Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800

By John Ferling | Go to book overview

9
“We Beat You by Superior Management”
Winter and Spring, 1800

MANY OF THE ACTIONS taken by President Adams in the first months of 1800 bear the stamp of a man seeking to rehabilitate himself on the eve of an uphill election battle. Attuned to the apparent changes in popular sentiment, Adams asked Congress to reduce expenditures while he suspended further enlistments in the Provisional Army and stopped signing commissions for prospective officers. In the spring, in the wake of his actions, moderates of all shades combined to pass congressional legislation that discharged those in the service. The Provisional Army was history. Meanwhile, Adams took steps to shore up his base in the South. He tried, but failed, to dilute the authority of the Treasury Department, and made clear his displeasure with the Bank of the United States, at least as it had been constituted in 1791. 1

Adams stayed his hand on what he most wished to do: purge his cabinet of its renegade elements. He was waiting for the right moment to act, knowing that it was too risky to strike before the Federalists nominated their candidates for president in 1800. 2 Meanwhile, Jefferson rejoiced in the belief that the Federalist Party had at last crested and now was ebbing. A “wonderful & rapid change is taking place, ” especially in the middle Atlantic states, where the “tide is now turning, ” he exulted. Jefferson attributed the woes of his opponents to a growing realization that “it is impossible the French should invade us, ” and to a mounting

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Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Adams Vs. Jefferson *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents ix
  • Editors' Note xi
  • Illustrations and Maps xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • Adams Vs. Jefferson *
  • 1 - Election Eve, 1800 1
  • 2 - “an Affection That Can Never Die” 18
  • 3 - Creating the New National System, 1786–1792 36
  • 4 - Partisanship, 1793–1796 57
  • 5 - Jefferson and Adams on the Eve of the Battle in 1796 69
  • 6 - The First Contested Presidential Election, 1796 83
  • 7 - The Partisan Inferno, 1797–1798 99
  • 8 - Summer 1798 to Autumn 1799 113
  • 9 - Winter and Spring, 1800 126
  • 10 - The Campaign of 1800 135
  • 11 - The Election of 1800 162
  • 12 - The House Decides the Election 175
  • 13 - Jefferson's Inauguration 197
  • Epilogue - “the Revolution of 1800” 207
  • Abbreviations 217
  • Notes 221
  • Index 251
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