Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Mr. Smith was too naive to survive as a senator during the time the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington took place. Mr. Smiths naivet was most evident in his ambitious proposal to start a national boys camp. However, when false allegations regarding Mr. Smiths motives for starting the camp surfaced, Smith was too idealistic to defend himself from the political machine that accused him of acting in self-interest. Making matters worse, Senator Smith was a genuinely honest and simple-minded man, making it difficult for him to survive among his scheming colleagues.
Senator Smith clearly demonstrated his lack of government experience and overall ignorance of the Senates character when he ambitiously struggled to create a national boys camp. When Smith asked his secretary, Clarissa Saunders, to help him assemble the bill aimed at forming a boys camp, Saunders explained that the bill was very unlikely to be successful in the Senate and tried to discourage Smith from proceeding on the bill.


However, Senator Smith was determined to introduce his bill despite the grim prospects of its ratification, and refused to step back and take a passive role in the Senate. Historically, however, Senators in Smiths time and position would not have taken on such an ambitious project as a new Senator.
In fact, most new Senators would have relied on the opinions of the older and more experienced Senators to help them make their voting decisions. This was evident when Senator Paine told Senator Smith that he would tell Smith how he should vote on any given bill. This docility and willingness to vote according to the older Senators was most likely caused by the new Senators fear of the political bosses. Mr. Smith, however, was sheltered from knowing that the political bosses even existed and, as a result, was not afraid to stand up for his beliefs. Mr. Taylor, a typical political boss of Smiths time, had extreme power in his state and was able to tilt the public opinion of Senator Smith. He did this through his control of the state media and connections within the government. Taylor concocted evidence with the help of his government connections alleging that Smith owned the property intended for the boys camp and was only promoting the camp bill so that he could sell his own property to the government at a high price. Taylor then publicized these false accusations against Smith in the newspapers that he controlled, thus persuading public opinion and ultimately causing Smith to be accused of wrongdoing by a Senate committee. Throughout this entire entourage, Smith was too inexperienced and naive to stand up against Taylors political machine and resorted instead to crying at the Lincoln Memorial. Smith only returned to the Senate after Saunders convinced him that he should fight for his rights. This situation ultimately proved once again that Senator Smith was too naive to be an effective Senator. Smith did not realize that the other Senators were inclined to believe the accusations against his character, and therefore, Smith was not compelled to defend himself at the Senate hearing against the false accusations created by Taylors machine. Smith assumed the fact that he did not own the property planned for the boys camp would be made known to the other Senators in time, and that the other Senators would be honest enough to absolve Smith of guilt. However, Smiths hopes were in vain and he was ultimately forced to initiate a 24-hour filibuster to convince the Senate of his innocence. Smith proved that he was too naive to be an effective Senator when he innocently proposed the bill for a national boys camp. He did not realize that his participation in the Senate would ultimately lead the Taylor machine to attack his character with severe repercussions. Smith then demonstrated once again that he was too inexperienced to be a Senator when he assumed the other Senators would be honest in judging his character and that, as a result, it was unnecessary for Smith to defend himself in the Senate committee. Senator Smith was too naive to realistically serve as a Senator during the time Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was filmed.

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