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  4. Nancy Pelosi just made one of the most colossal blunders in modern American politics

Unfortunately, it is a fact of human nature that people always find reasons to divide and the story of our nations history is no exception. Oct 18, Joshua rated it liked it Shelves: historical , non-fiction. The election of is historically significant for several reasons.

It is the first election in the republic in which the idea of the "mute tribune" and the virtue of presidential candidates feigning disinterest in the position disappeared. It is the first election in which the Popular vote truly mattered and only the second in which it was even recorded. Third, and finally, it was the first election in American history where a 'populist' candidate took the executive office. This book does an The election of is historically significant for several reasons.

This book does an excellent job condensing the information and telling the story of the election, beginning with John Quincy Adams and Jackson's careers and the issues which would drive the public debate of It is difficult for me to buy the idea that it is truly unique for the slanders thrown in the press.

Where the book itself struggles a bit is in the readability of its prose and its organization. Essentially organized chronologically, the author doesn't manage to defend the thesis well, of the election being "the birth of modern politics". There is certainly an argument for why it is, and much of that argument is illuminated in this book, but as an argumentative piece the book comes off too didactic to be particularly convincing. The other issue with the book is that in its attempt to be 'objective' it sometimes fails to give the issues the weight they deserve.

The political fight in was a mud slinging mess, but Parson keeps us high enough above the fray to feel somewhat untouched by it.

The author fails to a significant extent to really let the story live as the riveting tale it is, and comes off, instead, a little too 'scholarly'. That seems perhaps an odd criticism to throw at a book that was written by a scholar, but I firmly believe that history is an interesting subject, and that it can avoid being dull. This book doesn't, quite.

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This book does not serve well as a biography of either man. It does, however, make a decent argument for how the election of was socially pivotal, changing as it did the rules of how presidential campaigns and indeed, that there even would be 'campaigns' were undertaken in the American Republic. It was an unexpectedly appropriate read in , too, in which the public watches an election where a poorly spoken, populist, sectional candidate without a firm platform takes on a comparably unapproachable, intellectual, and experienced candidate. I would recommend this admittedly quick read only to people who really want to read about this stuff.

There's not a lot of reason why the election of would be interesting to the average reader or indeed, the average voter. But for those who truly find the details of history fascinating, it's worth the time. Prior to this election Presidents feigned disinterest in the office and reluctantly accepted the nomination out of duty. But this election, in which party politics emerged for the first time, was a mudslinging battle between an experienced political veteran and a populist favorite representing middle America.

Sound familiar? The similarities between the and elections are striking, and give rise to the idea that things haven't changed that much in nearly two centuries. Apr 22, Brian rated it liked it. This book was a compelling enough read because the history of our current political system is fairly interesting and relevant.

The author did his research and has an impressive This book was a compelling enough read because the history of our current political system is fairly interesting and relevant. The author did his research and has an impressive amount of research and footnotes.

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Unfortunately the author tends to let other people's work drive the story and it almost seemed like I was reading excerpts from one source to the next on several pages minus a star for that--for difficulty in finding the author's own voice. One thing that did impress me with this was the author's attempt create a relevant relationship between an election almost years ago and today--finding common themes in HOW campaigns employ ethnic-baiting, personal attacks on family, use of organized media editorials, and religious overtones while accusing your opponent of being ANTI-religious to the campaigns.

Tactics we see today. I also had several of those "hmmmm The tactics and even some of the language is almost the same. We tend to think our politics today has "gone downhill" and the hyper-partisan atmosphere is new or even "too ugly" anymore today. A book like this does remind us that we actually are "cleaner" today that probably ever.

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The only difference is the technology. The other reason I subtracted a star is simply that the author had a tough time keeping me sympathetic to these historical characters. I wanted to KNOW them more Sometimes they seemed very one-dimensional and unfeeling. These were important figures in our history and should lend themselves to some further feeling and empathy.

But many of the sections just seemed like unrelated panels in a cartoon strip--the figures are presented in a situation but given very little depth and context.

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I found myself simply being confused because some of the situations didn't always follow a chronological order which I feel is important in telling history as a "story! I read more than half of it on 2 legs of a flight from Texas to Florida. The facts and stories had some interesting tid-bits of political trivia I found interesting enough.

But I think this book could have had so much more for it.


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Sep 10, Robert Owen rated it really liked it Shelves: american-history. The first six presidents, from George Washington to John Quincy Adams, were all members of this elite patrician class. Calhoun that it precipitated, the issues surrounding the renewal of the Bank of the United States charter and national infrastructure expenditures.

Essentially, Jackson was what we would today call a Tea Party Republican who revered the constitution only to the extent that he agreed with it. I picked up the book wanting to understand the pivotal transition of America the theoretic republic to America the actual republic….. View 2 comments.


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  • Mar 23, Don rated it liked it Shelves: history , own. A well-researched, interesting book on how presidential campaigning arrived. Very entertaining in parts Andrew Jackson was mostly just crazy, John Quincy Adams was mostly a cardboard cutout , but the strange part is that much of it sounds like it could have been written about today's campaigning A Solid, If Bare-Bones Summary This work provides a solid summary of the events and personalities surrounding the Presidential election. It's certainly well-written, though I'm not sure that it adds much that wouldn't be found in biographies of either General Jackson or JQ Adams.

    Jan 06, John Jenkins rated it really liked it Shelves: history. Parsons supports his thesis that the United States presidential election of definitively marked a transition in American politics.

    Nancy Pelosi just made one of the most colossal blunders in modern American politics

    Prior to this election, men became presidents by playing the role of the Mute Tribune. The election was the first with organized campaigns that featured exaggerated claims about both the favored candidates and their opponents, and this transition has continued for almost two centuries. Which of these two men was the better president? That is slightly outside the scope of the book, but Mr. Parsons points out the strengths and weaknesses of both. Unfortunately, he seems to argue that the steps that each man took to expand the role of the executive branch were beneficial.

    Parsons suggests that Abraham Lincoln took the best from Adams and Jackson, but refrains from saying that Lincoln also took the worst. Parsons also makes sound arguments that the "Era of Good Feelings" was not so good and the "Corrupt Bargain" was not so corrupt. In the first year of his administration, Republican President Monroe made efforts to reconcile with Federalists, and a Federalist newspaper prematurely gave the positive label to the era thinking that political bickering would be minimized.

    This rapprochement was very short-lived, and partisan bickering quickly resumed over tariffs, slavery, infrastructure building, and other issues. The presidential election of featured the two frontrunners from the election, which was tainted by what contemporaries called a "corrupt bargain. But Mr. Parsons argues that this label was unwarranted. Clay approached him to offer his help; Adams did not solicit it.

    So, even though Jacksonians and other opponents denounced Adams for using this appointment to accomplish a political goal, Mr. Parsons argues persuasively that, other than this appointment, Adams avoided offering positions to supporters and terminating opponents to a fault. One example of negative campaigning was the Jacksonians accusing Adams of putting a billiards table in the White House at taxpayer expense. This was due to an error in reporting such expenses to Congress that was made by Adams' son.

    The reporting error was quickly corrected the president had paid for the table out of his own funds , but the Adams campaign did not realize that the correction needed to be publicized. The opponents capitalized on this oversight. This book contains several surprising revelations. First, history and this book treat Thomas Jefferson with such reverence that it is shocking to read his expression of anti-Semitism on page Another unusual revelation is the exercise habits of Adams, including nude swimming in the Potomac.

    Also notable is the question of political party labels. If the election of marks the birth of political parties, one would expect the party names to be better defined.

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    But many sources refer to both candidates as Democratic-Republicans. Parsons simply refers to both candidates as Republicans.