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

By Stephen G. Kurtz | Go to book overview

17
Independence

THE CRY THAT AROSE FROM THE THROATS OF FEDERALIST leaders in the spring of 1799 was a cry of betrayal. It seemed clear to most of them that Adams in nominating a peace envoy had also cleared the way for Jefferson's election in 1800. War with France would have sealed the fate of the Republican party permanently, and the threat of war with its attendant jingoism was enough to keep them in a position of supremacy at least until the next election had safely passed. Had Adams not shared in the party's popularity they might have understood, but he had been a genuinely popular President for the first two years of his administration, a fact that no one would have ventured to predict after his threevote victory. It seemed that he had destroyed his own image. Those who were unwilling to diagnose his action as the result of sheer insanity maintained that he had resurrected the old scheme of a coalition with Jefferson, but the majority of the Hamiltonians had no answer at all. At Quincy he sat, seemingly oblivious to politics, and there he remained for the better part of a year. George Cabot, Hamiltonian envoy extraordinary, sought him out.

"The spirit of faction predominates over everything," Cabot concluded at the end of a lengthy interview. Adams was as bitter against Cabot's friends as they were against him. Once again Adams had launched into a defense of Elbridge Gerry and had insisted that he had never attempted to hide his desire for an honorable peace at the earliest opportunity.

-374-

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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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