Submission Date

7-18-2018

Document Type

Paper

Department

History

Faculty Mentor

Gerard Fitzpatrick

Comments

Presented during the 20th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 20, 2018 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Organized factions were something that did not arise with the creation of the United States. Rather, they slowly emerged during George Washington’s presidency. Initially, the Founding Fathers were highly resistant to the idea. There was resistance to political parties partly because of their association with the perceived dysfunctionality of England, and also because major influential thinkers like John Trenchard or David Hume were strongly against them. Soon, however, conflicts began to emerge. These stemmed from the conflicting views the Founding Fathers had on human nature. While Hamilton and Adams were both highly dubious about the trustworthiness of the common people, Madison and Jefferson believed they could prove worthy and should be respected. Conflicts on the economy, how to handle Revolutionary France, and negotiations with England all grew from this fundamental opposition. Ultimately, these conflicts led to a fracturing and by the time Washington had left office, political factions were poised to consume the nation.

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