Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.
Powered by Campus Explorer
All Rights Reserved.
Site last updated
26 June, 2013
Jefferson and his Colleagues, A Chronicle of the Virginia Dynasty|
by Johnson, Allen
Five well-known historians have written comprehensive works on
the period covered by the administrations of Jefferson, Madison,
and Monroe: John B. McMaster has stressed the social and economic
aspects in "A History of the People of the United States;" James
Schouler has dwelt upon the political and constitutional problems
in his "History of the United States of America under the
Constitution;" Woodrow Wilson has written a "History of the
American People" which indeed is less a history than a brilliant
essay on history; Hermann von Holst has construed the
"Constitutional and Political History of the United States "in
terms of the slavery controversy; and Edward Channing has brought
forward his painstaking "History of the United States," touching
many phases of national life, to the close of the second war with
England. To these general histories should be added "The American
Nation," edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, three volumes of which
span the administrations of the three Virginians: E. Channing's
"The Jeffersonian System" (1906); K. C. Babcock's "The Rise of
American Nationality" (1906); F. J. Turner's "Rise of the New
No historian can approach this epoch without doing homage to
Henry Adams, whose "History of the United States," 9 vols.
(1889-1891), is at once a literary performance of extraordinary
merit and a treasure-house of information. Skillfully woven into
the text is documentary material from foreign archives which
Adams, at great expense, had transcribed and translated. Intimate
accounts of Washington and its society may be found in the
following books: G. Gibbs, "Memoirs of the Administrations of
Washington and John Adams", 2 vols. (1846); Mrs. Margaret Bayard
Smith, "The First Forty Years of Washington Society" (1906); Anne
H. Wharton, "Social Life in the Early Republic" (1902). "The Life
of Thomas Jefferson," 3 vols. (1858), by Henry S. Randall is rich
in authentic information about the life of the great Virginia
statesman but it is marred by excessive hero-worship. Interesting
side-lights on Jefferson and his entourage are shed by his
granddaughter, Sarah N. Randolph, in a volume called "Domestic
Life of Thomas Jefferson" (1871).
The problems of patronage that beset President Jefferson are set
forth by Gaillard Hunt in "Office-seeking during Jefferson's
Administration," in the "American Historical Review," vol. III,
p. 271, and by Carl R. Fish in "The Civil Service and the
Patronage" (1905). There is no better way to enter
sympathetically into Jefferson's mental world than to read his
correspondence. The best edition of his writings is that by Paul
Leicester Ford. Henry Adams has collected the "Writings of Albert
Gallatin," 3 vols. (1879), and has written an admirable "Life of
Albert Gallatin" (1879). Gaillard Hunt has written a short "Life
of James Madison" (1902), and has edited his "Writings," 9 vols.
(1900-1910). The Federalist attitude toward the Administration is
reflected in the "Works of Fisher Ames," 2 vols. (1857). The
intense hostility of New England Federalists appears also in such
books as Theodore Dwight's "The Character of Thomas Jefferson, as
exhibited in His Own Writings" (1839). Franklin B. Dexter has set
forth the facts relating to Abraham Bishop, that arch-rebel
against the standing order in Connecticut, in the "Proceedings"
of the Massachusetts Historical Society, March, 1906.
The larger histories of the American navy by Maclay, Spears, and
Clark describe the war with Tripoli, but by far the best account
is G. W. Allen's "Our Navy and the Barbary Corsairs" (1905),
which may be supplemented by C. O. Paullin's "Commodore John
Rodgers" (1910). T. Harris's "Life and Services of Commodore
William Bainbridge" (1837) contains much interesting information
about service in the Mediterranean and the career of this gallant
commander. C. H. Lincoln has edited "The Hull-Eaton
Correspondence during the Expedition against Tripoli 1804-5" for
the Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, vol. XXI
(1911). The treaties and conventions with the Barbary States are
contained in "Treaties, Conventions, International Acts,
Protocols and Agreements between the United States of America and
Other Powers," compiled by W. M. Malloy, 3 vols. (1910-1913).
Even after the lapse of many years, Henry Adams's account of the
purchase of Louisiana remains the best: Volumes I and II of his
"History of the United States." J. A. Robertson in his "Louisiana
under the Rule of Spain, France, and the United States,"
1785-1807, 2 vols. (1911), has brought together a mass of
documents relating to the province and territory. Barbe-Marbois,
"Histoire de la Louisiana et de la Cession" (1829), which is now
accessible in translation, is the main source of information for
the French side of the negotiations. Frederick J. Turner, in a
series of articles contributed to the "American Historical
Review" (vols. II, III, VII, VIII, X), has pointed out the
significance of the diplomatic contest for the Mississippi
Valley. Louis Pelzer has written on the "Economic Factors in the
Acquisition of Louisiana" in the "Proceedings" of the Mississippi
Valley Historical Association, vol. VI (1913). There is no
adequate biography of either Monroe or Livingston. T. L. Stoddard
has written on "The French Revolution in San Domingo" (1914).
The vexed question of the boundaries of Louisiana is elucidated
by Henry Adams in volumes II and III of his "History of the
United States." Among the more recent studies should be mentioned
the articles contributed by Isaac J. Cox to volumes VI and X of
the "Quarterly" of the Texas State Historical Association, and an
article entitled "Was Texas Included in the Louisiana Purchase?"
by John R. Ficklen in the "Publications" of the Southern History
Association, vol. V. In the first two chapters of his "History of
the Western Boundary of the Louisiana Purchase" (1914), T. M.
Marshall has given a resume of the boundary question. Jefferson
brought together the information which he possessed in "An
Examination into the boundaries of Louisiana," which was first
published in 1803 and which has been reprinted by the American
Philosophical Society in "Documents relating to the Purchase and
Exploration of Louisiana" (1904). I. J. Cox has made an important
contribution by his book on "The Early Exploration of Louisiana"
(1906). The constitutional questions involved in the purchase and
organization of Louisiana are reviewed at length by E. S. Brown
in "The Constitutional History of the Louisiana Purchase,
The most painstaking account of Burr's expedition is W. F.
McCaleb's "The Aaron Burr Conspiracy" (1903) which differs from
Henry Adams's version in making James Wilkinson rather than Burr
the heavy villain in the plot. Wilkinson's own account of the
affair, which is thoroughly untrustworthy, is contained in his
"Memoirs of My Own Times," 3 vols. (1816). The treasonable
intrigues of Wilkinson are proved beyond doubt by the
investigations of W. R. Shepherd, "Wilkinson and the Beginnings
of the Spanish Conspiracy," in vol. IX of "The American
Historical Review," and of I. J. Cox, "General Wilkinson and His
Later Intrigues with the Spaniards," in vol. XIX of "The American
Historical Review." James Parton's "Life and Times of Aaron Burr"
(1858) is a biography of surpassing interest but must be
corrected at many points by the works already cited. William
Coleman's "Collection of the Facts and the Documents relative to
the Death of Major-General Alexander Hamilton" (1804) contains
the details of the great tragedy. The Federalist intrigues with
Burr are traced by Henry Adams and more recently by S. E. Morison
in the "Life and Letters of Harrison Gray Otis," 2 vols. (1913).
W. H. Safford's "Blennerhassett Papers" (1861) and David
Robertson's "Reports of the Trials of Colonel Aaron Burr for
Treason, and for a Misdemeanor," 2 vols. (1808), brought to light
many interesting facts relating to the alleged conspiracy. The
"Official Letter Books of W. C. C. Claiborne, 1801-1816," 6 vols.
(1917), contain material of great value.
The history of impressment has yet to be written, but J. R.
Hutchinson's "The Press-Gang Afloat and Ashore" (1913) has shown
clearly that the baleful effects of the British practice were not
felt solely by American shipmasters. Admiral A. T. Mahan devoted
a large part of his first volume on "Sea Power in its relations
to the War of 1812," 2 vols. (1905), to the antecedents of the
war. W. E. Lingelbach has made a notable contribution to our
understanding of the Essex case in his article on "England and
Neutral Trade" printed in "The Military Historian and Economist,"
vol. II (1917). Of the contemporary pamphlets, two are
James Stephen, "War in Disguise; or, the Frauds of the Neutral
Flags" (1805), presenting the English grievances, and "An
Examination of the British Doctrine, which Subjects to Capture a
Neutral Trade, not open in Time of Peace," prepared by the
Department of State under Madison's direction in 1805. Captain
Basil Hall's "Voyages and Travels" (1895) gives a vivid picture
of life aboard a British frigate in American waters. A graphic
account of the Leopard-Chesapeake affair is given by Henry Adams
in Chapter I of his fourth volume.
CHAPTERS VIII AND IX
Besides the histories of Mahan and Adams, the reader will do well
to consult several biographies for information about peaceable
coercion in theory and practice. Among these may be mentioned
Randall's "Life of Thomas Jefferson," Adams's Life of Albert
Gallatin" and "John Randolph" in the "American Statesmen Series,"
W. E. Dodd's "Life of Nathaniel Macon" (1903), D. R. Anderson's
"William Branch Giles" (1914), and J. B. McMaster's "Life and
Times of Stephen Girard," 2 vols. (1917). For want of an adequate
biography of Monroe, recourse must be taken to the "Writings of
James Monroe," 7 vols. (1898-1903), edited by S. M. Hamilton. J.
B. Moore's "Digest of International Law", 8 vols. (1906),
contains a mass of material bearing on the rights of neutrals and
the problems of neutral trade. The French decrees and the British
orders-in-council were submitted to Congress with a message by
President Jefferson on the 23d of December, 1808, and may be
found in "American State Papers, Foreign Relations," vol. III.
The relations of the United States and Spanish Florida are set
forth in many works, of which three only need be mentioned: H. B.
Fuller, "The Purchase of Florida" (1906), has devoted several
chapters to the early history of the Floridas, but so far as West
Florida is concerned his work is superseded by I. J. Cox's "The
West Florida Controversy, 1789-1813" (1918). The first volume,
"Diplomacy," of F. E. Chadwick's "Relations of the United States
and Spain," 3 vols. (1909-11), gives an account of the several
Florida controversies. Several books contribute to an
understanding of the temper of the young insurgents in the
Republican Party: Carl Schurz's "Henry Clay," 2 vols. (1887), W.
M. Meigs's "Life of John Caldwell Calhoun," 2 vols. (1917), M. P.
Follett's "The Speaker of the House of Representatives" (1896),
and Henry Adams's "John Randolph" (1882).
The civil history of President Madison's second term of office
may be followed in Adams's "History of the United States," vols.
VII, VIII, and IX; in Hunt's "Life of James Madison;" in Adams's
"Life of Albert Gallatin;" and in such fragmentary records of men
and events as are found in the "Memoirs and Letters of Dolly
Madison" (1886) and Mrs. M. B. Smith's "The First Forty Years of
Washington Society" (1906). The history of New England Federalism
may be traced in H. C. Lodge's "Life and Letters of George Cabot"
(1878); in Edmund Quincy's "Life of Josiah Quincy of
Massachusetts" (1867); in the "Life of Timothy Pickering," 4
vols. (1867-73); and in S. E. Morison's "Life and Letters of
Harrison Gray Otis," 2 vols. (1913). Theodore Dwight published
his "History of the Hartford Convention" in 1833. Henry Adams has
collected the "Documents relating to New England Federalism,"
1800-1815" (1878). The Federalist opposition to the war is
reflected in such books as Mathew Carey's "The Olive Branch; or,
Faults on Both Sides" (1814) and William Sullivan's "Familiar
Letters on Public Characters" (1834).
The history of the negotiations at Ghent has been recounted by
Mahan and Henry Adams, and more recently by F. A. Updyke, "The
Diplomacy of the War of 1812" (1915). Aside from the "State
Papers," the chief sources of information are Adams's "Life of
Gallatin" and "Writings of Gallatin" the "Memoirs of John Quincy
Adams," 12 vols. (1874-1877), and "Writings of John Quincy Adams"
7 vols. (1913-), edited by W. C. Ford, the "Papers of James A.
Bayard, 1796-1815" (1915), edited by Elizabeth Donnan, the
"Correspondence, Despatches, and Other Papers, of Viscount
Castlereagh," 12 vols. (1851-53), and the "Supplementary
Despatches. of the Duke of Wellington," 15 vols. (1858-78). The
Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. XLVIII
(1915), contain the instructions of the British commissioners. "A
Great Peace Maker, the Diary of James Gallatin, Secretary to
Albert Gallatin" (1914) records many interesting boyish
impressions of the commissioners and their labors at Ghent.
The want of a good biography of James Monroe is felt increasingly
as one enters upon the history of his administrations. Some
personal items may be gleaned from "A Narrative of a Tour of
Observation Made during the Summer of 1817" (1818); and many more
may be found in the "Memoirs and Writings" of John Quincy Adams.
The works by Fuller and Chadwick already cited deal with the
negotiations leading to the acquisition of Florida. The "Memoirs
et Souvenirs" of Hyde de Neuville, 3 vols. (1893-4), supplement
the record which Adams left in his diary. J. S. Bassett's "Life
of Andrew Jackson," 2 vols. (1911), is far less entertaining than
James Parton's "Life of Andrew Jackson," 3 vols. (1860), but much
The problem of the recognition of the South American republics
has been put in its historical setting by F. L. Paxson in "The
Independence of the South American Republics" (1903). The
relations of the United States and Spain are described by F. E.
Chadwick in the work already cited and by J. H. Latane in "The
United States and Latin America" (1920). To these titles may be
added J. M. Callahan's "Cuba and International Relations" (1899).
The studies of Worthington C. Ford have given John Quincy Adams a
much larger share in formulating the Monroe Doctrine than earlier
historians have accorded him. The origin of President Monroe's
message is traced by Mr. Ford in "Some Original Documents on the
Genesis of the Monroe Doctrine," in the "Proceedings" of the
Massachusetts Historical Society, 1902, and the subject is
treated at greater length by him in "The American Historical
Review," vols. VII and VIII. The later evolution and application
of the Monroe Doctrine may be followed in Herbert Kraus's "Die
Monroedoktrin in ihren Beziehungen zur Amerikanischen Diplomatie
and zum Volkerrecht" (1913), a work which should be made more
accessible to American readers by translation.
The subjects touched upon in this closing chapter are treated
with great skill by Frederick J. Turner in his "Rise of the New
West" (1906). On the slavery controversy, an article by J. A.
Woodburn, "The Historical Significance of the Missouri
Compromise," in the "Report" of the American Historical
Association for 1893, and an article by F. H. Hodder, "Side
Lights on the Missouri Compromise," in the "Report" for 1909, may
be read with profit. D. R. Dewey's "Financial History of the
United States" (1903) and F. W. Taussig's "Tariff History of the
United States" (revised edition, 1914) are standard manuals.
Edward Stanwood's "History of the Presidency," 2 vols. (1916),
contains the statistics of presidential elections. T. H. Benton's
"Thirty Years' View; or, A History of the Working of American
Government, 1820-1850," 2 vols. (1854-56), becomes an important
source of information on congressional matters. The latter years
of Jefferson's life are described by Randall and the closing
years of John Adams's career by Charles Francis Adams.