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About Nancy Salvato
Nancy Salvato is the President and Director of Education and the Constitutional Literacy Program for
Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) research and educational project whose mission is to re-introduce the American public to the basic elements of our constitutional heritage while providing non-partisan, fact-based information on relevant socio-political issues important to our country, specifically the threats of aggressive Islamofascism and the American Fifth Column. She serves as a Senior Editor for The New Media Journal. She is also a staff writer, for the New Media Alliance, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) coalition of writers and grass-roots media outlets. She received her BA in history from Loyola University and her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from National-Louis University. She is certified to teach in grades K-9 and 6-12 and as a teacher has worked with students in preschool, 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th grades. She has also worked as an adjunct instructor at the graduate school level. She continues to augment her education and areas of expertise in the style of Abraham Lincoln.
Recent Articles
Political Science 101: Power Breeds Corruption
Two Americas or One Nation with Liberty & Justice...
Setting New Standards with Online Education
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Circumnavigating the Rule of Law
In Just 100 Days
Defining Article 2, Section 1 in Context
A Constitutionally Illiterate Congressional Leadership
Natural Born Citizens
Impoverishment, Elitism & Apathy
An Alternative to Impending Doom
Effective "Tools" in Education
Houston, We Have a Problem
Letting the Evidence Speak for Itself
The Right to Defend Sovereignty
Undermining Our Sovereignty from Without & Within
Risking Our Nation’s Sovereignty
True Patriots Put Country First
The Oath of a Citizen
The Constitution, Two Candidates & An Election
Article II, Section 1: Just Words

Nancy Salvato, Senior Editor

Political Science 101: Power Breeds Corruption
September 14, 2009

Chicago is known as "The Windy City” not because it is windy (although anyone who tries to use an umbrella during a heavy rain in the Loop knows how difficult that can prove) but because of the blowhard politicians it has produced throughout the centuries. Chicago’s scandalous history of political corruption began in the l9th century around the time of the Chicago Fire continuing through today, most notably, Governor Blagojevich’s attempt to "sell” President Obama’s Senate seat. Political malfeasance doesn’t begin and end in Illinois, though. Other states have equal or worse reputations.

The Wall Street Journal, in an article titled, A Swamp of Corruption , noted that "Louisiana ranks third in the nation in the number of elected officials per capita convicted of crimes (Mississippi takes top prize).” Paging through the list of politicians on the take is like reading a who’s who in the society pages. Most recently, former Democratic Louisiana congressman, Rep. William Jefferson, was convicted by a federal jury, "of taking bribes on 11 of 16 counts in a case in which agents found $90,000 in his freezer.” Corruption is not unique to what is referred to the modern era in our history.

From the History of Political Corruption at Answers.com:

"From the beginnings of European settlement to the American Revolution, the colonies witnessed some outrageous instances of corruption. Royal governors and corporate placemen used their official positions to enrich themselves in every possible way. Many of them considered this a privilege of their offices.”

Clearly, the Founders were no strangers to corruption. Certainly, they did all within their power to stem its influence in the new system of government they created. A division of powers between the branches of government; between the Senate and the House; and between the federal and state governments were designed to prevent any groups from gaining the upper hand. James Madison wrote in Federalist #51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

James Madison, often referred to as the Father of the Constitution, is also quoted as saying:

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."

"We the People” ratified a Constitution which gave to the federal government very specific, enumerated powers which were intended to protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Powers not specifically given to the federal government were to be left to the states and to the people who reside within. The government was not charged with providing for our wants and needs. Of this, Benjamin Franklin said:

"The US Constitution does not guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself."

According to Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, Director of the American Center for Democracy, corruption wasn’t unique to the New World. Indeed, "In the Old World, corruption in politics and business were regarded as inevitable.”

Corruption also existed among ancient societies and it contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire.

"Gradually, the Praetorian Guard gained complete authority to choose the new emperor, who rewarded the guard who then became more influential, perpetuating the cycle. Then in 186 A. D. the army strangled the new emperor, the practice began of selling the throne to the highest bidder. During the next 100 years, Rome had 37 different emperors - 25 of whom were removed from office by assassination.

This lesson in history is really pretty simple. Power breeds corruption. The Founders believed that If they could limit the amount of power given to the government, they could limit the amount of corruption in the government. We’re now witnessing the largest expansion of our government’s power in history. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Now, think about this idea for a moment. Power breeds corruption. Can you agree with this idea? Think of a time in your life when...

Opinions expressed by contributing writers are expressly their own and may or may not represent the opinions of The New Media Journal, BasicsProject.org, its editorial staff, board or organization. Reprint inquiries should be directed to the author of the article. Contact the editor for a link request to The New Media Journal. The New Media Journal is not affiliated with any mainstream media organizations. The New Media Journal is not supported by any political organization. The New Media Journal is a division of BasicsProject.org, a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) research and educational initiative. Responsibility for the accuracy of cited content is expressly that of the contributing author. All original content offered by The New Media Journal and BasicsProject.org is copyrighted. Basics Project’s goal is the liberation of the American voter from partisan politics and special interests in government through the primary-source, fact-based education of the American people.

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