"Negro President": Jefferson and the Slave Power

by Garry Wills
Pub. Date:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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"Negro President": Jefferson and the Slave Power

In “Negro President” the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Garry Wills explores a pivotal moment in American history through the lens of Thomas Jefferson and the now largely forgotten Timothy Pickering, and “prods readers to appreciate essential aspects of our distressed but well-intentioned representative democracy” (Chicago Tribune).

In 1800 Jefferson won the presidential election with Electoral College votes derived from the three-fifths representation of slaves — slaves who could not vote but were still partially counted as citizens. Moving beyond the recent revisionist debate over Jefferson’s own slaves and his relationship with Sally Hemings, Wills instead probes the heart of Jefferson’s presidency and political life, revealing how the might of the slave states remained a concern behind his most important policies and decisions.

In an eye-opening, ingeniously argued exposé, Wills restores Timothy Pickering and the Federalists’ dramatic struggle to our understanding of Jefferson, the creation of the new nation, and the evolution of our representative democracy.

“Garry Wills is a thinker of first rate. He combines the vigor of the social critic with the depth of the historian, and to these he adds the even rarer gifts of the philosopher.” — New Republic

“A thorough political analysis of another founding father’s involvement in slavery.” — San Francisco Chronicle

Garry Wills, a distinguished historian and critic, is the author of numerous books, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Lincoln at Gettysburg, Saint Augustine, the best-selling Why I Am a Catholic, and Henry Adams and the Making of America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618485376
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/14/2005
Pages: 294
Product dimensions: 5.06(w) x 7.93(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Key to Brief Citationsxi
Prologue: Coming to Terms with Jeffersonxii
Introduction: The Three-Fifths Clause1
I.Before 180015
1.Pickering vs. Jefferson: The Northwest18
2.Pickering vs. Jefferson: Toussaint33
II."Second Revolution"47
3.1800: Why Were Slaves Counted?50
4.1800: The Negro-Burr Election62
5.1801: Jefferson or Burr?73
6.1801 Aftermath: Turning Out the Federalists90
III.Pickering in Congress103
7.1803: The Twelfth Amendment106
8.1803: Louisiana114
9.1804: Pickering and Burr127
10.1804-1805: Impeachments140
11.1808: Embargo147
12.1808: Pickering and Governor Sullivan159
13.1808: Pickering and J. Q. Adams171
14.1809-1815: Pickering and Madison182
IV.The Pickering Legacy195
15.J. Q. Adams: The Federal (Slave) District200
16.J. Q. Adams: Petition Battles214
Epilogue: Farewell to Pickering226

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