The Education of John Randolph

By Robert Dawidoff | Go to book overview

6

Breakdown and
Reaction
Randolph's determined opposition to the administrations of Jefferson and Madison finally resulted in his defeat for re-election to Congress, in 1813. The victor was John W. Eppes, Jefferson's son-in-law. Randolph's opposition to the War of 1812 probably was the decisive factor in this defeat. He claimed to be relieved that the burdens of public life were at last to be lifted, and referred to his "disappointment, if a man can be said to be disappointed when things happen according to his expectations." He regretted the loss of some friends, but declared:
On every other account, I have cause of self-congratulation at being disenthralled from a servitude at once irksome and degrading.... To say the truth, a mere sense of my duty alone might have been insufficient to restrain me from indulging the very strong inclination I have felt for many years to return to private life.... No man can reproach me with the desertion of my friends, or the abandonment of my post in a time of danger and trial. "I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith." I owe the public nothing....

His letters reflect a profound bitterness and disgust with politics, despite their flippant and relieved tone. This profession of being tired of politics had become an increas

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