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

By Stephen G. Kurtz | Go to book overview

11
The Patronage Crisis and the Decline in Federal Status

IN MARCH, 1797, THE SECOND PRESIDENT TOOK OFFICE, BUT no one, with the possible exception of Mrs. Adams, would have ventured to say that John Adams had replaced General Washington. While even the warmest admirers of Mr. Jefferson admitted that in intellectual capacity and political experience the New Englander was second only to Jefferson as presidential timber, no one could say that the nation's future looked as secure as it had when Washington had first taken office. The Adams administration was born to trouble; Washington had begun his presidential career in a rare interval of peace.

Homer might have done justice to the life of Washington and the heroic age that he wonderfully epitomized. Sophocles would have more fitly dealt with the figure of Adams as President. Whereas Washington was elected with a full measure of public confidence, Adams was a three-vote electoral college choice. Washington's stature has benefited by his association with Jefferson, Hamilton, and the genuinely distinguished men who inaugurated the Federal system. Adams was destined to be associated with the second-rate talents of his cabinet members. Not until John Marshall took the State Department in 1800 did a man of first-rate abilities enter the executive service under Adams. History has carelessly dissociated Washington's name from both the foreign

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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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