The Founding Fathers Tried to Warn Us About the Threat From a Two-Party System

Polls show that a majority of Americans say that both the Republicans and Democrats are doing such a poor job representing the people that a new, third party is needed.

I’ve repeatedly warned that there is a scripted, psuedo-war between Dems and Repubs, liberals and conservatives which is in reality a false divide-and-conquer dog-and-pony show created by the powers that be to keep the American people divided and distracted. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

In fact, the Founding Fathers warned us about the threat from a two party system.

John Adams said:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

George Washington agreed, saying in his farewell presidential speech:

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Brian Fitzpatrick

    GO RON PAUL. Thanks George. Brian

  • Rene

    Thats funny because the ‘winner takes all’ method always leads to two parties, should’ve gone with proportional representation :P

    • lessgov

      exactly…. the founders of this nation did much correctly but the two party system has turned into a disaster. unfortunately no one cared as long as they had two SUV’s in the driveway. illegal, unnecessary wars didn’t get them into the streets, nor did the wanton diminution of our personal liberties. everyone was going to get rich by investing in the stock market and that’s all that mattered. whoops……

      • Tom

        Illegal wars got them into the streets in the 60s. Someone shot a president and the wars continued. For this to work we somehow need an overhaul of the system. Clearly the math is bad and the formula have been stretched to their extrapolative limits.

  • Pingback: Polls: Americans Want Our Liberties Restored, Our Troops Brought Home and the Federal Reserve Reined In

  • Pingback: Today’s Links September 28, 2011 | JDreport news and more, Read between the headlines and wake-up.

  • John

    We need for everyone to push Ron Paul up to the media in ways that will make front page.
    Like use a cell system for everyone to call-in his name as the best one for 2012 or ask why he is not mentioned as often as should be when placing 2 or 3 in a debate, straw poll etc. We need one government not a two party system but a republic of one government.

    JDP

  • Rob Englert

    I certainly agree with Ron Paul about these wars. This country took a wrong turn when the Neo Cons. took power and thought we could comtrol the world. I think alot of fhis is just war profiteering. Eisenhower was right.

  • Pingback: Wall Street Protest Growing - Washington's Blog

  • Travis Ogle

    We need far less government and definitely not a two party system. Our system should be as diverse, and include as many factions as it takes to allow freedom from those that seek to use the exclusive power of government in a reign of tyranny over citizens.

    The vast diversity of opinion characteristic of the human race, requires us to forgo the “one size fits all” approach to government and make allowances for the peace and freedom of all the people. This can only be achieved by not only multiple political parties but multiple governments to support them.

    We will never be free until we can know in our hearts that the dictates of our government are acceptable to us not because of the force which can be used against us to make us comply but solely because we voluntarily espouse those dictates.

    Travis Ogle
    Pensacola, FL

    • http://barnetnet.net Tactical Grace

      Very well said. I have often wondered why we don’t adapt the parliamentary system, it seems to work well for all that use it.

      • http://www.economic-undertow.com/ steve from virginia

        Yeah … like Greece … UK … Spain …. Portugal.

        No system is any better than those who make use of it.

  • Pingback: NYC Transit Union Joins Occupy Wall Street | Philosophers stone

  • Pingback: Wall Street Protest Growing « The Destructionist

  • Mike L

    We need to pressure our elected officials to implement instant runoff voting (aka ranked-choice voting), rather than the current system in which the person with the most votes (yet not a majority) wins, yet a “third-party” candidate can act as a spoiler by splitting the votes of another candidate. We should be able to say, for example, “My first choice is Nader, my second choice is Gore, my third choice is Bush,” and then when Nader has the least votes, our second choices go into effect for Gore. This would benefit all third parties, right, left, and center, as people would no longer be afraid to vote for third-party candidates, knowing that their vote would not have unintended effects and that the candidate would actually have a chance.

  • Pingback: Major Unions Join Wall Street Protest « DamonHartley.com

  • Jeff Davis

    There’s only one party. They take turns. It’s a rigged game.

  • Pingback: Americans Are Protesting for the Same Reasons Arabs Are Protesting: Corruption, Unemployment and Rising Food Prices - Washington's Blog

  • john mccrevey

    Government is not a Party
    In his 1796 Farewell Address George Washington warned against the danger and baneful effects of the spirit of party. (bold and underline added)
    “Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.”
    *************
    “I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.
    This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
    The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
    Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
    It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
    There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”
    For the full text go to http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washington.asp
    *********************
    Thus the problem of political party tribalism has been recognized from the start. Today, however, most modern Americans are delusional about the sanctity of the ‘two party system’. The two party system has become the warring factions of a single party with incumbency supported by lobbyist money and lobby written legislation. It is time to do away with political parties as they apply to the national Congress. There is no reason that an elected Representative or Senator should have more loyalty to a group outside of his own jurisdiction than to the people who live in his area of responsibility.
    There are practical steps to take to correct this situation.
    1) Elect people who will work to do away with the House and Senate rules which keep them from focusing on the real problems and issues which must be addressed in the country’s interest. When a majority party can control a legislative agenda to the point of irrelevance it is time to question the utility and function of the entire organization.
    2) All campaign contributions must come from within the district or state for which the election is being held. No national funds to any Representative or Senate campaign. If an incumbent or challenger can’t raise enough funds from his own area of responsibility does this not mean that outsiders are helping to elect him or her? Does this not dilute our concept of democracy?
    3) No contribution of over one thousand dollars per person or business entity per election will be allowed. This means no more throwing of large amounts of funds at more than one candidate as a guard against being on the wrong side after the votes are tallied. The one thousand dollars could be split between candidates but, hopefully, would not be enough to curry special favor.
    4) The candidate may contribute to his own campaign only matching funds. That is, he can contribute only up to the level of the total funds contributed by others under rules 2 and 3 above.
    The above reforms would be a start to rescuing the Republic from the Parliamentary Dictatorship under which we now suffer. Local political involvement would be increased and we may actually elect legislators who know when the campaigning is over and the legislative job begins.
    And in conclusion: “A faction or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Pingback: Today’s Links October 1, 2011 | JDreport news and more, Read between the headlines and wake-up.

  • Pingback: Conservative Groups Support Protests

  • Pingback: Conservatives Support Protests, Michael Moore Does Not Represent OWS | Independent News Hub

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Take Over Occupy Wall Street Protests

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Take Over Occupy Wall Street Protests | Victors Post

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Take Over Occupy Wall Street Protests | Dark Politricks

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Co-Opt the Protests | The Big Picture

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Take Over Occupy Wall Street Protests | PEOPLEUNLIKEUS

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Take Over Occupy Wall Street Protests « The Destructionist

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Co-Opt the OWS Protests | Jackpot Investor

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Co-Opt the OWS Protests : Invest My Money

  • Pingback: OWS Organizers Blast Moveon.org For Attempting to Co-Opt Protest for Democratic Party | 2012: What's the 'real' truth?

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Take Over Occupy Wall Street Protests | Independent News Hub

  • Pingback: Move On Tries to Take Over Occupy Wall Street Protests | Set You Free News

  • Pingback: Too Smart For The Democrats « TheCenterLane.com

  • Ghales

    There are just a few annoying problems with a third party. Like with Nader (whom I supported), it divided us and left us with republicans in charge. Every time someone new comes along we just get more years of the same.
    However, much as I dislike what I am about to say, I wish we could just get the indies and issue voters to agree to fill the dem party with more voices that will get what we want much sooner than later.
    I have been watching this debacle grow for 25 years now and it just gets worse. I can’t wait another 25 to try to grow another party. We have a better chance of getting decent reform to legislation by flooding the local and state dems and affecting who they choose to put in office in the first place.
    The liberals were very effectively demonized and pushed aside by the red-herring issues of the ‘welfare queen’, the abortion issue and then illegal aliens. All we got in return for that devisiveness was their going behind our back and effectively gutting every law that protected us from the growth of these too big to fail cancers called the military, bankers, outsourcing and wallstreet.
    Think about it for a while. It will work faster.

  • Pingback: Is Anyone Dumb Enough to Believe that Obama Supports the 99%?

  • Tomas

    Remove the money, outlaw lobbyists, impose term limits. This is simple psychology, remove the rewards for the current behavior, which only attracts those who want to participate in such an immoral enterprise. Once the only rewards are those that come from serving the citizens, under the framework of the Constitution, then perhaps we’ll see better outcomes.

    The law also needs a thorough flushing. To much garbage legislation, built upon faulty logic has given us so much that is unconstitutional, yet manages to be “legal” under the current system, but certainly not moral.

    Finally, as we all realize, the federal reserve needs shuttered now. It only serves one master, and that master isn’t govt nor the citizens.

    Of course there are thousands of inequities that require addressing. Perhaps with moral leadership, those can start being corrected too.

  • Pingback: Who Is to Blame: Washington Or Wall Street?

  • Pingback: Who Is to Blame: Washington Or Wall Street? | The Big Picture

  • Pingback: Macro Economics – Who Is to Blame: Washington Or Wall Street?

  • Pingback: 11 Articles On “Occupy Wall St” Protests « Truth11

  • InnerCynic

    Well, if the founders objected so much to this idea then they failed. Maybe even deliberately. Why not a Parliamentary system, as the one they themselves were quite aware of, instead of the abomination we have today?

    • wysinwyg

      Because the founders thought it would be dangerous to have executive and legislative functions in the same governing body. They were pretty explicit about their reasoning on that. The UK has seen fit to demonstrate that this is indeed a bad idea.

      • InnerCynic

        While I agree there is danger there, as in any political “system”, at least you would have the “option” of more voices but as it is now those are constantly drowned out within the duopoly we have.

        • MeanOldMan

          I would add that I also like the ability to make legislators more accountable. It’s far easier to force the government to listen to the people it seems in a parliamentary system.

          • Tenken Ryu

            How about eliminating the electoral college, make it mandatory for students to pass the same test illegals have to take to earn their citizenship or else they cannot get licenses or drink. Make it a mandatory thing to take a government class in college and pass the same test every 5 years or face a fine. that way people vote smarter, and thus eliminating the electoral college system.

          • Elizabeth Harrison

            ummm…most people do not make it through high school!

            sorry you are in some middle class American bubble but the poor and working class Americans sadly don’t always value education. (Both of my own parents and brother dropped out of High School.)

            I do agree with you on the fact that everyone should be more educated. Specially on our own government! – In my own college government class there was a girl sitting next to me, who asked what Congress was!

            So I think our focus should be K-12th!! but at least in Texas our Governor keeps cutting funding for our Education system…

            I think Politicians prefer their voters to be uneducated!!

          • Tenken Ryu

            There lies the problem. People don’t realize they need it until they work long hours at a job they don’t like. It took me many years after high school to get back into college. It took poverty to make me realize this. I never was the person to get government handydowns. I was always a hard worker and still am. If we continue to live under government prorgrams, then we will breed a country of lazy people. Many people come from countries that don’t have 1/10 of what we offer. They come to learn and have a better life, often times even graduate at universities because they cannot get the same benefits we do. They take exams to see if they can become citizens, prove that they can be citizens. I think citizenship needs to be earned, not given. People tend to appreciate it more when earned through hard work than just given. Don’t get me wrong, some people honestly need government help, those should not be denied to them. Our forefathers fought and paid the ultimate price for their freedom, and see what great nation they have built from their hard work. Now this society is destroying what they worked so hard to achieve.

    • the human condition

      you and karsh skore need to carry signs when in public to alert the rest of us.

  • John Owens

    Actually, PLEASE REREAD ADAMS AND WASHINGTON’s ACTUAL WORDS. Don’t read the person who NARRATED and authored the article. It is the evil of parties in general that Adams is actually denigrating. Adams’ comment is confusing because he says “2 party system”, but the evil he decries is in reference to people rallying under a party leader. He doesn’t say more parties will make it better. Washington is more clear. He is talking about the inherent evils in political parties themselves. But, nowhere does he prescribe that there should be MORE parties. He uses words like “spirit of revenge”, “men seek…the absolute power of an individual”, “duty of wise people to discourage and restrain it (parties)”, and regarding parties he says, “it is a spirit not to be encouraged.” You see, Washington complained that parties were dangerous. Adams said 2-party systems were bad, but neither said the answer was to have MORE parties! The name of the article is misleading at best.

    • Ian

      True, but it still has some accuracy. They warned us of parties in general.

    • Robinson Nation

      Im not sure why you’d defend our current system to begin with. #Disgusting

    • http://www.facebook.com/DavesComputerRehab Dave Saba

      The title is NOT misleading… You were mislead by your own accord when you read the first line of the article about a poll Into the title.. You are the misleading one my dear sir…

    • OpinionPost.com

      How do you absorb that from John Adams quote above? Is it out of context or something?

    • DanJR

      I would say that in all my renderings of the Fathers, we are to continually seek wisdom and advice from their works, especially the Federalist Papers which shine light in a lot of the dark areas of politics today.

      I think what the Founders would most want for us Americans today would be for us to return to our roots.

      We should promote the good of the country ahead of our party politics and really try to put forth legislation that will give us security in finances and stabilize our way of life…. hopefully in a peaceful spirited way.

  • Washington76

    Who’s Afraid of an Open Debate? The Truth About the Commission on Presidential Debates

    The 2012 Debates – Memorandum of Understanding Between the Obama and Romney Campaigns By MARK HALPERIN | October 15, 2012

    http://thepage.time.com/2012/10/15/the-2012-debates-memorandum-of-understanding-between-the-obama-and-romney-campaigns/

  • Washington76

    An informative lecture series!

    “Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression” by Dr. Thomas E. Woods, Jr., a senior fellow in history at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, presents this fifteen-lecture course covering the material in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. Lecture 11

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHbgeer0-gE

  • karsh skore

    the answer is simple a one party super system

    • TROLOLOLOLOL

      The answer to 1984 is 1776.

  • matt34552

    The issue the founding fathers were affraid of was the parties becoming more important than the people and the United States as a whole. Which is what has happened.

 

 

Twitter