Elections form the foundation of the modern democracy, and more elections are scheduled every year in the United States than in any other country in the world. Campaigns åÑ where candidates launch efforts to convince voters to support them åÑ precede most elections. In recent years campaigns have become longer and more expensive, sparking a demand for campaign finance reform. No one questions the need for campaigns and elections, but many people believe that the government needs to set new regulations on how candidates and parties go about the process of getting elected to public office.
So, the election is over. How can the average American remain involved in politics without waiting for the next election? One chief means of influencing the American government is by joining an interest group an organization that pressures elected officials to enact legislation favorable to its causes.
The Constitution specifically grants Congress its most important power the authority to make laws. A bill, or proposed law, only becomes a law after both the House of Representatives and the Senate have approved it in the same form. The two houses share other powers, many of which are listed in Article I, Section 8. These include the power to declare war, coin money, raise an army and navy, regulate commerce, establish rules of immigration and naturalization, and establish the federal courts and their jurisdictions.
The presidency was created in the image of George Washington, the man everyone believed would first occupy the office. Washington's personality shaped the expectation that the President should be wise, moderate, dignified, and nonpartisan. Of course, the President could not be all-powerful like the king of England. This person had to be sensitive to treading on individual rights and liberties. But especially for the fledgling nation, strong leadership was necessary.
The 21st century dawned on a very different presidency than the one created at the end of the 1700s. Constitutional provisions limited the early presidency, although the personalities of the first three George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson shaped it into a more influential position by the early 1800s. However, throughout the 1800s until the 1930s, Congress was the dominant branch of the national government. Then, in the past seventy years or so, the balance of power has shifted dramatically, so that the executive branch currently has at least equal power to the legislative branch. How did this shift happen?
Just as the power of the presidency has grown tremendously in recent years, so have the numbers of people that surround the executive branch. George Washington began his first term with only one aide his nephew who he paid out of his own pocket.
The evolving power and enlarging scope of responsibilities have made the modern presidency a very big job. Some even say that it is impossible for one person to handle it all.
Harry S Truman man of the people. John F. Kennedy bold, articulate leader with a great deal of charisma. Richard Nixon introspective President with a deep knowledge of and interest in foreign policy. Each person who has held the office of President has brought to it a unique style. Each style reflects a President's character.
United States foreign policy has changed dramatically from George Washington's day. Although Americans always pay attention to the advice of their revered founder, the world is of course not the same. The many people that shape American foreign policy today accept the fact that the United States is a member of a world community that cannot afford to ignore the importance of getting along.
The significance of the first presidential administration under the Constitution is hard to overstate. The Constitution provided a bare structural outline for the federal government, but how it would actually come together was unclear. The precedent established by the first president would be enormous. Washington generally proceeded with great caution. For the most part he continued precedents that had been established under the Articles of Confederation. For instance, he carried over the three departments of the government that had existed before the Constitution.
Washington's towering stature and legacy might misleadingly suggest that the early years of the new nation were times of great confidence and self-congratulation. In fact, just the opposite was nearly the case. Americans knew that the historical record of the long-term success of republican governments was exceedingly poor. Previous examples and classical political theory suggested that republics almost all suffered the fate of collapsing into anarchy and then being taken over by a power-seizing tyrant.
The 1790s brought extraordinary divisions to the forefront of American life and politics. Strong differences about how best to maintain the benefits of the Revolution lay at the center of these conflicts. Hamilton's economic policies were among the earliest sources of tension. They sparked strong reactions not only from elected officials and ordinary farmers, but even split Washington's cabinet.
New taxes placed on whiskey to increase federal revenue cut deeply into ordinary people's livelihood. In the newly settled backcountry, poverty was widespread. For farmers to survive economically, they needed to convert bulky corn and grain into more easily transported whiskey. The new taxes debilitated this crucial economic resource for many frontier settlers from New York to Georgia.
The election of 1796 was the first election in American history where political candidates at the local, state, and national level began to run for office as members of organized political parties that held strongly opposed political principles.
The Adams administration faced several severe tests. It was a mixed administration. Adams was a Federalist. Jefferson, the vice-president, was a Democratic-Republican. Federalists were increasingly divided between conservatives such as Hamilton and moderates such as Adams who still saw himself as above party politics.
No protesting the government? No immigrants allowed in? No freedom of the press. Lawmakers jailed? Is this the story of the Soviet Union during the Cold War? No. It describes the United States in 1798 after the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts.
Students will examine and interpret a population chart published in 1898 — depicting changes in the makeup of the United States across time in three categories, “foreign stock,” “native stock,” and “colored” — as well as an 1893 political cartoon about immigration. Students will also explain the causes and effects of population change in the late 19th century.
Jefferson's lasting significance in American history stems from his remarkably varied talents. He made major contributions as a politician, statesman, diplomat, intellectual, writer, scientist, and philosopher. No other figure among the Founding Fathers shared the depth and breadth of his wide-ranging intelligence.
In part because religion was separated from the control of political leaders, a series of religious revivals swept the United States from the 1790s and into the 1830s that transformed the religious landscape of the country. Known today as the Second Great Awakening, this spiritual resurgence fundamentally altered the character of American religion. At the start of the Revolution the largest denominations were Congregationalists (the 18th-century descendants of Puritan churches), Anglicans (known after the Revolution as Episcopalians), and Quakers. But by 1800, Evangelical Methodism and Baptists, were becoming the fasting-growing religions in the nation.
American intellectuals and artists recognized the need for American cultural independence. In 1780s, Noah Webster declared that "America must be as independent in literature as she is in politics" His own major contribution to American cultural independence came through an immensely influential spelling book to standardize the American language. By the 1830s over 60 million copies had been sold and its descendent, Webster's dictionary, remains a mainstay of American bookshelves.