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A President with No Political Party

September 8th, 2012

In today’s day and age, it’s unfathomable that someone could be elected President of the United States without any kind of political party affiliation — but that’s exactly what happened when George Washington took over!

Oh, sure, back in Washington’s days, there was plenty of political debate.  However, it was restricted to beer halls and assembly houses — and it was on a much smaller scale.  People had their own independent opinions about how the country should be run, but they weren’t part of any kind of political party.  Even when Washington was re-elected in 1793, he still didn’t have a political party attached to his name.

And that’s just how he wanted it!

In fact, Washington HATED the idea of political parties.  He was afraid that they would grow too powerful and, as a result, damage the country as a whole.  Washington thought that a young America couldn’t withstand political opponents trying to exact revenge on one another (and, to him, that’s all political parties were about — getting revenge on your enemies).  He thought political parties would be a distraction to the government — or, worse, that they would lead to people losing their freedoms.

Right before Washington left office, he made sure to let Americans know exactly what he thought of political parties — in hopes that they wouldn’t take over after he was gone.  In his farewell speech, Washington said, “…the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of the party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Wonder what Washington would think of today’s political climate?!

 

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