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John Adams

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The Founders on Political Parties

Have you ever considered the current state of our political party system? Have you ever wondered what our Founding Fathers would say if they saw what the parties have done to our nation?

George Washington, in his farewell address, warned us of the many dangers of political parties (Taken from Source)…

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President George Washington (Click on image to enlarge)

[Political parties] serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests. However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion… the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it…

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

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

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

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

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

President Thomas Jefferson  (Click on image to enlarge)

President Thomas Jefferson (Click on image to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Francis Hopkinson Paris (Dated March 13, 1789), wrote (Source)…

I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all. Therefore I protest to you I am not of the party of federalists. But I am much farther from that of the Antifederalists.

President John Adams (Click on image to enlarge)

President John Adams (Click on image to enlarge)

John Adams, in a letter to Jonathan Jackson in October 1780, wrote (Source)…

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

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Know any other maxims from the Framers on this topic? Feel free to share them in the comments section below. We would love to see them!

The Tea Party, Then and Now

After enduring the Navigation Acts, the Molasses Act of 1733, the Currency Act of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765, the Quartering Act of 1765, the Declaratory Act of 1766, the Revenue Act of 1767, the Townsend Acts, and many other cruel and oppressive actions by King George, which ravaged individual liberty and “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” the Colonists’ desire for freedom ignited into a blazing revolution. Of course, as John Adams said, “The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.”

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Boston Tea Party (Dec. 16, 1773)

Nevertheless, the Crown trampled the people who became increasingly intolerant of England’s whip. So, when the Tea Act of 1773 was ratified, the people had had enough. So, on December 16, 1773, seven thousand Sons of Liberty, led by Samuel Adams, converged on Boston Harbor and dumped 342 chests of tea overboard in civil protest of big government, overregulation, and taxation without representation. Then, nine days later, in Delaware, another hundred chests of tea were thrown overboard for the same cause.

These two events – the Boston Tea Party and the Delaware Tea Party – riled the Crown. Yet, “We the People” kept fighting (even having a Tea Party in Edenton, NC in 1774) and eventually became free, but at a great cost. As John Adams once wroteOh, Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

Friends, in many ways, we have not made a good use of our freedom. Our lack of eternal vigilance over the last one hundred years has left us with a Country that is headed for a cliff. Today, the Tea Party movement is setting “brushfires of freedom in the minds of men” (Samuel Adams), educating our neighbors, friends, and family in the ideals of our founding documents, and preserving our freedoms and our “certain unalienable,” God-given rights. As a movement comprised of principled people from every political party, every race, every age, every educational background, every employment status, etc., we stand for constitutionally limited government.

audit-the-irs-rally-2-june-19-2013America is being fundamentally transformed, and we all must work together to be informed and active in halting and reversing the decline of our Land of Liberty. Otherwise, we will wake up, someday soon, to find our Republic dead and buried. We can no longer ride the fence. The day of reckoning is upon us.

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Disclaimers

The Wilson NC Tea Party (WNCTP) does not endorse candidates on the federal, state, or local levels. We are simply pointing our fellow citizens to the principles and values of our founding so that they will be able to vote, in the primary and general elections, for those candidates who are most aligned with those principles and values. With that said all candidate-related posts are for education purposes only.

Also, the views and opinions shared as comments on the WNCTP Blog, by its various members, do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the WNCTP leadership and volunteer base. Since the WNCTP is "Of The People, For The People, By The People" and believes in the First Amendment, we cannot and will not deny any member their right to "free speech" regarding their political and/or policy positions, but our tolerance of their views does not necessarily reflect consent.

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