasonable, and that the Chinese contributed a great deal to the American economy.  However, he would end up signing the bill after the ban was reduced to 10 years. 

This is considered by many to be the first Federal Immigration Law that excluded certain people from legally entering the United States. 

The Immigration Act of 1882 dealt with laborers coming to America from Europe, often referred to as the "Great Wave."  As life in Europe was changing, many Europeans looked to find better opportunities by immigrating to America. Some of these laborers were desirable, so it was decided that a ban on all European immigration was not a good idea. The Act would end up banning paupers, criminals, and lunatics from entering the United States. 

Garfields Secretary of Navy, William H. Hunt, advocated for the Navy to be updated. Since the Civil War the fleet of ships had been depleted from nearly 700 vessels to only 52, and most of these were obsolete. One of the main reasons for this decline is that most of the wars fought after the Civil War were wars Indian wars in the West, so a huge Navy was not needed. 

Hunt's successor, William E. Chandler, organized an advisory board to prepare a report on modernization. Based on the report, Congress appropriated funds build modern ships. Democrats were opposed to the project, and when they won Control of Congress during the 1882 midterm elections, stopped the funding of more ships. Still, Arthur is often credited with improving the Navy. 

He also pushed for the International Meridian Conference, which established the Greenrich Meridian as an international standard for zero degrees longitude.  Another thing he did was sign into law in 1882 the Edmunds Act, which was an anti-Mormon bill that made polygamy illegal. Polygamy remains illegal to this day.

Arthur promised not to run for re-election, and he stood firm to this promise. However, he stood in the running until the republican convention of 1884 when he was not nominated. He died in 1886 of a fatal kidney disease that he probably knew about and kept secret while he was president. 

Further reading:
  • Miller Center: Chester A. Arthur: Domestic Affairs, http://millercenter.org/president/biography/arthur-domestic-affairs, accessed 3/20/16
  • whitehouse.gov, Chester A. Arthur, https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/chesterarthur, accessed 3/20/16
  • history.com, Chester A. Arthur, http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/chester-a-arthur#, accessed 3/20/16
  • Wikepedia, Chester A. Arthur, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chester_A._Arthur, accessed 3/20/16

Monday, August 15, 2016

James A. Garfield: A moderate among Stalwarts and Half Breeds

James A. Garfield
James A. Garfield was the 20th president of the United States. He was president for fewer than 200 days, so he had little chance to accomplish much. In fact, he's probably more famous for the way he died than anything else.

He was born in a log cabin in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1831. He would become the last of the log cabin presidents. His father died by the time he was two, so he was raised on a farm by his widowed mother.

He was an avid reader of adventure novels, and wanted to become a sailor. Later, he settled for driving canal boat teams to make enough money for his education. 

He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1856. He was then hired as a classics professor at Western Reserve Electric Institute (later Hiram College) as a classics professor, and became its president in 1857. 

He also became an ordained Christian Minister. He also studied law. In 1858 he married Lucretia Rudolph, a classmate of his at the Electric Institute. The couple would go on to have seven children.

He then entered the political spectrum.  Here are his accomplishments running up to his short term as President. 
  1. 1859: He was elected to the Ohio Senate as a Republican. His championed for seceding states to be forced to re-enter the Union. 
  2. 1860.  After years of studying law, he was admitted to Ohio's Bar Association.
  3. 1861. He joined the Union Army after the start of the war and became lieutenant colonel with the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He had no military experience but proved to be an effective leader. 
  4. 1862:  He was responsible for one of the first Union victories by leading by leading a brigade at Middle Creek, Kentucky, against the Confederates. At 31, he became a brigadier General. Later that year he was elected to the Ohio Congress. President Lincoln persuaded him to resign his military post to become a member of Congress, noting that it was easier to find a successful General than a successful Republican Congressman. 
  5. 1863: He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a post he held for 18 years, ultimately becoming its leading Republican member. He was a moderate republican, walking in the middle between Stalwarts, traditional conservative (libertarian) republicans, and Half Breeds, who were moving toward progressivism (liberalism, socialism).  Stalwarts were in favor of the Spoils System, where elected officials gave jobs to those who helped them obtain victory. The Half Breeds preferred the merit system, where elected officials gave jobs to the most qualified. 
  6. 1880: He was elected by the Ohio Congress to one of Ohio's two Senate Seats.  At the Republican Convention he tried to get his friend and fellow Republican John Sherman nominated, although his efforts failed. Former President Grant came out of retirement to seek the nomination. Although in the end, on the 36th ballot, Garfield was nominated. So, rather than becoming a Senator from Ohio, he ended up running against Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock, who was nominated at the Democratic Convention. One of the main reasons the nomination was so contested was due to the split between Stalwarts and Half Breeds among the republican party. Garfield was a Half Breed, although he was viewed as a moderate, and this was how he ended up as the nominee. To satisfy the Stalwarts, Chester A. Arthur was chosen as the Vice President. 
  7. 1880.  A major issue during the election of 1880 was whether or not to raise tariffs on other countries. Republicans supported this, claiming it would help U.S. industries compete with their foreign competitors. Garfield won by a margin of only 2,000 popular cotes. He won 214 electoral votes to Scott's 155. 
Winfield Scott Hancock
Democrats contested that Arthur should be the Vice President based on a rumor that he was born in Canada. In this way, Arthur was the first Birther Candidate. Regardless of of the claims, Garfield won with Arthur as his Vice President. 

He was sworn in as President on March 4 of 1881. He spent most of his time putting together a cabinet and making appointments. Because the election was so close, he was forced to appease both Stalwarts and Half Breeds within his own party. To appease the Half Breeds who help him get the nomination, he selected James G. Blaine as his Secretary of State. Blaine would go on to win the republican nomination during the 1884 Republican National.

Roscoe Conkling was a Senator from New York. He was stalwart and was very good friends with Arthur, and they often went on fishing trips together. Conkling became upset when most of Garfield's nominations were Half Breeds. Making matters worse was that Garfield had nominated Conkling's arch enemy, William H. Robertson, to run the Custom's House. Conlking did everything in his power to stop the nominations, and this resulted in his resignation from the Senate.

Garfield stood firm, and after Conkling's resignation was able to get every one of his nominations confirmed by Congress.  This would go down as a major accomplishment for Garfield, affirming the power of the President over the Senate. 

His other major accomplishment was reforming the post office. His next objective was agenda for civil service reform, where he sough civil rights for African Americans. He wanted to get the Pendleton Civil Service Act through Congress, which would end the spoils system. It would assure appointments for government jobs would be done based on merit rather than political affiliation. In foreign affairs, he had Blaine organize a Pan American conference with Latin American States.

But none of these would come to fruition, at least while he was in office. On July 2, 1881, the president was on his way to a reunion at Williams College when Charles Guiteau fired two shots at him.  After Garfield fell to the ground,  Guiteau said,  “I am a Stalwart and Arthur is president now!”  Guiteau was later charged and convicted of murder and hanged. 

Garfield lay mortally wounded in the White House for nearly three months. Inventor Alexander Graham Bell even tried to find the bullet with a newly invented metal detector, but he failed. Doctors did try to remove the bullet, and so it is believed he either died of infections caused by their attempts, or by internal bleeding. 

Due to the fact he wasn't given much of a chance for major accomplishments, James A. Garfield generally goes down in history as just an average president. It would't be fair to rank him as a poor president, and it wouldn't be prudent to rank him with the best. So, in effect, he is just average. It's too bad, because he was lining up to be a good one. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Chester A. Arthur: The First Birther President

Many people believe that the birther movement began with claims that President Obama was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. The truth to the matter is that the birther movement was born in August of 1880 when Chester A. Arthur was a candidate for Vice President.

Arthur claimed he was born in Fairfield, Vermont, on October 5, 1830. However, some claim that he was actually born on October 5, 1829. Biographer Thomas C. Reeves said he changed the date of his birth out of simple vanity. Although a New York Lawyer by the name of Arthur P. Hinnman suggested that he also changed the location of his birth.

In an article in the Booklyn Daily Eagle, Hinnman suggested that Arthur was born in Belfast or Aberdeen before his parents emigrated to America. Arthur made no attempt to dismiss the theory, and so it lives on to this day. Other democrats claimed he was born in Canada.

Since then, John McCain, Barack Obama, George Romney, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were all accused of being born outside the United States. The birther movement remains an issue because what qualifies a person to be a U.S. citizen is not clearly defined by the Constitution. The term "Natural Born Citizen" is not defined in the Constitution. It is also not defined by those who framed the Constitution.

Why it is not defined may go back to British common stature law, which also does not define it. This left the issue up to debate. In the U.S., the issue is still being debated. So, while some may think it's a modern issue, the birther movement has actually been an issue for well over 100 years.

Further Reading

  1. Krayewski, Ed, "Chester Arthur and the Original Birther Conspiracy," May 19, 2012, reason.com, http://reason.com/blog/2012/05/19/chester-arthur-and-the-original-birther, accessed March 17, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

Rutherford B. Hayes: The end of reconstruction

Rutherford B. Hayes, a republican, was the 19th President of the United States.  He became president in one of the most contested elections in American history, and oversaw the nation through the end of the reconstruction period following the Civil War.

In 1842 he graduated valedictorian of his class at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.  He then studied at a Columbus law office for a year before entering Harvard, where he earned a law degree in 1845.  He began a practice in Lower Sandusky, although he moved his practice to Cincinnati in 1849 where he became a successful lawyer.  At this time he was a Whig.

Because of his opposition to slavery he was drawn to the republican party.  When the Civil War started he offered his services to the State of Ohio, and Governor William Dennison appointed him major of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He saw a lot of action, rose up the ranks, and was wounded four times.  

He was still in the army in 1864, Cincinnati republicans nominated him for Congress.  He refused to campaign as he believed that would be a dishonor to the military.  He did, however, accept the nomination, and was elected to Congress.  He did not take his seat until the Union had won the war, and was reelected in 1866.

In 1867 he was elected governor of Ohio.  He retired after his second term in 1872, although he was elected governor again in 1875.  It was at this time that his fellow republicans nominated him to run for president. He faced off against Democrat Samuel J. Tildon, who won the popular vote by a count of 4,288,311 to 4,288,546.  

At first count Tildon had won 184 electoral votes and Hayes had won 165.  This left 20 electoral votes that were unresolved, although Hayes would have to win every single one of these votes in order to become president.  Believing he had been defeated, he went to bed.  

The 20 electoral votes were disputed in four states.  Both parties in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina had reported their candidate had won.  In Oregon one of the electors was declared illegal and replaced. The dispute was over who would win these 20 electoral votes. 

For several months the nation was held in limbo as uncertainty reigned.  Then, in January 1877, Congress established an ad hoc electoral commission to resolve the dispute composed of eight republicans and seven democrats.  The results were completely along party lines, as every single one of the 20 electoral votes were given to Hayes by a vote of 8 to 7.  This gave Hayes the Presidency by an electoral vote of 185 to 184.  

Compromise of 1877 was then made between republicans and democrats in the House allowing the results of the electoral commission to take effect in exchange for the removal of troops from the states in contention. Northern republicans also promised southern democrats one cabinet post in the Hayes administration, and subsidies for internal improvements

Before Hayes was inaugurated, Grant acted by removing troops from Florida.  After his inauguration Hayes removed troops from South Carolina and Louisiana.  White republicans left with the troops, and white democrats were allowed to take over leadership in these states.  This left black republicans in the cold and feeling betrayed.  

This compromise was very controversial.  So Hayes secretly took the oath of office in the Red Room of the White House.  He decided that appointments should be made on merit and not based on politics.  So angered some republicans by choosing one person for a cabinet office who was an ex-Confederate, and another who had bolted to become a liberal republican in 1872.

Hayes hoped that by removing the remaining troops from the south he could instigate peace in the region, and create a republican majority in the south.  However, neither he, nor his republican successor -- James A. Garfield -- were able to create this republican majority.

Regardless, after all the scandals of the Grant administration, Hayes was seen as a very trustworthy man who brought honesty and respect back to the White house.

The following are facts about his presidency.
  • He was the first president to take the oath of office in the White House
  • Of all the Civil War Heroes to become president, he was the only one shot four times
  • His wife -- Lucy Webb Hayes-- was the first wife of a president to have a college degree
  • His wife was also the first wife of a president to be referred to as the first lady
  • He was the first president to be elected by a congressional commission
  • He was the only president elected by one electoral vote (still the closest election ever)
  • He was the first president to lose the popular vote and win the presidency
  • He was the first president to travel to the west coast
  • He was the first president to have a typewriter
  • He was the first president to use a phone
  • He began the "Easter Egg Roll" on the White House lawn in 1878
Lucy Webb wanted to have an alcohol free world, and so she banned alcohol from the White House.  She also championed and succeeded to obtain a ban of alcohol in army forts.  

He made a pledge that he would only serve one term, and he honored this pledge.  

The Compromise of 1877 is still seen as a controversy to this day.  The results called for the end of reconstruction, and ultimately resulted in many southern states returning to their pre-Civil War ways, working to the detriment to blacks in the south.  


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