Chesapeake Politics, 1781-1800

By Norman K. Risjord | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
The Death of Antifederalism

THE ANTIFEDERALISTS fared badly in the congressional election, but those who survived set out for the nation's capital prepared for trouble. "The President and vice president are not yet arrived," Theodorick Bland caustically reported six weeks after the congressional session began. "But couriers have been dispatched north & south for them -- great preparations are made for their reception which will be with much furor and something approaching royal Solemnity." 1 As if to justify Bland's sarcasm, the Senate shortly stumbled into a discussion of what title should be used to address the President. Among the suggestions were such absurdities as "His Elective Highness," which proved a fat target for Antifederal humor. Virginians, proud of their republican simplicity, were particularly upset by the discussion. Only staunch friends of the President such as Henry Lee considered the matter "insignificant"; moderate Federalists, especially those who had expressed misgivings about the Constitution, worried about the remnants of monarchism they saw in Congress. 2

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