Founding Fathers Arguably Designed US System Specifically To Be Dominated By Moneyed Interests

A common thing one hears in the US is the “Political system is broken; Founding Fathers never intended politics to be dominated by moneyed interests.” But in 1776, voting was “restricted to property owners—most of whom are white male Protestants over the age of 21″. In 1789, George Washington was elected President. “Only 6% of the population can vote.” Not until 1856 was voting expanded, even to all white men (eliminating property ownership requirement).

In 1868, voting was extended to former slaves (at least in theory), but still explicitly defined as male. Women could first vote starting in 1890 in Wyoming! In 1920, the 19th Amendment passed, giving women the right to vote throughout the US. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s,there were lots of battles for and against the rights of other groups e.g. Native Americans and immigrants to vote. Of course, the massive battles in the 1960’s to extend practical right to vote to African-Americans; some battles continue to this day.

Not until 1971 (year I was born) did the voting age get lowered to 18, despite 18-21 year olds being conscripted and sent to war throughout. Founding Fathers arguably designed US system specifically to be dominated by moneyed interests, aka white male Protestant landowners. We have far broader-based voting and political participation today than ever before, due to hard work by many activists over 200 years and we’re still by no means perfect. There is lots of progress yet to be made. But we’re leaps and bounds ahead of 50-100-150-200 years ago and no, I’m not watching the World Cup finals :-).

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