An Introduction to the History of Political Debates in the United States

When you hear the word “election,” one of the first things that probably pops into your mind is the very public debate system that is now used for every seat from President to the city council. However, you might not know much about the history of political debates and how they became an important part of the election process.

For much of the history of the country, debates were a non-issue. The first actual debate involved Abraham Lincoln before he became president of the country. He had followed a competitor and questioned him from the audience. At one particular venue on the journey, both men took the stage and debated for more than three hours about the issues of the day.

However, the trend did not catch on at that point in time. Many years later, the radio helped a bit with attention to Thomas Dewey and fellow presidential contender Harold Stassen taking to the airwaves to debate their differences on communism and whether it should be outlawed in the country. A few more debates even took place on television with little fanfare.

That all changed when future presidents Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy engaged in a televised debate during late September 1960. Nixon was not feeling well and had been hospitalized recently. His color was poor and he had dropped some weight while ill, making him look even more gaunt.

On the other side of the stage sat JFK, just back from California and showing off the casually handsome tan and winning smile the young man became known for. While those who listened on the radio found Nixon held himself well during the debate, those who were watching future-President Kennedy were mesmerized, at least somewhat, by the healthy and energetic young candidate. It’s sad what happened to him in Texas.

It became clear that debates were a huge deal in election outcomes and that appearances played a big role, possibly even more than where candidates stood on issues. It has been more than 50 years since then, and debates take place at every level of the political field today.

While it seems earlier citizens had little interest in debates, the addition of television access to the political process seems to have changed all of that. Though few candidates resemble JFK, they have learned the lessons of charm and ease when speaking to the public. Every debate these days has something interesting to unveil!

What Is the Ideology of Communism?

The definition of communism is that it is a political philosophy that bases itself on community ownership with no class system. It is the opposite of capitalism where the working class or proletariat is run by the wealthy class or the bourgeoisie.

The ideology is based on an idea of equality. But in actuality when put into practice in government, it has lead to authoritarian rule, which caused many millions of deaths and human rights violations. The schools of thought pertaining to communism include Marxism, anarchism, and branches of these philosophies which all share the basic tenant that when societal order is based on capitalism there are always going to be revolutions.

This is thought to be because the working class and the wealthy class are always in strife. The working class has to work just to survive and the wealthy class develops wealth from the hard work of the proletariat. The wealthy class is a minority and, as such, is the object of the working class’s inability to rise above their position in life and gain profit from the very work they do. The thought of communism is based also on there being a social ownership of businesses and agriculture.

There are criticisms of communism that can be divided into two categories. One is concerned with observing it from things that have occurred in the 20th century in real communist countries. The other is concerned more with the principles that make up the ideology theoretically.

As for criticisms, there are fundamental problems that threaten the practicality of a truly communist society. If there is no price system in a communist society, which there is not, there is no way to determine what products or services should be produced or how much of each should be produced.

The result of this problem is that in real communist countries there are endless surpluses and shortages. It is often the shortages that cause people to lose their lives for no good reason as the ones who die are the ones in the working class.

The theory or ideology of communism is thought to be a political failure. This is based on how communist countries like Russia most certainly failed as far as the application of the principles went. When the Berlin Wall fell in the early 1990s, it was clear that the experiment was a failure. There are still place like China, however, that have thriving economies despite being a communist country.

5 United States Vice Presidents That Became President

We love you Joe Biden but you are not a president

In total, there have been 48 men have served as the Vice President of the United States. And fourteen of those men went on to become president. But there are five Vice Presidents turn Presidents that are a notch above the others.

Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt initially served as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for President William McKinley. He later left that post and served as the Governor of New York. After Vice President Garret Hobart passed away in 1899, McKinley asked Roosevelt to be his running mate in the 1900 election. The pair won in a landslide.

When McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Roosevelt became president. Roosevelt ran for re-election in 1904 and won. After serving a full term, Roosevelt was succeeded by his close friend William Howard Taft. Teddy was a great president but not nearly on the same level as his fifth cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt who established social security.

Calvin Coolidge

Coolidge served as vice president under Warren G. Harding. Surprisingly, Coolidge was not Harding’s first choice for a running mate. Irvine Lenroot, a senator from Wisconsin, was initially selected. After Lenroot vacated the position, Coolidge was chosen for the position.

President Harding died suddenly in 1923. Coolidge was sworn into office the day after his death. In 1924, Coolidge ran for re-election and was elected to a full-term. While Coolidge was president, the United States saw significant economic growth.

Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson was the vice president of John F. Kennedy. After Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Johnson was sworn in as president. Johnson was re-elected in 1964.

Curiously, Johnson is one of just four people to have served as a senator, a congressman, the vice president, and the president. Before his election to the House of Representatives, Johnson worked as a congressional aide.

Harry Truman

Harry S. Truman was the vice president of Franklin D. Roosevelt. When Roosevelt passed away near the end of World War II, Truman took over his office. At the time, Truman had been vice president for just 82 days.

Truman ran for re-election in 1948. While Truman was initially expected to lose, he wound up defeating his opponents and winning a second-term.

Gerald Ford

Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. became president after Richard Nixon resigned from the office. He is the only person to have become president without being voted into the office of president or vice president. He ran for re-election in 1976 but lost to Jimmy Carter.

Most vice presidents do not go on to serve as president. With that said, there are a number of former vice presidents that went on to lead the United States.

What Exactly Is Authoritarianism?

Many people have heard of authoritarianism before, but they may not know exactly what it means. This is a word that is typically attributed to people that are in power and the way that they rule or govern their country. Authoritarianism actually refers to a form of government that provides very limited political freedoms and has a strong central figure, or group of people, that rule without constitutional accountability. Let’s go over the basics of authoritarianism, as well as the pros and cons of this particular form of government.

The Four Attributes Of Authoritarianism

There are four specific components of authoritarianism. First, it is a system of government where political pluralism is not the main focus. If there are any dissenting political parties, groups, or figures in the government that are not on board with the opinion of the ruler, they are often removed in some fashion. Second, an authoritarian ruler governs his country based solidly on emotion. There is always some type of evil to combat, and this ruler will repeat ad nausea who this enemy is in order to keep the people focused. Third, there is often a movement to quiet anti-regime activity or political opponents that do not agree with the authoritarian ruler. Finally, these rulers have executive power, much like a dictator, and their way of governing is often shifting from one viewpoint to the next, often appearing more vague than definitive.

Authoritarianism And Democracy

Although democracy is not the opposite of authoritarianism, there are few comparisons. There are leaders within a democracy that can use authoritarian principles. This is the opposite of authoritative principles which is more geared toward a democratic regime which relies upon the opinions and activities of others. An authoritarian is simply a person that knows that they are in charge, and once everyone to concur with what they want to have done.

This is a system of governing that is often seen in countries where the rulers tend to be dictatorial. It has no place in a democratic society, although many will try to state that they are not authoritarian at all. It is always better to have a leader that is willing to work with those in their government, as well as with the people. It is an outdated system for governing countries, and as democracy continues to become popular and accepted, perhaps authoritarian behavior will become a thing of the past.

Just What Is Totalitarianism

There are many different types of governments out there, and with politics in the United States becoming more and more divided there seem to be many political terms thrown out there without people having a truly good grasp of what they all actually mean. One term that is getting tossed around by both the right and the left is totalitarianism, and while this type of government is certainly a reality in many parts of the world even during the worst of times in the United States we are long ways off from becoming a totalitarian state.

Totalitarianism refers to a form of government where there is one person with 100% of the authority who is unquestionably in charge. He rules the state, the government, and any authority that anyone else has comes from his decree or being in service of him. These are governments that tend to have extremely tight control over the press, the arts, and even everyday life of the people who live there. This type of force almost certainly stems from a military background, and having the full support of the military is crucial for these governments to work since brute force (or the threat of it) is the primary method to keep everyone in line.

These types of governments are often referred to as dictatorships. There may or may not be local governments or a house and senate type setup for show, but in the end all rules and decrees come directly from the person in charge who can’t be overruled in any circumstance.

Totalitarian Versus Authoritarian
While these two types of government are relatively similar to one another (similar to how democracy and republic are related forms of government) there are a few distinct differences. Authoritarian regimes a small group hold power or even one person, but their only focus is holding that power at a government level. On a totalitarian level, the leader attempts to control everything and even create a “cult like” state where every part of everyday life is affected.

Nazism is one form of this since it wasn’t just about government and military rule with Hitler undisputed as the man in charge, but there was an ideology, ethnic cleansing, and an entirely new moral code imposed upon Germans and immigrants who lived there in that era. North Korea is a modern day example where it’s not just power at the top, but every single part of everyday life is controlled by the state.

Do You Wonder What Monarchy Is?

The term ‘monarchy‘ is possibly something you come across from time to time. However, do you know what a monarchy actually is? You might be curious about this when you come across the term. That can happen if you pay attention to international news, as many countries around the world are monarchies. You might also be exposed to the term in a historical context through a class, movie, or novel. It also comes up in a lot of video game settings as well.

A ‘monarchy’ is a noun. It’s a form of government where there is a monarch at the head. A state with a monarch might also have a royal family or dynasty with many different monarchs in succession coming from the same bloodline.

This form of government is one where the royal family or dynasty actually embodies the very national identity of the country in question. The specific monarch in charge practices a role of sovereignty over the government and citizens. However, the degree of practical power does vary quite a bit. Some nations are called crowned republics, where the monarch is purely a symbol. Other countries, called constitutional monarchies, are governed by a constitutional document but have monarchs who are technically heads of state with partial or restricted powers and authorities. Absolute monarchies are states where the monarch has complete and autocratic control over the nation.

While things vary from one monarchy to the next, the post of the monarch is traditionally an inherited one. The position lasts either until death or abdication. Having said that, a number of elective monarchies have a selection process to choose the monarch.

Monarchy was a very common form of government across much of history, particularly in Africa, Europe, and Asia. A king, queen, or emperor would assume a throne and would be considered to have a direct influence or connection with deities or a single god, depending on whether or not the nation or civilization in question was polytheistic or monotheistic. A number of monarchs would actually proclaim themselves as being divine themselves.

Resistance, uprisings, and enhanced philosophies, as well as a desire for rule of more equitable laws for commoners, led to the eventual weakening of the absolute powers of monarchs. The English Magna Carta is one of many such examples. In the new world of the Americas, monarchies do not really exist, although Commonwealth states might technically have the British monarch as their head of state.

What Exactly Does The Green Tea Party Stand For?

The Boston Tea Party was a seminal event in the history of the United States and probably played part in the eventual separation of the what would become the United Sates from being a simple colony under the control of Great Britain.

Of course, a revolt against taxation of tea was not at the core of that protest, the causes were much more complex. But today the Green Tea Party has similar objections to the way that the United States government is handling issues that impact on the lives of each and every citizen in the U.S.

As a ‘Green’ party their primary focus is on environmental issues. Although they are widely regarded as an offshoot of the mainstream Republican party the party has hitched its wagon firmly to the issues that surround environmental issues. The Green Tea Party has been vocal in their support of the use of solar energy as an alternative to the power supplied by large energy companies in the United States.

This may at sometimes put them directly in the sights of power brokers of the Republican party in Washington who, by and large, have enjoyed the support of those very same power companies. However, the organizers of the party are of a different view.

The traditional Republican view is that power, both political and in the sense of energy should be decentralized sits well with many in the Republican party. And this is what the Green Tea Party stands for. In the opinion of their leadership and their supporters, people should be empowered to cut themselves off from a national grid controlled by big business and a government that they see as exerting unwanted control over the lives of ordinary citizens.

The organizers of the movement believe that government subsidies are simply wrong. The message is simple; let government attend to the business of government and let ordinary people attend to the business of their daily lives – including providing power for their families without regulation and laws preventing them from enjoying the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

Whether or not they will continue to enjoy the support they have enjoyed to date remains to be seen. However, the message resonates with many people in the United States. In an age where big business and car accident legislation seems to touch each and every part of a citizen’s life many people simply want to be left alone to enjoy the freedom from interference. And that includes their right to freedom from interference when it comes to energy.

The Whig Party: A Brief History Of One Of America’s Best Known 3rd Parties

The Whig Party was a strong political party created in the 1830s in response to staunchly oppose then-President Andrew Jackson, his policies, and the politicians in the part of the Democratic Party that supported him. The Whigs were seen as the successor to two previous political parties: the Anti-Masonic Party and the National Republican Party. They further found favor with many voters by also claiming some popular ideas from the tradition of the Federalist Party, as they were understood at that time.

General Political Philosophy

The Whigs firmly believed that the majority of governing power belonged in Congress and not with the United States President, and they encouraged a program of protections that would allow for entrepreneurs, planters, reformers, and ambitious individuals to use banking, modernization, and entrepreneurship to encourage manufacturing and growth. This was extremely popular with many urban middle class and growing business fields but held very little appeal to many farmers and unskilled laborers.

On the moral side, there was a large part of the Whigs that were active Protestants who were deeply and morally against many of President Andrew Jackson’s policies, including removal of Native Americans to Reservations. Saying they were an “Anti-Jackson Party” isn’t too far off the mark although it might be a little bit over-simplistic. Along with the Jackson Democratic Party, they would form the early part of the two party system as it would work there.

Big Names In The Whig Party

Part of the reason the Whig party worked so well, at least from the 1840s through the middle of the 1860s, is that they had many big names who flocked to their banner. Senator Daniel Webster and Senator Henry Clay were both major names who helped lead the Whig party, which would go on to have four different politicians from their ranks rise to be President of the United States. These men were: William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, & Millard Fillmore. While there were several minor issues that were already dividing the party, slavery was the huge one that caused a break.

The New Republican Party would form as a result, which would include former Whigs like Abraham Lincoln. While unity made them a political force for two decades, in the end, the breaking of this unity is what would break them and resign them to a blip in the history books.

What Is An Oligarchy

You may be familiar with types of power structures such as a monarchy and democracy, but there is another type of structure, known as an oligarchy. This is basically when there are a few people ruling together who are more powerful and richer than the people that they are ruling over. These are usually nobles or aristocrats and include both men and women. Even if the women are not a part of the council, they are typically the wives or mothers who have significant control over their husbands or sons who are a part of the council.

As a result, oligarchies are not male-only power structures, which means that they can be quite good for the empowerment of women. Now, in an oligarchy, the group of people that are in charge, can be elected in a variety of ways. In some cases, some people are born into it while others may be elected by the people and yet others, become a part of the council by owning large amounts of land, property, and money.

The council usually meets on a regular basis, such as every week or every month in order to discuss important issues and make decisions. They basically decide on the laws that rule the majority such as what are punishable crimes and the punishments. It also helped establish the role of law firms.

This type of power structure is not as common as you may think and monarchies are much more popular. An example of oligarchies in history includes the rule of most Greek cities after the dark ages. Athens, Thebes, Corinth, and Etruscans were oligarchies. The Roman Republic that began in 500 BC was mostly an oligarchy as well. During the middle ages, cities like Venice, Florence and Genoa were both oligarchic and democratic. After looking at much of history, this type of rule was more common in Europe and rarely found in other countries.

Many authors have characterized the United States as having many characteristics of an oligarchy. Many political scientists have indicated that the vast majority of Americans don’t have much control over policies being formed by the government whereas the wealthy 1% does have more significant control. The average citizen typically only gets what they want if the wealthier Americans and specific business groups have those same interests, which is a classic indication of an oligarchy.

In closing, we have just taken a closer look at what is an oligarchy as well as specific examples of this power structure in history and present times. Here’s a great video that explains it more in depth:

What is Democracy and How Does it Work?

Democracy is a form of government which operates by allowing the population of the country or state to choose their own elected representatives. There are many examples of democracy in action. The UK is run by a democracy and has a monarch as a figurehead, in the form of a constitutional monarchy. This is in contrast to other western countries, which generally have representative democracies.

The idea of a Presidential Democracy is common in the Americas and in Asia, but it is a complex system of democracy which sees the president elected through a free election, and then serving has a head of state and also as the head of the government. The president is relatively secure in his legislature, but members of the legislative branch are equally difficult to remove. This means that there is a separation of powers. The president and the legislature can, in some cases, control separate parties and this can interfere with the operation of the state.

Some US states have a hybrid or semi-direct democracy. The Swiss Confederation is another example of that. At a federal level, citizens have the ability to propose changes to the constitution. They can also ask for a referendum on any law which the Parliament will then have to vote on. The Swiss population is quite well educated in terms of democracy, and quite eager to participate. In a period of a little over ten years from January 1995, through to June 2005, they voted a total of 31 times, answering 103 questions.

In the United States, there are several states which have direct democracy systems, but this is not offered on a federal level. In New England, town meetings are often used to determine local issues and manage the local government. In Vermont, there are annual town meetings where issues regarding schools, budgets, etc are voted on.

There are other kinds of democracy including liberal democracies and socialist democracies. Even anarchism is considered to be a democracy of a sort. Majority rule is consistent with anarchism, but not all anarchists support that viewpoint.

The key idea behind democracy is that those who are eligible have the chance to vote on issues and that the group that gets the majority (or plurality) of votes will earn a decision on the issue. The difference between proportional representation and first past the post is an important part of differentiating how democracies work.