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Within three years of the inauguration of the Constitution, its greatest champions found themselves irreparably divided over what that Constitution meant and how to shape the Union it had been created to perfect. Within a decade, the division at the heights of national politics had spread into a full-scale party war, the first, the most ferocious, and perhaps the most instructive in all of American history. Never since have clashing ideologies been quite so central to a party struggle and never has such a giant set of democratic statesmen argued so profoundly over concepts that are at the root of the American political tradition. Conceived in Liberty probes the fundamentals of the great dispute among John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and their followers over the sort of country the United States should be. In clear and concise prose, Lance Banning clarifies the foundations of the first great party struggle—and thus of nineteenth-century America.
Chapter 1: Visions
Chapter 2: The First Constructions of the Constitution
Chapter 3: The Gentry and the People