Sharp details the political machinations of both camps through Jefferson's election and clearly shows that civil war and disunion were indeed viable outcomes and the continuation of the union in limbo.
Overall this is a solid effort to dispel the myth that political parties, as we know them today, were not created or even perpetuated by the "proto-parties" that formed during this period, although they can be seen as precursors of modern political parties. He also dispels the myth that the perpetuation of the nation was inevitable. Instead that the United States survived this period intact was incredible.
My main quibble is that sometimes Sharp sometimes leaves out some key points. Nor do I think enough attention is paid to Adam's ability to straddle the two factions and steer a more neutral course -- for example advocating a strong national defense (building a navy), pursing peace with France, and thwarting Hamilton's attempt to maintain a standing army in peacetime. Had he been unsuccessful in doing so the story of our Republic may have been quite different.
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