Founding Fathers and Mudslingers

You think modern American political campaigns are vicious, mudslinging affairs in which no smear is too vile to be hurled? Hah! The modern candidates are nothing -nothing!- compared to the men whose dignified portraits grace our history books. Reason.TV presents just one amusing example:

Remember that the next time you hear someone whine about “tone” and “civility” in our election. And it wasn’t just the Founders who got down and dirty; supporters of Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams  knew how to sling a slander or two:

John Adams lived long enough to see his son become president in 1825, but he died before John Quincy Adams lost the presidency to Andrew Jackson in 1828. Fortunately, that meant he didn’t have to witness what many historians consider the nastiest contest in American history.

The slurs flew back and forth, with John Quincy Adams being labeled a pimp, and Andrew Jackson’s wife getting called a slut.

As the election progressed, editorials in the American newspapers read more like bathroom graffiti than political commentary. One paper reported that “General Jackson’s mother was a common prostitute, brought to this country by the British soldiers! She afterward married a mulatto man, with whom she had several children, of which number General Jackson is one!”

Jackson supporters were riled because Adams won the Presidency in 1824, defeating Jackson by winning in the House of Representatives while losing the popular vote in what has been called “The Corrupt Bargain.” Jackson’s supporters considered the younger Adams to be an illegitimate president and a usurper who stole the office.

Hey, that sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? Now where have I heard that before?

Face it, folks: civil, dignified elections are are much more the exception than the rule, here. Now, excuse me while I go get some more mud to sling.

RELATED: The 10 dirtiest campaigns in US history.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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2 Responses to Founding Fathers and Mudslingers

  1. Rafe says:

    Gordon Wood Has a new article on the most partisan election in U.S. History:

    http://www.jackmillercenter.org/2010/11/the-most-divisive-election-in-history-gordon-s-wood/

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