In the year 1794 John Swanwick won a stunning upset victory over Thomas Fitzsimons. This victory was for the 1794 Philadelphia congressional election. There were a large number of different economic as well as cultural issues that swayed the way in which voters made their selection. This essay intends to explore and exploit these crucial factors.
In order to understand who voted for each candidate we must first understand some background information about each candidate. Thomas Fitzsimons was an Irish immigrant. He was a clerk who eventually worked his way to the top of his firm. Fitzsimons was a member of the Federalist Party and he was a supporter of Alexander Hamilton’s policies. Fitzsimons was also a “strong” supporter of the excise tax. He was also one of the original founders and directors of the Bank of the United States. And finally, he was a Roman Catholic (Wheeler/Becker 101).
John Swanwick, on the other hand, was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He was born in England, and feverishly supported the Patriot cause. The man was also fluent in both French and German. John Swanwick was a supporter of the early financial policies of Hamilton, as well as the federal Constitution. But by 1793, he left Federalism behind and became a supporter of the Democratic - Republican Party. In 1794, Swanwick was an officer in the Pennsylvania Democratic Society and also an officer in a society which aided immigrants. Swanwick was an opponent of the excise tax, yet thought the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania was the wrong way to handle things (Wheeler/Becker 101-102).
Swanwick’s upset victory can be concluded to have been caused by a large number of middle class people simply leaving the Federalist party in support of the Democratic – Republican Party. These middle class people, primarily the artisans, maintained the most occupations within 1794 Philadelphia. According to the
Cited: Wheeler, William, and Susan Becker. Discovering The American Past. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.