The First Republicans: Political Philosophy and Public Policy in the Party of Jefferson and Madison

The First Republicans: Political Philosophy and Public Policy in the Party of Jefferson and Madison

The First Republicans: Political Philosophy and Public Policy in the Party of Jefferson and Madison

The First Republicans: Political Philosophy and Public Policy in the Party of Jefferson and Madison

Excerpt

This book IS a study in the history of partisan ideas. It inevitably takes account of many important events in the founding years of the American Republic, but it makes no pretense to a place among full-dress political histories. It deals, often at length, with individual men like Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, or Gallatin, but there is no attempt at a rounded estimate of any. The purpose of the book, rather, is to extricate from the complex history of the thirty-odd years after 1775 those essential ideas which bound together the republican faction, and to study the relations of these ideas to the concrete policies and programs which united the republicans in political action and characterized them as the Republican Party.

While the point of view throughout is that of the Republicans themselves, and their bias is a predominant theme, I have tried to assess the ideas and policies of their Federalist opponents fairly. Thus, though I have tried to suggest the extent and quality of the lasting contributions made by the Republicans, I hope that I have made no exaggerated claims. On the other hand, I have not disguised my sympathies with Republicanism, and if the reader is moved to construct his own estimate of the Federalists as a counterweight I shall be well content. The purpose of the book will be realized if the reader finds in these pages a logical articulation of certain great ideas which the old Republicans took where they found them and built into a system of free government and a free way of life.

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