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Partisan Politics

Introduction
At the time of ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the new American nation of the early nineteenth century found its citizens divided in their political views. Those who favored a strong central government and thus a restriction of the powers possessed by the states belonged to the Federalist Party; those who believed that the Constitution should be interpreted so as to limit the power of the national government, thus giving additional power to the states, joined the Republican Party. The Federalists, therefore, espoused a nationalistic view; the Republicans, though they would not deny the efficacy of a national government, believed that definite rights should be reserved to the states. This activity will help you better understand how ideals embraced at the time of the nation’s founding still effect contemporary American society as well as help you develop skills in critical thinking and organization.

Primary Sources
    Debate on the First National Bank, Select Documents Illustrative of the History of the United States, ed. William MacDonald (1905), p. 76-98.

    Alien and Sedition Acts or 1798, Select Documents Illustrative of the History of the United States, ed. William MacDonald (1905), p. 137-148.

    Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Select Documents Illustrative of the History of the United States, ed. William MacDonald (1905), p. 148-160.

Part 1: Essay
For your essay, you must read the primary sources listed above and examine them for a Federalist OR a Republican point of view. Then you must write an essay explaining on the political philosophy of ONE of these parties.
Focus Question:
Your essay should address the following questions: What did the party believe about the role of the government and why did they adopt these views?

 

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