United States presidential election results between 1796 and 1824. Green shaded states usually voted for the Democratic-Republican Party, while brown shaded states usually voted for the Federalist Party.
The First Party System is a model of American politics used in history and political science to periodize the political party system that existed in the United States between roughly 1792 and 1824.It featured two national parties competing for control of the presidency, Congress, and the states: the Federalist Party, created largely by Alexander Hamilton, and the rival Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican Party, formed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, usually called at the time the Republican Party. The Federalists were dominant until 1800, while the Republicans were dominant after 1800.
Political parties in the United States are mostly dominated by a two-party system consisting of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The United States Constitution has always been silent on the issue of political parties, since at the time it was signed in 1787 there were no parties in the nation.
The Federalist Party, referred to as the Pro-Administration party until the 3rd United States Congress as opposed to their opponents in the Anti-Administration party, was the first American political party. It existed from the early 1790s to the 1820s, with their last presidential candidate being fielded in 1816. They appealed to business and to conservatives who favored banks, national over state government, manufacturing, and preferred Britain and opposed the French Revolution.
Alexander Hamilton was an American statesman and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the founder of the nation's financial system, the Federalist Party, the United States Coast Guard, and the New York Post newspaper. As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the main author of the economic policies of George Washington's administration. He took the lead in the Federal government's funding of the states' debts, as well as establishing a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. His vision included a strong central government led by a vigorous executive branch, a strong commercial economy, a national bank and support for manufacturing, and a strong military. Thomas Jefferson was his leading opponent, arguing for agrarianism and smaller government.
In an analysis of the contemporary party system, Jefferson wrote on February 12, 1798:
Two political Sects have arisen within the U. S. the one believing that the executive is the branch of our government which the most needs support; the other that like the analogous branch in the English Government, it is already too strong for the republican parts of the Constitution; and therefore in equivocal cases they incline to the legislative powers: the former of these are called federalists, sometimes aristocrats or monocrats, and sometimes Tories, after the corresponding sect in the English Government of exactly the same definition: the latter are styled republicans, Whigs, jacobins, anarchists, dis-organizers, etc. these terms are in familiar use with most persons.
The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, after 1792 renamed Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality, commonly known as the Jacobin Club or simply the Jacobins, became the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789 and following. The period of their political ascendency is known as the Reign of Terror, during which time tens of thousands were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.
Both parties originated in national politics, but soon expanded their efforts to gain supporters and voters in every state. The Federalists appealed to the business community, the Republicans to the planters and farmers. By 1796 politics in every state was nearly monopolized by the two parties, with party newspapers and caucuses becoming especially effective tools to mobilize voters.
The Federalists promoted the financial system of Treasury Secretary Hamilton, which emphasized federal assumption of state debts, a tariff to pay off those debts, a national bank to facilitate financing, and encouragement of banking and manufacturing. The Republicans, based in the plantation South, opposed a strong executive power, were hostile to a standing army and navy, demanded a strict reading of the Constitutional powers of the federal government, and strongly opposed the Hamilton financial program. Perhaps even more important was foreign policy, where the Federalists favored Britain because of its political stability and its close ties to American trade, while the Republicans admired the French and the French Revolution. Jefferson was especially fearful that British aristocratic influences would undermine republicanism. Britain and France were at war from 1793–1815, with only one brief interruption. American policy was neutrality, with the federalists hostile to France, and the Republicans hostile to Britain. The Jay Treaty of 1794 marked the decisive mobilization of the two parties and their supporters in every state. President George Washington, while officially nonpartisan, generally supported the Federalists and that party made Washington their iconic hero.
Modern republicanism is a guiding political philosophy of the United States that has been a major part of American civic thought since its founding. It stresses liberty and unalienable individual rights as central values, making people sovereign as a whole; rejects monarchy, aristocracy and inherited political power, expects citizens to be virtuous and faithful in their performance of civic duties, and vilifies corruption. American republicanism was articulated and first practiced by the Founding Fathers in the 18th century. For them, "republicanism represented more than a particular form of government. It was a way of life, a core ideology, an uncompromising commitment to liberty, and a total rejection of aristocracy."
The Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, commonly known as the Jay Treaty, and also as Jay's Treaty, was a 1795 treaty between the United States and Great Britain that averted war, resolved issues remaining since the Treaty of Paris of 1783, and facilitated ten years of peaceful trade between the United States and Britain in the midst of the French Revolutionary Wars, which began in 1792. The Treaty was designed by Alexander Hamilton and supported by President George Washington. It angered France and bitterly divided Americans. It inflamed the new growth of two opposing parties in every state, the pro-Treaty Federalists and the anti-Treaty Democratic Republicans.
George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War for Independence. He presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the U.S. Constitution and a federal government. Washington has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.
The First Party System ended during the Era of Good Feelings (1816–1824), as the Federalists shrank to a few isolated strongholds and the Democratic-Republicans lost unity. In 1824–28, as the Second Party System emerged, the Democratic-Republican Party split into the Jacksonian faction, which became the modern Democratic Party in the 1830s, and the Henry Clay faction, which was absorbed by Clay's Whig Party.
The Era of Good Feelings marked a period in the political history of the United States that reflected a sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans in the aftermath of the War of 1812. The era saw the collapse of the Federalist Party and an end to the bitter partisan disputes between it and the dominant Democratic-Republican Party during the First Party System. President James Monroe strove to downplay partisan affiliation in making his nominations, with the ultimate goal of national unity and eliminating parties altogether from national politics. The period is so closely associated with Monroe's presidency (1817–1825) and his administrative goals that his name and the era are virtually synonymous.
Historians and political scientists consider the Second Party System to be a term of periodization to designate the political party system operating in the United States from about 1828 to 1854, after the First Party System ended. The system was characterized by rapidly rising levels of voter interest, beginning in 1828, as demonstrated by Election Day turnouts, rallies, partisan newspapers, and high degrees of personal loyalty to parties.
Andrew Jackson was an American soldier and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Before being elected to the presidency, Jackson gained fame as a general in the United States Army and served in both houses of Congress. As president, Jackson sought to advance the rights of the "common man" against a "corrupt aristocracy" and to preserve the Union.
Leading nationalists, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin (see Annapolis Convention ), called the Constitutional Convention in 1787. It drew up a new constitution that was submitted to state ratification conventions for approval. (The old Congress of the Confederation approved the process.) James Madison was the most prominent figure; he is often referred to as "the father of the Constitution".
Benjamin Franklin was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Annapolis Convention, formally titled as a Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government, was a national political convention held September 11–14, 1786 at Mann's Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland, in which twelve delegates from five states—New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia—gathered to discuss and develop a consensus about reversing the protectionist trade barriers that each state had erected. At the time, under the Articles of Confederation, each state was largely independent from the others, and the national government had no authority to regulate trade between and among the states. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina had appointed commissioners who failed to arrive in Annapolis in time to attend the meeting, while Connecticut, Maryland, South Carolina, and Georgia had taken no action at all.
James Madison Jr. was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution and the United States Bill of Rights. He also co-wrote The Federalist Papers, co-founded the Democratic-Republican Party, and served as the fifth United States secretary of State from 1801 to 1809.
An intense debate on ratification pitted the "Federalists" (who supported the Constitution, and were led by Madison and Hamilton) against the "Anti-Federalists," (who opposed the new Constitution). The Federalists won and the Constitution was ratified. The Anti-Federalists were deeply concerned about the theoretical danger of a strong central government (like that of Britain) that someday could usurp the rights of the states.The framers of the Constitution did not want or expect political parties to emerge, because they considered them divisive.
The term "Federalist Party" originated around 1792–93 and refers to a somewhat different coalition of supporters of the Constitution in 1787–88 as well as entirely new elements, and even a few former opponents of the Constitution (such as Patrick Henry). Madison largely wrote the Constitution and was thus a Federalist in 1787–88, but he opposed the program of the Hamiltonians and their new "Federalist Party".
At first, there were no parties in the nation. Factions soon formed around dominant personalities such as Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury, and Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State, who opposed Hamilton's broad vision of a powerful federal government. Jefferson especially objected to Hamilton's flexible view of the Constitution, which stretched to include a national bank. Jefferson was joined by Madison in opposing the Washington administration, leading the "Anti-Administration party". Washington was re-elected without opposition in 1792.
Hamilton built a national network of supporters that emerged about 1792–93 as the Federalist Party. In response, Jefferson and James Madison built a network of supporters of the republic in Congress and in the states that emerged in 1792–93 as the Democratic-Republican Party. The elections of 1792 were the first contested on anything resembling a partisan basis. In most states, the congressional elections were recognized in some sense, as Jefferson strategist John Beckley put it, as a "struggle between the Treasury department and the republican interest". In New York, the race for governor was organized along these lines. The candidates were John Jay, who was a Hamiltonian, and incumbent George Clinton, who was allied with Jefferson and the Republicans.
In 1793, the first Democratic-Republican Societies were formed. They supported the French Revolution, which had just seen the execution of King Louis XVI, and generally supported the Jeffersonian cause. The word "democrat" was proposed by Citizen Genet for the societies, and the Federalists ridiculed Jefferson's friends as "democrats". After Washington denounced the societies as unrepublican, they mostly faded away.
In 1793, war broke out between England, France, and their European allies. The Jeffersonians favored France and pointed to the 1778 treaty that was still in effect. Washington and his unanimous cabinet (including Jefferson) decided the treaty did not bind the U.S. to enter the war; instead Washington proclaimed neutrality.
When war threatened with Britain in 1794, Washington sent John Jay to negotiate the Jay treaty with Britain; it was signed in late 1794, and ratified in 1795. It averted a possible war and settled many (but not all) of the outstanding issues between the U.S. and Britain.The Jeffersonians vehemently denounced the treaty, saying it threatened to undermine republicanism by giving the aristocratic British and their Federalist allies too much influence. The fierce debates over the Jay Treaty in 1794–96, according to William Nisbet Chambers, nationalized politics and turned a faction in Congress into a nationwide party. To fight the treaty the Jeffersonians "established coordination in activity between leaders at the capital, and leaders, actives and popular followings in the states, counties and towns".
In 1796 Jefferson challenged John Adams for the presidency and lost. The Electoral College made the decision, and it was largely chosen by the state legislatures, many of which were not chosen on a national party basis.
By 1796, both parties had a national network of newspapers, which attacked each other vehemently. The Federalist and Republican newspapers of the 1790s traded vicious barbs against their enemies.An example is this acrostic from a Republican paper (note the sequence of first letter of each line):
A SK—who lies here beneath this monument?
L o—'tis a self created MONSTER, who
E mbraced all vice. His arrogance was like
X erxes, who flogg'd the disobedient sea,
A dultery his smallest crime; when he
N obility affected. This privilege
D ecreed by Monarchs, was to that annext.
E nticing and entic'd to ev'ry fraud,
R enounced virtue, liberty and God.
H aunted by whores—he haunted them in turn
A ristocratic was this noble Goat
M onster of monsters, in pollution skill'd
I mmers'd in mischief, brothels, funds & banks
L ewd slave to lust,—afforded consolation;
T o mourning whores, and tory-lamentation.
O utdid all fools, tainted with royal name;
N one but fools, their wickedness proclaim.
The most heated rhetoric came in debates over the French Revolution, especially the Jacobin Terror of 1793–94 when the guillotine was used daily. Nationalism was a high priority, and the editors fostered an intellectual nationalism typified by the Federalist effort to stimulate a national literary culture through their clubs and publications in New York and Philadelphia, and through Federalist Noah Webster's efforts to simplify and Americanize the language.
Historians have used statistical techniques to estimate the party breakdown in Congress. Many Congressmen were hard to classify in the first few years, but after 1796 there was less uncertainty. The first parties were anti-federalist and federalist.
Given the power of the Federalists, the Democratic Republicans had to work harder to win. In Connecticut in 1806 the state leadership sent town leaders instructions for the forthcoming elections; every town manager was told by state leaders "to appoint a district manager in each district or section of his town, obtaining from each an assurance that he will faithfully do his duty". Then the town manager was instructed to compile lists and total up the number of taxpayers, the number of eligible voters, how many were "decided democratic republicans," "decided federalists," or "doubtful," and finally to count the number of supporters who were not currently eligible to vote but who might qualify (by age or taxes) at the next election. The returns eventually went to the state manager, who issued directions to laggard towns to get all the eligibles to town meetings, help the young men qualify to vote, to nominate a full ticket for local elections, and to print and distribute the party ticket. (The secret ballot did not appear for a century. )This highly coordinated "get-out-the-vote" drive would be familiar to modern political campaigners, but was the first of its kind in world history.
The Jeffersonians invented many campaign techniques that the Federalists later adopted and that became standard American practice. They were especially effective at building a network of newspapers in major cities to broadcast their statements and editorialize in their favor. But the Federalists, with a strong base among merchants, controlled more newspapers: in 1796 the Federalist papers outnumbered the Democratic Republicans by 4 to 1. Every year more papers began publishing; in 1800 the Federalists still had a 2 to 1 numerical advantage. Most papers, on each side, were weeklies with a circulation of 300 to 1000.Jefferson systematically subsidized the editors. Fisher Ames, a leading Federalist, who used the term "Jacobin" to link Jefferson's followers to the terrorists of the French Revolution, blamed the newspapers for electing Jefferson, seeing them as "an overmatch for any Government ... The Jacobins owe their triumph to the unceasing use of this engine; not so much to skill in use of it as by repetition." Historians echo Ames' assessment. As one explains,
It was the good fortune of the Republicans to have within their ranks a number of highly gifted political manipulators and propagandists. Some of them had the ability ... to not only see and analyze the problem at hand but to present it in a succinct fashion; in short, to fabricate the apt phrase, to coin the compelling slogan and appeal to the electorate on any given issue in language it could understand.[ citation needed ]
Outstanding phrasemakers included editor William Duane, party leaders Albert Gallatin and Thomas Cooper, and Jefferson himself.Meanwhile, John J. Beckley of Pennsylvania, an ardent partisan, invented new campaign techniques (such as mass distribution of pamphlets and of handwritten ballots) that generated the grass-roots support and unprecedented levels of voter turnout for the Jeffersonians.
With the world thrown into global warfare after 1793, the small nation on the fringe of the European system could barely remain neutral. The Jeffersonians called for strong measures against Britain, and even for another war. The Federalists tried to avert war by the Jay Treaty (1795) with England. The treaty became highly controversial when the Jeffersonians denounced it as a sell-out to Britain, even as the Federalists said it avoided war, reduced the Indian threat, created good trade relations with the world's foremost economic power, and ended lingering disputes from the Revolutionary War. When Jefferson came to power in 1801 he honored the treaty, but new disputes with Britain led to the War of 1812.
In 1798 disputes with France led to the Quasi-War (1798–1800), an undeclared naval war involving the navies and merchant ships of both countries. Democratic-Republicans said France really wanted peace, but the XYZ Affair undercut their position. Warning that full-scale war with France was imminent, Hamilton and his "High Federalist" allies forced the issue by getting Congressional approval to raise a large new army (which Hamilton controlled), replete with officers' commissions (which he bestowed on his partisans). The Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) clamped down on dissenters, including pro-Jefferson editors, and Vermont Congressman Matthew Lyon, who won re-election while in jail in 1798. In the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions (1798), secretly drafted by Madison and Jefferson, the legislatures of the two states challenged the power of the federal government.
Jefferson and Albert Gallatin focused on the danger that the public debt, unless it was paid off, would be a threat to republican values. They were appalled that Hamilton was increasing the national debt and using it to solidify his Federalist base. Gallatin was the Republican Party's chief expert on fiscal issues and as Treasury Secretary under Jefferson and Madison worked hard to lower taxes and lower the debt, while at the same time paying cash for the Louisiana Purchase and funding the War of 1812. Burrows says of Gallatin:
His own fears of personal dependency and his small-shopkeeper's sense of integrity, both reinforced by a strain of radical republican thought that originated in England a century earlier, convinced him that public debts were a nursery of multiple public evils—corruption, legislative impotence, executive tyranny, social inequality, financial speculation, and personal indolence. Not only was it necessary to extinguish the existing debt as rapidly as possible, he argued, but Congress would have to ensure against the accumulation of future debts by more diligently supervising government expenditures.
Andrew Jackson saw the national debt as a "national curse" and he took special pride in paying off the entire national debt in 1835.
Madison worked diligently to form party lines inside the Congress and build coalitions with sympathetic political factions in each state. In 1800, a critical election galvanized the electorate, sweeping the Federalists out of power, and electing Jefferson and his Democratic-Republican Party. Adams made a few last minute, "midnight appointments", notably Federalist John Marshall as Chief Justice. Marshall held the post for three decades and used it to federalize the Constitution, much to Jefferson's dismay.
As president, Jefferson worked to cleanse the government of Adams's "midnight appointments", withholding the commissions of 25 of 42 appointed judges and removing army officers. The sense that the nation needed two rival parties to balance each other had not been fully accepted by either party; Hamilton had viewed Jefferson's election as the failure of the Federalist experiment. The rhetoric of the day was cataclysmic — election of the opposition meant the enemy would ruin the nation. Jefferson's foreign policy was not exactly pro-Napoleon, but it applied pressure on Britain to stop impressment of American sailors and other hostile acts. By engineering an embargo of trade against Britain, Jefferson and Madison plunged the nation into economic depression, ruined much of the business of Federalist New England, and finally precipitated the War of 1812 with a much larger and more powerful foe.
The Federalists vigorously criticized the government, and gained strength in the industrial Northeast. However, they committed a major blunder in 1814. That year the semi-secret "Hartford Convention" passed resolutions that verged on secession; their publication ruined the Federalist party. It had been limping along for years, with strength in New England and scattered eastern states but practically no strength in the West. While Federalists helped invent or develop numerous campaign techniques (such as the first national nominating conventions in 1808), their elitist bias alienated the middle class, thus allowing the Jeffersonians to claim they represented the true spirit of "republicanism".
Because of the importance of foreign policy (decided by the national government), of the sale of national lands, and the patronage controlled by the President, the factions in each state realigned themselves in parallel with the Federalists and Republicans. Some newspaper editors became powerful politicians, such as Thomas Ritchie, whose "Richmond Junto" controlled Virginia state politics from 1808 into the 1840s.
New England was always the stronghold of the Federalist party. One historian explains how well organized it was in Connecticut:
It was only necessary to perfect the working methods of the organized body of office-holders who made up the nucleus of the party. There were the state officers, the assistants, and a large majority of the Assembly. In every county there was a sheriff with his deputies. All of the state, county, and town judges were potential and generally active workers. Every town had several justices of the peace, school directors and, in Federalist towns, all the town officers who were ready to carry on the party's work ... Militia officers, state's attorneys, lawyers, professors and schoolteachers were in the van of this "conscript army". In all, about a thousand or eleven hundred dependent officer-holders were described as the inner ring which could always be depended upon for their own and enough more votes within their control to decide an election. This was the Federalist machine.
Religious tensions polarized Connecticut, as the established Congregational Church, in alliance with the Federalists, tried to maintain its grip on power. Dissenting groups moved toward the Jeffersonians. The failure of the Hartford Convention in 1814 wounded the Federalists, who were finally upended by the Democratic-Republicans in 1817.
The First Party System was primarily built around foreign policy issues that vanished with the defeat of Napoleon and the compromise settlement of the War of 1812. Furthermore, the fears that Federalists were plotting to reintroduce aristocracy dissipated. Thus an "Era of Good Feelings" under James Monroe replaced the high-tension politics of the First Party System about 1816. Personal politics and factional disputes were occasionally still hotly debated, but Americans no longer thought of themselves in terms of political parties.
Historians have debated the exact ending of the system.Most concluded it petered out by 1820. The little state of Delaware, largely isolated from the larger political forces controlling the nation, saw the First Party System continue well into the 1820s, with the Federalists occasionally winning some offices.
Alexander Hamilton felt that only by mobilizing its supporters on a daily basis in every state on many issues could support for the government be sustained through thick and thin. Newspapers were needed to communicate inside the party; patronage helped the party's leaders and made new friends.
Hamilton, and especially Washington, distrusted the idea of an opposition party, as shown in George Washington's Farewell Address of 1796. They thought opposition parties would only weaken the nation. By contrast Jefferson was the main force behind the creation and continuity of an opposition party.He deeply felt the Federalists represented aristocratic forces hostile to true republicanism and the true will of the people, as he explained in a letter to Henry Lee in 1824:
Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.
Hofstadter (1970) shows it took many years for the idea to take hold that having two parties is better than having one, or none. That transition was made possible by the successful passing of power in 1801 from one party to the other. Although Jefferson systematically identified Federalist army officers and officeholders, he was blocked from removing all of them by protests from republicans. The Quids complained he did not go far enough.
While historians are not unanimous, Princeton scholar Sean Wilentz in 2010 identified a scholarly trend very much in Hamilton's favor:
In recent years, Hamilton and his reputation have decidedly gained the initiative among scholars who portray him as the visionary architect of the modern liberal capitalist economy and of a dynamic federal government headed by an energetic executive. Jefferson and his allies, by contrast, have come across as naïve, dreamy idealists. At best according to many historians, the Jeffersonians were reactionary utopians who resisted the onrush of capitalist modernity in hopes of turning America into a yeoman farmers' arcadia. At worst, they were proslavery racists who wish to rid the West of Indians, expand the empire of slavery, and keep political power in local hands – all the better to expand the institution of slavery and protect slaveholders' rights to own human property.
The Democratic-Republican Party was an American political party formed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison around 1792 to oppose the centralizing policies of the new Federalist Party run by Alexander Hamilton, who was Secretary of the Treasury and chief architect of George Washington's administration. From 1801 to 1825, the new party controlled the presidency and Congress as well as most states during the First Party System. It began in 1791 as one faction in Congress and included many politicians who had been opposed to the new constitution. They called themselves Republicans after their political philosophy, republicanism. They distrusted the Federalist tendency to centralize and loosely interpret the Constitution, believing these policies were signs of monarchism and anti-republican values. The party splintered in 1824, with the faction loyal to Andrew Jackson coalescing into the Jacksonian movement, the faction led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay forming the National Republican Party and some other groups going on to form the Anti-Masonic Party. The National Republicans, Anti-Masons, and other opponents of Andrew Jackson later formed themselves into the Whig Party.
The United States presidential election of 1796 was the third quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Friday, November 4 to Wednesday, December 7, 1796. It was the first contested American presidential election, the first presidential election in which political parties played a dominant role, and the only presidential election in which a president and vice president were elected from opposing tickets. Incumbent Vice President John Adams of the Federalist Party defeated former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party.
The United States presidential election of 1800 was the fourth United States presidential election. It was held from Friday, October 31 to Wednesday, December 3, 1800. In what is sometimes referred to as the "Revolution of 1800", Vice President Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party defeated incumbent President John Adams of the Federalist Party. The election was a realigning election that ushered in a generation of Democratic-Republican rule.
Between 1776 and 1789, the United States of America emerged as an independent country, creating and ratifying its new constitution and establishing its national government. In order to assert their traditional rights, American Patriots seized control of the colonies and launched a war for independence. The Americans declared independence on July 4, 1776, proclaiming "all men are created equal". Congress raised the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington, forged a military alliance with France and defeated the two main British invasion armies. Nationalists replaced the governing Articles of Confederation to strengthen the federal government's powers of defense and taxation with the Constitution of the United States of America in 1789, still in effect today.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by the Federalist Party as its presidential candidate in 1804 and 1808, losing both elections.
Jeffersonian democracy, named after its advocate Thomas Jefferson, was one of two dominant political outlooks and movements in the United States from the 1790s to the 1820s. The term was commonly used to refer to the Democratic-Republican Party, which Jefferson founded in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton. The Jeffersonians were deeply committed to American republicanism, which meant opposition to what they considered to be artificial aristocracy, opposition to corruption, and insistence on virtue, with a priority for the "yeoman farmer", "planters", and the "plain folk".
George Washington, elected the first president in 1789, set up a cabinet form of government, with departments of State, Treasury, and War, along with an Attorney General. Based in New York, the new government acted quickly to rebuild the nation's financial structure. Enacting the program of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, the government assumed the Revolutionary war debts of the states and the national government, and refinanced them with new federal bonds. It paid for the program through new tariffs and taxes; the tax on whiskey led to a revolt in the west; Washington raised an army and suppressed it. The nation adopted a Bill of Rights as 10 amendments to the new constitution. The Judiciary Act of 1789 established the entire federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court became important under the leadership of Chief Justice John Marshall (1801–1835), a federalist and nationalist who built a strong Supreme Court and strengthened the national government.
The Midnight Judges Act represented an effort to solve an issue in the U.S. Supreme Court during the early 19th century. There was concern, beginning in 1789, about the system that required the Justices of the Supreme Court to "ride circuit" and reiterate decisions made in the appellate level courts. The Supreme Court Justices had often voiced concern and suggested that the judges of the Supreme and circuit courts be divided. President Thomas Jefferson did not want the judiciary to gain more power over the executive branch.
The tertium quids refers to various factions of the Democratic-Republican Party in the United States during the period 1804–1812. In Latin, tertium quid means "a third something". Quid was a disparaging term that referred to cross-party coalitions of Federalists and moderate Democratic-Republicans.
The presidency of Thomas Jefferson began on March 4, 1801, when he was inaugurated as the third President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1809. Jefferson assumed the office after defeating incumbent President John Adams in the 1800 presidential election. The election was a realigning election in which the Democratic-Republican Party swept the Federalist Party out of power, ushering in a generation of Democratic-Republican dominance in American politics. After serving two terms, Jefferson was succeeded by Secretary of State James Madison, also of the Democratic-Republican Party.
The Anti-Administration party (1789–1792) was an informal faction led by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson that opposed policies of then Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in the first term of President George Washington. This was not an organized political party, but an unorganized faction and most had been Anti-Federalists in 1788, meaning they opposed ratification of the Constitution of the United States. However, the situation was fluid, with members moving in and out.
The presidency of John Adams, began on March 4, 1797, when John Adams was inaugurated as the second President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1801. Adams, who had served as vice president under George Washington, took office as president after winning the 1796 presidential election. The only member of the Federalist Party to ever serve as president, his presidency ended after a single term following his defeat in the 1800 presidential election. He was succeeded by Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party.
The presidency of George Washington began on April 30, 1789, when Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1797. Washington took office after the 1788–89 presidential election, the nation's first quadrennial presidential election, in which he was elected unanimously. Washington was re-elected unanimously in the 1792 presidential election, and chose to retire after two terms. He was succeeded by his vice president, John Adams of the Federalist Party.
The Federalist Era in American history ran from 1788-1800, a time when the Federalist Party and its predecessors were dominant in American politics. During this period, Federalists generally controlled Congress and enjoyed the support of President George Washington and President John Adams. The era saw the creation of a new, stronger federal government under the United States Constitution, a deepening of support for nationalism, and diminished fears of tyranny by a central government. The era began with the ratification of the United States Constitution and ended with the Democratic-Republican Party's victory in the 1800 elections.
As most Presidents have careers in politics and some lose re-election, there have been many elections lost by presidents of the United States.