Here in Illinois, we've been battered and bruised by negative political ads for the last month or so, and many of us are tired of them. Today is primary election day, so after today we should get a little respite before the ads start up again leading to the November elections.

I'm sure you've heard people lament (maybe you've done it yourself) the state of today's toxic political atmosphere. Today's political ads go right for the jugular vein, right? The candidates say things about each other that are horrible, mean-spirited, and quite frankly, unprecedented, right? Why can't they comport themselves the way folks did back in the day, with soaring rhetoric and respect?

Because that was never the case to begin with. American political history is replete with incredible amounts of nastiness. Some of the things our founding fathers said about one another resulted in guys grabbing for pistols at sunrise (I'm looking at you, Aaron Burr).

Seriously, these dudes got downright nasty. Take Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in the election of 1800 for example:

"Importing mistresses from Europe?" Really? What's wrong with American mistresses, Mr. Adams?