Partisanship and the Birth of America's Second Party, 1796-1800: Stop the Wheels of Government

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000 - Political Science - 245 pages

Between 1796 and 1800, Americans truly developed the forms of government that are recognized and continued today. This book examines the development of the two-party system, relationships between foreign and domestic affairs, and most importantly, the successes of the French Party in the light of the Quasi War, legal persecutions, and through Federalist popularity and bumbling. The leaders of the French Party were successful men committed to their vision of America's future. Even John Adams, a leading Federalist, successfully pursued his own course of action; his sacrifice stands as a remarkable example for political leaders today.

Federalist leaders were, however, ultimately unable to harness previous success and to unite varied agendas to maintain their leadership in the new century. Although a majority decried party politics, in theory or in commentary, Americans failed and continue to fail at running a government in a bipartisan manner. Even Thomas Jefferson, a leading Republican, failed to escape the grasp of partisanship and the politics of opportunity. These developments would foreshadow current political practices and the use of foreign affairs to support domestic agendas. Bringing together personality, structure, and practical measures of nation building, this work proves that the more things change, the more they remain the same.


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Preliminaries to a Crisis Revolution Politics and Diplomacy Leading to the Jay Treaty
1796 Jays Treaty Defines the Parties
1797 The French Party on the Endangered Species List
1798 The Crisis Peaks Only No One Seems to Notice
1799 Adams Joins the French Party
1800 The French Party Storms the Fort
1801 and Beyond Republicans Shed the French Party Yoke
Concluding the Reversal
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2000)

MATTHEW Q. DAWSON is currently assigned at Fort Sill, Oklahoma./e After teaching at the United States Military Academy, he attended the Army's Command and General Staff College in Kansas.

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