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The Federal Republic for Which it Stands


OrangeP47

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Brief Introduction, this is going to be my alternate history timeline.  Comments are welcome, but it's not a "game" per se, in that I'm doing all the controlling.  Feedback may be considered, of course, but no body will really be taking an "action" per se, basically.  The format is in-universe excerpts from books, magazines, etc, functioning as quotes, though I also intend for there to be maps etc at various points (especially once we hit the next election).

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“Burr’s election and alliance with the Federalists completely reversed any momentum the surging Jeffersonian Republicans had had.” -The Party Systems, Harold Thomas, 2002

“Though a natural consequence of the original electoral rules established under the 1789 Constitution, and perhaps something we today may see as an obvious flaw, even the men of great foresight were somewhat lost after the results of the 1800 Presidential Election were tallied up.  Maybe it is a perverse luck that something akin to this happened so early.  Though the challenges posed were hardly insurmountable, the personalities involved more or less led the young nation into a manufactured crisis…” -The Early Republic, John David, 1992

“Peeling off enough Representatives in the House was a daunting prospect.  By and large Burr’s support came from states that voted Adams originally, but there were still a few slight gains to be made after the initial rounds.  However, Adams won 7 states, and 9 were needed to win the contingent election.  Inroads would have to be made against Jefferson’s base.  South Carolina voted for Jefferson and Burr, but was notably more Federalist leaning than other Southern states, and was in Burr’s camp.  He needed one more…” -The Big Annotated Election Atlas, 21st Century Edition, Scholastic Works, 2000

“To this day it is unknown what enabled Burr and Hamilton to bury the hatchet, as it were.  There had been growing animosity between them, but in the end, and assuredly with a few well placed words from Hamilton, the New York delegation swung for Burr.  Two fires at the Hamilton estate later in the decade would destroy much of Alexander’s personal correspondence, which is why historians are left wondering about his motives surrounding the event.” -Founding Fathers, Volume 3, Theodore Cartwright, 1997

“Jefferson’s loss in the contingent election meant he would continue on as the Vice President under Burr, but the friction caused by 1800 led to his resignation from the post a mere two months into his second term…” – Thomas Jefferson, The Lost Founding Father, George Eubanks, 1980

“The view in 1801 was dire.  Burr was President, but at what cost?  He was being rejected by his own party, which was now in disarray.  Factional infighting was at a level not even George Washington imagined possible in his famous warning.  Burr would have his work cut out for him even under the best of circumstances, too, as even without the interpersonal drama, several major problems with the young republic’s system of governance had just been exposed, problems that he as President and the incoming Congress were going to want to address.  Would they be able to? Or would politics descend into petty squabbling? The man on the street couldn’t know.” -The Dawn of the XIX Century, Abigail Matthews, 2010

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1801 Presidential Contingent Election, Ballot 1

Burr 6

Connecticut

Delaware

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Jefferson 8

Georgia

Kentucky

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Virginia

Deadlocked 2

Maryland

Vermont

1801 Presidential Contingent Election, Ballot 19

Burr 8

Connecticut

Delaware

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

New Jersey

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Vermont

Jefferson 7

Georgia

Kentucky

New York

North Carolina

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Virginia

Deadlocked 1

Maryland

1801 Presidential Contingent Election, Ballot 33

Burr 9

Connecticut

Delaware

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Vermont

Jefferson 6

Georgia

Kentucky

North Carolina

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Virginia

Deadlocked 1

Maryland

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“Ironically, in some ways, Jefferson’s resignation, while high political drama, provided the impetus for the 7th Congress to act quickly to address the flaws exposed by the election of 1800.  In the midst of all the chaotic bickering, there was bi-partisan support for the push for what would become the Twelfth Amendment.  The Amendment laid out new procedures for the Presidential election process.  Key changes were that the President and Vice President would be elected together, on a ticket, and that while the House of Representatives still controlled contingent elections for President, the Senate would decide on the Vice President in similar circumstances.  Spurred on by political moment during an otherwise trying time, the drafters went further, clarifying that in the event of vacancy of the Presidency, the Vice President would assume the position.  This was by and large a concession to the Jeffersonian wing.  In the event of a vacancy of the Vice Presidency, the Twelfth Amendment specified that the President should nominate a replacement within 60 days, to be confirmed by simple majority vote in the Senate.  Furthermore, in the event of vacancy of both President and Vice-President, the Speaker of the House would become “Acting President” with the responsibility to nominate a new President and Vice-President, to be confirmed by the Senate similarly.  The Speaker was forbidden from nominating himself.” -The Early Republic, John David, 1992

“The prevailing mood in the United States following the election was one of dread.  Everyone knew 1804 was sure to be a rematch of Burr and Jefferson.  Would the four years until then be a once ascendant party tearing itself apart at the seams? What of the Federalists?  Keep in mind at this time in the nation’s history, politics, especially democratic politics, were not as well understood as they are today, so a lot of this dread could be traced to a feeling of uncertainty…”  -Burr:  A Nation Reborn, Jenny Slate, 2009

“As is oft stated when discussing Burr’s election, despite having won, his position immediately post-election was almost untenable. One of the first things he did was formally become independent of the old party, ‘in the spirit of Washington’.  Burr had a certain charisma that served him well. Though he made enemies easily, he also made friends easily.  Media at the turn of the Nineteenth Century was vastly different than it is today, but to borrow a modern term, Burr was good at ‘spin’.” -An Unlikely President:  Aaron Burr, Mary Jansen, 2004

“Continued support from the Federalists propped up Burr at first.  Though much of Alexander Hamilton’s writings are lost to us, letters from other key figures of the time express a desire not to have gone through the trouble of supporting Burr for nothing.  Indeed, it would have been devastating, on countless fronts, to have thrown the metaphorical fire-bomb by electing Burr then tossing him to the wind…” -How a Century was Made, Bernard Hammond, 1950

“Though quite logical, it would be far fetched to think that any Federalist in 1801 would have guessed how fruitful the partnership would become…” -The Party Systems, Harold Thomas, 2002

“The young nation was plagued by foreign crises, which may have saved Burr’s image at the time.  He was the right man in the right place at the right time to effect compromise on several key foreign policy issues and come out taking the credit.  The Jeffersonians and the Federalists differed on domestic policy, of course, but often overlooked today was their differing views on foreign policy.  While the exact circumstances of Burr’s political affiliation were scandalous at the time, using what political capital he could muster, he was unique positioned to bridge several gaps…” -Manifest Destiny Revisited, Todd Anderson, 2005

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  • 4 weeks later...

“The Barbary States had long been a thorn in the side of European powers, especially those with an interest in the Mediterranean. The United States was in a unique position to do something about the long standing problem, however. The piracy problem had persisted for so long in large part because it was simply more convenient for the likes of Sicily or France to pay a bribe and be left alone than actually intervene, especially when you consider the fact that these nations were close enough for the pirates to conduct coastal raids upon.  Across the Atlantic, the United States was for the most part insulated from the last consideration.  A floundering President Burr, also beset by the Great Powers encroaching on American merchants, could thus take an aggressive stance against the pirates in a bid to boost his own popularity while simultaneously appearing to ‘do something’ about this key public interest, all while not directly confronting either France or Britian, the two true agitators.” -Early American Foreign Policy, Carl Gates, 1970

“Burr was quite adept at finding issues to unite the country and rehabilitate his image.  It might help to imagine the strategy as the opposite of the often talked about “wedge issue” in the modern day.  When Napoleon offered to sell Louisiana territory to the United States, Burr jumped at the chance.  It’s true there was hotly contested debate over the legality, the Constitutionality of such a move, but for the most part, discounting a few small circles, the public was greatly supportive.” -Popular History, Maxine Wilson, 2019

“The key to Burr’s rehabilitation wasn’t just his policies, but his gamble in supporting them to the degree that he did while maintaining such a public face.  A lesser figure might have retreated from the limelight.  In regards to the West, Burr was a vocal supporter of Ohio’s admission to the Union.  More well known, of course, is his commission of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore and map the newly acquired Louisiana Territory…” -An Unlikely President:  Aaron Burr, Mary Jansen, 2004

“The Burr Administration was also a good steward of ‘the common defense”.  Policies were supported to strengthen the nascent United States Navy, as well as establish an officers’ school at West Point.  These were seen as prudent moves, even if the budget was tight, and the tariff an ever sticky issue…” -Manifest Destiny Revisited, Todd Anderson, 2005

“Domestically, though the election had aggravated tensions, Burr was lucky to preside in a time before parties were fully coherent in their organization.  When Alfred Moore resigned from the Supreme Court due to health concerns in 1802, there was a bi-partisan nominee Burr could put forth without much controversy, William Johnson.  Johnson was a member of Jefferson’s camp, but well respected by Federalists, and his selection did much to reduce political inflammation.” -The Party Systems, Harold Thomas, 2002

“Marbury v Madison is of course remembered for its importance to judicial philosophy and judicial review, but this far removed into the future it is important to remember the political consequences at the time.  James Madison had initially been included in the Burr cabinet as Secretary of State, but had ‘gone rouge’ so to speak and was quickly dismissed.  It had taken time for allegiances to fully solidify following the elections and this was but one of many weights around the neck of the incoming administration.  Burr’s handling of the particulars of the initial event largely rendered the specific case moot, but the sheer inertia of political conflict meant at some point the court was going to have to step in and make a ruling dealing with the transition of power.  Though all dreaded it, all more or less agreed to let the system work itself out.  The alternative was simply not an option…” -The Court in Context, Melissa Ard, 2009

“How long is a Presidential Term? Just long enough to sink or swim…” -Mid Twentieth Century Saying, Unknown

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  • 2 months later...

“A novice of history could be forgiven for thinking the distribution of electoral votes in 1804 was a sign of the later sectional divisions the country would experience. It was not. It was but coincidence, though coincidence brought about by choices, perhaps.  Under the terms of the Twelfth Amendment, Burr chose Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey, a long time ally to be his running mate.  He was a Federalist, though Burr personally did not join the faction.  More importantly for this observation, however, is that Dayton was a Northerner.  Jefferson by and large had the support of the South and the newly admitted Ohio.  In an attempt to siphon off some of Burr’s support he ran with the popular George Clinton, also of New York, but Burr’s reputation had rebounded significantly…” -The Shape of Elections, John Paul Freeman, 2011

“The alliance between Burr and the Federalists was clear, obvious, and a benefit to both parties, but like so many first steps down long roads in history, in the moment it could not be acknowledged fully.  No one could deny what was happening when the Federalists declined to nominate their own candidate, but certain appearances had to be maintained…” -The Party Systems, Harold Thomas, 2002

“The campaigning was bitter. Perversely, the personal animosity that grew between Jefferson and Burr actually served to bury some salacious arguments that might have otherwise found purchase.  Dayton’s financial dealings were at times questionable, but with the papers full of personal attacks and downright falsehoods, this line of attack fell by the wayside…” -The Early Republic, John David, 1992

“Today we remember 1804 as a landmark, definitive victory, a foregone conclusion, but the actual outcome was rather close.  True, Burr is recorded as having won the popular vote by nearly 10 points, but remember, in those days, very few people actually cast a ballot directly for President, and of course, it is the electoral votes that truly matter.  Eighty-eight were needed for victory, Burr secured ninety-seven, hardly a tour de force.  In the years that followed, it would be spun as one, however…” -The Big Annotated Election Atlas, 21st Century Edition, Scholastic Works, 2000

“Contributing in no small part to the post-election zeitgeist after Burr’s second victory was Jefferson’s continued willingness to hold a grudge.  Though he retreated from public life, and his faction would linger on, a malaise would take hold over all Jeffersonians and prevent any true recovery...” -Popular History, Maxine Wilson, 2019

“Jefferson would not be the last of the Democratic-Republicans to contest the Presidency.  The Burr-Federalist alliance had not yet swept the board, but the stage was set…” -How a Century was Made, Bernard Hammond, 1950

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