Analysis of Political Eras
Return to U.S. Politics 2/15/19

1) 1788-1824
England's Political Influence Finally Ends
 and the South Has Some Success in Controlling
Northern Business Interests.

2) 1828-1852 Federalism vs. State's Rights

3) 1856-1892
Civil War, Northeast Takes Control,
Gilded Age Wealth Built on the Backs of
 Poor, Women, Children

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4) 1896-1928
Progressive Populism Ends the Gilded Age
 But Business Power Returned After WW I.

5) 1932-1996
 Party Control Flip- Flops
 But Some Progress Made

6) 2000-2012
 Political Polarity Increases as
Flip-Flops Continue

7) Trump's Populism A New Political Era
 or Another Flip Flop?

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Replaced by

see  A Very Brief U.S.History ( 

Political Eras

1) 1788-1824

England's Political Influence Finally Ends and the South Has Some Success in Controlling Northern Business Interests.

The causes of the American Revolution began with a disagreement over the way Great Britain treated the colonies. Americans wanted the rights of Englishmen.
Federalists favored unity through a strong central government, close ties to Britain, a centralized banking system, and close links between government and men of wealth who should run government. Democratic-Republican Party of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe strongly opposed Alexander Hamilton's Federalist agenda of a strong central government. Instead they wanted more state's rights for the developing Democratic Federalist Republic. See Characteristics of Market System Capitalism and Political Economy.

"And Now the Rest of the Story"

1) Executive privilege was created by President Washington to keep Jay Treaty documents from Congress. Other Presidents would claim the right and courts would sometimes have to decide legality. Think NSA data spying.

Hamiltonian economics outlined a coherent program of national mercantilism with government-assisted economic development. Think business expansion, infrastructure investment, Japan, and China.

3) 1791 Whiskey Rebellion against federal taxes failed. It was the first of many disagreements concerning taxes. Think Tea Party.

4) Liberal political revolution
against monarchs ravaged Europe and fear of anarchy swept U.S. political Oligarchs.

5) A Quasi-War with France
was minimized by Adams despite the desires of his Federalist cabinet. He used the Alien and Sedition Acts to limit a citizen's right to disagree. A few opposition leaders were jailed. It was the first of many attempts by U.S. President to ignore the Constitution in the name of national defense.
Think the Pentagon Papers, War on Terror...

6) First Barbary War was the first fought on foreign soil. It stopped payment of tribute to Mediterranean pirates. War on Terror Begins.

7) 1800 cutthroat election
made Adams a one-term president and ended the twelve-year Federalist reign of increased federal government.

8) The 1803 Louisiana Purchase and 1819/1821 treaties with Spain more than doubled the size of the U.S. Later U.S. would force a war with Mexico to expand into the Southwest.

9) Hamilton ignored
British Impressment of U.S. merchant ships, and Chesapeake Affair war fever to avoid war with England.
Madison was not as fortunate so the
War of 1812 eventially
protected freedom of the Sea and ended hostilities with Britain.
10) Missouri Compromise
of 1820 admitted Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. It postponed the coming pain. Does 12/15 climate agreement postpone pain from expected climate change?

11) Monroe Doctrine of 1823
kept U.S. out of European politics and vice versa until WWI.

12) 1828 "Tariff of Abominations resistance slowed expanding business interests. It caused the Nullification Crisis as states wanted to declare federal laws unenforceable Tariffs continued as the main source of federal revenue until surpassed by post WW II income tax revenues. See Nullification Have Free Trade Agreements replaced tariffs as a way to help business at worker expense? See 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and maybe 2015 Trans Pacific Partnership.


2) 1828-1852 Federalism vs. State's Rights

The Democratic-Republican Party of the Jefferson became factionalized in the 1820's so Jackson supporters began to form the modern Democratic Party. It hoped to pass political power from established elites to ordinary voters by ending the spoils system. They continued the Bank War against eastern business interests by opposing the renewal of the Second Bank of the United States. Democrats also opposed Whig sponsored modernizing programs that they felt would build up industry with protectionism at the expense of taxpayersThese battles continue today!  Democrats fought Adams and Anti-Jacksonian revival factions which soon emerged as the Whig Party. They were led by Henry Clay who advocated the primacy of Congress over the Executive Branch as well as Northeast industry protectionism.
The battle of presidential versus congressional power continues today

"And Now the Rest of the Story"

1) Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced Indians westward.
2) 1933 Compromise Tariff solved the North-South fight over protectionism.

3) 1838 Mormon War ended with roughly 20,000 Mormons relocated.

4) A failed 1842 Impeachment attempt of J. Taylor occurred because he used a presidential veto to override Northeast bank and tariff issues. Previous Presidential vetoes had been on constitutional grounds. It would be the first of a few politically motivated impeachment attempts.
Obama impeachment poll.

5) Manifest destiny caused the Mexican War, southern Slave Power was maintained and the Oregon Treaty acquired much of the Northwest Territory. England got British Columbia.

6) The Compromise of 1850 postponed war as did the 1854 Kansas Nebraska Act which substantially increased North-South tensions. Think postponing budget problems.


3) 1856-1892
Civil War, Northeast Takes Control, Gilded Age Wealth Built on the Backs of the Poor, Women and Children

The civil War was followed by massive transportation industrialization which involved railroads, canals and steamships. Massive wealth was created. Farm mechanism lowered the cost of food and this coupled with science made for a somewhat more prosperous middle class. Immigrants suffered

"And Now the Rest of the Story"

1) Panic of 1857 was caused by over-consumption of goods from Europe which lowered the hard currency supply. Also overbuilding by competing railroads and rampant Western land speculation caused problems. Think bubbles!

2) Lincoln's Transcontinental Rail Road construction began just before the Civil War. It transformed the nation  and began federal government grant of lands directly to corporations; before that act, the land grants were made to the states, for the benefit of corporations.

3) Enforcement Acts of 1870-71 was designed to protect blacks from the Ku Klux Klan and to protect Indians. It failed.

4) Panic of 1873 was caused by the hard currency Coinage Act of 1873. It lowered the money supply. Workers blamed cheap foreign labor. Called the Long Depression until the 1930's when it was superseded by the Great Depression, it caused severe hardship. It would not be the last time a lack of money and immigrants were blamed for economic problems. See Mexico, United States barrier. Think Great Recession.

5) Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 added merit to federal hiring practices and began replacement of the spoils system though who you know continued.

6) Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 lasted until 1942. Scott Act of 1888 expanded the restrictions on Chinese immigration. See Japanese American 4 Year Interment.

7) Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 began an attempt to regulate business trusts and harness their use of monopoly power

8) McKinley Tariff of 1890 set a record for high rates. Profits increased as did the price of consumer goods.

9) Panic of 1893 resulted in a severe depression. Reluctantly, J.P. Morgan bailed out the gold standard with $60,000,000.

10) The 1894 Wilson–Gorman Tariff lowered tariffs slightly and created a 2% tax on income over $4,000 ($88,100 in 2010dollars). It was declared unconstitutional by the 1895 Supreme Court. Think taxes on the top one-percent.

11) Harrison appoints four conservative S.C. judges to fight coming progressive movement.


4) 1896-1928 Progressive Populism Ends the Gilded Age But Business Power Returned After WW I

Panic of 1893 dissatisfaction meant a 1996 realigning election with victory for a republican forged conservative coalition consisting of businessmen, professionals, skilled factory workers, and prosperous farmers. Liberal opposition meant two unsettled decades called the Progressive Era which began when Teddy- Roosevelt in the 1902 Coal Strike.  It was a period of social activism and political reform which flourished from the 1890s to the early 1920s. Exposing political machines to eliminate government corruption was an important progressive goal. They hoped to create a more democratic federalist republic by putting election reform high on their agenda. Progressives also sought regulation of monopolistic trust corporations through antitrust laws which were seen as a means to promote consumer benefit through fair competition. Post WW I Communists and unions created fears of anarchy so conservative government returned. A second Red Scare followed WW2. Then the War on Drugs. Then War on Terrorism. Then climate fear. Are politicians and media warmongers making us paranoid?

"And Now the Rest of the Story"

1) The 1897 Dingley Tariff promoted industry at the expense of consumers as it added to consumer goods prices.

2) The 1898 Spanish–American War resulted from U.S. desires for a colonial empire and a desire to help business. 

3) The Gold Standard continued to be a Cross of Gold. It
protected wealth but its inflexible money supply often caused economic hard times.

4) The Panama Canal land acquisition in 1903 eventually (1914) resulted in improved transportation. Think infrastructure.

5) Progressive Republican T. Roosevelt began the regulation of Trusts in 1906 with the Meat Inspection Act, the Pure Food & Drug Act and the Hepburn Act which increased ICC regulation of Rail Road Trusts though they still managed to rate control.

6) American Antiquities Act of 1906 created National Monuments and was one of many conservation activities.

7) Panic of 1907 was managed by J.P. Morgan and other wealthy Oligarchs. But economic growth had made even their wealth insufficient so the U.S. Treasury helped create more liquidity. In 1913 the new Federal Reserve System became the Lender of Last Resort. Designed by Wall Street bankers, the FED would continue under Wall Street's thumb until ... 2015?  
Great Recession. Riots Guns Bribes TR's Contested 2012 Convention

8) Democrat Woodrow Wilson would continue the progressive agenda with the Revenue Act of 1913. It lowered consumer prices by substituted income taxes for tariffs. Declared unconstitutional by a conservative Supreme Court, the 16th Amendment made the tax legal.  The Federal Trade Commission Act of was a major effort to control business trusts. The Clayton Antitrust Act of outlawed specific conduct putting teeth into the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. The Federal Farm Loan Act increased credit to rural family farmers and the Keating–Owen Act temporally lowered child labor abuses.

7) Segregated government continued. Wilson like fellow progressive Teddy Roosevelt and even Thomas Jefferson rationalized that America's people were not ready for integration.

8) Revenue Acts of 1921, 1924, 1926, and 1928
reduced taxes so only richest 2% paid income taxes.

Think Bush 2 tax cuts lowers taxes for almost everyone.

9) The Fordney McCumber Tariff Act was one of many protectionist measures during the 1920's. Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 designed to protect US industries failed to help as Canada, France and others retaliated. A Mexican Repatriation program help unemployed Mexican citizens return home. It represented forced migration. Think current immigration problems.

10)  Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 resulted in the Flood Control Act of 1928. It created the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
to watch over public infrastructure.




5) 1932-1996
Party Control Flip-Flops But Some Progress Made

Republicans felt voter outrage caused by Bonus Army veteran deaths during the summer of 1932. It combined with the catastrophic economic effects of Hoover's domestic economic policies to mean change was needed!

Democrats promoted American Liberalism anchored in a coalition of specific liberal groups, especially ethno-religious constituencies (Catholics, Jews, and African Americans), white Southerners, well-organized labor unions, urban political machines, progressive intellectuals, and populist farm groups. Experts debate whether this era ended and a Sixth Party System emerged in the mid-1960s with the end of the New Deal coalition.

The era may have continued into the 1980s when the Moral Majority and the Reagan coalition were formed and then in the new century with the Republican Revolution. Interrupted by Presidents Clinton and Obama, it may have continued in 1/15 when the Republicans took control of Congress but Citizens United_v._FEC ended it.


"And Now the Rest of the Story"

1) For the first time U.S. leaders used massive debt to solve a major non-military problem (SS and rural electrification ...). Like military debt, this new type of debt would be lowered economic growth and inflation. It would be refinanced with little paid back (retired).
Think Can contingent liabilities from SS and Medicare be outgrown?

2) Marshall PlanNATO prevented repeat of post WW I type international problems and officially ended Monroe Doctrine isolationism

3) President Eisenhower pulled out of South Korean and
warned of a Military Industrial Complex.

4) Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the worst Cold War nuclear crises was properly managed.

5) Social Security Amendments of 1965 created Medicare and Medicaid.

6) Voting Rights Act of 1965

8) Camp David Accords of 1978 was the high point of recent Middle East peace efforts.

9) Tax Act of 1980 began a trend of cutting everyone's income taxes.

10) Too Big to Fail policy rescued Continental Illinois Bank
and signaled the beginning of financial industry problems.

11) Coalition of the First Gulf War in1990 repelled invasion of Kuwai

12) Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act a1999 repealed the Great Depression Glass–Steagall Act. Did this cause Great Recession?

13) Terrorism strikes on 9/11causes fear that subsides and then returns before the 2016 presidential election.

14) Great Recession ended but slow nominal growth means real national debt will drop slowly as compared to after WW2.

 assured minority registration and voting ending a 100 year government stalemate.

7) Vietnam War and Watergate scandal

  6) 2000 - 2016 Political Polarity Increases

The 1987 Fairness Doctrine exclusion for the communication industry meant  presenting contrasting views was not required of radio stations. Conservative and liberal and party polarization increased.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed multi station company ownership and national networks developed. As of 2011, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMediaowned over 800 US radio stations and Rush Limbaugh wealth began an 8 years clime to $400 million .[3] 

The Citizens United v. FEC allowed unregulated nom transparent individual political contributions.

Together they ended Yellow Journalism Political Era which began with the Washington Presidency. It had been slowed  with the New York Times Ochs Era which changed political reporting with a  slogan "All The News That's Fit To Print".


"And Now the Rest of the Story"

1) 2001 Bush Named War on Terrorism begins

2) 2011 Don't Ask, Don't Tell battle conducted on talk radio was ended..

3) 2010 Affordable Care Act survived Supreme Court Political Management  and may begin to solve a long existing problem.

4)  2018 Chinas Emerging Political System prompts Trade Troubles

Part 2 Decades of Supreme Court Jurisprudence.

2000 Bush v. Gore: installed their preferred partisan presidency stating it
should not be cited as precedent.

2012 NFIB v. Sebelius: blew a giant hole in the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion stoping Congress coerced states expansion

2013 Shelby County v. Holder: stop state preclearance by federal government gutting the Voting Rights Act did not cite the Constitution.

2014 Citizens United v. FEC near-unlimited corporate election spending on dark money propaganda but the rich have publically matched dark contributions.