Opposition Press of the Federalist Period, The
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Donald H. Stewart provides a comprehensive analysis of how the Republican press of the 1790s hastened the decline of the Federalist Party and promoted the election of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency.
Using both ridicule and serious argument, Republican editors of the decade attacked all aspects of Federalist foreign and domestic policies. Professor Stewart's examination of thousands of issues of more than 500 newspapers of the period enabled him to analyze the broad patterns of Republican opposition, the techniques used by the partisan editors, and the arguments that appeared most persuasive to the public. Many excerpts from these newspapers allow the reader to see how logical and emotional appeals were used in generating a groundswell of feeling against all things Federalist.
In addition to the basic and well-known issues, a number of long-forgotten controversies and personalities are recalled to enhance understanding of the period. Professor Stewart concludes that, although the press alone was not responsible for Jefferson's elevation to the Presidency, he probably could not have been elected without the considerable number of newspapers that consistently supported and promulgated his views.
Donald H. Stewart is Professor of History at the State University College, Cortland.
"Professor Stewart's achievement would be a contribution of outstanding importance for any period of our history, but for the understanding of the politics of this very critical and divisive decade, it is of great and lasting value. On every issue of significance, both in domestic and foreign affairs and on many episodes that excited feelings and provoked widespread commentary at the time, this work illuminates the American scene at a time when the press was a powerful and indispensable instrument of politics. " — Professor Julian P. Boyd, Princeton University, editor of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson