Founding Fathers Slung Mud, Just Like Us : It's All Politics U.S. presidential and congressional campaigns have mostly been nasty, something we tend to forget. Our tendency to pretend that our era is especially nasty demonstrates our ignorance or ability to idealize our own history, if nothing else.
NPR logo Founding Fathers Slung Mud, Just Like Us

Founding Fathers Slung Mud, Just Like Us

These being the last few days before Election Day, brace yourselves for a deluge of negative TV ads this weekend.

As you watch those ads which demonize the opposition, keep in mind that what you're viewing is in the not-so-grand tradition of American politics. Our campaigns for Congress or the White House have almost always been nasty.

Check out this satirical video that imagines two negative TV ads that might have run in the hostile presidential campaign of 1800. That race featured two candidates who truly loathed each other, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.


The video pokes fun at the notion that our mudslinging is exceptional. It isn't.

(H/T Ben Smith at