The Election of 1804

The election of 1804 was not nearly as exciting of the election of 1800. The re-election of Thomas Jefferson was virtually a forgone conclusion. The country was prosperous and at peace. The Louisiana Purchase had doubled the size of the United States and Ohio had been added to the Union. Taxes were lower and the national debt was being paid off. There was even a lull in the seemingly endless war between Britain and France. Jefferson had proved not to be the radical that many Federalists had feared. On the advice of his Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin , Jefferson had left in place many of the financial programs  begun by Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson was popular everywhere except among the Federalists in New England. These Federalists actually opposed the expansion to the west because they feared that an alliance between the South and the growing Northwest would marginalize New England. There was beginning to be some talk of Federalist New England seceding from the Union.

There was almost no drama in this election. The Democratic-Republicans met in caucus on February 25 and nominated Thomas Jefferson for a second term. Since Jefferson didn’t trust his Vice-President, Aaron Burr, after his intrigues during the previous election, the Democratic-Republicans selected George Clinton of New York to be Vice-President. Clinton had been governor of New York from 1777 until 1795 and again from 1800 to 1804. He had also served as a brigadier general in the Continental Army. Clinton had been an anti-Federalist during the fight to ratify the constitution but had relented when the bill of rights was added.

The Federalists didn’t have a formal caucus but decided to support Charles Cotesworth Pinckney as President and Rufus King as Vice-President. Pinckney had been nominated for Vice-President in the election of 1800. He was from South Carolina and was noted for his role in the XYZ affair while minister to France. Rufus King served as a Senator from New York from 1789 to 1796 and then was minister to Great Britain from 1796 to 1803. He had been an opponent of slavery and the slave trade, but was willing to wait for gradual emancipation.

The only issue that the Federalists had that might have gained any traction was Thomas Jefferson’s supposed relationship with his slave Sally Hemmings. They made fun of his “African Venus” Black Sal. Jefferson wisely kept silent about the issue. The Federalists also condemned the Louisiana Purchase as unconstitutional, but that was not likely to be a popular position to hold outside of New England.

This was the first election under the new rules established by the twelfth amendment, in which each elector voted for the presidential candidate and his running mate. In the end Jefferson won by a landslide of 162 electoral votes against only 14 votes for Pinckney. The Democratic-Republicans won every state except Connecticut and Delaware with two electors in Maryland supporting the Federalists. The Federalists on the way to becoming a minor regional party and Jefferson looked forward to the day when party spirit would be extinguished. If he had known what he was in for, he wouldn’t have been so happy about the future.

The election of 1804
The election of 1804


Duck Amuck

We don’t have cable for the simple reason that we don’t actually watch much television in our family and it doesn’t seem worth it to have to pay for the little we would watch, especially since so many television programs are simply awful. When one of our children asked why we don’t have cable, I replied for the same reason that we don’t pay someone to dump raw sewage into our living room. Because we don’t have cable, there are whole segments of contemporary pop culture that I am unaware of in any but the vaguest fashion. For the most part, I don’t think that is any great loss on my part, but there do seem to be a few shows worth watching that I am missing.

One of these shows has to be A & E’s Duck Dynasty. I was almost completely unaware of this show until  the local Wal Mart put up a huge display in the front of their store featuring the recently released DVDs of the last season of Duck Dynasty and various paraphernalia related to the Robertson family and their business, including a TV running a continuous loop of clips from the show. I have still not seen a single episode of the show, but the Robertsons seem to be a decent and hard working family who deserve their success.

Now, it seems that the patriarch of the family, Phil Robertson, has gotten himself into a considerable amount of trouble by making “controversial” remarks about homosexuals. By controversial, it is meant remarks that the left does not approve of and therefore believe should be censored. As a result of complaints by the perpetually offended , A & E has decided to suspend Phil Robertson from the show. The story is all over, but here is an account from Yahoo News.

The stars of “Duck Dynasty” might be America’s most popular TV family, but that could change very soon — because Phil Robertson has made some seriously divisive anti-gay remarks that have sparked instant backlash.

Speaking with GQ, Robertson lamented that when “everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong … sin becomes fine.” So just what qualifies as sinful in his book?

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there — bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he declared.

From what I have read, I don’t think the backlash will be against the Robertson family and Duck Dynasty. I think A & E will be getting the bulk of any backlash, especially if the rest of the family absolutely refuses to do the show without Phil.

I doubt that many will actually read the interview from GQ all the way through, but here is the article by Drew Magary. In general, it is a sympathetic treatment of the Robertson family, though somewhat condescending. The author shows a certain disdain for the red neck family. Here are the remarks that are controversial.

Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out. Like this one:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Perhaps we’ll be needing that seat belt after all.


“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”

What, in your mind, is sinful?

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Phil Robertson did not advocated stoning homosexuals, nor did he advocate criminalizing homosexuality or discriminating against homosexuals in any way. He simply expressed a personal distaste for certain activities, a distaste that was considered common sense until very recently, and expressed the view that homosexuality is a sin along with a list of other sin, a view that is and has been a mainstream teaching of Christianity for the last two thousand years. He did not express hatred for anyone.Quite the contrary actually.

As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

In response GLAAD stated,

What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike,” said GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz. Robertson’s removal “has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value.”

Again, it is interesting that people who have had, up till now, no use for any religion, least of all Christianity, are now lecturing Christians about the precepts of our own faith, against clear statements in scripture. For the activist bullies, it is no longer enough to simply tolerate the homosexual even though you may disapprove of the act. You must become a cheerleader for the lifestyle, or else. And, if your religion teaches against it, you had best drop the religion in favor of what the world teaches. I doubt if Mr. Robertson is much disturbed by this controversy. If he is, he can take solace in the notion that the people who hate him and what he represents hate the One who is much greater.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. (John 15:8-23)

As for me, I stand with the Robertsons and freedom and against the bullies who preach tolerance and diversity but practice enforced conformity and hatred.

Who are the haters?
Who are the haters?
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