Nancy Pelosi Retweets Op Ed By Historian Jordan E. TaylorHistorians in the News
tags: Founding Fathers, elections, security, impeachment, Trump, Nancy Pelosi, foreign interference
Historian of print and politics in revolutionary America, teaching History at Smith College.
"Pelosi is right. The first generation of American political leaders understood the danger of foreign involvement in their elections because they lived through it."https://t.co/aT831Xrl8A— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) October 7, 2019
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) demand that she suspend the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Trump for pressuring foreign countries to investigate a potential 2020 election opponent. In her letter, she pointed out that “our Founders were specifically intent on ensuring that foreign entities did not undermine the integrity of our elections.”
Pelosi is right. The first generation of American political leaders understood the danger of foreign involvement in their elections because they lived through it. Throughout the 1790s, France’s ambassadors repeatedly sought to influence the results of American elections, hoping to sway policy in their favor.
Even after this meddling ended, fear of foreign influence persisted, ultimately making subsequent untainted elections seem illegitimate. Public faith in the democratic process had eroded. The entire experience convinced the founding generation that democracies live or die based on the integrity of their elections — a lesson we must remember today.
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