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ous haste was considerably lessened. Time was given to passion to abate its intensity, and with every day's delay the probability increased that all parties would become conscious of the preponderance of their common interests over those which were divergent. When the opposing party yielded in the slightest particular, there was always offered the possibility of a return to the right path before the decisive step was taken. In the meantime, the prejudices and customs, the diversity of which Nathan Strong had designated as the greatest obstacle in the way of a rational regulation of national affairs, became assimilated to one. another, at least in some respects. Commerce, social intercourse and custom created new material, intellectual and moral bonds, which gradually rendered a breach more difficult.

But contemporaneously with this, and from the very first, the material and irreconcilable differences that existed grew more marked. Yet the constitution afforded such a field for a war of words, and the field was so readily taken, that in the northern states, which were rapidly becoming united in all their interests, the erroneous view began to obtain currency in the third decade of this century that all difficulty would end in a war of tongues. There was something of a correct instinct at the foundation of this disastrous and foolish notion. While the "irrepressibleness" of the conflict became clearer year after year, the ambiguous nature of the constitution became apparent in an equal degree. The field became gradually broader and more inviting to a tournament of words; and the extraordinary dilatability of the boundaries postponed the moment of the breach. It became possible in the more populous and wealthy half of the Union, which was, morally and intellectually, the more highly developed, to build up such a solidarity of interests and for the people

1 Gibbs, Memoirs of Wolcott, I., p. 40.



to realize the existence of this solidarity of interests to such an extent that they were enabled, by an appeal to the sword, to decide the one great question as to the nature of the Union, a question to which, from the terms of the constitution, no certain answer had ever before been given,— and to find a solution of it in harmony with the progress of civilization and the best good of the whole country.

These views are, to a great extent, very different from those prevalent on the subject; but they must accord with historical truth, for only in such case is the political history of the United States at all rational or intelligible.

Calhoun and his disciples were not the authors of the doctrine of nullification and secession. That question is jas old as the constitution itself, and has always been a living one, even when it has not been one of life and death. Its roots lay in the actual circumstances of the time, and the constitution was the living expression of these actual circumstances.




The constitution had gone into operation in 1789, and as early as 1790 the consolidating influences of the firmer government seemed so burthensome and dangerous a load, that the anti-Federalists began to grow restless under the yoke, and to long for the loose management of affairs that had existed under the confederation. The more nearly the measures of the administration and of the majority of congress became parts of a system planned with a really statesmanlike mind, the firmer the organization of the opposition became and the more did its resistance assume the character of one based on principle.

The Federalists had not expected this, although they must have been prepared for it after the struggle over the ratification of the constitution.

Washington fell a victim to the illusion that it was possible to bring about the harmonious co-operation of all the forces of the country. All that was needed, he thought, was to convince the opposition that the administration had nothing but the best interests of the country at heart and the desire to do full justice to them. This illusion caused him to take a step which was accompanied at first by good results, but which, in the course of time, contributed



a great deal to intensify the internal conflicts during his administration.

The construction of the Union had undergone so radical a transformation that when the new order of things first went into operation, there were no organized opposing parties in the field. As a matter of course, future parties were necessarily divided on the same questions which in the struggle for the constitution had been looked upon as the principles at issue between its advocates and opponents. By the adoption of the constitution the theoretical struggle was temporarily ended, but before it attained a fixed concrete form in practical politics, it was necessary that some time should elapse. In the first place, there were in congress and among the people only divergent political tendencies. How, when, and to what extent, these should grow into differences or become consolidated in party platforms was a matter necessarily dependent upon cir


Washington's endeavor was not only to look upon the nation as the sole party, but also to exercise his influence, wherever he legitimately could, to cause the same feeling to prevail over the agitations of incipient party spirit. Whether he was guided by this desire, and to what extent, in the selection of the members of his cabinet, cannot be certainly determined. Jefferson had been in Paris when the question of the adoption or rejection of the constitution was pending, and if he expressed any doubt concerning its value, he took no decided stand in reference to it when he entered the cabinet as secretary of state. This much, however, was certain, that he was a great deal more inclined to the views of the opponents of the constitution than to those of Hamilton, who was assigned to the secretaryship of the treasury. If, therefore, it cannot be claimed that Washington purposely confided the two most important positions in his cabinet to men who were the political antipodes of one another, it is most

probable that it occurred to him, from the very first, that they would not be representatives of the same political views when the diverging tendencies should begin to develope themselves into definite party programmes. That this was not a reason in his mind against, but rather in favor of, their choice, is obvious from his almost anxious efforts to prevent the collapse of the cabinet when the genesis of parties was complete and the two secretaries had become political antipodes. The result of these efforts only proved that the hope with which he entered on his presidential career was an idealistic dream. In certain cases, Washington could, indeed, effect a compromise, but to reconcile contradictions by his own independence of party was as much beyond the domain of possibility as the prevention of parties themselves.

In a

Washington was extraordinarily well fitted to play the part of a mediator. It is a matter of wonder that he was able to hold his heterogeneous cabinet together so long. But even he was able to do so only for a time and apparently. He himself was compelled more aud more to surrender his position in relation to parties. democratic state, the executive cannot long preserve systematically and on principle the character of a mediator, when there is not at the same time a compromise party among the people. Washington was convinced of the necessity of prosecuting a systematic policy, and the heads of his council were the chief representatives of different systems, whose differences events were daily making stronger and more marked. The anti-Federalists became the declared opponents of the internal and external policy of the president, and Jefferson their recognized leader. The attempts at mediation had no effect but to postpone the formal declaration of the war which as a matter of fact had been waged since 1791 between the two secretaries as openly as in congress. The prize was not worth the breaking of the staff which ought to be the most im

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