By 1800 the Federalist party was split, clearing the way to the presidency for the Democratic-Republicans. Two men ran for the nomination: Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Each received an equal number of votes in the electoral college, which mean that the Federalist-dominated House of Representatives were required to choose a president. Jefferson finally won (Albert Gallatin as his treasurer). Hamilton sided with Jefferson because he believed Burr to be an unfit and dangerous man. Burr later on killed Hamilton in a duel.
The election was noteworthy for two reasons. A president was saddled with a vice president that he did not want. It also was America’s first transfer of power from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republicans without violence. Jefferson referred to his victory and the change-over as the “bloodless revolution.”
Jefferson’s First Term
Adams was so upset about the election that he left the capital before Jefferson took office. Before he left town, he made a number of “midnight appointments”, filling as many government positions with Federalists as he could.
Marybury vs. Madison
William Marbury, one of Adam’s last-minute appointees, had sued Secretary of State James Madison for refusing to certify his appointment to the federal bench. Chief John Marshall was a Federalist, and his sympathies were with Marbury, but Marshall was not certain that court could force Jefferson to accept Marbury’s appointment. Marshall now had the responsibility for reviewing the constitutionality of Congressional acts (judicial review). Marshall worked to strengthen the doctrine and, thus, the court.
When Spain gave New Orleans to the French in 1802, the government realized that a potentially troublesome situation was developing. They knew the French would try to take advantage of location at the mouth of the Mississippi River, meaning that American trade along the river would be...