It’s On: Jefferson v. Adams!

One of the more interesting aspects of the conflict between Jefferson and Adams is how little difference it made in the long run in American history, except, perhaps, for an early establishment of the two party tradition.  For all Jefferson’s partiality to France, when he was in office he steered a strictly neutral course.  The economic development of the country was little changed by the switch in parties in power.  The battles over internal developments that marked the conflicts between Democrats and Whigs, were matters for a later time when expansion and technological progress brought them to the fore.  The Alien and Sedition Acts which loom large in the below video:

involved less of principle and more of politics.  Jefferson, for example, was in favor of prosecutions of federalists under state sedition laws in states which his followers controlled. 

As Jefferson and Adams found when they began an increasingly friendly private correspondence in 1812, the two old revolutionaries agreed on far more than they differed, and I would argue that their differences were usually more theoretical than practical, as both demonstrated in their presidencies.

Adams and Jefferson were both able men, and the country was fortunate to have each of them.

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  1. I found the way the movie portrayed the correspondance of Jefferson and Adams in their later years to be a moving portrayal.

  2. Jefferson did not have sexual relations, or children with his slave, Sally Hemmings, so the jungle fever comment, in is very bad taste.

  3. and the DNA link, is with the descendents of one of Hemmings children, not all of them. the DNA just proves that A Jefferson fathered that child, not Thomas Jefferson. THe birth of that child took place, when Thomas Jefferson was already old and sick, it has been said that it is more likely that Jefferson’s younger brother fathered that child.

  4. Either Jefferson or one of his male relatives did father the children of Sally Hemmings. Certainly at the time his political enemies accused him of it. I am agnostic on the subject, although such liasons between male masters and female slaves were far from uncommon in the ante bellum South. As Mary Chesnut wife of a US Senator from South Carolina, prior to the Civil War, wrote in her diary:

    “This is only what I see: like the patriarchs of old, our men live all in one house with their wives & their concubines, & the Mulattos one sees in every family exactly resemble the white children-& every lady tells you who is the father of all the Mulatto children in everybody’s household, but those in her own, she seems to think drop from the clouds or pretends so to think-. “

  5. Just to echo what Don said, we simply do not know and probably can never know whether or not Thomas Jefferson fathered children with Sally Hemmings. The circumstantial evidence suggests he could have, and the DNA evidence proves it’s either him or his cousin. Anybody who argues definitively in either direction simply lacks evidence to support their argument.

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