In 1783, the United States finally eliminated the British rule on its territory. Nevertheless, among the politicians of the newly united and liberated country, there were dissents on policies and the absence of a commonly agreed vision of the Constitution. Distrust among the political leaders was a driving force for the rise of parties. More precisely, disagreements occurred between the Democratic-Republican party, headed by Thomas Jefferson, and the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton. The Republicans blamed the opponents for the aspiration to impose a system of social exploitation borrowed from Britain (Goldfield et al., 2011). They defended the traditional political principles of America and the free-market economy (Jankovic, 2019). The current paper discusses the causes of the Republicans upturn and explains the mistakes of the Federalists.
Several factors contributed to the rise of the Republican Party. The major one deals with the issue of the Constitution and the government. Jefferson believed in democracy and the necessity of a limited government that would guarantee individual liberties. Additionally, the Republicans stated that citizens could govern themselves and, consequently, the real power should belong to society. This idea of freedom and democracy was more appealing to most of the electorate than the Federalist’s conviction that the elites should lead the government. An educated and wealthy group of people could better understand how to rule a state; however, the interests of ordinary farmers and planters would be threatened. Therefore, the Republican party’s struggle with the Federalists defense of the aristocratic attitudes at the expense of ordinary people significantly elevated the credibility of the latter.
Apart from the Constitution, the Republicans, in contrast to the Federalists, perceived the Jay Treaty as flawed and supported the French people and the revolutionary movement. The Jay Treaty was negotiated with Britain in 1794 and meant that the US had to make concessions to prevent a war with Britain over the British capturing of American vessels. The support of this treaty backfired to the Federalists since the promulgation of its terms in March 1975 caused resentment among the citizens. For them, the agreement meant treachery of the state’s interests (Goldfield et al., 2011). Besides, the Treaty of San Lorenzo, which was signed with Spain in 1975, rendered American farmers the right to transmit freely through the port in New Orleans. Hence, the Republicans benefited from both treaties since they promoted the support of the interests of the non-privileged groups.
Although the Federalist Party wielded considerable political force in the early years of US history, it committed several mistakes that undermined its power. Firstly, they defended political relations with England and neo-mercantilist policies based on industrialization but ignored a need for domestic rural development. Secondly, Hamilton’s idea to provide funding for the states harmed the relations between the US and other countries. Thirdly, the Federalists inability to give a strict interpretation of the federal Constitution turned into a strong central government.
In conclusion, it is essential to notice that the confrontation between the parties led to the state’s significant development in the political, economic, and social spheres. Aside from the mistakes described above, the Federalists made a valuable contribution to the evolution of the US. For instance, the party managed to insert a liberal interpretation of the Constitution and initiated the concept of neutrality in international affairs. Still, the failures were severe and lead to the decline of the party.
Goldfield, D., Abbott, C., Anderson, V. D., Argersinger, J. A. E., Argersinger, P. H., & Barney, W. M. (2011). The American journey: A history of the United States (Vol. 1), (6th ed.). Pearson.
Jankovic, I. (2019). 1776 Strikes Back—Anti-federalist Critics of the Constitution, The American Counter-Revolution in Favor of Liberty (pp. 167-193). Palgrave Macmillan.