By Edward J. Larson
"They may write like angels and scheme like demons." So starts Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Larson's masterful account of the wild journey that used to be the 1800 presidential election—an election so convulsive and so momentous to the way forward for American democracy that Thomas Jefferson could later dub it "America's moment revolution."
This was once America's first precise presidential crusade, giving delivery to our two-party method and indelibly etching the strains of partisanship that experience so profoundly formed American politics ever due to the fact that. the competition featured of our such a lot cherished Founding Fathers, as soon as hot associates, dealing with off because the heads in their still-forming parties—the hot-tempered yet sharp-minded John Adams, and the eloquent but enigmatic Thomas Jefferson—flanked via the intense tacticians Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, who later settled their very own variations in a duel.
The nation was once descending into turmoil, reeling from the terrors of the French Revolution, and near to warfare with France. Blistering accusations flew as our younger state used to be torn aside alongside get together strains: Adams and his elitist Federalists could squelch liberty and impose a British-style monarchy; Jefferson and his substantially democratizing Republicans could throw the rustic into chaos and debase the position of faith in American lifestyles. The stakes couldn't were higher.
As the contest heated up, different founders joined the fray—James Madison, John Jay, James Monroe, Gouverneur Morris, George Clinton, John Marshall, Horatio Gates, or even George Washington—some of them rising from retirement to answer the political challenge gripping the kingdom and perilous its future.
Drawing on extraordinary, meticulous examine of the day by day unfolding drama, from diaries and letters of the relevant gamers in addition to bills within the fast-evolving partisan press, Larson vividly re-creates the mounting stress as one kingdom after one other voted and the click had the lead passing from side to side. the result remained shrouded doubtful lengthy after the balloting ended, and as Inauguration Day approached, Congress met in closed consultation to solve the trouble. In its first nice electoral problem, our fragile test in constitutional democracy hung within the balance.
A amazing Catastrophe is historical past writing at its evocative most sensible: the riveting tale of the final nice contest of the founding period.
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Extra resources for A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign
A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign by Edward J. Larson