James M. Banner Jr. is an independent historian in Washington, D.C. The founding director of the History News Service as well as a cofounder of the National History Center, he is now a visiting scholar in the history department of George Washington University. Banner is a coeditor of Becoming Historians (2009), the author of Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History (2012), and, most recently, the editor of Presidential Misconduct: From George Washington to Today (2019). His play, "Good and Faithful Servants," adapted from the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson, is under development, and he is completing a book about revisionist history, tentatively entitled "Battles over the Past."
In an era of disputed elections, the presidential elections of 1800 and 1801--one involving voting in each state, the other in the House of Representatives--have new salience. This election, arguably the first "critical election," created a Democratic majority that lasted for 60 years, threatened the constitutional fabric, and laid the groundwork for path-breaking constitutional developments.