The Presidency of John Adams: The Collapse of Federalism, 1795-1800

By Stephen G. Kurtz | Go to book overview

1
Bright Hopes for Mr. Jefferson

THE GROWTH OF POLITICAL PARTIES WAS A SOURCE OF CONstant concern to Washington as his presidential career drew to its close. Although he left a permanent memorial to his hatred of parties in the Farewell Address, his acceptance of John Jay's treaty of amity and commerce in the fall of 1795 did more to solidify party lines than any other action of his presidency. By signing this undistinguished document the President gave up all hopes of retiring from twenty years of public service with the blessings of a united people to comfort him in the wintertime of life. The treaty that Chief Justice Jay concluded with Great Britain proved to administration critics what they had long suspected: that a government dominated by Alexander Hamilton could not be trusted to right America's grievances against England. Mr. Jay's friends considered half a loaf better than none and wondered how a nation with no navy was expected to browbeat a nation that went to work whistling "Britannia Rules the Waves." Their embarrassment could scarcely be concealed, however, and the worst of it was that a national election was in view, Washington was dropping out, and public favor was running in the direction of Monticello.

As 1795 grew old enough for Mr. Jefferson's friends to begin thinking about "next year," it required less and less imagination to see their hero taking the inaugural oath. They were assuming, of course, that General Washington had made up his mind on the retirement question and that the way

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The Presidency of John Adams: The Collapse of Federalism, 1795-1800
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 7
  • Contents 13
  • Illustrations 15
  • 1 - Bright Hopes for Mr. Jefferson 19
  • 2 - The Republican Challenge 39
  • 3 - Popular Federalism 59
  • 4 - The Candidates of 1796 78
  • 5 - Adams and Hamilton 96
  • 6 - Imported and Domestic Designs for Victory 114
  • 7 - The States and the Presidency 145
  • 8 - A Political Revolution in Pennsylvania 177
  • 9 - Discontent with Hamilton 192
  • 10 - Adams and Jefferson: Friendship and Politics 209
  • 11 - The Patronage Crisis and the Decline In Federal Status 239
  • 12 - The President and His Secretaries 261
  • 13 - Political Consequences of the Xyz Papers 284
  • 15 - A Just and Politic Peace 334
  • 16 - Politics and Peace, 1799 354
  • 17 - Independence 374
  • Appendixes 409
  • Bibliography 417
  • Index 441
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