1804 Presidential Debate
2004 Shaping the World: Conversation on Democracy
The Presidential Debate of 1804
Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Blue Ridge Public Television
Virginia Department of Education
Virginia Satellite Education Network
The presidential election of 1804 would be the first conducted under the 12th Amendment which was ratified in June 1804. Previously, whichever presidential candidate received the second highest electoral vote became vice president. The new amendment mandated separate ballots for the office of president and vice president.
The pattern of political contention of 1804 was rich with current events: a national effort to decrease the public debt; Haitian independence declared in January as residents defeat French forces trying to re-establish slavery on the island; the launch of the Lewis and Clark expedition from St. Louis in May 1804; and trade questions stemming from the war between England and France.
The Democratic-Republicans nominate Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Jefferson seeks his second term as president after a lengthy career in public service in which he served as governor of Virginia, vice president, Secretary of State, and Minister to France. In his first term as president, Jefferson not only doubled the size of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase, but he launched the first national exploration of the continent in hopes of furthering U.S. commerce and scientific knowledge.
Jefferson’s running mate on the Democratic-Republican ticket is George Clinton, governor of New York. As a young man Clinton fought in the French and Indian War, and later became an attorney who defended members of the Sons of Liberty. He served as a member of the Second Continental Congress before being commissioned a brigadier general during the American Revolution.
Opposing President Jefferson is Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina, running on the Federalist ticket. Pinckney rose to the rank of general in the Revolutionary War, and served nearly two years as a prisoner of the war after the fall of Charleston in 1780. A proponent of a strong central government, Pinckney was one of the first leaders in the National Constitutional Convention. He represented the United States briefly in the Netherlands and France, and commanded American forces in the South between 1798 and 1800 when war with France seemed imminent.
General Pinckney’s running mate is Rufus King of New York who many Republicans considered a staunch monarchist. King served briefly in the American Revolution, represented his home state of Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress and during the National Constitutional Convention. He served in the New York state legislature, the U.S. Senate and as U.S. Minister to Great Britain.
In this program Thomas Jefferson, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and their vice presidential running mates present their credentials and platform for consideration for the highest offices in the United States. The candidates are interviewed by students from Altavista High School.
"Shaping the World: Conversations on Democracy" can assist teachers with the following Standards Of Learning
In 1773, Thomas Jefferson and his wife, Martha, inherited approximately 4800 acres from the estate of John Wayles, Martha’s father. Jefferson designed an octagonal villa and in 1806 traveled to Bedford County to oversee the laying of the foundation. Poplar Forest was to serve as a retreat for Jefferson and his grandchildren. Poplar Forest was a working farm with more than sixty slaves living on the property. The plantation was sold to William Cobbs after Jefferson’s death. The acreage dwindled and the house underwent many structural changes. In 1984, the nonprofit Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest formed to rescue this landmark for the educational and cultural benefit of the public. The exterior restoration of the house was completed in 1998 and earned an Honor award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Archaeology and restoration continue. For more information on Poplar Forest, call (434) 525-1806.
Blue Ridge Public Television
Since 1966, Blue Ridge Public Television has provided instructional television for western Virginia, and today broadcasts SOL-correlated programs to 39 school divisions with 197,000 students. BRPTV works on-site with all communities of learners, including teachers, pre-schoolers, and adult learners. BRPTV sponsors Virginia’s JASON Project, Homework Helpline, Reading Rainbow Young Authors and Illustrators, Young Heroes, and the McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence.
Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Satellite Educational Network
The Virginia Satellite Educational Network (VSEN) provides advanced placement and foreign language courses to K-12 students. Programs that support the Virginia Standards of Learning for students, teachers, and administrators are also delivered through VSEN. The Department of Education and VSEN are pleased to make Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest program available via satellite to students across the Commonwealth and nation.
Curriculum researched and developed by Octavia Starbuck and Jackie Almond