The Federalist Party Resurgence, 1808-1816: Evidence from the New Nation Votes Database
Abstract

Abstract:

After suffering repeated defeats in Presidential, Congressional and various State elections during 1800 and 1801, the Federalist went into a sharp decline. By 1804 their Presidential candidate carried just two states, receiving only received fourteen electoral votes against 162 for Thomas Jefferson. An impending collapse and possible extinction of the Federalists was averted only by Republican infighting in various states. Federalists in New York and Pennsylvania supported or formed coalitions with dissident Republicans and held the balance of power in both states for several years. By 1807 however, the Republicans having resolved most of their internal issues was once again united and when the annual election cycle ended in October, Federalist only controlled the two states of Connecticut and Delaware. Once again, Federalist faced the real possibility of becoming extinct. Their approaching demise was however, halted by passage of the Embargo Act in December 1807. Over the next year, a reinvigorated Federalist Party, quickly mobilized opposition to the Embargo and by December 1808 impressive gains were made in every state election they contested. Victories continued into early 1809 and their success convinced the Republicans to repeal the Embargo Act shortly afterwards. Republicans quickly recovered their losses, but the political organization developed by Federalists during the Embargo period would serve them well as they lead political reaction against the war with Great Britain. Between the years 1812 - 1816 the nation would be engulfed in continuous political elections, which resulted in voter turnout approaching historic levels.