The People

  Over the history of our great nation, we have seen many changes. We have gone from being servants to a King, to being a free people. We began as a confederation of states, only to become a union .

  Some of our Founding Fathers, such as John Adams, believed that we should be governed by those of wealth and power, much in the same way as we were governed by a King. Others, like Thomas Jefferson, believed that the true power was with the individual citizens.

  Our young nation went back and forth on this through the first six administrations. In that short amount of time the Federal government had become very powerful. John Quincy Adams, who was described as a nationalist,and  believed that the nation was best run by a strong central governing body, pushed to expand the country through road and canal projects. Think of it as an 1800s stimulus program.

  We can actually look to this period to see what not to do in our current state of economic affairs. The nation had just experienced its first depression in 1819. This is believed to have been brought on by over speculation by banks. Many believe that the Bank Of the United States (BUS) added to the length of the trouble by extending to much credit at first and then by restricting lending for too long . Sound familiar?

  From the period of 1819 and leading up to the presidential election of 1828 the federal government had become arrogant. Those in power sought only to consolidate their power. Many moves were made to effect the outcome of elections by re-writing the laws governing suffrage and the electorial college. Again, sound familiar? In many states the right to vote was actually taken away from blacks and women, where they had formerly  been able to vote.

  The presidential election of 1828 saw the nationalist John Quincy Adams pitted against the more popular war hero Andrew Jackson.

  Jackson was labeled by the political establishment as being unqualified for office.On the other hand, Jackson was portrayed by his supporters as the latest version of a Jeffersonian candidate, a candidate of the people. That he was for the people, while Adams and his supporters were for a centralized power run by elitist. Now it must be said that the country was already going through the pains of state-rights and the argument over the abolition of slavery, and that this was playing a large part in the election of 1828.

  In a letter to a friend shortly before the election, Jackson summed up his view of what was riding on the outcome.

   ” The present is a contest between the virtue of the people, & the influence of patronage. Should patronage prevail, over virtue, then indeed “the safe precedent,” will be established, that the President, appoints his successor in the person of  the sec. of state-Then the people may prepare themselves to become”hewers of wood & and drawers of water,” to those in power, who with the Treasury at command, will wield by its corrupting influence a majority to support it – The present is an important struggle, for the perpetuity of our republican government, & I hope the virtue of the people may prevail, & all may be well.”

  Jackson ran as a reform candidate. He wanted to be elected to put an end to the rampant abuse of power and the habitual routine of patronage. Jackson would come into office as a reformer and in his first year find plenty to reform.

   In the first year alone, Amos Kendall, a special auditor appointed by Jackson would turn up over three hundred thousand dollars missing from the Treasury department alone. In 1828 money, that was quite a bit.

  Pres. Jackson was concerned that a strong centralized government, with the power of the Treasury at its disposal, could control not only the states, but the very citizens. That through the purse strings of the federal government, those in power could create a dependent class that would keep those whom they were dependent upon, in power.

  We can draw many parallels between the election of 1828 and the current state of affairs in the nation today.

  As in 1828, we are witnessing a federal government gone mad with the power of the treasury. We have witnessed the federal government spending money to bail out private banks and industries. We have seen the federal government takeover health care. We may be seeing the financial sector being completely swallowed up by the federal government and the oil industry not far behind.

 All of this is intended to make more and more citizens dependent on the government for all of their needs. Add in the amount of entitlement programs that many of our citizens now depend on for their survival and you have a large amount of your electorate that is beholden to those already in power.

  The real danger to our republican form of government, comes from those in power feeling as if they are safe in their position. That they no longer need answer to the citizens. This is when we the citizens become, “the hewers of wood and the drawers of water,” for those in power.

  We as citizens must take on the challenge of removing from office those in power that feel that they no longer must answer to the people. We must remind them that they are not in office to govern over us, but are in office to exercise the will of the people. And that they serve at the pleasure of the people.

“The present is an important struggle, for the perpetuity of our republican government, & I hope the virtue of the people may prevail, & all may be well.”

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One Response to “The People”

  1. Bill Says:

    Frank,remember when Gov Gray Davis was removed from office in California a few years back? I guess the people there used a “no confidence” vote.
    If that were the case in federal elections Obama would have been replaced already.

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