Name That Year

“Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will all be openly taught and practiced. The air will be rent with the cries of distress, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes. … [There is] scarcely a possibility that we shall escape a Civil War.”

What is it? Bush or Kerry gone mad? One of Election 2004’s out-of-control 527 groups? Try, instead, John Adams v. Thomas Jefferson in Campaign 1800. Adams was the Federalist President who succeeded Federalist George Washington in 1796; his Vice President, Jefferson, the Republican challenger. (As most know, Federalists were more or less the progenitors of today’s Republican party—representing the elite. Republicans, circa 1800, were progenitors of today’s Democrats—representing the masses.) The brutal language above was an autumn 1800 Federalist (Adamsonian) attack on Jefferson. Federalists feared the masses taking over—and introducing unacceptable disorder into society. Republicans believed the Federalists had turned into no more than a thinly disguised Monarchist party, intent on suppressing the masses.


And you thought 2004 was rough!

Source: Susan Dunn, Jefferson’s Second Revolution: The Election Crisis of 1800 and the Triumph of Republicanism