THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC: 1801-1815 by Marshall Smelser


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The purpose of this book, says the author, is to ""organize"" the results of specialized studies and documentary labor on the subject, last treated in a one-volume work fifty years ago. Smelser has succeeded in ravelling his bibliographic summaries into an amiable and coherent narrative of the period, exposing oversimplifications and counterbalancing his predecessors' views, all of which makes for a total contrast with selective, schematic, parti pris interpretations of the Parringtonian sort. The major issues of the period were, of course, anti-democratic Federalism's loss of power to the Democratic Republicans (Smelser submits that the differences between the two have been overemphasized), and the War of 1812. The most dramatic link between the two was the issue of secession, and this study serves to underline New England conservatives' aid and comfort to the British enemy. Administrative, commercial, and judicial developments are discussed, as well as territorial, fiscal and military expansion. The details of Jefferson's and Madison's careers are presented at length (but the former's views on slavery, for example, are relegated to a footnote). As an addition to the Commager and Morris New American Nation series, academic attention is assured.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1968
ISBN: 0881336688
Publisher: Harper & Row