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The History of Partisanship In America

Boston Progressives

“You Lie!” Screamed Representative Joe Wilson (R SC) in the middle of President Obama’s State of the Union Address. The only appropriate reaction at the State of the Union is applause. It is a solemn occasion, not an episode of The O’Reilly Factor, and to insult the president in the middle of the speech is quite egregious.Is The Wilson episode an example of the dearth of civility in our national political discourse?–the civility that is needed to overcome congressional logjam? It is almost uniformly accepted by most Americans–even political junkies–that there is a growing lack of civility in our political discourse–a lack of civility unfounded in the history of the two-party system..

However, the acrimony in modern American politics is not unprecedented. During our national infancy, the display of partisan tantrums was viscious and cut throat. It makes today’s political bickering seem like child’s play.

Unfortunately, we do not…

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