Downfall of the Federalists

Topics: Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams Pages: 5 (1472 words) Published: May 28, 2013
The Downfall of the Federalists"

The Federalist were a powerful and incredibly influential party in the nations beginning history. Their party was packed with influential, men such as Alexander Hamilton, George Washington and Charles Pinckney. Although they are an example of great parties in our nation, they are also a tragic example of the quickness of political downfall. The Federalists’ downfall was caused mainly by the personalities of their party members, and therefore the collective personality of the party, namely their stubbornness, arrogance, inability to adapt their beliefs to public opinion, their tendency to argue every detail of decisions, and their various loses in power and loses of members.

Even president Jefferson at one point took advantage of the widening gap between Federalist groups and the obvious disagreements that led to less and less decision making.1 The Federalists lost power because of their infighting. Such infighting allowed their enemies to exploit weaknesses in the party and gain power over the Federalists, slowly inching them to their demise. Madison’s retirement proved to be another crushing blow to the Federalists, as it allowed their enemies, the Anti-Federalists, to have a leader that would have no antithesis with the Federalists.2 Madison supported Federalist ideas because while he was not a pledged Federalist, he had been in his earlier days. His position of power would have allowed for the Federalists to pass a few laws, but that opportunity was short lived and was not taken advantage of, therefore delivering a blow to their power. Loss of power once again proved detrimental to the Federalist when they squandered a majority in Congress. If not for the headstrongness of the members, the Federalists would have remained in power when they had a majority and could have done much to keep themselves in power or to benefit themselves.

The Federalists also had very dry predictable stands on issues, no matter what the time, shown in the statement that “it was known that no matter what the conflict, the Republicans would support the French, and the Federalists the English.” 3 The inability to change would become a recurring theme when looking at the Federalists’ downfall. Their stark support for the English, and stark beliefs that were not at all able to be changed would disallow the party to adapt to the times, not that members of the party would necessarily want to do so. However, the same beliefs and tenets do not stand up for every situation, and no matter what at some point revision is necessary in the political system. Because the Federalists did not understand this, they dug their grave even further. At one point during the Federalist reign, a special committee announced its readiness to discuss the repealing of the Alien and Sedition Acts. In the opinion of the committee, the acts were completely constitutional, the acts were expedient, and the acts were most of all necessary. The Federalists had already resolved to repeal the acts, and whenever someone attempted to say otherwise they were met with coughing, laughing and generally loud behavior.4 The Alien and Sedition Acts would go down as probably the most important event in the downfall of the Federalists. The belligerence showed by the Federalists showed the true colors of the members, leading to another public opinion downfall.

Madison, for the opposition, predicted that the Federalist policy would be to publish broadcast the great prosperity of the country, to confound opposition to the treaty with personal hostility to President, and to indulge in gloomy predictions of the war and confusion which much necessarily follow the rejection of their favorite measure, and Madison proved correct.5 Federalist tactics were akin to what propaganda is today, attack the opposition, alert the populous to false prosperity fabricated for the sole purpose of bending public opinion and exploit the war to get votes. This plan...
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