Letitia Hall, "Threshold of a Century: the Diary of Louisa Adams Park, 1800-1801"


believed that the treaty was simply unenforceable. Shipping was important to the economy of the coastal states, and both the cost of lost American ships and the cost of replacing French ships were serious matters. New England, especially, did not think the Treaty of 1800 protected properly American shipping interests. Louisa's loyalty to New England and the Federalist party was in conflict with her desire for the peace that would bring John home. When she read that the Senate had rejected the treaty, she wrote in her diary simply, "Oh, my husband!"12

The newspaper coverage of the situation in France was an integral part of the coverage of the presidential election of 1800. The nation's first two political parties were using the newspapers to sway public opinion. The Federalist party, looking to traditional institutions to provide leadership and stability, noted Thomas Jefferson's support for the French and accused the Republicans of being "Jacobins," referring to the leaders of the Reign of Terror. Whenever possible, France was used as an example of the dangers of too much liberty. The Republican papers accused President John Adams of trying to establish an hereditary monarchy.13  Louisa read the Centinel and supported Adams. She read that Jefferson and the Republicans were pro-France and she thought them dangerous. When she began her diary in the winter of 1800, her worries about domestic and international politics combined: "20th. Saturday. Bad news–the papers say Jefferson and Burr will have the votes. The French Treaty appears today. I suppose now the first thing will be to annihilate it."14

Louisa disliked Thomas Jefferson intensely and this was fed by the editorial rhetoric of

12. Columbian Centinel, Saturday, January 3, 1801; Louisa Park, Diary, January 4, 1801.
13. Weisberger, America Afire, 200-209.
14. Park, Diary, December 20, 1800.
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