Chronology 1787 Meeting in Philadelphia, the framers draft a new constitution for the United States that includes provisions for the election of the president and the House of Representatives and for the selection of senators by state legislators. 1787 Many states require individuals to own property in order to vote. 1788 The first U.S. presidential and congressional elections are held. 1791 The First Amendment is ratified—guaranteeing rights to freedom of speech, press, and assembly and the right to petition the government—along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. 1795 The Yazoo Land Deal, an incident involving bribing of Georgia legislative officials, takes place. 1820 Poll taxes are introduced in many states, replacing property ownership as a requirement to vote. 1828 Andrew Jackson is elected president of the United States, ushering in the spoils system or patronage system for politics. 1872 The Crédit Mobilier Scandal, which involved revelations of massive bribery of federal officials in 1867, comes to the public’s attention five years later. 1883 Congress enacts the Pendleton Civil Service Act to restrict spoils and patronage at the federal level. 1886 In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, the Supreme Court acknowledges that corporations are persons under the Fourteenth Amendment. 1889 Southern states begin to adopt poll taxes as a means to prevent African Americans from voting. 1898 South Dakota becomes the first state to allow citizens to enact legislation through initiatives. 1907 Congress passes the Tillman Act, which bars corporations from making political contributions to candidates for federal office. 1921 The federal bribery and corruption scandal involving members of the presidential administration of Warren Harding begins. 1925 The Federal Corrupt Practices Act, first enacted by Congress in 1910, undergoes amendments that establish it as the first major federal law regulating the financing of federal elections.
Previous Page Next Page