Why did the Federalist Party collapse?

by on February 28, 2016 at 12:38 am in Current Affairs, History, Law, Political Science | Permalink

I am not sure what prompted me to read up on this topic, but here is part of one of the dizzying answers I found:

When the votes were counted, Jefferson and his running mate Aaron Burr had both received seventy-three electoral votes; John Adams had obtained sixty-five, while Pinckney, his running mate, had sixty-four. The one remaining vote had gone to John Jay. The Federalists had denied one vote to Pinckney to insure that he would not obtain the presidency instead of Adams. The Republicans, however, had blundered in this respect. The Constitution provided merely that the candidate with the largest number of electoral votes should become President. As it was, Jefferson and Burr were tied. The election went into the House of Representatives where the Constitution provided that a state’s vote would be cast by a majority decision of its representatives. Since the Federalists controlled six states and had divided control in two states, they could prevent the election of either Republican – and over the bitter opposition of Hamilton they contemplated throwing their support behind Burr. They hoped to break the Republican ranks and secure themselves from “the fangs of Jefferson.” Hamilton pressed for the election of Jefferson, his old rival, insisting that Burr had the inclinations of a Caesar whereas Jefferson, despite his democratic fanaticism, would conserve the established order. But the Federalists, ignoring the urgent protests of Hamilton, persisted in a course that threatened to complete the Federalist debacle. Hamilton saw himself in “the awkward situation of a man who continues sober after the company are drunk.” Burr did nothing to simplify their task, to cooperate by private word or deed.

And that is only part of the story.  Here is a simpler and indeed too simplistic account:

The Federalist party had the perception of favoring the upper class, and as a result they began to lose support of the general population. The Democratic and Republican parties started focusing on issues that appealed more to the “common man”, and as a result began to sway voters away from the Federalist party until it finally ceased to exist.

I’ll let you know what else I learn about this topic.

1 Ram February 28, 2016 at 1:29 am

I’m skeptical that the Republican Party dies with the nomination of Donald Trump (or the brokered convention intended to prevent said nomination). The institutional capital the party has built up over time is simply too great. More likely is that the GOP *as we know it* ceases to be, and begins to look like a rather different sort of party. It’s not clear what Trump really believes, but the few things he seems passionate about are restricting immigration and international trade, which are anathema to business interests. In a party that is enamored with an avowed democratic socialist, even if they’re not ready to nominate one, business interests may not feel entirely at home. I suspect temporarily there will effectively be three parties–a Bernie Sanders-type party, a Trump-type party, and a Clinton/big business type party. Eventually the first will morph into a European style left wing party, the third into a European style “conservative” party, and the Trump-type party will return to the fringe, but will re-emerge as a kingmaker every so often when the economy takes a dive.

2 Mark Thorson February 28, 2016 at 2:03 am

Nixon and Watergate did not kill the Republican party. Astoundingly, the Republicans only lost one election cycle because of it. A Trump debacle certainly won’t have nearly as much impact. God only knows what a Trump victory would be like. He could be like Schwarzenegger, but on a national scale. He could be a successful President, maybe two-term. That wouldn’t hurt the Republican party, but it would change it. Quite possibly for the better.

3 Mark Thorson February 28, 2016 at 3:00 am

What I had in mind is that Trump isn’t a Christian extremist, if he’s even a Christian at all. A terrible turn the Republican has taken (especially as the result of the Christian Coalition and Ralph Reed) has been selling its soul to far-right religious conservatives. It’s left former Republicans like me behind. Trump might bring the party back to where it was 40 years ago — a secular conservative party.

4 Nathan W February 28, 2016 at 4:20 am

Trump seems to blow with the wind on a fair number of issues according to what makes him electable as a Republican. I’m pretty sure he can play both Christian extremist and KKK enabler (http://www.salon.com/2016/02/25/david_duke_to_followers_voting_against_donald_trump_at_this_point_is_really_treason_to_your_heritage/ – Trump never said a word against this support) at the same time if he thought it would win him the election. E.g., used to be a Democrat, now he’s a Republican, used to be pro-choice, now apposes abortion, used to hire loads of illegal immigrants (settled privately for a $1 million case against him on the matter: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/feb/25/marco-rubio/marco-rubio-says-donald-trump-had-pay-1-million-hi/), now wants to cart illegals off back home… I’m sure there are others. Also, if he enacted his preferred policies on trade and immigration, a rapid descent into massive recession combined with lots of inflation would be virtually certain.

As a man who has declared bankruptcy 4 times, and has lost nearly as much money of other investors than his entire personal fortune (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/sep/21/carly-fiorina/trumps-four-bankruptcies/), he’s hardly a business hero.

5 prior_test1 February 28, 2016 at 5:13 am

‘Trump seems to blow with the wind on a fair number of issues’

Sure, but Trump’s faith in himself is a lodestone over decades of Trump’s life in public. Any contest with Trump in it is not about issues, it is about Trump. At least according to Trump, a figure is so great that it is impossible not to mention Trump’s name at least once in any sentence when discussing Trump’s future. Trump being the major figure is the only issue that concerns Trump, apparently.

(Yep – 9 Trumps in 4 sentences. Of course, Trump can easily trump that, for example while enjoying a fine Trump steak. Though Esquire is capable of doing a fine job themselves – ‘Trump Steaks are “the world’s greatest steaks,” according to Trump, owner of Trump Steaks.’ – http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/videos/a37100/trump-steaks/ )

6 Different T February 28, 2016 at 6:51 am

has been selling its soul to far-right religious conservatives.

It’s obvious what the politicians got in such a deal, votes. But what do you perceive the “far-right religious conservatives” as receiving in exchange? The obvious answer there appears to be rhetoric, but that’s probably not what you see.

7 prior_test1 February 28, 2016 at 7:15 am

However, today’s post paints a slightly different picture of Trump’s possible choice when it comes to eating a slab of meat – ‘Falwell marveled that Trump served Wendy’s burgers on board.’ https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-lives-in-the-jet-set-and-hes-not-afraid-to-show-it/2016/02/27/ee747306-dc19-11e5-891a-4ed04f4213e8_story.html

At least with Trump, you never need to ask where’s the beef. That’s good for America.

8 Nathan W February 28, 2016 at 7:21 am

“what do you perceive the “far-right religious conservatives” as receiving in exchange”

Muslims banned from entering the country.

9 Art Deco February 28, 2016 at 8:25 am

Astoundingly, the Republicans only lost one election cycle because of it.

Why is that ‘astounding’? The only private citizen injured by the nexus of scandals around Nixon was a man named Lewis Fielding, a psychiatrist who had a douchenozzle named Daniel Ellsburg on his patient roll. Gordon Liddy’s crew burgled Dr. Fielding’s office looking for dirt on Ellsburg. I’m sure it was very anxiety provoking for Dr. Fielding to arrive at work and find someone had been rifling his confidential files (and disconcerting for his patients). There were some other characters implicated in political life who had their phones tapped (Lawrence O’Brien, Morton Halperin). There were tentative plans to stage an arson / burglary at the Brookings Institution (scotched by John Ehrlichman), a drawing board plan for domestic surveillance (never implemented), another drawing board plan worked out by Gordon Liddy to compromise delegates to the Democratic National Convention (Messrs. Mitchell, Magruder, and Dean listened to Liddy’s presentation and told him they weren’t hiring any hookers). The rest were process crimes and they implicated not one member of Congress. Federal prosecutors actually secured a jail sentence for Donald Segretti of all people; his Democratic counterpart, a man named Dick Tuck, was still walking the streets for some reason.

How many Democratic members of Congress lost their seats consequent to Billy R. Dale being fired from his job, slimed in the press, and losing his life savings defending himself against bogus criminal charges? Not one, and that little Hillary escapade was a good deal more vicious in its effects than anything you could pin on Charles Colson or Gordon Liddy. During the whole Clinton imbroglio, disbarred lawyer Webster Hubbell cleared over $800,000 in ‘consulting fees’ in an eight month period preceding his incarceration. During the Nixon imbroglio, Herbert Kalmbach went to federal prison for his role in soliciting and transmitting hush money. We had standards in 1974 which were gone by 1998.

10 corvus February 28, 2016 at 11:04 am

I see. I guess all those military lives don’t count. Not even mentioning Vietnamese lives and Cambodian lives. Ooops. I just did. My my. How much we forget.

11 Art Deco February 28, 2016 at 11:58 am

Very few people are pacifists, and for a reason. They’re not otherworldly in the manner of the Amish, nor are they comprehensively unserious, either. Nixon inherited the war and it was not a bad cause to begin with, except to red haze jackasses.

12 Ricardo February 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm

“The only private citizen injured by the nexus of scandals around Nixon was a man named Lewis Fielding…”

Daniel Ellsburg was an employee of the RAND Corporation, not a civil servant. In any case, if the executive branch wants to investigate or “dig up dirt” on someone — even someone who you so elegantly designate a “douchenozzle” — there are very well established procedures for doing so involving warrants and magistrates under the Constitution of the United States. The burglary was a crime and a violation of the Constitution and therefore an offense against the public, not just against one private citizen.

13 Art Deco February 28, 2016 at 1:32 pm

He’d been in the employ of public agencies, as had Morton Halperin. That’s how they managed to purloin confidential documents to turn over to the Brookings Institution and the New York Times. Joseph Nocera’s remark about Ellsburg ca. 1986 applies here: even if you thought he’d been genuinely courageous ca. 1970, it sure was unedifying how he’d spent the rest of his life dining off it. Douchenozzle for sure.

14 BC February 28, 2016 at 3:11 am

“I’m skeptical that the Republican Party dies…The institutional capital the party has built up over time is simply too great.”

True. It seems inconceivable that a center-right country will somehow fail to have a center-right party. As popular as it is in some circles to portray the Republican Party as in disarray, if one considers the new generation of leadership (e.g., Rubio, Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley, Cruz, Susana Martinez, Kelly Ayotte, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindahl), they don’t seem to be a step down from their predecessors (e.g., Romney, McCain, McConnell, Boehner). They seem to be pretty much what one would expect a center-right institution to produce.

If one looks at the Democrats for comparison, it’s not even clear who will lead the party after the current septuagenarians, e.g., Clinton, Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi. (To be fair, Clinton and Warren are only near-septuagenarians.) There don’t seem to be many prominent 40-59 yr old Democrats ready to take over. Perhaps, this is because people in this age group first entered their politically formative years in the 80s and 90s, when there basically was no political Left, at least not on economic issues. It was the period of neoliberal consensus, where consensus refers to the fact that New Democrats like (Bill) Clinton basically agreed with the Right; it wasn’t just a matter of the Right happening to win elections. Now that socialism-friendly Millennials can vote, there aren’t many socialism-friendly 40-59 yr olds to lead them, hence the dominance of senior citizen Democratic leaders. Those people spent their formative years in the pre-Reagan 60s and 70s and, thus, feel quite comfortable leading the Democratic Party of today. It will be interesting over the next few years to see how the party handles this mismatch between leadership-age neoliberals and the party’s return to 1970s-era paleo-Left ideology. (One resolution might be that Millennials simply age out of socialism just as the hippie-cum-yuppie Boomers did in the 80s, which may have contributed to the neoliberal consensus.)

Having said all this, I’m not sure what any of this has to do with the Federalist Party. One contributor to their decline seems to have been their perceived softness on Great Britain during the War of 1812, although there may have been other factors too. I’m not sure that the Republicans are perceived as too soft on foreign policy, regardless of Trump.

15 Nathan W February 28, 2016 at 4:27 am

“perceived softness on Great Britain during the War of 1812… ”

Canada doesn’t have much of a military history, so I still see it as a point of pride that we burned down the White House in that conflict. Americans like to characterize is as a battle against the entire empire, but the soldiers who fought that war (native irregulars aside) settled in Canada and were very much early Canadians.

There are only a very small handful of interesting pieces of trivia in Canadian military trivia, and this is one of them. Usually decent neighbours for quite some time now – the existence of official plans to invade each other have been shelved for some generations already.

Apparently they blamed the losses on the Federalists though?

16 Bob from Ohio February 28, 2016 at 10:19 am

“we burned down the White House”

Washington was burned by a regular British Army force made up of Napoleonic War vets and dispatched via Bermuda. It never set foot in British North America.

Canadians did not burn squat. Sorry.

17 Nathan W February 28, 2016 at 11:07 pm

Huh. I spent maybe a third of my life living in areas where 1812 landmarks abound, and had uncritically accepted the folk versions of the story. I just read up on it a bit now. Thank you for the correction.

I think it is worth noting that relations with the native Indians up to that point were on good enough terms that they cooperated in repelling the invasion. It seems unlikely that they would have done so a century later.

18 anon February 28, 2016 at 8:50 am

A reminder that a “center-right country” is for the math inhibited (or possibly, though not commonly done, those making global comparisons).

This country certainly has a mathematical center, which is the center.

See also this bottom up analysis of voter positions, which finds 8 segments mapping into the 2 parties and as independents:


19 anon February 28, 2016 at 9:00 am

Maybe to go further, I can say the whole center-right thing is a marketing meme. If you can get people to self-identify as center-right you can get them to accept they are all (at least secretly) Republicans in their heart.

20 Art Deco February 28, 2016 at 9:27 am

I’ll offer you a simpler explanation of the Democratic Party’s generational problem: it’s run by people who cling pathologically to public office. The Senate Democratic caucus has been led by two (2) men in the last 21 years, and one of them only vacated office because he was defeated for re-eleciton; he still lives in Washington and works in the lobbying trade. The other, who had been in Congress for 27 years at that point, insisted on running for re-election in 2010 (at the age of 71). There is only one ranking Democrat on any Senate committee too young to collect Social Security, and she’s 57 years old. Lyndon Johnson spent 24 years as an elected member of Congress; most of the Senate Democratic leadership has been there longer than that as we speak. .

21 Virginia Postrel February 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm

See California’s senators as further evidence.

22 corvus February 28, 2016 at 11:11 am

Concur. The political parties today are built on flexibility. In the first 100 or so years of this country, the way things ran supported the formation of new parties, rather than stance flexibility inside a given party. What a parliamentarian system accomplishes by party coalitions, our two party system accomplishes by internal compromise. Given the incredible inertia of the two parties today, and the built-in system of compromise, I think it is highly unlikely that we will see any new parties succeed.

23 anon February 28, 2016 at 11:34 am

The Republicans and the Democrats show two ways to play the dynamic. Democrats moved right while maintaining order. Bizarrely the Republicans moved right too, trying to hold things together with wedge issues and noise. A retreat from a win, in a sense.

Hillary is fairly right. A winner would be just a bit right of her, congratulating her on almost having it.

The whole “call a moderate a socialist” thing was death throes of a party pushed too far right.

24 Ricardo February 28, 2016 at 1:27 pm

“There don’t seem to be many prominent 40-59 yr old Democrats ready to take over.”

Corey Booker is an obvious exception.

25 Art Deco February 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Before he ‘takes over’, can he come clean about where he’s actually been living the last 10 years?

26 William Gadea February 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Third parties make sense in parliamentary systems, but they are only a transitional state in a winner-take-all system like the US.

Here is the Republican problem. The more minorities grow, the more they threaten the cultural conservatives that comprise a good chunk of the Republican base. But minorities will be the majority by 2044… if not earlier. So what can a GOP candidate do? They can’t win a primary without the cultural conservatives, but they can’t win a general without at least some minority support. The coalition that has served the GOP well for five decades between business interests and cultural conservatives is splintering. So what happens to it?

I’m not sure how we’ll get there, but it feels like we’re heading to a new politics with new dividing lines. The GOP could be taken over by the cultural conservatives and become a European-style right-wing party: hawkish against trade and immigration, but favoring social services. The business community might start feeling more comfortable in the Democratic party, which could drive some of the Sanderites to the other side. The new party division might become a cosmopolitan/renewalist/business side versus a nativist/traditionalist/working class split.

I’m not saying something like this is going to happen, but when you look at US history, we are now on our fifth or sixth party system. We have no living memory of something like this, but it is a black swan event: something the probability of which we underestimate.

27 msgkings February 29, 2016 at 12:52 pm

This is how I see it too, the Reps will someday no longer be the party of the rich/big business. Many rich folk already support Dems, they will pick up most of those. White middle class and lower class will be (mostly) Reps, minorities of all classes Dems, the rich Dems.

28 education realist February 28, 2016 at 1:59 am

Yeah, this is a little simplistic. In the first place, without the 3/5ths compromise, Jefferson would have lost the election. He would have won the popular vote, but without the extra representation afforded by the slave states, he wouldn’t have won the electoral college. That’s why Jefferson was known as the Negro President.

As president, Jefferson coopted a lot of the Federalist platform–the exceptions being he dismantled the military and ended the excise tax. He had a lot of support from Congress, since the slave states got extra representation from all those “common men” that Jefferson considered property.

One of the reasons the Federalists held the Hartford Convention was their conviction that the advantage afforded by the extra slave population to the slave states was unfair and insurmountable. Ironically, the rise of manufacturing–brought about in part by Jefferson’s embargo–led to the rise of the market economy, which rapidly gave the free states the upper hand and ended the Southern dominance.

By 1816, Henry Clay was calling for a return to the basic Federalist aims–strong federal government, investment in infrastructure, tariffs, and the Bank. I’m oversimplifying, of course–the country couldn’t stand a war over slavery for another 40 years, and the Whig party was always fatally compromised by its need to keep the union together.

So the “collapse” of the Federalist party was about 15 years before a version of it rose again, and its temporary demise was in no small part brought about not by Jefferson’s support for the common man, but because of his party’s tremendous slavery population advantage.

Neither party has a good track record of caring about the “common man.”

29 Nathan W February 28, 2016 at 2:08 am

So the system can go from three parties to two, but in the existing setup is there any prospect to go from two parties to three that actually elected Congressmen and Senators?

30 Brett Dunbar February 28, 2016 at 4:21 am

The US is unusual in parties not having any defence against entryism, they cannot exclude people from the primary for not being approved by the party. Labour was able to expel the Trotskyist Militant Tendancy after determining that it was effectively a political party in its own right, so three MPs and Liverpool City Council were expelled from Labour.

31 tokarev February 28, 2016 at 4:42 am

RIP Republican Party. The real question now is along what lines the conquering Democrats will eventually split. Hillary will be able to keep the party together for her two terms, and possibly inertia will keep the party together for two more Democratic terms after that. After that, the Democratic Party elites will no longer be able to use the GOP as a bogeyman to force party discipline. Most likely it will split between a bourgeois-moderate left/liberal party and a more youthful hard-left identity-politics oriented faction.

Call these new parties DLC and Rainbow Coalition. The former Republicans will tend to drift into the DLC party, keeping it competitive against the more demographically vital Rainbow Coalition.

32 tokarev February 28, 2016 at 4:53 am

I should add that this scenario is why I supported Sanders, as the last great hope of the real left. I had such high hopes about Occupy Wall Street, but it burned out and all the energy I see on the youthful left is connected to identity politics issues. Identity Politics issue ultimately are only a distraction from the real work of dismantling the brutal world of dog-eat-dog capitalism Ronald Reagan has left us with.

33 Art Deco February 28, 2016 at 8:06 am

RIP Republican Party. The real question now is along what lines the conquering Democrats will eventually split.

You’d have to go back to the 1920s to locate a time when the position of the Democratic Party in state and federal legislatures was more disadvantageous. Some conquest.

34 Different T February 28, 2016 at 8:10 am

LOL. Or the democrats figured out where the real power lies.

35 Bob from Ohio February 28, 2016 at 10:23 am

The parties have merely switched their locus of power.

From 1952 to 1994, the GOP was shut out of the House except for one term and the senate for all but 8 years. The GOP won the majority of Presidential elections.

Since 1994, the GOP has controlled the House for all but 4 years but has fallen behind in the presidential sweepstakes.

36 Different T February 28, 2016 at 11:12 am

The parties have merely switched their locus of power.

For archival integrity, your statement merely and pathetically superficial.

37 Nathan W February 28, 2016 at 11:11 pm

For archival integrity, it is rather curious that some Republicans tend to insist on ignoring this. The Democrats are no longer the party of lynchings and the Republicans are the party where support among Republican for Trump jumped 20% basically the day he called Mexicans rapists, similar to the percentage of Trump supporters who think it would be better if slaves had never been freed.

Understanding the switch is not obvious, but the fact of it is.

38 tokarev February 28, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Exactly. True power lies in Academia and the Media, the main organs of influence. However it is mostly the inauthentic, corporate-influenced left that has this power. Hence we *still* have not broken up the banks and regulated the shadow banking system, even after years of activism by the grass roots.

39 Ex-Pralite Monk February 28, 2016 at 6:51 am

Identity Politics issue ultimately are only a distraction from the real work of dismantling the brutal world of dog-eat-dog capitalism

That’s a feature, not a bug. Keep the masses at each other’s throats instead of combining efforts to fight their common enemy.

40 Different T February 28, 2016 at 7:08 am

What did you expect when the masses/dogs-at-the-bottom are clearly acting like and thinking like the elites/dogs-at-the-top? “Socialists” by definition consider economics as the prime force of humanity and so orient themselves around distribution resentment, with “Capitalist” too often being crypto-talk for “distribution status-quo.”

41 Nathan W February 28, 2016 at 7:35 am

I’m a pretty strong believer in regulated capitalism with only limited redistribution, but that presupposes that rent seekers among the monied elites can be kept in check. I do not believe that this second clause is doing well these days. Of course, technological change is driving a lot of current inequality as well …

Anyways, point being that I imagine that rent seekers are quite content to see the main political battles fought over gay marriage and abortion (which are, anyways, protected by the constitution under new understandings of what rights these decisions confer on people) or matters of race-based politics or foreign policy which pose virtually zero threat to their status or ability to pull strings. Aka, yeah, there may be altogether too much truth to what you say.

42 Different T February 28, 2016 at 7:34 am

What is going with the comments section here? My screen used to state 25 comments, now it states 22 comments and only actually shows 11 comments; and a significant chunk of comments are completely gone.

Is this the work of an admin/moderator?

43 anon February 28, 2016 at 7:51 am

Possibly . Comment 1 was there when I read it an hour back , its not there now.
Perhaps some comments go the way of the Federalists and the Whigs….

44 Different T February 28, 2016 at 8:08 am

After your comment, my screen states 25 comments and your comment (the last) is actually only #14. Does your screen show similar?

45 Different T February 28, 2016 at 9:14 am

Is somebody going to clarify WTF is happening with comments? I am not commenting on a site where the admins have no comment policy (best found was on Wikipedia, supposedly from TC: “This is an attempt to allow an accretion of previously unknown data and informed opinions on more esoteric subjects while avoiding repetitive flame wars”), yet clearly censor, and worse still it’s not even possible to know which comments are being censored.

Per the comment total at the top, my screen is missing 11 comments and at least 3 or 4 comments previously in the total comments at the top are completely unreflected.

46 Anon February 28, 2016 at 9:35 am

Probably only a technical glitch . Its only for this thread this discrepancyappears to be there. Check for the recent “Berkshire-climate change”for example. I have no compalints about TC’s moderations; other than EH’s barrage , generally don’t think many comments get censored.

47 Different T February 28, 2016 at 10:30 am

“Probably only a technical glitch . Its only for this thread this discrepancyappears to be there.”

Utterly insufficient. There are missing comments, just not sure how many (including my own). I also made a very charitable comment on another post and it never showed up. I chalked it up to “technical glitch”/caught in spam filter (though exactly zero of my other posts had been).

48 Different T February 28, 2016 at 11:21 am

The post entitled ““Are Choosers Losers?”– the value of control and the propensity to underdelegate” is that which included the aforementioned “disappeared” charitable comment. It states 97 comments at the top tally but only shows 96.

49 Dude February 28, 2016 at 9:42 am
50 Art Deco February 28, 2016 at 8:31 am

American political parties have been, since 1854, vessels for succeeding generations of competing interests. Hence the corporate body sticks around, even though the parties in one age do not resemble the parties in another age.

51 rayward February 28, 2016 at 9:00 am

States’ Rights. Madison was Jefferson’s muse, controlling Jefferson’s extremist predilections (such as Generational Sovereignty, something I’m surprised we don’t read more about on this blog), but careful to prevent too strong a national government that might force on the south the anti-slavery movement that had become strong in the north. Although popular history says that Madison, like Jefferson, worked with the Washington administration in forming the new government, both worked to undermine both Washington and his administration, alleging that there were conspirators and traitors all around determined to aid the British and reinstate the monarchy in America. Of course, the main conspirators were Madison and Jefferson. Today, Madison is the darling of a certain anti-government type, even though it was Madison, as Jefferson’s Secretary of State, who negotiated the Louisiana Purchase, and Madison who, as president, led America into the disastrous War of 1812, sent the nascent navy into foreign military adventures, and Madison who, after years opposing Hamilton in creating a national bank, made a 180-degree turn and approved the creation of a national bank. After the end of the disastrous War of 1812, the end more the result of Napolean’s defeat at Waterloo than the “victory” in New Orleans, the latter a battle fought after the armistice had already been signed, Madison, not unlike George W. Bush, convinced Americans that “he kept us safe” and ushered in the “Era of Good Feelings”. Of course, the Good Feelings weren’t shared by everyone. Madison and Jefferson, with their early version of the Southern Strategy, brought an end to the Federalist Party while preserving slavery in the south, but their political victory came at a very high cost, both to the American psych and to the lives lost in the civil war that was inevitable as a result. Several hundred years later another Republican Party continues to employ a Southern Strategy and promote States’ Rights and divide the nation. Not much has changed.

52 Bob from Ohio February 28, 2016 at 10:09 am

“Democratic and Republican parties”

The author thinks there were two separate parties opposed to the Federalists?

Not creating a lot of confidence in his abilities.

53 Anon February 28, 2016 at 10:24 am

May be he meant the Democratic-Republican party.


54 Art Deco February 28, 2016 at 10:35 am

The Jeffersonian Republicans. The ‘Democratic-Republican’ appellation was only adopted in 1828 and did not last.

55 Public February 28, 2016 at 11:02 am

“I am not sure what prompted me to read up on this topic.” Heh. Good one. When you ask “are Republicans even more racist than we thought” about voting in South Carolina, a state with an African-American Republican Senator and a Republican Governor of Indian descent, you can take a lot of credit for disabusing Republican voters that they will ever get any respect from what passes for an intellectual class in the US. By so assiduously stirring resentment, you Tyler Cowen, more than any one person on the planet, are personally responsible for the rise of Donald Trump.

56 Anon February 28, 2016 at 11:40 am

..”you Tyler Cowen, more than any one person on the planet, are personally responsible for the rise of Donald Trump. -”

I hope Trump acknowledges this in his Inauguration Address.

57 John February 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm

From the prior page:
“If some means are not adopted to prevent the indiscriminate admission of wild Irishmen & others to the right of suffrage, there will soon be an end to liberty and property.”

Sound familiar?

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