But the election of 1800 was especially contentious, causing a serious rift between President John Adams and his former ally, Thomas Jefferson. Prior to the passage of the 12th Amendment, voters were given two ballots to cast for their two top choices for president. The candidate with the greatest number of ballots became president while the runner up became vice-president. The 1796 election pitched the Federalist party (John Adams) against the Republican (Thomas Jefferson). The winner with 71 electoral votes was John Adams; Jefferson became vice-president with 68. The campaign of 1800 became highly contentious, not unlike today’s elections. “Federalists attacked Jefferson as an un-Christian deist” with sympathies for the French who were in the midst of their very blood revolution. https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/presidential-elections-1
The election in 1800 became the first where the candidates actually campaigned. There was a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, which forced the vote to go to the House of Representatives. The confusion with this election led to the passage of the 12th Amendment which allowed for separate votes for president and vice-president, thus simplifying the Electoral College. As Solomon said in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Sometimes ruminating on history can bring perspective to today. I first became aware of this contentious election when researching for my novel, Legacy of Deer Run.
Here is the scene at thanksgiving dinner for my fictional family:
Elaine Marie Cooper’s novel, Love’s Kindling is the second-place winner in Historical Romance for the 2020 Selah Award contest. Two of her books (Fields of the Fatherless and Bethany’s Calendar) each placed first in their categories. Like many of Cooper’s books, including her newest release (Scarred Vessels), it focuses on the era of the American Revolution. She has authored several historical novels, a non-fiction memoir (Bethany’s Calendar), and has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines. Although not a current resident of New England, Cooper’s heart for history was birthed there and continues to thrive.