Party System
• 1. Between 1783 and 1800, the new government of the
United States faced the same political, economic , and
constitutional issues that troubled the British
government’s relations with the colonies prior to the
Revolution. Assess the validity of this generalization.
• 2. “ Our prevailing passions are ambition and interest;
and it will be the duty of a wise government to avail
itself of those passions, in order to make them
subservient to the public good.” -Alexander Hamilton,
– How was this viewpoint manifested in Hamilton’s financial
program as Secretary of the Treasury?
( 71)
• 3. Evaluate the relative importance of domestic and
foreign affairs in shaping American politics in the
1790’s. (94)
I. Washington and the 18th Century
View of Party
• April 14, 1789: GW
receives word of
(unanimous) election
processions and parades
followed trip to NYC
(capital) public
expressions of unity
• GW symbol of nation and unity above political
• Parties = faction = discord and confusion
• Parties reflect and foment disunity
• No concept of legitimate political opposition:
parties tool of tyranny
– Doc C
• Const. intended to diminish/abolish factions;
Ams painfully accept parties as necessary
II. Hamilton and the Emerging
Republican Opposition
A. An Energetic Government
• AH believed “energy” of Fed
required to transform US from
rural + agrarian urban +
• Reverse “excesses” of democracy
through strong central gov
B. Hamilton’s Reports
• 1790 +1: 3 position papers laying out program
• 1) Public CreditI (1790) Establish secure credit +
pay off debt (yes)
• 2) 2nd Public Credit: Create Bank of the United
States (yes)
• 3) Manufactures (1791): Stimulate manufacturing
through protective tariffs, bounties, encourage
immigration, internal improvements (no; but
• Hamiltonian policies (esp. #3) push
TJ and JM to active opposition
– Doc E
• Increasingly saw AH and Feds as
aristocratic + monocrats attempting
to recreate England in Am
– Came to see GW as senile pawn of
younger AH (aide de camp in Rev)
• To cleanse Fed threat mobilize
organized opposition despite hatred
of parties: temp. coalition to stop
AH menace that would dissolve
after success
– Doc F and G
• JM took point in House, TJ behind scenes in
Cabinet (Sec’y State)
• GW limited polarization: most unwilling to
believe his administration could be evil with the
great hero at its head
• But, increasingly GW was an AH partisan +
divisions about how US should look grew
– Doc H
III. Anglomen and Gallomen
A. The French Revolution
F Rev (was FR heir to AR?) and renewed B-F war
ignited divide
GW declares neutrality
1793: TJ resigns bc GW too pro-Brit
Anglomen and Gallomen fight over meaning AR
– Doc D
• Neutrality easy to declare, diff maintain: B+ F willing
step on young, weak US
B. Genet
• Citizen Edmond Genet (1793) sent to US: acts
as if US F satellite + staging ground for attacks
on B and S appoints George Rogers Clark
commander of army attempting to raise;
demands GW call special session Congress to
resolve Am policy toward F; threatens to go
over GW’s head to Am people
– Some success in raising money + troops, esp. among
those who want to take more land
C. British Provocation and Jay’s
• B extend embargo to Carib, seize 250 Am ships,
claim right to stop all AM ships on high seas to
search for deserters (grab all sorts people)
John Jay sent to negotiate
• Jay has no cards to play basically gives up Am
rights to high seas + allows B same power to
regulate Am trade as under Navigation Acts (but
gets withdrawal Western forts)
• Jay burned in effigy
• GW throws weight behind Treaty, narrowly
passes (evidence sectionalism and partisanship)
• GW attack as partisan + corrupt
• Va DR toast: call for speedy death
• Still powerful enough guarantee JA election
• Relations w/F disintegrate: revocation F-Am
pact, negotiators sent to F XYZ Affair calls
for war; even greater pol’l division (parties and
IV. Alien and Sedition Acts (1798)
• Increasingly paranoid style of politics: not just
opponents but enemies of nation (traitors)
– Doc S
• War imminent, worst enemies w/in: Gallic devotees,
supposed F armies in West, and immigrants sent by F
to start a rev (esp. Catholic Irish)
• Naturalized Irish voting DR Alien Act
• Lengthened residency req from 5 to 14 yrs, empowered
Pres to imprison or deport “enemy aliens” in case of
Sedition Act
• Speak or print or write scandalous or malicious
criticism of gov’t (even if true) heavy fine or prison
– Used as weapon against DR papers
• Mathew Lyon (Spitting Lyon): July ’98: libel vs.
Adams pleads unconstitutionality: imprisoned, kept
writing, elected to House (from jail), and in 1800 cast
deciding vote for TJ
• Enforcement of sedition loose (only 10 of 25
convicted), and # DR papers doubles
V. Revolution of 1800
• Election of 1800 broke hold of Feds (except Judiciary)
and rise of DRs
• Successful, nonviolent transition of power from one
party to another during period intense partisan rancor
• Produced legitimacy of political opp. + opp. entitled to
gain reins of power if established a strong following
(although F and DR still hate + fear each other)
• How? Deep belief and faith in Const. (and otherwise)
checks on excessive power
– Party now an additional check on power of gov: necessary

The 1st Party System