We always tend to believe that we live in an age of uniquely debased political rhetoric: that we have descended from the high ideals of previous generations. Of course, that is because previous generations have passed down only the tiny fraction of their political rhetoric that stood up to high ideals, and thrown the rest into the compost heap where it belongs.The whole thing is a hoot, although you may want to skip past the opening material extolling the writer Hugh Henry Brackenridge.
Dr. Boli was too young to vote in the 1800 election, but he vividly remembers the Adams camp circulating broadsides warning that Jefferson would burn your house and rape your daughters if he won. The horrors of the French Revolution would come to our shores, and the only way to prevent them was to vote Federalist. These, you must remember, were our sainted Founding Fathers. We have no right to say that our political rhetoric is uniquely debased.He concludes with a hopeful paean:
Do not our political arguments sound very much like this today? And is it not comforting to know that, though we were no better two and a quarter centuries ago, yet we have survived to the present day?