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America Afire: Jefferson, Adams, and the First Contested Election
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America Afire: Jefferson, Adams, and the First Contested Election

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  74 ratings  ·  10 reviews
America Afire is the powerful story of the election of 1800, arguably the most important election in America's history and certainly one of the most hotly disputed. Former allies Adams and Jefferson, president versus vice president, Federalist versus Republican, squared off in a vicious contest that resulted in broken friendships, scandals, riots, slander, and jailings in ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 18th 2001 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 1st 2000)
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Eric_W
The American news media really did us all a disservice in the 2000 election with its caterwauling about constitutional crises, and how the world would come to an end because they were not allowed to predict the outcome of the election before the polls closed and – heaven forbid – we might have to wait a few weeks to discover the outcome. A shame they never read any history.

Our past is riddled with contests much more contentious than those of recent vintage. Take 1800, for example. John Adams mu
...more
Todd Van Meter
"America Afire" is about the contested U.S. Presidential election of 1800, its effects upon our country and political system, and the ability of our nation to weather a constitutional crisis and challenges similar to those we have experienced in recent presidential elections. I've always had an interest in Thomas Jefferson, the staid Virginia gentleman (sometimes), as well as Aaron Burr, the dashing war hero and politically expedient scoundrel. You get both in this well written and enjoyable boo ...more
Phillip
This is a great book for anyone interested in this period of history. I've read a dozen books about the post-Revolution to early Constitution period, and this is one of the best. At first I thought this was a short book, but it hits every topic: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Federalist/Republican, Britain/France, Burr, and the rest. I wanted to re-read this again more slowly because it really gives a lot of information about the issues during the Constitutional Convention. Great book!
William Monaco
I think this book had a lot of promise, but in the end it turned out to try to cover too much history. I thought it was a book about the election of 1800, but this wasn't really discussed until 2/3 of the way into the book. I did enjoy the politics and backroom deals, especially when Jefferson and Burr tied in electoral votes. But there was too much minutia leading up to the description of the election. Overall an okay book, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Brad Lucht
Amazing story of the election of 1800, when President John Adams (Federalist) campaigned against his Vice President, Thomas Jefferson (Republican).

This book chronicles how the two party system in American politics came to be, and how the divisions of today seem tame compared to the bitter fight that took place just 24 years after our country gained its independence. Indeed, the election of 1800 was a fight for the very future of our country.
Tom Meyer
I started this book thinking that I was merely doing my due diligence and that I probably already knew most of the stuff in it. Was I ever wrong. By treating the Election as his subject, Weisberger is able explore subjects that most biographies of the period miss, especially a number of minor characters, like the Pinckney brothers, who are mentioned in other works but never get their due.

Good reading and highly enlightening.
Ron Rordam
While there is a great deal of background leading up to the election of 1800, I thought it was necessary for a full understanding of the times. The main take away, the more things change, the more they remain the same. The Hamilton-Jefferson feud really was not different than current political rants.

The only real complaint. It is the "College of William and Mary" NOT William and Mary College.
Drew
America Afire: Jefferson, Adams, and the Revolutionary Election of 1800 by Bernard A. Weisberger (2000)
David Eppenstein
A great telling of the history of our first rancorous presidential election, the tie of 1800.
Jeremy
Amazing book on an extraordinary time in America. Brought to life a lot of interesting characters of the Revolution and made sense out of a convoluted time in our history. Easy and fun to read book.
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Bernard Allen Weisberger is an American historian. Weisberger taught American history at several universities including the University of Chicago and University of Rochester, where he was chair of the department. He has written more than a dozen books and worked on documentaries with Bill Moyers and Ken Burns. His Charles Ramsdell Prize winning article "The Dark and Bloody Ground of Reconstruction ...more
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