Where Did Today's Conservative, Republican, and Democratic Political Parties Come From -- No, it Wasn't a Stork. [144]

FASCINATING!

THE TRANSITION FROM FROM THE "NO PARTIES" OF 1789 to the Democratic and Republican Parties of 2012 is absolutely fascinating! Following the twisted and convoluted path the American political system traveled is sort of mesmerizing for someone who enjoys this kind of journey. Yet, it is also something which should be taught in high school as well so that soon to be voting American adults understand where we came from; and more importantly ... why.

Please be aware that the terms Democrat, Democratic, Republican, Republicanism, Libitarian(ism), Liberal(ism), and Progressive(ism) had many different and sometimes contradictory meanings, depending on when in history you used them and whether you are using layman euphemisms or core philosophy. Speaker John Boehner, in the 1700s would have been thought of as a liberal, given his stated believe in individual liberty, but today calls himself, and is called a Conservative (but, as far as I know, he does not hold to the core beliefs central to conservatism). On the other hand, a Progressive in the late 1800s, the genesis of progressivism, could have been either a Conservative or Liberal, depending on what particular issues they were concerned with. In some respects, you can trace both of today's Parties back to the Progressive era in the United States in that they were determined to move American society from the more barbaric state of servitude to the King to the less barbaric state of individual liberty; that being the goal of any progressive movement ... to secure a more civil society.

Nevertheless, rather than force the reader to adapt to non-colloquial terminology, I will use the following definitions for the terms "conservative", "liberal", and "progressive":

  • Conservative - either true conservatism, i.e. one who believes and ordered society is better than the chaos which individual liberty brings, or, alternatively, one who is known as a Minimal-state Liberal; someone who believes strongly in egalitarianism but opposes government imposed progressivism
  • Liberal - a person who strongly believes in egalitarianism as well as using government to help institute progressive reforms when no other method works; this is known as an Active-state Liberalism
  • Progressive - may be either Conservative or Liberal, but nevertheless believes there is a need to move society forward from a less civil state to a more civil state. What those reforms may be and the methods in which they may come about will differ significantly between Conservatives and Liberals.
  • Moderate - someone who does not hold extreme conservative or liberal ideological views; a person willing to compromise; a pragmatist; the person who tries to steer a course that would please Aristotle, meaning attempting to achieve the "Golden Mean".
  • Extremist - someone who takes an uncompromising position on their particular ideological belief; a position so strong that they believe all is lost should they violate or give up any part of that belief. These people are unwilling to compromise, regardless of the cost to the general society.
  • At my Hub on Political Ideologies, there are more complete and exact descriptions.

What makes a hub like this possible is that all political parties are made of elements of all five of those labels and as one group or another find themselves in the minority position, they often break off to form another party or join a group of similar persuasion of the opposing party. Prior to and including the election of President Lincoln, this happened quite frequently, but much less so afterwards. Today, in 2016, the Republican Party, with the help of Donald Trump, may be giving birth to two new parties; one retaining the extreme conservatism of which it is composed right now, and a more moderate version similar to what it looked like in the 1970s.

Like my other hubs of this type, it is going to be a work-in-progress. I suspect it will take over a two years to complete this effort, so, I hope you enjoy it as the story of maturation of our political parties unfold before your eyes.

THE TASK OF WRITING THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

THE COMMITTEE OF 5, PICKED TO WRITE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDCE BY THE FOUNDING FATHERS.
THE COMMITTEE OF 5, PICKED TO WRITE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDCE BY THE FOUNDING FATHERS. | Source

IN THE BEGINNING

IN THE BEGINNING, there were the Founding Fathers, a term coined 1916 by then-Senator Warren G. Harding (R-OH), and soon to be POTUS #29. These were the men, and a few women, who were most responsible for the formation first, of the united States of America, then of the United States of America. Most people, I think believe there were only a few historic figures that make this list, maybe a score or so, but that is not true. As you can see from the tables below, there are well over 100. That said, there are a only a few who are recognized as founders that stand out from the rest. Historian Richard G. Morris, names them as John Adams (MA), Benjamin Franklin (PA), Alexander Hamilton (NY), John Jay (NY), Thomas Jefferson (VA), James Madison (VA), and George Washington (VA)..[4] Of this group, all but Thomas Jefferson (whose support was situational) would go on to be strong supporters of the U.S. Constitution, four would become President, and one would become a Supreme Court Justice. Also, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay would later become ardent Federalists Party members. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would form the opposition Democratic-Republican Party although Madison would later modify his views somewhat. Washington, while joining no party, sided with the Federalists and Franklin, even though he stayed out of the fray, tended to side with the populist Republicans on philosophical grounds.

THE FOUNDING FATHERS

 
FOUNDER
STATE
Signed Declaration of Independance
Signed Aritcles of Confederation
Member, 1st Continental Congress
Signed U.S. Constitution
1
Eliphalet Dyer
CT
 
 
Yes
 
 
Samuel Huntington
CT
Yes
Yes
 
 
2
Roger Sherman
CT
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
3
Silas Dean
CT
 
 
Yes
 
 
William Williams
CT
Yes
 
 
 
 
Oliver Wolcott
CT
Yes
Yes
 
 
4
Caesar Rodney
DE
Yes
 
Yes
 
5
Thomas McKean
DE
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
6
George Reed
DE
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
 
Button Gwinnett
GA
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
 
Lyman Hall
GA
Yes
 
 
 
 
George Walton
GA
Yes
 
 
 
 
Charles Carroll
MD
Yes
 
 
 
7
Matthew Tilghman
MD
 
 
Yes
 
8
Thomas Johnson, Jr.
MD
 
 
Yes
 
9
William Paca
MD
Yes
 
Yes
 
10
Samuel Chase
MD
Yes
 
Yes
 
 
Thomas Stone
MD
Yes
 
 
 
11
John Adams (POTUS #2)
MA
Yes
 
Yes
 
12
Samual Adams
MA
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
13
Thomas Cushing
MA
 
 
Yes
 
 
Elbridge Gerry (gerrymandering)
MA
Yes
Yes
 
Refused (No Bill of Rights)
 
John Hancock
MA
Yes
Yes
 
 
14
Robert Treat Paine
MA
Yes
 
Yes
 
 
Josiah Bartlett
NH
Yes
Yes
 
 
15
John Sullivan
NH
 
 
Yes
 
16
Nathaniel Folsom
NH
 
 
Yes
 
 
Charles Thomson
NH
Yes
 
 
 
 
William Whipple
NH
Yes
 
 
 
 
Abraham Clark
NJ
Yes
 
 
 
 
John Hart
NJ
Yes
 
 
 
 
Joseph Hewes
NJ
 
 
 
 
 
Francis Hopkinson
NJ
Yes
 
 
 
17
James Kinsey
NJ
 
 
Yes
 
18
William Livingston
NJ
 
 
Yes
Yes
19
Stephen Crane
NJ
 
 
Yes
 
20
. Richard Smith
NJ
 
 
Yes
 
21
John De Hart
NJ
 
 
Yes
 
 
Richard Stockton
NJ
Yes
 
 
 
 
John Witherspoon
NJ
Yes
 
 
 
 
Francis Lewis
NY
Yes
Yes
 
 
22
Isaac Low
NY
 
 
Yes
 
 
Lewis Morris
NY
Yes
 
 
 
23
John Alsop
NY
 
 
Yes
 
24
. John Jay
NY
 
 
Yes
 
25
James Duane
NY
 
Yes
Yes
 
26
Philip Livingston
NY
Yes
 
Yes
 
 
Lewis Morris
NY
Yes
 
 
 
27
William Floyd
NY
Yes
 
Yes
 
28
Henry Wisner
NY
 
 
Yes
 
29
Simon Boerum
NY
 
 
Yes
 
30
William Hooper
NC
 
 
Yes
 
31
Joseph Hewes
NC
Yes
 
Yes
 
32
Richard Caswell
NC
 
 
Yes
 
 
John Penn
NC
Yes
Yes
 
 
33
Joseph Galloway
PA
 
 
Yes
 
 
George Clymer
PA
Yes
 
 
Yes
34
John Dickinson
PA
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Benjamin Franklin
PA
Yes
 
 
Yes
35
Charles Humphreys
PA
 
 
Yes
 
36
Thomas Mifflin
PA
 
 
Yes
Yes
37
Edward Biddle
PA
 
 
Yes
 
 
Robert Morris
PA
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
38
John Morton
PA
Yes
 
Yes
 
39
George Ross
PA
Yes
 
Yes
 
 
Benjamin Rush
PA
Yes
 
 
 
 
James Smith
PA
Yes
 
 
 
 
George Taylor
PA
Yes
 
 
 
 
Charles Thomson
PA
Yes
 
 
 
 
James Wilson
PA
Yes
 
 
Yes
 
William Ellery
RI
Yes
Yes
 
 
40
Stephen Hopkins
RI
Yes
 
Yes
 
41
Samuel Ward
RI
 
 
Yes
 
 
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
SC
Yes
Yes
 
 
 
Arthur Middleton
SC
Yes
 
 
 
42
Henry Middleton
SC
 
 
Yes
 
43
Thomas Lynch
SC
Yes
 
Yes
 
44
Christopher Gadsden
SC
 
 
Yes
 
45
John Rutledge
SC
 
 
Yes
Yes
46
Edward Rutledge
SC
Yes
 
Yes
 
 
Carter Braxton
VA
Yes
 
 
 
 
Thomas Jefferson (POTUS #3)
VA
Yes
 
 
 
47
Peyton Randolph
VA
 
 
Yes
 
 
Francis Lightfoot Lee
VA
Yes
Yes
 
 
48
Richard Henry Lee
VA
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
 
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
VA
Yes
 
 
 
49
George Washington (POTUS #1
VA
 
 
Yes
Yes
50
Patrick Henry, Jr.
VA
 
 
Yes
 
51
Richard Bland
VA
 
 
Yes
 
52
Benjamin Harrison
VA
Yes
 
Yes
 
53
Edmund Pendleton
VA
 
 
Yes
 
 
George Wythe
VA
Yes
 
 
Left Convention Early

IN THE BEGINNING ...

THERE WERE NO POLITICAL PARTIES although there were certainly many factions. The factions generally split along religious lines as well as the degree of autonomy the states should have relative to any central government. In 1784, America had just won the revolution and was trying to figure out what it needed to do. It had a central government of sorts in the Continental Congress and a constitution in the Articles of Confederation. Neither, however, gave very much authority to the central government and what authority it did try to exercise was largely ignored by the states. As a consequence, on May 14, 1787 a Constitutional Convention was convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to develop a strengthened Articles of Confederation, or at least that was the story line. Many potential delegates to the Convention were perfectly happy to have a weak central government, or no central government at all seeing no need or benefit to nationhood; Patrick Henry and George Mason, being examples. Others, those who attended, understood the need and benefit of bring the 13 States together as a nation under a strong central government, did meet and on September 17, 1787, this secret convention unveiled a brand new constitution that proposed to radically change the relationship of the federal government to that of the state government and the people of the united States.

The ensuing attempt to ratify the new Constitution highlighted the very deep philosophical divisions that existed within the country over how the new American citizen saw the future on this nation progressing. Some saw the future as a United States of America with a strong federal government, some saw it as a united States of America with a weak federal government, and others thought that the the various states should go it alone or in smaller confederated groups; the vast majority, however, sided with the first to groups.

In listening to the rhetoric from the Right today, you would think the founders only believed one way, but of course this not true. They thought pretty much like we do today with some on the Right, some on the Left, and a lot in the Middle; and this is the way the fight over the ratification of the Constitution broke down. Those on the Right, called anti-Federalist because they opposed a strong Federal government and included such politicians as George Mason, John Hancock, and Patrick Henry, did not want the Constitution ratified in any fashion. On the Left you had such notables as John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington who did believe in a strong central government; they were called Federalists and definitely wanted the Constitution ratified. Neither group was a political party yet, just names associated with those who opposed or favored the ratification of the Constitution of the United States. Nevertheless, without many exceptions, those who made up each group, also became members of the first two formal American political parties.

BELIEF SYSTEMS

THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES IN WORLD-VIEWS or political and social philosophies between what we call "conservatives" on one side and "progressives" on the other. In fact, the proper terminology, I recently found out, is Liberal. "Conservativatism" actual defines a philosophy that denies the precepts America was founded on as does the Socialist aspects of "Progressivism". When we think of conservatives, at least in economic terms, we are talking about "limited" government Liberalism, while progressives promote "active" government Liberalism; but in either case, both are derived from a liberal philosophy. These beliefs and philosophies cover several different belief sets which run from one polar opposite to another. We are talking about:

  1. "Egalitarianism", or equality between living entities. The most progressive of Progressives believes that there is absolutely no fundamental difference between any individual or groups of individuals based on race, gender, or any other intrinsic characteristic. The most conservative of Conservatives believes just the opposite. They believe specifically that there is a natural hierarchy between races, gender, social position and other attributes which differentiates between individuals; fundamentalist religions believe the same. It doesn't matter what religion or nationality you are a fundamentalist or conservative of, that is a characteristic of that particular mindset. Everybody else falls between these two extremes.
  2. Belief, trust, and dependence on authority figures. This doesn't mean the "authority" being referred to are governments necessarily, other than the executive perhaps, but more like the police, FBI, firemen, etc. Conservatives, by-and-large trust the police and believe that if there any bad apples at all in their ranks, they are few and far between, they believe that harsh or even very harsh interrogation techniques are OK because the authorities "must" have had a good reason for detaining somebody. They believe the leader must be strong and decisive, keeping the country in line and any "rabble-rousers" who might disrupt the status quo suppressed. They tend to follow the orders of the authority figures they believe in without questioning what is being asked of them. Progressives, on the other hand, do not trust those who have power over them and need to make sure there are check and balance systems in place to protect everybody from abuse of authority. Progressives do question what is being asked of them and try to reason their way through it before complying. Progressives prefer consensus leadership rather than having all power vested in one or a few individuals.
  3. In this next subject area, Conservatives and Progressives, extreme ones anyway, are very similar, and that is in the matter of sticking to principles. This is thought to be a very good thing, honorable and ethical; and both sides truly believe this. Unfortunately, it is simply not practical when put into practice. There has never been a time when people were governed by principal alone did it word, it always failed; most of the time with horrible consequences, Communism on on-side, Iran on the other. A much less serious failure was the Articles of Confederation, a document based on conservative principles. The only governments that have ever worked for any length of time that was kept in power by force of arms were those based on pragmatism and compromise. The Constitution of the United States is a glowing example of Progressives coming together in compromise.
  4. The relationship between government and business is one of the most distinctive differences between conservatives and progressives. Conservatives of all stripes believe the economy functions best when the government stays out of its way in ALL respects, while progressives believe government intervention is needed to mitigate the weaknesses in the conservative economic model as well as to regulate excesses in corporate overbearance relative to customers and employees and their disregard for environmental concerns.
  5. How much federal government is too much federal government is another divisive issue. Political conservatives, starting with Thomas Jefferson, take a strictly limited perspective on what powers the federal government has, while progressives, like John Adams, took a much more expansive view. This particular battle has been vigorously played out from the ratification of the Constitution to this day, with the Supreme Court finally establishing itself, in 1954, as the final arbiter of that question.
  6. How religion plays a role in ones life also is distinctly different among the vast majority of conservatives and the similar population of progressives. As one moves across the political spectrum so do you across the religious spectrum. Starting from the far, far Right, you find the highest concentration of Fundamentalist religious believers; this is irrespective of political party or religion, which, in some countries, like Saudi Arabia, are the same thing. One would expect this given the conservative's propensity to follow and believe in authority figures. As you move toward the political left, you begin finding your more "liberal", accepting, tolerant religions. Keep going and agnostics and atheists begin showing up. As you approach the far Left, there is another type of intolerant fundamentalism appearing, active, anti-religious atheists ... Karl Marx.
  7. The desire to maintain the status quo is very strong in conservatives and much, much less so in progressives. This is principally seen in the area of civil rights, which is related to the diverging beliefs in egalitarianism. Conservatives always attempt to preserve the relationship between races, genders, religions, or economic status rather than implement policy and laws to improve the lot of the less well off in each of those categories. Progressives, on the other hand, make it their philosophical goal to do just that.

The seven characteristics, and there are probably more, are substantial in nature and provide a clear distinction between these to political groups. Understanding these characteristics makes it easy to see why we are at such loggerheads in today's' society in America because, beginning in 1981, the conservatives began taking control of the Republican Party and, in 1995, solidified it, Then, in 2010, they the conservatives were able to take control of House of Representatives and gain what in effect is a veto-capable minority control in the Senate.

Sociologists have studied the conservative phenomenon and have developed a couple of surveys to determines ones degree of conservatism, in regards to following authority figures, as well as becoming a dominant conservative leader. They are contained in my hubs Are You a Social Dominator and Right-Wing Authoritarian (RWA) Followers.

There is an eighth characteristic, by the way, that differentiates the extremes of either the conservatives or the progressives from that of the more moderate elements of their respective constituencies, and that is the ability to compromise. It is this characteristic, the ability to compromise, which most of our founding fathers were counting on to lead to a workable government, for they knew that without it, their bold experiment with the U.S. Constitution was doomed to failure.

PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON (b.1732– d.1799)

POTUS #1: Party - None: April 30, 1789 - March 4, 1797, VICE PRESIDENT: JOHN ADAMS
POTUS #1: Party - None: April 30, 1789 - March 4, 1797, VICE PRESIDENT: JOHN ADAMS | Source
THE EMBRYO OF POLITICAL PARTIES
THE EMBRYO OF POLITICAL PARTIES | Source

THE PARTY OF "NO PARTY", 1789 - 1797

IT WAS GEORGE WASHINGTON'S fervent hope, and that of those who signed the Constitution of the United States, that American's new government could govern with the good of the country as the core motivation of their decision-making rather than the one-upmanship and partisanship brought about by political rivalries. They felt that political parties meant factionalism split along geographic lines. To further his belief Washington in effect banned political parties and in respect for the great man, in which virtually all Americans were still in awe, there was no real opposition to his wishes. He also selected his Vice President, John Adams; his Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson; and his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton in such a way in an attempt to bind the new nation together, for Washington and Jefferson were from the South, Adams and Hamilton were from the North; together, they held the four most powerful positions in the executive branch.

Washington's wishes notwithstanding, however, a semblance of informal political parties nevertheless did develop. The two sides were known as pro-administration and anti-administration and broke down generally along North-South lines with the pro-administration supporters coming mainly from the North and the anti-administration faction coming from the South. Leaders in on the pro-administration side were John Adams (MA) and Alexander Hamilton (NY) while the anti-administration faction can claim Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as members, both from Virginia.

The issues surrounding their disagreements were three, 1) the creation on a national bank, 2) the repayment of war debts, and 3) and which side of the French Revolutionary War, in which the British were involved, to support. Washington and the pro-administration faction supported the national bank and repayment of war debts, as well as assumption of state debts by the federal government, all of which became law. The pro-administration faction supported the British, while the anti-administration faction favored the French in the French Revolutionary war; George Washington maintained is well-known reticence to get involved in foreign affairs.

REPUBLICANISM AND SOVERIENGTY

TO UNDERSTAND AMERICA AND AMERICAN POLITICAL PARTIES one must understand these two ideas, Republicanism and Soveriengty, for they were what America was founded on. And, as I dig into what these words meant to our founding fathers, boy, have we gone astray.

Thomas Jefferson said, regarding Republicanism:

...a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally, according to rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens. Such a government is evidently restrained to very narrow limits of space and population. I doubt if it would be practicable beyond the extent of a New England township. The first shade from this pure element, which, like that of pure vital air, cannot sustain life of itself, would be where the powers of the government, being divided, should be exercised each by representatives chosen...for such short terms as should render secure the duty of expressing the will of their constituents. This I should consider as the nearest approach to a pure republic, which is practicable on a large scale of country or population ... we may say with truth and meaning, that governments are more or less republican as they have more or less of the element of popular election and control in their composition; and believing, as I do, that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights, and especially, that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people, are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents, I am a friend to that composition of government which has in it the most of this ingredient.[24]

And John Adams said, 1797, that Republicanism is "a government, in which all men, rich and poor, magistrates and subjects, officers and people, masters and servants, the first citizen and the last, are equally subject to the laws."[25]

FEDERALIST AND REPUBLICAN PARTIES: 1797 - 1825

Source

INSIDE A POLITICAL PARTY

BEFORE GETTING INTO THE DETAILS let me set the stage a tiny bit. Withing most large political parties there are normally three sub-factions, a conservative wing, a moderate wing, and a liberal wing. They are governed by the same characteristics just listed above and all are vying for control of the organization at any given time. It is my assertion that if the more extreme elements gain control of one or both parties, that history is clear the resulting government becomes more dysfunctional. As moderation gains the upper-hand, then government becomes more effective. Watch, as we travel through history, if this not actually the case

It is the existence of these factions within each of our two major parties which gives rise to all of the turbulence in party structure and platforms. If fact, as will see as we travel through time, it leads to a total reversal of philosophy held in the name of Republican and Democratic Parties which we are familiar with today.

Further, I want to dwell a little bit more on the terms conservative, liberal, and progressive a little bit more. People tend to be anachronistic, to place today's values on those who lived in the past. To be technically correct, I would have to call Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, two hard-core "limited government" advocates "Liberals", as the term was understood in the 1700s. Likewise, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington would have been considered "Conservatives". Obviously, we have turned these terms on their head in modern times. Also, Progressivism, which concerns itself mainly with human rights, didn't become a political idea until the middle 1800s with Abraham Lincoln and his peers; human rights, you see wasn't much of a concern to many people and politicians in the first 60 or 70 years of American history. (There were exceptions of course, most notably George Washington who freed his slaves in his will.)

In any case, I don't want to confuse the issue any more than it is, so I will purposefully be anachronistic and apply today's terms on yesterday's political figures; the Federalist and their progeny will be Progressives; the anti-Federalists and those that came after them I will call Conservatives. That way, by the time we work through the twists and turns of the growth of our political system, the parties and their ideological labels will be in sync.

Finally, following the path two original political parties, the Federalists and the Republicans, who came to be known as Democratic-Republicans, as they work their way through the myriad of various incarnations until they become the Democratic and Republican Parties we know today is a sight to behold. It is something like watching a Lava-lamp, if you are old enough to remember what those are (if not, Google it), with two lumps of Blue and Red goo lying at the bottom. Then, switching on the light and heat source (the 1800s) and watch the Blue and Red globs begin to mix and circulate and intertwine. Once the heat is removed (the mid-1900s), you will watch them settle back down again. There you have it, the development of America's political party system.

THE LIFE OF POLITICAL PARTIES

PARTY
FORMATION
DISSOLUTION
NO PARTY SYSTEM*
about 1789
about 1797
1ST PARTY SYSTEM
 
 
PRO-ADMINISTRATION FACTION*
about 10/1789
about 1797
ANTI-ADMINISTRATION*
about 10/1789
about 1797
FEDERALIST PARTY
1792
1824
DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN PARTY**
1791
1825
DEMOCRATIC PARTY
1828
-
NATIONAL REPUBLICAN PARTY
1824
1833
ANTI-MASONIC PARTY
1828
1838
WHIG PARTY
1833
1860
AMERICAN (KNOW NOTHING) PARTY
1845
1860
CONSITUTIONAL UNION PARTY
1859
1865
NAIONAL UNONI PARTY***
1864
1868
REPUBLICAN PARTY
1854
-
GREEN PARTY
1991
 
LIBERTARIAN PARTY
1971
 
AMERICAN INDEPENDENT PARTY
1967
 
PEACE & FREEDOM PARTY
1967
 
* at Federal level ** aks Republican Party, Jeffersonian Republican Party, or Madisonian Republican Party *** used to get Abraham Lincoln elected

Defining Terms and Symbols

BEFORE GETTING INTO THE REST OF THIS REVIEW, it would be helpful to define a few terms and establish some symbols to help identify what various Parties actually believed in at a given point in time.

CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION (CI, ci): How do members of the Party believe the Articles of the Constitution should be interpreted, Broadly or Strictly? Many, but certainly not all, of the founders who signed the Constitution believed in a broad interpretation where there were "implicit" powers contained in Constitutions articles; George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. James Madison stood out as one of the notable "strict constructionists" even though he personally made sure the word "explicit" was kept out of the 10th Amendment that clarified the separation of Powers between the States and the Federal governments.

DEMAND-SIDE (D,d): This is a catch-all term to describe the economic philosophy that some might think of as Keynesian economics, meaning an active government role in insuring the economy stays on as steady a course as possible. This is opposed to Supply-side who support classical economics who think the forces of supply-and-demand is all that is needed and the occasional wild swings are needed to "clean" things up a bit. Having said that, the only aspects of Keynesian economics that were known in early America were the need for a simple form of a national bank and an occasional need for deficit spending.

FEDERALISM (F,f): This term describes a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units, e.g., states. Federalism is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and state governments, If the Party believes that "sharing" should be weighted toward the central government then it will be designated with the symbol "F"; if the "sharing" is weighted toward the states, then the symbol is "f" and can be thought of as "states-rightists".

AMERICAN NATIONALISM (AN, an): This idea asserts that Americans are a nation and that promotes the cultural unity of Americans.1 pp 16 American nationalism is not "Nativism" or ethnic nationalism as conceived by other Parties, Instead, as conceived by most of our founders, it is based upon classical liberal individualist principles and institutionalized as a "civic nationalism" originating from legal and rational concepts of citizenship, and based on a common language and cultural traditions.1

NATIVISM (N,n): Nativism, on the other hand, is ethnic nationalism. This philosophy demands a favored status for certain established inhabitants of a nation as compared to claims of newcomers or immigrants.2 Nativists typically oppose immigration, they (or the Party) support efforts to lower the political or legal status of specific ethnic or cultural groups because the groups are considered hostile or alien to the natural culture, and assumes they cannot be assimilated.3

ECONOMIC LIBERALISM (EL, el): This is the ideological label for "free market" economics based on private property and individual as well as non-public (gov't, for those who want to parse words) organizational decision making as to means of production and distribution.4 It does include a spectrum of different governmental economic policies and regulations, but it is always based on strong support for a market economy. Various forms of economic liberalism will tolerate virtually no government intervention regarding free trade and open competition to sufficient regulation to control anti-competitive forces such as monopolies as well as in providing for public goods.[5] Economic liberalism, by definition, must support "free trade" and "open markets". The term "laissez-faire" and sometimes Classic Liberalism is associated with economic liberalism although they tend to more of the "gov't hands-off" version.

FOREIGN POLICY (FP, fp): Foreign policy boils down to whether a Party tends to be in favor of voluntarily engaging in non-trade related world affairs or tends not to want to unless circumstances dictate it.

INDUSTRIALIZATION (I,i): Promotion of an economy primarily based on industry rather than agriculture.

PROTECTIONISM (P,p): Protectionism would appear to be against the principles of economic liberalism in that it requires the central government to make laws and regulations protecting American businesses from outside threats, e.g., high tariffs, inside threats, e.g., labor unions, or to generally promote business. In practice, however, if often went hand-in-hand with those who promoted economic liberalism.

SOCIAL CONSERVATISM (SC, sc): This philosophy is generally focused on the preservation of family values, primarily within the family but also with respect to society as a whole, which brings in a role for central government. Social conservatives may appeal to federal legislators and Presidential candidates with the notion that the federal government should bear the responsibility to overrule the states in order to preserve their stated ideal of traditional values. Social conservatives emphasize traditional views of social units such as the family, church, or locale but will apply them to the society as a whole. In today's debate this may entail support for defining marriage as between a man and a woman (thereby banning same-sex marriage) and laws placing restrictions on abortion.


footnotes:

1Motyl, Alexander J. (2001). Encyclopedia of Nationalism, Volume II. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-227230-7.

2H. B. Entzinger; Marco Martiniello; Catherine Wihtol de Wenden (2004). Migration between states and markets. Ashgate. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-7546-4231-2.

3 Thomas J. Curran, "Assimilation and Nativie," International Migration Digest, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring, 1966), pp. 15-25

4 Ian Adams, Political Ideology Today (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), 20.

5Adam Smith". econlib.org.

LEADERS OF THE FEDERALIST PARTY

PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS (b. 1735,   d. 1826), POTUS #2, 1797 - 1803
PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS (b. 1735, d. 1826), POTUS #2, 1797 - 1803 | Source
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY ALEXANDER HAMILTON
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY ALEXANDER HAMILTON | Source

FEDERALIST PARTY [CI, F, FP, AN, EL, P, D, I, SC]: 1794 - 1825

THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM BEGAN, AGAINST THE WISHES OF THOSE WHO SIGNED THE CONSTITUTION, because of differences of opinions between Alexander Hamilton, on one side, and James Madison (both signers, by the way) and Thomas Jefferson on the other. While these three men didn't see eye-to-eye on many things, the three most significant issues which split Washington's "No Party" asunder were 1) monetary policy [P, D] (Hamilton vs Madison), 2) the strict vs broad interpretation of the Constitution [CI] (Jefferson and Madison vs. Hamilton), and 3) the neutrality status of America regarding the fight between England and France [FP] (Jefferson vs Hamilton), the latter disagreement nearly caused a civil war several years later.

The basis for each of these disagreements on principle stem from the background of the individuals involved. The most obvious difference between Hamilton, and his adherents, vs Jefferson/Madison, and their followers, is geography and employment. Hamilton (from NY) basically represented the industrial North and "big" cities while Jefferson/Madison (from VA) represented the values of the South and agrarian interests, e.g., the "yeoman" farmer. In the ensuing battle, the Federalist and Republican Parties were created, initially at the State level in 1794 or 1795, then nationally after George Washington left office. Ultimately, Washington, while never joining, sided with the Federalists.


A Picture of the Federalist Party (1794 - 1812)

CHART 1 - A RADAR GRAPH, WHICH '1' BEING THE MOST CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS AND '10' BEING THE MOST LIBERAL POSITIONS.
CHART 1 - A RADAR GRAPH, WHICH '1' BEING THE MOST CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS AND '10' BEING THE MOST LIBERAL POSITIONS. | Source

WHY THE DIFFERENCES?

  1. The argument over "neutrality" favoring either England (Hamilton) or France (Jefferson) was long-standing as well as extremely bitter and violent; it marred both the Washington and Adam's presidencies. Hamilton, representing the industrial North saw trade and tariffs as being of paramount importance in establishing America's legitimacy in the world. Protected trade was needed to fuel growth of industry in America and tariffs to provide funding to the US Treasury, to protect the fledgling American industry, to pay of its war debts, and to make America a good credit risk. This meant backing England because it would be America's largest trading partner. Jefferson, on the other hand, favored the "sister republic" of the new French revolutionaries who, like America, threw off the despot monarchy. Overlooked, however, was that the radicals, who took over the revolution in France, murdered or exiled most of those in the French monarchy and aristocrats who helped America win its freedom. In any case, it was Washington's compromise between these two men and the passing of the Jay treaty with England that finally led to the formation of two initial Parties.
  2. The fight between Hamilton and Madison (and later Jefferson), however, is still with us today ... in spades. It was known then and is known today as the battle over "limited government". Hamilton, Adams, and ultimately Washington, favored a stronger central government who believed the "Necessary and Proper" clause in the Constitution gave the federal government great leeway in carrying out its enumerated powers. In Hamilton's case, this was his desire to establish a National Bank. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand believed just the opposite, that the "Necessary and Proper" clause was a weak clause with limited applicability; that only the enumerated powers preceding this clause carried the real meaning. George Washington, who was often vilified by Jefferson via third party newspaper articles, still hoping to keep the peace compromised/ He sided with Hamilton regarding the National Bank, but, as mentioned earlier, went along, in part, with Jefferson regarding France and neutrality. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Further, ironically, Madison changed his mind during his own presidency 16 years later regarding the need for a national bank.

While those in Congress honored the signers of the Constitution and President Washington's wish that there be no political parties and therefore established none, they nevertheless, broke into factions; the pro-administration, led by Hamilton, and the anti-administration, led by Madison. Also, even though Congress might have acquiesced, those outside government didn't. The Federalist Party, along with its opponent, the Republican Party, were born and with them established what historians have called the First Party System.

FEDERALIST PARTY PLATFORM

So, what did Federalists believe in the 1790s? In part, some of the same things the Democrats do today and, in part, some of the things Conservatives currently hold dear as well. This dichotomy, and a similar one with the Republicans (which later morphed into the Democratic Party in 1825), should become clearer as you begin to discover the positions held by each side.

Probably the two most important terms that are bandied about today are "limited" government and "provide for the general Welfare". It is extremely clear from the prodigious amount of writing by both the Federalists, those for the ratification of the Constitution, and the Anti-federalists, those who were opposed to ratification, that these terms meant entirely different things to each; which is still the case today.

It should also be pointed out that the rhetoric from the Conservatives of the 21st Century leads one to believe that almost all of the Founders believed as they do today vis-a-vis "limited government". As you will see, clearly, this was not the case. So, let us start with the idea of "Limited Government"; just what did the Federalist think this term meant?

LIMITED GOVERNMENT

FIRST AND FOREMOST it must be understood that the vast majority of those who actually signed the Constitution of the United States, without the Bill of Rights, ended up belonging to the Federalist Party; one major exception was James Madison, one of the three authors of the Federalist's Papers (Alexander Hamilton and John Jay were the other two authors who became Federalists) which were so important in the ratification effort of the Constitution. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton ended up becoming the leaders of first Political Parties in America, a creation neither of them wanted at the outset.

THE NEXT THING to keep in mind is that one of the fundamental purposes of the Constitution was to create a viable and independent central government strong enough to lead and unite a country yet weak enough not to dominate it. It was further reasoned that the central government had to be strong enough, in and of itself, relative to the States, so that American could demonstrate to Europe that it had the power to speak for the United States (a Hamiltonian idea), and back it up, rather than acquiesce to letting the various European powers pick the bickering States apart and make separate alliances with them; of primary concern was England with the North and France with the South. This specific reason was included in documents leading to the creation of the Constitutional Convention. It is that concept as well which I believe the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they wrote Article 1 of the Constitution, especially Section 8 contained therein.

What precipitated such a change in philosophy was the dismal failure of the Continental Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, it could neither lead nor unite the country because its provisions made the Continental Congress into an essentially powerless non-entity, beholding to 13 squabbling States; each one pulling in a different direction to suit its own interests, whose inability to work together nearly cost America the revolution. America wasn't a United States of America, it wasn't even a united States of America, it was barely a confederation of states of America. After the revolution was won, this organizational principle sat very well with those who feared centralizing power, even with all of its flaws. Consequently they opposed the ratification of the Constitution and became known as Anti-federalist and who later constituted the bulk of the opposition Party; many of those ideas are found in political debate even today.

Consequently, most of the those who signed the Constitution and later became Federalists believed in a broad interpretation of the Constitution understanding that the "Necessary and Proper" clause had real meaning as Alexander Hamilton maintained. This, of course, is in opposition to the strict interpretation of the Constitution held by James Madison, a signer as well, and the anti-federalists who rather would have stuck with the Articles of Confederation (which was not Madison's view at all). Further, it should be noted that Madison believed in a "stricter" interpretation vs a "strict" one. One indication of this was his insistence that the word "explicitly" be kept out of the 10th Amendment, as in "The powers not delegated ..." rather than "The powers explicitly not delegated ...". If the latter phrase had been the wording, I doubt America would exist in its current form today; the European Union might be the model we ended up with.

ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY

There was really only one economic philosophy known in this time period, with some clear variations of course. For the most part both the Federalists and their opponents were more or less anti-regulation (the modern interpretation of laissiz-faire), but neither side was completely "hands-off". (It should also be noted that at this point in time, there wasn't much to regulate since most business was in the form of cottage industry.) The difference is that the Federalists wanted a stronger central government in order to create an economic environment to promote what industrialization there was beginning to develop in America. The anti-Federalists believed just the opposite relative to big business but did favor government in keeping tariffs low to further the interests of farmers. Neither side seemed willing or able at this point to help the citizenry out of economic trouble when disaster struck; in fact, this view would plague Americans until 1933.

Nevertheless, from the outset three critical philosophical differences separated the two sides. Federalists believed:

  1. in a national bank,
  2. a single, national currency,
  3. government intervention in the economic cycle, an Alexander Hamilton idea
  4. High tariffs to protect American businesses and provide funds to the Treasury
  5. Assumption of all State and Federal war debts by the new Nation and issuance of bonds to raise money to pay them off and establish credit

FOREIGN POLICY

AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, it was differences in foreign policy that finally led to the creation of the two-party system. The Federalists were primarily northern industrialists who needed two things, trade with England and protectionism in order to create an internal American market for their goods and services free of competition with the rest of the world. Alexander Hamilton also thought of England as being, in the future, the more important economic partner of all the European countries. Further, even though America had just thrown off the yokes of tyranny from Britain, it was from their parliament and their King, not their system of government and legal system which, after all, was the basis for our own.

Not so for the other European countries, including France; they were all essentially dictatorships, otherwise known as monarchies. They bore no resemblance to America's ideals of liberty and John Locke's "Contract" philosophy, which led to the Life, health, Liberty, and Property (now Happiness and the health was dropped) phrase we are all so familiar. For all of these reasons, those who became Federalists supported England against France in their new war with each other.

Thomas Jefferson, and his allies, were of the other mind. He was not blind to the fact that it was the French monarchy, out of self-interest of course, who were the ones who made American independence possible; he knew our independence was impossible without outside help because only about a 1/3 of colonists really cared that George Washington ended up victorious on the battlefield. (Another 1/3 still supported England, and moved to Canada after the war, and the last 1/3 were neutral.) He was also influenced by the fact that France had just undergone their own revolution, "sister revolutionaries" he called them, even though it was against those who helped us. Finally, the South no longer had economic ties to England as England had developed alternatives to cotton.

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS

THERE WHERE DISTINCT differences between the backgrounds of those who because Federalists and those who joined the Republican Party. Alexander Hamilton was no aristocrat, being an illegitimate child and orphan, yet the Party he led was the Party of Aristocrats who had a huge distrust of "democracy" which they saw as "mob rule". Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were clearly aristocrats (as were virtually all of the Founders), yet the backbone of their party were white, male agrarian farmers, the only non-aristocrats considered equal enough to be trusted with the vote.

It isn't well known, but when the Constitution was written, "aristocrats" were an accepted part of the world and, yes, American culture (it was the aristocratic class which was very much looked down on). In fact, an "aristocracy" was purposefully written into the Constitution! What then is an aristocracy? Wikipedia gives this definition:

"[The] origin [was] in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy. In later times, aristocracy was usually seen as rule by a privileged group (the aristocratic class), and contrasted with democracy.[1]"

Our Founders actually used all three of these forms of government in their design of the American central government; further, the Founders thought about it just in these terms, including the leaders from both nascent political parties, especially Thomas Jefferson. It should be easy to match the "form" from above with the branch in the federal government.

  • The "monarchy" is the President, who is not elected, but chosen by a college of electors who, in turn, were chosen by the various States in accordance with the Constitution.
  • The "aristocracy" is the Senate, who, again, is not elected, but appointed to a lengthy six-year term by the State legislatures and were intended to be men of means and prestige.
  • The "democracy" is the House, the "Republican" part of our system, where its members are elected directly by white men who own property, who, as Jefferson puts, have a "stake" in American society, to short two-year terms.

During the great fight over ratification of the Constitution, a significant portion of the argument by the anti-Federalists (later the Republicans) centered around the aristocracy and the monarch having too much power and would run roughshod over the people and their liberties. This argument was partly responsible for the passage of the Bill of Rights.

As previously mentioned, Federalists were mostly from the northern states or larger cities throughout the North and South, urbanites, if there were such a thing then. Their ranks were filled with industrialists, financiers of all stripes, and lawyers. They tended to be educated and their religious beliefs followed those of Congregationalists and Episcopalians.

Notable Federalists were Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Adams, and Chief Justice John Marshall. George Washington, while never adopting any Party, was definitely sympathetic to the Federalists.

THE FOUNDERS

PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON, (b. 1743, d. 1826), (POTUS #3, MARCH 4, 1801 - MARCH 4, 1809
PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON, (b. 1743, d. 1826), (POTUS #3, MARCH 4, 1801 - MARCH 4, 1809 | Source
PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON, (b. 1751, d. 1836), POTUS #4, MARCH 4. 1809 - MARCH 4, 1817
PRESIDENT JAMES MADISON, (b. 1751, d. 1836), POTUS #4, MARCH 4. 1809 - MARCH 4, 1817 | Source

REPUBLICAN PARTY [ci, f, EL, p, i], 1792 - 1825

JAMES MADISON FOUNDED THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, as it was commonly known then, in Philadelphia around 1791 or 1792. Other names were the Jeffersonian Party and, the one most often used today by historians, the Democratic-Republican Party. Republican simply comes from the idea that our form of government is a republican or representative form of government, an idea that Madison holds dear. Likewise, the idea of a democracy, where the People made the decisions, rather than the aristocrats, ran strong in the South, hence the name Democrat will come into use; this will become more apparent later.

The reasons for the Party's formation have already been covered in the discussion of the Federalist Party. Briefly, it boiled down to disagreements between Alexander Hamilton and his supporter's 1) interpretation of how "limited" a limited federal government should be, 2) support for England in its latest war with France, and 3) the establishment of a national bank and taking on a national debt and the team of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson as well as their allies who had polar opposite beliefs. Each of the antagonists needed to build up local, state, and national organizations to mobilize support to elect members who supported their particular ideologies into the Presidencies and Congresses following follow George Washington's departure in 1797.

So, what is it that describes a Republican Party? What did they stand for? You had a little introduction in the section on the Federalist Party, but there is much more to cover.

"LIMITED" GOVERNMENT

It is from this Republican Party where today's Conservatives draw their idea of what "limited" means; not the Republican Party to be formed 50 years later; the Party of Lincoln; instead this is the Party of Madison. It derives from what James Madison had in mind when he wrote the Bill of Rights, even though he softened this view later in life when faced with the realities of running the country. "Limited" in the context of what the Republicans believed is defined as the "strict" interpretation of the Constitution. In other words, if a law which Congress wants to pass cannot be linked to a specific (note, this does not mean "explicit") enumerated power, then the Federal government was not allowed to pass such a law. Madison was clear in his determination to strike the word "explicit" from the 10th Amendment each time it was proposed. With its absence, that leaves interpretation up to the Supreme Court.

The first issue to test this theory was Alexander Hamilton's belief that the establishment of a National Bank is critical to, among other things, "borrow Money on the credit of the United States" and to "coin Money and regulate the Value thereof ...", both are enumerated powers in Section 8 of Article 1. To accomplish this, Hamilton believed the clause in the same Section which states that "To make all Laws which shall be "necessary and proper" to carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers ..." gave Congress the authority to establish the First Bank of the United; James Madison strongly disagreed (Jefferson was somewhat neutral) and argued that using the Necessary and Proper clause gave no such authority, which, if true, means this clause is to be kept in a straight-jacket --- so the battle was on and was settled by President Washington who sided with Alexander Hamilton and a "less strict" interpretation of the Constitution..

When Madison became President however, he found it necessary and proper to eat his words and follow Washington's lead to allow the use of the Necessary and Proper clause to justify establishing the Second Bank of the United States, since it had already been established, in order to help resolve a depression. Nevertheless, that lesson was lost of future Democratic presidents such as Andrew Jackson, who killed the Second Bank the first chance he got.


A Picture of the Republican Party (1791 - 1812)

CHART 2 - A RADAR GRAPH, WHICH '1' BEING THE MOST CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS AND '10' BEING THE MOST LIBERAL POSITIONS.
CHART 2 - A RADAR GRAPH, WHICH '1' BEING THE MOST CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS AND '10' BEING THE MOST LIBERAL POSITIONS. | Source

A Picture of the Democratic - Republican Party (1812 - 1828)

CHART 3 - A RADAR GRAPH, WHICH '1' BEING THE MOST CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS AND '10' BEING THE MOST LIBERAL POSITIONS.
CHART 3 - A RADAR GRAPH, WHICH '1' BEING THE MOST CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS AND '10' BEING THE MOST LIBERAL POSITIONS. | Source

ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY

Unlike the Federalist Party, the Republicans consider themselves the party of of the people, which, at this time in history meant white, Protestant, property-owning farmers, primarily in the South, but in the rural sections of the North as well. Even though the leadership of the Democratic-Republicans like Madison and Jefferson, are clearly aristocrats, they are nevertheless mostly slave-owning plantation owners. As a consequence, this drove their economic philosophy, which necessarily is at odds with that of the industrially-based Federalists.

Farmers need access to foreign markets and therefore high tariffs present barriers to agricultural trade, consequently, they favor low or no tariffs. This fits with their belief in limited government as well as they see no need for the federal government to accumulate wealth and, as a result, power and tariffs was a main source of income for the federal government. Further, they didn't believe, and in fact were afraid of a national bank. Instead, they felt state banks should be left independent to issue their own money not under control of a central bank, i.e., States Rights.

REGARDING PRINCIPLE AND PRAGMATISM

BOTH HAVE THEIR PLACES IN POLITICS. I have tried to show this in the series by a similar name of which this will be a part. This is a particularly good place to insert this discussion because it is the tension between these two ideas, more properly, clumsily titled "Principle and Principled Pragmatism", that is behind the remaining sections of what I hope will become another book.

It is my observation over the last 50 years or so of watching politics, yes, I started at 15, that two things are true. 1) Men and women of principle drive change, whether it be good or bad and 2) it is men and women of pragmatism that make it work in the long-term, maybe not in its original form, but close enough for government work. Why is this so?

People who are driven solely by Principles are zealots. They are, by definition, deaf to any logic or reason beyond their own. They are focused and they are often driven to succeed. You see that in the formation of America. Those that saw a future for the colonies independent from English rule were a distinct minority and very much disliked by much of the populous. They were certainly viewed by the English and their supporters much the way we view al Qaida today, for the patriots, which is how we think of them, used some of the same tactics of bombings, assassinations, fires, and other such terrorist activities. Fortunately, it didn't have the same awful consequences to innocent civilians as bin Laden caused, but they weren't lily white either.

There, of course, the comparison ends. Our goals were completely different from the al Qaida terrorists; we wanted freedom FROM what we perceived as tyranny and a desire to determine our own destiny while al Qaida wanted to ESTABLUSH religious tyranny over the world. Nevertheless, history is full of examples that when one starts a revolution, whether for good or bad reasons, men driven solely by principle must and will use whatever means necessary to achieve their goal, including terrorism; and that included the American patriots. I must note here that there are several instances in history were men of principled pragmatism accomplished the same goal, but without resorting to such extreme measures; but those are rare because it is extremely difficult to achieve.

Further, it takes a large number of people who also believe in that principle strongly enough to die for it. While the States bickered among themselves, after setting George Washington off on his task to defeat the British, they basically abandoned him, It is our good fortune that Washington was able to find enough patriots willing to suffer the unimaginable hardships to carry the day, with the help of the French and a couple of other allies, of course, who wanted Britain to go down. But for those men of principle, rather than the State legislatures, we would be singing Hail to the Queen today1.

So, America won its independence, what then. We stuck with Principle only and tried to live with the Articles of Confederation and the Continental Congress; unfortunately, it failed miserably. It failed because its designers were not Pragmatic; instead they created a document and built a system that was rigid, unchangeable, and expected men to act in such a way that is counter to human nature. As a result, they were sent back to "tweak" the Articles. It was at the Constitutional Convention where Principle and Pragmatism fought it out; fortunately for us today, Pragmatism won.

OK, I keep using this term Pragmatism or Principled Pragmatism, but just what do I mean by it? It is simple really. Pragmatism is taking Principle and applying it in a practical manner such that the Principles being advocated will actually work over the long-term. In order for that to happen, one must employ the Art of Compromise, which is a fundamental feature of political Pragmatism. And that is what the Constitution of the United States is, a Pragmatic document created and signed by Principled, yet Pragmatic men.

Those men of only Principle either didn't come to the Constitutional Convention, such as Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and the entire Rhode Island delegation; or left the Convention such as two of the three delegates from New York, only Alexander Hamilton stayed; or refused to sign the document, those being George Mason (VA), Edmund Randolph (VA), and Elbridge Gerry (MA). These men were present at the signing but 12 others were not present and didn't sign either, the two each from NY, VA, MD, NC, and GA; and one each from CT, MA, and NJ. Most, if not all of these men fought hard against the ratification of the Constitution on Principled grounds.

Thirty-nine Principled-Pragmatic men, however, did sign and then fought for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Without them, without Pragmatism, without the Art of Compromise, we might very well have gone the way of warring Europe, each State willing to go to war with its neighbors in order to protect its sovereign State's Rights. (The question the reader must now ask themselves is where does today's political process stand relative to our founding? Are the anti-Constitutionalists finally winning 217 years later?)

1. To make a fine point of it, our founding fathers did not want to break away from England. Instead, they wanted independence from the English Parliament, not the King.

A Picture of the Federalist Party (1812 - 1824)

CHART 4 - A RADAR GRAPH, WHICH '1' BEING THE MOST CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS AND '10' BEING THE MOST LIBERAL POSITIONS.
CHART 4 - A RADAR GRAPH, WHICH '1' BEING THE MOST CONSERVATIVE POSITIONS AND '10' BEING THE MOST LIBERAL POSITIONS. | Source

THE DEATH OF THE FEDERALIST PARTY: 1812 - 1825

I WOULD ATTRIBUTE THE DEATH OF THE FEDERALIST PARTY TO "PRINCIPLE" WINNING OUT OVER "PRAGMATISM". With the election of John Adams as President in 1797, the Federalist Party became divided between the Adams and Hamilton camps. Worse, not only did the two have policy differences, they truly disliked each other (and Hamilton also wanted the Presidency). In terms of how each approached politics, Adams was Aristotle's pragmatist where Hamilton was Plato's principlist; and the two could never see eye-to-eye, especially over foreign policy. It was this schism and the intrigues that resulted which ultimately brought the Party down.

The incubator, however was foreign policy. Initially, Adams and Hamilton were of like mind in opposing Republican support of the French in preference for the more pragmatic benefits of a long-term trading relationship with England. The leadership of both Parties were quite aware of what had and was taking place during the French Revolution; it was an extremely grisly affair which one can compare to the slaughter from the Bolshevik Revolution or the mass murder of those who don't believe a specific way by ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State in the Middle East today. Like ISIS, chopping off heads was the favorite method of murder of the monarchs and aristocratic class by the French revolutionaries, the only difference is they used the guillotine instead of a sword. Both, however, had a penchant for sticking some of the heads on polls for public displays.

It was for this reason, and the fact that the victims were the very same people who finally decided to lend critical support to the Americans in our own revolutionary struggles against the British, that Adams, Hamilton, and rest of the Federalists refused to work with the French revolutionary government. On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, as well as the other Republicans, managed to overlook these "minor" flaws and throw their support behind their brother revolutionaries.

The ensuing fight from 1793 - 1800 nearly brought down America as an experiment in self-governance; it also proved to be the catalyst for the demise of the Federalist Party. If readers think contemporary politics is mean and vicious, please take some time to read what our most respected founders wrote and said about each other, or had published anonymously through third parties. Jefferson all but crucified George Washington in print, while he and Madison authored two pieces of State legislation (VA and KY) designed to nullify Federal law. What we observe today are children playing in a sandbox by comparison. OK, back to the story.

Keep in mind, the American people are watching all of this; they were very well read back in those days, much more so than Americans are today. George Washington tries to split the middle between Hamilton and Jefferson by agreeing to remain neutral in the war between Britain and France. However, in 1793 France sent a new ambassador named Edmond Charles Genêt. Genêt immediately began mobilizing pro-French sentiment, taking sides in American politics by raising money for Republican candidates and societies who attacked Federalists, outfitting privateers to sail with American crews to attack British ships under a French flag, and organize Americans to attack Spanish Louisiana and Florida; with whom France was also at war.1

Jefferson was annoyed by all of this activity and suggested to Genêt that he was "crossing the line of friendship". This led Genêt to try to go over Jefferson's head and appeal directly to the American public. That was enough for Jefferson and had Genêt recalled back to France. Instead, in 1794, Genêt headed to New York City, ironically with the help of his bitter enemy, Alexander Hamilton, to escape certain death at the bottom of a guillotine.

This episode gave the Federalist a leg up in their fight with the Republicans. The Republicans recover, however, with the unpopular 1794 Jay Treaty with Britain. The treaty was an initiative of Hamilton, who had the support of George Washington, and was designed to wrap up loose ends from before and during the Revolutionary War. It settled boundaries and debts owed by both sides. The purpose was to promote trade and avert war, a laudable goal, except, apparently to the Republicans who, some think, wanted war. Republicans felt the Treaty was an insult to American prestige and a repudiation of the French alliance of 1777. Southern farmers were also very upset because they had to repay old debts but did not get paid for slaves the British took from them. This last Jay Treaty obligation cost the Federalist their support in much of the South including the larger cities. It also began weakening Federalist support in the rural areas of the Northeast as well.

Another Hamilton initiative, new excise taxes, led to the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania in 1791. This skirmish also played a major role in shaping things to come, this time for the Federalists. In 1794, President Washington quashed the rebellion by leading federalized national guard into the rebel's territory. The rebels dispersed without a fight and everything ended peaceably ... on the battlefield that is; not politically. Republican's went on the attack saying there was no rebellion, it was a figment of the Federalist's imagination and the Democratic-Republican Societies funded by Edmond Charles Genêt started publishing scandalous broadsides. Washington, however, counterattacked against the Societies arguing they were illegitimate and Federalists insulted Republicans by calling them democrats, inferring they are in favor of "mob rule".

This ugly tit-for-tat continued until the election in 1796 where it ended in a Federalist take-over of the government, despite the general lack of support in the South. It was the popular dislike of Republican support of the French after the outrageous conduct of the French ambassador which seemed to have the most influence on carrying the day for the Federalists. Consequently, Vice President John Adams was elected President.

From there, things started to go downhill for the Federalists, and particularly President Adams, a brash and often disagreeable man. Even so, in the four short years Federalists were in power, significant and lasting changes were made regarding the future of America; one of them being the appointment of Federalist Chief Justice John Marshall to the Supreme Court.

Most important to the longevity of the Federalist Party, however, were a set of acts passed in 1798 in response, allegedly, to the "quasi-war" with France and French meddling in American affairs on the mainland. These infamous acts were the Naturalisation Act, the Alien Friends Act, the Alien Enemies Act, and the Sedition Act. Many people think, however, these acts, especially the Sedition Act, were directed at the Republicans because of their active support of the French. To say the least, these acts were not well received, not well received at all (although having said that, the Alien Enemies Act and Naturalization Act have never been repealed). These Acts cost Adams his reelection and soured much of the South and the rural North on the Federalists Party.

With the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800, the Republicans, now often called Democratic-Republicans, swept into Congress with the House switching from 22 Federalists and 10 Republicans to 15 Federalists and 17 Republicans in the Senate. The House moved even more going from 60 Federalists and 46 Republicans to 38 Federalists and 68 Republicans!

When John Adams lost to Jefferson, he retired which took one of the two leaders of the Federalist Party out of play, leaving the field to the more radical Alexander Hamilton. In 1804, however, the Vice President of the United States shot Alexander Hamilton in an illegal duel; Hamilton died the next day. The Federalist Party was now effectively leaderless.

Thomas Jefferson began expanding his party's platform to be more inclusive in order to bring disaffected Federalists into the Democratic-Republican fold; it worked. It wasn't long until the Federalist bastions were limited to the metropolitan areas of New England. Also, the Federalists opposed the War of 1812 because of the disastrous effects it had on trade, the lifeblood of its members. Ultimately they convened at the Hartford Convention beginning in December 1814 to decide what to do; at this time, the Federalists could only muster 8 out of 36 Senators and 68 out 182 Representatives.

During the convention, there was talk of secession and a separate peace with England. In the end, they settled on presenting a set of grievances to the Democratic-Republicans and a demand for a set of Constitutional Amendments that would make it much harder to work mischief against the Federalists. "Ambassadors" from Massachusetts were sent to negotiate their terms when word that America won the war arrived. Unfortunately, the cat was out of the bag and Federalists were seen as disloyal. By 1825, when the Federalist Party dissolved itself, they were down to 5 out of 48 Senators and 24 and 213 Representatives.



1 Elkins, Stanley; Eric McKitrick (1993). The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788–1800. Oxford University Press.ISBN 0-19-506890-4

DEATH OF THE FEDERALIST PARTY: 1797 - 1820

Source

PARTIES AND THEIR BELIEFS

PRIMARY PHILOSOPHY
Principal Ideology*
Strict Constitutional Interpretation
Federal More Equal than States
Engage in World Affairs
Anti-Slavery
Tariffs and Taxes
Egalitarian
Individualism vs Social Order
Economics
Business vs Labor
Religion @ Fed Level
Rural vs Urban
Debt
Progressive
PARTY or FACTION (WING)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anti-Federalists ( - 1790)
Conservative
YES (Most opposed Constitution initially)
NO
NO
NO
Low Tariffs, No/Low Taxes
NO
YES, as it applied to White, Protestant, Landed Males
No Fed Involvement
Small Business/Agrarian
Christian
Rural
None
NO
Federalists (1794 - 1825)
"Situational" Liberal
NO
YES
To a Point YES
Not so much
High Tariffs, Taxes as Needed
NO
YES, as it applied to White, Landed Males
Some Fed Involvement
Large Business
Secular
Urban
Useful
Minimally
Republicans (1790 - 1824)
Conservative and Minimal-State Liberals
YES
NO
To a Point NO
NO
Low Tariffs, No/Low Taxes
NO
YES, as it applied to White, Protestant, Landed Males
Marginal Fed Involvement
Small Business/Agrarian
Secular
Rural
None
Extremely few
National Republicans (1824 - 1833)
"Situational" Liberal
NO
YES
To a Point YES
Not so much
High Tariffs, Taxes as Needed
NO
YES, as it applied to White, Landed Male
More Fed Involvement as needed
Large Business
Secular
Urban
Useful
Some
DEMOCRATS (1824 - 1860)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
-- Northern Democrats
Minimal-State and Active-State Liberals
More or less
NO
To a Point YES
YES
Low Tariffs, No/Low Taxes
NO, but exception appearing
YES, as it applied to White, Male
Marginal Fed Involvement
Mixture
Secular
Urban/Rural
None
Many
-- Southern Democrats
Minimal-State Liberals
Yes
NO
To a Point YES
NO
Low Tariffs, No/Low Taxes
NO
YES, as it applied to White, Protestant, Males
Marginal Fed Involvement
Small Business/Agrarian
Mix Secular/Christian
Rural
None
A few
WHIGS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
-- Northern Whigs
"Situational" Liberal
NO
YES
To a Point YES
YES
High Tariffs, Taxes as Needed
NO, but exception appearing
YES, as it applied to White, Male
Fed Involvement as needed
Large Business, but some sympathy with Labor
Secular
Urban
Useful
Many
-- Southern Whigs
Conservative and Minimal-State Liberals
More or less
NO
To a Point YES
NO
High Tariffs, Taxes as Needed
NO
YES, as it applied to White, Male
More Fed Involvement as needed
Mixture
Secular
Urban/Rural
Useful
A few
* 1) While all Parties are made of up of elements from most ideologies, this would be the ideology that drives the Party Platform. 2) Ideological definitions are based on academic works, which are relatively constant over time, and not in colloquial

BIRTH OF THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES

USING CMAP
USING CMAP | Source
Source

The Birth of the National Republican Party (1824 - 1833)

WITH THE IMPLOSION OF THE FEDERALIST PARTY after the War of 1812, the Democratic Republican Party opened its arms and its platform to accommodate former members of the Federalist Party. One such member of note would be John Quincy Adams who would become the 6th President of the United States.

Before that, a few founders needed their turn at the helm. First was the one-term John Adams, Quincy's father, then Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. (He, along with Henry Clay and other helped create Liberia in Africa and sponsored freed blacks to that new country. In return, the capital, Monrovia, was named after then Governor Monroe). Each served two terms and were all Democratic Republicans. Of the three, Monroe was the more "states-rightest" and actually began politics as an anti-federalist opposed to the ratification of the Constitution. Nevertheless, in the end all three were or became staunch nationalists; remember the Monroe Doctrine?

With each succeeding Presidency however, schisms began to develop in the one-Party government that now ruled America. They became very public with the election of John Quincy Adams, the former Federalist, in 1825; he just did squeak by his more conservative opponent, Andrew Jackson. During the run-up to Adams' election, former Federalists, supporters of Adams, and opponents of Jackson came together and began the framework of the National Republican Party in 1824.

With the defeat of Adams four years later by Jackson, the National Republican Party became a reality, mainly East of Ohio and North of Virginian, plus Louisiana who wanted high tariffs. They ran Henry Clay against Andrew Jackson in the 1832 Presidential elections and suffered a massive loss.

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Comments 7 comments

Bob Zermop profile image

Bob Zermop 4 years ago from California, USA

Holy crap, this hub is great. I've read a lot (seriously, a lot) of books on early American history and even the formation of the two parties, but very few were as concise and on base as this. Looking forward to reading the completed version! I'll follow the comments, post something when you've gotten further. Voted up, interesting, and awesome.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thank you very much for the complement, Bob, I was sort of hoping this was a fairly unique work. It fits with the way I was put together, I am sort of systems guy at heart.


HSchneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

I look forward to reading it all, My Esoteric. I know I would have been a Federalist at the start, then a Whig, then a Republican, then a FDR Democrat.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Appreciate it HS, yes, me too.


Dwizard profile image

Dwizard 4 years ago

Nice hub. I like the history going back into the past. It would be interesting to contrast the views of republicans vs democrats in the late 1800's to the present beliefs. Especially when it comes to state vs federal powers. It seems as though the parties have switched sides on this view and I would be interested to see at what point in time did that this happen.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for you comment, Dwizard. I will be covering that although it will be awhile before we get to the big switch. However, you should be amazed come the time of the Civil War, at how often the sands shifted in and among the various parties.


Joseph041167 profile image

Joseph041167 3 years ago from Nashville TN 37206.

I am still studying this paper. I follow it. It is absolutely awesome. The library here is closing so I have to run. I will return. This paper is in my follow section. This paper, I mean, is absolutely awesome, and it is well needed, very necessary information. You can see how the Civil War was already brewing at the inception of our nation, and I think these issues are still unresolved. Pull up UKIP, these are global issues.

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