America In the Early 19th Century

Topic: Political Parties in the United States

Table of Contents
Vocabulary Terms and Identifications
Important Maps
Biographies of Key Historical Figures

Overview: Political parties are organized groups of people who feel a certain way about the government. One of the major controversies about the political parties was the Thomas Jefferson verses Alexander Hamilton. As a matter of fact, it was the first sign of political parties in America since the Constitution makes no mention of parties, and from these early conflicts different parties were created.
       Jefferson had grown up in Virginia and was originally a farmer or plantation owner. So he believed in a small federal government and a strong state government. This was so because they wanted to have a government so that they could have their individual (individual as states) needs and rights taken care of and they opposed the national bank for the same reason.  These people called themselves the Democratic-Republicans.
    Hamilton had be born in the north and believed in having a strong federal government and a weak state government. This was because he knew that the economy of the north was to be a merchant or a trader, and these industries would need the help of a strong national government. They all had the same basic needs. And they thought that the best way to enforce their laws was to use the army.
    During the 1790s, the Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts. These were laws that were passed, according to the Federalists, to insure the safety of our country. It said that all aliens that were acting suspiciously could be jailed or deported so that the people would be safe from invasions and attacks. The Alien Act also extended the time that it took for an alien to become a citizen to 14 years, a move meant to block immigrants from joining the Democratic-Republican Party.
  These laws led to the downfall of the Federalists and the rise of the Jeffersonians who took control in 1800 after a close election. They would control the presidency until the 1840s when the Whig Party made a brief comeback for the former Federalists.

Vocabulary and Identifications

1) Federalists: The party started by Alexander Hamilton. They wanted a strong national government that shared powers with the states.

2) Political Parties: It is an organization of people who share feelings about government.

3) Republicans: The party that supported the ideas that there should be a small federal government, that the states should  have a most of the power, and there should not be a national bank.

4) Whig: The party of the mid-1800s formed from the old Federalists.

5) Alien and Sedition Acts: Were laws that gave the president power to deport or jail if they were misbehaving. It also allowed the President to jail anyone who criticized the government.

Important Chart

They supported a society based on agriculture. They favored some development of industry but was against negative effects.

They said government should not support business in any way.

manufacturing must start and survive without help from the government.

Jefferson opposed the creation of a national bank. He felt congress did not have the power to create a bank. He wanted the states to have this responsibility.

Jefferson wanted to reduce the federal debut. He felt national debt could only hurt the nation.


Wanted a society based on industry but with an amount of agriculture to feed people as well as expert farm products.

Wanted help from government to help business and help investment grow.

Favored a tariff that would protect domestic manufactures.

Hamilton proposed a powerful bank similar bank of England.

Felt limited national debt was positive since it helped establish nation's good credit. Credit could be useful in time of war or national emergency.

Biographies of Important People
The First Secretary of the Treasury

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton was the leader of the people who believed in strong national government. They called themselves the Federalists. Hamilton was appointed as the first secretary of treasury under George Washington. He proposed the establishment of a national bank, which would help build the nation's economy and credit. He believed the government had more powers than were listed in the Constitution, a viewpoint called "loose constructionism."

The 3rd President

Thomas Jefferson

 Thomas Jefferson is best known for his work on the Declaration  of Independence, but he was also governor of Virginia, secretary of state under Washington, and vice-president under John Adams. While he served in the Washington administration, his views on states' rights and on the agricultural ideal he hoped to build became well known. He helped write the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which claimed the right of any state to declare a federal law unconstitutional, or null and void. He also saw the Constitution as a law that should be carefully followed, an idea known as "strict constructionism."

Quiz: fill in the blanks with the correct letters from the answers below.

1. _____ Organized group of people who have similar ideas about  government

2.______ The structure of economic life.

3.______ Trying to build a strong national government prevent rebellion and innovations
and solve financial problems.

4.______ They are foreigners who are not yet citizens of the nation in which they live.

5.______ It is an action that might cause people to rebel against the government.

6.______ The theory that states may nullify federal laws

7.______ To declare that a certain will not be enforced.

8.______ President John Adams criticized of taking this from his wife.

9.______ French agents  asked for 250,000 dollars before peace talks began.

10._____ Elephant and donkey.



A. Political parties
B. advice
C. state rights
D. Aliens
E. nullify
F. Economy
G. XYZ affair
H. federalists
I.  party symbols
J. sedition acts


Images Courtesy of  The White House and The Library of Congress

 Dr. Herman J. Viola, Why We Remember, 1998

This page is part of a web project developed by Mr. Cassutto's 7th grade US History class. 

Student authors:
Ayda I. Aaron P. Tara A.

Check OutTo Project Main Page

George Cassutto's Cyberlearning World

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