Topic: Politics/American politics
Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – April 17, 1790) was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading writer, printer, political philosopher, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.
Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation. Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, "In a Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat." To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."
Franklin became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies, publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette at the age of 23. He became wealthy publishing this and Poor Richard's Almanack, which he authored under the pseudonym "Richard Saunders". After 1767, he was associated with the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of British policies.
He pioneered and was the first president of Academy and College of Philadelphia which opened in 1751 and later became the University of Pennsylvania. He organized and was the first secretary of the American Philosophical Society and was elected president in 1769. Franklin became a national hero in America as an agent for several colonies when he spearheaded an effort in London to have the Parliament of Great Britain repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. His efforts proved vital for the American Revolution in securing shipments of crucial munitions from France.
He was promoted to deputy postmaster-general for the British colonies in 1753, having been Philadelphia postmaster for many years, and this enabled him to set up the first national communications network. During the revolution, he became the first United States Postmaster General. He was active in community affairs and colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. He initially owned and dealt in slaves but, by the late 1750s, he began arguing against slavery and became an abolitionist.
His life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and his status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, have seen Franklin honored more than two centuries after his death on coinage and the $100 bill, warships, and the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, and corporations, as well as countless cultural references.
- "Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues" | 2012-09-04 | 101 Upvotes 73 Comments
The 1876 United States presidential election was the 23rd quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 7, 1876, in which Republican nominee Rutherford B. Hayes faced Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. It was one of the most contentious and controversial presidential elections in American history, and gave rise to the Compromise of 1877 by which the Democrats conceded the election to Hayes in return for an end to Reconstruction and the withdrawal of federal troops from the South. After a controversial post-election process, Hayes was declared the winner.
After President Ulysses S. Grant declined to seek a third term despite previously being expected to do so, Congressman James G. Blaine emerged as the front-runner for the Republican nomination. However, Blaine was unable to win a majority at the 1876 Republican National Convention, which settled on Governor Hayes of Ohio as a compromise candidate. The 1876 Democratic National Convention nominated Governor Tilden of New York on the second ballot.
The results of the election remain among the most disputed ever. Although it is not disputed that Tilden outpolled Hayes in the popular vote, after a first count of votes, Tilden had won 184 electoral votes to Hayes's 165, with 20 votes from four states unresolved: in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, each party reported its candidate had won the state, while in Oregon, one elector was replaced after being declared illegal for being an "elected or appointed official". The question of who should have been awarded these electoral votes is the source of the continued controversy.
An informal deal was struck to resolve the dispute: the Compromise of 1877, which awarded all 20 electoral votes to Hayes; in return for the Democrats' acquiescence to Hayes' election, the Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction. The Compromise in effect ceded power in the Southern states to the Democratic Redeemers, who proceeded to disenfranchise black voters thereafter.
The 1876 election is the second of five presidential elections in which the person who won the most popular votes did not win the election, but the only such election in which the popular vote winner received a majority (rather than a plurality) of the popular vote. To date, it remains the election that recorded the smallest electoral vote victory (185–184), and the election that yielded the highest voter turnout of the eligible voting age population in American history, at 81.8%. Despite not becoming president, Tilden was the first Democratic presidential nominee since James Buchanan in 1856 to win the popular vote and the first since Franklin Pierce in 1852 to do so in an outright majority (In fact, Tilden received a slightly higher percentage than Pierce in 1852, despite the fact that Pierce won in a landslide).
The Ohio nuclear bribery scandal is a 2020 political scandal in Ohio involving allegations that FirstEnergy paid roughly $60 million to Generation Now, a 501(c)(4) organization purportedly controlled by Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Larry Householder, in exchange for passing a $1.3 billion bailout for the struggling nuclear power operator. It was described as "likely the largest bribery, money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio" by U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers, who charged Householder and four others with racketeering on July 21. According to prosecutors, FirstEnergy poured millions into the campaigns of 21 candidates during the 2018 Ohio House of Representatives election, which ultimately helped Householder replace Ryan Smith as Republican House speaker.
According to DeVillers in late July 2020, the investigation is far from over. "There are a lot of federal agents knocking on a lot of doors."
- "Ohio Nuclear Bribery Scandal" | 2021-06-16 | 27 Upvotes 7 Comments
United States involvement in regime change describes United States government participation or interference, both overt and covert, in the replacement of foreign governments. In the latter half of the 19th century, the U.S. government initiated actions for regime change mainly in Latin America and the southwest Pacific, including the Spanish–American and Philippine–American wars. At the onset of the 20th century, the United States shaped or installed governments in many countries around the world, including neighbors Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
During World War II, the United States helped overthrow many Nazi Germany or imperial Japanese puppet regimes. Examples include regimes in the Philippines, Korea, the Eastern portion of China, and much of Europe. United States forces were also instrumental in ending the rule of Adolf Hitler over Germany and of Benito Mussolini over Italy. After World War II, the United States in 1945 ratified the UN Charter, the preeminent international law document, which legally bound the U.S. government to the Charter's provisions, including Article 2(4), which prohibits the threat or use of force in international relations, except in very limited circumstances. Therefore, any legal claim advanced to justify regime change by a foreign power carries a particularly heavy burden.
In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. government struggled with the Soviet Union for global leadership, influence and security within the context of the Cold War. Under the Eisenhower administration, the U.S. government feared that national security would be compromised by governments propped by the Soviet Union's own involvement in regime change and promoted the domino theory, with later presidents following Eisenhower's precedent. Subsequently, the United States expanded the geographic scope of its actions beyond traditional area of operations, Central America and the Caribbean. Significant operations included the United States and United Kingdom-orchestrated 1953 Iranian coup d'état, the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion targeting Cuba, and support for the overthrow of Sukarno by General Suharto in Indonesia. In addition, the U.S. has interfered in the national elections of countries, including the Philippines in 1953, and Japan in the 1950s and 1960s as well as Lebanon in 1957. According to one study, the U.S. performed at least 81 overt and covert known interventions in foreign elections during the period 1946–2000. Another study found that the U.S. engaged in 64 covert and six overt attempts at regime change during the Cold War.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States has led or supported wars to determine the governance of a number of countries. Stated U.S. aims in these conflicts have included fighting the War on Terror, as in the ongoing Afghan war, or removing dictatorial and hostile regimes, as in the Iraq War.
- "United States involvement in regime change" | 2021-06-17 | 35 Upvotes 15 Comments
This chronological list of school shootings in the United States includes any school shootings that occurred at a K-12 public or private school, as well as at colleges and universities, and on school buses. Excluded from this list are the following:
- Incidents that occurred during wars
- Incidents that occurred as a result of police actions
- Murder-suicides by rejected suitors or estranged spouses
- Suicides or suicide attempts involving only one person.
Shootings by school staff, where the only victims are other employees, are covered at workplace killings.
- "List of school shootings in the United States" | 2022-05-25 | 46 Upvotes 68 Comments
This is a list of shootings in the United States that have occurred in 2022. Mass shootings are incidents involving several victims of firearm-related violence. The precise inclusion criteria are disputed, and there is no broadly accepted definition.
Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group, run by Tracy Holtan, that tracks shootings and their characteristics in the United States, defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people, excluding the perpetrator(s), are shot in one location at roughly the same time. The Congressional Research Service narrows that definition, limiting it to "public mass shootings", defined by four or more victims killed, excluding any victims who survive. The Washington Post and Mother Jones use similar definitions, with the latter acknowledging that their definition "is a conservative measure of the problem", as many shootings with fewer fatalities occur. The crowdsourced Mass Shooting Tracker project has the most expansive definition of four or more shot in any incident, including the perpetrator in the victim inclusion criteria.
A 2019 study of mass shootings published in the journal Injury Epidemiology recommended developing "a standard definition that considers both fatalities and nonfatalities to most appropriately convey the burden of mass shootings on gun violence." The authors of the study further suggested that "the definition of mass shooting should be four or more people, excluding the shooter, who are shot in a single event regardless of the motive, setting or number of deaths."
- "List of mass shootings in the United States in 2022" | 2022-05-25 | 11 Upvotes 1 Comments
A Red Scare is the promotion of a widespread fear of a potential rise of communism, anarchism or other leftist ideologies by a society or state. The term is most often used to refer to two periods in the history of the United States which are referred to by this name. The First Red Scare, which occurred immediately after World War I, revolved around a perceived threat from the American labor movement, anarchist revolution, and political radicalism. The Second Red Scare, which occurred immediately after World War II, was preoccupied with the perception that national or foreign communists were infiltrating or subverting American society and the federal government. The name refers to the red flag as a common symbol of communism.
- "Red Scare" | 2023-03-01 | 11 Upvotes 3 Comments
"'No Way to Prevent This', Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" is the title of a series of articles perennially published by the American news satire organization The Onion satirizing the frequency of mass shootings in the United States and the lack of action taken in the wake of such incidents.
Each article is about 200 words long, detailing the location of the shooting and the number of victims, but otherwise remaining essentially the same. A fictitious resident—usually of a state in which the shooting did not take place—is quoted as saying that the shooting was "a terrible tragedy", but "there's nothing anyone can do to stop them." The article ends by pointing out that the United States is the "only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years," and that Americans view themselves and the situation as "helpless".
- "“No Way to Prevent This”, Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" | 2023-04-07 | 63 Upvotes 2 Comments
The Alien and Sedition Acts were a set of four laws enacted in 1798 that applied restrictions to immigration and speech in the United States. The Naturalization Act increased the requirements to seek citizenship, the Alien Friends Act allowed the president to imprison and deport non-citizens, the Alien Enemies Act gave the president additional powers to detain non-citizens during times of war, and the Sedition Act criminalized false and malicious statements about the federal government. The Alien Friends Act and the Sedition Act expired after a set number of years, and the Naturalization Act was repealed in 1802. The Alien Enemies Act is still in effect.
The Alien and Sedition Acts were controversial. They were supported by the Federalist Party, and supporters argued that the bills strengthened national security during the Quasi-War, an undeclared naval war with France from 1798 to 1800. The acts were denounced by Democratic-Republicans as suppression of voters and violation of free speech under the First Amendment. While they were in effect, the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the Sedition Act in particular, were used to suppress publishers affiliated with the Democratic-Republicans, and several publishers were arrested for criticism of the Adams administration. The Democratic-Republicans took power in 1800, in part because of backlash to the Alien and Sedition Acts, and all but the Alien Enemies Act were eliminated by the next Congress. The Alien Enemies Act has been invoked several times since, particularly during World War II. The Alien and Sedition Acts are generally received negatively by modern historians, and the Supreme Court has since indicated that aspects of the laws would be found unconstitutional if challenged.
- "The Alien and Seditions Act" | 2023-05-23 | 12 Upvotes 1 Comments
Henry Alfred Kissinger (; German: [ˈkɪsɪŋɐ]; born Heinz Alfred Kissinger, May 27, 1923) is an American diplomat, political theorist, geopolitical consultant, and politician who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. For his actions negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam, Kissinger received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize under controversial circumstances.
Kissinger was a Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1938. Upon arriving in the United States, he excelled academically and graduated from Harvard College in 1950, where he studied under William Yandell Elliott. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University in 1951 and 1954, respectively.
A practitioner of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a prominent role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977, pioneering the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrating an opening of relations with the People's Republic of China, engaging in what became known as shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East to end the Yom Kippur War, and negotiating the Paris Peace Accords, which ended American involvement in the Vietnam War. Kissinger has also been associated with such controversial policies as the U.S. bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War, U.S. involvement in the 1973 Chilean military coup, a "green light" to Argentina's military junta for their Dirty War, and U.S. support for Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War despite a genocide being perpetrated by Pakistan. After leaving government, he formed Kissinger Associates, an international geopolitical consulting firm. Kissinger has written over a dozen books on diplomatic history and international relations.
Kissinger remains a controversial and polarizing figure in U.S. politics, both venerated by some as a highly effective U.S. Secretary of State and condemned by others for allegedly tolerating or supporting war crimes committed by allied nation states during his tenure. A 2015 survey of top international relations scholars, conducted by College of William & Mary, ranked Kissinger as the most effective U.S. secretary of state in the 50 years to 2015. A centenarian, Kissinger is the oldest living former U.S. Cabinet member and the last surviving member of Nixon's Cabinet. The previous oldest cabinet member was George Shultz, who died at the age of 100 in February 2021.
- "Henry Kissinger turns 100 today" | 2023-05-27 | 39 Upvotes 34 Comments