Would it have looked something like this?

And how would Thomas Jefferson have countered?

(Hat tip to Spinning Clio.)


  1. #1 Tyler DiPietro
    December 17, 2007

    Tom Jefferson’s evil plans.

    Is anyone else picturing Dr. Evil here?

  2. #2 Loren Collins
    December 17, 2007

    Actually, we don’t need to wonder too hard about what Jefferson would’ve done. Because even with the limited media of the day, campaigns used to be a lot more negative than we often recall.

    Jefferson backed a lot of anti-Adams propaganda leading up to the election (although often concealing his involvement), including paying James Callender to write some harsh anti-Adams material. This included calling Adams “a repulsive pedant,” “one of the most egregious fools upon the planet,” and, best of all, “a hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

    TJ would have been right at home with YouTube.

    (Jefferson later made the mistake of not sufficiently obliging Callender’s wishes, which resulted in Callender publishing in 1802 the first allegations about President Jefferson’s illegitimate child with Sally Hemmings.)

  3. #3 DLC
    December 17, 2007

    Oddly, sometimes I have found myself wondering how some of today’s TV talking heads would have fared in the days when men fought duels over insults. Would O’Reilly and Olberman shoot it out alongside Hamilton and Burr ?

    But getting back to the topic… Would Jefferson have had to put up with “Gun boat veterans for truth” , or “do you really want a slave-owning Hemp-Grower in the Office of President ? Would Jefferson have hit back with something like: “Adams is a rabble-rouser and the son of the brewer”?

    Hmm.. Closely related… would Franklin have published his own science blog ?

  4. #4 James
    December 17, 2007

    In The Wealth of Nations (published in 1776) Adam Smith called political pamphlets “the wretched offspring of falsehood and venality”

    Remarkable how little changes isn’t it?

  5. #5 Loren Collins
    December 17, 2007

    I’m also reminded of the 1824 campaign song for John Quincy Adams, which made apocalyptic allegations not unlike this video’s, with regard to what would happen if Andrew Jackson were elected President:

    Slavery’s comin’, knavery’s comin’,
    Wonder’s comin;, plunder’s comin’,
    Jobbin’s comin;, robbing’s comin’
    If John Quincy not be comin’!

    Tears are comin’, fears are coming,
    Plague and pestilence are comin’,
    Hatin’s comin;, Satan’s comin’,
    If John Quincy not be comin’!

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