Jefferson and The Election of 1800 Was there a Revolution of 1800?
Contemporary Views • Historiography • So what?
Contemporary views • "teaching of murder robbery, rape, adultery and incest". (Federalist Newspaper) • Adams is too moderate (High Federalists) • Adams is a monarchist (Republicans) • “Revolution of 1800”—later used by Jefferson—orderly transfer of power
Hamilton’s Letter • Few go as far in their objections aa I do. Not denying to Mr. ADAMS patriotism and integrity, and even talents of a certain kind, I should be deficient in candor, were I to conceal the conviction, that he does not possess the talents adapted to the Administration of Government, and that there are great and intrinsic defects in his character, which unfit him for the office of Chief Magistrate.
Millennial Meanings • "Heaven above looked down, and awakened the American genius, which has arisen, like a lion, from the swelling of the Jordon [sic] , and roared like thunder in the states, 'we will be free; we will rule ourselves.'" John Leland, Mass. Baptist Minister, 1801. • Results preserved “those first principles of social justice, which can alone sustain and perpetuate the blessings of national liberty."Baltimore American 31 Jan. 1801.
Historiography • “claim which Jefferson . . . loved to put forward" but really the Jeffersonians kept Hamilton’s stuff in place. Henry Adams, History of the United States of America During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson  • “there was no 'revolution of 1800' in any common use of the term." Lance Banning, Lance Banning, review of The American Revolution of 1800 by Daniel Sisson, William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 32 (1975): 539;
More Historians • TJ "sounded like no revolutionary . . . no reformer," Dumas Malone, Jefferson the President: First Term, 1801-1805 (Boston: Little Brown, 1970) • “There is more than a little reason . . . to concede that Jefferson was essentially right: that the ‘revolution of 1800’ was an authentic one.” Elkins & McKitrick, Age of Federalism, (1993) 693
More Historians • “Simply put, 1800 marks the point at which the republican constitutional system envisioned by the framers of the constitution, with the popular will filtered through various layers of government and the various competing interests carefully checked so that no individual faction or party could control the national government, became a basically democratic and partisan system. The new system, far from filtering the popular will or preventing national coalitions or political competition, came to be framed around and even dependent upon those forces.” Jeff Pasley, "Revolution of 1800" Conference Charlottesville, VA. December 2, 2000