1) 1788-1824  England's Political Influence and that of the Founding Fathers Ends. 
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 the Poor, Women, and Children

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

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

20th Century Summary

6) Elections 2000 - 2020 Political Polarity Increases

7) Editor's Rambling

8) Trump's New Political Era? Waiting for another flip or a conservative victory 10/20/18

Return to Political Economy Internet Library      Please share!


Political Eras

1) 1788-1824 Founding Fathers and England's Political Influence Ends 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, and close ties to Britain, a centralized banking system.  Close links between government and men of wealth who should run government was also desired. The Democratic-Republican Party of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe strongly opposed Alexander Hamilton's Federalist. 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) Jefferson's philosophical inconsistency was typified by the Louisiana Purchase. The constitution did not give the government authority to purchase half the continent. Jefferson ignored his strict constructionist beliefs and his desired for limits to government powers.

6) A Quasi-War with France was minimized by Adams despite 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 first of many attempts by U.S. President
to ignore the Constitution in the name of national defense.
Think the Pentagon Papers

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

8) 1800 cutthroat election
made Adams a one-term president and
 ended the twelve-year Federalist reign of increased federal government power.

9) 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.

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

12) Monroe Doctrine of 1823

It kept U.S. out of European politics and vice versa until WWI.

13) 1828 "Tariff of Abominations created resistance to 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 a post WW II income tax.
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 Jefferson became factionalized in the 1820's so Jackson supporters began to form the modern Democratic Party. It hoped to pass political power from an 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 to make "America Great" 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 the development of a massive transportation industrialization. It  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) Civil War

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 the replacement of the spoils system.  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 the coming progressive movement.


4) 1896-1928 Elections 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. It consisted of businessmen, professionals, skilled factory workers, and prosperous farmers. Liberal opposition meant two unsettled decades called the Progressive EraIt was a period of social activism and political reform which flourished from the 1890s to the early 1920s. Trouble began with Teddy Roosevelt took on the 1902 Coal Strike.  See Terror Episodes Since 1900

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. These laws 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 a 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 prices.

2) The 1898 Spanish–American War fulfilled a U.S. desires for colonial empire and 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 of 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. It 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 to 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 and 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 an income taxes for tariffs. Declared unconstitutional by a conservative Supreme Court, the 16th Amendment made the tax legal.  The Federal Trade Commission Act 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, when  combined with the catastrophic economic effects of Hoover's domestic economic policies, indicated a need for change!

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.

This era may have continued into the 1980s when the Moral Majority and the Reagan coalition were formed. While this Republican Revolution was interrupted by Presidents Clinton and Obama,  politics flip flopped again with Citizens United_v._FEC allowing increased political contributions, Republicans taking control of Congress ,  and then Trump Won!

Continued at   US Economic Normality 1945-2015     World Changed and Good Jobs Disappeared


"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 negated by economic growth and inflation which allowed easy refinancing with little paid back (retired).
Think Can contingent liabilities from SS and Medicare be outgrown?

2) Marshall PlanNATO prevented a 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 ever Cold War nuclear crises, was properly managed.

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

6) Voting Rights Act of 1965 assured minority registration and voting ending a 100 year government stalemate.

7) Vietnam War and Watergate scandal

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 contribute to the Great Recession? How Much?

13) Terrorism strikes on 9/11caused fear that subsides a little, 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 WW2 debt.


6) 2000 - 2020 Elections Political Polarity Increases

The 1987 communication industry Fairness Doctrine exclusion 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 .

The Citizens United v. FEC allowed unregulated non 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 stopping
Congress coerced states expansion

2013 Shelby County v. Holder stopped state preclearance by federal government voting changes
gutting the
Voting Rights Act.  Court 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.



Walter's Ramblings
Suggestions Welcome!


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 nor Syria became Communistic and few of other conflicts resulted in communist governments. Oligarch looking to control these and other lesser-developed countries need money. 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 to control resources and the West fights to keep their current resource share.

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 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. Both Henry and Nixon did not believe in the Domino Theory. Still it was 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. No one asked the correct question. Such statements that "something will hurt the U.S." should be followed by questions pertaining to how much harm will be done, in relation to what and at what cost?  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.





20th Century Summary

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly 

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
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.  
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. 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.

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.