Have political parties become the problem the framers always feared?


History professor and author Andrew Burstein explained on “Salon Talks” that early Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams warned of the deep division political parties could potentially cause much before they ever resembled the two-party system we know today. “They called political parties factions and no one wanted to belong to a political party,” Burstein explained to SalonTV’s Dean Obeidallah.

He elaborated that the Constitution never anticipated it and said that the Adamses felt “the spirit of party, was a spirit of division. And the Constitution did not recognize the inevitability of organized political parties.”

Nancy Isenberg, who authored a new book with Burstein called, “The Problem of Democracy: The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of Personality.”, added an apt comparison to world history. “John Adams also compared the rise of parties to dynasties and dynastic families and the Medici's in Italy. So he also realized that they would use a lot of the same tactics.”

Watch the video above to hear Isenberg explain why the “cult of celebrity” around George Washington was a dangerous precedent to set in the United States. And watch the full episode to learn more about what the Adamses might have thought about Donald Trump’s presidency.


SalonTV host Dean Obeidallah is also the host of the daily national SiriusXM radio program, "The Dean Obeidallah Show" on the network's progressive political channel. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.


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