Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800

Paperback | September 26, 2005

byJohn Ferling

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It was a contest of titans: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two heroes of the Revolutionary era, once intimate friends, now icy antagonists locked in a fierce battle for the future of the United States. The election of 1800 was a thunderous clash of a campaign that climaxed in a deadlock inthe Electoral College and led to a crisis in which the young republic teetered on the edge of collapse. Adams vs. Jefferson is the gripping account of a turning point in American history, a dramatic struggle between two parties with profoundly different visions of how the nation should be governed. The Federalists, led by Adams, were conservatives who favored a strong central government. TheRepublicans, led by Jefferson, were more egalitarian and believed that the Federalists had betrayed the Revolution of 1776 and were backsliding toward monarchy. The campaign itself was a barroom brawl every bit as ruthless as any modern contest, with mud-slinging, scare tactics, and backstabbing.The low point came when Alexander Hamilton printed a devastating attack on Adams, the head of his own party, in "fifty-four pages of unremitting vilification." The stalemate in the Electoral College dragged on through dozens of ballots. Tensions ran so high that the Republicans threatened civil warif the Federalists denied Jefferson the presidency. Finally a secret deal that changed a single vote gave Jefferson the White House. A devastated Adams left Washington before dawn on Inauguration Day, too embittered even to shake his rival's hand. With magisterial command, Ferling brings to life both the outsize personalities and the hotly contested political questions at stake. He shows not just why this moment was a milestone in U.S. history, but how strongly the issues--and the passions--of 1800 resonate with our own time.

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It was a contest of titans: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two heroes of the Revolutionary era, once intimate friends, now icy antagonists locked in a fierce battle for the future of the United States. The election of 1800 was a thunderous clash of a campaign that climaxed in a deadlock inthe Electoral College and led to a crisis in ...

John Ferling is Professor of History at the State University of West Georgia. A leading authority on American Revolutionary history, he has appeared in many documentaries and has written numerous books, including John Adams: A Life, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, and Jeffers...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 5.71 × 8.82 × 0.71 inPublished:September 26, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019518906X

ISBN - 13:9780195189063

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"In Adams vs. Jefferson, the distinguished historian John Ferling offers a fascinating narrative of the election of 1800 and demonstrates how that dramatic contest could have doomed the American experiment in republicanism. Instead, the election, a far more contentious event than the electionof 2000, marked the true consolidation of the American Revolution and the triumph of the ideal of government resting on the consent of the governed." --John K. Alexander, University of Cincinnati, author of Samuel Adams: America's Revolutionary Politician