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Liberty and Order

Lance Banning

Publication Year: 2012

Liberty and Order is an ambitious anthology of primary source writings: letters, circulars, debate transcriptions, House proceedings, and newspaper articles that document the years during which America’s founding generation divided over the sort of country the United States was to become.

The founders’ arguments over the proper construction of the new Constitution, the political economy, the appropriate level of popular participation in a republican polity, foreign policy, and much else, not only contributed crucially to the shaping of the nineteenth-century United States, but also have remained of enduring interest to all historians of republican liberty.

This anthology makes it possible to understand the grounds and development of the great collision, which pitted John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and others who called themselves Federalists or, sometimes, the friends of order, against the opposition party led by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and their followers, in what emerged as the Jeffersonian Republican Party.

Editor Lance Banning provides the reader with original-source explanations of early anti-Federalist feeling and Federalist concerns, beginning with the seventh letter from the “Federal Farmer,” in which the deepest fears of many opponents of the Constitution were expressed. He then selects from the House proceedings concerning the Bill of Rights and makes his way toward the public debates concerning the massive revolutionary debt acquired by the United States. The reader is able to examine the American reaction to the French Revolution and to the War of 1812, and to explore the founders’ disagreements over both domestic and foreign policy. The collection ends on a somewhat melancholy note with the correspondence of Jefferson and Adams, who were, to some extent, reconciled to each other at the end of their political careers. Brief, elucidatory headnotes place both the novice and the expert in the midst of the times.

With this significant new collection, the reader receives a deeper understanding of the complex issues, struggles, and personalities that made up the first great party battle and that continue to shape our representative government today.

Lance Banning (1942-2006) was Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, where he had taught since 1973, and was the 2000/2001 Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. He was also coeditor of the University Press of Kansas series “American Political Thought” and the author of many articles, essays, and books on the American founding and first party struggle, including three award-winning books: Jefferson and Madison: Three Conversations from the Founding, The Jeffersonian Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology, and The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic, the latter two of which were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Published by: Liberty Fund

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. vii-xi


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pp. xiii-xiv

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Part I. Apprehensions

In his first address to the first session of the first federal Congress (contemporaries were sharply conscious of that litany of firsts) George Washington remarked that “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly ...

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The Anti-Federalists

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pp. 3-9

Among the hundreds of pamphlets, newspaper articles, and published speeches opposing the new Constitution, a few were judged especially outstanding and have earned enduring fame. Among these, certainly, are the Letters from the Federal Farmer, which were widely read in pamphlet form after ...

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Ammendments Recommended by the Several State Conventions

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pp. 10-17

In several of the largest states, the Federalists were able to secure approval of the Constitution only by accepting a procedure pioneered in Massachusetts, where a majority of delegates elected to the state convention initially opposed the plan. Working with Governor John Hancock, supporters ...

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Federalist Concerns

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pp. 18-20

You will have seen the circular letter from the convention of this state. It has a most pestilent tendency. If an early General Convention cannot be parried, it is seriously to be feared that the system which has resisted so many direct attacks may be at last ...

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The Bill of Rights

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pp. 21-33

Although he was a staunch opponent of the anti-Federalist demand for a second federal convention—and of any amendments that would substantially reduce the powers of the new regime—Madison had said at the Virginia Ratifying Convention that he would not oppose amendments that ...

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Apprehensions Unallayed

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pp. 34-42

Much of the resistance to Madison’s insistence on amendments came from Federalists who sharply disapproved of any action that would tend to reopen the debate about the Constitution. Anti- Federalists in Congress did attempt, without success, to add substantive amendments to the ones the Virginian ...

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Part II. The Leadership Divides

In all of American history, no Congress has accomplished quite so much, so very well, as the first one did in 1789. It framed the Bill of Rights. It passed an impost act, assuring the new government a steady source of revenues from duties on imports of foreign goods. It filled the Constitution’s ...

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Funding and Assumption

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pp. 45-69

Already thinking far beyond the reestablishment of public credit, Hamilton took pains in the report to counter alternative suggestions that were already circulating in the country. He particularly objected to the ideas of funding the debt at its depreciated value, discriminating between original and current holders ...

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The Constitution and the National Bank

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pp. 70-87

Hamilton’s Second Report on Public Credit, delivered to the third session of the First Congress, recommended the creation of a national bank. A semi-public institution, modeled on the Bank of England (one-fifth of its stock would be held by the federal government, which would appoint a minority of its directors), ...

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Commerce and Manufactures

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pp. 88-101

When the War for Independence was succeeded by a sharp, postwar depression, numerous Americans began to think again about the economic and commercial policies appropriate for the new republic. Early in the Revolution, few had doubted that an American doctrine of free trade would revolutionize the ...

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The Collison

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pp. 102-138

Even as Jefferson and Madison grew more alarmed about Hamilton’s economic policies and the constitutional constructions employed to justify them, Jefferson’s private correspondence revealed equal concern with what he saw as the undemocratic tenor of comments in Philadelphia social circles, uncritical praise ...

Part III. The French Revolution and the People

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pp. 141-152

On 1 February 1793, eleven days after the execution of Louis XVI, the infant French Republic, already at war with Austria and Prussia, declared war also on Great Britain. By April, as the Republic’s first ambassador, “Citizen” Edmond Genet, made his way triumphantly from Charleston to Philadelphia, ...

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Commerce and Seizures

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pp. 153-168

France and Britain both intended to deny the other the benefits of neutral commerce; and during 1793, seizures of American vessels posed an increasing problem, especially with Great Britain. Partly as a consequence of this and partly as a consequence of their continuing disgust with British commercial ...

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The Popular Societies, the Excise, and the Whiskey Rebellion

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pp. 169-187

Beginning in Philadelphia in the spring of 1793, concurrently with Citizen Genet’s arrival in the country and inspired in part by the Jacobin societies in France, a score of popular societies sprang up in every portion of the country. Suspicion of the Federalists as well as friendship for France was one of their identifying features, and ...

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Jay's Treaty and Washington's Farewell

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pp. 188-222

John Jay’s nomination as minister plenipotentiary to Britain was confirmed by the Senate on 19 April 1794. He arrived in England in June and negotiated against a background of British military successes in the West Indies and the Whiskey Rebellion at home. On 19 November he concluded a treaty ...

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Part IV. Liberty and Order

John Adams defeated Thomas Jefferson in the presidential election of 1796 by a margin of three electoral votes (and Jefferson became vice president under the terms of the Constitution at that time). Washington had left his successor with a crisis. Damaged and offended by Jay’s Treaty, the ...

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The Black Cockade Fever

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pp. 225-230

The letters of several national figures capture something of the atmosphere in Philadelphia, in the country, and in the president’s own house during the spring and summer of 1798. ...

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The Sedition Act

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p. 231-231

French and Irish immigrants usually sympathized with revolutionary France in its war with Britain and voted for Republican opponents of what they perceived as the pro-British policies of the Federalist administrations. On 18 June 1798, Congress passed a new Naturalization Act, extending from five to fourteen years the ...

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Popular Protest

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pp. 232-260

The Sedition Act was not a laughing matter. It was enforced by a partisan judiciary and a vigilant, High-Federalist secretary of state—all the more rigorously, in fact, once the crisis with France began to ease. Under its provisions or under the common law of seditious libel, all of the most important Republican newspapers ...

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Part V. The Jeffersonian Ascendancy: Domestic Policy, 1801-1808

Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in the presidential election of 1800, 73 electoral votes to 65. Indeed, in an impressive display of party unity (and an instructive revelation of a notable flaw in the Constitution as originally written), every Republican elector in the country cast one ...

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The Jeffersonian Program

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pp. 263-268

Friends and Fellow-Citizens, Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare a sincere ...

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The Jeffersonian Vision

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pp. 269-276

As he entered the campaign of 1800 and, again, as the Congress began to act on the suggestions of his message of December 1801, the president sketched his program and intentions in letters to his friends. For years, he was to prove remarkably successful in keeping his party ...

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Repeal of the Judiciary Act of 1801

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pp. 277-291

On 27 February 1801, after the resolution of the electoral tie between Jefferson and Burr, the lame-duck Sixth Congress passed a new Judiciary Act. Federalists had long insisted that the old act of 1789 was inadequate to the nation’s needs, leaving the United States with too few circuit courts and requiring Supreme Court ...

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The Impeachment of Samuel Chase

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pp. 292-299

Republican attacks on the Federalist judiciary culminated in the impeachment, trial, and narrow acquittal of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase. John Randolph of Roanoke, currently a floor leader for the Jeffersonians but later perhaps the most acerbic Old Republican critic of Jefferson’s and Madison’s administrations, managed ...

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Albert Gallatin, Report on Internal Improvements

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pp. 300-304

Subordinating much else to the speedy retirement of the public debt, the Republicans could anticipate a Treasury surplus before the end of Jefferson’s second term. The third member of the great triumvirate at the head of the administration offered a plan for ...

Part VI. Jeffersonian Foreign Policy

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The Louisiana Purchase

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pp. 307-320

France had ceded Louisiana to Spain in 1762, but Napoleon envisioned a rebuilding of the French empire in North America. At his insistence, Spain returned the province by the Treaty of Madrid, 21 March 1801. News of the retrocession provoked intense alarm in the United ...

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The Embargo

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pp. 321-330

Thomas Jefferson entered office shortly after the Peace of Amiens (1801–1803) inaugurated the only interval of peace in a quarter century of war between the great European powers. During his initial term, the Republican administration could concentrate on its domestic agenda. In 1805, however, Admiral Lord Nelson ...

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The War of 1812

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pp. 331-343

Although he seems to have believed that war was the only honorable alternative to the embargo, Jefferson declined to provide any firm guidance to Congress during his last weeks in office. Madison, who was as much an architect of the policy of commercial coercion as Jefferson himself, but even more ...

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Part VII. The End of an Era

In spite of New England’s resistance—and very mixed success on the battlefields in most of the campaigns—the War of 1812 was brought to a conclusion without significant concessions by either side. Indeed, an interesting succession of events allowed Americans to feel that they had ...

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Madison's Seventh Annual Message

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pp. 347-349

The treaty of peace with Great Britain has been succeeded by a convention on the subject of commerce concluded by the plenipotentiaries of the two countries. In this result a disposition is manifested on the part of that ...

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Madison's Veto of the Internal Improvements Bill

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pp. 350-351

Among the recommendations of December 1815, few were clearer than initiation of a program to support internal improvements, which Jefferson’s and Madison’s administrations had had in mind since Gallatin prepared his great report of 1808. In his last days in office, nevertheless, Madison left a vivid reminder ...

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In Retrospect

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pp. 352-355

Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded on 11 July 1804, in a duel with Aaron Burr. The disruption in 1791 of the friendship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was not repaired until early in 1812, thanks in great part to the determination of Dr. Benjamin Rush to bring about a reconciliation between his ...


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pp. 357-358


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pp. 359-373

Production Notes

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p. 378-378

E-ISBN-13: 9781614877707
E-ISBN-10: 161487770X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780865974180

Page Count: 387
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: None

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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1783-1865 -- Sources.
  • Political science -- United States -- History.
  • Federal Party (U.S).
  • Republican Party (U.S. : 1792-1828).
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