The Age of Federalism

By Stanley Elkins; Eric McKitrick | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER III
The Divided Mind of
James Madison, 1790: Nationalist
Versus Ideologue

James Madison was absent from New York from October 9, 1789, to January 20, 1790. He was beset by bouts of illness at either end of his round journey, and in between, his mind was occupied by a variety of problems. Added up, they represented among other things the dilemma of what it meant to be both a leading Federalist and a leading Virginian. The search for a resolution of that dilemma would turn out to claim virtually the whole of James Madison's energies throughout the congressional session of 1790.

Madison, aware that his friend Jefferson was on his way home from France, had lingered an extra week or so in New York in the hope of welcoming him there. At length he set off southward. But he stopped at Philadelphia and waited in that city for nearly three weeks more, still hoping for some news of Jefferson's arrival. None came, but while there he chanced to run into Robert Morris, the senator from Pennsylvania, and the two had a lengthy conversation on the question of where the national capital should eventually be located. 1 This issue had already been debated extensively in the session of 1789 just completed, and had occasioned tortuous maneuverings both open and covert. Bargains had been made and remade, understandings reached and then repudiated, and the matter had been left in a state of volatile non-resolution at the time of adjournment. Robert Morris had been heavily involved throughout, as had Madison.

Two factions, generally speaking, had been in contention, with a third holding the balance of power. For years it had been the dream of Jefferson, Madison, and Washington himself that the capital might some day be located on the banks of the Potomac, and for this design the Virginians now had the support, other things being equal, of the other southern states. Then there was a Pennsylvania bloc, in which Morris was prominent, whose members were interested in one or more of three possible locations in Pennsylvania. They were Philadelphia and Germantown, both on or near the Delaware, and some site as yet unspecified on the Susquehanna. The Pennsylvanians, from varying internal interests, were not always

-133-

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
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
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
The Age of Federalism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
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
/ 925

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
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?