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The Election of 1800
• The Presidential Election of 1800 was one of the most vicious and strangest in our
nation’s history.
• Yet again, the Federalists nominated John Adams for President and Charles
Pinckney for Vice President and the Democratic-Republicans nominated Thomas
Jefferson for President and Aaron Burr for Vice President.
• The candidates outlined their campaign issues early. Jefferson supported the
Constitution and states’ rights. He promised to run a “frugal (low-cost) and
simple” government. Adams ran on his record of peace and prosperity.
• Although the candidates did not personally campaign against each other, their
supporters were ruthless! Broadsides, letters, newspaper editorials, and rumors
insulted and spread lies about both men. It was a very ugly political campaign,
The Election of 1800
• When the votes were counted after the election, one thing was very
clear: John Adams had lost his re-election bid! Unfortunately,
Jefferson and Burr had gotten the same number of votes in the
Electoral College and were therefore tied! As a result, the election
was turned over to the House of Representatives, just as the
Constitution directs.
• As the Vice Presidential candidate, Burr should have told his
supporters in the House to elect Jefferson president, as the
Democratic-Republicans wanted. Instead he remained silent, hoping
the election might go his way.
• Shockingly, it was Federalist Alexander
Hamilton who broke the deadlock.
He asked his supporters in the House
to vote for his old political rival,
Jefferson. Of the two DemocraticRepublicans, he said, “Jefferson is to
be preferred. He is by far not so
dangerous a man.”
• Thus, the tie was broken, and
Jefferson was elected the third
president of the United States.
• Burr never forgave
Hamilton for encouraging
his followers to support
Jefferson. From that time
on, he and Hamilton were
bitter enemies.
• Eventually, in July 1804,
Hamilton and Burr
challenged each other to a
• Hamilton was killed in the
duel, and Burr—who was
vice president at the
time—fled the country and
hid in Canada!
Thomas Jefferson’s
Domestic Policy,
1801 – 1809
Highlights of Jefferson’s Approach to
Domestic Affairs
• Limited Government
• Louisiana Purchase
• Lewis and Clark Expedition
Thomas Jefferson believed in the French philosophy of “Laissez-faire”
“Laissez-faire” refers to a hands-off approach to government,
allowing the people to run their own lives without interference
from politicians.
Jefferson succeeded in reducing the national government’s size,
budget, and employees—including soldiers in the army (reduced
from 4,000 soldiers to 2,400).
He felt the job of the national government was to collect import
taxes, run the post office, and to conduct a census (population count)
every ten years.
He pardoned people who had been imprisoned under the Alien and
Sedition Acts, passed under John Adams’s term, which he believed
were unconstitutional.
The United States Military Academy at West
Point, New York
Although Jefferson believed that the volunteer militia system was the best form of defense
for a democracy such as the United States, he also believed that citizen soldiers needed the
best trained officers possible to lead them.
As a result, he convinced Congress to establish the United States Military Academy at West
Point, New York, on the Hudson River, as a 4-year college to train and educate future
professional officers for the army.
Louisiana Purchase
• Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was the ruler of
France. He needed money to continue fighting his
long, bitter war with England.
• He offered to sell the Louisiana Territory to the U.S.
for $15 million dollars.
• James Monroe, the U.S. ambassador in France
agreed to the deal.
• Thomas Jefferson was pleased with the deal and
signed it.
• The “Louisiana Purchase” of 1803 DOUBLED the size
of the U.S.
Map of the Louisiana Purchase Territory
The Lewis and Clark Expedition
1804 – 1806
• President Jefferson asked U. S. Army captains
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the
new territory.
• Jefferson directed them to:
– Map the Louisiana Territory
– Take samples of the flora and the fauna (plants and
– Make friends with the Native Americans
– Document any possibilities for businesses and farming
– Keep a diary of their expedition and of scientific
Corps of Discovery
• The Lewis and Clark Expedition was known as the
“Corps of Discovery.”
• It lasted 2 years.
• They traveled with a 16-year-old Shoshone Indian
woman named Sacagawea, her husband, and her
son who was born during the expedition.
• It covered 4000 miles round trip.
• Their descriptions of the new territory
encouraged Americans to move westward to the
Pacific coast.
Embargo Act of 1807
• 1803 - Renewal of the Napoleonic Wars between
France and Great Britain
• America was once again trapped between the two
• Jefferson wanting to stay neutral proposed an
embargo on all foreign trade—Embargo Act was
passed by Congress
• This was highly unsuccessful and devastated the
American Economy
• The Non-Intercourse Act of 1809 was put in place to
repeal the unsuccessful Embargo Act
Issues with the Courts
• Marbury vs. Madison: Does William Marbury,
one of John Adams’ last minute “midnight
judges,” receive his commission to be judge or
• Jefferson had James Madison refuse to give
the commission to Marbury
• Issue went before the Supreme Court
• Ruling became a precedent—an example for
future court cases
Issues with the Courts
• With Marbury vs. Madison, the Supreme
Court established the concept of “Judicial
Review” of laws
• Judicial Review means that the Court may
decide if a law is constitutional or not.
• If a law is judged to be unconstitutional, or
goes against the U.S. Constitution, then the
law ceases to be a law.