Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

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OVERTHROW OF THE FEDERALISTS 1797-1801

Sectional differences and party inconsistencies--French politics and American factions--Federalist triumphs--Republican appeal to local feeling--Mixed successes of both factions--Effect of the Alien and Sedition laws--Triumph of the Republicans--The disputed election -- Federalist principle in the judiciary -- Disintegration of the Federalist group.

THUS far in the evolution of American parties there was no division of feeling regarding maintenance of the Union, no manifestation of religious or race opposition, no divergence of opinion regarding the tariff, though one side had a marked preference for indirect taxation and the other professed an equal aversion to it. In a sense, the sectional and economic divisions were one, since the South was purely agricultural with a patriarchal system of labor, while the North added to the system of small holdings in land some manufactures and much commerce. Nor was the division exactly social, because the ruling class itself was divided and the ambitious rising class was uncertain which way to seek its interests, whether by private enterprise or by the use of government. Outwardly there was no consistency; Republicans could support the Federal administration in matters ruinous to their theory, and, vice versa, the Federalists still esteemed State right and control as more important than central. The true distinction between those who were eventually to divide on party

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