Thomas Jefferson

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How would you define a political revolution? Was Thomas Jefferson correct in his assertion?

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A political revolution can be defined as a change from one principle of governance to another, whether brought about by violent or peaceful means.

On the basis of that definition, then, one can say that Jefferson's description of the presidential election of 1800 as "The Second Revolution" is fairly accurate.

The principle of government on which Jefferson based his presidency was radically different from that of his immediate predecessor, John Adams. Whereas Adams, as a Federalist, believed in a strong, centralized government, Jefferson and the Republicans were staunch advocates of limited government and states' rights.

In most countries at that time, as in the case of France, a revolution would invariably be brought about by violence. But the transition from Federalism to Republicanism in the United States—although taking place after an incredibly vicious, bitter, and nasty election—was at least peaceful, a testament to the underlying strengths of the still relatively new American political system.

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