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American Politics in the Early Republic: The New Nation in Crisis
During the years from 1789 to 1801, the republican political institutions forged by the American Constitution were put to the test. A new nation—born in revolution, divided over the nature of republicanism, undermined by deep-seated sectional allegiances, and mired in foreign policy entanglements—faced the challenge of creating a stable, enduring national authority and uni ...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published August 30th 1995 by Yale University Press
(first published October 27th 1993)
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May 27, 2009 Jonathan rated it really liked it
A very good explication of the party strife of the 1790s. Sharp argues that the American republic was in real danger of dissolution under the strain of partisan struggle. The "parties" of the 1790s, Sharp explains, were not permanent and stable modern parties, but rather factions vying for control of the new federal government. Each of these "proto-parties" took for granted the classic republican view that faction was an evil, a threat to the unitary public good; each therefore aimed for the tot ...more
A well-written study of how sectionalism drove the formation of what we call the 1st Party System due to differing views of the American future and different views of the public good. At the same time both groupings (which Sharp refers to as proto-parties) maintained the classical republican belief in a unitary public good and the abhorrence of political parties. He also discusses how the politicization of the people as the leaders of the New England-dominated Federalists and the Virginia Repub ...more
This book is by far one of the worst histories I've read recently. This is the most recent study of the development of the party system in the early Republic, but it could just as easily have been written in the 1880s. Historians for the last thirty years have paid great attention to political culture and cultural ideologies; Sharp ignores that trend. Historians for the last eighty years have given attention to social division and contestation; Sharp ignores that as well. Sharp relies exclusivel ...more
James Roger Sharp is professor of history emeritus at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. A specialist in the politics of the early American republic, he earned his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley in 1966.