A Historical Perspective on the Shutdown

As the government shutdown enters its 14th day, there still appears to be no end in sight. Ego and obstinance on both sides of the aisle have made progress both slow and difficult.

It is worth noting, though, that history has bore the government through similar standstills. Following our independence in 1776, a stagnant political system rendered the congress nearly impotent, making it unable to levy taxes, regulate commerce or enforce laws. It was not until the Convention of 1787 that it acquired these vital legislative powers. The government has also faced its share of shutdowns. During the Clinton administration a fierce feud between Republicans and Democrats over Medicare and Education spending led to two shutdowns in 1995 and 1996. [1]

Learning about these events in history not only gives us the confidence to overcome current obstacles but also provides us with the proper methods of negotiation for resolving political feuds. For recent developments in the government shutdown head to cnn.com and to view the history of the U.S congress in pictures go to sciencesource.com.

 

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress#cite_note-15

Bill Clinton at White House press conference.

Bill Clinton at White House press conference.

John Trumbull's painting of the Declaration of Independence done in 1824.

John Trumbull's painting of the Declaration of Independence done in 1824.