“War on Our Own Citizens”
HAMILTONIANISM HAD DRIVEN THE POLITICS of Washington's first term. Foreign policy ignited the partisan fires that blazed like a raging inferno throughout his second administration and for the remainder of the decade. Indeed, the 1790s was one of America's most passionate decades. It was kindred in warmth and fervor, and especially in rage, to the 1770s, 1850s, 1930s, and 1960s, for activists of all persuasions understood that colossal choices in foreign relations were to be made that would dramatically shape the nation, if in fact the infant republic survived those choices.
Hamilton's economic program was in place before the congressional elections in 1792. Jefferson had hoped that those elections would be a referendum on Hamiltonianism, and as the results trickled in he was convinced that the Treasury secretary had lost his congressional majority. Candidates did not yet label themselves Republicans, but those who campaigned against broadening the authority of the national government scored victories “every where South of Connecticut, ” Jefferson crowed, leaving the “republican interest” to hold a slight “majority of the next Congress.” Other signs also existed that Jefferson's partisan efforts had paid dividends. Feeling the heat, Vice President Adams abandoned his regal accouterments. He jettisoned his powdered wig, ceremonial sword, conspicuous coach, and liveried coachmen and moved from a sumptuous house perched above the meandering Schuylkill River