Results for - The Origin of American Partisanship
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With the presidential election underway, much is made about the partisanship and hyperbolic rhetoric being used today, but was it ever different?
1. General Washington was unanimously elected by the Electoral College, a feat that has not and likely never will be achieved again. Almost immediately, a major division developed within his cabinet between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton believed the federal government should be strong and active, Jefferson believed the federal government should be relegated to foreign policy matters and domestically should defer to the States. Were you aware of this division in Washington's cabinet?
2. Washington routinely sided with Hamilton. Jefferson responded by running a whispering campaign attempting to undermine Hamilton (and therefore Washington) while publicly appearing to be cooperative. He spread rumors that Washington was feeble and senile, being controlled by Hamilton. When Washington found out about Jefferson's underhandedness, he got very angry and eventually Jefferson voluntarily resigned. Reportedly, from that point on Washington only referred to Jefferson as "that man". Were you aware of the personal animosity between Washington and Jefferson?
3. The rift between Jefferson and Hamilton created the first two American political parties, the Democratic-Republicans behind Jefferson and the Federalists behind Hamilton. Things really got nasty when John Adams, a Federalist, ran for reelection and was challenged by Jefferson. While candidates themselves stayed out of the fray, their campaigns were very dirty and very negative. Jefferson's supporters branded Adams a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." And Adam's supporters labeled Jefferson a "mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father." Have you ever read any of the campaign materials from this era?
03/16/2016 Politics 1704 26 By: wbarto1