Thursday, January 17, 2013

1/17 Black Progressives and the Early Civil Rights Movement

J.L. Giles, "Reconstruction," 1867
Note the use of religious imagery

The Battle of Antietam was fought in Maryland on September 17th, 1862. This was the first time the Confederate army under Robert E. Lee had "invaded" the North (the second invasion would lead to the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863). At Antietam, the confederates were beaten in one of the bloodiest battles in history, with more than 25,000 killed or wounded more Americans died on this one day than on any other day in history and more than twice as many as those who died in D-Day in 1944. Five days later, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which would take effect on January 1st, 1863. This executive order freed all the slaves still in confederate territory. Notably, it did not outlaw slavery in the whole union and permitted Southern states who had sided with the Union like Kentucky to keep their slaves. 

Joseph Keppler "Conkling as Mephistopheles," Puck, 1877
Shows Sen. Roscoe Conkling (R-NY) who helped arrange the election of Hayes who is seen walking away with the "South" as a woman.


The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1865, also while the war was still going which officially abolished slavery in the U.S. The 13th Amendment was considered the first of the "Reconstruction Amendments" passed between 1865 and 1870. 


The 14th Amendment (1868) grants full citizenship rights (including the right to vote) to anyone born in the U.S. and also requires the states to provide equal protection under the laws. This amendment is crucial because it creates the legal pathway to applying the Bill of Rights to the states.   However, because of fierce opposition these protections have had to be fought for in a series of court cases, most notably the civil rights cases of the 1950s and 1960s. 


The 15th Amendment (1870) passed during the administration of Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877), who was the commanding general of the Union army, grants voting rights to all persons regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude," however notably, not to gender. It is after this that the women's right movement separates itself from the abolition movement. These amendments were named for the Reconstruction program led by Republicans aimed at rehabilitating and rebuilding the South. This period roughly stretched from 1865-1876. Many historians, like Eric Foner, speak of a "Second Civil War" that was fought during this time which the South won. They point to the rise of terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), made up of former confederate soldiers and generals, and the forced imposition of segregation (or Jim Crow, a pejorative name for blacks) laws which effectively reasserted white supremacy at least until the 1960s. Grant used the Union army to suppress the Klan. 

Tilden has won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote. Hayes wins because of LA, FL, and SC which were disputed.


Reconstruction is usually considered to have ended after the election of 1876 (the first Centennial of the Declaration of Independence), when the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly made a "corrupt bargain" with Southern Democrats to gain 19 "disputed" electoral votes in Southern states: South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida. Hayes had lost the popular vote to Democratic candidate Samuel J. Tilden, the Governor of New York, however Hayes was awarded the disputed votes in exchange for withdrawing federal troops from the South, and thus appeasing Democrats. After becoming President, Hayes withdrew the troops and this allowed Southern Democrats to sweep back into power. 




W.E.B. DuBois
“To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.” This begins William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) DuBois’s (1868-1963) landmark study in race relations, The Souls of Black Folk (1903). The problem to which he is referring to, the problem which he defines as the issue of the 20th century, is "the color line" that exists not just in America but throughout the world. Although relating mostly to the American experience, DuBois would argue that a proper understanding of the color line is essential for understanding imperialism which dominated foreign affairs in the late 19th and early 20th century.

DuBois then challenges the prevailing consensus, established since Tocqueville that there is a singular American tradition based on the ideas of natural rights and equality. Instead DuBois is concerned with what Rogers Smith will later term "Ascribed Americanism" (ascribed, meaning to attribute characteristics to someone, literally coming from the word "scribe" meaning to write). In other words that there are distinctly "American" characteristics "written on" people. "Ascribed" status then is used in opposition to "achieved" status and refers to an unchangeable status you have at birth. Put simply, some people are "born Americans" and some are not, this ideology can be understood to be the opposite of the idea of "transnationalism" described by Bourne.

Smith will define this ideology in direct contrast to the ideas of an American consensus we have already touched upon with Tocqueville (mores) and Hartz (irrational Lockeanism), but also with Gunnar Myrdal, a Swedish economist who is ironically best known for his book An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy first published in 1944—still in DuBois' lifetime but slightly ahead of the period of time we are discussing. The thesis of the book is important for what we are looking at now because Myrdal like Tocqueville shares a similar idea of an American consensus (or creed), however he argues that racism in America can essentially be explained by a failure to realize these values or to live up to these principles. DuBois then begins the line of inquiry which goes to show that an established, well-developed racist ideology has been prevalent in the development of the laws and institutions of the U.S. and continues to be in the present, that is not simply the result of a lack of values, the absence of liberal ideology, but is in fact a developed system of values and opinions in itself.

In 1903 the world had basically been divided into colonial empires between the so-called ‘Great Powers of the World’: Great Britain, France, Russia, since the 1880s Germany and Japan, and after 1898 the United States. Beginning in 1884 into the following year, the Berlin Conference was held to organize and coordinate the efforts of the imperial powers in dividing up the regions of the world, in response to the rise of Germany in the late 19th century. The results of this conference begins what scholars call the "Scramble for Africa" an intensification of the efforts of European powers to divide up the regions of Africa between 1880-1914 when World War I begins. 


Before the 1890s, the United States was engaged in a continual process of Westward expansion that dated back to the earliest origins of the nations and only concluded by then. This was the frontier thesis by Frederick Jackson Turner who established the discipline of history in the U.S. 

The U.S. then challenged the once powerful Spanish Empire resulting in the Spanish-American War in 1898. Although the U.S. annexed Puerto Rico as a result of this conflict and made Cuba a dependent (though nominally independent) state, the U.S. made significant gains in the Pacific region as well annexing former Spanish colonies Guam and the Philippines. U.S. influence in the Caribbean and South America went at least as far back as the Monroe Doctrine of the 1820s. In 1855, a private expedition was led by William Walker to intervene in a civil war in Nicaragua, and after setting up his own puppet government, Walker himself became President of Nicaragua in 1856, he was later executed in 1860. Before the Panama Canal and the transcontinental railway were constructed, Nicaragua was used a route for Atlantic traffic crossing to the Pacific, and Walker's expedition was funded by U.S. business interests like Cornelius Vanderbilt who controlled railroads and steamship lines. U.S. involvement in the affairs of Nicaragua would reach another high point in the 1980s.


Having territories in the Pacific—including Hawaii, which was also annexed in 1898 after having overthrown its monarchy in 1893—was something new. However, the acquisition of overseas territories like Puerto Rico creates the first influx of immigrants from the these territories in the early 1900s. Mexican immigration begins even earlier, however the status of "immigrants" on land that was recently part of Mexico is highly contentious.
"School Begins," Louis Dalrymple, Puck, 1899
Uncle Sam (US) is seen discipling new additions to the American Empire:
Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hawaii, and the Philippines
An African-American, working, and a Native-American, reading upside down, and a Chinese immigrant, a new addition to the class (?) can be seen as well
The blackboard in the back says, "the U.S. must govern these territories with or without their consent until they can govern themselves."

 It is ironic then, that a war against a fading European power justified by its atrocities committed towards Cuba and the Philippines, had the ultimate outcome of securing the U.S. presence in the Pacific. The war against Spain on a level not usually explicitly acknowledged also reinforced the idea of a clash between civilizations. The Spanish Empire was a reminder of a once great empire that had declined in power and prestige. In a way the relative ease in which the U.S. defeated Spain reinforced the idea of the transient and fleeting nature of glory and power. At the same time in which war is being fought against Spain, the U.S. Congress votes to annex Hawaii in June 1898.The acquisition of the Philippines and Guam, however cemented the U.S. presence in the East and Southeast Asian regions. Before the U.S. troops had landed in Cuba, the U.S. Navy had already attacked and destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay under the command of George Dewey who became one of the biggest heroes of the war. 

The tenacity of the U.S. in holding on to its newly established overseas Pacific territories is testament to the prolonged occupation of Philippines islands from 1899-1902 in which as many as 1.5 million Filipinos were killed. Although not as well-known this was the Vietnam War of the early 20th century. An insurrection by the Muslim "Moros" on the Philippines lasted from 1899-1913.
Jolo Massacre, 1906




Five years before war was declared the U.S. had also suffered its worst financial panic to date at that time in 1893. The feeling of divisiveness lingering from the Civil War compounded with the dread of financial ruin and unemployment after the “Panic of ’93” weakened the American public’s susceptibility to “war fever.” 

Estimates of the impact of the depression of 1893 are difficult to determine due to a lack of reliable empirical data from this period of time. For example, determining the level of unemployment in the country from 1893 and on falls within a diverse range of interpretations. Romer, estimates unemployment higher than 11% in 1895, and still over eleven in 1898. By 1900, unemployment had dropped down to 5% (Romer 1986). However, other estimates put the unemployment levels even higher and more volatile. Lebergott estimates unemployment at almost 14% in 1895, dropping only slightly to 12%, before also reaching 5% unemployment in 1900 (Lebergott 1992). By most estimates though, unemployment was well over 10% between 1894-1900, when it drastically decreased to around 5%. As the once reluctant President McKinley said after mobilization for war began, “There is no division in any part of the land. North, south, east and west, all alike cheerfully respond. From cap and campaign there comes magic healing which has closed ancient wounds.”



The development of American imperialism obviously was not the first encounter that Americans had of people of different backgrounds. Although it was now coming into area of the Asian states directly, tensions between whites and Asians was nothing new. Threats of the “Yellow Peril” had long been a part of American discourse since the early 19th century. As the U.S. became more of an overseas power it had more and more contact with the empires of Japan and China as well. Japan had actually been "opened" to the West by the U.S. in the 1850s after U.S. Naval Commodore Perry sailed his "Black Ships" into Tokyo. China or at least its port cities in the late nineteenth century was being divided by different European powers. The U.S. tried to maintain an "Open Door" policy of free trade in China (in reality to give itself an opportunity to trade in China which had already been monopolized by Europeans especially the British).
Theodore Roosevelt

The rhetoric used to justify these policies is summed by the theme of "responsibility." Since the U.S. is the strongest and the wealthiest nation (Social Darwinism) it should use this power responsibly. This sentiment is summed up in the phrase "White Man's Burden" after the poem by Rudyard Kipling in 1899. Probably the best representative of this idea was Theodore Roosevelt, who became President in 1901 after McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist. Roosevelt had become a national celebrity for his exploits in the Spanish-American War and became Governor of New York in 1899 before becoming McKinley's running mate in the Presidential election of 1900, which they won decisively. In one of the most famous political speeches, entitled, "The Strenous Life" first delivered in 1899 Roosevelt lays out the basis of the "responsibility" of the U.S. to play a greater role in foreign affairs, and compares the U.S. to another fading empire at this time, China:



We of this generation do not have to face a task such as that our fathers faced, but we have our tasks, and woe to us if we fail to perform them! We cannot, if we would, play the part of China, and be content to rot by inches in ignoble ease within our borders, taking no interest in what goes on beyond them, sunk in a scrambling commercialism; heedless of the higher life, the life of aspiration, of toil and risk, busying ourselves only with the wants of our bodies for the day, until suddenly we should find, beyond a shadow of question, what China has already found, that in this world the nation that has trained itself to a career of unwarlike and isolated ease is bound, in the end, to go down before other nations which have not lost the manly and adventurous qualities.
Roosevelt would be re-elected in 1904 on the strength of his most famous achievement the acquisition of the Isthmus of Panama and the beginning of the construction of the Panama Canal in 1904, a vital linkage between East and West. This was followed by the election of Roosevelt’s handpicked successor William Howard Taft in 1908, the former governor of the Philippines.

Other influential progressive leaders like Indiana Republican Senator Albert J. Beveridge also spoke in favor of imperialism and the supremacy of Anglo-Saxon civilization like in this speech from early 1900 during the Philippine-American War:
God has not been preparing the English speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-contemplation and self-admiration. No! He has made us the master-organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns….He has made us adepts in government that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples….He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world. This is the divine mission of America….The Philippines are ours forever. We will not repudiate our duty in the archipelago. We will not abandon our opportunity in the Orient. We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee, under God, of the civilization of the world (Butterfield 1957, p. 287).

Beveridge would later help Roosevelt found the Progressive Party for the 1912 Presidential election. 


In the media and academia these attitudes were also echoed by influential progressive elites like Kansas editor William Allen White who wrote in the Emporia Gazette in March 1899: “Only Anglo-Saxons can govern themselves. The Cubans will need a despotic government for many years to restrain anarchy until Cuba is filled with Yankees….It is the Anglo-Saxon’s manifest destiny to go forth as world conqueror. He will take possession of the islands of the sea….This is what fate holds for the chosen people” (Butterfield p. 287). Similarly, John W. Burgess, who founded the discipline of political science in the U.S. and the journal Political Science Quarterly, also a professor to Theodore Roosevelt at Columbia University wrote of the superiority of the Teutonic peoples in 1884: “The creation of Teutonic political genius stamps the Teutonic nations as the political nation par excellence, and authorizes them, in the economy of the world, to assume the leadership in the establishment and the administration of states” (Hofstadter 1955, p.175). 


Not all culture was pressed into servicing the myth of white supremacy and not all segments of American life favored imperialism. I mentioned last class William Graham Sumner, who founded sociology in the U.S. was opposed to imperialism and some could see through the sham of "ascribed Americanism," even then, for example Mark Twain who wrote in his travel book, Following the Equator (1897): “There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages.”



However, the average American was less concerned with issues of international trade than with having to compete against immigrant laborers. Most notably Chinese immigrants competed with whites as cheap labor (Germans, Scandinavians, Poles, Scots, English, Irish, and others) for jobs working on railroads. The Transcontinental Railroad, started under Lincoln, would not have been completed without Chinese labor.
Chinese workers building the Transcontinental Railroad, circa 1868



The economic conflict over jobs that turns into racial conflict was something that DuBois noted carefully having observed a similar pattern in the South. Patterns of industrialization seem to begin first in cities and then pushes itself gradually into the rural countryside. The mechanism that explains this development is the search for cheap labor and land. As the wages of workers go up in cities, and other production costs increases like rent and transportation, manufacturers look outside the cities for a cheaper supply of workers and cheaper land. Regionally this pattern repeats itself on a larger scale: industrial factories start moving to the South. This sets off a conflict between whites and blacks for these factory jobs.

The "Great Migration" of African-Americans out of the South into Northern cities beginning about 1910, caused in large part by the end of Reconstruction and the establishment of Jim Crow laws roughly between 1870-1900. Chicago especially becomes one of the most popular destinations for blacks who are moving North. This is one reason why Chicago is sometimes referred to as "the Capital of Black America."

Distribution of African-American population, 1890


Overall as the 20th century was beginning it appeared as if race relations were getting worse in the country. In the Pacific states in the West anti-Chinese, and anti-Japanese feelings had already boiled over into full race riots. Legislation had also been passed limiting the number of Chinese and Japanese immigrants and putting strict limits on citizenship. In the South, lynching was escalating. 
Lynching of Laura and Lawrence Nelson, 1911


The first official segregation laws are passed supposedly intended as a way of diffusing more extreme forms of violence. In the North the conflict over industrial jobs was repeating itself as in the South, as some blacks begin migrating to the North for the first time. Also forms of “scientific racism” are coming into vogue at this time. All sorts of reputed “scientific studies” proving the superiority of the white race are being published during this time. Many of these theories that are equally popular in Europe and produced by many European intellectuals, become the basis of Nazi racial ideology.
Thomas Nast, "Scientific Racism," Harper's Weekly, circa 1882. Depicting Irish (Hibernian), Anglo-Saxon (Teutonic), and Negro


As African studies professor Molefi Kete Asante has said, before Dubois, African-Americans had "sporadic episodes of brilliance" and people like Phyllis Wheatley or Frederick Douglas might come to mind (Asante 2008). DuBois however was able to expand the work of African-Americans by creating institutions, in terms of education, of political activism, and other voluntary associations to provide a forum and an arena for African-Americans to mobilize themselves as a population. He also, almost single-handedly, confronts the myth of white supremacy head on to prove scientifically that blacks are not inferior to whites. He is willing to confront the supposedly scientific studies that prove white supremacy and debunk them one at a time. One way to do this is to provide real scientifc studies of African-Americans. DuBois' first major work is The Philadelphia Negro (1899), which was a systematic study of the black community in Philadelphia, the first systematic and unbiased study of African-Americans, as well one of the first major works of urban sociology, and one of the first major works to incorporate statistical analysis.

DuBois is closest to the intellectual heritage of Henry David Thoreau and the descendents of the Puritans. He was born and raised in Massachusetts as was Thoreau and Sam Adams. Later, he attended Fisk University a predominantly black college in Tennessee founded during the Reconstruction Era in 1866. He later attended Harvard, however, during his time at Harvard he transferred to the University of Berlin (1892-1894) and studied under German social scientists and economists who at that time were considered the best in their field. Despite wanting to stay on in Germany, Harvard made him come back and he finished his degree there. During his time in Germany, DuBois notices the conditions of Africans in Europe and other ethnic and racial groups. From these experiences, DuBois is able to "internationalize the African struggle" by showing that it was a global struggle. DuBois was instrumental in creating the first Pan-African Conference in 1900 and served as a delegate. He would later argue that imperialist competition over Africa is what pushed Europe into World War I.

The influence of his German philosophical training shows up in one of DuBois’ most important contributions, the idea of “Double Consciousness”. DuBois argues that everyone has a consciousness or awareness of who they think they are and who other people think they are. In German the word is Geist, and also means spirit. In Germany at this time they were teaching every people and every race has their own "spirit" and so DuBois picks up this line of thought in his work which is to depict the spirit or the souls of black folk. In the case of African-Americans, there is a greater tension between their own self-image and societies image of themselves. He argues that this causes significant tension but also allows the individual to be more self-consciously in control over their societal or public image of themselves. 


The opposite DuBois argues could be far worse, when there is no tension between your private self and your public image there is the tendency to forget there is a difference and the public self overwhelms the private self. With many Anglo-Saxons since there is less tension between their private and public selves, there is less self-awareness. In other words DuBois argues, a certain distance or tension between the two strengthens the inner spirit of the individual, however in the case of most blacks in America he argues the tension is too great and does more harm then good. Some modern African studies thinkers have critiqued this view which they regard as coming from DuBois' own mixed background.

DuBois’ had a famous feud and rivalry with Booker T. Washington, over Washington’s conformity with dominant white values and what he saw as an attitude of submission on the part of Washington. Instead DuBois favored direct political action and he was one of the prime movers in the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. As the editor of its journal The Crisis, DuBois published articles that confronted racism directly and critiqued racist arguments.


He was also one of the first to write about the importance of the church in the black community. He also believed that a small part of the population “The Talented Tenth” as in ten percent of the black population was necessary in order to form a class of leadership, which has somewhat of an anti-democratic aspect to it.  


In the 1960s, he joined the Communist Party. Part of the reason DuBois is such an important thinker is because he was around so long. In terms of output he is responsible for over 2,000 publications in the course of his life. In historical terms, he is a thinker whose experience expands from the end of Reconstruction to the Cold War. He also moved to Ghana, the first sub-Saharan African nation to declare independence after World War II, where he became a committed African nationalist, Asante argues that at this point that DuBois abandons the notion of "double consciousness."

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Evidence of double-consciousness can be seen for example in the work of African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906), who is known for his poems that are written in the more classical style and then poems written in "Negro dialect." It is notable that publishers usually insisted on his "Negro" poetry and was popular with a white audience. Dunbar himself always suspected the "marketability" of these poems, feeling it was in some way demeaning:




















(From "Dreams")
What dreams we have and how they fly
Like rosy clouds across the sky;
Of wealth, of fame, of sure success,
Of love that comes to cheer and bless;
And how they wither, how they fade,
The waning wealth, the jilting jade —
The fame that for a moment gleams,
Then flies forever, — dreams, ah — dreams!

(From "A Warm Day In Winter")
"Sunshine on de medders,
Greenness on de way;
Dat's de blessed reason
I sing all de day."
Look hyeah! What you axing'?
What meks me so merry?
'Spect to see me sighin'
W'en hit's wa'm in Febawary?







Langston Hughes
In contrast, later poets like Langtson Hughes (1902-1967) sought to develop a more uniquely African-American perspective. Hughes came to prominence in the 1920s, as part of the Harlem Renaissance, and many of his early poems were published in DuBois' journal The Crisis. However Hughes and many other black artists and activists of his generation criticized the older generation represented by DuBois for being too accommodating to Eurocentric values, and thus anticipating the criticism of contemporary scholars like Asante. Hughes is usually credited with the phrase, "Black is beautiful."

Next class we will look at the Progressive Era. The articles by Bourne and Chesterton we read at the beginning of class were written during this time period.


Assignment (Due 1/22): Choose a passage from DuBois' writing and from the poems by Hughes  and write out the passages. Interpret them and explain why you chose them. 

Also go to African-America Odyssey and choose one section on Reconstruction and one on the "Booker T Washington Era." Summarize and interpret them on your blogs as well. If you are choosing a photo or an image, post the picture on your blog. If you are summarizing something that is written, write out the passage in your blog.




Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1/16 Social Darwinism and Class Politics

"History Repeats Itself—The Robber Barons of the Middle Ages and The Robber Barons of Today," Samuel Erhardt, Puck, circa 1889


After the Civil War, class politics becomes the central political issue of the late 19th century, in many ways displacing race as the central conflict in America, even though racial conflict only intensified in the next several decades. Next class we will talk more about Reconstruction. 

In many ways, Americans throughout history into the present, have tended to obscure or deny the importance of class politics, or politics centering around economic inequality between different groups. The ever expanding American frontier made it possible to  deny the importance of economic inequality. This is suggested in historian Frederick Jackson Turner's essay "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," (1893). Whenever social pressures between classes were intensifying the government had the option of passing laws that would enable poorer people to attempt to settle areas along the American frontier, thus diffusing the tensions generated by inequality (i.e. the Homestead Act of 1862). This lasts until about 1890, after 1890, there is more of less continuous settlement throughout the continental U.S (from the east coast to the west coast). 

Slavery itself served first of all to take attention away from inequality in the North because so much attention was devoted to the moral evils of slavery. In the South, slavery served to conceal the inequalities between whites because slavery created a sense of "racial solidarity" between whites even though there were such huge economic gaps between rich and poor whites in the South. In this case, race transcended class. However, with the abolition of slavery and the rapid pace of industrialization Americans were forced to have a greater awareness of economic inequality between the working classes (the propertyless) and the ownership classes (those who owned private property especially industrial property).

The pace of industrialization increases dramatically after the 1860s because of innovations in the railroads, coal mining, and beginning in the 1850s, the production of steel.
Similarly, the Republican party becomes more and more identified as the party of "Big Business" which also continues into the present. Although originally formed as an anti-slavery party, with the abolition of slavery (at least in a legal sense) the party has to find a new reason for being. Promoting business and industry was one way to recreate itself. Many Republicans, including Lincoln, were Whigs before they became Republicans, the party of the business interests before the Civil War. Winning the war had in large part had to do with the superior technology, transportation, and larger population of the North. Railroad operators who used their lines to transport soldiers during the war now wanted compensation for their service and "patriotism," the same with manufacturers and large agricultural interests as well.  Also after the civil war, the Democratic party being identified as the party of slavery is in disgrace, and the Republican party dominates government for most of the rest of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Between 1860 and 1932 only two Democratic presidents are elected: Grover Cleveland (1885-1889 and 1893-1897 the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms) and Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921).
At this time the Republican party did not subscribe to the free market ideology it has now, instead they stressed a cooperative relationship with business leaders for the sake of economic growth. The ways in which the party promoted industry were threefold: 1) The tariff, the government taxed foreign products being imported into the U.S. so as to encourage people to purchase American made industrial products (this was originally part of Alexander Hamilton's strategy); 2) Currency, the government controls the supply of money, based on the gold standard and the supply of gold. This creates a standard exchange rate between all the major currencies of the world at this time, like the British pound. This also keeps the supply of money small and stabilizes the prices of products which helps the profits of businesses; 3)Putting down labor strikes, the government helps industry put down strikes by workers by sending in soldiers often violently putting down the strikes and killing workers.


William Graham Sumner (1840-1910), who founded and organized the discipline of sociology in the United States at Yale beginning in the 1870s, is writing against this business-government collusion in his essay "What the Social Classes Owe Each Other," (1884) when he says: 


My notion of the state has dwindled with growing experience of life. As an abstraction, the State is to me only All-of-us. In practice–that is, when it exercises will or adopts a line of action–it is only a little group of men chosen in a very haphazard way by the majority of us to perform certain services for all of us. The majority do not go about their selection very rationally, and they are almost always disappointed by the results of their own operation. Hence, "the State," instead of offering resources of wisdom, right reason, and pure moral sense beyond what the average of us possess, generally offers much less of all those things. Furthermore, it often turns out in practice that "the State" is not even the known and accredited servants of the State, but, as has been well said, is only some obscure clerk, hidden in the recesses of a Government bureau, into whose power the chance has fallen for the moment to pull one of the stops which control the Government machine....( p. 302).
Sumner is usually identified as one of the more influential social darwinist thinkers (the most influential being Herbert Spencer, who Chesterton mentions in his book), who develop the liberal conception of "natural law" while also taking the so-called inner worldly asceticism of the Puritans and stripping it of its religious content:
To make such a claim against God and Nature would, of course, be only to say that we claim a right to live on earth if we can. But God and Nature have ordained the chances and conditions of life on earth once and for all. The case cannot be reopened. We cannot get a revision of the laws of human life. We are absolutely shut up to the need and duty, if we would learn how to live happily, of investigating the laws of Nature, and deducing the rules of right living in the world as it is. These are very wearisome and commonplace tasks. They consist in labor and self-denial repeated over and over again in learning and doing. When the people whose claims we are considering are told to apply themselves to these tasks they become irritated and feel almost insulted. They formulate their claims as rights against society–that is, against some other men. In their view they have a right not only to pursue happiness, but to get it; and if they fail to get, they think they have a claim to the aid of other men–that is, to the labor and self-denial of other men–to get it for them. (p. 303)

Social Darwinism, as the name implies, draws on the biological theories of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), most notably the concept of natural selection, more commonly known as the principle of "survival of the fittest."  The social aspect of it suggests that the analysis of natural selection is taken at a higher level of analysis (thus less empirical) the the individual biological organism. This idea was combined with theories of modernization from traditional societies to develop a general theory of social development and more important to create a hierarchy of "fit" societies. Obviously this analysis favored Western societies that were more industrialized and urbanized than other parts of the world:
A society based on contract is a society of free and independent men, who form ties without favor or obligation, and co-operate without cringing or intrigue. A society based on contract, therefore, gives the utmost room and chance for individual development, and for all the self-reliance and dignity of a free man. That a society of free men, cooperating under contract, is by far the strongest society which has ever yet existed; that no such society has ever yet developed the full measure of strength of which it is capable; and that the only social improvements which are now conceivable lie in the direction of more complete realization of a society of free men united by contract, are points which cannot be controverted. It followed, however, that one man, in a free state, cannot claim help from and cannot be charged to give help to, another (p. 305).
Social Darwinism is criticized for being a business ideology, due to its development at a time when industrial interests were rapidly expanding their control over the State (even though Sumner is opposed to this). Later social darwinist thinkers like Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) used this rhetoric to justify imperialism. However, when the U.S. became an imperalistic power after the 1898 Spanish-American War, Sumner became one of the most vocal critics of imperialism and was a co-founder of the Anti-Imperialist League.

Growing resistance to the power of the "Plutocrats" (from Pluto, Roman god of wealth and the underworld, and the Greek kratos meaning "rule") who now dominated the Republican party came from, the Populists, mainly Midwestern and Southern farmers (notably mainly were west of the Rainfall line and had to rely on the government to supply water) who resented the abusive practices of economic trusts, like the railroad trust. Trusts or monopolies are able to control markets by controlling prices. Farmers resented the high rates they had to pay to get their goods shipped to market. In fact, there was a prolonged agricultural depression in the country from about 1873-1893, even as industrialization grew rapidly, the prices of crops, even cotton were steadily decreasing. For many farmers even if they produced more every year they would get less money for it. The movement was limited mainly because of divisions between Midwestern farmers and urban ethnic populations. The indignant response of farmers to what they saw as a corrupt system was not shared by the urban populations who were less likely to oppose the system directly for fear of seeming entitled and were more concerned with assimilation.

The Populists were more sophisticated than many modern commentators give them  credit for and were able to focus their criticism against the economic system and not merely against isolated individuals. Unlike evangelists of today who attribute blame solely to individuals, the Populists, who also used the religious rhetoric of natural law in their speeches, stressed the failures of the social system. In this regard, the Populists had more of a sociological awareness than many later commentators give them credit for, later progressives instead tending to portray them as irrational. 

A national People's Party was formed in 1890 to challenge both Democrats and Republicans, but despite winning some Congressional elections, they were unable to win any kind of significant majority in Congress or gain the Presidency in 1892. However, they continued to grow in popularity, and when in 1896 the Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan, the most populist-leaning Democrat as their candidate, the Populists joined with the Democrats and supported Bryan. The Democrats lost narrowly in one of the most important elections in American history.






Instead politics tended to favor people like Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), who made his fortune in steel. After his death, the Carnegie Steel Corporation was bought by J.P. Morgan, as in J.P. Morgan Chase the bank. It was then renamed the U.S. Steel Corporation which still exists today, the first billion dollar corporation and for many years the largest corporation in the world, although since the 1960s steel production was been on the decline. Carnegie believed in a notion of "benign paternalism" (kind father) similar to the original Federalist idea of the "wise property-owner" who looks after the affairs of his community, now updated to the "wise industrialist" or "captain-of-industry" (the polite alternative to the term "robber baron"). 

Carnegie reflects the dominant social darwinist zeitgeist (German for "spirit of the times" zeit=time geitst=spirit) when he says: 
But, whether the law be benign or not, we must say of it, as we say of the change in the conditions of men to which we have referred: It is here; we cannot evade it; no substitutes for it have been found; and while the law may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it insures the survival of the fittest in every department. We accept and welcome, therefore, as conditions to which we must accommodate ourselves, great inequality of environment, the concentration of business, industrial and commercial, in the hands of a few, and the law of competition between these, as being not only beneficial, but essential for the future progress of the race. Having accepted these, it follows that there must be great scope for the exercise of special ability in the merchant and in the manufacturer who to conduct affairs upon a great scale. That this talent for organization and management is rare among men is proved by the fact that it invariably secures for its possessor enormous rewards, no matter where or under what laws or conditions (p. 328).
Many steel workers on strike were killed or wounded by Carnegie's men, but at the same time Carnegie believed that the proper administration of wealth was not incompatible with the teachings of Christ. Carnegie is also known for his philanthropy and patronage of the arts such as Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Carnegie Corporation which provides funding and grants to academics through organizations like the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

A dramatized engraving recreating the Haymarket Riot, 1886

 Strikes in urban centers had been rapidly growing since the late 1860s and especially after a severe economic depression from 1873-1879. One of the most violent was the Haymarket Riot May 4th, 1886 in Chicago. Even in the present Chicago still has a reputation for being a hotbed of radical activity. In the 1960s, groups like the Black Panthers and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) had large headquarters in Chicago, and was also the site of the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention.
http://youtu.be/KAOXnenrYGA?t=4m20s 

Some activists still refer to Chicago as the "capital of Black America," due to its heavy concentration of black political and social activists including Jesse Jackson (who continued the program begun by Martin Luther King in Chicago in 1966), entertainers like Oprah Winfrey, its importance in the history of jazz and blues music, and of course President Obama's political career began in Chicago as well. 

During a confrontation between police and workers on strike for an eight hour workday, a bomb exploded and police started shooting. As a result of the violence, seven police officers and four protestors were killed, with several dozen more  injuries. Seven anarchists were put on trial for this and four were executed despite lack of evidence tying any of the defendants to the bomb. Unsurprisingly this had little effect in decreasing the frequency and intensity of conflicts between industrialists and workers.




 The Populist opposition of the 1890s was led by activists like Henry Demarest Lloyd (1847-1903), a journalist in Chicago (notable as middle-ground between agricultural and urban interests) who became known as one of the first "muckraking" journalists exposing corruption or abusive business practices. He also wrote articles in defense of the Haymarket anarchists. In an era before there is an organized Socialist Party (1901) in the country and long before a Communist Party (1919), the loose network of populists composed mainly of journalists, farmers, preachers, and professors from the Midwest formed the socialist opposition to the system. 

This pattern of conflict between classes becomes evident almost throughout the world as socialist parties in Europe and then later in European colonies develop socialist parties in opposition to capitalist-led (bourgeois) political institutions and parties modeled on constitutionalism and the separation of powers. In European states like Germany (which only became a unified state in 1871) the class conflict was more concentrated in the urban centers, rather than in the rural areas of the country. The growth of the labor movement and the growth of the Socialist Party in the United States under leaders like Eugene Debs (1855-1926) mark the point at which the urban class struggle becomes more the focal point of class conflict than the agrarian struggles of the 1870s through the 1890s.

Next class we will look more at the consequences of the Civil War for African-Americans and how an evolving political system adapts to the inclusion of African-Americans in the political system (not very well), as well as the development of imperialism.

Assignment (Due 1/22): Choose a passage from Sumner, Lloyd, or Carnegie. Write out the passage, explain the meaning of the passage and its relevancy to the themes of this lecture.

Go to the link for the Labor History Timeline. Choose an event from the period we are looking at (1860-1900), research this event and explain its significance to class politics.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

1/10 Hamilton and Jefferson



Ramon de Elorriaga,  "Washington's Inauguration," 1889
 April 30th, 1789, Federal Hall, New York
Trinity Church is in the background which is also still there today

The high point of Federalist influence in the country was the inauguration of George Washington in 1789,  after designing the Constitution and successfully arguing to get it ratified by the states. For more than a decade, the Federalists would control government. After 1800, they rapidly fade away as a political force in the country and never gain dominance again (at least not in the same form or same name).


This will be the final lecture of the first part of the course explaining the origins and the genesis of the American political system. The final development to be explained is the emergence of the party system, which emerged separately from the Constitution. There is nothing in the Constitution that provides for the establishment of political parties, and as we will see, in the first decade of the operation of the new political system, the idea of party competition was something unforeseen and not properly anticipated, causing major difficulties in the early days of the Republic. In its simplest terms, political parties recruit, nominate and campaign for candidates to occupy the offices of government. 


If the Constitution establishes the separation of powers and the structure of the government itself, then political parties compete to place their members within this structure. In another sense, political parties, have always provided patronage to its supporters as well. Patronage is the practice of providing jobs or other means of assistance in return for the loyalty (votes) of your supporters. The modern political system is really incomplete without discussing the emergence of the the party system which eventually settled into the two-party dominant system we are familiar with today. We will discuss its emergence in the context of rapid industrialization and urbanization in the first decade of the new republic and the conflict between Hamilton and Jefferson (leaders of two opposing parties). 

Washington's inauguration can be seen to be highly symbolic (and relevant for the present) considering that his inauguration was in New York City, on Wall Street. New York was originally the capital of the country, although only from 1789-1790. Hamilton who represented big New York bankers became Washington's Secretary of Treasury, and very little has changed in the relationship between the government and Wall St. bankers since then. 


Even in the present Obama administration there are still several high level linkages between the administration and Wall St, even though the administration is demonized as being anti-business in conservative media. For one, the Secretary of Treasury (Hamilton's old job) is now Timothy Geithner who is deeply connected to New York financial interests, also current Chief of Staff, Jack Jew, and former Chief of Staff William M. Daley, as well as former Council of Economic Advisers chairman Austan Goolsbee (these latter offices were created during FDR's administration).  These are only the Cabinet level positions, the highest ranking offices in the government, and are considered to be the most influential economic advisers the President has.

In Hamilton's writing, you see very clearly the intersection between politics and economics, and he understood (though by no means the only one) that  law and politics are fundamentally about shaping, controlling, or influencing economic forces.


Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton was a member of the Cabinet. The President's Cabinet was a combination of advisors, but also department heads who would run the agencies considered necessary to running the government and carrying out the laws passed by Congress. Originally there were five, each headed by a "Secretary" (similar to a Minister in other countries): State (deals with foreign countries); Treasury; War (now called the Defense Department after WWII); the Attorney General is not referred to as Secretary but is the head of the Justice Department which prosecutes criminals under federal law, heads up agencies like the FBI and the DEA, defends the U.S. in lawsuits, and enforces the law. Finally, the Post-Master General of the Post Office who has since been "demoted" and is still a government agent but no longer "Cabinet-level" which is considered the highest level. Today there are 15 Cabinet departments, other Cabinet-level offices like the Chief of Staff, and various other agencies below that.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/cabinet

The federal judiciary (of which Hamilton was a prime architect) set up under the Constitution also went into effect, along with the Judiciary Act of 1789 which further specified the structure and duties of federal courts. One of the busiest was the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The 94 federal district courts are the lowest level of the federal judiciary. Above them, presently, there are 13 U.S. Courts of Appeal, in most cases these are the highest federal judicial authority most people will deal with if they have to. Higher than this is the U.S. Supreme Court but it limits the amount of cases it hears every year to about 100. 


The primary concern of the Southern District today includes Manhattan and the Bronx and handling cases under "admiralty law" or cases involving trade or shipping disputes with foreign countries or interstate trade from other states. This is a highly sought after position and has been used a springboard for even higher offices, for example before he became Mayor of New York City in 1993, Rudolph Giuliani was the State's Attorney (or federal prosecutor) for the Southern District of New York. This is distinct from the Government of New York State and the City of New York as you completed in your assignments, and you can see now how the different layers of government: federal, state, and municipal all overlap with each other depending on authority and function.
Southern District of New York

Legal matters involving trade with a foreign country come under the jurisdiction of federal law. Since the port of New York was the busiest port in the country, most cases involving disputes over shipping and international trade would occupy most of the court's activity.


New York was already the most populous city in the country. The first census was conducted in 1790 and has been done every 10 years since. According to the first census the population of New York City was only about 33,000. Philadelphia was second, followed by Boston, and then Charleston, South Carolina, and Baltimore, Maryland in that order. According to the first census in 1790, the total population of the U.S. was just under 4 million at that time (today the population is over 310 million, the 3rd largest in the world).





Wall St., New York, The building pictured was the temporary headquarters of the new government
The remodeled City Hall, now Federal Hall
In the early 1700s and even into the early revolutionary period, Philadelphia was considered the largest city. Both New York and Philadelphia had a superior geographical location, a deeper harbor, and a better river system than Boston. Both cities were also considered more open and tolerant than Boston, and so many people moved there and the population grew. New York simply had more of these qualities than Philadelphia and that is why it became the bigger city: it's harbor was a little bit better, it was closer to the ocean, and culturally it was even more open and tolerant than Philadelphia (the city of "Brotherly Love"). 

In the early 1800s the construction of the Eerie Canal linked the economy of New York with the entire Great Lakes Region of the country, and linked completely through waterways. By 1860, New York's population was 250,000 more than Philadelphia's total population. The harbor of New York is considered one of the most "perfect" natural harbors in the world, ironically, the port is now virtually inactive due to years of corruption and mafia penetration of labor unions has raised the cost of doing business so much, that many containers are now unloaded once again in Philadelphia or Baltimore or mainly in "Port Newark" and the Elizabeth Marine Terminal in New Jersey, which is now the busiest port in the country. However, Philadelphia's symbolic stature in the country's history is also secured, because it was where the Continental Congress met to sign the Declaration of Independence, and where the Constitutional Convention met to sign the Constitution.
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania





Second St., Philadelphia
At the time the largest "shopping district" in the U.S.
One of the first major conflicts in the new government was over the creation of a National Bank. Hamilton's strategy was actually part of a larger approach to managing the finances and credit of the nation. Article VI of the Constitution says that the new government is responsible for all debts incurred under the Articles of Confederation (1783-1789). Now, Hamilton wanted to explicitly commit government revenues in the form of new taxes to pay off bondholders who had purchased government bonds. Bonds are debt, so when you buy government bonds or any bonds you are "buying debt," literally you give money by paying for the bond that they promise will pay you back later, when the bond "appreciates." The problem was that in the meantime, financial speculators had purchased large blocks of these bonds from individuals who had purchased them, in many cases to provide support for the revolution, but had become almost worthless in the meantime. Controversially, Hamilton proposed and succeeded in getting the current holders of the bonds the full payoff, vastly enriching a small group of financial speculators. This then gave financial interests in New York a huge advantage over almost any other classes in society, the momentum of which has carried all the way into the present. 

In addition, Hamilton wanted to absorb all the debts of the individual states which would increase the overall debt and lead to more taxes as well. This also angered states which had already paid off their debts and would now have to pay for other states. Taking on all this debt actually established the credit of the U.S. which might sound contradictory. The most important aspect of credit is credibility, in other words, can you be counted on to make regular payments on your debt? That is usually more important then even the amount of debt you owe. On the contrary, most financial institutions are more than happy to lend you more money, assuming they feel confident you will pay them back–that is essentially what credit is. If they do not feel confident they will not loan however, and your credit score is supposed to be a measurement of their confidence in your ability to pay things back. Countries also have credit scores although they use a different scale. In any case, most of the principles are fairly similar even at larger levels although obviously much more complicated. Hamilton's plan was successful and the U.S. began with perfect credit. To this day, the U.S. is still considered the safest market to invest in (meaning putting money into banks to loan out or buying more government bonds) even despite its unprecedented high levels of debt. Again, as long as its credit is maintained there is almost no danger investors or bondholders would ever demand full repayment of their debt all at once. 

This contradicts the argument's of conservatives who sometimes like to place the government debt or deficit as an issue of highest priority (except when they are starting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while cutting taxes at the same time). Less commonly known, but equally important is being the most powerful country other foreign countries would not be able to collect their debts anyway if they insisted, so the ability to exert financial pressure over the U.S. is limited. That is not very moral or ethical but that is the reality (it would ruin the credit of the U.S. too). 

The final measure, as I already said, was the establishment of a National Bank. State banks of course had already existed, but at the time there was not a centralized financial institution that was large or powerful enough to regulate the finances of the entire nation. The advantages of the bank is that it would have more money on hand and be able to loan out bigger sums and thus finance bigger projects, but this would also lead to more economic concentration in fewer hands. Furthermore, the "constitutionality" of the bank was also questioned as there was no explicit clause establishing a national bank. Hamilton's response was that under the "Necessary and Proper" Clause in Article I, that it implies the power to create a bank.  The matter was resolved through a compromise: the bank was approved by Congress and in exchange the capital of the country was moved from New York, to a new "Federal City" which had yet to be built, but would become the District of Columbia, or Washington D.C., located not coincidentally, nearer to Virginia (the base of anti-federalist opposition). George Washington was never in the White House which was not completed until 1800 (Washington died in 1799). This also started a tradition of separating the political capital of individual states from its most economically developed city. Very few state capitals are the largest cities in their state (Boston is the only  exception I believe and that is because its so old it predates this tradition). Albany, for example, became the capital of New York in 1797. However, it took about 10 years to build the new federal capital, for ten years, Philadelphia became the "temporary" capital of the country, although even this decision many believed was the result of corrupt political bargaining. 
 Senator Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, holding a money bag
drags the capital to Philadelphia
In early 1791, as a result of the conflicts over the bank, the anti-federalist opposition began to be mobilized again. Now, people like Madison who were so influential in making the Constitution and was one of the principal authors of the The Federalist, had now switched sides. On top of this, Thomas Jefferson was now back in the country and served on Washington's first Cabinet as Secretary of State. Jefferson and Madison now began to organize opposition to the Federalists and in the process they created the modern political system which we now have in the form of the party system. 

The Federalist "Party" was not a true party or at least not until Jefferson had already organized. The Federalist relied more on personal connections and relationships and was thus informal. They were a loose association of like minded elites made up of large merchants and bankers in the cities of the North, and commercial farmers and large plantation owners in the South. Besides their support for measures like the National Bank and government tariffs to protect their industry they were also pro-British. This may seem strange to us having just talked about the revolution, although in real life terms seven or eight years is a fairly long time. However, economic reasons were of course the main attachment. Simply, many of the goods shipped out of Northern ports ended up in Great Britain, so they depended on the British for trade. 

At the same time, they were more opposed to the French who were at this time going through the French Revolution. The conservative federalists were alarmed by the revolutionary rhetoric and sought to insulate themselves from the French, even though the French had supported the American revolution (the costs of which actually contributed to the breakdown of their government, ironically). Both the British and French had started a policy of harassing American ships or imprisoning American sailors. This would continue for decades, and lead to an "undeclared" naval war with France in the late 1790s, and an official war with Great Britain (as of 1801 the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) the War of 1812. Jefferson, who was former Ambassador to France and was in France during the early days of their revolution was perceived as being too "pro-French." It did not help matters that the French government sent officials like Edmond GĂȘnet, "Citzen GĂȘnet," to stir up support for the French revolution and establish "revolution clubs." 


In 1791, the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) began against French colonial rule, and ironically inspired by the revolutionary ideas of the French Revolution. This was used by Federalists as an example of the "contamination" spread by the French and did not "recognize" the new government in Haiti until the 1820s, despite being the only other successful colonial revolution in the Americas besides the American Revolution before the 19th century, and the first and only successful slave revolution in the Western Hemisphere.

The election of 1792, was the second presidential election (and the only one to occur three years after the first one in 1789). Washington was again elected unanimously. However, the Vice-President John Adams was re-elected but not unanimously, and this began to show the first cracks in the Federalist armor. Conflicts between the Federalists, and the newly formed Republican party–made up of the remnants of the anti-federalist opposition, the new immigrant populations mainly Germans and Irish at this time, and Western farmers–were extremely heated. There is even allegedly an American political cartoon showing George Washington being sent to the guillotine, the infamous execution device used in the French Revolution! No known copies of this exist and it was most likely destroyed. Washington also had to suppress what became known as the "Whiskey Rebellion" in 1794, after Western farmers rebelled against the extra taxes levied against them for producing whiskey. This was interpreted as Hamilton and Washington putting the tax burden on the poor while also stimulating the rum trade which was based on trade with the West Indies and Great Britain and went through Northern port cities.
"Triumph Government," circa 1793
President Washington heads off an invasion of French"cannibals" Jefferson tries to stop the wheels while a dog lifts its leg on a Republican newspaper

"A Peep into the Antifederal Club," circa 1793
Shows the Republicans as "crazy anarchists" and "devil worshippers"
Jefferson is standing in the center with his arms open


George Washington did not decide to seek a third term in office, although this may have been due to health reasons. In 1796, the third presidential election was held. This time the former Vice-President John Adams was elected in a very close election against Thomas Jefferson. Since Jefferson came in second, according to the original rules of the Constitution this made Jefferson, the new Vice-President. So for the first and only time in U.S. history you had a president and vice-president from two different parties, who had just fought an extremely bitter and volatile election–who continue to do so even after taking office.

 This conflict probably reached its climax in the late 1790s with passage of laws like the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Alien Act was the first attempt to limit immigration to this country. While not over-stressing the point, I think I have tried to demonstrate at certain points the political conflicts and the ideologies used in these conflicts back then, are not all that different than what you see today, including the bitterness and the hostility. Not surprisingly, there was anti-immigrant feelings back then too, and federalist economic policies did not really benefit immigrants either. Politically then it should be not surprising they would limit immigration if they believed most immigrants would not support them. The Sedition Act perhaps even more controversially made it illegal to say anything "false" about the government or its agents; in reality of course this was used to censor the opposition.

This is the main issue in Madison's report to the Virginia General Assembly in 1800, who is speaking for Jefferson. Although dense and difficult to read, in this document is arguably the origins of the later Confederate States of America as it contains all the principles later adopted by Southerners, including the right to cancel or "nullify" laws that states decide violate the Constitution and asserts the rights of the states as being equal with the Union as a whole. In other words you can see clearly how the earlier arguments of the Federal Farmer and the Anti-Federalists are incorporated within the newly formed "Republican" Party.
"Mad Tom in a Rage," circa 1800 also shows Jefferson with the devil and a bottle of brandy trying to pull down the pillars of government
This continued until 1800, sometimes known as the "Revolution of 1800," although that may be an overstatement. After a decade of organizing and fighting, Jefferson's Republicans had created a nationwide organization at this time bound together through a network of newspapers, and "friendship societies" established in all the major cities and smaller villages too. One of the most important friendship societies was the Society of St. Tammany in New York City (later known as Tammany Hall), then run by Aaron Burr (1756-1836), a very controversial figure in U.S. history. Its support among the newly emerging working classes in the city were enough to deliver the state to Jefferson. However, Burr in this election tied Jefferson and this set off another constitutional crisis when Burr did not defer to Jefferson. Similar to the 2000 election, the winner was not chosen until February 1801, a month before the President was supposed to be inaugurated (back then it was in March, today its January). As stated in the Constitution, the House of Representatives would then vote to decide a tie. It took however, 36 attempts at voting before Jefferson was finally approved with a majority. The 12th Amendment to the Constitution was later passed in 1804 to address this problem by specifying the votes for "President" and "Vice-President," instead, of deciding based on the highest and second highest number of votes cast. Ironically, Alexander Hamilton from behind the scenes used his influence to get Jefferson elected, his old enemy. Aaron Burr became the third Vice-President of the U.S. He would later kill Hamilton in a duel in 1804 after Hamilton blocked Burr's plans to become Governor of New York.

The importance of New York for the early Republicans cannot be overstated. This established a successful formula for the Republican party as they were able to take the South plus New York in almost every election, and this combination would be enough to win both any presidential election and for a majority in Congress. The party was completely dominant from 1800 to the mid 1820s and the country was basically a one-party government at this time. After the Civil War, Southern Democrats (remember the "Republican" Party became the Democratic Party in the 1820s) were not credible to run for any national election. So, basically until the 1930s, the Governor of New York was basically the default Democratic candidate for President in almost every election (most of the time whoever he was lost).
Election of 1800
Three new states have been added:
Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee
Notice the size of Virginia (largest state) which includes West Virginia
and Massachusetts includes Maine


Election Year
House1788179017921794179617981800180218041806
Federalist37395147576038392524
Republican28305459494665103116118
Percentage Republican43435156464363738283
Senate1788179017921794179617981800180218041806
Federalist18161621222215976
Republican8131411101017251728
Percentage Republican31454734313153747182


In the election, Jefferson's sexual relationship with his slave Sally Hemmings was reported on several times, and their were frequent references to Jefferson's "dark mistress," among the many other vicious political attacks launched by both sides during the campaign. Jefferson's relationship with Hemmings has been the subject of controversy and many writings, but I think what is sometimes not communicated is that this was not an unearthed secret that modern historians found, but in fact, people were very much aware of it in Jefferson's day (and that Jefferson "survived" the scandal it caused). Jefferson was known for his public condemnations of slavery, but equally publicized though less well-known is that Jefferson supported re-settling former slaves in the Caribbean or Africa, he did not believe that blacks and whites could co-exist together for a variety of reasons.


Many modern commentators point out how bitterly divided and partisan (as in supporter of a party) politics is today over the election of Barack Obama, as if it were something new. B
esides that most people can also remember when Bill Clinton was impeached, what is confusing about this is that politics were always, partisan, bitter, and dirty, and vicious. The images for example shown above are meant to be shocking. These are images of the same person who today are on Mt. Rushmore (a prime example of the blending of religion and politics), and the nickel. Yet he is shown cavorting with the devil in these political cartoons. 

The mythical image of Jefferson however which was only created in hindsight, as we can see, is very much intact today. It is indisputable that being the principal author of the Declaration of Independence that Jefferson comes closest to being the true author of the "creed of America" as Chesterton spoke of. As modern historian Gordon Wood has said in an interview, "when Jefferson acts ignobly, we feel as if somehow America itself has acted ignobly" (ignoble being a fairly outdated word meaning "not noble").

Jefferson's contradictions and ambiguities do not end there. He is a perfect example of the complicated mixture of religious and scientific ideas that I have discussed previously. Jefferson uses the language of the Enlightenment which can be confusing at times but he retains the older religious tradition of fraternity and community as integral parts of the political system. Jefferson takes it upon himself to take these older religious experiences but to translate them into modern scientific language, a very difficult synthesis and arguably one he fails to make.

There is a kind of psychology underlying the Federalists and the Republicans. Federalists believe there tends to be a conflict between "interest" which is rational and "affection" which is instinctive, the problem is precisely that people let their affections for things closest to them cloud their interests or ability think in the long-term.  The "psychology" of The Federalist is to at least replace if not destroy the affection people feel for their local government with the new national government. The way to do this was to make the government effective or "energetic" as Hamilton would say, and once it satisfied people's needs or interests their affection would turn to it. 

Jefferson you must remember is not an opponent of the Constitution and wants the people to love their government, but believes this can only be done by building on levels of trust and affection from the local and up. He does not doubt that affections can be misplaced, but that affection for the local community is not "evil" in itself. The political party was intended to serve this purpose as an intermediate body in between the government and individual, local and state governments would have the same purpose. Jefferson did believe however that the Constitution should be updated every ten years or so and is remarked to have said it would be a good thing if there was a revolution every ten years or so! This attitude however does not complement itself well with the Federalist attitude towards the Constitution.

Thomas Jefferson
In his Inaugural Address from 1801, many of these themes can be seen. The Inaugural Address is an important tradition in U.S. politics as it provides the President an opportunity to address the other branches of government and basically explain what they plan on doing. Again, like in many other political speeches you see Jefferson appealing to the common bonds that bring us together, "we are all Republicans–we are all Federalists," sounds almost identical to then State Senator Obama saying the same thing about Democrats and Republicans in 2004 and repeated many times after. He urges us to return to the harmony and affection without which no political order is possible. Contrast this with the Federalists who rely upon economic interest as the primary bond. 

Jefferson, like most liberals, also believed that humans were endowed with a "moral instinct" or "moral sense" a term created by the Scotch-Irish philosopher Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746). In order to preserve order and prosperity, government must develop this sense among the people. His concern was that like other senses, they can be dulled or degenerate over time, he even supposed that people could perhaps be born without a moral sense, similar to how some people are born without a sense of hearing or sight.

Chesterton referred to "Jeffersonian democracy", specifically that the "melting pot was traced on the outlines of Jeffersonian democracy," and many other political commentators would agree that the system we have now did not fully develop until the administration of Jefferson establishes both a party system for choosing candidates for election, as well as increasing the level of democratic participation from the populace. Most of the property restrictions were removed to voting at this time (although gender and racial barriers remained). 

Large segments of the population were excluded from participating in the political system. So, in the second part of the class we will now look at how this system has evolved in terms of the struggles and movements by excluded groups to gain access to the political system. I also know that many of the readings up until now have been fairly difficult to read. I think this is due more from the language used then the complexity of the ideas. They are important to read though for historical purposes; because they are good examples of political ideology; and because they parallel in some ways modern politics, and I think it is worthwhile for the students to see that for themselves, maybe, to get a certain perspective on things in the present. In my opinion at least, the next  readings are probably the best to read. I think as we get closer to the present time the readings get easier to read too.

Next class will be the midterm. It will be posted on blackboard like the quiz. The due date will be Sunday. I want everyone to be caught up with work so we are all on the same page on Monday.

Assignment Due 1/14: Choose a passage from either Hamilton or Jefferson write out the passage and your interpretation of the passage. Then explain why you chose this passage.

On the Link for American Politics, go to the Section "America and Elections." Explain the differences between a "caucus" and a "primary," in part 1 and in part 2 explain how the National Convention selects a candidate.

Also, read this article and compare the events of this story to the conflict between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists (i.e. the Pennsylvania Minority). What are the "factions" at work, how violent has the conflict been, etc?