The Revolution of 1800
Although given scant recognition today, Jefferson was convinced that the very future of the republic was at stake in the election of 1800. Jefferson's presidency is not considered of the first rank today; but it is certain that in his time, he considered the issues at stake to be momentous, and that the course which the nation was to take from then on hung in the balance. It may be that this discrediting of the efficacy of the Jefferson presidency is a measure of the extent to which we have ourselves departed from those principles he at that time thought so fundamental. By these lights, Jefferson turned the government of the United States away from its authoritarian (or "monarchical") tendencies and towards republican principles -- a redirection that was never entirely reversed even up into our times.
"The fate of this country, whether it shall be irretrievably plunged into a form of government rejected by the makers of the Constitution, or shall get back to the true principles of that instrument, depends on the turn which things may take withing a short period of time ensuing the present moment." --Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Pendleton, February 14, 1799. ME 10:104
The Jeffersonian Perspective:
Table of Contents |
Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government: Front Page | Table of Contents