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The Federalist Party was the first
political party in the United States American electoral politics has been dominated by two major political parties since shortly after the founding of the republic. Since the 1850s, they have been the History of the United States Democratic Party, Democratic Party and the History of ...
. Under
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fa ...

Alexander Hamilton
, it dominated the national government from 1789 to 1801. It became a minority party while keeping its stronghold in
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography ...

New England
and made a brief resurgence by opposing the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It ...
. It then collapsed with its last presidential candidate in 1816. Remnants lasted in a few places for a few years. The party appealed to businesses and to conservatives who favored banks, national over state government, manufacturing, an army and navy, and in world affairs preferred
Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Great Britain
and opposed the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
. The party favored
centralization Centralisation or centralization (see spelling differences) is the process by which the activities of an organisation, particularly those regarding planning and decision-making, framing strategy and policies become concentrated within a particu ...
,
federalism Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Maga ...
,
modernization Modernization theory is used to explain the process of modernization within societies. Modernization theory originated from the ideas of German sociologist Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German socio ...
and
protectionism Protectionism is the economic policy of restricting imports from other countries through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, import quotas, and a variety of other government regulations. Proponents argue that protectionist policies sh ...
. The Federalists called for a strong national government that promoted economic growth and fostered friendly relationships with Great Britain in opposition to Revolutionary France. It controlled the federal government until 1801, when it was overwhelmed by the
Democratic-Republican The Democratic-Republican Party, better known at the time under various other names, was an American political party founded by Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, l ...
opposition led by President
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
. The Federalist Party came into being between 1789 and 1790 as a national coalition of bankers and businessmen in support of Hamilton's fiscal policies. These supporters worked in every state to build an organized party committed to a fiscally sound and
nationalistic Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territo ...
government. The only Federalist President was
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
.
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
was broadly sympathetic to the Federalist program, but he remained officially non-partisan during his entire presidency.Chambers, William Nisbet (1963). ''Political Parties in a New Nation''. Federalist policies called for a national bank, tariffs and good relations with Great Britain as expressed in the
Jay Treaty The Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, commonly known as the Jay Treaty, and also as Jay's Treaty, was a 1794 treaty between the United States and Great Britain that averted ...
negotiated in 1794. Hamilton developed the concept of
implied powers Implied powers, in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's ...
and successfully argued the adoption of that interpretation of the Constitution. Their political opponents, the Democratic-Republicans led by Jefferson, denounced most of the Federalist policies, especially the bank and implied powers; and vehemently attacked the Jay Treaty as a sell-out of republican values to the British monarchy. The Jay Treaty passed and the Federalists won most of the major legislative battles in the 1790s. They held a strong base in the nation's cities and in New England. They factionalized when President Adams secured peace with France, to the anger of Hamilton's larger faction. After the Jeffersonians, whose base was in the rural South and West, won the hard-fought presidential election of 1800, the Federalists never returned to power. They recovered some strength through their intense opposition to the War of 1812, but they practically vanished during the
Era of Good Feelings The Era of Good Feelings marked a period in the political history of the United States that reflected a sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans in the aftermath of the War of 1812. The era saw the collapse of the Federali ...
that followed the end of the war in 1815. The Federalists left a lasting legacy in the form of a strong federal government. After losing executive power, they decisively shaped
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...

Supreme Court
policy for another three decades through Chief Justice
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...

John Marshall
.


Rise

On taking office in 1789, President Washington nominated his wartime chief of staff
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fa ...

Alexander Hamilton
to the new office of
Secretary of the Treasury The United States secretary of the treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with all financial and monetary matters relating to the federal government, and, until 2003, also included several major ...
. Hamilton wanted a strong national government with financial credibility. Hamilton proposed the ambitious
Hamiltonian economic program The Hamiltonian economic program was the set of measures that were proposed by American Founding Father and first United States Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in four notable reports and implemented by the ...
that involved assumption of the state debts incurred during the American Revolution, creating a
national debt In public finance, government debt, also known as public interest, public debt, national debt and sovereign debt, is the total amount of debt owed at a point in time by a government A government is the system or group of people govern ...
and the means to pay it off and setting up a national bank, along with creating tariffs, with Madison playing major roles in the program. Parties were considered to be divisive and harmful to
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use ...
. No similar parties existed anywhere in the world. By 1789, Hamilton started building a nationwide coalition. Realizing the need for vocal political support in the states, he formed connections with like-minded nationalists and used his network of treasury agents to link together friends of the government, especially merchants and bankers, in the new nation's dozen major cities. His attempts to manage politics in the national capital to get his plans through Congress brought strong responses across the country. In the process, what began as a capital faction soon assumed status as a national faction and then as the new Federalist Party. The Federalist Party supported Hamilton's vision of a strong centralized government and agreed with his proposals for a national bank and heavy government subsidies. In foreign affairs, they supported neutrality in the
war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (new ...
between France and Great Britain. The majority of the Founding Fathers were originally Federalists. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and many others can all be considered Federalists. These Federalists felt that the
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America ...
had been too weak to sustain a working government and had decided that a new form of government was needed. Hamilton was made Secretary of the Treasury and when he came up with the idea of funding the debt he created a split in the original Federalist group. Madison greatly disagreed with Hamilton not just on this issue, but on many others as well and he and John J. Beckley created the Anti-Federalist faction. These men would form the Republican Party under Thomas Jefferson. By the early 1790s, newspapers started calling Hamilton supporters "Federalists" and their opponents "Democrats", "Republicans", "Jeffersonians", or—much later—"Democratic-Republicans". Jefferson's supporters usually called themselves "Republicans" and their party the "Republican Party". The Federalist Party became popular with businessmen and New Englanders as Republicans were mostly farmers who opposed a strong central government. Cities were usually Federalist strongholds whereas frontier regions were heavily Republican. However, these are generalizations as there are special cases such as the Presbyterians of upland North Carolina, who had immigrated just before the Revolution and often been Tories, became Federalists. The
Congregationalists Congregational churches (also Congregationalist churches; Congregationalism) are Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Crit ...
of New England and the
Episcopalians Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition Christian tradition is a collection of tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world ...
in the larger cities supported the Federalists while other minority denominations tended toward the Republican camp. Catholics in Maryland were generally Federalists. The state networks of both parties began to operate in 1794 or 1795.
Patronage Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows on another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists suc ...

Patronage
now became a factor. The winner-takes-all election system opened a wide gap between winners, who got all the patronage; and losers, who got none. Hamilton had many lucrative Treasury jobs to dispense—there were 1,700 of them by 1801. Jefferson had one part-time job in the State Department, which he gave to journalist
Philip Freneau Philip Morin Freneau (January 2, 1752 – December 18, 1832) was an American poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, o ...

Philip Freneau
to attack the Federalists. In New York, George Clinton won the election for
governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...
and used the vast state patronage fund to help the Republican cause. Washington tried and failed to moderate the feud between his two top cabinet members.Miller, ''The Federalist Era 1789–1801'' (1960). He was re-elected without opposition in
1792 Events January–March * January 9 Events Pre-1600 * 681 – Twelfth Council of Toledo: King Erwig of the Visigoths initiates a council in which he implements diverse measures against the Jews in Spain. *1127 – Jin–S ...
. The Democratic-Republicans nominated New York's Governor Clinton to replace Federalist
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
as vice president, but Adams won. The balance of power in Congress was close, with some members still undecided between the parties. In early 1793, Jefferson secretly prepared resolutions introduced by
William Branch Giles William Branch Giles (August 12, 1762December 4, 1830; the ''g'' is pronounced like a ''j'') was an American statesman, long-term Senator The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia ...

William Branch Giles
, Congressman from Virginia, designed to repudiate Hamilton and weaken the Washington Administration. Hamilton defended his administration of the nation's complicated financial affairs, which none of his critics could decipher until the arrival in Congress of the Republican
Albert Gallatin Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin, born de Gallatin (January 29, 1761 – August 12, 1849) was an American politician, diplomat, ethnologist and linguist. Biographer Nicholas Dungan states he was "America's Swiss Founding Father." He is known for ...

Albert Gallatin
in 1793. Federalists counterattacked by claiming the Hamiltonian program had restored national prosperity as shown in one 1792 anonymous newspaper essay:
To what physical, moral, or political energy shall this flourishing state of things be ascribed? There is but one answer to these inquiries: Public credit is restored and established. The general government, by uniting and calling into action the pecuniary resources of the states, has created a new capital stock of several millions of dollars, which, with that before existing, is directed into every branch of business, giving life and vigor to industry in its infinitely diversified operation. The enemies of the general government, the funding act and the National Bank may bellow tyranny, aristocracy, and speculators through the Union and repeat the clamorous din as long as they please; but the actual state of agriculture and commerce, the peace, the contentment and satisfaction of the great mass of people, give the lie to their assertions.
Jefferson wrote on February 12, 1798:


Religious dimension

In New England, the Federalist Party was closely linked to the Congregational church. When the party collapsed, the church was disestablished. In 1800 and other elections, the Federalists targeted infidelity in any form. They repeatedly charged that Republican candidates, especially Jefferson, were atheistic or nonreligious. Conversely, the Baptists, Methodists and other dissenters as well as the religiously nonaligned favored the Republican cause. Jefferson told the Baptists of Connecticut there should be a "wall of separation" between church and state.


Effects of foreign affairs

International affairs—the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
and the subsequent war between royalist Britain and republican France—decisively shaped American politics in 1793–1800 and threatened to entangle the nation in wars that "mortally threatened its very existence". The French revolutionaries
guillotine A guillotine ( , also , ) is an apparatus designed for efficiently carrying out executions Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned killing of a person as punishment for a crime. Th ...

guillotine
d
King Louis XVI Louis XVI (Louis-Auguste; ; 23 August 175421 January 1793) was the last king of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: link=no, Royaume de France) wa ...

King Louis XVI
in January 1793, leading the British to declare war to restore the monarchy. The King had been decisive in helping the United States achieve independence, but now he was dead and many of the pro-American aristocrats in France were exiled or executed. Federalists warned that American republicans threatened to replicate the horrors of the French Revolution and successfully mobilized most conservatives and many clergymen. The Republicans, some of whom had been strong Francophiles, responded with support even through the
Reign of Terror The Reign of Terror, commonly called The Terror (french: link=no, la Terreur), was a period of the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in coup of 18 Br ...
, when thousands were guillotined, though it was at this point that many began backing away from their pro-France leanings. Many of those executed had been friends of the United States, such as the
Comte D'Estaing Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, comte d'Estaing (24 November 1729 – 28 April 1794) was a France, French General officer, general and admiral. He began his service as a soldier in the War of the Austrian Succession, briefly spending time as a p ...
, whose fleet had fought alongside the Americans in the Revolution (
Lafayette Lafayette or La Fayette may refer to: People * Lafayette (name), a list of people with the surname Lafayette or La Fayette or the given name Lafayette * House of La Fayette, a French noble family ** Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757– ...
had already fled into exile, and
Thomas Paine Thomas Paine (born Thomas Pain; – In the contemporary record as noted by Conway, Paine's birth date is given as January 29, 1736–37. Common practice was to use a dash or a slash to separate the old-style year from the new-style year. In the ...

Thomas Paine
went to prison in France). The republicans denounced Hamilton, Adams and even Washington as friends of Britain, as secret
monarchists Monarchism is the advocacy of the system of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. ...
and as enemies of the republican values. The level of rhetoric reached a fever pitch.Smelser, "The Jacobin Phrenzy: Federalism and the Menace of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity," ''Review of Politics'' 13 (1951) 457–82. In 1793, Paris sent a new minister, (known as ''Citizen Genêt''), who systematically mobilized pro-French sentiment and encouraged Americans to support France's war against Britain and Spain. Genêt funded local
Democratic-Republican SocietiesDemocratic-Republican Societies were local political organizations formed in the United States in 1793-94 to promote republicanism and democracy and to fight Aristocracy (government), aristocratic tendencies. Historians use the term "Democratic-Repub ...
that attacked Federalists. He hoped for a favorable new treaty and for repayment of the debts owed to France. Acting aggressively, Genêt outfitted
privateer A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war. Since robbery under arms was a common aspect of seaborne trade, until the early 19th century all merchant ships carried arms. A sovereign or deleg ...
s that sailed with American crews under a French flag and attacked British shipping. He tried to organize expeditions of Americans to invade Spanish Louisiana and Spanish Florida. When Secretary of State Jefferson told Genêt he was pushing American friendship past the limit, Genêt threatened to go over the government's head and rouse public opinion on behalf of France. Even Jefferson agreed this was blatant foreign interference in domestic politics. Genêt's extremism seriously embarrassed the Jeffersonians and cooled popular support for promoting the French Revolution and getting involved in its wars. Recalled to Paris for execution, Genêt kept his head and instead went to New York, where he became a citizen and married the daughter of Governor Clinton. Jefferson left office, ending the coalition cabinet and allowing the Federalists to dominate.


Jay Treaty

The
Jay Treaty The Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, commonly known as the Jay Treaty, and also as Jay's Treaty, was a 1794 treaty between the United States and Great Britain that averted ...
battle in 1794–1795 was the effort by Washington, Hamilton and
John Jay John Jay (December 12, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of ...

John Jay
to resolve numerous difficulties with Britain. Some of these issues dated to the Revolution, such as boundaries, debts owed in each direction and the continued presence of British forts in the
Northwest Territory The Northwest Territory, also known as the Old Northwest and formally known as the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, was formed from unorganized western territory of the United States after the . Established in 1787 by the through the , ...
. In addition, the United States hoped to open markets in the British Caribbean and end disputes stemming from the naval war between Britain and France. Most of all the goal was to avert a war with Britain—a war opposed by the Federalists, that some historians claim the Jeffersonians wanted. As a neutral party, the United States argued it had the right to carry goods anywhere it wanted. The British nevertheless seized American ships carrying goods from the
French West Indies The term French West Indies or French Antilles (french: Antilles françaises, ) refers to the part of France located in the Antilles islands of the Caribbean: * The two Overseas department and region of France, overseas departments of: ** Guade ...
. The Federalists favored Britain in the war and by far most of America's foreign trade was with Britain, hence a new treaty was called for. The British agreed to evacuate the western forts, open their West Indies ports to American ships, allow small vessels to trade with the French West Indies and set up a commission that would adjudicate American claims against Britain for seized ships and British claims against Americans for debts incurred before 1775. One possible alternative was war with Britain, a war that the United States was ill-prepared to fight. The Republicans wanted to pressure Britain to the brink of war (and assumed that the United States could defeat a weak Britain). Therefore, they denounced the Jay Treaty as an insult to American prestige, a repudiation of the American-French alliance of 1777 and a severe shock to Southern planters who owed those old debts and who would now be never compensated for their escaped slaves who fled to British lines for their freedom. Republicans protested against the treaty and organized their supporters. The Federalists realized they had to mobilize their popular vote, so they mobilized their newspapers, held rallies, counted votes and especially relied on the prestige of President Washington. The contest over the Jay Treaty marked the first flowering of grassroots political activism in the United States, directed and coordinated by two national parties. Politics was no longer the domain of politicians as every voter was called on to participate. The new strategy of appealing directly to the public worked for the Federalists as public opinion shifted to support the Jay Treaty. The Federalists controlled the Senate and they ratified it by exactly the necessary ⅔ vote (20–10) in 1795. However, the Republicans did not give up and public opinion swung toward the Republicans after the Treaty fight and in the South the Federalists lost most of the support they had among planters.


Whiskey Rebellion

The
excise tax An excise, or excise tax, is any on manufactured that is levied at the moment of manufacture rather than at sale. Excises are often associated with (which are levied on pre-existing goods when they cross a designated border in a specific dire ...
of 1791 caused grumbling from the frontier including threats of
tax resistance Tax resistance is the refusal to pay tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a ...
. Corn, the chief crop on the frontier, was too bulky to ship over the mountains to market unless it was first distilled into whiskey. This was profitable as the United States population consumed per capita relatively large quantities of liquor. After the excise tax, the backwoodsmen complained the tax fell on them rather than on the consumers. Cash poor, they were outraged that they had been singled out to pay off the "financiers and speculators" back in the East and to pay the salaries of the federal revenue officers who began to swarm the hills looking for illegal stills. Insurgents in western Pennsylvania shut the courts and hounded federal officials, but Jeffersonian leader
Albert Gallatin Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin, born de Gallatin (January 29, 1761 – August 12, 1849) was an American politician, diplomat, ethnologist and linguist. Biographer Nicholas Dungan states he was "America's Swiss Founding Father." He is known for ...

Albert Gallatin
mobilized the western moderates and thus forestalled a serious outbreak. Washington, seeing the need to assert federal supremacy, called out 13,000 state militia and marched toward
Washington, Pennsylvania Washington is a city in and the county seat of Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States. Located within the Greater Pittsburgh Region in the southwestern part of the state, it is the home of Washington & Jefferson College and PONY Baseball ...
to suppress this
Whiskey Rebellion The Whiskey Rebellion (also known as the Whiskey Insurrection) was a violent tax protest A tax protester is someone who refuses to pay a tax claiming that the tax laws are unconstitutional or otherwise invalid. Tax protesters are differen ...
. The rebellion evaporated in late 1794 as Washington approached, personally leading the army (only two sitting Presidents have directly led American military forces, Washington during the Whiskey Rebellion and Madison in an attempt to save the White House during the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It ...
). The rebels dispersed and there was no fighting. Federalists were relieved that the new government proved capable of overcoming rebellion while Republicans, with Gallatin their new hero, argued there never was a real rebellion and the whole episode was manipulated in order to accustom Americans to a
standing army A standing army is a permanent, often professional, army. It is composed of full-time soldiers who may be either career soldiers or conscripts. It differs from Military reserve force, army reserves, who are enrolled for the long term, but activate ...
. Angry petitions flowed in from three dozen
Democratic-Republican SocietiesDemocratic-Republican Societies were local political organizations formed in the United States in 1793-94 to promote republicanism and democracy and to fight Aristocracy (government), aristocratic tendencies. Historians use the term "Democratic-Repub ...
created by Citizen Genêt. Washington attacked the societies as illegitimate and many disbanded. Federalists now ridiculed Republicans as "democrats" (meaning in favor of
mob rule Mob rule or ochlocracy ( el, ὀχλοκρατία, translit=okhlokratía; la, ochlocratia) is the rule of government by a mob or mass of people and the intimidation of legitimate authorities. Insofar as it represents a pejorative for majoritar ...
) or "
Jacobins , logo = JacobinVignette03.jpg , logo_size = 180px , logo_caption = Seal of the Jacobin Club (1792–1794) , motto = "Live free or die"(french: Vivre libre ou mourir) , successor = Pa ...
" (a reference to the
Reign of Terror The Reign of Terror, commonly called The Terror (french: link=no, la Terreur), was a period of the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in coup of 18 Br ...
in France). Washington refused to run for a third term, establishing a two-term precedent that was to stand until 1940 and eventually to be enshrined in the Constitution as the
22nd Amendment The Twenty-second Amendment (Amendment XXII) to the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, de ...
. He warned in his against involvement in European wars and lamented the rising north–south sectionalism and party spirit in politics that threatened national unity:
The party spirits serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
Washington never considered himself a member of any party, but broadly supported most Federalist policies.


Newspaper editors at war

The
spoils system In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social s ...
helped finance Federalist printers until 1801 and Republican editors after that. Federalist Postmasters General,
Timothy Pickering Timothy Pickering (July 17, 1745January 29, 1829) was a politician from Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It ...

Timothy Pickering
(1791–94) and
Joseph Habersham Joseph Habersham (July 28, 1751 – November 17, 1815) was an Americans, American businessman, Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia politician, soldier in the Continental Army, and Postmaster General of the United States. Early years Born in Savann ...

Joseph Habersham
(1795–1801) appointed and removed local
postmaster A postmaster (male) or postmistress (female) is the head of an individual post office A post office is a public facility that provides mail The mail or post is a system for physically transporting postcard A postcard or post card ...

postmaster
s to maximize party funding. Numerous printers were appointed as postmasters. They did not deliver the mail, but they did collect fees from mail users and obtained free delivery of their own newspapers and business mail. To strengthen their coalitions and hammer away constantly at the opposition, both parties sponsored newspapers in the capital (
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
) and other major cities. On the Republican side,
Philip Freneau Philip Morin Freneau (January 2, 1752 – December 18, 1832) was an American poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, o ...

Philip Freneau
and
Benjamin Franklin Bache Benjamin Franklin Bache (August 12, 1769 – September 10, 1798) was an American journalist, printer and publisher. He founded the ''Philadelphia Aurora'', a newspaper that supported Jeffersonian democracy, Jeffersonian philosophy. He frequently a ...
blasted the administration with all the scurrility at their command. Bache in particular targeted Washington himself as the front man for monarchy who must be exposed. To Bache, Washington was a cowardly general and a money-hungry baron who saw the Revolution as a means to advance his fortune and fame; Adams was a failed diplomat who never forgave the French their love of
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
and who craved a crown for himself and his descendants; and Alexander Hamilton was the most inveterate monarchist of them all. The Federalists, with twice as many newspapers at their command, slashed back with equal vituperation.
John Fenno John Fenno (Aug. 12, 1751 (Old Style and New Style dates, O.S.) – Sept. 14, 1798.) was a Federalist Party (United States), Federalist Party editor and major figure in the history of American newspapers. His ''The Gazette of the United States, Ga ...
and "Peter Porcupine" (
William Cobbett William Cobbett (9 March 1763 – 18 June 1835) was an English pamphleteer, journalist, Member of Parliament and farmer born in Farnham, Surrey, one of a popular Agrarianism, agrarian faction seeking to reform Parliament of Great Britain, Parlia ...
) were their nastiest penmen and
Noah Webster Noah Webster Jr. (October 16, 1758 – May 28, 1843) was an American lexicographer Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups: * Practical lexicography is the art or craft A craft or trade is a pastime or ...

Noah Webster
their most learned. Hamilton subsidized the Federalist editors, wrote for their papers and in 1801 established his own paper, the ''
New York Evening Post The ''New York Post'' (''NY Post'') is a conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy ...

New York Evening Post
.'' Though his reputation waned considerably following his death,
Joseph Dennie Joseph Dennie (August 30, 1768January 7, 1812) was an American author and journalist who was one of the foremost men of letters of the Federalist Era The Federalist Era in American history ran from 1788–1800, a time when the Federalist Part ...

Joseph Dennie
ran three of the most popular and influential newspapers of the period, '' The Farmer's Weekly Museum'', the ''
Gazette of the United States The ''Gazette of the United States'' was an early American newspaper, first issued on April 15, 1789, that was friendly to the Federalist Party. Founded by John Fenno, it was intended to unify the country under its new government. As the leading ...

Gazette of the United States
'' and '' The Port Folio''.


Ceremonies and civil religion

The Federalists were conscious of the need to boost voter identification with their party. Elections remained of central importance, but the rest of the political calendar was filled with celebrations, parades, festivals and visual sensationalism. The Federalists employed multiple festivities, exciting parades and even quasi-religious pilgrimages and "sacred" days that became incorporated into the
American civil religionAmerican civil religion is a sociological theory that a nonsectarian quasi-religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, relig ...
. George Washington was always their hero and after his death he became viewed as a sort of demigod looking down from heaven to bestow his blessings on the party. At first, the Federalists focused on commemorating the ratification of the Constitution and organized parades to demonstrate widespread popular support for the new Federalist Party. The parade organizers incorporated secular versions of traditional religious themes and rituals, thereby fostering a highly visible celebration of the nation's new civil religion. The
Fourth of July Independence Day (colloquial Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in c ...
became a semi-sacred day—a status it has maintained for much of American history. Its celebration in Boston emphasized national over local patriotism and included orations, dinners, militia musters, parades, marching bands, floats and fireworks. By 1800, the Fourth of July was closely identified with the Federalist Party. Republicans were annoyed and staged their own celebrations on the same day—with rival parades sometimes clashing with each other, which generated even more excitement and larger crowds. After the collapse of the Federalists starting in 1815, the Fourth of July became a nonpartisan holiday.


Adams administration: 1797–1801

Hamilton distrusted Vice President Adams—who felt the same way about Hamilton—but was unable to block his claims to the succession. The election of 1796 was the first partisan affair in the nation's history and one of the more scurrilous in terms of newspaper attacks. Adams swept New England and Jefferson the South, with the middle states leaning to Adams. Adams was the winner by a margin of three
electoral votes An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to particular offices. Often these represent different organizations, political parties or entities, with each organization, political party or entity represented by ...

electoral votes
and Jefferson, as the runner-up, became vice president under the system set out in the Constitution prior to the ratification of the 12th Amendment. The Federalists were strongest in New England, but also had strengths in the middle states. They elected Adams as president in 1796, when they controlled both houses of Congress, the presidency, eight state legislatures and ten governorships. Foreign affairs continued to be the central concern of American politics, for the war raging in Europe threatened to drag in the United States. The new president was a loner, who made decisions without consulting Hamilton or other "High Federalists". Benjamin Franklin once quipped that Adams was a man always honest, often brilliant and sometimes mad. Adams was popular among the Federalist rank and file, but had neglected to build state or local political bases of his own and neglected to take control of his own cabinet. As a result, his cabinet answered more to Hamilton than to himself. Hamilton was especially popular because he rebuilt the Army—and had commissions to give out.


Alien and Sedition Acts

After an American delegation was insulted in Paris in the
XYZ affair The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797 and 1798, early in the presidency of John Adams The presidency of John Adams, began on March 4, 1797, when John Adams was United States presidential inauguration, inaugurated as t ...
(1797), public opinion ran strongly against the French. An undeclared "
Quasi-War The Quasi-War (french: Quasi-guerre) was an undeclared naval war fought from 1798 to 1800 between the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country ...
" with France from 1798 to 1800 saw each side attacking and capturing the other's shipping. It was called "quasi" because there was no declaration of war, but escalation was a serious threat. At the peak of their popularity, the Federalists took advantage by preparing for an invasion by the French Army. To silence Administration critics, the Federalists passed the
Alien and Sedition Acts The Alien and Sedition Acts were four laws passed by the Federalist The term ''federalist'' describes several political beliefs around the world. It may also refer to the concept of parties, whose members or supporters called themselves ''Feder ...
in 1798. The Alien Act empowered the President to deport such aliens as he declared to be dangerous. The Sedition Act made it a crime to print false, scandalous and malicious criticisms of the federal government, but it conspicuously failed to criminalize criticism of Vice President Thomas Jefferson. Several Republican newspaper editors were convicted under the Act and fined or jailed and three Democratic-Republican newspapers were shut down. In response, Jefferson and Madison secretly wrote the
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions were political statements drafted in 1798 and 1799 in which the Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a U.S. state, state in the Upland South region of the United State ...
passed by the two states' legislatures that declared the Alien and Sedition Acts unconstitutional and insisted the states had the power to
nullify Nullification may refer to: * Nullification (U.S. Constitution), a legal theory that a state has the right to nullify any federal law deemed unconstitutional with respect to the United States Constitution *Nullification Crisis, the 1832 confrontati ...
federal laws. Undaunted, the Federalists created a
navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense ...
, with new
frigate A frigate () is a type of warship A warship or combatant ship is a that is built and primarily intended for . Usually they belong to the of a state. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faste ...

frigate
s; and a large new army, with Washington in nominal command and Hamilton in actual command. To pay for it all, they raised taxes on land, houses and slaves, leading to serious unrest. In one part of Pennsylvania, the Fries' Rebellion broke out, with people refusing to pay the new taxes. John Fries was sentenced to death for treason, but received a pardon from Adams. In the elections of 1798, the Federalists did very well, but this issue started hurting the Federalists in 1799. Early in 1799, Adams decided to free himself from Hamilton's overbearing influence, stunning the country and throwing his party into disarray by announcing a new peace mission to France. The mission eventually succeeded, the "Quasi-War" ended and the new army was largely disbanded. Hamiltonians called Adams a failure while Adams fired Hamilton's supporters still in the cabinet. Hamilton and Adams intensely disliked one another and the Federalists split between supporters of Hamilton ("High Federalists") and supporters of Adams. Hamilton became embittered over his loss of political influence and wrote a scathing criticism of Adams' performance as president in an effort to throw Federalist support to
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (February 25, 1746 – August 16, 1825) was an early American politician, statesman of South Carolina, American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention (United States) ...

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
. Inadvertently, this split the Federalists and helped give the victory to Jefferson.Manning Dauer, ''The Adams Federalists'' (Johns Hopkins UP, 1953).


Election of 1800

Adams's peace moves proved popular with the Federalist rank and file and he seemed to stand a good chance of re-election in 1800. If the
Three-Fifths Compromise#REDIRECT Three-fifths Compromise {{Redirect category shell, {{R from move {{R from alternative hyphenation ...
had not been enacted, he most likely would have won reelection since many Federalist legislatures removed the right to select electors from their constituents in fear of a Democratic victory. Jefferson was again the opponent and Federalists pulled out all stops in warning that he was a dangerous revolutionary, hostile to religion, who would weaken the government, damage the economy and get into war with Britain. Many believed that if Jefferson won the election, it would be the end of the newly formed United States. The Republicans crusaded against the Alien and Sedition laws as well as the new taxes and proved highly effective in mobilizing popular discontent. The election hinged on New York as its were selected by the
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
and given the balance of North and South, they would decide the presidential election.
Aaron Burr Aaron Burr Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician and lawyer. He served as the third vice president of the United States during President Thomas Jefferson's first term from 1801 to 1805. Burr's legacy is defin ...

Aaron Burr
brilliantly organized his forces in New York City in the spring elections for the state legislature. By a few hundred votes, he carried the city—and thus the state legislature—and guaranteed the election of a Republican president. As a reward, he was selected by the Republican
caucus A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold si ...
in Congress as their vice presidential candidate. Alexander Hamilton, knowing the election was lost anyway, went public with a sharp attack on Adams that further divided and weakened the Federalists. Members of the Republican Party planned to vote evenly for Jefferson and Burr because they did not want for it to seem as if their party was divided. The party took the meaning literally and Jefferson and Burr tied in the election with 73 electoral votes. This sent the election to the House of Representatives to break the tie. The Federalists had enough weight in the House to swing the election in either direction. Many would rather have seen Burr in the office over Jefferson, but Hamilton, who had a strong dislike of Burr, threw his political weight behind Jefferson. During the election, neither Jefferson nor Burr attempted to swing the election in the House of Representatives. Jefferson remained at Monticello to oversee the laying of bricks to a section of his home. Jefferson allowed for his political beliefs and other ideologies to filter out through letters to his contacts. Thanks to Hamilton's support, Jefferson would win the election and Burr would become his vice president. Many Federalists held to the belief that this was the end of the United States and that the experiment they had begun had ended in failure. This unintended complication led directly to the proposal and ratification of the 12th Amendment. "We are all republicans—we are all federalists", proclaimed Jefferson in his
inaugural address In government and politics, inauguration is the process of Oath of office, swearing a person into Public administration, office and thus making that person the incumbent. Such an inauguration commonly occurs through a formal ceremony or special ev ...
. This election marked the first time power had been transferred between opposing political parties, an act that occurred remarkably without bloodshed. Though there had been strong words and disagreements, contrary to the Federalists fears, there was no war and no ending of one-government system to let in a new one. His patronage policy was to let the Federalists disappear through attrition. Those Federalists such as
John Quincy Adams John Quincy Adams (; July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist, who served as the 6th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . ...

John Quincy Adams
(John Adams' own son) and
Rufus King Rufus King (March 24, 1755April 29, 1827) was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was a delegate for Massachusetts to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention (United States), Philadelphia Convention and was one of ...

Rufus King
willing to work with him were rewarded with senior diplomatic posts, but there was no punishment of the opposition.


Federalists in opposition

Fisher Ames Fisher Ames (; April 9, 1758 – July 4, 1808) was a United States House of Representatives, Representative in the United States Congress from the United States House of Representatives, Massachusetts District 1, 1st Congressional District of ...

Fisher Ames
(1758–1808) of Massachusetts ranks as one of the more influential figures of his era. Ames led Federalist ranks in the House of Representatives. His acceptance of the
Bill of Rights A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country. The purpose is to protect those rights against Civil and political rights, infringement fr ...

Bill of Rights
garnered support in Massachusetts for the new Constitution. His greatest fame came as an orator who defined the principles of the Federalist Party and the follies of the Republicans. Ames offered one of the first great speeches in American Congressional history when he spoke in favor of the
Jay Treaty The Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, commonly known as the Jay Treaty, and also as Jay's Treaty, was a 1794 treaty between the United States and Great Britain that averted ...
. Ames was part of Hamilton's faction and cautioned against the excesses of democracy unfettered by morals and reason: "Popular reason does not always know how to act right, nor does it always act right when it knows". He warned his countrymen of the dangers of flattering demagogues, who incite dis-union and lead their country into bondage: "Our country is too big for union, too sordid for patriotism, too democratic for liberty. What is to become of it, He who made it best knows. Its vice will govern it, by practising upon its folly. This is ordained for democracies".


Jefferson administration

Jefferson had a very successful first term, typified by the
Louisiana Purchase The Louisiana Purchase (french: Vente de la Louisiane, translation=Sale of Louisiana) was the acquisition of the territory of Louisiana by the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United St ...

Louisiana Purchase
, which was ironically supported by Hamilton, but opposed by most Federalists at the time as unconstitutional. Some Federalist leaders (
Essex Junto Theophilus Parsons, one leader of the Junto, 224x224px The Essex Junto was the name given to a powerful group of New England Federalist Party lawyers, merchants, and politicians because many in the original group were from Essex County, Massachuse ...
) began courting Jefferson's vice president and Hamilton's nemesis Aaron Burr in an attempt to swing New York into an independent confederation with the New England states, which along with New York were supposed to secede from the United States after Burr's election to Governor. However, Hamilton's influence cost Burr the governorship of New York, a key in the Essex Junto's plan, just as Hamilton's influence had cost Burr the presidency nearly four years before. Hamilton's thwarting of Aaron Burr's ambitions for the second time was too much for Burr to bear. Hamilton had known of the Essex Junto (whom Hamilton now regarded as apostate Federalists) and Burr's plans and opposed them vehemently. This opposition by Hamilton would lead to his fatal duel with Burr in July 1804. The thoroughly disorganized Federalists hardly offered any opposition to Jefferson's reelection in 1804 and Federalists seemed doomed. Jefferson had taken away most of their patronage, including federal judgeships. The party now controlled only five state legislatures and seven governorships. After again losing the presidency in 1804, the party was now down to three legislatures and five governorships (four in New England). Their majorities in Congress were long gone, dropping in the Senate from 23 in 1796, and 21 in 1800 to only six in 1804. In New England and in some districts in the middle states, the Federalists clung to power, but the tendency from 1800 to 1812 was steady slippage almost everywhere as the Republicans perfected their organization and the Federalists tried to play catch-up. Some younger leaders tried to emulate the Democratic-Republican tactics, but their overall disdain of democracy along with the upper class bias of the party leadership eroded public support. In the South, the Federalists steadily lost ground everywhere. The Federalists continued for several years to be a major political party in New England and the Northeast, but never regained control of the presidency or the Congress. With the death of Washington and Hamilton and the retirement of Adams, the Federalists were left without a strong leader as
Chief Justice The chief justice is the presiding member of a supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes betwee ...
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...

John Marshall
stayed out of politics. However, a few younger leaders did appear, notably
Daniel Webster Daniel Webster (January 18, 1782 – October 24, 1852) was an American lawyer and statesman who represented New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...

Daniel Webster
. Federalist policies favored factories, banking and trade over agriculture and therefore became unpopular in the growing Western states. They were increasingly seen as aristocratic and unsympathetic to democracy. In the South, the party had lingering support in Maryland, but elsewhere was crippled by 1800 and faded away by 1808.Google Books
Massachusetts and Connecticut remained the party strongholds. Historian Richard J. Purcell explains how well organized the party was in Connecticut:
It was only necessary to perfect the working methods of the organized body of office-holders who made up the nucleus of the party. There were the state officers, the assistants, and a large majority of the Assembly. In every county there was a sheriff with his deputies. All of the state, county, and town judges were potential and generally active workers. Every town had several justices of the peace, school directors and, in Federalist towns, all the town officers who were ready to carry on the party's work. Every parish had a "standing agent," whose anathemas were said to convince at least ten voting deacons. Militia officers, state's attorneys, lawyers, professors and schoolteachers were in the van of this "conscript army." In all, about a thousand or eleven hundred dependent officer-holders were described as the inner ring which could always be depended upon for their own and enough more votes within their control to decide an election. This was the Federalist machine.
After 1800, the major Federalist role came in the judiciary. Although Jefferson managed to repeal the
Judiciary Act of 1801The Midnight Judges Act (also known as the Judiciary Act of 1801; , and officially An act to provide for the more convenient organization of the Courts of the United States) represented an effort to solve an issue in the U.S. Supreme Court during the ...
and thus dismissed many lower level Federalist federal judges, the effort to impeach Supreme Court Justice
Samuel Chase Samuel Chase (April 17, 1741 – June 19, 1811) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and a signatory to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Maryland. He was Impeachment in the United States ...

Samuel Chase
in 1804 failed. Led by the last great Federalist,
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...

John Marshall
as Chief Justice from 1801 to 1835, the Supreme Court carved out a unique and powerful role as the protector of the Constitution and promoter of nationalism.


Anti-war party

As the wars in Europe intensified, the United States became increasingly involved. The Federalists restored some of their strength by leading the anti-war opposition to Jefferson and Madison between 1807 and 1814. President Jefferson imposed an embargo on Britain in 1807 as the
Embargo Act of 1807 The Embargo Act of 1807 was a general trade embargo Economic sanctions are commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Televisio ...
prevented all American ships from sailing to a foreign port. The idea was that the British were so dependent on American supplies that they would come to terms. For 15 months, the Embargo wrecked American export businesses, largely based in the Boston-New York region, causing a sharp depression in the Northeast. Evasion was common and Jefferson and Treasury Secretary Gallatin responded with tightened police controls more severe than anything the Federalists had ever proposed. Public opinion was highly negative and a surge of support breathed fresh life into the Federalist Party. The Republicans nominated Madison for the presidency in 1808. Meeting in the first-ever national convention, Federalists considered the option of nominating Jefferson's Vice President George Clinton as their own candidate, but balked at working with him and again chose
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (February 25, 1746 – August 16, 1825) was an early American politician, statesman of South Carolina, American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention (United States) ...

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
, their 1804 candidate. Madison lost New England excluding Vermont, but swept the rest of the country and carried a Republican Congress. Madison dropped the Embargo, opened up trade again and offered a carrot and stick approach. If either France or Britain agreed to stop their violations of American neutrality, the United States would cut off trade with the other country. Tricked by Napoleon into believing France had acceded to his demands, Madison turned his wrath on Britain and the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It ...
began. Young Daniel Webster, running for Congress from New Hampshire in 1812, first gained overnight fame with his anti-war speeches.


Madison administration

The nation was at war during the 1812 presidential election and war was the burning issue. Opposition to the war was strong in traditional Federalist strongholds in New England and New York, where the party made a comeback in the elections of 1812 and 1814. In their second national convention in 1812, the Federalists, now the peace party, nominated
DeWitt Clinton DeWitt Clinton (March 2, 1769February 11, 1828), whose name was almost always spelled De Witt during his lifetime and until the late 20th century, was an American politician and naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving org ...

DeWitt Clinton
, the dissident Republican
Mayor of New York City The mayor of New York City, officially Mayor of the City of New York, is head of the executive branch of the Government of New York City. The Mayoralty in the United States, mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police ...
and an articulate opponent of the war. Madison ran for reelection promising a relentless war against Britain and an honorable peace. Clinton, denouncing Madison's weak leadership and incompetent preparations for war, could count on New England and New York. To win, he needed the middle states and there the campaign was fought out. Those states were competitive and had the best-developed local parties and most elaborate campaign techniques, including nominating conventions and formal
party platform A political party platform, party program, or party manifesto is a formal set of principle goals which are supported by a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country' ...
s. The
Tammany Society Tammany Hall, also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, was a New York City political organization founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789, as the Tammany Society. It became the main loc ...
in New York City highly favored Madison and the Federalists finally adopted the club idea in 1808. Their
Washington Benevolent Societies The Washington Benevolent Societies (the "WBS") were grass-roots political clubs set up 1808-1816 by the Federalist Party in the U.S. to electioneer for votes. As shown on the membership certificates printed within copies of "Washington's Farewell A ...
were semi-secret membership organizations which played a critical role in every northern state as they held meetings and rallies and mobilized Federalist votes. New Jersey went for Clinton, but Madison carried Pennsylvania and thus was reelected with 59% of the electoral votes. However, the Federalists gained 14 seats in Congress.


Opposition to the War of 1812

The
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It ...
went poorly for the Americans for two years. Even though Britain was concentrating its military efforts on its war with
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...
, the United States still failed to make any headway on land and was effectively blockaded at sea by the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
. The British raided and burned
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped ...
in 1814 and sent a force to capture New Orleans. The war was especially unpopular in New England. The New England economy was highly dependent on trade and the British blockade threatened to destroy it entirely. In 1814, the British Navy finally managed to enforce their blockade on the New England coast, so the Federalists of New England sent delegates to the
Hartford Convention The Hartford Convention was a series of meetings from December 15, 1814 to January 5, 1815, in Hartford, Connecticut, United States, in which the New England Federalist Party met to discuss their grievances concerning the ongoing War of 1812 and t ...
in December 1814. During the proceedings of the Hartford Convention, secession from the Union was discussed, though the resulting report listed a set of grievances against the Democratic-Republican federal government and proposed a set of Constitutional amendments to address these grievances. They demanded financial assistance from Washington to compensate for lost trade and proposed constitutional amendments requiring a two-thirds vote in Congress before an embargo could be imposed, new states admitted, or war declared. It also indicated that if these proposals were ignored, then another convention should be called and given "such powers and instructions as the exigency of a crisis may require". The Federalist Massachusetts Governor had already secretly sent word to England to broker a separate peace accord. Three Massachusetts "ambassadors" were sent to Washington to negotiate on the basis of this report. By the time the Federalist "ambassadors" got to Washington, the war was over and news of
Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was an American lawyer, soldier, and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of ...

Andrew Jackson
's stunning victory in the
Battle of New Orleans The Battle of New Orleans was fought on January 8, 1815 between the British Army under Major General Sir Edward Pakenham Major General Sir Edward Michael Pakenham, (19 March 1778 – 8 January 1815), was a British Army officer and polit ...

Battle of New Orleans
had raised American morale immensely. The "ambassadors" hastened back to Massachusetts, but not before they had done fatal damage to the Federalist Party. The Federalists were thereafter associated with the disloyalty and parochialism of the Hartford Convention and destroyed as a political force. Across the nation, Republicans used the great victory at New Orleans to ridicule the Federalists as cowards, defeatists and secessionists. Pamphlets, songs, newspaper editorials, speeches and entire plays on the Battle of New Orleans drove home the point. The Federalists fielded their last presidential candidate (
Rufus King Rufus King (March 24, 1755April 29, 1827) was an American lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He was a delegate for Massachusetts to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention (United States), Philadelphia Convention and was one of ...

Rufus King
) in
1816 This year was known as the '' Year Without a Summer'', because of low temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object ...
. With the party's passing, partisan hatreds and newspaper feuds declined and the nation entered the "
Era of Good Feelings The Era of Good Feelings marked a period in the political history of the United States that reflected a sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans in the aftermath of the War of 1812. The era saw the collapse of the Federali ...
". After the dissolution of the 18th United States Congress, final Federalist congressional caucus in 1825, the last traces of Federalist activity came in Delaware and Massachusetts local politics in the late 1820s. The party controlled the Delaware General Assembly, Delaware state legislature in 1827. The party controlled the Massachusetts Senate and Harrison Gray Otis (politician), Harrison Gray Otis, who was elected Mayor of Boston in 1829, became the last major Federalist office holder.


Interpretations

Intellectually, Federalists were profoundly devoted to Republicanism in the United States, liberty. As Samuel Eliot Morison explained, they believed that liberty is inseparable from union, that men are essentially unequal, that ''vox populi'' ("voice of the people") is seldom if ever ''vox Dei'' ("the voice of God") and that sinister outside influences are busy undermining American integrity. British historian Patrick Allitt concludes that Federalists promoted many positions that would form the baseline for later American conservatism, including the rule of law under the Constitution, republican government, peaceful change through elections, stable national finances, credible and active diplomacy and protection of wealth. In terms of "classical conservatism", the Federalists had no wikt:have truck with, truck with European-style aristocracy, monarchy, or established religion. Historian John P. Diggins says: "Thanks to the framers, American conservatism began on a genuinely lofty plane. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, John Jay, James Wilson, and, above all, John Adams aspired to create a republic in which the values so precious to conservatives might flourish: harmony, stability, virtue, reverence, veneration, loyalty, self-discipline, and moderation. This was classical conservatism in its most authentic expression". The Federalists were dominated by businessmen and merchants in the major cities who supported a strong national government. The party was closely linked to the modernizing, urbanizing, financial policies of Alexander Hamilton. These policies included the funding of the national debt and also assumption of state debts incurred during the Revolutionary War, the incorporation of a national First Bank of the United States, Bank of the United States, the support of manufactures and industrial development, and the use of a tariff to fund the Treasury. While it has long been accepted that commercial groups are in support of the Federalists and agrarian groups are in support of the Democratic-Republicans, recent studies have shown that support for Federalists was also evident in agrarian groups. In foreign affairs, the Federalists opposed the French Revolution, engaged in the "Quasi War" (an undeclared naval war) with France in 1798–99, sought good relations with Britain and sought a strong army and navy. Ideologically, the controversy between Republicans and Federalists stemmed from a difference of principle and style. In terms of style, the Federalists feared mob rule, thought an educated elite should represent the general populace in national governance and favored national power over state power. Republicans distrusted Britain, bankers, merchants and did not want a powerful national government. The Federalists, notably Hamilton, were distrustful of "the people", the French and the Republicans. In the end, the nation synthesized the two positions, adopting representative democracy and a strong nation state. Just as importantly, American politics by the 1820s accepted the two-party system whereby rival parties stake their claims before the electorate and the winner takes control of majority in state legislatures and the Congress and gains governorships and the presidency. As time went on, the Federalists lost appeal with the average voter and were generally not equal to the tasks of party organization; hence they grew steadily weaker as the political triumphs of the Republican Party grew. For economic and philosophical reasons, the Federalists tended to be pro-British—the United States engaged in more trade with Great Britain than with any other country—and vociferously opposed Jefferson's Embargo Act of 1807 and the seemingly deliberate provocation of war with Britain by the Madison Administration. During "Mr. Madison's War", as they called it, the Federalists made a temporary comeback. However, they lost all their gains and more during the patriotic euphoria that followed the war. The membership was aging rapidly, but a few young men from New England did join the cause, most notably
Daniel Webster Daniel Webster (January 18, 1782 – October 24, 1852) was an American lawyer and statesman who represented New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...

Daniel Webster
. After 1816, the Federalists had no national power base apart from
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...

John Marshall
's Supreme Court. They had some local support in New England, New York, eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. After the collapse of the Federalist Party in the course of the U.S. presidential election, 1824, 1824 presidential election, most surviving Federalists (including Daniel Webster) joined former Republicans like Henry Clay to form the National Republican Party (United States), National Republican Party, which was soon combined with other anti-Jackson groups to form the Whig Party (United States), Whig Party in 1833. By then, nearly all remaining Federalists joined the Whigs. However, some former Federalists like James Buchanan, Louis McLane and Roger B. Taney became Jacksonian Democrats. The "Old Republicans", led by John Randolph of Roanoke, refused to form a coalition with the Federalists and instead set up a separate opposition since Jefferson, Madison, Gallatin, Monroe, John C. Calhoun and Clay had in effect adopted Federalist principles of
implied powers Implied powers, in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's ...
to purchase the Louisiana Territory and after the failures and lessons of the War of 1812 raised tariffs to protect factories, chartered the Second National Bank, promoted a strong army and navy and promoted internal improvements. All these measures were opposed to the Strict constructionism, strict construction of the Constitution, which was the formal basis of the Republicans, but the drift of the party to support them could not be checked. It was aided by the Supreme Court, whose influence under John Marshall as a nationalizing factor now first became apparent. The whole change reconciled the Federalists to their absorption into the Republican Party. Indeed, they claimed, with considerable show of justice, that the absorption was in the other direction: that the Republicans had recanted and that the "Washington-Monroe policy", as they termed it after 1820, was all that Federalists had ever desired. The name "Federalist" came increasingly to be used in political rhetoric as a term of abuse and was denied by the Whigs, who pointed out that their leader Henry Clay was the Republican Party leader in Congress during the 1810s. The Federalists had a weak base in the South, with their main base in the Northeast and especially New England. There were some prominent southern Federalists like
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (February 25, 1746 – August 16, 1825) was an early American politician, statesman of South Carolina, American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention (United States) ...

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
, who had been supported by Hamilton in the presidential election of 1800. However, many Federalists led the successful battles to abolish the Atlantic slave trade, international slave trade in New York City and the battle to abolish Slavery in the United States, slavery in the state of New York. The Federalists' approach to nationalism was coined "open" nationalism in that it creates space for minority groups to have a voice in government. Many Federalists also created space for women to have a significant political role, which was not evident on the Democratic-Republican side.


Electoral history


Presidential elections


Congressional representation

The affiliation of many Congressmen in the earliest years is an assignment by later historians. The parties were slowly coalescing groups; at first there were many independents. Cunningham noted that only about a quarter of the House of Representatives up until 1794 voted with Madison as much as two-thirds of the time and another quarter against him two-thirds of the time, leaving almost half as fairly independent.Cunningham (1957), 82.


See also

* Blue light federalists * Democratic-Republican Party *
Essex Junto Theophilus Parsons, one leader of the Junto, 224x224px The Essex Junto was the name given to a powerful group of New England Federalist Party lawyers, merchants, and politicians because many in the original group were from Essex County, Massachuse ...
* Federalist Era * First Party System * List of political parties in the United States * '' The Port Folio''


References


Bibliography

* Ben-Atar, Doron S.; Liz B. MacMillan (eds.) (1999). ''Federalists Reconsidered''. * * * * * Chambers, William Nisbet (1963). ''Political Parties in a New Nation: The American Experience, 1776–1809''. * * * Chernow, Ron (2010). ''Washington: A Life''. * * Elkins, Stanley; McKitrick, Eric (1990). ''The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788-1800''. A major scholarly survey
Online free
* Ferling, John. ''John Adams: A Life'' (1992). * * * Formisano, Ronald P. (2001). "State Development in the Early Republic" in Shafer, Boyd; Badger, Anthony (eds.). ''Contesting Democracy: Substance and Structure in American Political History, 1775–2000''. pp. 7–35. * * Hartog, Jonathan J. Den (2015). ''Patriotism and Piety: Federalist Politics and Religious Struggle in the New American Nation'. University of Virginia Press. 280 pp. * Hickey, Donald R (1978). "Federalist Party Unity and the War of 1812". ''Journal of American Studies''. 12#1 pp. 23–39. * Hildreth, Richard (1851)
''History of the United States''"> ''History of the United States''
4th volume. Covering the 1790s. * * Jensen, Richard (2000). "Federalist Party" in ''Encyclopedia of Third Parties''. M. E. Sharpe. * Knudson, Jerry W. (2006). ''Jefferson and the Press: Crucible of Liberty''. How four Republican and four Federalist newspapers covered the election of 1800; Thomas Paine; Louisiana Purchase; Hamilton-Burr duel; impeachment of Chase; and the embargo. * Lampi, Philip J. (2013). "The Federalist Party Resurgence, 1808–1816: Evidence from the New Nation Votes Database". ''Journal of the Early Republic''. 33#2. pp. 255–281
Summary online
* details the collapse state by state. * * * Mason, Matthew (March 2009). "Federalists, Abolitionists, and the Problem of Influence". ''American Nineteenth Century History''. 10. pp. 1–27. * Scholarl
online free
* * Morison, Samuel Eliot (1969). ''Harrison Gray Otis, 1765–1848: The Urbane Federalist''. * * * * Detailed political history of 1790s. * * Siemers, David J. ''Ratifying the Republic: Antifederalists and Federalists in Constitutional Time'' (2002). * General survey. * Stoltz III, Joseph F., “‘It Taught Our Enemies a Lesson’ The Battle of New Orleans and the Republican Destruction of the Federalist Party,” ''Tennessee Historical Quarterly'' 71 (Summer 2012), 112–27. Heavily illustrated * Theriault, Sean M. (2006). "Party Politics during the Louisiana Purchase". ''Social Science History''. 30(2). pp. 293–324. . * * Viereck, Peter (1956, 2006) ''Conservative Thinkers from John Adams to Winston Churchill''. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. * Waldstreicher, David. "The Nationalization and Racialization of American Politics: 1790–1840" in Shafer, Boyd; Badger, Anthony (eds.) (2001). ''Contesting Democracy: Substance and Structure in American Political History, 1775–2000''. pp. 37–83. * Wood, Gordon S. (2009). ''Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815''.


External links

*
A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787–1825

Pro-Administration Party ideology over time

Federalist Party ideology over time
{{authority control Federalist Party, 1789 establishments in the United States 1824 disestablishments in the United States Defunct conservative parties in the United States Right-wing politics in the United States Defunct political parties in the United States Political parties established in 1789 Political parties disestablished in 1824