Family dynasties in politics goes back to our second president, John Adams. His son, John Quincy Adams was the 6th president. John Quincy was an early proponent of Manifest Destiny, an American expansionist policy popular in the 19th century. He changed his position when the expansion of American territory also meant the expansion of slavery. What was he most noted for? He supported infrastructural and educational improvements in the shape of federal projects like road and canal building, a national university, and a national bank, but met with stiff opposition from supporters of Andrew Jackson in Congress. He is renowned as one of America’s greatest diplomats before his presidency and one of American’s greatest congressmen after his presidency, but was not a particularly effective president. Source: http://us-presidents.insidegov.com/q/27/9699/What-were-President-John-Quincy-Adams-s-accomplishments, www.john-adams-heritage.com/john-quincy-adams-facts/
Then there were the Roosevelts. Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt was a republican (In office September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909) with a liberal view who started our national park system and the first anti- trust laws. He began construction of the Panama Canal. Later his famous young nephew Franklin Roosevelt who led America out of the Great Depression and through most of WWII.
The Kennedy Family was famous even before John F. Kennedy became president.
The Bayh family of Indiana consists of two representatives Birch Bayh and most recently his son Evan Bayh.
The Brown family of California. The father was Pat Brown who is famous for building the California aqueduct that helped to distribute northern California water to southern California. His daughter Kathleen served as the state’s Treasurer and son Jerry who is now serving his fourth term as governor.
The Bush family starting with Prescott Bush (1895–1972) brought us George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush as presidents. Today George W. Bush’s brother, for Florida governor Jeb is running for president.
The Gore’s of Tennessee, and the Dodd’s of Connecticut are two other families that also come to mind.
Last but hardly least is Hillary Clinton who would like to be remembered for more than being a former First Lady.
There are many other political families listed in Wikipedia.
The question is have these families really harmed America? I believe the answer, for some of them is Yes. They see politics as a business to earn money for themselves and their families at the expense of society. Here in Los Angeles at least two families were instrumental in the incorporation of separate small towns that were manipulated to purchase services from their private companies.
These situations should be a reason for more Americans to be involved in the political system.