We are flying back in time (courtesy of the U.S. history one class express) to the 1800 Presidential debate. The class has been split into two groups, the Federalists and the Democratic- Republicans. For those of you who don’t know, the election was between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. However, in our class we substituted Alexander Hamilton for John Adams. In the year of 1800, the United States was very divided on many issues. The issues discussed in our class included: The Tariff (this involved taxes on goods), Alien and Sedation Acts (laws made to hinder immigrants), Foreign Issues (Should we aide our past enemies the British, or help the ones who helped us, the French?), the form of government (Should we have a strong national government or a strong state government?), and many others.

I was on the Democratic-Republican side and worked with another student on the debate. Throughout this process, we used many different persuasion items that are still used to this day. Each group was responsible for making a poster, a commercial, a debate, a political cartoon, and a speech. The Federalists tried to sugarcoat their audience and overdid everything. They went so far as to make everyone in their group a tee shirt as well as the teacher! However, I was surprised to find that on the day of the election, some of my Jefferson teammates applied their own form of winning audience support: a tin of brownies for the voters! With all these things added in, we went in and faced a live sophomore class audience. We debated fiercely, we spoke proudly, and ate brownies. The intensity was close to the intensity of a real election. After the end of the period, the votes were counted. And the result was … a tie. The class voted again. And the result was still tied. Hopefully, for the last time the class voted and … we lost by one vote. I was shocked. What could I have done differently? One, final point: Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans won the actual election. I’ll console myself with this well known statement: “You win some, you lose some.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.