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Politics, Citizenship, and Association

Politics, Citizenship, and Association

(p.39) Two Politics, Citizenship, and Association
The Making of Tocqueville'S America
Kevin Butterfield
University of Chicago Press

This chapter will examine an important and revealing refrain in the political debates of the 1790s and the first decade of the nineteenth century, when the first party debates between Federalists and Republicans took shape: the tension between collective political action and the ideally free and independent mind of the voting citizen. The emerging idea that members of nearly all kinds of voluntary associations ought to be knitted together by formalized and relatively attenuated bonds found a powerful, post-Revolutionary impetus in the emergence of partisan conflict: the idea that the unfettered, independent citizen was the essential unit upon which all the structures, institutions, checks, and balances of their republican governments relied.

Keywords:   civil society, political associations, Washington Benevolent Societies, Federalists, Democratic-Republican Societies

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