Moderate Reformers

Moderate Reformers


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In 1815 a small group of middle-class men who favoured parliamentary reform began meeting at the home of John Potter. Members of the group included John Edward Taylor, Archibald Prentice, John Shuttleworth, Joseph Brotherton, William Cowdroy, Thomas Potter and Richard Potter, William Harvey and Edward Baxter. Meetings took place in John Potter's back room and this became known as Potter's Planning Parlour. The group strongly objected strongly to a system that denied such important industrial cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, representation in the House of Commons. The group was also totally opposed to the Corn Laws that had been passed in 1815.

The group favoured a gradualist path to parliamentary reform. Although they were not opposed to universal suffrage in principal, they were concerned about people without education receiving the vote. John Potter's group disapproved of the methods and political style of national Radical leaders such as Henry 'Orator' Hunt' and Richard Carlile. The Manchester moderates were also critical of local Radicals such as Joseph Johnson and John Knight, who they accused of encouraging class hatred.

One member of the group, William Cowdroy, owned and edited the Manchester Gazette. John Edward Taylor, Archibald Prentice and John Shuttleworth, all contributed regular articles for the newspaper. As well as parliamentary reform and religious toleration, they also wrote about the importance of Free Trade and the need to repeal the Corn Laws.

All the men held Nonconformist religious views. One of the most common phrases used in their speeches was that "Jesus Christ was the Greatest Reformer". John Edward Taylor, John Shuttleworth, Richard Potter and Thomas Potter were all Unitarians, Archibald Prentice was a Presbyterian and Joseph Brotherton was a member of the Bible Christian Church. They all supported Joseph Lancaster and his Nonconformist schools movement and were all strong believers in religious toleration.

I met Edward Baxter and John Edward Taylor, afterwards of the Manchester Guardian. Baxter was a man of great energy, whose prosperity in business had not abated his earnestness for reform, and Taylor had a youthful ardour for liberty. Through them I became acquainted with a little circle of men, faithful, among the faithless, to liberal principles, who subsequently threw the shield of their protection over the intended victims of government oppression.

Joseph Brotherton, who, then in his country cottage in Oldfield Lane, gave quiet expression to the principles of free trade and peace, which he afterwards boldly asserted in the House of Commons; William Harvey, Brotherton's worthy brother-in-law; Richard Potter, afterwards an M.P. for Wigan; Thomas Potter, afterwards Sir Thomas, and first mayor of Manchester, benevolent, strong of purpose, and energetic, always willing to aid the cause of reform; John Shuttleworth, afterwards alderman, eloquent, intellectual, and bold; Absalom Watkin, giving himself more to literature than to politics, was, nevertheless, on the way to useful action.

John Shuttleworth and John Edward Taylor could sell their cotton to men who could not buy it cheaper elsewhere. In like manner, Thomas and Richard Potter could sell their fustians, Joseph Brotherton and William Harvey their yarns, Baxter his ginghams and shirtings, and I my fine Glasgow muslins. And yet our position was uncomfortable. We were safe ourselves, but every day brought us report of wrong and outrage done to our humble fellow countrymen - wrong and outrage which we felt could not fully redress. We thought, in our own cheerful homes, of the poor men in prison for alleged political offences - the main offence being that they, like ourselves, were of opinion that our representative system was susceptible of amendment. The whole aspect of society was unfavourable. The rich seemed banded together to deny the possession of political rights; and the poor seemed to be banding themselves together in an implacable hatred to their employers, who were regarded as their oppressors.


Moderate Reformers - History

  • The extremists talked of democracy and talked of broadening the social base of the national movement.
    • Extremists had wide social base of political agitations, they involved lower middle class and middle class public apart from educated class of people.
    • The Extremists gave new slogans to the Indian nationalist movement- ‘non cooperation, passive resistance, mass agitation, self reliance, discipline of suffering’ etc.
    • They adopted extra constitutional methods of boycott, etc.
    • Thus the main focus of their politics was
      • to get a larger share for Indians in the administration of their country and
      • to end Britain’s economic exploitation of India.
      • That is why despite their high idealism, they failed to create a solid mass base for their movement.
      • The militant nationalists drew inspiration from India’s past, invoked the great Episodes in the history of the Indian people, and tried to instill national pride and self-respect among the Indian people.
      • The militant nationalist leaders emphasized that it would only bring about an inferiority complex among the Indians and repress their national pride and self-confidence so vital to the struggle for freedom.
      • The militant nationalists revived the memories of the Vedic past of the Hindus, the great phase of the regimes of Asoka and Chandragupta, the heroic deeds of Rana Pratap and Shivaji, the epic patriotism of Rani Laxmibai. They propounded that the Indian people were endowed with a special spiritual consciousness.
      • Though all of them were highly educated and greatly influenced by English literature and political ideas, and institutions, they drew heavily from the traditional culture and civilization of India rather than from the West.
      • All of them felt the necessity for changing the outlook of Indians in the light of the advancement made by the West in the fields of science and technology and also the need for reforming the society and the religion.
      • Historical figures who had demonstrated valour and prowess were now projected as national heroes.
        • Tilak started the Shivajifestival in Maharashtra in April 1896 and soon these ideas became popular in Bengal, where a craze for national hero worship began.
        • The Marathas, Rajputs and Sikhs-stereotyped in colonial ethnography as ‘martial races‘-were now placed in an Aryan tradition and appropriated as national heroes.
        • Ranjit Singh, Shivaji and the heroes culled from local history like Pratapaditya and Sitaram, even Siraj-ud-daula, were idolised as champions of national glory or martyrs for freedom.
        • A physical culture movement started with great enthusiasm with gymnasiums coming up in various parts of Bengal to reclaim physical prowess but the emphasis remained on spiritual power and self-discipline that claimed superiority over body that was privileged in the Western idea of masculinity.
        • The Indian tradition was described as more democratic with strong emphasis on village self-government.
        • The concept of dharma, it was argued, restricted the arbitrary powers of the king and the republican traditions of the Yaudheyas and Lichchhavis indicated that the Indian people already had a strong tradition of self-rule.
        • This was directly to counter the colonial logic and moderate argument that British rule was an act of providence to prepare Indians for self-government.

        The Extremist Programme of Action:

        • The radicalisation was visible in the method of agitation, as from the old methods of prayer and petition they moved to that of passive resistance. This meant opposition to colonial rule through
          • violation of its unjust laws,
          • boycott of British goods and institutions, and
          • development of their indigenous alternatives, i.e., swadeshi and national education.
          • Lala Lajpat Rai explained that the original idea behind boycott of British goods was to cause pecuniary loss to the British manufacturers and thus secure their sympathy and help for getting the partition of Bengal annulled.
          • Soon it was discovered that economic boycott might prove a powerful weapon against economic exploitation by British and injuring British interests in India.
          • The Extremists tried to enlist the students in their service.
          • When the Government threatened to take disciplinary action against the students, the national leaders advocated national universities independent of Government control.
          • Guroodas Banerjee headed the Bengal Council of National Education.
          • Bengal National Collage was established at Calcutta and a large number of national schools sprang up in East Bengal.
          • In Madras the Pachaiappa National College was set up. In the Panjab the D.A.V. movement made considerable headway.
          • Voluntary associations were set up for rural sanitation, preventive police duties, regulation of fairs and pilgrim gatherings for providing relief during famines and other national calamities.
          • Arbitration Committees were set up to decide civil and non cognizable disputes.
          • The object of the co operative movement was explained by B.C. Pal as to create a strong civic sentiment in the people with the help of cooperative organisations to train them gradually for the heavier responsibility of free citizenship/

          Extremist leaders:

          • Lal Bal Pal (Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal) were a triumvirate of assertive nationalists in British-ruled India in the early 20th century, from 1905 to 1918.
            • They advocated the Swadeshi movement involving the boycott of all imported items and the use of Indian-made goods in 1907 during the anti-Partition agitation in Bengal which began in 1905.
            • The militant nationalist movement gradually faded with the arrest of its main leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak and retirement of Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh from active politics.

            Lala Lajpat Rai (Punjab Keshari)

            • Lala Lajpat Rai (28 January 1865 – 17 November 1928) was an Indian Punjabi author and politician.
            • He sustained serious injuries by the police when leading a non-violent protest against the Simon Commission and died less than three weeks later.
              • Despite being injured, Rai subsequently addressed the crowd and said that “I declare that the blows struck at me today will be the last nails in the coffin of British rule in India”.
              • However, in a case of mistaken identity, Bhagat Singh was signalled to shoot on the appearance of John P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police.
              • He was shot by Rajguru and Bhagat Singh while leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore on 17 December 1928.
              • In November, however, he was allowed to return when the viceroy, Lord Minto, decided that there was insufficient evidence.
              • Lajpat Rai’s supporters attempted to secure his election to the presidency of the party session at Surat in December 1907, but elements favouring co-operation with the British refused to accept him, and the party split over the issues.
              • Thus, Swaraj was the first requisite for a nation and reforms or good government could be no substitute for it.

              Bipin Chandra Pal

              • BC Pal founded journal ‘New India’.
              • Sri Aurobindo referred to him as one of mightiest prophets of nationalism.

              Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak

              • Within Congress, TIlak was foremost extremist. He was called father of Indian unrest by Valentine Chixole.
              • He founded Ganesh Festival Committee in 1893, organised no tax campaigns in famine affected Bombay Presidency in 1894, and founded Shivaji Festival Committee in 1895.
              • Deccan Education Society came into existence after Shri Vishnushastri Chiplunkar founded New English School along with Tilak, in 1880.
              • Tilak started two weeklies, Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta in English in 1880–81 with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar as the first editor. By this he was recognized as ‘awakener of India’.
              • During late 1896, a Bubonic plague spread from Bombay to Pune, and by January 1897, it reached epidemic proportions.
                • British troops were brought in to deal with the emergency and harsh measures were employed including forced entry into private houses, examination of occupants, evacuation to hospitals and segregation camps, removing and destroying personal possessions, and preventing patients from entering or leaving the city.
                • Tilak took up this issue by publishing inflammatory articles in his paper Kesari (Kesari was written in Marathi, and Maratha was written in English), quoting the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, to say that no blame could be attached to anyone who killed an oppressor without any thought of reward.
                • Following this, on 22 June 1897, Commissioner Rand and another British officer, Lt. Ayerst were shot and killed by the Chapekar brothers. He was sentenced for 18 months imprisonment for supporting Chaplekar Brothers.
                • Trouble broke out over the selection of the new president of the Congress between the moderate and the radical sections of the party.
                • The party split into the radicals faction, led by Tilak, Pal and Lajpat Rai, and the moderate faction.
                • Tilak, in his paper Kesari, defended the revolutionaries and called for immediate Swaraj or self-rule.
                • The Government swiftly arrested him for sedition. A special jury convicted him, and the judge Dinshaw D. Davar gave him the sentence of six years’ transportation.
                • Tilak was sent to Mandalay , Burma from 1908 to 1914 . While in the prison he wrote the Gita Rahasya.

                V O Chidambaram Pillai

                • Chidambaram Pillai (1872–1936), or, V.O.C. also known as Kappalottiya Tamilan “The Tamil Helmsman”, was a Tamil political leader. He was a disciple of Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
                • He launched the first indigenous Indian shipping service between Tuticorin and Colombo with the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company, competing against British ships.
                • At one time a member of the Indian National Congress, he was later charged with sedition by the British government and sentenced to life imprisonment his barrister license was stripped.

                Aurbindo Ghosh

                • Aurobindo Ghose, was an Indian nationalist, philosopher, yogi, guru, and poet.
                • Aurobindo studied for the Indian Civil Service at King’s College, Cambridge, England.
                • After returning to India he took up various civil service works under the maharaja of the princely state of Baroda and began to involve himself in politics.
                • He was imprisoned by the British for writing articles against British rule in India. He was released when no evidence was provided.
                • During his stay in the jail he had mystical and spiritual experiences, after which he moved to Pondicherry , leaving politics for spiritual work. He founded there Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926. From 1926 he started to sign himself as Sri Aurobindo.
                • For Sri Aurobindo, nationalism was not a mere political or economic cry it was rather the innermost hunger of his whole soul for the rebirth in him and through men like him, the whole India, the ancient culture of the Hindustan and its pristine purity and nobility. Indian nationalism was given a spiritual orientation by the nationalists.
                • Aurbindo Ghosh wrote pamphlet, New Lamps For The Old which is considered as Bible of Extremism in which he described Congress being out of touch with proletariats.
                  • He wrote a series of articles in Bangadarshan , the journal of Bankim Chandra Chatarjee . He portrayed India as “Mother” and appealed to the emotional aspect of Indian Nationalism.

                  Assessment of Extremism:

                  • Advocates of extremism ranged from active revolutionaries at one end to secret sympathizers of revolutionaries to those who were opposed to all violent methods at the other end.
                  • Their goal of swaraj also had different meaning as we have seen earlier.
                  • The extremists transform patriotism from ‘an academic pastime’ to ‘service and suffering for nation’.
                  • Socially they became revivalists.
                    • The ideological inspiration for this new politics came from the new regional literature, which provided a discursive field for defining the Indian nation in terms of its distinct cultural heritage or civilisation.
                      • This was a revivalist discourse, informed by Orientalism, as it sought to invoke an imagined golden past and used symbols from a retrospectively reconstructed history to arouse nationalist passions.
                      • But their Hinduism was only a political construct, not defined by any definite religious attributes.
                      • As the nineteenth-century Englishmen claimed ancient Greece as their classical heritage, the English-educated Indians also felt proud of the achievements of the Vedic civilisation.
                        • This was essentially an “imaginary history” with a specific historical purpose of instilling a sense of pride in the minds of a selected group of Indians involved in the process of imagining their nation.
                        • Partition of Bengal was annulled in 1911
                        • Aim of Swaraj, though denied by Lord Morley, was no longer looked upon as a revolutionary demand.

                        Differences between Moderates and Extremists in Indian Politics:


                        Who Are the Most Moderate Presidents in U.S. History?

                        This question originally appeared on Quora.

                        By Jonathan Cassie, Educator, http://joncassie.com/

                        James Monroe, Chester Arthur, and Dwight Eisenhower. Mindful that moderate is itself a loaded (and potentially not very helpful) term, I would argue that these three presidents' administrations were marked by decisions which, in hindsight, seem to reflect a uniquely American consensus.

                        Monroe (1817-1825) had the advantage of being president during what was America's only real period of one-party rule. Monroe's presidential appointments crossed the fading party lines that only just barely existed anyway his decisions contributed to the disappearance of both the Federalists and, frankly, his own party. One might also look at the Missouri Compromise, negotiated during his presidency, as an example of a typical, antebellum, moderate compromise.

                        Arthur (1881-1885), who became president upon the death of James Garfield, is certainly an unlikely figure to be on this kind of list. My argument in Arthur's favor is that he was responsible for ensuring the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, the law that professionalized government institutions and that, for better or for worse, created the depoliticized bureaucracy. What we have now is, undoubtedly, better than what we'd have if hundreds of thousands of government jobs were meant to be dispensed by new administrations. And for that, we have Arthur to thank.

                        Eisenhower's (1953-1961) claim is to be the sole Republican during a high water mark for New Deal Democrats. Certainly one of the great achievements of his administration was to set in motion the construction of the Interstate Highway System, and this is the sort of legislation that during the Industrial Age of the United States, was bipartisan and moderate (it was contentious in the pre-industrial age and is contentious again now).


                        Passage of the Prohibition Amendment

                        In 1917, after the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson instituted a temporary wartime prohibition in order to save grain for producing food. That same year, Congress submitted the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors, for state ratification. Though Congress had stipulated a seven-year time limit for the process, the amendment received the support of the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states in just 11 months.

                        Ratified on January 16, 1919, the 18th Amendment went into effect a year later, by which time no fewer than 33 states had already enacted their own prohibition legislation. In October 1919, Congress put forth the National Prohibition Act, which provided guidelines for the federal enforcement of Prohibition. Championed by Representative Andrew Volstead of Minnesota, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the legislation was more commonly known as the Volstead Act.


                        The History of the Mexican Constitution

                        As a Mexican-born American, I’m always looking for occasions to celebrate.  I guess this festive nature is simply dyed-in-the-wool (or dyed-in-the-cotton, if you’re Southern-raised, as I am).  With that in mind, I wanted to write a bit about the Mexican Constitution – especially since two related holidays take place in the month of February:  Mexican Constitution Day (February 5) and Mexican Flag Day (today – February 24).

                        Venustiano Carranza, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

                        February 5, 2011 marked the 94 th anniversary of the Constitution of 1917.  On that day, Mexican President Venustiano Carranza promulgated the Constitution that is still in force today in Mexico.  This particular Constitution was a product of the Mexican Revolution, which just happens to have celebrated its centennial last year.  Its enactment took place at the Teatro de la Repྫlica (the Theatre of the Republic) in the city of Querétaro.  This Constitution came with significant social reforms to labor laws, and provided for equality in treatment without discrimination on the basis of race, creed, social or political condition, among other reforms.

                        But there’s always a history, so in the words of Fredric Jameson let’s “always historicize.”  Here’s a chronology of the Mexican Constitutions:

                        This was the organic instrument when Mexico was part of the Spanish Crown under King Ferdinand VII.  Article 5 of the Constitution of Cฝiz provides that “All free men born and residing in the domains of the Spains [sic], and the progeny of these” are Spaniards. ਏurther to the subject of the “Spains” is article 10, wherein it states that the Spanish territory comprises several historical regions of the Iberian Peninsula, adjacent islands, and the modern-day autonomous communities, parts of Africa.  In addition, it includes:

                        the Septentrional [northern] America, New Spain [the bulk of modern day Mexico and the US Southwest] with New Galicia [the modern Mexican States of Jalisco, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Colima, and Nayarit] and the Yucatan Peninsula, Goatemala [sic, modern day Central America], internal provinces of the East, internal provinces of the West, the Island of Cuba with the two Floridas [sic], the Spanish part of the Island of Santo Domingo, and the Island of Puerto Rico, with the rest of those adjacent to these and to the Continent, in one and the other sea.  In Meridional [southern] America, the New Granada [modern day Colombia], Venezuela, Peru, Chile, and the Provinces of the Plata River, and all the islands adjacent [to them] in the Pacific Ocean and in the Atlantic.  In Asia, the Philippine Islands and those that depend on their government.

                        If it didn’t come through quite clearly, Spain was huge!

                        Sentimientos de la Nación (Sentiments of the Nation, a precursor to the Constitution of Apatzingán)

                        Father Miguel Hidalgo, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

                        It is believed that José Mar໚ Teclo Morelos y Pavón, who drafted this treatise, was inspired by the actions of one criollo – the progeny of Spaniards born on Mexican soil – Father Miguel Hidalgo [Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla].  Hidalgo took the Virgin of Guadalupe – an autochthonous Virgin – as his coat of arms and declared Mexico’s Independence on September 16, 1810 in the “Cry of Dolores.”  This is why Mexico celebrated its bicentennial last year on September 16, 2010. ਋ut I digress.

                        The Sentiments of the Nation is basically a preemptive piece that lays the groundwork for Morelos y Pavón’s Constitutional Decree for the Liberty of the Mexican America.  The treatise has twenty-three points.  The first of these is a statement pronouncing the independence of Mexican America from Spain.  The remaining points in the treatise cover things like the role of the Catholic Church, the organization of the three branches of government, the terms and remuneration of elected officials, the prohibition of torture.  Point eleven, which was minimally amended in the final decree, states that the country shall not be free until it replaces a tyrannical government with a liberal government and rids the land of the “Spanish enemy, who has declared himself against this Nation.”

                        Point fifteen is also significant – it calls for the abolition of slavery “forever” as well as distinction by castes, resulting in an equal citizenship where “the only thing that shall distinguish one American from another are vice and virtue.”  One of the Spanish legacies, and perhaps the most controversial, in Colonial Latin America was that of the Spanish Caste System–wherein the parents and their progeny were labeled according to their racial composition.  It is from this system that words like “criollo,” “mulato,” and “mestizo” are drawn, but the System was far more detailed in making clear distinctions of the multiple castes.  In a nation as racially diverse as Mexico, the collective welfare would require a single identity, irrespective of ethnicity.

                        Finally, point twenty-three very eloquently states that the 󈬀 September of every year be solemnized, as the anniversary upon which the voice of independence and our sacred liberty began, for on that day was when the lips of the Nation were opened to claim its rights and wielded the sword to be heard remembering always the great merit of the hero and gentleman Lord Miguel Hidalgo and his companion Lord Ignacio Allende.”

                        The Decreto Constitucional para la Libertad de la América Mexicana [1814] (Constitutional Decree for the Liberty of the Mexican America, also known as the Constitution of Apatzingán) fleshes out what was established in the Sentiments of the Nation.

                        This document established the Mexican monarchical system that resulted in the creation of the First Mexican Empire under Emperor Agustín de Iturbide.  It served the dual purpose of appeasing the Spanish crown (by allowing King Ferdinand VII to be the emperor) and gaining some sense of relative sovereignty amidst the turmoil of the wars of independence that were taking place all over Latin America against Iberian forces.

                        The Plan of Iguala was short lived.  It asserted Mexican independence – even though Spain didn’t fully recognize independence until 1836.  It should also be noted that during this First Mexican Empire, the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, as well as the U.S. Southwest states and Texas, were all part of Iturbide’s Mexico.

                        This was the first real Mexican Constitution – it was drafted without foreign forces in mind, since the country had already developed a relatively cohesive national identity.  This Constitution came about after the abdication of Agustin I, bringing the First Mexican Empire to an end and recreating Mexico as a Representative Federal Republic.

                        The second of the seven laws comprising the Constitutional Laws of 1836 created another branch of government: the Supreme Conservation Power, which was made up of five individuals.  Its main role was to provide checks and balances for the other three branches and, if necessary, it was to interpret the will of the people.  Another provision that is worth highlighting in these constitutional laws is article 8 of the first law where the composition or territorial division of the Republic is transformed from “States” to “Departments” where the Governors of the Departments are appointed by the President under the recommendation of the Governing Boards, which are elected by the people.  Article 1 of the seventh law forbade the amendment of any of its articles for a period of six years.

                        Somewhere between the Constitutional Laws of 1836 and the Organic Bases of the Mexican Republic of 1843, Texas moved towards its Republic period, separating from Mexico (prior to this period it was known as Coahuila y Texas).  Once it separated from Mexico, the Texas of this period covered all of modern-day Texas, parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma.  (That might explain why there are great cultural similarities between the people of these other states and those of Texas.)

                        This was a little known constitution with a very short life.  It reestablished capital punishment, restricted freedom of the press and, once again, provided for the support and defense of the Catholic faith.

                        Following this, the Act of Amendments of 1847 basically placed the Constitution of 1824 back into force.

                        During this period, the Mexican-American war took place and Texas was annexed into the United States of America.  The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo brought an end to the war, where Santa Anna gave up claims to Texas and later ceded the modern-day Southwest.  And Texas assumed the cartographic shape it has today.

                        What is markedly different about this constitution is the resounding spirit of liberty.  It starts out by saying that all men are free and that by merely setting foot on Mexican soil one is set free.  It proceeds with a markedly liberal tone.  An official Church of the State isn’t established.  In fact, article 27 begins a series of provisions that are not in the best interests of the Church.  It provides that no corporation, civil or ecclesiastical, shall have the legal capacity to acquire or administer for itself real property, with the sole exception of the buildings destined for its immediate and direct use in the service or objective of the institution.  New (and old) boundaries for the states were (re)established.

                        Benito Juárez, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

                        Following French intervention, the Second Mexican Empire under Maximilian I was established during 1864-1867.  One of the main provisions during his rule was the re-establishment of the Catholic Church as the Official Church of State.  Yet after Benito Pablo Juárez Garc໚ successfully stopped the French invasion and overthrew Maximilian, the State returned to secularism and became a Republic.

                        As stated earlier, this constitution came with significant, cutting-edge social reforms.  These came as a result of the Mexican Revolution.  Like many constitutions, it has been amended however, this constitution is the one that is still in force today.  What is also more evident with the most recent Mexican constitutions is a deliberate movement toward secularism.

                        You can view a consolidated version of the Constitution as it appears today here.

                        This is merely an overview of the history of the Mexican Constitution.  My purpose was to provide you with the most salient and interesting facts, rather than a more comprehensive work, which (as you can see from all of the events and documents) would have been an extraordinary feat and required an even longer post!

                        Note:  As GLIN is currently in transition, many links that directed the user to GLIN were modified to existing LC sites where the instruments are਌urrently located.  The image of the 1917 Constitution was digitized at the Library of Congress from the official gazette that is in its collection.  It was then shared with colleagues at the Chamber of Deputies of the Hon. Congress of Mexico, who then added it to their site.–FM 1/27/2014

                        Update: This was originally published as a guest post byਏrancisco Mac໚s. The author information has been updated to reflect that Francisco is now an In Custodia Legis blogger.

                        18 Comments

                        Impressive and very informative!

                        I had no idea. I agree with Veronica, this was very informative.

                        How interesting….I never knew Texas was joined with Coahuila. While I knew Texas belonged to Mexico, I never thought about it as a state within Mexico. I also think it’s interesting how while there’s Baja California, the US state of California at some point lost its Alta.

                        very informative and enjoyed the reading

                        I have been “schooled” by you on the history of the Mexican Constitution. It is informative, yet concise. Nice work!

                        Thanks so much! You helped boost my gread in Gov’t. class!

                        I’m very enjoy reading your article, and it’s very informative and useful

                        I have been researching the Cristero Rebellion. It is interesting that the 1917 Mexican constitution had the “cutting-edge social reforms” and at the same time Articles 5,24, 27 , and 130 regarding the Catholic church (I am not Catholic).

                        Could someone please explain to me the reason the writers of this constitution choose to insert these articles? So far I have not found the why, I would really like to know.

                        Hello Marie: Thank you for your interest in our blog and thank you for posting your question here. As with many trends, there is no simple (or single) answer. These trends are a manifestation of several preoccupations and influences that are channeled into the drafting of a legal document. Nevertheless, to find the answer to your question, I would recommend looking to works concerning La Reforma, Valentín Gómez Farías, Benito Juárez and his (liberal) Reform Laws (look into his life in New Orleans, where many exiled liberals settled), Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, Ignacio Comonfort de los Ríos (see also this brief article by the Mexican Secretariat for National Defense), and Melchor Ocampo–the latter particularly for his role in the drafting of the Reform Laws issued under Juárez’s administration. See also historical and historiographical texts on the 19th century uprising between liberals and conservatives. To get a full perspective, also take a look at the conservative approach by reading texts on the Plan de Tacubaya.

                        Benito Juárez, among other liberals, aimed to level the playing field for lay men and the clergy and to separate Church and State in order to control and/or diminish the power the Church wielded over the people and the clergy’s position of privilege over the laity. (This text, which is also available (in full) in digitized form and is published by the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Legal Research Institute, covers all the most salient issues concerning ecclesiastical assets within the framework of Mexico’s constitutional history.) Earlier Constitutions, as well as the Spanish Constitution of 1812, provide that the Catholic faith is the official faith of the State. Such provisions tend to appear very early within the body of the Constitution. The Constitution of 1857 contains many provisions that limited the Church’s power. Such provisions appear in Article 3, which moved education from an ecclesiastical model to a secular or non-dogmatic model Article 13, which forbade special jurisdictions formed by people or institutions and suppressed special tribunals and Article 27 precluded the church from having the ability to acquire or administer real property, with the exception of the buildings that were in the immediate use or possession of the institution–this stems from Ley Lerdo, which had the effect of moving Mexico from the feudal/Vice-regal period, where the Church was frequently the administrator of real property, to the era of the Mexican Republic–, among other provisions from this era. Liberal thought was certainly present in the drafting of the Constitution of 1917 (the one currently in force), which resulted in the detailed limitations of the Church included in Article 130, among other limiting provisions of the Constitution.

                        The Cristero War stems from a more atheist endeavor by then president Plutarco Elías Calles, who beyond seeking the establishment of a secular state, sought the establishment of a more anti-clerical administration. For more on this subject see Ley Calles, which provided for limiting the presence of clergy within the Republic (by setting a ratio of one cleric for every several thousand inhabitants) and regulated licensing by limiting the right to practice to only the few who had obtained licenses from the national or subnational congresses.

                        Could you tell me the year when Mexico first recognized dual citizenship? Thank you for your time.

                        It seems that when Santa Ana became the dictator he and/or his supporters overthrew the Constitution of 1824? This was one of the issues that caused the Texas sessesion?

                        Did Santa Ana and his supporters comply with any constitution? Did they make it up as they went along?

                        hola disculpa ,me podrias decir por que fue tantas veces modificada la constitucion mexicana en los años 70, 80 y 90

                        Disculpa que apenas ahora esté respondiendo a tu pregunta. Te recomiendo esta liga: http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/ref/cpeum_crono.htm.

                        Allí encontrarás la cronología de las modificaciones. Cada modificación incluye un esbozo y por estos podrás darte una idea de cuales fueron las implicaciones de cada modificación.

                        i love this article. SUPER DUPER INFORMATIVE

                        How can the constitution be amended?

                        Hi. This blog was really cool. I’m kinda young, but from what I got I could tell it was cool.
                        Have a nice day.
                        PS: 2015 for the win!

                        This article is amazballs thank to mr hafer for making me reed it. !!11!

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                        Difference Between Moderates Extremists In Indian History

                        Extremists Freedom Fighters of India:

                        1.Extremists aimed at nothing short of swaraj as it existed in the United Kingdom and its self-governing colonies. Tilak said, “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it”.
                        2.Extremists wanted to end the British rule. Find list of extremists of india in this article.

                        3.Extremist denounced British rule and defied it. Many of them(Extremists) Were arrested because of anti-British activities.

                        4.Extremist were radical in their approach. Demands of extremists were aggressive. Know Completely about difference between moderates extremists in Indian History.

                        5.Extremists believed in militant methods including swadeshi and boycott. According to Tilak, freedom to be fought for. Here you read all the moderates and extremists leaders names.
                        6.Extremists believed in atma shakti or self-reliance as a weapon against domination.

                        7.Extremist drew their supporters included peoples from all sections including the lower middle class, workers, and farmers. Extremists thus had a wider social base.

                        8.Extremist rejected British rule and held it responsible for the backwardness and poverty of the Indian people.

                        9.Extremists drew their inspiration from India’s past. Extremists revived the Ganapati and Sivaji festivals to arouse the masses. Extremists wanted to inculcate pride in India’s glorious culture to generate the spirit of nationalism. Extremists invoked goddesses Kali or Durga for strength to fight for the motherland.

                        10.Examples of extremist leaders- Bala Gangadhara Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai, Aurobindo Ghosh.

                        Who were Moderates:

                        1.Moderates aimed at administrative and constitutional reforms. This is the simple moderates meaning.

                        2.Moderates wanted more Indians in the administration and not to an end of British rule. Take a look at the moderates of india.

                        3.Most of the moderate leaders were loyal to British. Many of them held high ranks under the British government. There are many moderates in indian national movement.

                        4.Moderates believed in constitutional means and worked within the framework of the law. Their methods including passing resolutions, persuasion, sending petitions and appeals.

                        5.Moderates believed in cooperation and reconciliation.

                        6.Moderates received their support from the intelligentsia and urban middle class. Moderates had a narrow social base.

                        7.Moderate leaders had faith in the British sense of justice and fair play. In the exam also you will be asked for the aims and achievements of moderates and extremists.

                        8.Most of the moderate leaders were inspired by the ideas of western philosophers like Mill, Burke, Spencer, and Bentham. Moderates imbibed western ideas of liberalism, democracy, equity, and freedom.

                        9.Moderates Believed political connections with Britain to be in India’s social, political and cultural interests.

                        10.Examples of moderate leaders-Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale etc.


                        The Libertarian Movement: Too Extremist, Too Moderate, or Just Right?

                        Some interesting recent sprouts in the fertile field of libertarian activists and polemicists arguing about appropriate or effective techniques for same, launched by the Niskanen Center's Will Wilkinson's two-part essay (highly shared and lauded in social network spaces where libertarians dwell) trying to totally destroy, as the kids say on the internet, the famous statement from Barry Goldwater's 1964 acceptance speech for the Republican Party's nomination: "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of liberty justice is no virtue."

                        That Goldwater slogan, Wilkinson thinks, has warped libertarian brains ever since. As Wilkinson notes, the words were "put" in the speech by future libertarian movement firebrand Karl Hess, though Hess in his memoir Mostly on the Edge says he got the phrase from Straussian superstar Harry Jaffa. Credit or blame for it is a muddy trail Wilkinson strolls down at his leisure.

                        The first part reads mostly like pure intellectual history of the phrase, and has little obvious relevance to the contemporary libertarian scene or the Niskanen Center's mission. Wilkinson brings out, amidst the aforementioned twisty and inconclusive forensic history of the phase, that it could (or even should) be interpreted to defend violence, that southern racists believed their violent extremism against black civil rights was in defense of their liberty, and that Timothy McVeigh blew up a lot of people in what he thought was a protest against government attacks on liberty.

                        Since no one in the modern aboveground libertarian movement openly advocates murderous violence (or seem openly inspired by Goldwater's phrase much even if they disagree that it means "murderous violence in defense of liberty is OK"), one must go to part two, focused on "moderation," for modern relevance.

                        Wilkinson stresses he's concerned with practicality. If one can achieve victories for liberty by means of persuasion, and not the "extremism" of violence (with Lincoln's actions in the Civil War as an example of the latter), surely that's preferable? Surely, and persuasion is what libertarians try to do, more or less successfully.

                        When libertarians accuse others of being insufficiently extreme in their libertarianism, it's generally not about the means (always persuasion of some sort, in some arena) but the ends. Milton Friedman's polemical success in eliminating the draft is labeled a victory for "moderation" because it was based in persuasion and not violence. One could argue that Friedman's goal, though, was extreme in calling for a complete end to the draft, not to just limiting its application or widening loopholes or limiting its time periods or raising soldiers' salaries. It didn't seek a small change in the draft it called for a huge, one might even call "extreme," change.

                        In terms of practical life, political or otherwise, moderation in principle means hammering out workable compromises with people who hold to different principles….This need not be understood as moderation in the sense of watering down our principles, or admitting that they are wrong in order to get along. Milton Friedman and Martin Luther King, Jr. never backed down from their radical principles. We need "moderation in principle" in the sense of being willing to negotiate toward public rules that do not perfectly conform with our principles, and to abide by those rules, even as we act to change them in the direction of our principles….

                        A free-for-all of extremism isn't likely to bring anyone around, so what good is it? At best, extremists about rival conceptions of prime political values hive off into polarized camps and regard each other as bitter enemies in a high-stakes culture war. And this sort of enmity breeds mutual distrust. Cooperation breaks down and gains from cooperation go unrealized, even on matters about which where there's no underlying disagreement….

                        That "extremism" in the ideological sense won't bring anyone around seems unproven, and at least slightly belied by the history of the modern American libertarian movement in terms of winning ideological devotees—that is, "bringing people around." It has not in most cases brought around either enough or the right people for many or most specific policy changes, to be sure.

                        Real political change, Wilkinson points out, of necessity involves negotiation and persuasion with people who don't agree with you on core issues. It requires actual human interaction based on at least some trust and some sense of respect. The "spirit of moderation that engenders open-mindedness and mutual respects helps a lot in this regard. Maybe this is the most compelling reason to embrace moderation in pursuit of justice: it's more likely to work."

                        Movement libertarians, Wilkinson says, often argue from a position of such essential mistrust or moral condemnation of state action, a desire for a government of a size and function that has never been real in history, that it "takes nearly everything off the table of democratic negotiation…[leaving] no space for politics, as it is commonly understood." Thus, they tend to be bad at

                        the roiling adversarial mess of multiparty democratic politics. Accordingly, libertarians tend to see democratic politics as an ungodly festival of thuggery and mutual predation. Active political participation is seen as wicked, futile, or both. It's hard to think of a political philosophy less likely to inspire its adherents to throw themselves into the hard work of real politics, or to see any virtue in it….when fire-breathing dogmatists predictably fail to make any headway democratically—"working within the system"—they tend to perversely interpret this as evidence of the hopeless corruption of the system and the pointlessness of trying to get anything done using ordinary "moderate" democratic political tactics. This, in turn, confirms in their minds that extreme measures may be called for, since "moderation" seems to get nothing done. It's a cozy, self-reinforcing loop of principled ineffectuality.

                        Wilkinson advocates instead that libertarians should:

                        see polities and economies alike as dizzyingly complex emergent systems that we should try to understand and improve, but not as the sorts of things about which we can make reliably decisive moral judgments, and certainly not the sorts of things we ought to seek to replace wholesale with castles of imagination built on philosophical theory.

                        A libertarianism that has a place for democratic politics has a place for the virtue of pursuing liberty and justice through moderate, democratic means. A libertarianism that can see dignity and virtue in democratic participation, that doesn't need to insult potential political allies, or scare them off by constantly pining for what most people see as a crazy, scary, speculative utopia &hellip a libertarianism like that can win friends and influence people. This sort of libertarianism, comfortable with moderation, can actually move the needle—can actually deliver incremental pro-liberty policy reform.

                        I don't know about you, but I want more freedom in my lifetime. I want it soon. And I'm not moving to a charter city or a man-made island. I want more freedom here, in America—which is, by the way, never going to be a majority-libertarian country. But that's okay. We can make it a considerably freer country, anyway. It's possible to nudge enough people to see the merit in moving the dial a little toward liberty on this or that specific issue, issue after issue, over and over again. That is, it's possible if enough of our fellow citizens will listen to us, if they will trust us, if they come to regard us with the respect that is engendered by respect.

                        Some very broad brush observations: Perhaps that "nudging" has to or at least can come from education or conversion in the "extreme" forms of libertarianism? Why would people keep shifting even little bits toward liberty if they don't believe it, and mightn't belief in it motivate the shifts? It could be that Wilkinson wants a more purely empirical libertarianism that stresses mostly or only issues that see obvious improvements for most people in their circumstances by libertarian change, unconnected with larger questions of the moral purpose of government. That may be what he means, and it may be true. But many desirable libertarian changes, such as those related to defense or criminal justice, seem to me empirically to be mostly motivated by a high-minded sense of justice, as the changes have very small to non-existent effects of the lives of most citizens.

                        Wilkinson's empiricism would feel more rooted if examples of "incremental pro-liberty reform" that were blissfully free of libertarian extremism, however defined, were provided. (As long as it's agreed that the "extremism as violent revolution" part he spent so much rhetorical time on is irrelevant to anything about the libertarian movement or modern America in general.) After the fog of violence is waved away, as it should be, I interpret him as saying that coming into real politics—defined apparently as the part where one is actually crafting laws and getting legislative bodies to pass them, which the Niskanen Center's efforts are about, not electoral politics—like gangbusters with "it's a pure libertarian solution we are seeking" is a bad idea.

                        It's possible I'm mistaken in understanding the precise arena in which he means this advice to be taken, but electoral politics may be where moderate attitudes of compromise are more appropriate, if one wants votes to matter, since no electable candidate is apt to have a full body of extreme libertarian ideas. Is this advice being given only to voters who have to vote for a specific flawed candidate, or to politicians, who have to vote for some specific flawed law or proposal that comes to their attention? If it was, it makes some sense.

                        But for activists and proposers and crafters of policy ideas that you hope will become law, why not be a consistent and hopefully persuasive voice for a proposal that goes all the way you want to go? If you don't, who will?

                        If you lose that fight and the choice then becomes, do you as libertarian individual or institution become a "supporter" of half-measures in the sense of declaring that well, you and whatever political forces you command are OK with and consider such half-measures a better option than the status quo, that's different and likely wise. But perhaps that version of moderation doesn't need to shape the initial process of what ideas libertarians active in politics propose and advocate.

                        Not to say there is no real world evidence for the good effects of avoiding libertarian extremism. For one example, I'm sure it has helped medical marijuana liberalization that most of the people pushing it avoided linking the issue with complete legalization at first.

                        Then it likely helped the rising tide of complete pot legalization that it is usually not linked with complete drug legalization, as much as that might annoy me. Arguments about costs and medicine and harmlessness and overkill that a more extreme libertarianism might condemn as besides the real point about self-ownership seem to be very convincing.

                        However, some older crusades of libertarian content, from abolition to abortion to civil rights, seem to largely have both succeeded and been motivated by "extreme" positions of justice sought for and achieved. And, by definition, if we are ever to have complete legalization, some people somewhere sometime have to rigorously plump for complete legalization.

                        It may also be that winning in the real scrum of politics is less ultimately about "respect" from those who disagree, though it may have that as a necessary-not-sufficient condition, and more about convincing the people one is interacting with either that one is right or that one has created a political inevitability. I don't see how either of those ends must be or even would necessarily often be achieved fully divorced from staking out an "extreme" libertarian position.

                        The Niskanen Center itself has no problem advocating what to most Americans is an extreme position on letting in Syrian refugees, and relies on moral fervor in doing so. ("Moderation" as a floating value might lead to the assumption that even the Center should move its policy positions closer to the status quo, for its sake, if moderation is thought to trump correctness or actual preference.)

                        Neither I nor anyone else has adequate evidence for what is the best technique for libertarian political change, or indeed that there is a singular one. It is unclear if Wilkinson believes in a more purely elite model of such change, or if he believes that politicians must be swayed by a passionate and large enough portion of the electorate valuing and demanding libertarian change. That seems to me a vital point to settle or at least consider in this question of extremism v. moderation.

                        Likely in some issues, merely winning over a core policy elite is enough (as might well be the case for some issues of concern for Niskanen Center, like specific military spending priority changes or tech privacy matters). But for some others, perhaps more mass popular energy is needed. (I doubt a carbon tax will seem politically possible until enough politicians are convinced that opposing one will be politically disastrous similar for more and easier legal immigration.)

                        A theory or empirically presented sense of exactly how policy change happens is likely needed to convince someone who thinks, roughly and colloquially, that if politics is a game of moderation and compromise by nature, let's make them moderate and compromise in our direction by starting from the farthest edges of libertarian principles, not from a position that has been pre-compromised by that sort of moderation.

                        Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy at the Washington Post offers what he calls a "moderate defense of extremisim in defense of liberty" that captures some interesting aspects of what that phrase might mean for the modern libertarian movement.

                        Somin points out that often extreme libertarian positions are just right. In fact, if one is selling one's work as libertarian, and Wilkinson does call Niskanen Center a "libertarian think tank" (though its president, Jerry Taylor, seems sure there is essentially no support in America for libertarianism), that should be good reason to advocate those positions. The caveat would be Wilkinson's belief, as detailed above, that pushing those extreme positions just won't work in American politics.

                        But maybe the way to make them work is the slow game of public ideological persuasion that has been the business of libertarian organizations since the late '40s that aren't strictly about the legislative scrum. Perhaps the purest and most extreme form of those ideas will be, to many at least, the most persuasive or at least the most energizing. As I quoted libertarian economist Richard Ebeling in my book on the history of the modern American libertarian movement, Radicals for Capitalism, people aren't inspired to go to the barricades to eliminate a milk subsidy.

                        Somin adds that there are examples where ideological extremism does seem practical, as in the moral energies of abolitionism and civil rights, and that extremism has a political value Wilkinson might miss:

                        Another advantage of advocating extreme positions is that the presence of strong, articulate advocates of them makes more moderate reformers seem mainstream and reasonable by comparison. The existence of extreme, but intellectually serious advocates of Open Borders helps the cause of more moderate immigration reformers in the long run. If Open Borders is seen as an extreme, but legitimate part of public discourse, moderate reform can no longer itself be portrayed as unthinkable extremism.

                        Somin also points out to Wilkinson, who frames his libertarianism as Hayekian, that Hayek himself was a loud believer in utopian radicalism in a libertarian direction as a positive force in political and social change. Hayek credited the Socialists' (mistaken) utopianism as one of their powerful and successful selling points. (There is always, with thinkers as complicated as Hayek, more to "Hayekianism" than just any one quote of Hayek's. Still, the man had studied the rise of socialism in great detail and he may well have understood something important about how dominant political ideologies can and do change.)

                        While the whole "extremism in defense of…" phrase's importance as a driving force of libertarian strategy or tactics seems questionable to me, Wilkinson has raised important issues in his take on it—big and eternal questions for political radicals whose answers are likely eternally contingent.


                        The Scurrilous Campaign

                        The issue of personal character figured prominently in the 1884 presidential campaign.

                        Learning Objectives

                        Examine the signature achievements of the Cleveland administration

                        Key Takeaways

                        Key Points

                        • The presidential campaign of 1884 was marked by an emphasis on personality and scandal.
                        • James G. Blaine, the Republican nominee, was implicated in a scandal that involved his burning of several important letters that revealed he took money from corporations in exchange for political influence.
                        • Grover Cleveland, the Democratic nominee, was discovered to have fathered a child out of wedlock.
                        • Though the popular vote was close, Cleveland won in the Electoral College.
                        • Early in his presidency, Cleveland focused on political reform of the spoils system.
                        • Cleveland fought against Republicans to lower import tariffs.

                        Key Terms

                        • mugwump: A Republican political activist who bolted from the U.S. Republican Party by supporting Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland in the presidential election of 1884.
                        • James G. Blaine: An American Republican politician who served as a U.S. representative, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, a U.S. senator from Maine, and twice as secretary of state. He was nominated for president in 1884, but was narrowly defeated by Democrat Grover Cleveland.
                        • Grover Cleveland: The 22nd and 24th president of the United States, the only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897), and therefore, the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents.
                        • Tariff Act of 1890: A law framed by Representative William McKinley that raised the average duty on imports to almost 50 percent, an act designed to protect domestic industries from foreign competition.

                        The issue of personal character was paramount in the 1884 presidential campaign. Former Speaker of the House James G. Blaine had been prevented from getting the Republican presidential nomination during the previous two elections because of the stigma of the “Mulligan letters.” In 1876, a Boston bookkeeper named James Mulligan had located some letters showing that Blaine had sold his influence in Congress to various businesses. One such letter ended with the phrase, “burn this letter,” from which a popular chant of the Democrats arose: “Burn, burn, burn this letter!” In just one deal, Blaine had received $110,150 ( more than $1.5 million in 2010 dollars) from the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad for securing a federal land grant, among other things. Democrats and anti-Blaine Republicans made unrestrained attacks on his integrity as a result.

                        New York Governor Grover Cleveland, on the other hand, was known as “Grover the Good” for his personal integrity. In the space of the three previous years, he successively had become the mayor of Buffalo and then the governor of the state of New York, cleaning up large amounts of Tammany Hall ‘s corrupt political machinery.

                        It came as a tremendous shock when, on July 21, the Buffalo Evening Telegraph reported that Cleveland had fathered a child out of wedlock, that the child had gone to an orphanage, and that the mother had been driven into an asylum. Cleveland’s campaign decided that candor was the best approach to this scandal: They admitted that Cleveland had formed an “illicit connection” with the mother and that a child had been born and given the Cleveland surname. They also noted that there was no proof that Cleveland was the father, and claimed that, by assuming responsibility and finding a home for the child, he was merely doing his duty. Finally, they showed that the mother had not been forced into an asylum. Her whereabouts were unknown.

                        Cleveland Gains Support

                        The Democrats held their convention in Chicago the following month and nominated Governor Grover Cleveland of New York. Cleveland’s time on the national scene was brief, but Democrats hoped that his reputation as a reformer and an opponent of corruption would attract Republicans dissatisfied with Blaine and his reputation for scandal. They were correct, as reform-minded Mugwump Republicans denounced Blaine as corrupt and flocked to Cleveland. The Mugwumps, including such men as Carl Schurz and Henry Ward Beecher, were more concerned with morality than with party politics, and felt Cleveland was a kindred soul who would promote civil service reform and fight for efficiency in government. However, even as the Democrats gained support from the Mugwumps, they lost some blue-collar workers to the Greenback-Labor party, led by Benjamin F. Butler, Blaine’s antagonist from their early days in the House.

                        After the election, the term “Mugwump” survived for more than a decade as an epithet for a party bolter in American politics. Many Mugwumps became Democrats or remained Independents most continued to support reform well into the twentieth century.

                        Bernard Gilliam’s “Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal”: This 1884 cartoon in Puck magazine ridicules Blaine as the tattooed man, with many indelible scandals. The cartoon image is a parody of Phryne before the Areopagus, an 1861 painting by French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.

                        The Election

                        Both candidates believed that the states of New York, New Jersey, Indiana, and Connecticut would determine the election. In New York, Blaine received less support than he anticipated when Arthur and Conkling, still powerful in the New York Republican party, failed to actively campaign for him. Blaine hoped that he would have more support from Irish Americans than Republicans typically did. While the Irish were mainly a Democratic constituency in the nineteenth century, Blaine’s mother was Irish Catholic, and he believed his career-long opposition to the British government would resonate with the Irish. Blaine’s hope for Irish defections to the Republican standard were dashed late in the campaign when one of his supporters, Samuel D. Burchard, gave a speech denouncing the Democrats as the party of “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion.” The Democrats spread the word of this insult in the days before the election, and Cleveland narrowly won all four of the swing states, including New York by slightly more than 1,000 votes. While the popular vote total was close, with Cleveland winning by just one-quarter of a percent, the electoral votes gave Cleveland a majority of 219 to 182.

                        Cleveland’s Presidency

                        Soon after taking office, President Grover Cleveland was faced with filling all of the government jobs for which the president had the power of appointment. These jobs were typically filled under the spoils system, but Cleveland announced that he would not fire any Republican who was doing his job well. Nor would he appoint anyone solely on the basis of party service. Cleveland also used his appointment powers to reduce the number of federal employees, as many departments had become bloated with political timeservers.

                        Later in his term, Cleveland replaced more of the partisan Republican officeholders with Democrats. While some of his decisions were influenced by party concerns, more of Cleveland’s appointments were decided by merit alone. Cleveland also reformed other parts of the government. In 1887, he signed an act creating the Interstate Commerce Commission. He also modernized the navy and canceled construction contracts that had resulted in inferior ships. Cleveland angered railroad investors by ordering an investigation of western lands they held by government grant.

                        Cleveland and Tariff Reform

                        The Tariff Act of 1890, commonly called the ” McKinley Tariff,” was an act of the U.S. Congress framed by Representative William McKinley that became law on October 1, 1890. The tariff raised the average duty on imports to almost fifty percent, an act designed to protect domestic industries from foreign competition. Protectionism, a tactic supported by Republicans, was fiercely debated by politicians and condemned by Democrats.

                        The tariff was not well received by Americans, who suffered a steep increase in the cost of products. In the 1890 election, Republicans House seats went from 166 to only 88. McKinley, the act’s framer and defender, was then assassinated. In the 1892 presidential election, Harrison was soundly defeated by Grover Cleveland, and the Senate, House, and presidency were all under Democratic control. Lawmakers immediately started drafting new tariff legislation.

                        Cleveland’s opinion on the tariff was that of most Democrats: The tariff ought to be reduced. American tariffs had been high since the Civil War, and by the 1880s, the tariff brought in so much revenue that the government was running a surplus. After reversing the Harrison administration’s silver policy, Cleveland sought next to reverse the effects of the McKinley tariff. What would become the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act was introduced by West Virginian Representative William L. Wilson in December 1893. After lengthy debate, the bill passed the House by a considerable margin. The bill proposed moderate downward revisions in the tariff, especially on raw materials. The shortfall in revenue was to be made up by an income tax of 2 percent on income above $4,000, ($103,000 U.S. dollars in present terms).

                        The bill was next considered in the Senate, where opposition was stronger. Cleveland faced opposition from key Democrats, led by Arthur Pue Gorman of Maryland, who insisted on more protection for their states’ industries than the Wilson bill allowed. Some voted partly out of a personal enmity toward Cleveland. By the time the bill passed the Senate, it had more than 600 amendments attached that nullified most of the reforms. The Sugar Trust in particular lobbied for changes that favored change at the expense of the consumer. Cleveland was outraged with the final bill, and denounced it as a disgraceful product of the control of the Senate by trusts and business interests. Even so, he believed it was an improvement over the McKinley tariff and allowed it to become law without his signature.


                        Are the party and the people on the same page?

                        The first move must be to “moderate” between your party and the electorate.

                        Let’s face it, joining a political party is a pretty weird endeavour. About one million British citizens are members of political parties – around 2% of the adult population. That’s about the same number of Britons who currently watch the Australian soap Neighbours. In both cases, these are figures well down on their heyday.

                        This is a problem – because the types of people who are political tend to be very political.

                        A Conservative Party conference delegate wears his allegiance on his sleeve. PA

                        To secure a party’s nomination, candidates often must gain the backing of a trade union or business association. This might require flirting with an extreme position or two - often rampant nationalisation for candidates of the Labour left, or uncosted tax cuts for the Conservative right - as seen recently with Boris Johnson. But then, in order to win an election among the wider public, they may well need to stand up to union brinkmanship, or take on corporate vested interests.

                        This switch is not easy, but it is necessary. Otherwise we end up with politicians ranting to the converted. A recent case of particular importance is Johnson’s presentation of a no-deal Brexit as the will of the British people (the majority of whom are known to oppose it) rather than the will of his party (the majority of whom support it). Some sense of what is moderate outside your own echo chamber is vital.


                        A Call to Excellence in Leadership

                        An open letter to the new generation of Republicans

                        For a moment, a great Republic stood still.

                        Everywhere, men reacted first in disbelief and horror, then in anger and shame, and then in more measured thought and silence. The President is dead. A nation is in mourning.

                        History provides us with few such occasions to pause and reflect upon the state of our society and the course of its politics. While we yet sorrow, so must we seize this moment before our thoughts slip away to be lost in the noise of “life as usual.”

                        It is in this context that we have chosen to speak. We speak as a group of young Republicans to that generation which must bear the responsibility for guiding our party and our country over the coming decades. We speak for a point of view in the Republican Party that has too long been silent.

                        The Republican Parry today faces not only an election but a decision. Shall it become an effective instrument to lead this nation in the last third of the twentieth century? Shall it emerge from the current flux of American politics as the new majority party? Or shall it leave the government of the nation to a party born in the 1930’s which appears unable to meet the challenge of a radically new environment?

                        We should like to approach this decision from three aspects – the strategy for achieving a new Republican consensus, the nature of a Republican philosophy appropriate to our times, and the qualities of excellence required in our leadership.

                        TOWARD A NEW REPUBLICAN CONSENSUS

                        Recent election results indicate that there is no clear political consensus in the country. We are perhaps at one of those points in our political history when new majority is about to emerge.

                        American politics has been by and large one-party politics. A single party has been dominant for considerable periods of our past history – the party of Thomas Jefferson, the party of Abraham Lincoln, and most recently the party of Franklin Roosevelt. Each of these great parties emerged during a period of revolution in political ideas and was based upon a new majority consensus.

                        The President is dead. A nation is in mourning. History provides us with few such occasions to pause and reflect upon the state of our society and the course of its politics. While we yet sorrow, so must we seize this moment before our thoughts slip away to be lost in the noise of “life as usual.”

                        The Roosevelt coalition of the 1930’s is still the majority party in this country. But its loyalties are fading, its base is eroding, and its dynamism has been exhausted. FDR forged his great coalition of the urban minorities, trade unions, “liberal” intellectuals, farmers, and the Democratic South with a program to meet the economic distress of the depression years. Accordingly, the Democratic party of today looks back to 1932 and 1936 and has never quite been able to escape the dialogue of domestic politics from that period. In a real sense, the Democratic coalition of the 1930’s, dedicated to the preservation of its economic and social gains since the Great Depression has become the “stand-pat” party of today.

                        At the time of his death, John F. Kennedy was attempting to rebuild the Roosevelt coalition — to infuse it with the idealism of a new generation that found the political issues of the depression years increasingly irrelevant. He was seeking to lift the Democratic party to a broader international concern. But fate deprived him of that opportunity — and fate also delivered control of his party to — a leader far closer to the era of Roosevelt than to his own. Lyndon Johnson tried to put Roosevelt’s coalition back together once again. Trained as an apprentice of the New Deal representing the Southern wing of his party with its decidedly regional orientation inclined by temperament to national rather than international concerns will he not be a “prisoner of the past?” While the nation may admire his knowledge of political power and his ability to manipulate it, Lyndon Johnson is not likely to fire the hearts and minds of Americans. At best, his will be an administration of “continuity.” And so will any Democratic administration which does not take cognizance of the radically transformed nature of American politics.

                        If the Democratic party, bound to the clichés and fears of past history, is incapable of providing the forward-looking leadership this country needs, the Republican party must. There are at least two courses open to the party — the strategy of the right and the strategy of the center. We feel strongly that the center strategy is the only responsible choice the party can take. The strategy of the right is a strategy for consolidating a minority position. It is an effort to build a coalition of all who are opposed to something. As an “anti-” movement, it has been singularly devoid of positive programs for political action. The size and enthusiasm of the conservative movement should not be discounted, however. It represents a major discontent with the current state of our politics, and, properly channeled, it could serve as a powerful constructive force. But the fact remains that the strategy of the right, based as it is on a platform of negativism, can provide neither the Republican party with an effective majority nor the American people with responsible leadership. The strategy of the right should be rejected for another basic reason. It is potentially divisive. Just as Disraeli warned the British Conservative party a century ago of the dangers of the “two Englands,” so would we speak out against a party realignment of the small states of the West and South against the urban centers of America — or any similar realignment that would pit American against American on the basis of distrust or suspicion. We must purge our politics of that rancor, violence, and extremism that would divide us. In the spirit of Lincoln, we must emphasize those goals and ideals which we hold in common as a people:

                        With malice toward none with charity for all with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation’s wounds . . . — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.

                        We believe that the future of our party lies not in extremism, but in moderation. The moderate course offers the Republican party the best chance to build a durable majority position in American politics. This is the direction the party must take if it is to win the confidence of the “new Americans” who are not at home in the politics of another generation: the new middle classes of the suburbs of the North and West — who have left the Democratic cities but have not yet found a home in the Republican party the young college graduates and professional men and women of our great university centers — more concerned with “opportunity” than “security” the moderates of the new South – who represent the hope for peaceful racial adjustment and who are insulted by a racist appeal more fitting another generation. These and others like them hold the key to the future of our politics.

                        Since 1960 John F. Kennedy had moved to preempt the political center. Republican moderates for the most part remained silent. Now the very transfer of power means that the center is once again contestable. We believe that the Republican party should accept the challenge to fight for the middle ground of American politics. The party that will not acknowledge this political fact of life and courageously enter the contest for power does not merit and cannot possibly win the majority support of the American people.

                        As Republicans, we must prove to the American people that our party, unbeholden to the hostages of a faded past, is a more flexible instrument for the governing of this great nation and for the realization of dignity at home and around the world.

                        Must the Republican party then adopt Kennedy-New Frontier programs to compete for the center? No. Such a course would be wrong and it would smack so obviously of “political opportunism” as to insure its defeat. The Republican appeal should be rooted in the party’s own rich history and current strengths. As Republicans, we must prove to the American people that our party, unbeholden to the hostages of a faded past, is a more flexible instrument for the governing of this great nation and for the realization of dignity at home and around the world.

                        TOWARD A MATURE REPUBLICAN PHILOSOPHY

                        A Republican philosophy capable of capturing the imagination of the American people must have at least three attributes. It must be oriented toward the solution of the major problems of our era – it must be “pragmatic” in emphasis. It must also be “moderate” in its methods – concerned more with the complexities of the means toward a solution than with a simplistic view of the ends. And finally, it must marry these attributes of pragmatism and moderation with a passion to get on with the tasks at hand.

                        * * * * *

                        First, our philosophy must be oriented toward the solution of problems. The image of “negativism” that has too frequently been attached to our party must be dispelled. The new generation in American politics is looking for a party that is able to grasp the problems of the last third of the twentieth century and able to devise meaningful solutions to them. We note only the most salient: the legitimate aspirations of the Negro in the northern cities, as well as in the South the human adjustments to the process of automation in industry and in business the phenomenon of the megalopolis with the attendant problems in housing, transportation and community services the emphasis of quality in our educational system, our health services, and our cultural services in general.

                        The Democratic party will have solutions or purported solutions to all these domestic problems. But does it have the imagination demanded by the new world we face? Or will its answers merely be retreads of the “New Deal,” more of the same, more indiscriminate massive federal spending, more government participation in the economic and social life of the nation and of the individual?

                        A CALL TO EXCELLENCE

                        If our times demand new vision and new solutions on the domestic scene, how much greater is the need on the international front. The greatest challenge this nation will face in 1970, 1975 and 1980 will most likely be decisions in its foreign policy. Merely “to continue” our foreign policy will not be enough. The American President must now serve as “the first statesman of the world.” He must set new directions in foreign policy, shape new relationships with Europe, pioneer new means of weapon control, understand the diffusion of power within the Communist bloc. All of this will demand the finest qualities of statesmanship, of political engineering, of shrewd bargaining and adjustment of which our nation is capable. The Republican party has produced a proud lineage of pragmatic statesmen since Lincoln. It is our hope that once again it will provide the leadership to meet the occasion.

                        * * * * *

                        While our philosophy and our program must be pragmatic so must it be moderate. Simply to define the problems is not to solve them. The moderate recognizes that there are a variety of means available to him, bur that there are no simple unambiguous ends. He recognizes hundreds of desirable social goals where the extremist may see only a few. Moreover, the moderate realizes that ends not only compete with one another, but that they are inextricably related to the means adopted for their pursuit. The moderate chooses the center — the middle road — nor because it is halfway between left and right. He is more than a non-extremist. He takes this course since it offers him the greatest possibility for constructive achievement.

                        The image of “negativism” that has too frequently been attached to our party must be dispelled.

                        In contrast, the extremist rejects the complexity of the moderate’s world. His is a state of mind that insists on dividing reality into two antithetical halves. The gray is resolved into black and white. Men are either good or evil. Policies are either Communist or anti-Communist. It is understandable that the incredible complexity and mounting frustrations of our world will cause men to seek one right answer – the simple solution. The moderate cries out that such solutions do not exist, but his would appear to be a thankless task. Who will reward him for telling them their dreams can never be? It is not surprising that the doctrinaire has always reserved his greatest scorn for the pragmatist and not for his opposite number. The moderate poses the greatest danger to the extremist because he holds the truth that there is no simple “truth” which will answer all his questions with ease.

                        Moderation is not a full-blown philosophy proclaiming the answers to all our problems. It is, rather, a point of view, a plea for political sophistication, for a certain skepticism to total solutions. The moderate has the audacity to be adaptable. The Republican moderate approaches these problems from a more conservative perspective, the Democratic moderate – from a more liberal one. The fact that we may meet on common ground is not “me-tooism.” It is time to put away the tired old notion that to be “real Republicans” we must be as different as possible from our opponents! There is no more sense in that view than in the idea that we must be for isolationism, prohibition, or free love because our opponents are not. It is time we examined the merits of a solution in itself rather than set our policy simply in terms of the position the Democratic party may have taken.

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                        But can the moderate produce the image of conviction and dedication that has been so much a part of the attraction of extremists throughout history? Is the “flaming moderate” just a joke, or is he a viable political actor? Can we be emotional about a politics so pluralistic, so relative, so limited in its range of available maneuver? Perhaps we share the too abundant enthusiasm of youth but we feel that we not only can – we must. We must show our world that our emotion can be aroused by a purpose more noble and a challenge more universal than the cries of an irresponsible extremism. Tempered with an honest uncertainty we must be ever willing to enter upon yet another great crusade. We must learn to be as excited about open-mindedness as we once were about final answers, as dedicated to partial solutions as we have been to panaceas. We must engage life as we find it, boldly and courageously, with the conviction that if we and reason endure we shall surely succeed — and with the knowledge that the greatest sin is not to have fought at all.

                        TOWARD EXCELLENCE IN REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP

                        The Republican party must not only define a new strategy and a positive program but it must now find the men who can forge a new national party men who can renew the great progressive Republican tradition men who possess the qualities of excellence that we should be the first to see as “the Kennedy legacy.”

                        As Republicans we have often disagreed with programs of the New Frontier. As members of the responsible opposition we have been critical of the Kennedy administration’s performance. But as Americans and as members of a generation still younger than his, there was something in John F. Kennedy that we admired. It would be petty to ignore this, dishonest to deny that we look for no lesser qualities in the future leadership of our own party.

                        John F. Kennedy brought to the Presidency a perspective of the years ahead. His vision of America and its role in the world was not simply the product of youth, of the “new generation of Americans” to whom the torch had been passed. It was derived from those qualities of mind and spirit that comprise his legacy to us: his sense of imagination and inquisitiveness, his subtle and keen intelligence, his awareness of the ultimate judgment of history, his courage to affirm life, his love for the art of politics, his respect for excellence. Robert Frost had spoken of his era as an “age of poetry and power.” Kennedy brought to the Presidency a style and a zest that challenged the idealism and won the enthusiasm of our generation.

                        Republicans protested with candor that there was too much style and not enough substance to his policies. Fate denied us a full judgment on that question. The merits of the man and his leadership will long be debated, but there are lessons in his life and death that we cannot completely escape. We have witnessed a change in the mood of American politics. After Kennedy there can be no turning back to the old conceptions of America. There can be no turning away from the expectations of greatness that he succeeded in imparting.

                        T o all thinking Republicans, the meaning of November 22 nd , 1963, should be clear. The Republican party now has a challenge to seek in its future leadership those qualities of vision, intellectual force, humaneness and courage that Americans saw and admired in John F. Kennedy, not in a specious effort to fall heir to his mantle, but because our times demand no lesser greatness.

                        To all thinking Republicans, the meaning of November 22 nd , 1963, should be clear. The Republican party now has a challenge to seek in its future leadership those qualities of vision, intellectual force, humaneness and courage that Americans saw and admired in John F. Kennedy, not in a specious effort to fall heir to his mantle, but because our times demand no lesser greatness. Our party should make the call to excellence in leadership virtually the center of its campaign platform for 1964 and for the years to come. The Republican party should call America’s finest young leaders into the political arena. It should advance its talented younger leadership now to positions of responsibility within the national Republican party and the Congress. Great government requires great men in government. In a complex age, when truth is relative and total solutions elusive we can do no more than pledge the very best qualities of mind and soul to the endless battle for human dignity. And we dare do no less at every level of social activity, from the presidency to the town selectman.

                        The moderates of the Republican party have too long been silent. None of us can shirk the responsibility for our past lethargy. All of us must now respond to the need for forceful leadership. The moderate progressive elements of the Republican party must strive to change the tone and the content of American political debate. The continued silence of those who should now seek to lead disserves our party and nation alike.

                        The question has often been asked, “Where does one find’ ‘fiery moderates’?” Recent events show only too clearly how much we need such men. If we cannot find them, let us become them.

                        The Ripon Society’s founders concerned themselves with building a vital new Republican Party, striving to rectify the mistakes of the past so they would not weaken the Party’s ability to create a constructive political dialogue in the years ahead. In a number of notable instances, they went on to provoke what they called “their moss-backed elders” in the Republican Party to fury and reform.

                        Ideas are at the root of our organization’s rich history. Today, The Ripon Society continues to promote the spirit and the stalwart principles that make the United States great and that contribute to the GOP’s past success. At the core of these ideas are keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low, and supporting a federal government that is not only smaller, but smarter and more accountable to its citizens.


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