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

By Stephen G. Kurtz | Go to book overview

16
Politics and Peace, 1799

BY THE END OF 1798 THE SOUTHERN REPUBLICANS HAD BEcome convinced that nothing stood in the way of a peaceful settlement with France except the desire to maintain political supremacy on the part of their opponents. They looked upon the army and the Sedition Act as the engines of their own destruction, and, convinced at last that both would be turned against them, they began to arm in self-defense.

William Branch Giles, who had been an active participant in the Virginia debates of 1798, explained the attitude that his party took toward the Federalist war program in a speech that he delivered while Governor of Virginia in 1827. "Her representatives on the floor were threatened with arms -- with incarceration.... They went earnestly and systematically to work. The first measure they then adopted was to pass a law to protect them in freedom of debate.... They then determined to arm the militia, to make provision to purchase 5000 stands of arms.... To defray the expenses of these measures, they raised the whole taxes of the state twenty-five per cent.... These were measures truly worthy of Virginia."1

Despite the fact that his own state had authorized Governor Jay to borrow $200,000 from the Bank of New York for the purchase of arms and the construction of harbor de-

____________________
1
Anderson, Giles, 70. Acts of the Virginia Assembly of December 28, 1798, guaranteeing the rights of habeus corpus, and of January 23, 1799, the Armory Law. See also Gaillard Hunt, James Madison, 262.

-354-

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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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