#AceHistory2Research – UNITED STATES – 22 March – In United States history, the Democratic-Republican Party, the Republican Party or the Jeffersonian Republicans was a political party organized by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in 1791-93, which opposed the Federalist Party and controlled the Presidency and Congress, and most states, from 1801 to 1825, during the First Party System.
It split after the 1824 presidential election into two parties: the Democratic Party and the short-lived National Republican Party (later succeeded by the Whig Party, some of whose members in 1854 helped to found the modern Republican Party).
The organization formed first as an “Anti-Administration” secret meeting in the national capital (Philadelphia) to oppose the programs of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.
Jefferson needed to have a nationwide party to challenge the Federalists, a nationwide party organized by Hamilton.
Foreign affairs took a leading role in 1794-95 as the Republicans vigorously opposed the Jay Treaty with Britain, which was then at war with France.
Republicans saw France as more democratic after its revolution, while Britain represented the hated monarchy. The party denounced many of Hamilton’s measures (especially the national bank) as unconstitutional.
The party was strongest in the South and weakest in the North-east. It favoured states’ rights and the primacy of the yeoman farmers.
Republicans were deeply committed to the principles of republicanism, which they feared were threatened by the supposed monarchical tendencies of the Hamiltonians/Federalists.
The party came to power in 1801 with the election of Jefferson in the 1800 presidential election.
The Federalists — too elitist to appeal to most people — faded away, and totally collapsed after 1815.
The Republicans, despite internal divisions, dominated the First Party System until partisanship itself withered away during the Era of Good Feelings after 1816.
The party selected its presidential candidates in a caucus of members of Congress. They included Thomas Jefferson (nominated 1796; elected 1800-1, 1804), James Madison (1808, 1812), and James Monroe (1816, 1820). By 1824, the caucus system had practically collapsed.
After 1800, the party dominated Congress and most state governments outside New England. By 1824, the party was split 4 ways and lacked a centre.
One remnant followed Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren into the new Democratic Party by 1828.
That party still exists. Another remnant led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay formed the National Republicans in 1828; it held its first convention in late 1831 in Baltimore.
It morphed into the Whig Party by 1835.
The Whig Party fell apart in the mid-1850’s because it could not bridge North-South differences on slavery, while the Democrats held together by taking positions favoured by the South.