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[Detail] Memoirs of mammoth...Thomas Ashe 1806.

Historical Comprehension: Constructing the Meaning of a Historic Poem

Read the stanzas of an 1807 poem “Gen. Washington With Some Remarks on Jeffersonian Policy” and the poem printed on the reverse, “A Poem on Profane Cursing and Swearing.”

…Great Washington, our friend, is dead,
And Jefferson reigns in his stead,
Much reason then to mourn and sigh,
But Jefferson must also die,
A man he is, a frail one too.
As sad experience now doth shew,
Then will forsake our present head,
And chose a better in his stead.
                  Chorus:
      Behold the dismal change of late,
See Jefferson in the chair of state.

From “Gen. Washington With Some Remarks on Jeffersonian Policy”

  • What references does the poem “Gen. Washington With Some Remarks on Jeffersonian Policy” make to political decisions during the Jefferson administration?
  • How does the poem ridicule Jefferson?
  • How did opponents regard Jefferson’s moral character?
  • What inferences can be drawn from the publication of the second poem on the reverse side of the poem criticizing Jefferson’s policies?

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