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POLITICAL PARTIES FROM 1789 TO THE
FEDERALIST.-1789 TO 1793.
HE sixty-nine electoral votes of both parties were cast for Washington as the first choice of all for President. “In
"In you," said the Senate, in reply to his inaugural, “all parties confide.” He was politically in accord with the Federalists, but his personal fitness and his great services made him the universal choice. He reciprocated the confidence of his political opponents by selecting his cabinet partly from among them and by a studied and sincere impartiality. Party lines are, however, clearly recognizable in the choice of Vice-president. John Adams, fully identified with the Federalist party, not only received thirty-four votes, the greatest number cast for any one candidate for that office, but of the remaining thirty-five, twenty-two were cast for other Federalists, leaving only thirteen electoral votes to represent the strength of the Anti-federalist party.
This Federal victory was in fact but the continuance of that already won in the Constitutional Convention and the ten state conventions which had adopted the new form of government. They alone could be entrusted with carrying it into effect, while their opponents might be trusted to keep a watchful eye on their avowed purpose to enlarge its scope. In their leading measures the Federalists evinced a decided tendency to increase the functions and powers of the general government, as well by new statutes to that end, as by such interpretation of the Constitution—its implied and constructive grants of central authority-as favored their views. Hence they and their successors in that line of thought are known as Loose, or Broad Constructionists.
The Federalists denied the adaptability of “the masses” for selfgovernment, and regarded them as inclined to oppose the rights of property as well as the pretensions of a superior or ruling class, to which the Federalists considered themselves as belonging. The party
comprised prosperous merchants, capitalists, large land-owners, the orists and thinkers who imagined the British government to be so nearly perfect that they were niore desirous of imitating than improving it, and those distinguished for inherited prestige and social standing. They lacked faith i:1 the people.
The Anti-federalist was a short-lived party. They were known as Particularists and State-rights Whigs until the meeting of the Constitutional Convention, May 14, 1787; but upon the acceptance of the Constitution by Rhode Island, May 29, 1790, that designation was no longer applicable. Indeed it was never appropriate, and had always been protested against. They did not oppose a league or union, nor the Constitution, but only the Federalist views of these. There were no truer patriots than their leaders. But the objectionable epithet continued to be applied until they adopted the more significant name of Republicans.
FEDERALIST-1793 TO 1797.
Several of the more prominent leaders of the Federalist party regarded the Constitution merely as the best that could then be “extorted from the grinding necessity of a reluctant nation." "The Federal government," said Hamilton, “may then triumph over the State governments, and reduce them to entire subordination, dividing the larger states into smaller districts," and be “able to protect the men of property from the depredations which the democratic spirit is apt to make on property." In 1792 he characterized the Constitution as "a shilly shally thing of mere milk and water, and only good as a step to something better;" and in 1802 he was still laboring to prop the frail and worthless fabric.” “State attachments and state importance," said Gouverneur Morris, "have been the bane of this country. We cannot anninilate them, but we may perhaps take out the teeth of the serpents."
Party lines were distinctly drawn between them and their opponents, the Republicans, whom they called Democratic Republicans, and the French party, because of the odium then attaching to the word democrat by reason of the excesses of the Jacobins, or radical democrats of the French Revolution. The Federalists, on the other hand, were characterized by their opponents, with equal freedom, as Aristocratic and Monarchical Republicans, and the British party.
The Republican party of 1792 may be said to consist of such persons as, though adhering to the strict construction views of the late Antifederalists and the State-rights views of these and their predecessors, the Particularists, had determined to give the Constitution a fair trial and due obedience, while resisting the “implied and constructive” theory of the Federalists. “I own,” said Jefferson, the leader and founder of the party, “that I am not a friend to a very energetic government; it is always oppressive."
Among the leading principles of the party were the sovereignty, if not the supremacy, of the states, without prejudice, however, to the limited sovereignty of the Federal government in its own sphere; the value of local self-government as a safeguard of free institutions, as well as an economy in internal administration. Their aim was to foster simple and inexpensive, rather than showy and complicated, forms of administration. They claimed that thus had independence been won, and that thus it could be best maintained, and prosperity and happiness be more widely distributed among a self-governing people.
FEDERALIST-1797 TO 1801.
The leaning of the party to strong government views and its partiality to the British in the European conflicts of the period culminated in the introduction and enactment through its influence of the Alien and Sedition laws of 1798. One required fourteen years' residence before naturalization; a second authorized the President to "order any alien whom he should judge to be dangerous to the peace and liberties of America to depart from the United States;" a third provided that, upon declaration of war against, or invasion of the United States, all former subjects of the hostile power might be arrested, secured or removed at the discretion of the President, requiring only the formality of a proclamation. Though worded with careful comprehensiveness, these Alien laws were chiefly directed against the French, because of their ultra-democracy, and British refugees in America. The Sedition act made it a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000, and imprisonment not to exceed five years, to combine against government measures or officials; and subjecting to fine and imprisonment any one who should print or publish "any false, scandalous and malicious writings against the governm:nt of the United States, or either house of Congress, or the President, with intent to defame them, or to
bring them into contempt or disrepute.” These measures justified the charges of their opponents and lost the party the confidence of the people.
The current views of the party are fairly indicated by the following extracts, of two years' later date:
From the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798: “That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the General government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop not short of despotismsince the discretion of those who administer government and not the Constitution, would be the measure of their powers. That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of the infraction; and that a nullification by those sovereignties of all unauthorized acts done under cover of that instrument, is the rightful remedy; that this Commonwealth does under the most deliberate reconsideration declare that the said Alien and Sedition laws are, in their opinion, palpable violations of the said Constitution."
From Virginia Resolutions of 1798: " This Assembly doth especially and peremptorily declare that it views the powers of the Federal government, as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact, as no further valid than they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact ; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by said compact, the states who are parties thereto have the right and are in duty bound to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil and for maintaining, within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
“ The General Assembly doth also express its deep regret, that a spirit has, in sundry instances, been manifested by the Federal government to enlarge its powers by forced constructions of the constitutional charter which defines them ... so as to consolidate the states by degrees into one sovereignty, the obvious tendency and inevitable result of which would be to transform the present republican system of the United States into an absolute, or at best a mixed monarchy.
“ The General Assembly doth particularly protest against the palpable and alarming infractions of the Constitution in the two late cases of the Alien and Sedition acts."
REPUBLICAN-1801 TO 1809.
Platform OF 1800 ABRIDGED. 1. "Inviolable preservation of the Federal constitution, according to the true sense in which it was adopted by the states. 2. Opposition to monarchizing its features. 3. Preservation to thestates of the powers not yielded by them to the Union. 4 A rigorously frugal administration of the government ... and resistance to all measures looking to a multiplication of officers and salaries. 5. Reliance for internal defense solely upon the militia, till actual invasion . . . . and opposition to the policy of a standing army in time of peace. 6. Free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment. 7. Opposition to linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of
Europe. 8. Freedom of religion. 9. Freedom of speech and of the press. 10. Liberal naturalization laws. 11. Encouragement of science and the arts to the end that the American people may perfect their independence of all foreign monopolies, institutions and influences."
FROM JEFFERSON'S INAUGURAL, 1801: “I will compress them. [“The essential principles of our government,'] within the narrowest compass they will bear" :
"Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the state governments in all their rights as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwark against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the general government, in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet-anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people; a mild and safe correction of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided ; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority—the vital principle of republics, from which there is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism ; a well-disciplined militia -our best reliance in peace, and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority ; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith ; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and the arraignment of all abuses at the bar of public reason ; freedom of religion ; freedom of the press ; freedom of persons under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected—these principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages
and the blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith-the text of civil instruction—the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps, and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety."
FROM JEFFERSON'S LETTERS, IN 1801, in RELATION TO REMOVALS FROM OFFICE: “I lament sincerely that unessential differences of opinion should ever have been deemed sufficient to interdict half the society