The American Revolution and a New National Politics

Rosemarie Zagarri

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746705
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The American Revolution and a New National Politics

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  • History
  • United States History
  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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When the American Revolution was over, citizens of the new nation could not agree about the event's true meaning and the best way to preserve its authentic legacy. After the new federal government was established in the 1790s, these tensions invaded the national political arena and contributed to the formation of the first political parties that became known as Democratic-Republicans and Federalists. Those who supported George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Federalist Party saw the war simply as a battle for home rule. On the other hand, those who gravitated toward Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans interpreted the Revolution as a conflict not only about home rule but also about who should rule at home. For these American women and men, the principles of equality and natural rights were the Revolution's most important legacies. This chapter discusses the national politics of the new nation following the American Revolution, and examines the origins of the first political parties, the French Revolution and mass politicization, and inclusions and exclusions in the first political parties.

Keywords: national politics; American Revolution; political parties; French Revolution; mass politicization; Federalist Party; Democratic-Republicans; home rule; equality; natural rights

Article.  7605 words. 

Subjects: History ; United States History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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