The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation

The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation

by Thomas Fleming


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The Great Divide: The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson that Defined a Nation by Thomas Fleming

In the months after her husband's death, Martha Washington told several friends that the two worst days of her life were the day George died—and the day Thomas Jefferson came to Mount Vernon to offer his condolences.

What could elicit such a strong reaction from the nation's original first lady? Though history tends to cast the early years of America in a glow of camaraderie, there were, in fact, many conflicts among the Founding Fathers—none more important than the one between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The chief disagreement between these former friends centered on the highest, most original public office created by the Constitutional Convention—the presidency. They also argued violently about the nation's foreign policy, the role of merchants and farmers in a republic, and the durability of the union itself. At the root of all these disagreements were two sharply different visions for the nation's future.

Acclaimed historian Thomas Fleming examines how the differing temperaments and leadership styles of Washington and Jefferson shaped two opposing views of the presidency—and the nation. The clash between these two gifted men, both of whom cared deeply about the United States of America, profoundly influenced the next two centuries of America's history and resonates in the present day.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306821271
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 03/10/2015
Pages: 440
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Thomas Fleming is a distinguished historian and the author of more than fifty books. A frequent guest on PBS, C-SPAN, and the History Channel, Fleming has contributed articles to American Heritage, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and many other magazines. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The Man Who Lived Dangerously 4

2 The Man Who Loved to Legislate?But Hated to Govern 17

3 Should This Constitution Be Ratified? 33

4 The President and His Partner Begin Making History 47

5 The Birth of an Ideologue 58

6 The President Takes Charge 69

7 The Secretary of State from Paris 78

8 Mr. Jefferson Wins a Victory That He Soon Regrets 90

9 From Disagreements to the First Divide 101

10 When Best-Laid Plans Go Wrong 115

11 The President?and the Secretary of State?Make Up Their Minds 127

12 The Problems of the Secretary of State's Polar Start 139

13 Can America Remain Neutral in a Warring World? 153

14 Challenging Old Man Washington 164

15 The Secretary of state Calls It Quits 178

16 shooting Wars Loom on several Doorsteps 187

17 Will Whiskey Rebels Unravel the Unio 196

18 A Master Political Takes Charge 204

19 The End of Three Friendships 217

20 A Very Political Farewell 230

21 Martha Washing Sends a Massage 237

22 The Vice President as Part Boss 244

23 The Ultimate Divide 259

24 The Death That Changed Everything 273

25 The Race to Make the Vice First 281

26 The Un Washington President in His Federal Village 288

27 How a Mosquito Rescued Thomas Jefferson's Presideny 300

28 An Empire vs. A Constitutions 307

29 The Voters Speak the Language of Prais 321

30 The Improbable Failures of a Triumphant second Term 335

31 The President vs. The Chief Justice 349

32 The Final Defeat of an Un Washington President 357

33 The Transformation of James Madison 368

Epilogue 383

acknowledgment 391

Notes 393

Index 411

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