The Triumphs and Travails of Jeffersonian Republic
I. Federalist and Republican Mudslingers
In the election of 1800, the Federalists had a host of enemies stemming from the Alien and Sedition
The Federalists had been most damaged by John Adams’ not declaring war against France.
They had raised a bunch of taxes and built a good navy, and then had not gotten any reason to
justify such spending, making them seem fraudulent as they had also swelled the public debt.
John Adams became known as “the Father of the American Navy.”
Federalists 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 (which turned out to be true), called
him an atheist (he was a Deist), and used other inflammatory remarks.
II. 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 Jefferson triumphed, in a
technicality he and
tied for presidency.
The vote, according to the Constitution, would now go to the Federalist-dominated House of
Hateful of Jefferson, many wanted to vote for Burr, and the vote was deadlocked for months
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 the presidency.
Revolution of 1800
” was that (1) there was a peaceful transfer of power; Federalists stepped
down from office after Jefferson won and did so peacefully, though not necessarily happily and (2) the
Republicans were more of the “people’s party” compared to the Federalists.
III. Responsibility Breeds Moderation
On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated president in the new capital of Washington
In his address, he declared that all Americans were Federalists, all were Republicans, implying
that Americans were a mixture. He also pledged “honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances
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.
There were two Thomas Jeffersons: the scholarly private citizen who philosophized in his study,
and the harassed public official who discovered that bookish theories worked out differently in practical