The Impact Of United States Presidential Elections On The World View (Standing) Of America

2403 words - 10 pages

How other countries view America’s position in the world varies not only based on America’s actions within the international arena, or foreign policy, but also how Americans view the actions of their leaders and policy makers. For both internal and external views, America’s “standing” revolves around two primary elements – how well the US government does what it says it is going to do and how well it stands up to threats against it. While these are not the only elements considered, America’s credibility and pride are viewed as key to how well it will respond to interactions both within and outside its borders. A country’s world view, or standing, can vary over time and be impacted by a number of things such as where a country is located, its economic state, religious orientation, etc. So while it is not an absolute measure, it provides a point of comparison as to where one country stands versus another. 2
Initially, America was focused inward with no concern for “standing.” Our founding fathers’ focus was on giving the American people the power to select its leaders. The election of our first president, George Washington on the first Wednesday in 1789, was decided by white men who owned property - the only Americans allowed to vote. (Later, the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments to the Constitution expanded the right to vote to all citizens over the age of eighteen.) At the time of George Washington’s election, no one contested his election, so he ran unopposed. The Constitution allowed each state to determine how it would select its presidential electors, and selected an interval of every four years for presidential elections to be held. For that first presidential election in 1789, only Pennsylvania and Maryland held elections to determine who would represent them (electors) in voting for President. Other states had their legislatures chose the electors. In New York, legislators were so evenly split between the Federalist who supported the new Constitution and the Antifederalists who opposed it, that legislators were unable to select their presidential electors. Each elector was to cast two votes for president and the candidate with the majority of votes won the presidency, and the runner-up became the vice president. 1
Change came about slowly. The election of 1796 was the first with two individuals running for President. John Adams was selected as the Presidential candidate by the Federalists and Thomas Jefferson was selected by the Republicans. International issues became a factor for the first time with the Federalists branding the Republicans as "Jacobins" after Robespierre's revolutionary faction in France. The Republicans opposed a recently negotiated treaty with Great Britain which the Federalists believed was the only way to avoid a potential war with Britain. The Democratic-Republicans tended to side with France while the Federalists sided with Great Britain. America understood the importance of world events on our country, but other...

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