Section II - Part A (Document-Based Questions)
To what extent did the Federalist administrations of George Washington and John Adams promote national unity and advance the authority of the federal government?
George Washington and John Adams were the first two presidents of the United States. As they had just fought a civil war against their oppressive mother country, it was only fitting that they were federalists. Federalists believed in national unity and a strong central government. They knew that in order for the country to succeed, a strong central government was needed. As a result, their administrations were built around promotion of national unity and advancements of the authority of the federal government. However, there was a limit to what extent they were successful.
In my opinion, Washington was highly successful in promoting national unity. Starting from his first inaugural address into his second term, Washington set a tone and example in all his actions that advanced the authority of the federal government. In his first inaugural address, he said that the federal government would not be exceeding its limits and it will be respected by all others. This gives the rest of the country a feeling of unity and authority.
Then, Washington's secretary, Alexander Hamilton, goes against Thomas Jefferson to say and back up his view that the National Bank was constitutional. Washington, along with Adams, stood by this notion throughout their respective terms. This also increased the idea that the federal government had authority. Since Jefferson was preaching that the constitution should be interpreted strictly and therefore, the bank was not constitutional, and both Washington and Adams went against him openly on this idea, this showed the country that the federal government had power and it gave them more authority.
In addition, The Sedition Act of July 1798 went ahead and increased the authority of the government. It stopped...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document