The impeachment inquiry for Donald Trump is going at an unstoppable pace as more evidence of abuse of power comes to the surface. The now President of the United States and a former businessman who had ventured in hospitality, casino, and education was accused of using his presidential position to gain personal favour. The quote “With great power comes great responsibility” has been in existence since the 18th century, but its significance is increasing day by day. So while leaders around the world are abusing their power for personal gains, let’s take a look at examples of abuses of power in the history of the world.
Ivan the Terrible
The public’s name for the first Tsar of Russia — Ivan the Terrible — is probably enough to give you an idea of his nature. Ivan the Terrible abused his power in many ways. He abused his nobility. He executed random people whenever he felt like it. But the worse thing of all is what he did with dogs and cats.
It’s said that, when he was a child, Ivan wanted to hear the anguished screams of cats and dogs. And so, just because he could, he threw them off of the walls of Kremlin. Some would say “Terrible” doesn’t suffice his actions.
Ray Blanton was the governor of Tennessee from 1975 to 1979. During his term, he fired the chairman of the Board of Pardons and Paroles to carry out his act. Then, he went on pardon 52 prisoners after accepting bribes from them. Out of those 52, 20 were convicted murders. One of those murderers was a double murderer and found out to be the son of a Blanton supporter.
When his term was coming to an end, Blanton was planning another round of pardons. However, one of his friends notified state leaders. Together, they took advantage of the fact that the constitution was unclear when the new governor should be sworn in. Thus, they preponed the new governor’s inauguration by three days to stop Blanton.
Zheng Xiaoyu was responsible for running China’s drug administration from 1998 to 2005. When new rules were created in 2002 making it mandatory for all drugs to be approved by the agency, many companies were eager to get their products approved as soon as possible. Taking advantage of this, Xiaoyu accepted bribes to the tune of $850,000.
One of the drugs that were approved by taking bribes was responsible for taking the lives of 10 people before being taken off the market. When the malpractice came to light, he was executed for his crimes.
- Budd Dwyer
Budd Dwyer was the treasurer of Pennsylvania in the 1980s. When he was faced with the decision of giving a $4.6 million contract for a large and complex project, he took a $300,000 bribe in exchange for awarding the contract to a smaller accounting firm called Computer Technology Associates (CTA). It was a small company with a little experience under its belt. It also had few employees and barely any equipment. He chose it instead of another large firm offering to do the job at half the price.
When found, Dwyer was convicted of perjury, mail fraud, conspiracy, and more. He was looking at 55 years in prison. So the day before his hearing, he held a press conference talking about his innocence and the downsides of the US justice system. At the end of his speech, he pulled a .357 magnum revolver from a manila envelope and fired it into his mouth. His suicide was broadcast by several television stations.