“For my individual part my mind is made up. I will never more be responsible for him by my direct support—even though the consequence should be the election of Jefferson. If we must have an enemy at the head of the Government, let it be one whom we can oppose & for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures. Under Adams as under Jefferson the government will sink. The party in the hands of whose chief it shall sink will sink with it and the advantage will all be on the side of his adversaries.”
—–Federalist Alexander Hamilton, in a letter written during the political machinations surrounding the contested Presidential election of 1800, explaining why he would support Thomas Jefferson, his personal and political foe, over his own party’s candidate, John Adams.
It is depressing to reflect upon the fact that the choice that Hamilton found so revolting was between two geniuses who both came to represent among the grandest flowering of American intellect and public service dedication in American history. In just 216 years, the quality of character and ability in that Presidential contest has has given way to one in which Charles Addams or George Jefferson would be considered attractive alternatives.
(Oh—the Broadway musical “Hamilton” today received the 16 Tony nominations, the most in the award’s history.)
Source: “The Papers of Alexander Hamilton,” edited by Harold Coffin Syrett (1976)