The Age of Federalism
Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick
When Thomas Jefferson took the oath of office for the presidency in 1801, America had just passed through twelve critical years, years dominated by some of the towering figures of our history and by the challenge of having to do everything for the first time. Washington, Hamilton, Madison, Adams, and Jefferson himself each had a share in shaping that remarkable era--an era that is brilliantly captured in The Age of Federalism.
Written by esteemed historians Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitirck, The Age of Federalism gives us a reflective, deeply informed analytical survey of this extraordinary period. Ranging over the widest variety of concerns--political, cultural, economic, diplomatic, military--the authors keep in view not only the problems the new nation faced but also the particular individuals who tried, with mixed results, to solve them. Lively profiles of the great central figures such as Washinton and Jefferson, Tallyrand and Napoleon Bonaparte--as well as lesser ones, such as James McHenry, Adam's hapless Secretary of State--are weaved into an analysis of the major controversies that initiated the growth of our infant nation and led to what these statesmen professed to deplore, the formation of political parties. We get a fresh reading of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, the Adams presidency, the XYZ Affair, the naval Quasi-War with France, and the desperate Federalist maneuvers in 1800, first to prevent the reelection of Adams, and then to nullify the election of Jefferson.
Presenting complex issues and episodes with clarity and grace, this comprehensive synthesis offers historians and general readers alike an intriguing exploration of our early national era.