ERIC Number: ED433299
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
The Election of 1800: Teaching about a Critical Moment in the History of American Constitutional Democracy. ERIC Digest.
Nixon, William A.
In 1800 the U.S. democracy faced a challenge when Republican Thomas Jefferson defeated Federalist President John Adams. The Federalists handed over the reins of power to their hated rivals, setting a precedent that has guided U.S. politics ever since. This precedent established the tradition of the peaceful transfer of power. The bicentennial of Thomas Jefferson's election is an appropriate time to reflect upon this event and its place in the school curriculum. The key concept to teach about the election of 1800 is the crucial role of political parties in the U.S. democratic system. In addition, the election of 1800 should familiarize students with the electoral system and the important leaders and ideas of the first two political parties. The 1800 election offers an excellent opportunity to teach using historic documents. The presentation of the election of 1800 should grow in complexity as students mature. Elementary students should be introduced to the role of political parties, to the process of presidential elections, and to early U.S. leaders (Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton). Middle school and high school students need to know about the extra-constitutional nature of political parties, the electoral system before and after the Twelfth Amendment, the ideology and leadership of the Federalists and the Republicans, and the important issues and events that gave rise to the first two-party system. The Digest suggests using Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address as the primary historical document. Five World Wide Web sites and five references that support the topic are identified. (JEH)
Descriptors: Democracy, Elections, Elementary Secondary Education, Presidential Campaigns (United States), Presidents of the United States, Social Studies, United States History
ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, 2805 East Tenth Street, Suite 120, Bloomington, IN, 47408; Tel: 812-855-3838; Tel: 800-266-3815 (Toll Free).
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, Bloomington, IN.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: United States Constitution