Why did the Federalist Party fail?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Federalist Party was one of the first political parties in the United States.  It did not survive very long, dying off after the War of 1812.  It died for two main reasons.  First, it died because it was opposed to the democratic spirit of the time.  Second, it died because of the War of 1812.

The Federalist Party did not support the idea of a strong democracy.  That is not to say that it wanted a monarchy or other sort of autocracy, but it is true that the Federalists were more comfortable with the idea of power being in the hands of an elite group.  The Federalists supported the Constitution because the Constitution did not allow the people to vote directly for the Senate, the President, or the Supreme Court.  They felt that this would keep some distance between the people and the government and prevent the government from acting on the whims of the mass populace.  The trouble with this idea is that it went against the spirit of the time.  The common people of America did not believe that they were incapable of ruling themselves.  Instead, they wanted more democracy.  This made the Federalists less popular and helped lead to their demise.

The end of the Federalist Party also came about because of the War of 1812.  In this war, the US fought Great Britain.  The Federalists opposed this war for two main reasons.  First, they approved of the British form of government because it was set up to reduce the power wielded by ordinary people.  They admired this system and supported Britain in its wars against France.  Second, the Federalists were mainly centered in New England, an area with an economy that was dominated by trade with England.  They did not want a war that disrupted their economic system, particularly since they admired the system of the country against whom the war was being fought.  The Federalists met in the Hartford Convention to express their opposition to the war.  They even discussed the idea of secession.  When the war ended in something of a victory for the US, the Federalists appeared to be unpatriotic and defeatist.  This helped bring about the end of their party.

Thus, this party died off because of its lack of enthusiasm for democracy and because of its opposition to the War of 1812.

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maria-vivanco's profile pic

maria-vivanco | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The Federalist party died after the War of 1812. It died it off for two reasons: because of the War of 1812, and because it seemed unpatriotic when holding the Hartford Convention. 

The Federalists had opposed the war from the beginning and this was an unpopular opinion that didn't have much support. The split of the Federalist Party and the Republicans didn't work for the federalists. They didn't believe in a democracy and were strong believers in the Constitution and that the nation should be governed by a small elite group. They opposed the War of 1812 and this contradicted the national spirit at the time. Their views were unpopular and weren't supported.

When they hosted the Hartford Convention, they were seen as unpatriotic and looked like a bunch of complainers with their opposition to the Republicans.

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parama9000 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The Federalists did not serve the people's interests and, arguably, what was the best course for America. People were not convinced that power should be wielded by a group of elites and the people wanted more rights—which democracy provided.

Secondly, the US-Britain War put the Federalists on opposite ends as the Federalists admired the British government and thus did not want to go to war.

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rachellopez | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The federalist party died off because it went against what the people wanted, and perhaps what was best for them. The people wanted to rule themselves which means not as much government influence. The federalist party believed in a strong government and less power going to the people and the states. The federalists were also loyal to Britain, in the way that the government ran. That made them lose support of the people and the democratic party took over.

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