Federalists Reconsidered by Doron S. Ben-Atar, Barbara B. Oberg

By Doron S. Ben-Atar, Barbara B. Oberg

These essays show that American political tradition used to be shaped in a discussion among Federalists and Jeffersonians. They painting an energetic Federalist coalition that provided a colourful highbrow and political substitute through the period of the early republic. slicing throughout obstacles of quarter, tradition, race, gender, and sophistication, Federalists struggled with the issues of kingdom construction, nationwide identification, and financial development.

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The Federalists were the party of national power and commerce but also the champions of almost unalterable hereditary allegiances and nativism. The Jeffersonians were the party of state power and agrarian republicanism but also, paradoxically, the defenders both of citizenship based on mutual consent and of civic racism. Both partisan positions were the results of comprehensible political calculi as well as sincere principles. And if the Jeffersonians pursued their vision with more electoral success, the Federalists did at least as much to shape the kind of nation the United States would become.

Republicans took their battle to the streets, denouncing the agreement in newspapers, issuing pamphlets, organizing petitions, and rallying the public against what they saw as humiliating American concessions to Great Britain. "The cry against the treaty," Washington wrote in 1795, "is like a mad dog; and everyone . . "21 Initially, the Federalists insisted on keeping secret the terms of the treaty and conducting the debate exclusively among the political elite. As the process moved forward, however, they recognized the need for a counter public campaign.

Smith EARLY IN ONE of the most rapidly repudiated Supreme Court decisions in history, Chisholm v. " Wilson wished to stress, in republican fashion, that the people, not their government, were sovereign. But he also wanted to insist that Americans were one people who had created their national government as an act of collective sovereignty, rather than seeing it as the work of the sovereign states, as he feared too many Americans did. 1 Like the Chisholm ruling itself, Wilson's digression reflected a crucial concern of Federalists: to foster a sense of American national identity conducive to their aims and governance.

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