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America’s Unwritten Constitution by Akhil Reed Amar

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CHAPTER 10

JOINING THE PARTY

America’s Partisan Constitution

In 1776, even if Thomas Jefferson (far left) and John Adams (far right) were on opposite sides of a table, they were definitely on the same side of the great issue of American independence that lay before them. Twenty years later, these former friends vied for the presidency. Adams won, and Jefferson, as runner-up, became vice president. During Adams’s presidency, a national two-party system intensified, making it hard for the two men to collaborate as before. After Jefferson bested Adams in a rematch in 1800–1801, the Twelfth Amendment restructured the election process for presidents and vice presidents.

THE DECLARATION COMMITTEE (1776, AS DEPICTED IN 1876).

In 1776, even if Thomas Jefferson (far left) and John Adams (far right) were on opposite sides of a table, they were definitely on the same side of the great issue of American independence that lay before them. Twenty years later, these former friends vied for the presidency. Adams won, and Jefferson, as runner-up, became vice president. During Adams’s presidency, a national two-party system intensified, making it hard for the two men to collaborate as before. After Jefferson bested Adams in a rematch in 1800–1801, the Twelfth Amendment ...

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