Catalog Archive
Auction 179, Lot 847

The Beginning of American Partisan Politics - Jefferson vs. Hamilton

"[Lot of 2 - Hamilton/Jefferson Newspaper Debates and the Beginning of American Partisan Politics] Columbian Centinel - Saturday, August 25, 1792 [and] Wednesday, October 24, 1792",

Subject: Documents - Hamilton/Jefferson Debates

Period: 1792 (published)


Color: Black & White

10.8 x 17.3 inches
27.4 x 43.9 cm
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This lot contains two issues of the Columbian Centinel with articles by Alexander Hamilton using pen names. Despite Washington’s warnings that political factions would undercut the Republic, his two most important appointments, Jefferson as Secretary of State and Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury, initiated the process of partisan political divisions and a two party system that persists to this day. The Hamilton-Jefferson newspaper debate of 1792 is acknowledged as the beginning of American partisan politics. By the fifth year of the Republic under the Constitution, the lines were being drawn by Jefferson and Hamilton not only on policies but also personalities and motives. Both articles are titled “Miscellany From the Gazette of the United States”. The first by Hamilton but signed “An American” attacks Jefferson for hiring Philip Freneau as a clerk in the State Department while Freneau was establishing and publishing a pro-Jefferson newspaper. Hamilton documents the apparent conflict of interest. The second article by Hamilton signed “Catullus” attacks Jefferson for his opposition to the national bank and sound government financing, his ambition and much more. Hamilton did have a way with the written word, including “Thus a solemn invocation to the people of America …dwindled at once into a brilliant conceit, that tickled the imagination too much to be resisted.” Interestingly, Hamilton’s support of Jefferson (over Burr) for President was critical when a tie in the Electoral College resulted in the election being decided by the House of Representatives in 1801. Published in Boston by Benjamin Russell. 4 pages each.


Condition: B

Overall good with light toning and foxing.

Estimate: $300 - $400

Sold for: $325

Closed on 9/16/2020