By June Hurley Young
At the beginning, the American Colonists had an easy time. George Washington never ran for President; he was the overwhelming choice. The hero of the American Revolution could have been King, but he chose to represent the colonists as they established a democracy, a free country with liberty and justice for all.
That’s what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the brand new Declaration of Independence. His ideas of freedom didn’t come from the words of the British Royalty. They resonated with the creed of the Iroquois Indian nation.
We had a brand new country with no political parties. There still was plenty of controversy. How would the next president be chosen? John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were bitter rivals and they ran for president. It was the custom for the winner to be president and the loser to be vice president. What a rocky term that was with the two top men pulling in opposite directions.
Jefferson continued on and became the third president. It was in the first years of our country that the Federalist Party, the forerunner of the Democratic Party, was formed.
WHAT IS A DEMOCRAT?
The party became known as the party that favored strong central government. Its followers wanted laws to hold the thirteen colonies securely together. Unforgettable in the line of presidents was Andrew Jackson, who was elected on his reputation for killing Indians. He filled the offices with his supporters, in what became the birth of the Spoils System. The workers, the farmers, the steel workers wanted representation.
As the years went by, the United States slowly evolved into a welfare state. It takes money to help so many people. It was during Woodrow Wilson’s administration that the federal income tax was passed. Americans were committed to help those in need.
In October, 1929, when the stock market crashed, the economy took a blow that crushed the rich and the poor alike. It looked like there would be no recovery. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president in 1932. He closed the banks and, with Congress, he established the CCC, The WPA and many bureaus to hire and pay the many men who were out of work.
So the nation began to recover. The government would help the people. At this time, the blacks joined the Democrats. FDR led the Democrats for four consecutive terms. He began Social Security, was president throughout World War II and formed International policies with Churchill and Stalin. These years shaped the party as it’s known today.
WHAT IS A REPUBLICAN?
Known as the GOP (the Grand Old Party), the Republican party is actually younger than the Democratic Party. Founded In 1854 by a group of Abolitionists, it elected its first president, Abraham Lincoln, on the platform to free the slaves and end the Plantation system. It’s motto was “free, labor, free land, free men.” It attracted a few northern Democrats who were abolitionists. After winning the Civil War and freeing the slaves, Lincoln wanted to preserve the Union and heal the land. Because of his assassination, many of the party wanted revenge on the South and Reconstruction was a time of chaos. The blacks became Republicans and many Southern families are still strict Democrats.
The Industrial Revolution and the large number of immigrants swayed the balance of power to growth of the Northern cities. Opposed to the Spoils System, the Republicans inaugurated Civil Service to protect government employee’s jobs. Railroads made business more powerful. Many fortunes were made in industry, and the Republicans became known as the business party.
Teddy Roosevelt was a president who epitomized this rugged individualism. We were the land of opportunity and any man who wanted to work could succeed. This was “the American way.” They believed in working hard and getting ahead. Banks and the Stock Exchange were established and industry flourished.
In recent times, this spirit flourished in Reaganonomics. Lower taxes meant people had more money to spend and they could better take care of themselves. The “baby boomers” became “upwardly mobile.” The computer age created new millionaires. States and local agencies supplied the needs for welfare. A college education became everyone’s reality.
The Republicans want high tariffs, low income and corporate taxes, incentives for small and large businesses, a balanced budget, jobs for everyone and a well-oiled economy.
WHAT IS AN INDEPENDENT ?
This voter is an intellectual, a free thinker, someone who prides themselves on being well informed, a non-conformist and someone who takes time to decide for whom to vote. It is in this category that the president is chosen. In Florida, an Independent, someone not registered with either party, cannot vote in the Primary election.
Those registered can still cross party lines and vote in the general election. So when an Independent’s charismatic candidate gets elected, then what? He’s either a Democrat or a Republican and the platform of the party goes into play. The Independent voter has no power to influence him.
Editorial Note: One we know for certain is that the upcoming election will be fascinating to watch. Don’t forget to vote for the candidate you feel is best for our country today.