Political Attacks Historically

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People often speak as if personal attacks in politics have been getting increasingly worse. Perhaps they have in the short term. I have no idea. But personal attacks have not been a recent phenomenon, and the kind we have now wouldn't have been beyond the pale in past generations. 08 Guru ASC has some choice morsels from some pretty nasty personal attacks in presidential elections in the past, some of them going way back to Adams (both of them, actually), Jefferson, and Jackson.

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Also, the personal attacks attributed to Caius Gracchus (and his opponents) in Plutarch are as bad as any in American history.

If I remember correctly, at one point Gracchus' opponent accuses Gracchus' mother (who had a reputation for being superlatively virtuous) of adultery, and Gracchus responds to the effect that his (male) opponent has been in bed with a man more recently than his mother has.

Certainly it's nothing new.

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