Protective Tariff

Transformative Presidents In Domestic Affairs: Impact On American Democracy!

With Presidents Day coming up on Monday, it is a good time to reflect on which Presidents were transformative in domestic policy making.

The list of Presidents who made a real difference in domestic affairs would include the following, chronologically:

George Washington—under whom a National Bank and protective tariff, promoted by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, were adopted, having a long range effect on America’s growth.

Thomas Jefferson—under whom recognition of the wisdom of Alexander Hamilton’s economic policies was recognized.

Abraham Lincoln—under whom a promotion of the transcontinental railroad, adoption of the Homestead Act providing free land for settlers, revival of a centralized banking system, and the enactment of the 13th Amendment ending slavery, occurred.

Theodore Roosevelt—under whom conservation of natural resources became a major policy, the first regulation of meat, food and drugs took place, the first intervention in labor disputes without an anti labor attitude evolved, and first anti trust law suits succeeded in breaking up monopolies.

Woodrow Wilson—who accomplished the most domestic reforms until his time, including labor laws, agricultural credit legislation, the Federal Reserve being created, and the first regulatory commission for big business (the Federal Trade Commission) was created.

Franklin D. Roosevelt—under whom the New Deal transformed America domestically with a myriad of programs, including labor laws, Social Security, agricultural aid, and public works programs, with anti trust law suits being pursued.

Lyndon B. Johnson—under whom the Great Society programs, including ideas of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy not accomplished in their terms in the Presidency, were passed into law, including civil rights, education, Medicare, the War on Poverty, and numerous other programs, including consumer and environmental legislation, the most change since the New Deal.

Richard Nixon—under whom the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Occupational Safety Health Administration, and Affirmative Action were passed into law.

Barack Obama—under whom a national health care law was passed, the most significant legislation since the 1960s.

Other Presidents who had an impact, to a lesser extent, include:

Grover Cleveland
William Howard Taft
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush

Back To the 19th Century Mentality: Proposed Amendment Would Permit State Nullification Of Federal Laws! Have We Failed To Learn The Meaning Of Our Constitution? :(

Just as we begin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginnings of the Civil War over the next year, we now see a movement promoted by Congressional Republicans, including future House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, to propose a constitutional amendment that would allow states to overrule any act of Congress, effectively nullification of federal law! πŸ™

This battle was fought by Andrew Jackson in the Nullification Crisis of 1832-1833, when he threatened John C. Calhoun and South Carolina with federal military intervention if that state refused to obey the federal tariff law.

It was also being threatened by Zachary Taylor if any state attempted secession during the debate over the Compromise of 1850.

It was also the reaction of Abraham Lincoln when the Southern states seceded from the Union and seized American military property and bases in 1860-1861.

These were three Presidents of different parties, all from Southern slave states of birth, who were ready to uphold the federal government’s authority over the states, and actually led to Lincoln’s actions against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

But now, a century a a half after this issue was supposed to have been resolved by the Northern victory, there is a push on to allow just that–states refusing to obey the federal laws and Constitution and claiming the right to do so! πŸ™

If the legislatures of two thirds of the states–34–voted for such a repeal of a federal law, it would not be in effect. So far, 12 states have supported such an amendment being introduced.

Of course, two thirds of the House of Representatives and two thirds of the Senate would have to agree to such an amendment, which is hard to imagine, as it would limit their own power and authority.

Additionally, 38 states, three fourths, would have to ratify such an amendment, and that also seems extremely unlikely, as there are more than 12 states which certainly, in a political sense, would oppose such a concept.

While one cannot be sure of the exact dynamics of which states would be opposed to such an amendment, were it to make it through the House of Representatives and Senate, the likelihood would be that the following states would NOT support such an amendment: Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Thirteen of these seventeen states would be enough to stop such an amendment, and realize that there are other states that might also oppose it, including Maine, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico, which would bring the total to a potential 25.

And also realize, in other states that might be seen as supporting such an amendment, all that would be needed to defeat it is a one vote margin of defeat in one of the two houses of the state legislature.

Another consideration is that such an amendment would allow small states with small populations to have equal influence on such nullification, despite having, in many cases, tiny population totals as compared to large states, so even large states which might be motivated to support such an amendment would not be pleased that small states would have an inequitable influence on repeal of federal laws.

So basically, this is all demagoguery, and a sign that many people do not understand their own Constitution, and the concept that ONLY the national government can speak for the nation through the tortorous process of passing laws through our Congress, and that the state legislatures, many of them incompetent and corrupt on a far greater level than our Congress, have no ability or competence or justification to interfere with what is good for the nation at large,whether they like it or not!

A Grim Anniversary: 150 Years Ago South Carolina Voted Secession From The Union! :(

On this day, December 20, in the year 1860, exactly 150 years ago, South Carolina became the first state to vote ordinances of secession and break away from the Union, after many years of such threats going back to 1832-1833 during the Nullification Crisis over the protective tariff during the administration of Andrew Jackson!

Hard to believe, but South Carolina is tonight “celebrating” that anniversary with a reading of the secession ordinance, a party and dance and banquet, as if this is an honorable moment in history to commemorate! πŸ™

It is one thing to honor the dead of the Confederate side of the Civil War, and to promote the history of the Confederacy, as in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.

But it is NOT a time to celebrate or glorify the treason of the South which was out to destroy the Union, and to keep African Americans in slavery for all time! πŸ™

This is unfortunate proof of the reality that the old scars of the Civil War remain much too fresh and unhealed, and that we have a long way to go before we can say that this nation is “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!”