2004 Free Response essay
The election of 1800 can be though of as the revolution because Thomas Jefferson and his party, the republicans, ran against a seated federalist president who was running for re-election. Republicans under Jefferson were apposed to many of the policies that Adams and the federalists had established during Adam’s presidency. Particularly the increase in the US military, the alien sedition acts and their obvious constitutionality and generally the strong federal authority that federalist seemed to think was necessary for controlling opposition. The election was especially important in the areas of politics and the judiciary.
Federalist portrayed Jefferson and the republicans as radicals who would destroy the nation while republicans accused Adams of wanting to be king and the federalists of trying to undermine the bill of rights. The election itself was very close and it became the job of the federalist congress to choose between two candidates, neither of whom had won a majority vote. These two candidates did not include Adams so congress had to choose between Jefferson, a republican, and Aaron Burr, a federalist. The vote was deadlocked until Alexander Hamilton and some other federalists decided that Aaron Burr could not be trusted to be president. It had taken thirty-six ballots to elect Jefferson president. Aaron Burr became vice president. This created a situation in which president and vice president represented competing parties. But at least Jefferson’s election ended the bitter strife that lead up to it.
One of the areas that federalist still controlled was the judiciary and Adams wanted to make sure that that legacy continued. Before he left office Adams and his federalist admin. passed the judiciary act of 1801 appointing a large number of federal judges, all federalists to new positions. These judges became to be known as the “midnight” judges. This would be an area that Jefferson would have to deal with...
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