Revolution of American Conservatism

Revolution of American Conservatism : Federalist Party in the Era of Jeffersonian Democracy

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Product details

  • Hardback | 456 pages
  • 150 x 230mm
  • Joanna Cotler Books
  • United States
  • 0060500409
  • 9780060500405

Review Text

This book is not, as the author makes clear in his Introduction, a traditional narrative history with any claims to definitive conclusions. Rather, it is "an essay, in the most literal sense," dealing with a small and neglected subject but raising several very large and important points. That subject is "the most obscure leaders of a major party in American political history" - the young Federalists, men like John Quincy Adams and Harrison Gray Otis, who took over and radically altered the conservative camp during the period of 1800 to 1816. Theirs was a badly beaten cause during that triumphantly Jeffersonian era, but their efforts were an essential part of the emergence of modern two-party politics. Basically, what they did was to steal the methods of their enemies and to try, as one of them put it, to "get close to the people in order to manage them." In so doing, they contributed significantly to the very process of democratization they so feared. Mr. Fischer has produced an original and stimulating piece of critical scholarship here, and argues a good case against the more usual interpretations of his material. He writes clearly and vividly of people and events too little understood heretofore. (Kirkus Reviews)
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