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  •  The Presidency is not as important as winning (3+ / 0-)
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    BlueDragon, 4Freedom, MPociask

    seats in the House, Senate, and state houses. Look at how conservatives have managed to impose much of their agenda despite the Presidency being held by someone they despise and revile.

    And a consultation of the historical record makes it even more clear:  progressives have been able to achieve their agenda not through the White House, but through Congress, state legislatures, and governorships. The great irony of our time is that it’s the conservative movement that has learned this lesson, and replicated it, while liberals and progressives seem to have forgotten that progressives of the late 1800s and early 1900s – the populists - achieved great success in getting many of their policies implemented:

    Women’s suffrage: The first real breakthrough came in the Utah territory, which recognized women’s right to vote in 1870. Two years later, a bill giving the franchise to women lost by one vote in the Dakota Territory legislature. In 1874, a proposal to give women the vote made it onto a state referendum in Michigan, but was defeated at the polls. The next year, Michigan gave women the right to vote in school elections. Minnesota did, also. In 1878, Senator A.A. Sargeant of California introduced the first federal amendment to enshrine women’s right to vote, which never passed. In 1883, women in the Washington territory were given the vote, but this was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court four years later, while Congress took away women’s vote in Utah. Women regained the vote when Utah became a state in 1896.In 1911, California gave women full voting rights. A year later, women gained suffrage in Kansas, Oregon, the new state of Arizona, and in Alaska territory, That is the first year, 1912, that candidates for President first begin to seriously speak to women voters. Finally, in 1916, the issue breaks through to the Presidential level, when Woodrow Wilson promised that the Democratic Party Platform will include women’s right to vote. And, remember, the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York was held in 1848, nearly three quarters of a century before.

    Or look at one of the most important progressive triumphs in American history: abolition.

    Abolition may not be the best example, but clearly the first moves to eradicate American slavery originated at the state level in 1790, when Pennsylvania’s legislature adopted a policy of gradual emancipation. Over the next two decades and four years, every other state north of Maryland also wrote the elimination of slavery  into law.

    The problem with using abolition as an example, of course, is the long lapse of time since these northern states moved to outlaw slavery, and actual emancipation during the civil war, because that period is marked by the increasing power and militancy of the pro-slavery states, who pushed through a number of laws to preserve and strengthen the institution of slavery, such as the 1836 and 1840 gag rules  banning any discussion and consideration of abolition in the US House of Representatives. the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

    In a perverse way, however, this actually proves the argument that the Presidency is not the place to concentrate our attention, since these pro-slavery forces worked at the state level and within Congress to bind the nation to policies deeply unpopular outside the South.

    But the history of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation also shows that the groundwork was laid at the state and Congressional levels. In January 1862, Thaddeus Stevens, the Republican leader in the House, called for total war against the rebellion to include emancipation of slaves. In March 1862, Congress passed a "Law Enacting an Additional Article of War" forbidding Union Army officers from returning fugitive slaves to bondage. In April 1862, Congress passed a law to have the federal government compensate slave owners who freed their slaves. Within a week, slaves in the District of Columbia had been freed on and their owners were compensated. In June 1862, Congress prohibited slavery in all US territories. In July 1862, Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act, establishing court proceedings to liberate not only slaves who not only had escaped to Union lines, but also slaves held by slaveholders convicted of rebellion.

    All through 1862, President Lincoln continued to argue that Congress lacked Constitutional authority to free all slaves, including those in rebel held states, but he was not unaware of the pressures building in Congress. In fact, Lincoln had already drafted plans for emancipation, under the justification that it would be a military measure authorized by the powers of the President as  commander in chief. And it would not be until January 1, 1863, that Lincoln would issue the Proclamation of Emancipation as an executive order.

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 08:24:12 AM PST

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