July 01, 2012

The Curious Entente Cordial

The Curious Entente Cordial
The Russian Fleet in New York harbor, 1863. Harpers Weekly

Some 15 years before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, an enterprising American adventurer, Henry Wikoff, was sailing between Yalta and Odessa and debating with Russian Prince Mikhail Vorontsov the nature of American government.

“It is a strange experiment to put a government in the hands of the masses,” Vorontsov said, opining that holding frequent elections makes for an erratic government.

Wikoff, recounting this conversation in his book, Reminiscences of an Idler, responded that the common interest of the people is reflected in democratic elections.

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