The Age of Federalism

Stanley M. Elkins, Author, Eric McKitrick, With Oxford University Press, USA $50 (944p) ISBN 978-0-19-506890-0
This magisterial, detailed history of the early American republic through 1800 reminds us that the ``Founding Fathers'' were revolutionaries, full of volatile passions that cemented or shattered friendships and shaped their cultural orientations. Alexander Hamilton's Federalist program calling for a sizable funded debt, a strong national bank, subsidized manufactures and a standing army aroused the deep enmity of Thomas Jefferson, who, the authors maintain, pursued his rival agrarian, egalitarian vision with a ``self-deceiving obstinacy'' that often matched Hamilton's imperiousness. They probe the deep anglophobia of Jefferson, Madison and the Virginia elite, whose decision to place the capital on a stretch of uninhabited wasteland on the Potomac contributed to the young republic's fragmented, provincial culture, according to Elkins ( Slavery ), a Smith history professor, and McKitrick ( Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction ), a Columbia professor emeritus. Full of vibrant portraits of the Federalists and their opponents, this outstanding, provocative chronicle sheds much new light on the emergence of American partisan politics. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 944 pages - 978-0-19-509381-0
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