The Press of the Young Republic, 1783-1833

By Carol Sue Humphrey | Go to book overview

principles over the disorganizing scheme of foreign renegadoes and deluded natives." 68 Such participation would produce benefits, according to one New York editor, because "the spirits of Washington and Hamilton will smile upon you, if, at this time, you make an united effort to save a republic which they defended and loved." 69 Even during the War of 1812, both sides claimed preeminence by declaring that forces under the leadership of members of their party gained all the important American victories. 70

However, the press also expressed a growing awareness that the power and influence of the Federalists was declining. As early as 1808, the editor of Albany's Balance, in discussing the upcoming presidential election, declared that "in the choice, 'the still small voice' of federalism will not be heard. We cannot view the contest with indifference; and though we can have no influence in the affair, yet we shall, when the candidates are known, speak our sentiments with candor and freedom."71 Following the end of the War of 1812 and the Federalist debacle of the Hartford Convention, many Republicans rejoiced with the editor of the American Watchman and Delaware Republican that "the enemies of the country shrunk into their native insignificance before the appalling ranks of republican freemen. They have sunk, never more to rise."72 The Republicans believed that partisanship had ended and that with the Federalists out of the way the country could now enter into an "Era of Good Feelings," 73 when all would be in general agreement. For a while, during the early years of the presidency of James Monroe, this goal seemed to reach fruition, but a new era of partisanship soon came into existence.


NOTES
1.
James Madison's primary biographer in recent years has been Irving Brant [ James Madison, 6 vols. ( Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1941- 1961)]. He also produced a one-volume condensed version, The Fourth President: The Life of James Madison ( Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1970). Another useful one-volume work is Robert A. Rutland's James Madison: The Founding Father ( New York: Macmillan, 1987).
2.
Numbers for 1810 are from Alfred McClung Lee, The Daily Newspaper in America ( New York: Macmillan, 1937), 711; numbers for 1815 are based on Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820, 2 vols. ( Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1947).
3.
William E. Ames, A History of the National Intelligencer ( Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1972), 68-103.
4.
Norval Neil Luxon, Niles's Weekly Register. News Magazine of the Nineteenth Century ( Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1947), 2, 37.
5.
Quoted in ibid., 125.
6.
Quotation from Henry VIII 4. 2.69-72 by William Shakespeare--part of the masthead of the Register during its first year of publication. See Niles's Weekly Register ( Baltimore, Md.), 7 September 1811.
7.
True American ( Philadelphia), 11 January 1809.
8.
Aurora ( Philadelphia), 22 July 1809.
9.
Balance and State Journal ( Albany, N.Y.), 12 November 1811.

-95-

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