Political Attack Ads, Circa 1800

Another election year has come and gone here in America, which means we were bombarded with those dirty, attack ads. Negative campaign ads have become so commonplace, that we’ve become quite accustomed to them. However, some news anchors, like CNN’s Anderson Cooper, have said that the 2010 ads have “taken dirty to a whole new level.” CNN does go on to briefly rundown some of the most oddball ads this season fairly well.


While that’s only a glimpse of some of the crazier ads out there, are they really the dirtiest in American history? Thanks to the online edition of Reason, we can now easily witness how dirty, and low, elections have always been here in the States. They recently released a video recalling the bitter election of 1800, between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

By using quotes by both Presidential hopefuls, in a modern era ad, we get the feeling that today’s attack ads are rather timid when compared to our Founding Fathers. For example, there’s Jefferson stating “Adams is a blind, bald crippled toothless man.” And, Adams saying, “Jefferson is the son of a half-breed Indian squaw raised on hoe-cakes.” Yeah, that’s some pretty nasty banter.


So the next time you feel disgusted by all the negativity in political ads, just remember, there was a filthier era in American campaigning.

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