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Adams Vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800
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Adams Vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 (Pivotal Moments in American History)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,629 ratings  ·  81 reviews
It was a contest of titans: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two heroes of the Revolutionary era, once intimate friends, now icy antagonists locked in a fierce battle for the future of the United States. The election of 1800 was a thunderous clash of a campaign that climaxed in a deadlock in the Electoral College and led to a crisis in which the young republic teetered on ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2004)
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Jason Koivu
Ferling brings these two larger-than-life icons of American history back to life in a big way. Reading Adams Vs. Jefferson you feel as if you're actually getting to know them, not only their public personas as politicians, but also as men.

Personally I'm not sure I'd like either of them 100% through and through. I guess that can be said about most everyone to some extent. There's always one niggling quality about a person that doesn't jell with your own outlook on life, but in this case both of
Anyone who is under the illusion that the Founding Fathers were awesomely awesome and perfect and that the Constitution they created is perfect "as-is" and divinely inspired (you know the crowd I'm talking about) would benefit from reading a few books on this period of history. Adams vs. Jefferson is a great addition to this reading list, and shows how messed up the system was, and how at odds the Founding Fathers were with each other and their visions for the new country.

Ferling's seeming bia
Very good book. The author did a good job caturing the punch and counter punch campaigning style of Adams and Jefferson. If you think politics are dirty today, then give this book a chance! You will quickly see that it is nothing new.
Apr 04, 2008 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any1 interested in what real people Founding Fathers were
great book about what may have been most important election in american History which still has an affect on our country even today

already learned more about who all the characters were in terms of their personalities, frailties, ambitions and backgrounds as well as their competing political philosophies which still are in play today.
Gary Hoggatt
The United States presidential election of 1800 was a bitterly-contested and wild affair. In historian John Ferling's 2004 book Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, Ferling attempts to chronicle this story, but unfortunately he gets frequently sidetracked and spends much more time setting the scene for the election of 1800 than he does actually discussing it.

The main players in this drama are, naturally, John Adams, second President of the United States after being elected in 17
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were firm friends when they both served as enovys to Europe--Jefferson to France and Adams to England. However that changed during Washington's first administration as Adams, the first Vice President, and Jefferson, the first Secretary of State, increasingly became identified with rival political factions. In 1796, the first presidential election without George Washington on the ballot, maneuvering in the Electoral College ended with the unholy alliance of John Ad ...more

”Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800″ was written by John Ferling (the author of biographies I’ve already read and reviewed on both George Washington and John Adams). Though “Adams vs. Jefferson” is is not really a presidential biography, I nevertheless decided to read it as part of this journey, wondering if it might serve as a nice bridge between our second and third presidents (it does), and looking forward to reading something a bit “d
The "tumultuous" election is right and the rise of the party system in U.S. politics, started withThomas Jefferson contesting the sitting president John Adams after having served as his vice president in 1800. John Ferling's account dismisses the pedestal approach many take towards the founding fathers, they were mud slinging partisan politicians that could hold their own with any subsequent generation. The development of the Federalist and Republican press is quite fascinating as it was really ...more
With the presidential election of 2016 kicking off, 4 people announcing their candidacy, this seemed like a timely book to read. I have heard many political analysts say as negative as current campaigning is it does not compare to that between Adams and Jefferson. While their campaign was indeed negative it truly was the birth of the multi party political system we know today. Having read the biographies of Adams and Jefferson this was a good review of issues and events already covered. As much ...more
Ben Paine
I read this book a while ago. So let me say about it what I can, and will, say about all the books that Ferling his written that I have read so far (Jefferson & Hamilton, Independence, Adams vs. Jefferson, and currently reading The Ascent of George Washington and Setting the World Ablaze), that he is the BEST writer among all the writers that I have ever read who write history. What do I mean by good or best writer: that he engages the reader in such a way that he MUST keep reading. Simple. ...more
Dean Mundy
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. History, politics, election intrigue and the founding fathers’ recorded thoughts all appealed to me.

The author John Ferling is a professor emeritus of history at the State University of West Georgia. He’s written several other books, all about persons involved in the creation and development of the American republic, including biographies of John Adams and George Washington and the first three presidents in the American Revolution.

Published in 2004, one interestin
Read this with America Afire Jefferson, Adams, and the Revolutionary Election of 1800. Both books document the campaign of 1800 that resulted in the election being thrown into the House of Representatives. The campaign was ugly. War service of the candidates was an issue then as now, with opponents reminding the electorate (white property owners only then) that Thomas Jefferson had sat out the revolution at home in Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson had hired James Callender, a British immigrant to wr
David R.
There are lots of treatments of the almost-mythic presidential election of 1800, but Ferling really doesn't add much to what has gone before. Part of the problem here is that Ferling chose up sides and can't effectively interpret the contest. He's forced into the contortionist act of generally praising Adams but trashing the Federalists. Nor can he respond well to the real weakness of the case that a "revolution" took place: even Ferling must admit that a couple of election law changes cleared J ...more
***Dave Hill
(Original review Sep 2005)

While the focus is on the critical election (the first truly contested Presidential election that led, eventually, to a peaceful transfer of power in the nascent Republic) this book spends considerable time providing biographies of the principals — Adams, Jefferson, Pinkney, Burr, Hamilton, and others — involved in the contest. It gives extensive and understandable background to the conflict between the Federalists and the new Republicans — a conflict whose rhetoric mad
Tony duncan
An excellent look at history from the perspective of the dynamics between two pivotal leaders of The US.

Jefferson and Adams become very close friends and seemed to cement that friendship while in Europe as envoys for Washington's Administration- Adams in England and Jefferson in France. )According to the book Jefferson actively supported the french revolution as ambassador). Jefferson would visit England when he could as a source of solace form his work.
Jefferson, while he inherited a large esta
Stephanie Elms
I really enjoyed this book. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to use "the founders believed..." in a political argument. The truth is that the founders believed a wide variety of things and created a form of government in which these often conflicting beliefs can be held in tension for the betterment of the country.The size and role of government in our lives has been debated since the founding of our country and the election of 1800 was defined by this question. This question i ...more
Sep 28, 2011 Joann marked it as to-read
My father's review:
Biographers tend to become wrapped up in their subject and create an impression that this one is the best of all. "The American Sphinx" by Ellis is the reverse. It lays bare Jefferson's enigmatic inconsistencies. "Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800" examines the history of the United States up to and through the election of 1800. Thus, it is examining the events of the period, not the persons, except as they are causes of, or are affected by those events. The
Colleen Martin
Someone needs to tell John Ferling that a history book is supposed to stick to the facts and be free of both bias and conjecture, because evidently he wasn't aware of that. This wasn't so much a lesson in early American political history as it was a fawning love sonnet to Thomas Jefferson and his ideological beliefs, as well as a character assassination of John Adams. The further I got into the book, the angrier I became - Ferling casts aspersions left and right about Adams, from his political d ...more
This history touched on a fascinating set of topics: how the U.S. party system developed, the major debates of elitism vs. populism, small vs. large government, when to preserve peace vs. go to war, and how many (most?) of the core U.S. values as we know them were not cemented in the Revolutionary War but arose during acrimonious political battles during 30-40 years after we gained independence. Our country could have become a very, very different place... it boggles the mind.

That said, my eyes
Shel Schipper
This book captured the drama and passions of early American history and the major players. Ferling did a great job unfolding the driving forces behind the men who shaped the nation. Adams was led by Federalists believing in the necessity of a strong central government. Hamilton schemed to strengthen government through financial maneuverings that by assuming state debts from the war would infuse the economy with capital needed to expand infrastructure. Jefferson feared the loss of individual libe ...more
Mar 12, 2010 Robert rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks Chernow is a credible historian.
Shelves: american-history
What I learned: There are still historians writing history instead of propaganda. It is so refreshing to find one currently writing who will present a powerful portrait of the danger that Alexander Hamilton actually posed to the young American Republic. Overall, Jefferson comes off much better in this account of the election of 1800 and the events leading up to it than trendy history would have us see him. But both he and Adams are presented as seriously flawed men.

Fortunately, their flaws were
So enlightening ... tells such a story about this election that in my history class many years ago no one had really done a study of this election. On paper, at the end it did not look like the close race that it was or the intrigue that accompanied it. This book brings alive The Mistress of Riversdale as she was living through this period and was affected by and involved with all these characters! Makes me want to reread that book again ... and also to read Adams bio ...

I especially enjoyed th
Jefferson called the election of 1800 "the second American Revolution." Exaggerated? Perhaps a little, but, as a result of that election, the American Union moved more in the direction of greater democracy. As Ferling shows, it was an extremely polarized nation that held that election. The Republicans of Jefferson ( the forerunners of today's Democrats) charged the Federalists with betraying the Revolution and pushing the country toward monarchy. The Federalists ( the forerunners of today's Repu ...more
William Cunion
Historical account of the pivotal election of 1800, which resulted in possibly the first peaceful transfer of power from one faction to another in the history of the world. The book not only details the events of the campaign and the absurdly complicated vote itself (which had to be resolved in the House of Representatives), but also describes the events that led to the development of the two competing parties, detailing their differences in both foreign policy and economic policy. “Tumultuous” ...more
Barb Rider
I listened to this as an audiobook, and I'm glad I did. The subject matter was fascinating. But I found the choice of words rather contrived and distracting - like text written for an SAT prep class, focusing on vocabulary building. There were frequent uses of "furthermore..." (at which point I could almost hear the audio book reader take a deep breath and sigh). Some examples of this vocabulary verbosity that I wrote down as soon as I pulled into the garage: "conditions in Europe were not propi ...more
Rob Conner
This book was a quinticential part of my published paper. Without it I would have been much lost. Ferling so eloquently describes the election of 1800 and the preceding election of 1796 with such detail.
I have learned recently to make sure I look at the time a book was written. I was first taught this when I learned about historiography at college. This book was written around the time of the Bush v. Kerry election. I think that the book really overplays certain aspects of the narrative. I think that the book is a little caught up in the idea that elections and politics were as messy then as now. That said I did enjoy the portrayal of both personalities. I also enjoyed getting a greater underst ...more
Great book. Brought to life the issues that were so strong between the two. I have a new appreciation for Jefferson and a little less for Adams.
Jessica Gridley
I listened to this as an audiobook, which I don't think is the ideal method for a history book on an election. That being said, there were certain points that generally interested me. In particular, the background on the two presidents, their friendship, and some of the key players that influenced the election. But after a long day at work, on the drive home it became tiresome to try and understand all of the details of the election. The election process, the number of federalists in the senate ...more
Justin Dillehay
If you liked McCullough's John Adams or the HBO mini-series, you'll like Ferling's account of the 1800 election. This is my first reading of John Ferling, but I found him so readable that I will definitely be tackling more of his Revolutionary War volumes in the future.
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John E. Ferling is a professor emeritus of history at the University of West Georgia. A leading authority on American Revolutionary history, he is the author of several books, including "A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic", "Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence", and his most recent work, "The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Politi ...more
More about John Ferling...

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