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early Republic


  • America's First Peaceful (Just Barely!) Transfer of Power

    by Akhil Reed Amar

    While the selection of Thomas Jefferson as the third president in 1801 (after an electoral college deadlock) is touted as a crucial peaceful transfer of presidential power from one party to another, the transition was far more fraught with peril than most realize. 



  • The Year That Changed Everything

    by Akhil Reed Amar

    A legal historian and constitutional scholar considers the founding document in terms of the process of its founding. Neither cynical nor purely idealistic, the Constitution did submit to ratification by a broad vote, but pursued national security by institutionalizing the slave power. 



  • On the Peaceful Transfer of Power: Lessons from 1800

    by Sara Georgini

    Adams lost the presidency amid violent factionalism, a seething press, rampant electioneering, and the eruption of party politics, yet became a champion for the peaceful transfer of power. 



  • James Traub: The Tea Party’s Path to Irrelevance

    James Traub, a columnist at foreignpolicy.com, is writing a biography of John Quincy Adams.WASHINGTON — THE Tea Party has a new crusade: preventing illegal immigrants from gaining citizenship, which they say is giving amnesty to lawbreakers. Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, recently told Politico that his members were “more upset about the amnesty bill than they were about Obamacare.”...Tea Partyers often style themselves as disciples of Thomas Jefferson, the high apostle of limited government. But by taking the ramparts against immigration, the movement is following a trajectory that looks less like the glorious arc of Jefferson’s Republican Party than the suicidal path of Jefferson’s great rivals, the long-forgotten Federalists, who also refused to accept the inexorable changes of American demography.The Federalists began as the faction that supported the new Constitution, with its “federal” framework, rather than the existing model of a loose “confederation” of states. They were the national party, claiming to represent the interests of the entire country.