It seems we never learn. Every now and then, the American people hand some poor soul, undeserving in many cases, the national levers of power. And in each and every instance, it has cost us dearly. There are several historical periods of note.
John Adams, himself a political giant, was imminently qualified for the presidency, at least on paper. But he had the most unenviable of tasks, perhaps in all of American history. He had to follow George Washington as president. And he did a lousy job.
Rather than reverse course from what Washington and Alexander Hamilton had begun, Adams built on it, continuing an oppressive system of taxation and top-down management of the nation’s affairs. A people who had just fought a war of independence over taxation now saw the imposition of an even more draconian system, one that included direct federal taxes on everything from whiskey and tobacco to land and homes. Continue reading