By Betsy Thorpe
Tonight the world witnessed the election of Senator Barak Obama to the presidency of the United States Of America.
On January 20th, 2009 the world will witness a peaceful transfer of power when Barack Obama is sworn into office as the nation’s 44th president.
The model for a peaceful transfer of power was established following the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800. The bitter campaign between President John Adams and Vice President Thomas Jefferson was marked by personal attacks. Supporters of Adams claimed Jefferson was “godless”, Jefferson’s supporters accused Adams of being a “British loving tyrant”. President Jefferson later wrote “ a peaceful transfer of power took place between two rivals, we can no longer say there is nothing new under the sun”.
The American ideal of a peaceful change of leadership was strained in 1860 when northern faction Democrat Stephen Douglas and southern Democrat John C Breckinridge were defeated by Republican presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, causing the state of South Carolina to declare secession from the Union. President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln determined the declaration of secession illegal, setting the stage for the Civil War.
Fearful of the tensions created during the race for the White House in 2008, many Americans are uneasy, worried the days leading up to January 20th, will be a time of social and political unrest. America’s friends, allies and adversaries from around the world will observe the events surrounding the inauguration of Barack Obama. Supporters of both the President-elect and Senator John McCain have the opportunity to preserve this country’s tradition of peaceful transfer by forgetting partisan agendas and coming together as one nation undivided to celebrate and acknowledge the advent of a new era when President Barack Obama is sworn into office.