U.S. Political Economy 1788-2016     Please 

Political Eras

Important Events

Elections 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 as a disagreement over the way in which Great Britain treated the colonies versus the way the colonies felt they should be treated. Americans felt they deserved all the rights of Englishmen.

Federalists favored unity through  a strong central government, close ties to Britain, a centralized banking system, and close links between the government and the men of wealth who should run government. Republicans under Jefferson Madison and Monroe  strongly opposed Alexander Hamilton's Federalist agenda. They stressed being more of a Republic where the individual is sovereign as opposed to democracy where the sovereign is the group, the majority.

 

 

1) Executive privilege was used by G.W. to keep Jay Treaty documents from Congress. Other Presidents would claim the right, courts would sometimes have to decide legality. Think NSA data spying.
2) 1791 Whiskey Rebellion against federal taxes failed. It would be the first of many fights concerning federal government taxes.
Think The Tea Party.

3) A Quasi-War with France was not escalated by Adams despite the desires of his Cabinet. He used the Alien and Sedition Acts to limited citizen's Constitutional rights. of those was revolutionary ravaged Europe caused US. A few went to jail . It would be the first of many attempts to have a U.S President and Congress to ignore the Constitution. Think the Pentagon Papers and War on Terror.
4) The "American System"  was initiated by Alexander Hamilton and financed by the  "Tariff of Abominations. It included infrastructure improvements, a national bank to encourage productive Eastern enterprises and a national currency. The tariff caused the Nullification Crisis.
as states wanted to declare federal laws unenforceable.  It resulted with Adams to be a one term president. The fight was over tariffs which hurt middle America and helped business. Tariffs continue until post WW II Free Trade Agreements took their place. Think 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and 2015 Trans Pacific Partnership.
5) First Barbary War was our first on foreign soil. It stopped payment of tribute to Mediterranean pirates. War on Terror Begins.
6) Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and 1819 and 1821 treaties brought Florida from Spain. Later we would use military force against Mexico to expand westward.
7) War of 1812 protected freedom of the Sea and ended hostilities with BritainBy 1814, the U.S. was not being able to settle was caused fiscal problems and defaulted on her debt.
8) Bank of United States failed to have it's charter renewed in an attempt to limit business influence.  But paying for the War of 1812 required such an institution. The battle of North East business interest vs. South and West rural interest continues today. Think
Bailout Prevention Act and the Tea Party.
9) 1920 Missouri Compromise admitted Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state postponing conflict. Think long-term government financial liabilities being ignored to foster political harmony.
10 ) The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 keeps U.S. out of European politics and vice versa until WWI.

Elections 1828-1852 Federalism vs. State's Rights and Democracy vs. Republican, the Fight Begins When the Democratic-Republican Party of the Jefferson became factionalized in the 1820's, Andrew Jackson's supporters began to form the modern Democratic Party. It hoped to take political power from the established elites to ordinary voters.  It supported the predominance of the Presidency over the other branches of the U.S. Federal government. They continued the Bank War by opposing a bank charter renewal of Alexander Hamilton's Bank of the United State. Democrats also opposed Whig sponsored modernizing programs which they felt would helped industry at the expense of the taxpayerThese battles continue today!  Democrats fought Adams and Anti-Jacksonian factions which soon emerged as the Whig party. They were led by Henry Clay who advocated the primacy of Congress over the Executive Branch. They opposed economic protectionism for Northeastern industry.

1) Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced Indians westward.
2) 1933 Compromise Tariff decreased the North-South fight over protectionism.
3) 1838 Mormon War ended with roughly 20,000 Mormons relocated. Think Middle East refugee problem.
4) A failed 1842 J. Taylor Impeachment attempt occurred because he had used his Presidential veto to over ride Northeast bank and tariff issues. Previous Presidential vetoes had been on Constitutional grounds not because the President did not like the bill.. It would be the first of a few politically motivated impeachment attempts.
Think the
Obama impeachment poll and liberal radio attacks on Trump.
5) The Mexican War was settled with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. It increased the U.S. landmass by a third. Slave Power accusations were common. The  Oregon Treaty acquired much of the Northwest territory and what would be six states. England got British Columbia.
6) The Compromise of 1850 postponed Civil War again and the 1864 Kansas Nebraska Act increased tensions.
Think postponing government budget problems.

Elections 1856-1896 Civil War Ends, Northeast Takes Control, The Gilded Age is Built on the Backs of the Poor, Especially Women, Immigrants, and Blacks  The civil War was followed by massive industrialization centered on rail roads, 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.

 


 

1) Panic of 1857 was caused by a low gold-backed money supply resulting from high consumption of European goods. Overbuilding by competing railroads and rampant Western land speculation caused speculative financial problems. Think 2008-9 Great Recession
2) The Civil War was more than a fight to eliminate slavery.
3) Enforcement Acts of 1870-71 were designed to protect Indians and blacks from the Ku Klux Klan. It failed.
4) The Panic of 1873  was caused by a low money supply caused by  the Coinage Act of 1873. Workers blamed cheap foreign labor. It was called the Long Depression until the 1930's when the Great Depression caused more hardship. It would not be the last time immigrants were blamed for worker problems. Think Trump's Wall.
5) The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 added merit to the government hiring process. Thus began the replacement of the spoils system in the federal hiring equation.
6) The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 lasted until 1942. The Scott Act of 1888 expanded the restrictions on Chinese immigration. Think current Muslim Immigration issues.
7) The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 began an attempt to regulate business trusts and decrease their use of monopoly power.
8) The McKinley Tariff of 1890 set a record for high rates. Profits increased as did the price of consumers goods.
9) Panic of 1893 resulted in a  severe depression. Reluctantly J.P. Morgan bailed out the gold standard with $60,000,000. The 1894 Wilson–Gorman Tariff lowered tariffs slightly & created a 2% income tax on high over $4,000 ($88,100 in 2010 dollars) income.  The 1895 Supreme Court. declared it unconstitutional.

Elections1896-1928  Progressives  and Populists Finally End to the Gilded Age But Business Power Would Return After WW I. The 1896 realigning election resulted in a Republican Party forged conservative coalition. It consisted of businessmen, professionals, skilled factory workers, and prosperous farmers. There would be much opposition resulting in two unsettled decades.
Progressive Era. It was a period of social activism and political reform that flourished from the 1890s to the early 1920s. The Progressive movement's had many goals. One was eliminating corruption in government by exposing political machines and their bosses. The  hope was  a more direct democracy. This put election reform high on the agenda. Progressives also sought regulation of monopolistic trust corporations through antitrust laws. They were seen as a means of promoting fair competition which would benefit of consumers. An increase in  post WW I Communist and Union activities caused a fear of anarchy not seen since the French Revolution. A result was a public desire for a more peaceful Republican Party government. It would not be the last Red Scare. 

1) The 1898 Spanish–American War was desired by colonial empire and business interests. Business also had pushed for the 1897 Dingley Tariff Act which  promoted industry at the expense of consumers who paid  higher tariff induced prices. The Gold Standard protected savers from inflation but its inflexible money supply caused hard times.
2) The Panama Canal acquisition of 1903 eventually resulted in improved transportation.
3) Progressive Republican FDR successfully fought  business Trusts. First with the 1906 Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food & Drug Act. The Hepburn Act increased Interstate Commerce Commission regulation of Rail Road Trusts which still managed to control rates and competitors.
4) American Antiquities Act of 1906 created National Monuments and was one of many conservation activities.
5) The  Panic of 1907 needed help from both J.P.  Morgan and the Treasury as more liquidity was needed than Morgan's wealth could provide. Liquidity would be provided by the 1913 the Federal Reserve Act. The FED would be the Lender of Last Resort. The act wax designed by Wall Street bankers who continue to dominate the country's financial activities. Think Great Recession.
6) Democrat Woodrow Wilson would continue the progressive agenda.  The Revenue Act of 1913 substituted income taxes for lower tariffs and this lowered the price of consumer goods. The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 was a major effort to control business trusts. The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 outlawed specific conduct putting teeth into Sherman Antitrust Act. The Federal Farm Loan Act of 1916 increased credit to rural family farmers and the Keating–Owen Act of 1916 temporally lowered child labor abuses..
7) Segregated government continued as Wilson was like
progressives T. Roosevelt and T. Jefferson's he also felt Americans were not ready for integration.
8) The Revenue Act of 1921 and Revenue Acts of 1924,1926,1928 reduced  taxes so only richest 2% paid  income taxes. Think 2 W. Bush tax cuts. The Fordney McCumber Tariff Act was one of many  protectionist measures during the decade. Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 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 out migration. Think current immigration problems.
9)  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..
10) The 16th, 17th, and 19th amendments made some progressive policies permanent.

Elections 1932-present  Party Control Flip Flops Like a Yoyo but Progress Was Made. Republicans were penalized by outrage caused during the summer of 1932 by Veteran Bonus Army deaths.  It combined with the of Hoover's domestic policies and change was demanded.
Continued at US Economic Normality 1945-2015 World Changed and Good Jobs Disappeared

Democrats promoted American Liberalism. It anchored in a coalition of specific liberal groups, especially ethno-religious constituencies (Catholics, Jews, African Americans). White Southerners, well-organized labor unions, urban political machines, progressive intellectuals, and populist farm groups were also courted.

The Good  
1. Health Problems Solved
1902 Scarlet Fever deaths peaked at close to 5,000 and then slowly dropped thanks to penicillin.  
1905 Last Yellow Fever epidemic killed 20 in US as misquote control eliminated cause. 1936 vaccine ended disease.
1916 Measles 12,000 mostly children died. Vaccine finally eliminated most cases by early 1980's.
1918 Spanish Flu 500,000 died in US. This could have been the cause of the post WW 1 recession.
1921 Diphtheria 206,000 cases, 15,520 deaths, mostly children died.
1953 Polio 57,628 cases with 21,000 paralyzed Vaccine followed and Polio is now about gone. 
1957-58 Asian Flu  70,000 died in US.
1968-69 Hong Kong Flu 34,000 died in US.
1985-95+ AIDS killed ten to twenty thousand per year in 1970's.  Annual  deaths peaked at 41,699 in mid 1990's 
and then they quickly dropped due to super drug development and availability. Total US deaths were  658,507. 
By the 1960's
Measles, Mumps,  Rubella and a 1995 Chicken Pox vaccines made childhood safer and more enjoyable as did seat belts, infant safety seats, bicycle safety helmets, and 1962 began the era of government sponsored child protective services.
2. Long-lasting Great Depression Legislation
TVA employed people to build dams, controlled floods, improved irrigation and eventually generated electricity. 
Emergency Banking Act establish the first federal bank regulations and set up SEC to police Wall Street.  Social Security Act created Old-Age pensions, unemployment insurance and disability Insurance. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 set maximum hours and minimum wages. It also prohibited Discriminatory Employment related to federal employment.
3. Post WW II Activity Included Reorganization of Israel resulted in a strong pro-American Middle East democracy.  
Marshall Plan prevented a repeat of the post WW I problems that led to WW II. Germany, Japan and England eventually prospered.  
NATO
officially ended Monroe Doctrine isolationism. 
Federal Aid Highway Act created interstate highway system for national defense purposes and allowed the development of suburbia.
4. A return to Progressivism Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 provided benefits for poor people, education, unemployed and the elderly. 
Civil Rights Act of 1964 finally began the process of moving toward minority equality. It continued with the Voting Rights Act of 1965  designed to assured minority registration and voting and  the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which banned housing discrimination. Social Security Amendments of 1965 created Medicare and Medicaid. 
Environmental Protection Agency was created by presidential executive order. It along with the Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990 increased federal regulatory authority. 26th Amendment of 1971 lowered voting age to18 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990...
5. Taxes dropped benefits increased Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 cut most taxes. Tax Reform Act of 1986 lowered taxes on wealthy. Tax Cuts of 2001 lowered rates for many. 2003 tax cut was the first in a time of high war. 2003 Medicare Part D increase drug benefits.
2010 PPACA
resulted in more people being insured.

The Bad

1. Interned American Citizens in 1942 consisted of 150,000 mostly Japanese men, women and children.
2. Cuban Missile Crisis continued a long Cold War.
 
3 Bailouts began 1975 New York City
$1.3b paid back +interest 1979 Chrysler Motors $1.5b paid back +interest 1982 Oklahoma-based Penn Square Bank $65m 1984 Continental Illinois Bank bailout $14b 1980's Savings and Loan $124.6b [2]
2009-10 Great Recession TARP $24b, Detroit $16b
4. Less Regulation Causes Trouble Financial deregulation began in early 1970's and culminated with Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act of 1999 which repealed the Glass–Steagall Act enacted after  the Great Depression.  Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000  minimized regulation of financial derivatives 
5. War on Terror1 was named by George Bush II and it finally stuck after six months of constant marketing. Attacks against the U.S. had been going on for many years and while an attack on American soil was terrible, putting this conflict of previous wars catastrophes, calling it a war is questionable.

The Ugly 
U.S. Cost of War

1. Nineteen-month World War 1 killed 116,516 from all causes with 204,002 wounded in action. The resulting  peace treaty severely penalized Germany and divided the Ottoman Empire among the winners. These winners continued their 19th Century Western Colonialism, which planted the seeds for Arab Unrest.

2. Four year World War 2 killed 405,399  from all causes with 670,660 wounded in action. Losers were not punished.  Russian Bear having suffered
26.6 military and civilian deaths used their newly occupied eastern European territory to provide a protective buffer.
3. Three year Korean War killed 36,574 with 103,284 wounded in action. South Korea remained free. Japan felt safe and used a small defense budget to build industrial capital and rejoined the developed world. 43. The very long Vietnam War2 killed 58,220 with over 153,303 wounded with few important positive results.
As of 12/31/14 Afghanistan War killed 2,312 with 20,026 wounded with few important positive results. As of 5/29/12 Iraq War killed 4,425 with 32,223  wounded with few important positive results.

Author's Ramblings

1 The idea that Muslims Extremism is behind all military confrontations in the Middle East and Africa reminds me of the Cold War. Then regime change in Egypt and Syria plus Para military confrontations in Central and South American were all said to be inspired by Communist. Looking back neither Egypt or Syria became Communistic and few of these conflicts resulted in communist governments. Oligarch looking to control their lesser developed countries need money and the USSR would contribute to one side and the U.S. would contribute to the other side. Today. conservative Muslims have the money to help local Oligarchs wanting control. 2According to Henry Kissinger's biographer Walter Isaacson, President Johnson's reason for U.S. involvement in Vietnam was the Domino Theory. It stated that a nation A falling to Communism would make it easier for Communism to gain control of Nation B and then Nation C. This idea was already being questioned when Nixon took offices. Still it took six years before we were forced out of Vietnam. Henry's reason for taking so long and not withdrawing in the promised six months was the importance of maintaining U.S. foreign policy creditability. Statements that something will hurt the U.S. should be followed by questions pertaining to how much harm and in relation to what?  About half of the U.S. causalities occurred during the Nixon-Kissinger watch even though both men entered office thinking the Vietnam War was not winnable.