The Ninth State: New Hampshire's Formative Years

By Lynn Warren Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 20

THE DEMISE OF
FEDERALISM

When the Federalists shall become completely disgusted and tired of the disease with which the body politic of the State is infected, and shall unitedly come forward with a determined and purifying spirit, we shall take pride in recording their success.—Concord Gazette

After Governor Plumer's vindication at the polls in 1817, the Federalist party in New Hampshire disintegrated with even more dramatic speed than did the national organization of which it was a part. 1 Plumer was reelected in 1818 by more than 59 percent of the votes against a divided Federalist ticket (Jeremiah Mason, William Hale) and a token opposition of young Republicans in Portsmouth.2 He bequeathed to his chosen successor, Samuel Bell, the habit of victory. In 1819 the Federalists cast only 35 percent of the total vote; in 1820 less than 3 percent; after that, there was no semblance of an organized party effort at the polls. 3 Federalist representation in the legislature decreased in the same way: in 1818 there was not a single Federalist in the senate. 4

In the November elections of 1816, Daniel Webster and his Federalist colleagues in Congress had been defeated by a somewhat less than solid Republican team, including Josiah Butler, Salma Hale, and Arthur Livermore. The Republican legislature of 1816-17 replaced Senator Thomas W Thompson with David Morrill and elected Clement Storer to complete Jeremiah Mason's term after he resigned. It could hardly be argued that these changes increased the distinction of New Hampshire's representation at Washington, but they brought it more in harmony with the rest of the nation. So too did the choice of presidential electors. New Hampshire apparently preferred James Monroe to William H. Crawford or Rufus King as President Madison's successor, and its eight Republican electors voted for Jefferson's protégé in December with no apparent objection to a continuation of the Virginia dynasty. 5 After 1817 no Federalist from New Hampshire ever again held a federal office.

The demise of Federalism occurred not so much because the nation had opted for the agrarian, decentralized, laissez-faire principles of Thomas Jefferson but because Jefferson himself and his successors had stolen the Federalist party's platform, while the heirs of Alexander Ham

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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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