Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic

By Matthew Mason | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Slavery and Partisan Conflict during
the Era of Good Feelings

THE FEDERALISTS' WARTIME campaign and rhetoric influenced partisan politics in both the immediate and long terms. By applying the North's vague, selfinterested brand of antislavery to politics, the Federalists had revealed the true breadth and depth of Northern resentment of slaveholders and their power. They thus showed the way to all who wished to pursue Northern sectionalism in national politics. Their example did not go unheeded for long.

The postwar political context opened a side door for slavery to reenter American politics soon after New England's Federalists showed it the exit in 1815. The receding power of Federalism gave the Era of Good Feelings its name, but it allowed Republicans the luxury of intraparty dissensions. These divisions proved more dangerous than luxurious, however, for schismatic Northern Republicans had seen the effectiveness with which Federalists had exploited sectional antagonisms over slavery. They thus found it useful to revive Federalist rhetoric in their attacks on the Virginia Dynasty in power in Washington, to which they added their own critique of slaveholders as unrepublican. The return of such tactics to national politics appalled Republicans still loyal to the administration, and they in turn resurrected wartime tactics in defense of party and national unity. The whole process once again revealed the political potency of antislavery sectionalism in the North.

In the months and years following the War of 1812, Federalism was moribund nationally. It had almost no hope of reviving as a national power after the debacle of the Hartford Convention combined with the end of the war and the nationalist spree touched off by American victory at New Orleans. Federalists might lay hold on some few loaves and fishes of government patronage, but only if the Republican rulers of the nation saw fit to distribute them in this way.1


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 339

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?