First Party System
Alexander Hamilton & John Adams
Middle states, New England
Loose interpretation of Constitution
National bank, protective tariffs
Order and stability
Thomas Jefferson & James Madison
Virginia, South, West
Strict interpretation of Constitution
Low taxes, aid yeoman farmers
*Not the same as Anti-Federalists
Presidency of Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson’s victory over John Adams in the election of 1800 was celebrated through everyday Americans’ material culture, including this victory banner. Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of American History.
The Election of 1800
involved personal attacks by both parties and Thomas Jefferson became the president.
Federalists lost power in what is called the Revolution of 1800, because they made too many unpopular decisions while in power. Some examples include the Jay Treaty and Alien and Sedition Acts. This was called the Revolution of 1800 because it was a peaceful transition of power from one party to another, something that was rare throughout the world at the time.
The fall of the Federalists led to a period of time called the Era of Good Feelings, because there was only one political party, the Democratic-Republicans, and little debate. Yet, this phrase is debatable as it actually increased sectionalism between the North and South and eventually led to the Second Party System, which would divide the country further.
🎥 Watch: AP US History - The Era of Good Feelings
The presidency of Jefferson brought new territories through the Louisiana Purchase. Since Napoleon had failed to take back Haiti, Louisiana became useless. Thus, Napoleon offered 828,000 square miles for about $15 million, or about 3 cents per acre. Jefferson quickly purchased it, although he was worried about the constitutionality of his decision.
Marshall Supreme Court Cases
John Marshall led the Supreme Court for 34 years. His leadership increased the power of the federal government while decreasing the power of state governments.
One well-known case, Marbury v. Madison, started due to Adams, the president before Jefferson, appointing midnight judges right before the end of his term. The next day, President Jefferson repealed and refused to give some commissions that haven’t been sent yet. One appointee (William Marbury) sued to get his, but the Supreme Court declared that while it was illegal not to deliver the commission, it would not be handed over through force.
This case established the practice of judicial review, where the Supreme Court could judge actions of other branches of the government and deem them constitutional or unconstitutional. This had been the first time an act of the president was ruled unconstitutional.
🎥 Watch: AP US History - Rise of Political Parties