Your Favorite Political Move of the Last Two Hundred Years.

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We all have one, whether it be Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation or Bismark's Four Wars. As the title states what is your favorite political move of the last two hundred years. I'm limiting it to the years between 2013 and 1813.

1901 federation of Australia, due to obvious reasons

FDR's New Deal, progressives hoooo

dmase:
FDR's New Deal, progressives hoooo

/Agree

If only FDR lived a little longer, who knows, maybe the Democrats would've become "The American Labor Party" or something along those lines.

Still, the new deal was a victory for Social Democracy (or at least Keynesian economics)

The Treaty of Rome.

This is a tough one actually. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons written in 1970, is good. There's also the partial test ban treaty. There's also the UN charter in 1945.

German Reunification was very good as well. The Kyoto protocol is good, although I'm disappointed that there is no longer any progress. The Montreal Protocol was more effective. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was more comprehensive.

The Paris Peace Accords was needed, although it came about too late.

While these aren't so much moves so much as parliamentary tactics, I love the rule pertaining to quorums in the US legislative branch. For those who don't know, in order to have a vote, you must have a quorum, which means that you have to have a majority of the voting body in order to vote on anything. In 1988 while engaged in a senatorial battle over campaign finance reform, the Republicans walked out, leaving the Democrats without the ability to vote due to lack of a quorum. So what happened was then majority leader Robert Byrd called for a Call of The Senate, which is a motion that if approved would allow the Sargent at Arms to, using the DC police, compel any absent Senators to come vote via arrest warrants. The motion was approved and what followed was members of the DC police chasing republican senators through the halls of the senate building, searching offices, broom closets, wardrobes, underneath desks. One senator, Robert Packwood of Oregon was actually carried into the chamber by four members of the DC police, and suffered minor injuries.

I love little things like that.

America deciding that companies are people too. Why? Because it happened in my time and I can watch the shitstorm that came from it from a distance. I like taking George Carlin's approach of just sitting back and enjoying the show on such things.

(Yes I know that not the whole of America decided this. But you know what I mean.)

The reconstruction ammendments. They not only freed slaves and granted them citizenship, but extended the rights and protections gauranteed by the constitution to protect us from the states as well.

Revnak:
The reconstruction ammendments. They not only freed slaves and granted them citizenship, but extended the rights and protections gauranteed by the constitution to protect us from the states as well.

Eh. Women couldn't vote until 1920 and there was still a lot of racism after the 13th and 14th amendment. Not, that this wasn't a step in the right direction of course.

dmase:
FDR's New Deal, progressives hoooo

I agree. Personally I think modern politicians in both America and here in Canada would do well to remember the new deal and perhaps draw from it in the future.

Frission:

Revnak:
The reconstruction ammendments. They not only freed slaves and granted them citizenship, but extended the rights and protections gauranteed by the constitution to protect us from the states as well.

Eh. Women couldn't vote until 1920 and there was still a lot of racism after the 13th and 14th amendment. Not, that this wasn't a step in the right direction of course.

They are the most legally important ammendments to the constitution after the first ten, and, in the long run, have been a major factor in virtually every rights movement as well as being a significant part of virtually every decision of the Warren court.

Saladfork:

dmase:
FDR's New Deal, progressives hoooo

I agree. Personally I think modern politicians in both America and here in Canada would do well to remember the new deal and perhaps draw from it in the future.

Yes, and draw from it how to prolong a depression and create the illusion of successful government interventionism. We should never forget the mistakes of the past.

Lawrence vs. Texas

Means quite a bit to finally be able to say that a government, no matter what the level, can't throw you in prison for consentual sex with another adult.

I'm going with Gorr on this. The European Union is the most signifcant development of the 20th century for certain.

For the 19th century, probably the rise and later unification of Germany. Say what you will about the wars, but that collection of states dominated the proceedings in the only continent that really mattered in those days, and would do so untill the end of the First World War, and again during the second one.

harmonic:
Yes, and draw from it how to prolong a depression and create the illusion of successful government interventionism. We should never forget the mistakes of the past.

The others were talking about facts, so don't go throwing in ultra-right wing mythology like it's on equal footing please.

The figures of the time speak for itself. What you claim about prolonging the depression is rubbish. Also for itself speaks the fact that infrastructure built because of the New Deal was in some cases the best the US had after the periods of blind conservatism that followed. And still has in some sad cases of small government disinvestment.

Neither do I seem to be the only one realising that. Here's someone who took quite an amount of time to compile a list:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/02/05/693408/-A-list-the-legacy-of-infrastructure-of-the-New-Deal

And let's name an example: Swamps were drained to stop the spread of malaria. You wanted to call that a bad thing, a failure?

Merely the formal recognition of collective bargaining rights made it a succes. Without labour unions and giving them a way to act, you're always going to stay stuck in the era of the industrial revolution. The US still knows a ton of poverty because it allows employers to screw over their employees. In some cases quite literally trying to work them to death. And has it paid off? No. There's nothing like a significant economic boom the US has over countries that did provide fair working conditions.

Saladfork:

dmase:
FDR's New Deal, progressives hoooo

I agree. Personally I think modern politicians in both America and here in Canada would do well to remember the new deal and perhaps draw from it in the future.

What irritates me is Obama had the chance. His lack of experience in the political realm really hurt him those past 2 years, great ideas and absolutely no forceful political maneuvering behind them.

strictly the last 200 years eh ?

well if i can't pick the institutional investiture of Capitalism i guess i'll go with the collective rise of "the labour movement", "workers rights", universal suffrage et al.

in short the rise of the working/middle classes to political power.

too wide a net ?

eh...well on a personal note the opening of the (new) Scottish parliament was a great and historic day...apart from that the greatest and most meaningful political moment of my 40 odd years on this planet was when the Berlin wall came down.

The Marshall plan was pretty awesome, especially in regards to reforming (West) Germany with an advanced and progressive constitution and allowing it to rebuild into an economic powerhouse. Some people called for Germany to be forced to become an agrarian society. And see where Europe is now thanks to mutual cooperation rather than oppression.

Sleekit:
strictly the last 200 years eh ?

well if i can't pick the institutional investiture of Capitalism i guess i'll go with the collective rise of "the labour movement", "workers rights", universal suffrage et al.

in short the rise of the working/middle classes to political power.

too wide a net ?

eh...well on a personal note the opening of the (new) Scottish parliament was a great and historic day...apart from that the greatest and most meaningful political moment of my 40 odd years on this planet was when the Berlin wall came down.

I was under the impression that we had to pick a specific text or document. If not, I'll follow you when it comes to worker's rights.

There's also de-colonization, which was pretty important.

Skeleon:
The Marshall plan was pretty awesome, especially in regards to reforming (West) Germany with an advanced and progressive constitution and allowing it to rebuild into an economic powerhouse. Some people called for Germany to be forced to become an agrarian society. And see where Europe is now thanks to mutual cooperation rather than oppression.

I doubt a good part of Europe would have recovered as well without that plan.

Most of the soviet countries weren't allowed to accept the Marshall plan unfortunately. The USSR actually mad their own version called the Molotov Plan, which was almost completely useless.

One of the earliest entries of the dick waving contest that was the cold war.

GunsmithKitten:
Lawrence vs. Texas

Means quite a bit to finally be able to say that a government, no matter what the level, can't throw you in prison for consentual sex with another adult.

Similarly, the United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry rulings in a few months have the potential to be the single most significant and impactful court cases ever decided in terms of the direct effect the rulings will have on my life. I hope that in June I can come back and post that one or both of those rulings were my favourite political move(s).

the clockmaker:
1901 federation of Australia, due to obvious reasons

Federation of Australia was shit. I'm not saying that the federation was a bad idea, but it was badly done. NZ never should have pulled out and the constitution should have had a bill of rights and should have always recognised aborigines as citizens and forbidden the creation of racist laws against them.

I can't put into words how agonising it was last year waiting to see whether Campbell Newman's government was going to render my relationship status null and void, which would never, ever have been possible if the Australian constitution contained even the most basic protections for citizens from their governments, like due process in this case, which is at the core of most comparable nation's constitutions. You can put a lot of the blame for some of the most unfair, backwards and bigoted decisions made by governments throughout our history on the fact that federation was fucked up by people who wanted to create a culture of unfettered government power with no checks, balances or protections for the little guy.

Manifest Destiny.

Where would we be without elbow room?

For my own little piece of the world? I think either the decision of non-alliance for Sweden that has kept us out of a bunch of wars or letting Norway seperate peacefully.

For the world? Perestroika and Glasnost and other reformations like them by Gorbachev.

The proclamation of the First French Empire.

From a British perspective I'd have to go with either the Abolition of Slavery Act 1833 or the Representation of the People Act 1928 (universal adult suffrage wooo!).

Top 5 (British), here we go:
1. Universal Suffrage (kind of obvious that one)
2. Abolition of Slavery
3. the trade union movement(like anything they're not perfect, but they are the sole reason you have any labour rights at all)
4. Welfare state/NHS
5. Minimum wage. (I'm all about the workers rights me)

(wasn't sure of the dates on the slavery one, turns out it was fully abolished throughout the British empire in 1833, but the history of it in Britain is really weird. Apparently there was a point where a slave brought to the UK couldn't legally be forced to stay in service or be deported into slavery again-ie. they where free- but there where Scottish families who could still be legally born into a state of chattel. Also, we actually got a shitload worse before we got better. It was ruled that English law couldn't uphold slavery as early as 1569, what the hell happened?)

Internationally (not ranked):
EU, or at least the idea behind it
Whatever it was that we did to stop Europe becoming communist
Ending Imperialism
The concept of Human rights
The recognition of climate change as a problem (I wish there was some actual action, but you can't have everything)
(I would also say ending slavery, but I'm not that hopelessly naive)

Globally, it just has to be the EU.

It may not have completely unified the most war-torn and influential continent on Earth, but I think we can safely say there's not going to be another significant war here for a very long time.

Since others are already taken, I choose the establishment of the National Park System.

Blablahb:
I'm going with Gorr on this. The European Union is the most signifcant development of the 20th century for certain.

For the 19th century, probably the rise and later unification of Germany. Say what you will about the wars, but that collection of states dominated the proceedings in the only continent that really mattered in those days, and would do so untill the end of the First World War, and again during the second one.

harmonic:
Yes, and draw from it how to prolong a depression and create the illusion of successful government interventionism. We should never forget the mistakes of the past.

The others were talking about facts, so don't go throwing in ultra-right wing mythology like it's on equal footing please.

The figures of the time speak for itself. What you claim about prolonging the depression is rubbish. Also for itself speaks the fact that infrastructure built because of the New Deal was in some cases the best the US had after the periods of blind conservatism that followed. And still has in some sad cases of small government disinvestment.

Neither do I seem to be the only one realising that. Here's someone who took quite an amount of time to compile a list:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/02/05/693408/-A-list-the-legacy-of-infrastructure-of-the-New-Deal

And let's name an example: Swamps were drained to stop the spread of malaria. You wanted to call that a bad thing, a failure?

Merely the formal recognition of collective bargaining rights made it a succes. Without labour unions and giving them a way to act, you're always going to stay stuck in the era of the industrial revolution. The US still knows a ton of poverty because it allows employers to screw over their employees. In some cases quite literally trying to work them to death. And has it paid off? No. There's nothing like a significant economic boom the US has over countries that did provide fair working conditions.

...Aaand, I'm no longer using Amazon. That is seriously fucked up.

ten.to.ten:
Federation of Australia was shit. I'm not saying that the federation was a bad idea, but it was badly done. NZ never should have pulled out and the constitution should have had a bill of rights and should have always recognised aborigines as citizens and forbidden the creation of racist laws against them.

I can't put into words how agonising it was last year waiting to see whether Campbell Newman's government was going to render my relationship status null and void, which would never, ever have been possible if the Australian constitution contained even the most basic protections for citizens from their governments, like due process in this case, which is at the core of most comparable nation's constitutions. You can put a lot of the blame for some of the most unfair, backwards and bigoted decisions made by governments throughout our history on the fact that federation was fucked up by people who wanted to create a culture of unfettered government power with no checks, balances or protections for the little guy.

I disagree there. Not that it wouldn't be good it if worked, of course, but I don't think it'd be effective. An unchangeable -ish bill of rights causes all sorts of headaches, but oppressive governments can still work around them.

Oh, thought I'd replied. Act of Parliament 1911 - meaning that any act that passed unchanged through the House of Commons 3 times within 2 years did not need the approval of the House of Lords for Royal Ascension. Basically meaning that the Liberal acts could pass through the conservative-dominated Lords and that the modern welfare state could begin to develop. Good stuff.

thaluikhain:
I disagree there. Not that it wouldn't be good it if worked, of course, but I don't think it'd be effective. An unchangeable -ish bill of rights causes all sorts of headaches, but oppressive governments can still work around them.

I don't think you're making sense. If a bill of rights is so flimsy that it can be circumvented for nefarious reasons then why can't it be circumvented for positive reasons? It also sounds like what you're saying is along the lines of "no need to put security cameras up, people are going to find a way to shoplift anyway, why bother?", except instead of shoplifters it's governments trying to punish people. There are possible negatives that can come from anything set in stone in a constitution but in no way would the negatives outweigh the positives. If Australia had a bill of rights similar to America's, it's hard for me to think of anything from it that would have stifled the progress of this country, and a lot of bad decisions made by various governments over the years could have been stopped or lessened.

Even if you don't believe in constitutional protections for things like free speech, it's ridiculous to me for a government to be able to issue retroactive punishments or to, in my example with civil partnerships in Queensland, remove a legal status I held by cancelling out a contract I entered into with the government, against my will with no compensation.

The governments in this country are, in my opinion, far too irresponsible to be trusted to not make harmful and unfair decisions like that. There are no mechanisms to stop them from it, and there should be.

ten.to.ten:

thaluikhain:
I disagree there. Not that it wouldn't be good it if worked, of course, but I don't think it'd be effective. An unchangeable -ish bill of rights causes all sorts of headaches, but oppressive governments can still work around them.

I don't think you're making sense. If a bill of rights is so flimsy that it can be circumvented for nefarious reasons then why can't it be circumvented for positive reasons? It also sounds like what you're saying is along the lines of "no need to put security cameras up, people are going to find a way to shoplift anyway, why bother?", except instead of shoplifters it's governments trying to punish people. There are possible negatives that can come from anything set in stone in a constitution but in no way would the negatives outweigh the positives. If Australia had a bill of rights similar to America's, it's hard for me to think of anything from it that would have stifled the progress of this country, and a lot of bad decisions made by various governments over the years could have been stopped or lessened.

Even if you don't believe in constitutional protections for things like free speech, it's ridiculous to me for a government to be able to issue retroactive punishments or to, in my example with civil partnerships in Queensland, remove a legal status I held by cancelling out a contract I entered into with the government, against my will with no compensation.

The governments in this country are, in my opinion, far too irresponsible to be trusted to not make harmful and unfair decisions like that. There are no mechanisms to stop them from it, and there should be.

I'm aware what I said was badly phrased and rather contradictory, but I couldn't think of a better way of expressing it. Perhaps it'd be better to say that it frequently causes small problems, but movements to curtail rights tend to be big enough to overcome them.

IMHO, a constitution provides no real protection. The US constitution did not stop Japanese internment during WW2, and surely preventing that sort of thing is one of the things it's supposed to do?

Likewise, Terra Nullius meant that British settlers could not settle in Australia and drive Aboriginal people off their land. But they did anyway.

thaluikhain:

ten.to.ten:

thaluikhain:
I disagree there. Not that it wouldn't be good it if worked, of course, but I don't think it'd be effective. An unchangeable -ish bill of rights causes all sorts of headaches, but oppressive governments can still work around them.

I don't think you're making sense. If a bill of rights is so flimsy that it can be circumvented for nefarious reasons then why can't it be circumvented for positive reasons? It also sounds like what you're saying is along the lines of "no need to put security cameras up, people are going to find a way to shoplift anyway, why bother?", except instead of shoplifters it's governments trying to punish people. There are possible negatives that can come from anything set in stone in a constitution but in no way would the negatives outweigh the positives. If Australia had a bill of rights similar to America's, it's hard for me to think of anything from it that would have stifled the progress of this country, and a lot of bad decisions made by various governments over the years could have been stopped or lessened.

Even if you don't believe in constitutional protections for things like free speech, it's ridiculous to me for a government to be able to issue retroactive punishments or to, in my example with civil partnerships in Queensland, remove a legal status I held by cancelling out a contract I entered into with the government, against my will with no compensation.

The governments in this country are, in my opinion, far too irresponsible to be trusted to not make harmful and unfair decisions like that. There are no mechanisms to stop them from it, and there should be.

I'm aware what I said was badly phrased and rather contradictory, but I couldn't think of a better way of expressing it. Perhaps it'd be better to say that it frequently causes small problems, but movements to curtail rights tend to be big enough to overcome them.

IMHO, a constitution provides no real protection. The US constitution did not stop Japanese internment during WW2, and surely preventing that sort of thing is one of the things it's supposed to do?

Likewise, Terra Nullius meant that British settlers could not settle in Australia and drive Aboriginal people off their land. But they did anyway.

That same constitution ended slavery, expanded the rights of the accused, and even legalized abortion in the long run. The protections of the U.S. constitution have had a massive effect on our nation, even if some atrocities have still been allowed despite it.

Revnak:
That same constitution ended slavery, expanded the rights of the accused, and even legalized abortion in the long run. The protections of the U.S. constitution have had a massive effect on our nation, even if some atrocities have still been allowed despite it.

Is that due to the constitution though? Would society have made those changes had the constitution not been written?

thaluikhain:

Revnak:
That same constitution ended slavery, expanded the rights of the accused, and even legalized abortion in the long run. The protections of the U.S. constitution have had a massive effect on our nation, even if some atrocities have still been allowed despite it.

Is that due to the constitution though? Would society have made those changes had the constitution not been written?

No. No they wouldn't have. The south wouldn't have ended slavery for generations and the others were supreme court decisions opposed by a majority of law makers and enforcers.

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