'The public and the public papers have been much
occupied lately in placing us in a point of opposition to each
other. ' So wrote Jefferson to Adams about the 1796 Presidential
Election, America's first with two candidates with true
campaigns. The letter didn't reach its recipient, the
opposing candidate of a party; the old friends became political
figures and their letters potential weapons as opposing sides had
gelled too much.
The 1796 Presidential Election was America's first
with two candidates with true campaigns. Before it was over
there would feature negative ads, misconstructions of candidate
statements, foreign interference and backlash to that interference,
and election count disputes.