More on Dynasties and Democracy

A letter from Eric, a reader, who elaborates on the theme of my column today on “Dynasties and Democracy“:

I wish to point out that there have been other American observers who noted the rise of dynastic politics in the United States . To be specific: Kevin Phillips, in his book American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, published in 2004. The key point the book makes is that four generations of the Bush family have been involved with the rise of the national security state. There have been other prominent political families throughout America history, but stronger parties and strong public sentiment kept it under control. The Republican Party in the 14 elections between 1952 and 2004, has nominated either Richard Nixon or a Bush family member on the presidential/vice presidential ticket in 11 of those elections. This streak is unprecedented in American history. Here are the details:
Richard Nixon – 1952 VP, 1956 VP, 1960 Pres, 1968 Pres, 1972 Pres
George Herbert Walker Bush – 1980 VP, 1984 VP, 1988 Pres, 1992 Pres
George Walker Bush – 2000 Pres, 2004 Pres
The three exceptions during the period: 1964, 1976, 1996
The Democratic Party only has one streak that even approaches this in length:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt – 1920 VP, 1932 Pres, 1936 Pres, 1940, Pres, 1944 Pres

This fits in neatly with the premise of my piece: that the rise of political  dynasties is linked to our interventionist foreign policy. Since the War Party took up residence in the GOP, the dynastic factor has weighed heavily in their internal politics. And of course the reign of “Dr. Win-the-War” fits the same pattern.

2 thoughts on “More on Dynasties and Democracy”

  1. Dynasties aren’t a new thing at all. John Adams was the second President, and his son was the sixth President. Samuel Adams was a distant cousin.

    Virginia produced several minor dynasties. President William Henry Harrison’s father was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his grandson was President Benjamin Harrison. The Lees and the Randolphs were also quite prominent.

    Robert E. Lee’s wife was a Custis. Martha Washington was also a Custis. Robert E. Lee’s father was General “Lighthorse Harry” and a governor of Virginia.

    There is too much information for me to list here. Go to Wikipedia and look at the article on Peyton Randolph and his “family ties.” You will find connections to the Washingtons, the Lees, the Harrisons, the Jeffersons, and John Marshall.

  2. Kevin Phillips has also written another excellent book “Wealth and Democracy” in which he outlines the path that other great world powers have taken in their pursuit of empire. The Dutch, the Spanish, the English and now America. All bankrupted their economies in the pursuit of world dominance. America is well along the way…

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