Pirahã asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 8 years ago

Was corruption rampant in the early United States?

America was a developing country, and like all developing countries I'm sure not every election was exactly "free and fair."

What evidence do we have of ballot-box stuffing, voter intimidation, etc in the first 50 or so years of America's history? How do we know that the government of James Madison, for example, was legitimate?

4 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    They didn't use a ballot box until 1884, and the reason they went to a secret ballot was to reduce intimidation.

  • 8 years ago

    I hate to sound like a cynic but corruption is part of the body politic of all societies in all ages. It is part of the human make up to seek power. Power is gained through the election process but corruption is an insurance policy to assist that the desired results are achieved.

    "Power Corrupts...and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely" John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902)

  • 8 years ago

    There was a great deal of "dirty politics" (even more than there is today, if you can believe it), but there is no evidence that there was "rampant corruption" involved.

    @ Commandant - the correct quote is:

    "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Great men are almost always bad men."

    - Lord Acton, Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887

  • Honest
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Fair and free was then and continues to be a matter of connivance.

    That and coin will get you a latte too.

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