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One-off Democracy: When the First Election is the Last
American Thinker ^ | December 10 | Jeff Lipkes

Posted on 12/19/2011 8:57:36 AM PST by varialectio

Today is the anniversary of the first election in history in which a nation's leader was selected by universal male suffrage. On December 10, 1848, Frenchmen went to the polls for the first time in fifty-six years. For a third time, a revolution had overthrown the king, and for the second time, a republic was proclaimed.

But the French voters blew it. The surprise winner was a seedy forty-year-old adventurer who had lived in exile in Switzerland and England, except for two ignominious coup attempts. He ran on a vaguely socialistic platform of hope and change -- his first book was called Rêveries politiques, another, L'extinction du paupérisme. He'd been a carbonari in Italy, a constable in London. He had a taste for archeology, architecture, and teenage girls. De Tocqueville called him "an enigmatic, somber, insignificant numskull." Incredibly, he won in a landslide, getting 5.4 million votes, almost 75%; the favorite, a conservative general, finished second with 1.4 million.

The numbskull's name was a help. He was Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of the emperor.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: arabspring; democracy; godsgravesglyphs; jeanekirkpatrick
This is the first in a two-part article by an historian on the hazards of democracy, for anyone w/ the time and interest.
1 posted on 12/19/2011 8:57:39 AM PST by varialectio
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To: varialectio
The old saying with Communists is one man, one vote, one time. The difference between Napoleon III and the other dictators is that for the first several decades of his reign he was very popular. He did keep the economy growing, was less corrupt than the administration he replaced, and secured favorable foreign trade. Like the later Mussolini he made the trains run on time. He brought France firmly into the industrial age and made it a rival of Victoria's England, without getting into a war with the British in the process.

And that was a very good thing for Napoleon III's greatest failure was that, unlike his famous uncle, he was a dismal failure as a military leader. In the sands of North Africa, and the mud of the Crimea the French army found brutal stalemate due to poor planning and logistics. In Mexico and above all at the hands of Bismark's Germany, he found absolute defeat. Had Napoleon III resisted the urge to put on fancy uniforms he would probably be considered one of the greatest leaders in European history. But he could not resist the temptation to start wars, and once started could not then go on to win them.
2 posted on 12/19/2011 9:35:26 AM PST by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: GonzoGOP

Yeah, if could have forgotten his name, he’d be a lot more respected today. The free-trade treaty w/ Britain and rebuilding Paris were great accomplishments. But he couldn’t resist Bismarck’s bait.

3 posted on 12/19/2011 10:13:52 AM PST by varialectio
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To: varialectio

Here’s part two...

4 posted on 12/19/2011 10:15:34 AM PST by fieldmarshaldj (If Newt Gingrich is a Reliable Conservative, Joe Biden is a member of MENSA)
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To: fieldmarshaldj
Here’s part two
But democracies can restore lost rights, and the most hopeful sign that the alienable rights proclaimed by the Declaration and enumerated in the Bill of Rights might one day be resurrected is the Tea Party movement of the last two years. The way in which the movement has been vilified is a tribute to the threat it poses to the governing class. It is truly radical -- that is, seeking to return to the roots of the republic -- and even revolutionary -- which originally meant restoring laws and practices that had been corrupted and perverted. Unfortunately, there will be no Tea Party candidate in 2012. We will elect a politician.
The reason there's no Tea Party candidate winning the Republican nomination is probably the same reason that Ronald Reagan himself couldn't run now, if he were resurrected and given a pass on the two-term limit. Namely, McCain-Feingold. For which we can thank not only John McCain, but also GWB - and Sandra Day O'Connor's deciding anti constitutional vote.
All the more reason to press the campaign on all fronts, particularly in the courts, to recover and protect the liberties that statist elites have overturned in the name of egalitarianism.
With Kennedy as the deciding vote on SCOTUS, presumably McConnell vs. FEC would go the other way if a new case could be brought.

5 posted on 12/19/2011 11:34:17 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (DRAFT PALIN)
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To: Cincinna

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks varialectio.
He was Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of the emperor.
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.

6 posted on 12/19/2011 12:27:21 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! May 2013 be even Happier!)
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