America’s Cycles of Change

The Electoral College through US History

Sat, 10 December 2016

The problem of resolving conflicts between not just state but also regional interests were well understood by the Founding Fathers. The very first administration of George Washington was repeatedly rocked by the endless clashes between Thomas Jefferson representing the interests of the Southern states and Alexander Hamilton the spokesman for the commercial and financial interests of the Northeast.

As I document in my 2015 book Cycles of Change, a study of the patterns of US history from Jefferson to Barack Obama, TJ and the first popularly elected president Andrew Jackson effectively blocked the interests of New York, Boston and Philadelphia for generations.

Instead, the policies followed by almost all of the first 15 US presidents strongly favored the interests of the South.

These included: rapid continental expansion, cheap or free land for white settlers, subjugation of the Native American nations and the vast expansion of slavery to produce cash crops primarily cotton and tobacco.

I call this period, encompassing the two eras of Jefferson and Jackson, A the age of Agrarian America.

However, Abraham Lincoln’s fateful single term presidency through the Civil War from 1861 to 1865 permanently swung primary interests back to the financial and industrial concentrations of the Northeast. And these conditions have essential continued to the president day.

In Cycles of Change, I call the 72 years from the election of Lincoln to that of Franklin D. Roosevelt the eras of Industrial America.

During those years, ironically New York and the old concentrations of population and wealth on the East Coast, along with the rapidly rising West Coast, primarily California, after 1900, were political financial bastions of wealth, conservativism and the Republican Party.

Social radical and progressive forces were far more likely to win or influence local power across the more sparsely populated states of the West and upper Midwest.

Only during the era of Democratic dominance launched by FDR in 1932 that ended with the election of Richard Nixon did the Left and liberals finally start making common cause with the big city political machines to make the East Coast and the other major urban centers their political power base – a condition that has continued to this day.