What changes in American politics led to the creation of the Second American Party System?


  Sir, I am convinced that it would be impolitic, as well as unjust, to aggravate the burdens of the people for the purpose of favoring the manufacturers; for this government created and gave power to Congress to regulates commerce and equalize duties on the whole of the United States, and not to lay a duty but with a steady eye to revenue. With my goodwill, sir, there should be none but an ad valorem duty on all articles, which would prevent the possibility of one interest in the country being sacrificed by the management of taxation to another… The agricultures bear the whole brunt of the war and taxation, and remain poor, while the others run in the ring of pleasure, and fatten upon them. The agriculturists not only pay all but fight all, while the others run. The manufacturer is the citizen of no place or any place; the agriculturist has his property, his lands, his all his household gods to defend; and, like that meek drudge, the ox, who does the labor and plows the ground, and, the, for his reward, takes the refuse of the farmyard, the blighted blades and the moldy straw, and the mildewed shocks of corn for his support; while the commercial speculators live in opulence, whirling is coaches, and indulging in palaces.

Source:   John Randolph, on the protective tariff of 1816.



 … this momentous question, like a firebell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. I can say, with conscious truth, that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach, in any practicable way… But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other. Of one thing I am certain, that as the passage of slaves from one state to another would not make a slave of a single human being who would not be so without is, so their diffusion over a greater surface would make them individually happier, and proportionally facilitate the accomplishment of their emancipation, by dividing the burden on a greater number of coadjutors.

 Source:  Excerpt from Thomas Jefferson’s “A Firebell in the Night,” written to Holmes, a Northern congressman, 1820 




Congressional Voting on the Declaration of War, by States, 1812

  House of Representatives   Senate  
  For    Against For Against
 New Hampshire 3 2 1 1
Vermont  3 1 1 0


 (including Maine)

6 8 1 1
Rhode Island 0 2 0 2
Connecticut  0 7 0 2
New York 3 11 1 1
New Jersey 2 4 1 1
 Delaware  0 1 0 2
Pennsylvania 16 2 2 0
Maryland 6 3 1 1
 Virginia  14 5 2 0
North Carolina 6 3 2 0
South Carolina 8 0 2 0
Georgia 3 0 2 0
Ohio 1 0 0 1
 Kentucky 5 0 1 1
Tennessee 3 0 2 0
Total: 79 49 19 13

Source:   Congressional Voting on the Declaration of War , by States, 1812



 I have favored this Missouri Compromise, believing it to be all that could be effected under the present Constitution, and form extreme unwillingness to put the Union at hazard. But perhaps it would have been wiser as well as a bolder course to have persisted in the restriction upon Missouri, till it should have terminated in a convention of states to revise and amend the Constitution. This would have produced a new Union of thirteen or fourteen States, unpolluted with slavery, with a great and glorious object to effect; namely that of rallying to their standard the other states by the universal emancipation of their slaves. If the Union must be dissolved, slavery is precisely the question upon which it ought to break. For the present, however, this contest is laid asleep.

Source:   John Quincy Adams, diary entry, 1820



Vote in the U.S. House of Representatives
on the Tariff of 1816


South 23 34
Middle States 44 10
West (Ohio)   4   0
New England 17 10
TOTAL 88 54

Source:  Vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Tariff of 1816

 [F]or myself I am not tenacious whether we have a congressional caucus or a general convention, so that we have either; the latter would remove the embarrassment of those who have or profess to have scruples, as to the dormer [it] would be fresher and perhaps more in unison with spirit of the times… The following, I think, justly be ranked among its probable advantages: It is the best and probably the only practicable mode of concentrating the entire vote of the opposition and of effecting what is of still great importance, the substantial re-organization of the Old Republican party. 2nd, its first result cannot be doubtful. Mr. Adams occupying the seat and being determined not to surrender it except in extremis will not submit his pretension to the convention… 

 … Instead of the question being between a northern and southern man, it would be whether or not the ties, which have heretofore bound together a great political party should be severed.

 …We must always have party distinctions and the old ones are the best of which the nature of the case admits. Political combinations between the inhabitants in the different states are unavoidable… The country has since flourished under a party thus constituted and may again… Party attachment in former times furnished a complete antidote for sectional prejudices by producing counteracting feelings…  

Source:   Letter from Martin Van Buren to Thomas Ritchie, 1817



 …  This transformation of the condition of the country from gloom and distress to brightness and prosperity, has been mainly the work of American legislation, fostering American industry, instead of allowing it to be controlled by foreign legislation, cherishing foreign industry. The foes of the American System, in 1824, with great boldness and confidence, predicted, 1st. The ruin of the public revenue, and the creation of a necessity to resort to direct taxation. The gentleman from South Carolina, (General Hayne,) I believe, thought that the tariff of 1824 would operate a reduction of revenue to the large amount of eight millions of dollars. 2d. The destruction of our navigation. 3d. The desolation of commercial cities. And 4th. The augmentation of the price of objects of consumption, and further decline in that of the articles of our exports. Every prediction which they made has failed—utterly failed. Instead of the ruin of the public revenue, with which they then sought to deter us from the adoption of the American System, we are now threatened with its subversion, by the vast amount of the public revenue produced by that system…

Source:    Henry Clay: Defense of the American System, 1832


 … The consequence of this state of things must then be either that the Southern States must drag the Northern States father into the war, or we must drag them out of it; or the chain will break. This will be the “imposing attitude” of the next year. We must no longer be defeated by senseless clamors about a separation of the States. It is an event we do not desire, not because we have derived advantages from the compact, but because we cannot foresee or limit the dangers or effects of revolution. But the States are separated in fact, when one section assumes an imposing attitude, and with high hand perseveres and measures fatal to the interests and repugnant to the opinions of another section, by dint of a geographical majority.


 Source:  The New England Threat of Secession, Columbian Centinel, 13 January1813.


          ...British cruisers have been in the practice also of violating the rights and the peace of out coasts. They hover and harass our entering and departing commerce. To the most insulting pretensions they have added the most lawless proceedings in our very harbors, and have wantonly spilt American blood within the sanctuary of our territorial jurisdiction...

....Under pretended blockades, without the presence of an adequate force and sometimes without the practicability of applying one, our commerce has been plundered in every sea, great staples of our country have been cut off from their legitimate markets, and a destructive blow aimed at our agricultural and maritime interests... ...While the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs, or, opposing force to force in defense of their national rights, shall commit a just cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of Events, avoiding all connections which might entangle it in the contest or views of other powers, and preserving a constant readiness to concur in an honorable reestablishment of peace and friendship, is a solemn question which the Constitution wisely confides to the legislative department of the government. In recommending it to their early deliberations I am happy in the assurance that the decision will be worthy to enlightened and patriotic councils of a virtuous, a free, and a powerful nation.

Source:  James Madison to the Senate and House of Representatives, June 1, 1812.


 … [T]oday there is no sign of great political parties in the United States. There are many parties threatening the future of the union, but none which seem to attack the actual form of government and the general course of society. The parties that threaten the union rely not on principles but on material interests. In so vast a land these interests make the provinces into rival nations rather than parties… 

  Lacking great parties, the United States is creeping with small ones and public opinion is broken up ad infinitum about questions of detail. It is impossible to imagine the trouble they take to create parties; it is not an easy matter now…

Source: French Aristocrat Alexis De Tocqueville, on his assessment on American political parties, 1835 .


               That it be and hereby is recommended to the legislatures of the several states represented in this Convention, to adopt all such measures as may be necessary effectually to protect the citizens of said states from the operation and effects of all acts which have been or may be passed by the Congress of the United States, which shall contain provisions, subjecting the militia or other citizens to forcible drafts, conscriptions, or impressments, not authorized by the constitution of the United States…

Source:    Hartford Convention:  A Northerner’s point-of-view, 1814


 I have, Senators, believed from the first that the agitation of the subject of slavery would, if not prevented by some timely and effective measure, end in disunion. Entertaining this opinion, I have, on all proper occasions, endeavored to call the attention of both the two great parties which divide the country to adopt some measure to prevent so great a disaster, but without success....
Source:  John C. Calhoun on the Slavery Question, 1850 

Full Bibliographical Reference of the Above Documents
Document A
 "John Randolph:  Against a Protective Tariff."  The Annals of America.   Volume 4:   Domestic Expansion and Foreign Entanglements 1797-1820.  Pg.  427-429

Document B
.  "Thomas Jefferson:  A Fireball in the Night."  Pg.  603-604

Document C
"Congressional Voting on the Declaration of War, by States, 1812."  A History of the American People:  James J. Lawrence.  Volume 1:  Enduring Voices Fourth Edition.  Pg. 160.  Houghton Mifflin Company.  2000

Document D
Newman, John J. and John M. Schmalback.  United States History.  "John Quincy Adams:  Diary, March 3, 1820."  Pg.  164-165.  Amsco Publications, Inc.  USA.  2002

Document E
.  "Vote in the U.S. House of Representative on the Tariff of 1816."  Pg.  165

Document F
"Van Buren Supports Parties of Principles, Not Men."  Retrieving the American Past.  Pg.  50-51.  Pearson Custom Publishing.  2002

Document G
Henry Clay, "Defense of the American System, 1832."  11 February 2002…

Document H
"The Threat of Northern Secession—Columbian Centinel, 13 January 1813."

Document I
"James Madison to the Senate and House of Representatives, June 1, 1812." Octagon Multimedia. Harcourt College Publishers. 1999.

Document J
"A French Visitor Evaluates American Political Parties in 1835."  Retrieving the American Past  Pg.  48-50.   Pearson Custom Publishing.  2002

Document K
The "Hartford Convention—1814-1815."  10 February 2002.  New Haven, Connecticut.  Yale University.  1996-2002.

Document L
Heffner, Richard D. A Documentary History of the United States.  "John C. Calhoun on the Slavery Question, 1850."  Pg.  134. New American Library. New York.  1999.

Bibliographical Works Referenced

"Henry Clay:  Manufactering and Protective Tariff." The Annals of America.  Volume 4:  Domestic Expansion and Foreign Entanglements 1797-1820.  Pg.  622.  Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.  Chicago.  1968

Ibid.  "John Quincy Adams:  Slavery and the Constitution—1820."  Pg.  589-591

Carlton, David L.  Selected Historical History.  Volume 1:  to 1877 Fourth Edition.  "The Missouri Controversy 1:  The Benefits of Slavery Extension, 1819."  Pg.  213-214.

"Geographic Support for the Declaration of War, 1812." A History of the American People:  James J. Lawrence.  Volume 1:  Enduring Voices Fourth Edition.  Pg. 161.  Houghton Mifflin Company.  2000

Morris, Richard B.  Basic Documents in American History.  "Missouri Enabling Act."  Malabar, FL.  Krieger Publishing Co.  1865.

Ibid.  "Madison’s War Message—1812."  Pg.  89-92.

Newman, John J. and John M. Schmalback.  United States History.  "A War Hawk’s Arguments for War."  Pg. 137. Amsco Publications, Inc.  USA.  2002

Ibid.  "Thomas Jefferson’s:  Letter to Congressman John Holmes of Massachusetts, April 22, 1820."  Pg.  165.

"1810 National Voting Turnout:  Presidential Elections 1800-1840."  Retrieving the American Past.  Pg.  55.  Pearson Custom Publishing.  2002

"Missouri Compromise."  11 February 2002.  PBS Online.  WGBH Educational Foundation.  1998


DBQ Question created by:

Falon Faigle
Joanna Glendis
Maria Regina H. S.
Hartsdale, NY