Handicapped-writersMembers of both major political parties attacking each other. Fake News. Name-calling. Wild tweeting? Today’s world? Of course, but it is not the first time in our history.

Any informed and well-read turn of the 19th century citizen could have easily either been excited or disgusted by what went on in the press and in published letters during our first three Presidential administrations. Each side had it’s own newspapers that not only supported their own agendas but also threw bombshells at their opponents. The records are there and well recorded for all to see.

But for fun, just suppose, that our Founding Fathers, the men who wrote our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, set precedents for our great Republic, and created our earliest newspapers, had “quiller accounts. Lets see how things might have gone. Each of the following “quills” is an actual quote. However because of the wordiness of language in that era the “quills” were not limited to 140 characters

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

George Washington @twash

Alexander Hamilton @aham

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff

John Adams @jadams

James Madison @jmad

Aaron Burr @aburr (Third VP of the U.S. and killer of Alexander Hamilton in their famous duel)

Oliver Wolcott, Jr. 2owalcott (Sec. of the Treasury following Hamilton’s resignation)

Senator William Plumer @senatorplumer (U.S. Senator from New Hampshire

Robert Troupe @rtroupe (friend of Alexander Hamilton)

Aristides @Aristides (probably Noah Webster. Yes, that Noah Webster.)

Philip Frenau @pfrenau (editor of the National Gazette while hired by Thomas Jefferson as a translator at the State Department for an annual salary of $250.)

The National Gazette @Natgaz (a partisan newspaper founded at the urging of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson – the leaders of the Democratic-Republican Party. Many prominent Republicans contributed articles, often pseudonymously, including Madison and Jefferson. It is unique for being substantially supported by a major player within a sitting Administration while simultaneously attacking that Administration’s own policies.

The Philadelphia Aurora @aurora (The Aurora’s articles generally denounced Federalists, including vitriolic attacks on the presidential administrations of George Washington and John Adams.)

The American Citizen @americancitizen (NYC newspaper in New York City in the early 19th century. Editor James Cheetham was frequently sued for libel, although many of the suits ended in mistrial, dismissal, or deadlock.

 

LET THE “QUIILLS” BEGIN:

THE WASHINGTON ADMINISTRATION:

Alexander Hamilton @aham
Re #tjeff and #pfrenau AND #natgaz “He knows how to put a man in a situation calculated to produce all the affects he desires without the gross and awkward formality of telling him, ‘Sir, I intend to hire you for the purpose’.”

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
Re: #natgazette: “nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

James Madison @jmad
Re: #aham #gwash “a government operated by corrupt influence, substituting the motive of private interest in place of public duty.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“#jmad cooperating with #tjeff is a the head of a faction decidedly hostile to me and my administration and…subversive of the principles of good government and dangerous to the union, peace, and happiness of the country.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
#tjeff is a “man of profound ambition and violent passions.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“Is it possible that #tjeff, the head of a principal department of the government, can be a patron of a paper (#natgazette) the evident object of which is to decry the government and it’s measures?”

The National Gazette @Natgaz
@Aristides #treasurysec “a cowardly assassin who strikes in the dark and securely wounds because he is unseen.” #federalists are “monarchial party” and “monocrats”.

James Madison @jmad
#Hamiltonians are “more partial to the opulent than to the other classes of society…want to conduct government by “pageantry of rank, influence of money and EMOLUMENTS, and the terror of military force.”

Philip Frenau @pfrenau
#gwash “A certain monarchial prettiness must be highly extolled, such as levees, drawing rooms, stately nods, instead of shaking hands, titles of office, seclusion from the people.”
John Adams @jadams
#pfrenau #natgazette “sour, peevish, fretful, lying paragraphs”

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
#aham “resolved, that the #sectreasury has been guilty of maladministration in the duties of his office and should…be removed from his office by the President of the United States.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
#jeffersonians are “wily hypocrites” and “crafty and abandoned imposters.”

RE CITIZEN GENET AFFAIR:

John Adams @jadams
(AFTER IT WAS OVER)
“You @tjeff never felt the terrorism…when ten thousands people in the streets of Philadelphia, day after day, threatened to drag @gwash out of his house and effect a revolution in the government…                                                                                                    John Adams @jadams
…or compel it to declare war in favor of the French Revolution and against England.”

Philip Frenau @pfrenau
#gwash “The Funeral Dirge of George Washington” (in which Washington, like Louis XVI, was executed by guillotine)

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
@jmad #gwash “naked he would have been sanctimoniously reverenced, but enveloped in the rags of royalty, they can hardly be torn off without laceration.”

John Adams @jadams
#gwash is “better at striking heroic poses than providing leadership.” He “could not write a sentence without misspelling some word,” and “but very superficially read in the history of any age, nation.”

Philip Frenau @pfrenau                                                                                                                     #gwash “His wishes (through the treaty) will be gratified with a hereditary monarchy and a House of Lords.”

John Adams @jadams
#tjeff “thinks by this step (his resignation) to get the reputation as a humble, modest, meek man wholly without ambition or vanity…
John Adams @jadams
…But if the prospect opens, the world will see and he will feel that he is as ambitious as #OliverCromwell.”

 

THE ADAMS ADMINISTRATION

Oliver Wolcott, Jr. 2owalcott
#jadams “Thus are the United States governed, as Jupiter is represented to have governed Olympus. Without regarding the opinions of friends or enemies, all are summoned to hear, reverence, and obey the unchangeable fiat.”

The Philadelphia Aurora @aurora
“We see #jadams gasconading like a bully, swaggering the hero, and armed cap-a-pie, throwing the gauntlet to the most formidable power on earth.”
The Philadelphia Aurora @aurora
“We behold him placing himself the file-leader of a British faction and marshaling his forces as if he were the representative of George the Third, instead of the chief magistrate of the American people.”

DURING THE XYZ AFFAIR “An episode at Congress Hall in January 1798 symbolized the acrimonious mood. Representative Matthew Lyon of Vermont, a die-hard Republican, began to mock the aristocratic sympathies of Roger Griswold, a Federalist from Connecticut. When Griswold then taunted Lyon for alleged cowardice during the Revolution, Lyon spat right in his face. Griswold got a hickory cane and proceeded to thrash Lyon, who retaliated by taking up fire tongs and attacking Griswold. The two members of Congress ended up fighting on the floor like common ruffians” (Chernow, HAMILTON p569.)

 

THE JEFFERSON ADMINISTRATION

Alexander Hamilton @aham
@GMorris #aburr “is sanguine enough to hope everything, daring enough to attempt everything, wicked enough to scruple nothing,”

Aaron Burr @aburr
@aham “General, all things are moral to great souls!”

Robert Troupe @rtroupe
“At one of the polls, @aham, with impunity by the populace, was repeatedly called a thief and at another poll, with the same impunity, he was called a rascal, villain, and everything else that is infamous in society!” “What a commentary is this on republican virtue?”

RE PRESS WARS AND ”FAKE NEWS”

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
“The liberty of the press consists, in my idea, in publishing the truth from good motives and for justifiable ends, [even] though it reflect on the government, on magistrates, or individuals.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
#thepress “I consider this spirit of abuse and calumny as the pest of society. I know the best of men are not exempt from attacks of slander. . . . Drops of water in long and continued succession will wear out adamant.” Hence the importance of truth, fairness, and absence of malice in reportage.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“I never did think the truth was a crime. I am glad the day is come in which it is to be decided, for my soul has ever abhorred the thought that a free man dared not speak the truth.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“To watch the progress of such endeavours is the office of a free press. To give us early alarm and put us on our guard against the encroachments of power.”

The American Citizen @americancitizen
“General Hamilton did not oppose Mr. Burr because he was a democrat . . . but because HE HAD NO PRINCIPLE, either in morals or in politics. The sum and substance of his language was that no party could trust him. He drew an odious, but yet I think a very just picture of the little Colonel.”

The American Citizen @americancitizen
“upwards of twenty women of ill fame with whom #aburr has been connected.”

The American Citizen @americancitizen
“#aburr has been loaded with almost every epithet of abuse to be found in the English language. He has been represented as a man totally destitute of political principle or integrity.”

AFTER BURR SHOOTS HAMILTON

Senator William Plumer @senatorplumer
#Republicans “I never had any doubts of their joy for the death of #aham. My only doubts were whether they would manifest that joy by caressing his murderer.”

 


DO THESE EXCHANGES TRUMP TODAY’S?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

 

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