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Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy (review)

Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy... R EVIEWS EDITED BY ROBERT S . C OX AND R A C HEL K . O NUF Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy. By Bruce Ackerman. (Cambridge, MA: Har- vard University Press, 2005. Pp. 384. Cloth $29.95.) Everyone who is at all interested in the election of 1800 should read this book. Amid curious ‘‘what ifs,’’ Professor of Law Bruce Ackerman makes a number of provocative assertions. Among these are that the idea of original intent is a shortsighted way of understanding constitutional questions; that the events of 1800–1801 permanently transformed rela- tionships among the three branches of government; and that if Thomas Jefferson had not been elected on the strength of Federalist James Ba- yard’s conversion, John Marshall might have been made ‘‘interim presi- dent,’’ possibly giving him the inside track in a new election and barring Jefferson from the presidency. Sound wild? This was a time, the author explains, when the word revolution wore a glorious and not a threatening aspect, and the word democracy was tainted. The astute Federalists made sure that John Adams received one more vote than their intended vice president, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, but the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 26 (3) – Aug 14, 2006

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620

Abstract

R EVIEWS EDITED BY ROBERT S . C OX AND R A C HEL K . O NUF Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy. By Bruce Ackerman. (Cambridge, MA: Har- vard University Press, 2005. Pp. 384. Cloth $29.95.) Everyone who is at all interested in the election of 1800 should read this book. Amid curious ‘‘what ifs,’’ Professor of Law Bruce Ackerman makes a number of provocative assertions. Among these are that the idea of original intent is a shortsighted way of understanding constitutional questions; that the events of 1800–1801 permanently transformed rela- tionships among the three branches of government; and that if Thomas Jefferson had not been elected on the strength of Federalist James Ba- yard’s conversion, John Marshall might have been made ‘‘interim presi- dent,’’ possibly giving him the inside track in a new election and barring Jefferson from the presidency. Sound wild? This was a time, the author explains, when the word revolution wore a glorious and not a threatening aspect, and the word democracy was tainted. The astute Federalists made sure that John Adams received one more vote than their intended vice president, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, but the

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Aug 14, 2006

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