Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be the first president to track dirt into high office
With the exoneration by the FBI of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, of any email misdeeds, it brings to mind the perceptions of Scottish visitor to the United States, James Bryce (1838-1922), in the late 19th century. Like French visitor Alexis deTocqueville earlier, Bryce spent no little time in his visits, even serving as ambassador to the United States from 1907 to 1913. Earlier, he served in Parliament.
But there’s more: Bryce was one of Britain’s most distinguished public figures. He was a superb scholar at Trinity College, Oxford, and at the age of 26 wrote a brilliant legal analysis of the ancients, the Holy Roman Empire. He then served as a lawyer, returned to Oxford as a professor of civil law, then became undersecretary of foreign affairs. His initial interest in the United States began in an unusual manner — a climbing expedition in 1876.
His most famous work, “The American Commonwealth,” 1,500 pages long, published in 1888, nailed the defects of the American political system, even though Bryce was a great admirer of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, he was overwhelmed by the fact that the United States had “already achieved many things which the Old World had longed for in vain.”