The Hamiltonian Vision, 1789-1800


The Hamiltonian Vision, 1789-1800

The Art of American Power During the Early Republic

William R. Nester

224 pages


June 2012


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
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June 2012


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

From 1789 to 1800, the Federalist and Republican parties held opposing visions for America’s future. Led by Alexander Hamilton, the Federalists sought to establish a strong central government that would lead an American commercial, financial, technological, industrial, and military revolution, and thus propel the United States into the ranks of the world’s great powers. Thomas Jefferson and the Republicans feared that new wealth, power, and competing interests would corrupt the classic republic they envisioned. Instead, they extolled the romantic notion of a republic of yeoman farmers, states’ rights, and frontiers defended by militias and gunboats, all presided over by a weak federal government.

Hamilton’s vision largely prevailed in battles with the Republicans over the Bank of the United States, the role and composition of the army and navy, the Whiskey Rebellion, the French Revolution, the Indian war in the Northwest Territory, British confiscations of American ships and sailors, the Jay and Pinckney treaties, and a “quasi” naval war with France, among other conflicts. But, ultimately, Jefferson and his Republican Party would triumph in the 1800 election and permanently eclipse the Federalists.

Historians and general readers alike will be riveted by William Nester’s portrayal of the struggle between Federalists and Republicans—a conflict whose core issues resonate in the divisive politics of today’s America.

Author Bio

William Nester is a professor in the Department of Government and Politics at St. John's University in New York City. He is the award-winning author of thirty-seven books on multiple dimensions of international relations, American national security, military history, and the nature of power. His "George Rogers Clark: I Glory in War" won the Army Historical Foundation's best biography award for 2013. His "Titan: The Art of British Power in the Age of Revolution and Napoleon" won the New York Military Affairs Symposium's 2016 Arthur Goodzett Book Award.


"...presents a brief, readable synopsis of the Federalist period....The book is well grounded in primary and secondary sources."—Review, Choice, January 2013

“William Nester’s The Hamiltonian Vision, 1789–1800 offers a comprehensive overview of the most critical period in American history, examining the key events of the era while focusing on the titanic struggle between Hamilton and Jefferson for the soul of America. Nester rightly acknowledges the triumph of Hamilton’s vision, for while Hamilton’s personal power diminished rapidly during this period, his dreams for the new nation prevailed, launching the United States on the path to superpower status.”—Stephen F. Knott, author of Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth