Chesapeake Politics, 1781-1800

By Norman K. Risjord | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE

Emergence of State Parties, 1784-1787

THE YEAR 1784 was a critical one for the birth of parties in the Chesapeake states, for in that year political leaders came to realize the interrelationship among various issues and hence recognized the need for organization. Those who first perceived this, Iredell and Madison, built upon nuclei that had formed in the immediate postwar years. Madison took over from Henry Tazewell a tiny band that had favored payment of taxes and British debts; Iredell worked closely with the politically aware lawyermerchants of coastal North Carolina. But the critical difference in 1784 was the formation of a program that spanned a number of state and national concerns -- and a conscious search for allies who could help put the idea into effect.

The outline of this program was similar in all three states, and beneath it lay a common attitude, if not an ideology. The gist of it was resistance to the economic measures that had been instituted by the debtor majority at the end of the war. Those measures had been conceived in piecemeal fashion, isolated responses to new problems created by the war and independence. Because there was

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