By John Ferling
It was once a competition of titans: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, heroes of the progressive period, as soon as intimate neighbors, now icy antagonists locked in a fierce conflict for the way forward for the us. The election of 1800 used to be a thunderous conflict of a crusade that climaxed in a impasse within the Electoral university and ended in a drawback during which the younger republic teetered at the fringe of cave in.
Adams vs. Jefferson is the gripping account of a turning aspect in American historical past, a dramatic fight among events with profoundly diversified visions of ways the kingdom might be ruled. The Federalists, led by means of Adams, have been conservatives who favorite a robust relevant govt. The Republicans, led via Jefferson, have been extra egalitarian and believed that the Federalists had betrayed the Revolution of 1776 and have been backsliding towards monarchy. The crusade itself used to be a barroom brawl every piece as ruthless as any smooth contest, with mud-slinging, scare strategies, and backstabbing. The low element got here while Alexander Hamilton revealed a devastating assault on Adams, the top of his personal get together, in "fifty-four pages of unremitting vilification." The stalemate within the Electoral collage dragged on via dozens of ballots. Tensions ran so excessive that the Republicans threatened civil conflict if the Federalists denied Jefferson the presidency. ultimately a mystery deal that modified a unmarried vote gave Jefferson the White condo. A devastated Adams left Washington earlier than sunrise on Inauguration Day, too embittered even to shake his rival's hand.
With magisterial command, Ferling brings to lifestyles either the outsize personalities and the hotly contested political questions at stake. He indicates not only why this second used to be a milestone in U.S. background, yet how strongly the issues--and the passions--of 1800 resonate with our personal time.
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Extra resources for Adams Vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 (Pivotal Moments in American History)
Few any longer had the stomach for going after him. Jefferson had tried and failed, but at least he had tried. What is more, he had loyally supported the American Revolution and had authored the magisterial Declaration of Independence. Even more, Jefferson a da m s a n d j e f f er s o n 27 was out of office, his second term having expired just as he took flight in June, and he had vowed never to return to public life. ”38 Adams, meanwhile, had spent much of the postindependence period abroad. He left Congress at the end of 1777 and spent all but six months of the next eleven years in France, Holland, and England.
A few possessed great power over all others. The majority controlled nothing, and especially not their own lives.
In 1800 only about one person in twenty-five lived in a city with a population of a thousand or more. Philadelphia was the largest city, with a population of sixty-nine thousand. Only four other urban centers—New York, Baltimore, Boston, and Charleston—topped twenty thousand inhabitants. Many of the men who dwelled in towns were skilled artisans, plying one of the three hundred or so crafts that were practiced in America, such as tanning, weaving, or smithing. Many unskilled workers toiled in the cities too, laboring on the waterfront, shipping out to sea, digging ditches, and sweeping chimneys.