“Seldom in the nation’s
history has there been a period so extraordinary in accomplishment as the first
decade under the Constitution….”
This paper is going to be a step by
an amazing amount in these 12 years.
The Federalist Party was one of
party supported a strong central government, a large peacetime army and navy,
and a stable financial system.
more powerful. Also Hamilton, along with the other party members, believed
During the first two years of the new federal government the biggest
on imports. This was a start but not nearly enough. The government needed
this money to maintain its own existence and to be able to pay of the debt.
The existence of the government was a necessity, but there was a lot of discussion
as to whether the debt should be payed off.
The mare magnitude of the debt
seemed to compel some measure of avoidance. In 1789, the national debt totaled
the private bankers of Netherlands, while $40 million was in the form of securities
being payed off by loans from the bankers themselves. The government didn’t
even have enough money to pay the Barbary corsairs for release of captive sailors!
Congress couldn’t come up with a solution that was satisfactory, they turned
to show that the only way for a new government to establish credit was to deal
honestly with its creditors -for in many cases they would be the people to
whom the government must look to for future loans.
This policy received
strong opposition from Madison and other soon to become Republicans (second
where they able to pass the bill.
This achievement was significant, but lacked
two things which would be necessary to carry it out. For one it lacked a circulating
medium, and two it lacked a central bank. Hamilton then proposed a remedy.
He wanted to establish a corporation that was to be called the Bank of the
United States. This bank was to serve as the principle depository for government
funds. It was also to serve as the issuer of bank notes.
This was a loose
avail. But Hamilton held strongly to his belief that even the most uncompromising
opponent of the bank “would, in one month’s experience as head of that department
of the treasury, be compelled to acknowledge that it is an absolutely indispensable
to its perfect constitutionality.”
This plan favored the central government.
The bank made little banks, who couldn’t compete, go out of business. The
rich ended up being able to buy a part in the bank and so got richer, and the
poor and middle class didn’t get the benefits. The central government was
did is make the nation stronger in the eyes of other nations. This is a great
accomplishment. If the Federalists (they didn’t call themselves that until
1792) weren’t in power the nation would have been weaker and more decentralized.
war in 1793. Jefferson’s followers favored France. They wanted to abide by
the treaty America signed with France in 1788. They thought it was the right
thing to do.
Hamilton’s followers favored Great Britain. They wanted to
to break all the relations with the new French government and to ally America
realized that a war with England on the side of the French would be suicidal,
but at the same time he didn’t want America to be known as the nation that
breaks treaties. George Washington proclaimed that America will be neutral.
He forbade any American citizen from helping any warring nation.
the Federalists there to oppose a war with England America might have been
wiped out. The Federalists were looking out for the best interest of the country
at the expense of another nation. George Washington who didn’t belong to any
party decided not to follow either view.
Downfall of the Federalists
upset enough not to reelect most of the Federalists that were in Congress.
to state these laws and why they passed them.
The Federalists had become
more favorable toward France and the Republicans started despising France,
especially after the insulting X Y Z affair. Adams was favoring France as
he tried to keep the nation out of war with France. He secured peace once
The resentment of the population toward
France jeopardized this treaty. The Federalist majority in Congress decided
with France (mainly the Republicans). Adams himself was against these laws.
These measures were hated. Some of the extreme measures taken to combat them
the laws were unconstitutional.
the people of the nation had a choice of either maintaining the ways of the
mostly farmers at the time, saw the threat to the common man’s rights and so
they voted Jefferson and other Republicans into office.
This was probably
the only thing that the federalist ever really messed up. They made the country
strong but then went too far and people took them out of the national picture.
The federalist party would never see such strong days again. Its power dwindled
down slowly until the party vanished from the national picture in 1816.
Although no longer influential in Congress the federalist remained
in control in several states. Some states had federalists in office as far
down as 1820. This wasn’t though what kept the federalist ideals in America.
Marshall was a steadfast Federalist. He maintained the Federalist ways long
after the party seized to exist. Decision after decision chief Marshall declared
the central government supreme to the state. He stretched the constitution
far in seeing that the states yield rights to the federal government. He maintained
this for 34 years, shaping the loose collection of states into a solid National
Another way that the Federalist ideals were maintained comes from
maintained most of the programs set up by the Federalists. The alien and sedition
laws were repealed and everyone arrested under them was let go, but other than
that the central government maintained the control gained under the federalists,
relinquishing little. The Republicans even strengthened the federal government
on occasion. By buying Louisiana Jefferson extended the abilities of the central
The years under George Washington and John
Adams constitute a record of accomplishments not met since. The Federalists
followed Hamilton’s counsel to think continentally.” A federal judiciary
was established, the taxing power was used, the national debt was handled,
American credit was fixed, and territory was cleared of the British and Spanish
at the price of the French alliance and concessions with Britain. The objective
did a great job starting up the country. After all, many of the leaders including
John Adams and George Washington thought that the Union would not last past
their lifetimes. The “experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people”,
as said President Washington, turned out very well. Just look at the power
America has today.