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Burr, Hamilton, and JeffersonA Study in Character$
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Roger G. Kennedy

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140552

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140552.001.0001

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Chapter 9

Chapter 9

(p.127) Chapter 9
Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson

Roger G. Kennedy

Oxford University Press

Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson learned from Edmund-Charles Genêt on July 5, 1793, that French agents of sedition were headed for Kentucky. Jefferson had taken an oath of office to a United States government led by George Washington, who had made clear his opposition to filibustering irruptions anywhere. Alexander Hamilton in 1798 and Aaron Burr in 1806 insisted that they would prefer to take up arms against Spain only after the United States had declared war. As others were in complicity with France's plots of the 1790s and wept for the failure of the Whiskey Rebellion, as William Blount conspired with Britain and John Sevier with Spain, as Harry Innes and James Wilkinson encouraged the Kentucky separatists and Jefferson said nothing, Burr never took Jefferson's acquiescent posture toward separatism. In 1804, when it was the Federalists' turn, he rebuffed them. Jefferson, on the other hand, was a centrifugal force while out of power, and he invented the doctrine of nullification, and ultimately came to espouse a strong central government only when he was president.

Keywords:   Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, George Washington, Spain, Alexander Hamilton, filibustering, Kentucky, James Wilkinson, separatism, United States

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