“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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Publication information: Book title: Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800. Contributors: John Ferling - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 126.