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What caused the demise of the Federalist party?

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2010-06-09 13:49:32

After the Constitution was drafted in Philadephia in 1787, those

who favored ratification called themselves "Federalists" - also the

name of a famous series of newspaper articles written by Alexander

Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. Most of the leading men in

the country, including Washington, Madison, Adams, Hamilton and

Jefferson, were united in support of the new government.

Federalists controlled all branches of the US government for the

first three presidential administrations and the programs and ideas

of Alexander Hamilton - funding the debt, establishing a national

bank, promoting commerce and industry, avoiding premature war with

England - prevailed. But divisions began to appear in the early

1790's and some of the original Federalists - Madison and Jefferson

prominent among them - began to oppose the policies of Hamilton and

Washington. They founded an opposition party, which called itself

the "Republican Party" (later the "Democratic-Republican Party). In

1801, the Republicans won the election and placed Jefferson in the

White House. Hamilton was killed in a duel in 1804. The event that

ended the Federalist Party in history is known as the Hartford

Convention of 1814. At the Convention, New England Federalists

vented their anger over Jefferson's embargo, which hurt commerce.

They did not propose secession from the union, but did advance the

idea that the states could nullify "unconstitutional" acts of

Congress, a doctrine later asserted by the South during the run-up

to the Civil War. After the Battle of New Orleans and the end of

the War with England, these positions were exceedingly unpopular.

They were also inconsistent with the longstanding support of

Federalists for a strong and energetic national government.

Federalists were disgraced which led the the end of the party.


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