Monday, June 6, 2016
Untenable and personal...................
As the nation rapidly expanded and diversified, the Founding Fathers ideal of a single patriotic national interest became increasingly untenable. Sectional interests had long pitted the manufacturers and traders of New England against the agriculturists of the South. But now the nation's center of gravity was shifting as settlers poured into the west. Between 1810 and 1820 the number of Americans living beyond the Appalachians doubled from one to two million. Between 1816 and 1821, five new Western states were admitted to the union - Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, and Missouri. (Maine was also admitted in 1820.) The absence of organized parties meant that interests gathered around individuals and thus that the inevitable clash of interest and ideology would be intensely, and often brutally, personal. It was not, of course, in John Quincy Adams' nature to minimize conflict. The seven years he would spend in President Monroe's cabinet would be a period of fierce rivalry, rising suspicion, and, finally, open political warfare.
-James Traub, John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit