Chapter 8 Republican Ascendancy: The Jeffersonian Vision

B. Politics of Desperation

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B. Politics of Desperation

As the Federalist party waned, so did the need for Republican unity. Jefferson

faced two major defections from his party. One group, called the "Tertium

Quids" ("a third something"), led by John Randolph, stood for an ultra-pure

Republicanism. They acquired a brief popularity when they attacked large grants of land in the Yazoo region of Georgia to companies that had bribed the state legislature. A later legislature attempted to rescind these sales, but much of the land was already owned by innocent third parties. The Supreme Court ruled in Fletcher v. Peck (1810) that the state legislature could not revoke a contract, even if it had been obtained by bribery. The ruling established the Court's right to nullify state laws if they violated the Constitution.

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