A.P. U.S. History Notes
Chapter 11: “The Triumphs and Travails of Jeffersonian
~ 1800 – 1812 ~
Federalist and Republican Mudslingers
In the election of 1800, the Federalists had a host of enemies stemming from the
The Federalists had been most damaged by John Adams’
They had raised a bunch of taxes and built a good navy, and then had not gotten any
reason to justify such spending, therefore making themselves seem like cheap, as
they had also swelled the public debt.
John Adams became known as “the Father of the American Navy.”
Thus, they also launched attacks on Jefferson, saying that he had robbed a widow and her
children of a trust fund, fathered numerous children with his slaves (‘tis true too), calling him
an atheist, and using other inflammatory remarks.
The Jeffersonian “Revolution of 1800”
won the election of 1800 by a majority of 73 electoral votes to 65, and even though
Adams got more popular votes, Jefferson got New York, but even though he triumphed, but a
technicality, he and
tied for presidency.
The vote, according to the Constitution, would now go to the Federalist-dominated
House of Representatives.
Hateful of Jefferson, many wanted to vote for Burr, and the vote was deadlocked for
a long time until
persuaded a few House members to
change their votes, knowing that if the House voted for Burr, the public outcry
would doom the Federalist Party.
Finally, a few changed their minds, and Jefferson was elected to presidency.
The revolution was that there was a peaceful transfer of power; Federalists stepped down from
office after Jefferson won and did so peacefully, though not necessarily happily.
The Federalist Finale
It turns out that Adams was the last Federalist president, and the party sank away afterwards.
Still, the Federalists had been great diplomats, signing advantageous deals with the European
nations, and their conservative views had given the U.S. balance.
Their only flaw was that they couldn’t yield to the American public, and since they
couldn’t adapt and evolve, they died.
Responsibility Breeds Moderation
On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated president in the new capital of
In his address, he declared that all Americans were Federalists, all were
Republicans, and all were all, implying that Americans were a mixture, and he also
pledged “honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
Jefferson was simple and frugal, and did not seat in regard to rank during his dinners; he also
was unconventional, wearing sloppy attire, and he started the precedent of sending messages
to Congress to be read by a clerk.