Federalists in Dissent: Imagery and Ideology in Jeffersonian America / Edition 1 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Cornell University Press
The Federalists of Jefferson's time have been described by historians as complainers and obstructionists. A very different picture evolves from this book, which the author calls "a reconsideration of American political conversation in the early national reriod." Mrs. Kerber shows that the rift between Federalists and Jeffersonians was caused by differences in ideology. The Federalists, according to the author, feared that an ordered world was disintegrating and that the sources of stability were being undermined by Jeffersonian concepts of science and education, of law and democracy, and by social arrangements founded on slavery. The book demonstrates how the rolitical differences of the two groups were reflected in all cultural forms and issues.
By a skillful use of quotations from varied sourcesnewspapers, letters, literary works, congressional debatesMrs. Kerber lets her rrotagonists speak for themselves. The work has current significance because Federalist beliefs emphasized the rrecariousness of popular democracy and the difficulty of maintaining a stable social order-both widesrread concerns of Americans today.
|Publisher:||Cornell University Press|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Linda K. Kerber is May Brodbeck Professor in the Arts and Sciences and lecturer in the College of Law at the University of Iowa.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
For a recent college history course, I was 'forced' to read this book and give an oral presentation as well as a five-page written review of it. At first I was afraid that I would be terribly bored by it, but the book gives such a refreshingly different point of view from the 'textbook' opinion that I was immediately intrigued. The Federalists of the early nineteenth century are often given a bad rap in today's history books. They are typically seen as power-hungry men who were disgruntled simply because they were out of power, contrary personalities who disagreed with the Republicans merely for the sake of being disagreeable. Linda Kerber does an excellent job of providing another perspective. Through the generous use of the writings of a wide variety of Federalists, she shows that these men often had very logical reasons behind their dissenting viewpoints, that it is possible to 'account for the opposition to Jefferson on grounds other than the obvious one of partisanship.' Kerber convincingly shows that altogether, the complaints of the Federalists added up to one thing: the Republicans were undermining the stability of established societal institutions, and they doing so under the false pretenses of preserving the nation. Among other things she discusses the very important issues of slavery, education, and scientific study in coming to her conclusions. The book as a whole is very engaging and well-written. The documentation that she included for all her sources impressed me. I thought the weakest aspect of the book was Chapter 5, where Kerber makes a lengthy and somewhat confusing digression to cover a single Congressional decision. Other than this, the book kept a firm grasp on my attention, and I would recommend it to anyone wishing to broaden their understanding of the moral and ideological issues dividing our nation in the era of Thomas Jefferson and his party.