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Monocrats and Jacobins

  • William J. WatkinsJr.

Abstract

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, written over two decades after the colonies declared independence from Great Britain, represent a reaffirmation of the spirit of 1776. At the core, the Resolutions are intrepid statements in favor of self-government and limited central authority. A product of the political and constitutional battlegrounds of the 1790s, the Resolutions serve to link the federal union created by the Constitution with aspirations of the patriots of the American Revolution. Indeed, the touch of the author of the Declaration of Independence is unmistakable when one reads the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.

Keywords

National Government French Revolution National Bank AMERICAN Revolution Paper Money 
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Notes

  1. 2.
    What I describe as a “party” in no way resembles the modern version of a political party. As Dumas Malone has observed, “[t]he term ‘party’ was something of a misnomer at a time when the affiliations of members of Congress were not a matter of record, and the organization was rudimentary from our point of view. Parties were loose groupings without legal sanction or formal leadership.” Dumas Malone, Jefferson the President: Second Term 1805–9 (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown and Company, 1974) p. xiii. For lack of a better term, I will describe the opposing groups as the Federalist party and the Republican party.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    The Court/Country distinction originates from English political struggles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. English Whigs saw the Court party as ever struggling to increase the influence of the executive by bribing members of Parliament with places and pensions in exchange for their support of programs meant to increase the size and power of government. Hence, the Country party saw the Court politicians as poor protectors of the people’s liberties. See John M. Murrin, The Great Inversion, or Court versus Country: A Comparison of the Revolution Settlement in England (1688–721) and America (1776–816), in J.G.A. Pocock, ed., Three British Revolutions: 1641, 1688, 1776 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1980) pp. 368–430;Google Scholar
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    Samuel Flagg Bemis, Jay’s Treaty: A Study in Commerce and Diplomacy (NewYork: Macmillan Company, 1923) p. 6.Google Scholar
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    Quoted in James Roger Sharp, American Politics in the Early Republic: The New Nation in Crisis (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1993) p. 119.Google Scholar
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    James McHenry quoted in Stanley Elikins & Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993) p. 556.Google Scholar
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    Quoted in Alexander DeConde, The Quasi War: The Politics and Diplomacy of the Undeclared War with France 1797–801 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1966) p. 72.Google Scholar
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    See Bernard A. Weisberger, America Afire: Jefferson, Adams, and the Revolutionary Election of 1800 (New York: HarperCollins, 2000) p. 222 (noting that “General Hamilton would have liked nothing better than an excuse to use his army to threaten Jefferson’s home state”).Google Scholar
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    See generally, Robert Higgs, Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Independent Institute 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. WatkinsJr.

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