Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 -- Political activity.
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 -- Correspondence.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1783-1809 -- Historiography.
The article examines Thomas Jefferson's correspondence around the time of the election of 1800 and in the first months of his presidency, using these letters to elucidate Jefferson's view of politics, leadership and governance. Jefferson employed correspondence and letter writing, often under the guise of disinterestedness, as a way to disseminate news to his political supporters. They were also a vehicle for solidifying a party that shared his governing vision. After his election, Jefferson resorted to letter writing, occasionally concealing his identity as author at post-time to prevent interception, to shape a cabinet composed of sympathetic Jeffersonian republicans. Jefferson thus used the mails to craft a government and a political agenda that reflected his ideological position. Meanwhile Jefferson was dealing with the reciprocal correspondence from a broad constituency of ordinary Americans that reached his desk, including letters of support, congratulatory epistles and petitions for jobs.
Martin, Robert W. T. (Robert William Thomas), 1967-
Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804 -- Political and social views.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1783-1809.
Freedom of the press -- United States -- History.
During his life and ever since, Alexander Hamilton has been criticized as an opponent of republicanism, even a closet monarchist. Recent scholarly efforts to rescue Hamilton from these interpretations have succeeded perhaps too well, making him out to be a moderate, mainstream republican of his day. This essay assesses Hamilton's public performance during the late 1780s and 1790s as a defender of a particular federalist vision of republicanism. Drawing on a central conceptual divide over the proper virtue of republican citizenship—should citizens have "confidence" in their elected leaders or maintain a "vigilant" scrutiny of them?—the essay explores Hamilton's stress on confidence in his vision of republican citizenship and freedom of the press. The theory he publicly developed and defended is judged less moderate than others have suggested, but Hamilton's philosophy is best understood as an energetic, elitist reformulation of republicanism.
Quaker abolitionists -- Virginia -- Alexandria -- Biography.
Slavery and the church -- Society of Friends.
Society of Friends -- Virginia, Northern -- History.
Between 1780 and 1820 members of northern Virginia's Society of Friends attempted to mediate the spiritual demands of their faith–including equalitarianism and pacifism–and the hierarchical nature of the slave society in which they resided. This balancing act was particularly difficult for those Quakers most deeply embedded in the slave economy: merchants residing in the port of Alexandria. These Friends—men like merchant William Hartshorne—strived simultaneously to oppose slavery and prosper within a slave-based economy. However, the tensions inherent in their anomalous position forced stark choices: accommodation, subversion, or emigration. After 1780, large numbers of Quakers chose the latter route, but for individuals like Hartshorne who remained in Virginia, becoming genuine subversives was impossible as long as their economic welfare depended on the region's slave economy. Though Hartshorne did not personally own or hire slaves, involvement in various internal projects that hired slaves and financial institutions that supported slavery implicated him in the institution. As the region's commitment to slavery grew in the wake of the Haitian revolution and Gabriel's Rebellion, Friends found their situation growing increasingly difficult. Most notably, in the early nineteenth century, in response to the state's legal and economic pressure, the antislavery society that Hartshorne helped establish after the revolution collapsed. Not until near the end of his life would Hartshorne again publicly adopt antislavery positions, but only after he experienced economic ruin and his family's dependence on slavery ended. In short, in a society increasingly committed to slavery, outsiders like the Quakers were compelled to compromise their spiritual and moral beliefs if they wished to thrive.
Children's literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
American literature -- 19th century -- Sources.
African Americans in literature.
Slavery in literature.
Children's literature published in the United states during the 1820s contributed significantly to a common cultural understanding among nineteenth-century whites of African Americans as cheerful dependents when treated with kindness and dangerous rebels when abused. In this fiction, representations of black adults as childlike figures grateful to their masters for taking care of them helped to defuse fears of black violence but also suggested that people of African descent did not deserve the same political and legal rights that white citizens possessed. Since children of the 1820s grew up to be the adults of the Antebellum period, these texts played an important role in shaping how white Americans engaged in and responded to the contentious debate over slavery and the place of African Americans in society as the civil war approached.
American authors of the 1850s perpetuated the same racial themes found in children's literature of the early nineteenth century in the novels they wrote to condemn or to defend the slave system. Like juvenile literature of the 1820s, these texts infantilized African Americans to make them seem unthreatening to white readers. As debates over slavery heated up, however, antislavery authors of the 1850s began to turn to light-skinned slave characters to elicit sympathy from a mainly white audience. While such a literary strategy persuaded some Americans of the injustice of a system that held whites in bondage, it failed to promote the cause of full citizenship for all African Americans.