This chapter covers the challenge of blending local community sentiments with national ones once the unifying factor of a common enemy was eliminated by victory in the Revolution. A new Constitution was developed that was stronger than the old Articles of the Confederation. Washington as the first president set many precedents for the government of the new nation. Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton debated the future of the nation in their efforts at interpreting the real meaning of the new Constitution. Under pressure of external events such as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, political factions developed into the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties. Writers and artists helped to develop a national culture.
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
Discuss the motivations, issues, and process of ratification of the new Constitution.
Outline the crises faced by the administrations of Washington and Adams and explain their effects on the national government.
Compare the ideas of the opposing factions particularly as they are represented by the arguments and policies of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, including the development of party politics.
Discuss the problem of the struggle for liberty balanced against the need for unity faced by the nation from 1787 to 1800, particularly the example of the Whiskey Rebellion and the community of Mingo Creek farmers.
Illustrate how the revolutionary generation of writers, artists, and other intellectuals built a national culture.
Explain how the experiences in colonial government and the arguments leading up to the Revolution affected the development of a national government.