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The Election of Thomas Jefferson Consensus historians paint Thomas Jefferson as the great father of democracy referring to his election to the presidency as the revolution of 1800 In actuality Thomas Jefferson was an inconsistent man who was philosophically against the Federalists but who did not bring about any significant political or ideological changes during his presidency Recently revisionist historians have begun to question the notion of Jefferson as the representative of the common man Many of these historians now agree that Jeffersons life was wrought with contradictions and that his policies as a president actually reflected a synthesis of the Federalist and Republican ideologies We are all republicans we are all federalists Jefferson stated in his first inaugural address Many Americans were shocked to hear those words come out of the same mouth that had supported the bloody conflicts of the French Revolution years before Jeffersons many political theories and personal letters sometimes reflected an interest in the common man and democracy while his actual practices were drastically different Politically the Jeffersonian party was insecure and inconsistent After being elected president Jefferson did nothing to increase the level of democracy in the government Traditionally the Jeffersonian movement and the Republican Party have been seen as anti-capitalist promoting the interests of the common man and favoring a strict interpretation of the constitution The Hamiltonian movement and the Federalist Party represented the elite capitalist class favoring a concentration of power in the State and a loose interpretation of the constitution Revisionist historians have argued against this view They argue that the Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian movements are not significantly different but rather each represents different factions of elites There are numerous examples that show the accuracy of this revisionist view In the election of 1800 the federalists were forced to vote for one of the two Republicans running Many of them favored Burr as the less extreme of the two until Hamilton convinced them of Jeffersons moderate
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