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II.

CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT.

II.

CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT.

CONSTITUTIONAL government in the United States began, in its national phase, with the inauguration of Washington, but the experiment was for a long time a doubtful one. Of the two parties, the federal and the anti-federal parties, which had faced one another on the question of the adoption of the Constitution, the latter had disappeared. Its conspicuous failure to achieve the fundamental object of its existence, and the evident hopelessnesss of reversing its failure in future, blotted it out of existence. There was left but one party, the federal party; and it, strong as it appeared, was really in almost as precarious a position as its former opponent, because of the very completeness of its success in achieving its fundamental object. Hamilton and Jefferson, two of its representative members, were opposed in almost all the political instincts of their natures; the former chose the restraints of strong government as instinctively as the latter clung to individualism. They had been accidentally united for the time in desiring the adoption of the Constitution, though Hamilton considered it only a temporary shift for something stronger, while Jefferson wished for a bill of rights to weaken the force of some of its implications. Now that the Constitution was ratified, what tie was there to hold these two to any united action for the future ? Nothing but a shadowthe name of a party not yet two years old. As soon, therefore, as the federal party fairly entered upon a secure tenure of power, the divergent instincts of the two classes represented by Hamilton and Jefferson began to show themselves more distinctly until there was no longer any pretence of party unity, and the democratic (or republican) party assumed its place, in 1792—3, as the recognized opponent of the party in power. It would be beside the purpose to

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