The first presidential contest : 1796 and the founding of American democracy /
Jeffrey L. Pasley.
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, 2013, c2013
xi, 516 p.
0700619070 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780700619078 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, 2013, c2013
0700619070 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780700619078 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction : the unintentional campaign -- A new republic and its discontents -- Popular politics in a postcolonial nation -- The Jay Treaty crisis and the origins of the 1796 campaign -- From measures to "that man" : toward the presidential option for political change -- The long goodbye : finding candidates in the shadow of Washington -- The first culture war : themes and issues of the Federalist campaign against Thomas Jefferson -- His rotundity : themes and issues of the democratic-republican campaign against John Adams -- Taking the electoral college to school : how presidential electors helped create the national presidential election rather than preventing it -- The party racers : voting for president in 1796 -- Epilogue : kiss my ass and go to Hell.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2013-07-01:
Pasley (history, Univ. of Missouri; The Tyranny of Printers) presents new analysis of the first contested U.S. presidential election, largely neglected by recent historians and overshadowed by that of 1800. He asserts that incipient regional lineups (New England vs. the South, often mediated by New York) as well as ideological and partisan patterns marked the competition between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson rather than disputes between the men themselves. Readers learn that the electoral college was a compromise rather than a deliberate design to prevent partisan maneuvering. Pasley's is a character-driven narrative, amply using primary sources from the founders as well as from lesser-known congressmen, local luminaries, and, perhaps most important, newspaper editors of the time, who served as independent historical agents rather than as passive mouthpieces. He also draws on the insights of other professional historians. The author's enterprising employment of speeches, celebrations, parades, and other popular cultural manifestations helps to focus on the public images of the 1796 candidates devised by both supporters and opponents, rather than on the noncampaigning central figures themselves. -VERDICT This monograph will appeal to both academicians and serious general readers of print and political history of the post-Colonial, early national period.-Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Lib. of Congress, -Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Library Journal, July 2013
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Main Description
This is the first study in half a century to focus on the election of 1796. At first glance, the first presidential contest looks unfamiliar--parties were frowned upon, there was no national vote, and the candidates did not even participate (the political mores of the day forbade it). Yet for all that, Jeffrey L. Pasley contends, the election of 1796 was "absolutely seminal," setting the stage for all of American politics to follow. Challenging much of the conventional understanding of this election, Pasley argues that Federalist and Democratic-Republican were deeply meaningful categories for politicians and citizens of the 1790s, even if the names could be inconsistent and the institutional presence lacking. He treats the 1796 election as a rough draft of the democratic presidential campaigns that came later rather than as the personal squabble depicted by other historians. It set the geographic pattern of New England competing with the South at the two extremes of American politics, and it established the basic ideological dynamic of a liberal, rights-spreading American left arrayed against a conservative, society-protecting right, each with its own competing model of leadership. Rather than the inner thoughts and personal lives of the Founders, covered in so many other volumes, Pasley focuses on images of Adams and Jefferson created by supporters-and detractors-through the press, capturing the way that ordinary citizens in 1796 would have actually experienced candidates they never heard speak. Newspaper editors, minor officials, now forgotten congressman, and individual elector candidates all take a leading role in the story to show how politics of the day actually worked. Pasley's cogent study rescues the election of 1796 from the shadow of 1800 and invites us to rethink how we view that campaign and the origins of American politics.
Table of Contents
Editors' Forewordp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: The Unintentional Campaignp. 1
A New Republic and Its Discontentsp. 16
Popular Politics in a Postcolonial Nationp. 60
The Jay Treaty Crisis and the Origins of the 1796 Campaignp. 101
From Measures to "that man": Toward the Presidential Option for Political Changep. 132
The Long Goodbye: Finding Candidates in the Shadow of Washingtonp. 182
The First Culture Wan Themes and Issues of the Federalist Campaign against Thomas Jeffersonp. 224
His Rotundity: Themes and Issues of the Democratic-Republican Campaign against John Adamsp. 275
Taking the Electoral College to School: How Presidential Electors Helped Create the National Presidential Election Rather Than Preventing Itp. 307
The Party Racers: Voting for President in 1796p. 348
Epilogue: Kiss My Ass and Go to Hellp. 407
Notesp. 415
Bibliographic Essayp. 487
Indexp. 499
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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