The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years

By Lynn Warren Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8

THE RISE OF PARTIES

We are alarmed at the proceedings of your house.... You act as if the Devil had taken full possession & presided over your deliberations. —William Plumer

The constitutional convention of 1791-92 had been convulsed by many factional fights, but of one divisive influence it had been free. 1 There had been no political parties to which the warring factions could adhere. A few of the members—Joshua Atherton, Nathaniel Peabody, Thomas Cogswell—had been anti-federalists in 1788, but no longer used that designation. A much larger number of New Hampshire leaders, including Sullivan, Smith, Pickering, Bartlett, Plumer, the Gilmans, the Livermores, the Langdons, and the Sheafes, still called themselves federalists, simply because they supported the new Union. But these temporary party names had already lost their significance. Nothing except vague and conflicting personal antagonisms divided the leaders of New Hampshire in 1792. Within a few months, however, these men were to find themselves arrayed in hostile ranks under banners inscribed Federalist and Republican, fighting at the side of other men with whom, in many cases, they had exchanged heavy blows during the paper-money struggle or at the ratifying convention.

Not political theory, not economic interest, not class hatreds, but a war raging three thousand miles away divided the people of New Hampshire into hostile political parties. The French Revolution and the continental battles growing out of it had been noticed occasionally in the foreign dispatches printed four or five months after the event in New Hampshire newspapers, but for three years these had aroused little interest. It was only when France and England expanded their war to this side of the Atlantic that New Hampshire began to take notice of it. Not much time was required after that to light a domestic conflagration that did not burn out until Napoleon had been exiled to St. Helena. The differences of opinion in regard to foreign policy were sharp and bitter. In the case of New Hampshire, it is possible to determine with remarkable precision the year, almost the day, on which transient allegiances to former factions were cast aside and the cockades of alien nations adopted with fanatic devotion. It was the crisis of 1793 which gave birth to both the Republican and the Federalist parties. 2

France met the British threat to its foreign commerce by throwing open

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The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Ninth State - New Hampshire's Formative Years *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword *
  • Preface *
  • Chapter 1 - Revolutionary New Hampshire *
  • Chapter 2 - Constitution Making *
  • Chapter 3 - Peace and Depression *
  • Chapter 4 - Personal Politics *
  • Chapter 5 - A Fragment of Social History *
  • Chapter 6 - In the Federal Union *
  • Chapter 7 - Constitutional Revision *
  • Chapter 8 - The Rise of Parties *
  • Chapter 9 - Federalists and Republicans *
  • Chapter 10 - Federalist Decline *
  • Chapter 11 - The Old Order Yieldeth *
  • Chapter 12 - Democracy Triumphant *
  • Chapter 13 - Federalist Collapse *
  • Chapter 14 - Blockade and Embargo *
  • Chapter 15 - Drifting Toward War *
  • Chapter 16 - In the War with England *
  • Chapter 17 - The Indian Summer of Federalism *
  • Chapter 18 - Peace Abroad: War at Home *
  • Chapter 19 - Tribulations *
  • Chapter 20 - The Demise of Federalism *
  • Chapter 21 - Reform and Freedom *
  • Appendix - Maps and Explanations *
  • Notes *
  • Index *
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