Era of Good Feelings

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.[1][2] 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.[3][4] 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.[1][5][6] 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.[7]

During and after the 1824 presidential election, the Democratic-Republican Party split between supporters and opponents of Jacksonian Nationalism, leading to the Second Party System.

The designation of the period by historians as one of good feelings is often conveyed with irony or skepticism, as the history of the era was one in which the political atmosphere was strained and divisive, especially among factions within the Monroe administration and the Democratic-Republican Party.[3][8]

The phrase Era of Good Feelings was coined by Benjamin Russell, in the Boston Federalist newspaper, Columbian Centinel, on July 12, 1817, following Monroe's visit to Boston, Massachusetts, as part of his good-will tour of the United States.[9][10]

Era of Good Feelings
Independence Day Celebration in Centre Square
Independence Day Celebration in Centre Square by John Lewis Krimmel, 1819
Preceded byJeffersonian era
Followed byJacksonian era

Post-war nationalism


During the late Presidential Jubilee many persons
Have met at festive boards, in pleasant conversation,
Centinel, July 12, 1817, introducing the term "Era of Good Feelings"[11]

The Era of Good Feelings started in 1815 in the mood of victory that swept the nation at the end of the War of 1812.[2] Exultation replaced the bitter political divisions between Federalists and Republicans, the North and South, and the East Coast cities and settlers on the American frontier. The political hostilities declined because the Federalist Party had largely dissolved after the fiasco of the Hartford Convention in 1814–15.[12] As a party, Federalists "had collapsed as a national political force".[13][14][15] The Democratic-Republican Party was nominally dominant, but in practice it was inactive at the national level and in most states.[16]

The era saw a trend toward nationalization that envisioned "a permanent federal role in the crucial arena of national development and national prosperity".[17] Monroe's predecessor, President James Madison, and the Republican Party, had come to appreciate – through the crucible of war – the expediency of Federalist institutions and projects, and prepared to legislate them under the auspices of John C. Calhoun and Henry Clay's American System.[18]

Madison announced this shift in policy with his Seventh Annual Message to Congress in December 1815, subsequently authorizing measures for a national bank and a protective tariff on manufactures.[19] Vetoing the Bonus Bill on strict constructionist grounds, Madison nevertheless was determined, as had been his predecessor, Thomas Jefferson,[20] to see internal improvements implemented with an amendment to the US Constitution.[21] Writing to Monroe, in 1817, Madison declared that "there has never been a moment when such a proposition to the states was so likely to be approved".[22] The emergence of "new Republicans" – undismayed by mild nationalist policies – anticipated Monroe's "era of good feelings" and a general mood of optimism emerged with hopes for political reconciliation.[23]

Monroe's landslide victory against Federalist Rufus King in the 1816 presidential election was so widely predicted that voter turnout was low.[24][25] A spirit of reconciliation between Republicans and Federalists was well underway when Monroe assumed office in March 1817.[3][26]

Monroe and political parties

James Monroe 02
President James Monroe, portrait by John Vanderlyn, 1816

As president, James Monroe was widely expected to facilitate a rapprochement of the political parties in order to harmonize the country in a common national outlook, rather than party interests. Both parties exhorted him to include a Federalist in his cabinet to symbolize the new era of "oneness" that pervaded the nation.[1][3]

Monroe approached these developments with great caution and deliberation. As president-elect, he carefully crafted the stance he would assume towards the declining Federalists in a letter to General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee in December 1816.[14]

First, Monroe reaffirmed his conviction – an "anti-Federalist" article of faith – that the Federalist Party was committed to installing a monarch and overthrowing republican forms of government at the first opportunity.[27] To appoint a member of such a party to a top executive position, Monroe reasoned, would only serve to prolong the inevitable decline and fall of the opposition. Monroe made absolutely clear in this document that his administration would never allow itself to become tainted with Federalist ideology.[28]

Secondly, he was loath to arouse jealousies within his own party by appearing to accommodate any Federalist, at the expense of a Republican.[29] This would only serve to create factions and a revival of party identity.[28]

And third, Monroe sought to merge former Federalists with Republicans as a prelude to eliminating party associations altogether from national politics, including his own Republican party. All political parties, wrote Monroe, were by their very nature, incompatible with free government. Ideally, the business of governing was best conducted by disinterested statesmen, acting exclusively in the national interest – not on behalf of sectional interests or personal ambition.[1] This was "amalgamation" – the supposed end of party warfare and the beginning of the "politics of consensus".[30]

His policy echoed the arguments put forth by President George Washington in his farewell address in 1796 and his warnings against political "factions".[28][31]

The method Monroe employed to deflate the Federalist Party was through neglect: they were denied all political patronage, administrative appointments and federal support of any kind. Monroe pursued this policy dispassionately and without any desire to persecute the Federalists: his purpose was simply to extirpate them from positions of political power, both Federal and State, especially in its New England strongholds. He understood that any expression of official approval would only encourage hope for a Federalist revival, and this he could not abide.[32]

In his public pronouncements, Monroe was careful to avoid any comments that could be interpreted as politically partisan. Not only did he never attack the Federalist party, he made no direct reference to them in his speeches whatsoever: officially, they ceased to exist.[33] In his private encounters with Federalists, he made favorable impressions,[33][34] committing himself to nothing, yet eliciting good feelings, and reassuring them that his policies would be generous, as he proceeded quietly with a program of "de-Federalization".[32]

So thoroughly had Monroe reduced party politics that he essentially ran unopposed in the 1820 presidential election. The Federalists ran no candidate to oppose him, running only a vice-presidential candidate, Richard Stockton. Monroe and his vice president Daniel D. Tompkins would have won reelection unanimously through the electoral college, had there not been a handful of faithless electors; one presidential elector cast his vote for John Quincy Adams, while a handful of electors (mostly former Federalists) cast votes for a number of Federalist candidates for Vice President. It would be the last presidential election in which a candidate would run essentially unopposed.

The Great Goodwill Tour and national embrace of republicanism

The most perfect expression of the Era of Good Feelings was Monroe's country-wide Goodwill tour in 1817 and 1819. His visits to New England and to the Federalist stronghold of Boston, Massachusetts, in particular, were the most significant of the tour.[33] Here, the descriptive phrase "Era of Good Feelings" was bestowed by a local Federalist journal.

The President's physical appearance, wardrobe and personal attributes were decisive in arousing good feelings on the tour. He donned a Revolutionary War officer's uniform and tied his long powdered hair in a queue according to the old-fashioned style of the 18th century.[35] "Tall, rawboned, venerable", he made an "agreeable" impression and had a good deal of charm and "most men immediately liked him ... [in] manner he was rather formal, having an innate sense of dignity, which allowed no one to take liberties. Yet in spite of his formality, he had the unusual ability to put men at their ease by his courtesy, lack of condescension, his frankness, and what his contemporaries looked upon as the essential goodness and kindness of heart which he always radiated."[36][37]

Monroe's visit to Boston elicited a huge outpouring of nationalist pride and expressions of reconciliation. New England Federalists were especially eager to demonstrate their loyalty after the debacle of the Hartford Convention. Amidst the festivities – banquets, parades, receptions – many took the opportunity to make the most "explicit and solemn declarations" to remove, as Monroe wrote afterwards, "impressions of that kind, which they knew existed, and to get back into the great family of the union".[38] Abigail Adams dubbed the catharsis an "expiation."[37]

Here, in the heart of Federalist territory, Monroe gained the primary goal of his tour; in effect, permitting "the Federalists by solemn public demonstrations to reaffirm their loyalty to the government and their acceptance of Republican control".[33] Even in this atmosphere of contrition, Monroe was assiduous in avoiding any remarks or expressions that might chasten or humiliate his hosts. He presented himself strictly as the head of state, and not as the leader of a triumphant political party.[37]

In the ensuing years the New England states capitulated, and all but Massachusetts was in Republican Party hands. De-Federalization was virtually complete by 1820 and the appointment of former Federalist Party members seemed in order; however, Monroe feared a backlash even at this advanced stage in the process of amalgamation. Most anti-Federalist sentiments were political posturing, but Monroe was not so secure of support for his domestic and foreign programs and was concerned at the mounting hostilities over the upcoming presidential contest in 1824, a purely intraparty affair. Monroe's final reconciling with the Federalists was never consummated.[38]

Failure of amalgamation and rise of the Old Republicans

Monroe's success in mitigating party rancor produced an appearance of political unity, with almost all Americans identifying themselves as Republicans.[4] His nearly unanimous electoral victory for reelection in 1820 seemed to confirm this.[39]

Recognizing the danger of intraparty rivalries, Monroe attempted to include prospective presidential candidates and top political leaders in his administration. His cabinet comprised three of the political rivals who would vie for the presidency in 1824: John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun and William H. Crawford. A fourth, Andrew Jackson, held high military appointments.[40] Here, Monroe felt he could manage the factional disputes and arrange compromise on national politics within administration guidelines.[38] His great disadvantage was that amalgamation deprived him of appealing to Republican "solidarity" that would have cleared the way for passage of his programs in Congress.

"From the moment that Monroe adopted as his guiding principle the maxim that he was head of a nation, not the leader of a party, he repudiated for all practical purposes the party unity" that would have served to establish his policies. The result was a loss of party discipline.[4][41] Absent was the universal adherence to the precepts of Jeffersonianism: state sovereignty, strict construction and stability of Southern institutions. Old Republican critics of the new nationalism, among them John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia, had warned that the abandonment of the Jeffersonian scheme of Southern preeminence would provoke a sectional conflict, North and South, that would threaten the union.[4] Former president James Madison had cautioned Monroe that in any free government, it was natural that party identity would take shape.[40]

The disastrous Panic of 1819 and the Supreme Court's McCulloch v. Maryland reanimated the disputes over the supremacy of state sovereignty and federal power, between strict construction of the US Constitution and loose construction.[42] The Missouri Crisis in 1820 made the explosive political conflict between slave and free soil open and explicit.[43] Only through the adroit handling of the legislation by Speaker of the House Henry Clay was a settlement reached and disunion avoided.[13][44][45]

With the decline in political consensus, it became imperative to revive Jeffersonian principles on the basis of Southern exceptionalism.[46][47] The agrarian alliance, North and South, would be revived to form Jacksonian Nationalism and the rise of the modern Democratic Party.[48] The interlude of the Era of Good Feelings was at an end.[27]


  1. ^ a b c d Ammon, 1971, p. 366.
  2. ^ a b Wilentz, 2008, p. 181.
  3. ^ a b c d Ammon, 1958, p. 4.
  4. ^ a b c d Brown, 1966, p. 23.
  5. ^ Ammon, 1958, p. 6.
  6. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, p. 24.
  7. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, p. 35, Dangerfield, 1952.
  8. ^ Remini, 2002, p. 77, Dangerfield, 1965, pp. 32, 35.
  9. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, p. 35, Unger, 2009, p. 271.
  10. ^ Patricia L. Dooley, ed. (2004). The Early Republic: Primary Documents on Events from 1799 to 1820. Greenwood. pp. 298ff.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, p.
    whom party politics had long severed. We recur

    with pleasure to all the circumstances which at-

    attended the demonstration of good feelings.| The original passage from the Boston Columbia 95.
  12. ^ James M. Banner, To the Hartford Convention: the Federalists and the origins of party politics in Massachusetts, 1789-1815 (1970).
  13. ^ a b Wilentz, 2005, p. 42.
  14. ^ a b Ammon, 1958, p. 5.
  15. ^ Schlesinger, 1945, p. 9.
  16. ^ Richard P. McCormick, The Second American Party System: Party Formation in the Jacksonian Era (1966), pp. 14–16.
  17. ^ Bursten and Esenberg, 2010, p. 564.
  18. ^ Remimi, 1981, p. 27, Dangerfield, 1965, p. 5, Reynolds, p. 9, Wilentz, 2008, p. 243.
  19. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, pp. 5–6, 20.
  20. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, p. 18.
  21. ^ Schlesinger, 1945, p. 19, Ammon, 1971, p. 387.
  22. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, pp. 19–20.
  23. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, p. 20.
  24. ^ McCormick, 1960, p. 102.
  25. ^ Burns, 1981, p. 264.
  26. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, p. 143.
  27. ^ a b Dangerfield, 1965, p. 3.
  28. ^ a b c Ammon, 1958, pp. 5–6.
  29. ^ Wilentz, 2008, p. 203.
  30. ^ Ammon, 1971, p. 367.
  31. ^ Freehling, 1965, p. 224.
  32. ^ a b Ammon, 1958, pp. 6–7.
  33. ^ a b c d Ammon, 1958, p. 7.
  34. ^ Unger, p. 287.
  35. ^ Wilentz, 2008, p. 202.
  36. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, p. 22.
  37. ^ a b c Ammon, 1958, p. 8.
  38. ^ a b c Ammon, 1958, p. 9.
  39. ^ Ammon, 1958, p. 11.
  40. ^ a b Ammon, 1958, p. 10.
  41. ^ Ammon, 1971, p. 380.
  42. ^ Dangerfield, 1965, pp. 97–98.
  43. ^ Wilentz, 2008, pp. 217, 219.
  44. ^ Brown, 1966, p. 25.
  45. ^ Wilentz, 2008, p. 240.
  46. ^ Brown, 1966, pp. 23–24.
  47. ^ Varon, 2008, pp. 39–40.
  48. ^ Brown, 1966, p. 22.


Cited in footnotes

  • Ammon, Harry. James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity. New York: McGraw-Hill, New York, 1971.
  • ----. "James Monroe and the Era of Good Feelings." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, LXVI, No. 4 (October 1958 ), pp. 387–398, in Essays on Jacksonian America, Ed. Frank Otto Gatell. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.
  • Brown, Richard H. "The Missouri Crisis, Slavery, and the Politics of Jacksonianism." South Atlantic Quarterly, pp. 55–72, in Essays on Jacksonian America, Ed. Frank Otto Gatell. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.
  • Burns, James M. The Vineyard of Liberty. New York: Knopf, 1982.
  • Burstein, Andrew and Isenberg, Nancy. Madison and Jefferson. New York: Random House, 2010.
  • Dangerfield, George. The Awakening of American Nationalism: 1815-1828. New York: Harper & Row, 1965.
  • McCormick, Richard P. "New Perspectives on Jacksonian Politics." American Historical Review, LXV (January 1960), pp. 288–301.
  • Remini, Robert V.. John Quincy Adams. New York: Holt, 2002.
  • Reynolds, David S. Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson. New York: Harper Collins, 2008.
  • Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. The Age of Jackson. New York: Little, Brown, 1953.
  • Unger, Harlow G. The last founding father: James Monroe and a nation's call to greatness. Cambridge [Mass.]: Da Capo Press, 2009.
  • Varon, Elizabeth R. Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859. Chapel Hill [N.C.]: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.
  • Wilentz, Sean. The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln. New York: Horton, 2008.

Further reading

  • George Dangerfield. The Era of Good Feelings (1952).
  • George Dangerfield. The Awakening of American Nationalism: 1815–1828 (1965).
  • Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (2008).
  • Unger, Harlow G. The last founding father: James Monroe and a nation's call to greatness (2009).

Primary sources

1816 United States elections

The 1816 United States elections elected the members of the 15th United States Congress. Mississippi and Illinois were admitted as states during the 15th Congress. The election took place during the First Party System. The Democratic-Republican Party controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress, while the Federalist Party provided only limited opposition. The election marked the start of the Era of Good Feelings, as the Federalist Party became nearly irrelevant in national politics after the War of 1812 and the Hartford Convention.

In the Presidential election, Democratic-Republican Secretary of State James Monroe easily defeated Federalist Senator Rufus King of New York. Monroe faced a more difficult challenge in securing his party's nomination, but was able to defeat Secretary of War William H. Crawford in the Democratic-Republican congressional nominating caucus. The Federalists never again fielded a presidential candidate.

In the House, Democratic-Republicans won major gains, and continued to dominate the chamber.In the Senate, Democratic-Republicans picked up a moderate number of seats, increasing their already-dominant majority.

1817 in the United States

Events from the year 1817 in the United States.

1818 United States elections

The 1818 United States elections occurred in the middle of Democratic-Republican President James Monroe's first term, during the First Party System and the Era of Good Feelings. Members of the 16th United States Congress were chosen in this election. During the 16th Congress, Alabama and Maine joined the union. Democratic-Republicans continued to dominate both chambers of Congress, and slightly increased their majority in both houses of Congress in this election.

1820 United States elections

The 1820 United States elections elected the members of the 17th United States Congress. The election took place during Era of Good Feelings and the First Party System. Despite the Panic of 1819, the Democratic-Republican Party maintained control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, while the Federalist Party provided only limited opposition. Missouri joined the union during the 17th Congress.

In the presidential election, incumbent Democratic-Republican President James Monroe received no major opposition, although fellow Democratic-Republican John Quincy Adams received one electoral vote. The Federalists did not nominate a presidential candidate, although four Federalists received a scattering of electoral votes for vice president. Monroe joined George Washington as the only presidential candidates who won election without any serious opposition.

In the House, Federalists picked up a small number of seats, but Democratic-Republicans continued to dominate the chamber.In the Senate, Democratic-Republicans picked up a moderate number of seats, increasing their already-dominant majority.

1820 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1820 was the ninth quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Wednesday, November 1, to Wednesday, December 6, 1820. Taking place at the height of the Era of Good Feelings, the election saw incumbent Democratic-Republican President James Monroe win re-election without a major opponent. It was the third and last United States presidential election in which a presidential candidate ran effectively unopposed. It was also the last election of a president from the Revolutionary generation.

Monroe and Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins faced no opposition from other Democratic-Republicans in their quest for a second term. The Federalist Party had fielded a presidential candidate in each election since 1796, but the party's already-waning popularity had declined further following the War of 1812. Although able to field a nominee for vice president, the Federalists could not put forward a presidential candidate, leaving Monroe without organized opposition.

Monroe won every state and received all but one of the electoral votes. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams received the only other electoral vote, which came from faithless elector William Plumer. Four different Federalists received electoral votes for vice president, but Tompkins won re-election by a large margin. No other post-Twelfth Amendment presidential candidate has matched Monroe's share of the electoral vote, and Monroe and George Washington remain the only presidential candidates to run without any major opposition. Monroe's victory was the last of six straight victories by Virginians in presidential elections.

1824 State of the Union Address

The 1824 State of the Union Address was written by James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States. Delivered to the 18th United States Congress on Tuesday, December 7, 1824. James Monroe presided over the Era of Good Feelings. He began with, "The view which I have now to present to you of our affairs, foreign and domestic, realizes the most sanguine anticipations which have been entertained of the public prosperity. If we look to the whole, our growth as a nation continues to be rapid beyond example;" He ended with, "From the present prosperous and happy state I derive a gratification which I can not express. That these blessings may be preserved and perpetuated will be the object of my fervent and unceasing prayers to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe."

In the middle of the address, Mr. Monroe said, "There is no object which as a people we can desire which we do not possess or which is not within our reach. Blessed with governments the happiest which the world ever knew, with no distinct orders in society or divided interests in any portion of the vast territory over which their dominion extends, we have every motive to cling together which can animate a virtuous and enlightened people." James Monroe, a founder of his country, predicts that his country will become a world power, and must animate with virtue and enlightenment.

1824 United States elections

The 1824 United States elections elected the members of the 19th United States Congress. It marked the end of the Era of Good Feelings and the First Party System. Members of the Democratic-Republican Party continued to maintain a dominant role in federal politics, but the party became factionalized between supporters of Andrew Jackson and supporters of John Quincy Adams. The Federalist Party ceased to function as a national party, having fallen into irrelevance following a relatively strong performance in 1812.

In the first close presidential election since the 1812 election, four major candidates ran, all of whom were members of the Democratic-Republican Party. The Democratic-Republicans had largely been successful in fielding only one presidential candidate in previous elections (except in 1812), but the breakdown of the congressional nominating caucus and a lack of meaningful opposition from the Federalists allowed for a multi-candidate field. Senator Andrew Jackson from Tennessee, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, Secretary of the Treasury William Crawford, and Speaker of the House Henry Clay all received electoral votes. With no candidate receiving a majority of the electoral vote, the House chose among the three candidates (Jackson, Adams, and Crawford) with the most electoral votes. Although Jackson won a plurality of electoral and popular votes, the House elected Adams as President. Despite the chaos in the presidential election, John C. Calhoun won the vice presidency with a majority of electoral votes. The 1824 presidential election was the only time that the House elected the president under the terms of the Twelfth Amendment, and the only time that the winner of the most electoral votes did not win the presidency. Adams's victory ended the Virginia dynasty of presidents, but continued the trend of the incumbent secretary of state winning election as president.

In the House, Democratic-Republicans continued to command a dominant majority. Supporters of Adams narrowly outnumbered supporters of Jackson. John W. Taylor, who would later join Adams's National Republicans, was elected Speaker of the House.

In the Senate, Democratic-Republicans continued to command a dominant majority. Supporters of Jackson narrowly outnumbered supporters of Adams.

1953 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1953.

Democratic-Republican Party

The Democratic-Republican Party (formally the 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 (which would soon acquire the name Democratic Party), 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.During the time that this party existed, it was usually referred to as the Republican Party. To distinguish it from the modern Republican Party (founded in 1854), historians, political scientists and pundits often refer to this party as the Democratic-Republican Party or the Jeffersonian Republican Party. The modern Republican Party founded in 1854 deliberately chose to name itself after the Jeffersonians. Modern Democratic politicians claim Jefferson as their founder.The party arose from the Anti-Administration faction which met secretly in the national capital (Philadelphia) to oppose Alexander Hamilton's financial programs (see the American School and the Hamiltonian economic program). Jefferson denounced the programs as leading to monarchy and subversive of republicanism. Jefferson needed to have a nationwide party to challenge the Federalists, which Hamilton was building up with allies in major cities. Foreign affairs took a leading role in 1794–1795 as the Republicans vigorously opposed the Jay Treaty with the United Kingdom, which was then at war with France. Republicans saw France as more democratic after its Revolution while the United Kingdom represented the hated monarchy. The party denounced many of Hamilton's measures as unconstitutional, especially the national bank.

The party was strongest in the South and weakest in the Northeast. It demanded states' rights as expressed by the "Principles of 1798" articulated in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions that would allow states to nullify a federal law. Above all, the party stood for the primacy of the yeoman farmers. Republicans were deeply committed to the principles of republicanism, which they feared were threatened by the supposed monarchical tendencies of the Hamiltonian Federalists. The party came to power in 1801 with the election of Jefferson in the 1800 presidential election. The Federalists—too elitist to appeal to most people—faded away and totally collapsed after 1815. Despite internal divisions, the Republicans dominated the First Party System until partisanship itself withered away during the Era of Good Feelings after 1816.

The party selected its presidential candidates in a caucus of members of Congress. They included Thomas Jefferson (nominated 1796; elected 1800–1801, 1804), James Madison (1808, 1812) and James Monroe (1816, 1820). By 1824, the caucus system had practically collapsed. After 1800, the party dominated Congress and most state governments outside New England. By 1824, the party was also split four ways and lacked a center as the First Party System collapsed. The emergence of the Second Party System in the 1820s and 30s realigned the old factions. One remnant followed Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren into the new Democratic Party by 1828. Another remnant, led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, formed the National Republican Party in 1824 while some remaining smaller factions formed the Anti-Masonic Party, which along with some National Republican groups developed into the Whig Party by 1836. Most remaining National Republicans would soon after go on to be a part of the Free Soil and modern Republican parties in the 1840s and 1850s.

First Party System

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.

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.

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.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.

George Dangerfield

George Bubb Dangerfield (28 October 1904 in Newbury, Berkshire – 27 December 1986 in Santa Barbara, California) was an English-American journalist, historian, and the literary editor of Vanity Fair from 1933 to 1935. He is known primarily for his book The Strange Death of Liberal England (1935), a classic account of how the Liberal Party in Great Britain ruined itself in dealing with the House of Lords, woman suffrage, the Irish question, and labour unions, 1906-1914. His book on early 19th century US history The Era of Good Feelings, won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for History.

History of the United States (1789–1849)

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 (the Justice Department was created in 1870). 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 1790s were highly contentious, as the First Party System emerged in the contest between Hamilton and his Federalist party, and Thomas Jefferson and his Republican party. Washington and Hamilton were building a strong national government, with a broad financial base, and the support of merchants and financiers throughout the country. Jeffersonians opposed the new national Bank, the Navy, and federal taxes. The Federalists favored Britain, which was embattled in a series of wars with France. Jefferson's victory in 1800 opened the era of Jeffersonian democracy, and doomed the upper-crust Federalists to increasingly marginal roles.

The Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon in 1803 opened vast Western expanses of fertile land, which exactly met the needs of the rapidly expanding population of yeomen farmers whom Jefferson championed.

The Americans declared war on Britain (the War of 1812) to uphold American honor at sea, and to end the Indian raids in the west, as well as to seize Canadian territory. Despite incompetent government management, and a series of defeats early on, Americans found new generals like Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Winfield Scott, who repulsed British invasions and broke the alliance between the British and the Indians that held up settlement of the Old Northwest. The Federalists, who had opposed the war to the point of trading with the enemy and threatening secession, were devastated by the triumphant ending of the war. The remaining Indians east of the Mississippi were kept on reservations or moved via the Trail of Tears to reservations in what later became Oklahoma.

The spread of democracy opened the ballot box to nearly all white men, allowing the Jacksonian democracy to dominate politics during the Second Party System. Whigs, representing wealthier planters, merchants, financiers, and professionals, wanted to modernize the society, using tariffs and federally funded internal improvements; they were blocked by the Jacksonians, who closed down the national Bank in the 1830s. The Jacksonians wanted expansion—that is "Manifest Destiny"—into new lands that would be occupied by farmers and planters. Thanks to the annexation of Texas, the defeat of Mexico in war, and a compromise with Britain, the western third of the nation rounded out the continental United States by 1848.

Howe (2007) argues that the transformation America underwent was not so much political democratization but rather the explosive growth of technologies and networks of infrastructure and communication—the telegraph, railroads, the post office, and an expanding print industry. They made possible the religious revivals of the Second Great Awakening, the expansion of education and social reform. They modernized party politics and sped up business by enabling the fast, efficient movement of goods, money, and people across an expanding nation. They transformed a loose-knit collection of parochial agricultural communities into a powerful cosmopolitan nation. Economic modernization proceeded rapidly, thanks to highly profitable cotton crops in the South, new textile and machine-making industries in the Northeast, and a fast developing transportation infrastructure.

Breaking loose from European models, the Americans developed their own high culture, notably in literature and in higher education. The Second Great Awakening brought revivals across the country, forming new denominations and greatly increasing church membership, especially among Methodists and Baptists. By the 1840s increasing numbers of immigrants were arriving from Europe, especially British, Irish, and Germans. Many settled in the cities, which were starting to emerge as a major factor in the economy and society. The Whigs had warned that annexation of Texas would lead to a crisis over slavery, and they were proven right by the turmoil of the 1850s that led to the Civil War.

James Monroe

James Monroe (; April 28, 1758 – July 4, 1831) was an American statesman and Founding Father who served as the fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825. He is perhaps best known for his foreign policy principle, known as the "Monroe Doctrine", which prohibited further European colonization of the Americas (beginning in 1823). Monroe was the last president of the Virginia dynasty, and his presidency ushered in what is known as the Era of Good Feelings. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Monroe was of the planter class and fought in the American Revolutionary War. He was wounded in the Battle of Trenton with a musket ball to the shoulder. After studying law under Thomas Jefferson from 1780 to 1783, he served as a delegate in the Continental Congress.As an Anti-Federalist delegate to the Virginia convention that considered ratification of the United States Constitution, Monroe opposed, claiming it gave too much power to the central government. Nonetheless, he took an active part in the new government, and in 1790 was elected to the Senate of the first United States Congress, where he joined the Democratic-Republicans. He gained experience as an executive as the Governor of Virginia and rose to national prominence as a diplomat in France when he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. During the War of 1812, Monroe served in critical roles as Secretary of State and the secretary of war under President James Madison.Facing little opposition from the waning Federalist Party, Monroe was easily elected president in 1816, winning over eighty percent against Rufus King (who hadn't even been chosen by a convention since the Federalists were too weak to organize) of the electoral vote and becoming the last president during the First Party System era of American politics. As president, he sought to ease partisan tensions, embarking on a tour of the country that was well received. Monroe sought to appease the antagonisms and bridge the divisions that had marked American political life since the War of 1812, quietly using his influence as president to encourage compromises and endorsing a consensual form of American patriotism. This method of leadership led historian William E. Weeks to name him the first American "hidden hand president" in reference to Eisenhower's similar practices. With the ratification of the Treaty of 1818 under the successful diplomacy of his Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, the United States extended its reach from the Atlantic to the Pacific by acquiring harbor and fishing rights in the Pacific Northwest; the United States and Britain jointly occupied the Oregon Country. In addition to the acquisition of Florida, the 1819 Adams–Onís Treaty secured the westernmost section of the southern border of the United States along the 42nd Parallel to the Pacific Ocean and represented America's first determined attempt at creating an "American global empire". As American patriotism surged, partisan acrimony subsided. This swell of national purpose and political harmony subsided somewhat when the Panic of 1819 struck and a dispute over the admission of Missouri roiled the country in 1820. Nonetheless, Monroe won near-unanimous reelection.

Monroe supported the founding of colonies in Africa for freed slaves that would eventually form the nation of Liberia, whose capital, Monrovia, is named in his honor. In 1823, he announced the United States' opposition to any European intervention in the recently independent countries of the Americas with the Monroe Doctrine, which became a landmark in American foreign policy. His presidency concluded the first period of American presidential history before the beginning of Jacksonian democracy and the Second Party System era. Following his retirement in 1825, Monroe was plagued by financial difficulties. He died in New York City on July 4, 1831. He has been generally ranked as an above-average president.

John Brooks (governor)

John Brooks (baptized May 4, 1752 – March 1, 1825) was a doctor, military officer, and politician from Massachusetts. He served as the 11th Governor of Massachusetts from 1816 to 1823, and was one of the last Federalist officials elected in the United States.

Trained as a doctor, Brooks was an officer of the Reading, Massachusetts militia when the American Revolutionary War broke out, and led his troops in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. He served under George Washington in the New York and New Jersey campaign of 1776, although he missed the Battle of Trenton due to illness. In 1777 he was part of the relief force for the Siege of Fort Stanwix, and led a successful assault against British positions in the key Second Battle of Saratoga. He played a significant role in the 1783 Newburgh Conspiracy, in which he helped quash ideas of mutiny in the Continental Army.

After the war he returned to medical practice, but continued to be active in the state militia, helping to put down Shays' Rebellion in 1787. He served in the militia during the War of 1812, after which he was elected governor. Brooks was popular and politically moderate, and came to personify the "Era of Good Feelings" that followed the war. He retired in 1823, and died two years later.

John J. Ely

John J. Ely (April 7, 1778 – January 11, 1852) was an American politician who served as the Director of the Monmouth County, New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders, and as Sheriff of Monmouth County, New Jersey, and as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly.

Missouri Compromise

The Missouri Compromise was the legislation that provided for the admission of Maine to the United States as a free state along with Missouri as a slave state, thus maintaining the balance of power between North and South in the United States Senate. As part of the compromise, slavery was prohibited north of the 36°30′ parallel, excluding Missouri. The 16th United States Congress passed the legislation on March 3, 1820, and President James Monroe signed it on March 6, 1820.Earlier, on February 4, 1820, Representative James Tallmadge Jr., a Jeffersonian Republican from New York, submitted two amendments to Missouri's request for statehood, which included restrictions on slavery. Southerners objected to any bill which imposed federal restrictions on slavery, believing that slavery was a state issue settled by the Constitution. However, with the Senate evenly split at the opening of the debates, both sections possessing 11 states, the admission of Missouri as a slave state would give the South an advantage. Northern critics including Federalists and Democratic-Republicans objected to the expansion of slavery into the Louisiana Purchase territory on the Constitutional inequalities of the three-fifths rule, which conferred Southern representation in the federal government derived from a states' slave population. Jeffersonian Republicans in the North ardently maintained that a strict interpretation of the Constitution required that Congress act to limit the spread of slavery on egalitarian grounds. "[Northern] Republicans rooted their antislavery arguments, not on expediency, but in egalitarian morality"; and "The Constitution, [said northern Jeffersonians] strictly interpreted, gave the sons of the founding generation the legal tools to hasten [the] removal [of slavery], including the refusal to admit additional slave states.".When free-soil Maine offered its petition for statehood, the Senate quickly linked the Maine and Missouri bills, making Maine admission a condition for Missouri entering the Union with slavery unrestricted. Senator Jesse B. Thomas of Illinois added a compromise proviso, excluding slavery from all remaining lands of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36° 30' parallel. The combined measures passed the Senate, only to be voted down in the House by those Northern representatives who held out for a free Missouri. Speaker of the House Henry Clay of Kentucky, in a desperate bid to break the deadlock, divided the Senate bills. Clay and his pro-compromise allies succeeded in pressuring half the anti-restrictionist House Southerners to submit to the passage of the Thomas proviso, while maneuvering a number of restrictionist House northerners to acquiesce in supporting Missouri as a slave state. The Missouri question in the 15th Congress ended in stalemate on March 4, 1819, the House sustaining its northern antislavery position, and the Senate blocking a slavery restricted statehood.

The Missouri Compromise was controversial at the time, as many worried that the country had become lawfully divided along sectional lines. The bill was effectively repealed in the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854, and declared unconstitutional in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). This increased tensions over slavery and eventually led to the Civil War.

Presidency of James Monroe

The presidency of James Monroe began on March 4, 1817, when James Monroe was inaugurated as President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1825. Monroe, the fifth United States president, took office after winning the 1816 presidential election by an overwhelming margin over Federalist Rufus King. This election was the last in which the Federalists fielded a presidential candidate, and Monroe was unopposed in the 1820 presidential election. A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Monroe was succeeded by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams.

Monroe sought to eliminate political parties, and the Federalist Party faded as a national institution during his presidency. The Democratic-Republicans also stopped functioning as a unified political party, and the period during which Monroe served as president is often referred to as the "Era of Good Feelings" due to the lack of partisan conflict. Domestically, Monroe faced the Panic of 1819, the first major recession in the United States since the ratification of the Constitution. He supported many federally-funded infrastructure projects, but vetoed other projects due to constitutional concerns. Monroe supported the Missouri Compromise, which admitted Missouri as a slave state but excluded slavery in the remaining territories north of the parallel 36°30′ north.

In foreign policy, Monroe and Secretary of State Adams acquired East Florida from Spain with the Adams–Onís Treaty, realizing a long-term goal of Monroe and his predecessors. Reached after the First Seminole War, the Adams–Onís Treaty also solidified U.S. control over West Florida, established the western border of the United States, and included the cession of Spain's claims on Oregon Country. The Monroe administration also reached two treaties with Britain, marking a rapprochement between the two countries in the aftermath of the War of 1812. The Rush–Bagot Treaty demilitarized the U.S. border with British North America, while the Treaty of 1818 settled some boundary disputes and provided for the joint settlement of Oregon Country. Monroe was deeply sympathetic to the revolutionary movements in Latin America and opposed European influence in the region. In 1823, Monroe promulgated the Monroe Doctrine, which declared that the U.S. would remain neutral in European affairs, but would not accept new colonization of Latin American by European powers.

In the 1824 presidential election, four members of the Democratic-Republican Party sought to succeed Monroe, who remained neutral among the candidates. Adams emerged as the victor over General Andrew Jackson and Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford in a contingent election. Polls of historians and political scientists have generally ranked Monroe as an above-average president.

Results of the War of 1812

The War of 1812 happened between Great Britain and the United States in 1812. It caused no geographical changes. The main result of the war was two centuries of peace between the United States and Britain. All the causes of the war had disappeared with the end of the war between Britain and France and with the destruction of the power of Indians to block American expansion into the Northwest. American fears of the Native Americans ended, as did British plans to create a buffer Native American state. The American quest for the honor after its humiliations by the British was satisfied. The final collapse of the opposition Federalist Party opened an "Era of good feelings" with lessened partisanship and an exuberant spirit. The British paid little attention to the war, concentrating instead on their final defeat of Napoleon in 1815. The U.S. failed to gain any territory from British North America, contrary to many American politicians' land from Spain.After Napoleon's defeat in 1814, Britain was no longer at war with France and there were no restrictions on trade; the British suspended their policy of impressment of American sailors as there was *no* need to resume it. Americans believed they had regained their honor and proclaimed victory in what they called a "second war of independence" for the decisive defeat of the British invaders at New Orleans seemed to prove that Britain could never regain control of America (although this had at no time during the war been either plausible or a British intention). The threat of secession by New England ended with the failure of the Hartford Convention.

In Britain, the importance of the conflict was totally overshadowed by European triumphs: Napoleon had returned from exile in March 1815 and was finally defeated at Waterloo 100 days later.

Upper Canada emerged from the war with a sense of unity and pride as part of the British Empire. Anglophone Canadians claimed the war as a victory for their freedom from American control and credited their militia for the repulse of American invasions. Francophone Canadians largely ignore the war. The Native Americans' westward revolt was weakened.

Shadrach Bond

Shadrach Bond (November 24, 1773 – April 12, 1832) was a representative from the Illinois Territory to the United States Congress. In 1818, he was elected Governor of Illinois, becoming the new state's first chief executive. In an example of American politics during the Era of Good Feelings, Bond was elected to both positions without opposition.

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