Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy, Jeffrey L. Pasley

Reviewed by Richard S. Conley

BUY

 

The presidential election of 1796, memorialized in history tomes for the bitter divisions the campaign mirrored among citizens in the fledgling Republic, receives innovative and refreshing analytical consideration in this eminently readable and clever account of the Adams–Jefferson contest. Jeffrey L. Pasley’s major contribution is to the notion of party development in the late eighteenth century. Challenging the conventional wisdom in the dominant political sci­ence literature, the author contends that the election of 1796 has been largely overlooked in contemporary scholarship, due to the lack of institutionalized parties, which is, in his view, a problematic definition even in the contemporary era. For Pasley, “The first contested presidential election came about as a result of popular politics, broadly conceived, even if parties and elections themselves were not highly participatory” (p. 14). Eschewing the notion that political parties are simply “devices for collecting votes” (p. 5), the author invites us to look beyond formal political party structures as well as a traditional focus on elite personalities and the candidates themselves (who did not campaign, given the custom of the day) and embrace the cultural, ideological, and symbolic features that the dynamics of the 1796 campaign represented at

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

About PSQ's Editor

ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

WEBINAR
Academy Forum | How to Stop Jihadist Foreign Fighters

October 28, 2021

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

Editor’s spotlight

The Powell Doctrine

The Rise and Fall of Colin Powell and the Powell Doctrine
Walter LaFeber

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Perspectives on Presidential Elections, 1992–2020   PERSPECTIVES ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, 1992–2020

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS