US Democracy's Proud Record

By Everett Carll Ladd. Everett Carll Ladd is professor of political science the Roper Center . | The Christian Science Monitor, November 2, 1992 | Go to article overview

US Democracy's Proud Record


Everett Carll Ladd. Everett Carll Ladd is professor of political science the Roper Center ., The Christian Science Monitor


HO hum. Another free election. Another peaceful and orderly transfer of power well underway.

Nov. 3 was the 52nd time, in an unbroken succession stretching back to George Washington in 1789, that Americans freely chose their chief political executive. The transition now proceeding from the Bush to the Clinton administration is the 20th - 11 in the 19th century, 9 so far in this - in which power has been shifted from one partisan side and philosophy to another, in accordance with the people's choice.

After more than two centuries of such exemplary democratic practice, most Americans probably consider this year's repeat performance an event as natural and inevitable as the sun's rise each morning. In fact, of course, in the reach of history, popularly determined peaceful transfers of power are an utmost rarity. As with so many aspects of our political tradition, it was Washington who got us off to the right start in transferring political power. The man who could easily have been a kind of constitutional monarch for life instead left the example of voluntarily relinquishing office.

At the end of his second term, Washington went home to Mount Vernon eagerly, not reluctantly. Four years later, another important example was set, in the political battle between the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans. In 1800 there was certainly no love lost between the incumbent Federalist, John Adams, and his great rival from Virginia, Thomas Jefferson. The contest between them was as close as it was heated: Jefferson finally prevailed with 73 electoral votes to Adams' 65. For all the charges and high-pitched rhetoric, however, power peacefully changed hands. The tree of liberty may need watering from time to time, as Jefferson said, with the blood of tyrants. But in the final analysis, both sides in 1800 treated their opponents as responsible democratic politicians, not as would-be tyrants.

We can't say that shots were never fired in anger after an American presidential election. Abraham Lincoln's victory in 1860 spurred what had been a simmering slave-state rebellion and led to the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor on April 12, 1861. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

US Democracy's Proud Record
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.