CHAPTER XIII
THE SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION

1. BURR DRAFTS A TICKET

THE Republicans -- in the person of Jefferson -- had fallen just short of ousting Adams from the Presidency in the election of 1796. During the four year interim they had been busy strengthening their organization by constant correspondence, agitation, and pamphleteering. The economic discontent had deepened and widened among those classes to whom the Republican appeal was especially directed -- the farmer and the "proletariat" of the towns. Some of the shippers and merchants, even, had become amenable to their gospel -- notably those whose ships and cargoes had been seized by the British on the high seas.

But these advantages were to a large extent offset by the unacknowledged war with France, to which Revolutionary country the Republicans had somewhat too enthusiastically hitched their wagon. From the offensive they were compelled to pass to the defensive; only Burr had been clever enough to avoid the issue by his stand on armaments.

The Federalists, however, had lost this tactical advantage by their advocacy and passage of the unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts. The Republicans quickly seized upon the issue that had been thus thrust into their hands. They raised lusty cries about the freedom of the press, the rights of personal liberty. They inveighed against the aristocrats and the moneyed classes who held the poor farmer in subjection. For the moment, the issue of France versus England was considerably soft-pedaled.

The Federalists, on the other hand, rallied their stalwarts -- the holders of public securities, the investors in bank and industrial stocks, the large shipowners and manufacturers, the New England clergy. A campaign of unprecedented bitterness and hate was in the making. A war between alien nations could not have been attended with more vicious propaganda, with greater outbursts of passion. Federalist and Republican avoided each other in the street or at private gatherings; to the Republican, the Federalist was a monarchist, a swollen creature of money-bags not unlike the caricatured Wall Street banker of later years; to

-167-

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Aaron Burr: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments x
  • Illustrations xi
  • Chapter I - Ancestral Voices 1
  • Chapter II - Childhood 14
  • Chapter III - College Years 21
  • Chapter IV - Swords and Bullets 32
  • Chapter V - The War Goes On 53
  • Chapter VI - Prelude to Life 69
  • Chapter VII - Chiefly Legal 84
  • Chapter VIII - The Politician Embarked 93
  • Chapter IX - The Gentleman from New York 102
  • Chapter X - Intermediate Years 115
  • Chapter XI - Party Growth 132
  • Chapter XII - Burr Stoops to Conquer 145
  • Chapter XIII - The Second American Revolution 167
  • Chapter XIV - Jefferson or Burr 188
  • Chapter XV - Vice-President Burr 210
  • Chapter XVI - The Last Struggle for Power 236
  • Chapter XVII - Tragic Duel 246
  • Chapter XVIII - The Impeachment of Justice Chase 261
  • Chapter XIX - Backgrounds for the Conspiracy 270
  • Chapter XX - Western Journey 296
  • Chapter XXI - Never to Return 320
  • Chapter XXII - The Man Hunt Starts 344
  • Chapter XXIII - Dictatorship in New Orleans 364
  • Chapter XXIV - The Stage Is Set 387
  • Chapter XXV - Tried for Treason 396
  • Chapter XXVI - On Trial 424
  • Chapter XXVII - Man without a Country 449
  • Chapter XXVIII - Failure in France 471
  • Chapter XXIX - Declining Years 496
  • Notes 519
  • Bibliography 547
  • Index 555
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