The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation
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What could elicit such a strong reaction from the nation's original first lady? Though history tends to cast the early years of America in a glow of camaraderie, there were, in fact, many conflicts among the Founding Fathers—none more important than the one between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The chief disagreement between these former friends centered on the highest, most original public office created by the Constitutional Convention—the presidency. They also argued violently about the nation's foreign policy, the role of merchants and farmers in a republic, and the durability of the union itself. At the root of all these disagreements were two sharply different visions for the nation's future.
Acclaimed historian Thomas Fleming examines how the differing temperaments and leadership styles of Washington and Jefferson shaped two opposing views of the presidency—and the nation. The clash between these two gifted men, both of whom cared deeply about the United States of America, profoundly influenced the next two centuries of America's history and resonates in the present day.
erecting a column on “the southernmost limit of Cuba” with the inscription “Ne Plus Ultra” [No More Beyond This Point] on it. Next, Madison might look to Canada, which Jefferson called “The North,” and seize that huge chunk of the continent. Then “we should have such an empire for liberty as she has never surveyed since the creation.” Best of all, Jefferson continued, these acquisitions could be defended without a navy. “Nothing should ever be accepted which would require a navy to defend it,”
Stiles, Vol. III (New York, 1901), 489. TJ to JM, April 27, 1795, ROL, Vol. 2, 877-8. 10. AH to Edw Carrington, May 26, 1792, PAH, Digital. Margaret A. Hogan, C. James Taylor, My Dearest Friend, Letters of Abigail and John Adams (New York, 2007), 349. Joseph J. Ellis, First Family, Abigail and John Adams (New York, 2010), 167. JA to AA, Dec. 26, 1793, Adams Papers Digital Edition, C.J. Taylor, ed. (Charlottesville 2008-14). 11. Forrest McDonald, The Presidency of George Washington, (Lawrence KS
1974), 137. 12. Ibid. CHAPTER 16 1. Elkins and McKittrick, Age of Federalism, 382-3. 2. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation, U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 1st Session, January 1794 (Annals of Congress), 406-09. 3. Elkins and McKittrick, Age of Federalism, Tonnage and Shipping Chart, 382. By 1796, American tonnage would swell to 675,046 tons and British numbers would dwindle to 19,669. 4. A Century of Lawmaking, 3rd Congress,
Delighted with his victory, Henry now tried to prevent Madison from winning a seat in Congress. He persuaded Jefferson’s disciple, James Monroe, who was an outspoken anti-federalist, to run against him. Few people were inclined to worry about the probability that Madison would lose again. If he did, they were sure that Washington would become president and give him an important post in his administration. But the general did not want to see his partner suffer another humiliation at Patrick
them everywhere with cries of ‘vive le nation.’” At the Hotel de Ville (the Paris City Hall), a leader of the city committee pinned a white, blue, and pink cockade on the King’s hat, and the people shouted “vive le roi et la nation!” Whereupon Lafayette and his guardsmen escorted the subdued king back to his palace in Versailles, followed by the members of the National Assembly. It was, Jefferson wrote, “such an amende honorable [pledge of friendship] as no sovereign ever made and no people ever