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John Adams

À Propos of Nothing, Thomas Jefferson’s Thoughts on Nepotism

Thomas Jefferson’s most famous entanglement with the tricky politics of filling offices will always be related to “the new appointments which Mr. A crowded in with whip & spur from the 12th of Dec. when the event of the election was known”—that is, the “midnight” appointments made by John Adams to lock in Federalist control of many judgeships before the Democratic-Republicans could take over in 1801.[1] But in the heat of this battle over partisan scheming, Jefferson also took a moment to deal with another potential source of corruption: nepotism. Jefferson wrote the following in an effusive 1801 letter to Read more