The Age of Jefferson
Public disgust with the Alien and Sedition Acts helped oust the Federalist Adams in the elections of 1800, but the Electoral College voted a tie between the two Democratic Republican candidates, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. As prescribed by the Constitution, the tied election was sent to the House of Representatives for resolution. Hamilton, the implacable enemy of Burr, convinced fellow Federalists to support Jefferson, who was elected on the 36th ballot. Runner-up Burr became vice president.
Historians speak of an “Age of Jefferson,” but not of an Age of Adams. Perhaps the reason is that, despite Federalist objections to most of Jefferson’s policies, the people embraced them, and they became key elements of the popular American agenda. Internal taxes were reduced, the military budget was cut, the Alien and Sedition Acts were repealed or died. The climactic triumph of Jefferson’s first term was the momentous expansion of the nation through the Louisiana Purchase.