Chapter 8 A New Republic and the Rise of Parties, 1789—1800

Chapter 8
A New Republic and the Rise of Parties,
Chapter Summary
Chapter 8 offers students a survey of the early national period, including the regional diversity of the
United States in 1789; the rise of the Federalist party during the Washington administration, including
special emphasis on early legislation and the Hamilton financial policy; the emergence of opposition to
the Federalist agenda and the rise of the Republican party; the decline of the Federalists during the Adams
administration; and the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800.
Washington’s America
The Uniformity of New England
The Pluralism of the Mid-Atlantic Region
The Slave South and Its Backcountry
The Growing West
Forging a New Government
“Mr. President” and the Bill of Rights
Departments and Courts
Revenue and Trade
Hamilton and the Public Credit
Reaction and Opposition
The Emergence of Parties
The French Revolution
Franco-American relations
The growth of Democratic-Republican societies
Securing the Frontier
The Whiskey Rebellion
Treaties with Britain and Spain
The First Partisan Election
The Last Federalist Administration
The French Crisis and the XYZ Affair
Crisis at Home
The End of the Federalists
Learning Objectives
After a careful examination of Chapter 8, students should be able to do the following:
Describe the degree of ethnic diversity in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South in 1789.
Describe the degree of religious diversity in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South in 1789.
Describe the characteristics of and attitudes toward the institution of slavery in New England, the
Mid-Atlantic, and the South in 1789.
Describe the status of women in New England in 1789 and explain the concept of republican
Describe the variations in political ideology in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South in 1789.
Describe the degree of economic complexity in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South in 1789.
Discuss western migration and settlement in 1789.
Outline the provisions of the Bill of Rights.
Describe the original Cabinet created by George Washington and the extent to which the
President was able to exercise authority over it.
Outline the components of Hamilton s financial plan for addressing the public debt.
Explain the opposition to each point of Hamilton s financial plan and how resolution was
eventually reached.
Distinguish between the terms strict constructionist and broad constructionist.
Explain the impact of the French Revolution on the emergence of the first political party system.
Identify Edmond Gen_t and explain his impact on the growing tensions between Federalists and
Explain the circumstances surrounding and the impact of the Whiskey Rebellion.
Outline the provisions of Jay’s Treaty and explain why it was poorly received in the United States.
Explain Spain s reasons for negotiating Pinckney s Treaty.
Describe the events surrounding the election of 1796 and explain what was unusual about its outcome.
Describe the events surrounding the XYZ Affair.
Explain the Direct Tax of 1798 and describe its impact on factionalism in the United States.
List the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and explain the provisions of each.
Understand the meaning of the terms nullification and interposition as they relate to Jefferson and
Madison s Virginia and Kentucky resolutions.
Describe the circumstances surrounding Fries s Rebellion.
Comment on the Franco-American Accord of 1800 and how it reflected Adams s split from the
Hamiltonian wing of the Federalist party.
Explain how religion impacted the election of 1800.
Discuss the importance of the election of 1800 in terms of the Twelfth Amendment to the
Constitution and in terms of how it reflected the first peaceful transfer of power from one political
faction to another in American history.
Topics for Classroom Lectures
Prepare a lecture on the distinctive role of New England in American life during the early
national period. In his history of the Civil War Battle Cry of Freedom, James M. McPherson commented
on traditional perceptions regarding regional distinction in the following passage:
Through most of American history, the South has seemed different from the rest of the
United States with a separate and unique identity . . . which appeared to be out of the
mainstream of American experience. But when did the northern stream become the
mainstream? From a broader perspective, it may have been the North that was
exceptional and unique before the Civil War.
Was New England already unique by 1789? How did climate, geography, economics, and religion
contribute to the region s distinction? Why did New England lean toward a more centralized government
than the South or West? How successful will the region be in appealing to sympathies of the South and
West? What does this predict about the Civil War?
Prepare a lecture examining the American West. Again, in anticipation of studying the Civil
War, focus on the distinctions between the West and the rest of the nation. Even though the South and
West generally voted alike in political elections, to what extent were their interests and concerns really
similar? Anticipate the emergence of the West as the region caught in the middle during the Civil War, a
region without strong political similarities or allegiances to either the North or the South.
Prepare a presentation focusing on Alexander Hamilton s financial policy and the sources of
opposition to it. Who were the major critics of the program, what region of the country did they
represent, what was the socioeconomic background of their constituency? To what extent did the debate
over financial policy contribute to the emergence of political parties?
Prepare a lecture focusing on the emergence of states rights political philosophy during the early
national period. Using the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, discuss the concepts of state nullification
of federal law and interposition. Historically, have we considered the use of these principles to be
constitutional? Why or why not? Have we historically had a clear understanding in the United States
about where sovereignty lies? Use this opportunity to help students anticipate the reemergence of these
issues prior to the Civil War and during the Civil Rights Movement.
Topics for Class Discussion and Essays
Have a class discussion focusing on the Whiskey Rebellion. Among questions for student
consideration, include the following:
Were the people of western Pennsylvania justified in protesting the excise tax on whiskey?
Was the Washington administration justified in using force to put down the rebellion?
Two men involved in the rebellion were found to be guilty of treason. Did their
participation in the rebellion constitute treason? Why or why not?
Who were the rebels? What was their socioeconomic background? With what class did
the sympathies of the Federalist rest?
To what extent is a democratic government obligated to respond to the will of the people?
To what extent are the people of a republic bound to support and obey the government
they create?
Ask students to think of modern-day issues that continue to reflect American ambiguities
regarding the power of government versus the will of the people.
Have students discuss the Federalist use of the Alien and Sedition Acts against the Republican
party. Among questions for consideration are the following:
How did Federalists justify the enactment of the Alien and Sedition Acts? How did they
justify their use against members of the Republican Party?
Have students connect the Sedition Act to the Bill of Rights. Was the Sedition Act
Does war or threat of war justify an abridgment of civil liberties? Why or why not? At
what point does the exercise of free speech become treasonous? Does freedom of speech
take precedence over national security?
Tie this issue to the future by discussing World War I and the Sedition Act of 1918. Pass
out a copy of both the 1798 act and the 1918 act and ask students to comment on the two.
Even though most students will not have yet studied World War I, ask them if they think
the two laws were passed under similar circumstances. Was one law more justified than
the other? Were both laws justified? Was neither law justified?
Have students consider the 2003 war in Iraq. Should laws such as the Sedition Act be
enacted today? How do students feel about Americans who publicly oppose the war?
Would laws like the Sedition Act help or hurt the Bush administration?
Compare and contrast the Federalist and Republican parties with the modern day Republican and
Democratic parties. Is there any similarity between the issues that divided Americans in the eighteenth
century and the issues that divide Americans today? In making the comparisons, look at policies related
to federalism, economics, socioeconomic sympathies, foreign affairs, and regionalism.
Topics for Term Papers and Class Projects
Research the status of women in the late eighteenth century, focusing particularly on the
“republican motherhood.” How did the experience of resistance and revolution change American women
and cultural perceptions of them? How had the image of motherhood changed in America since the
seventeenth century? How did these changes in the image of motherhood combine with the radical political
changes of the Revolutionary era to create new expectations about the role of women in America?
Examine Jay s Treaty as an example of early American foreign policy. What were the
weaknesses of the document? Were there any strengths? Were there sectional implications in the
provisions of the document? Overall, was the treaty good for the United States or did it hurt the country?
Resources for Lectures and Research Projects
Joyce Appleby, Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans (2000).
Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism (1993).
Jeoseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers:The Revolutionary Generation (2000).
Richard Hofstadter, The Idea of a Party System (1969).
Linda Kerber, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (1980).
Phyllis Lee Levin, Abigail Adams (1991).
Thomas Slaughter, The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution (1986).
James Morton Smith, Freedom’s Fetters: The Alien and Sedition Laws and American Civil Liberties (1950).
Audio-Visual Resources
American Visions: The Republic of Virtue, Time, Inc./BBC/Thirteen WNET, New York, 1997, 60 minutes.
The second episode of Robert Hughes series on American art examines the work of the early republican
era. This video looks at the impact of early American political ideals on the development of national art.
The Duel: The American Experience, Oregon Public Broadcasting, 1999, 60 minutes.
This video chronicles the relationship between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, a political rivalry
that culminated in the most famous duel in American history.