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Here is a question from CollegeBoard's practice APUSH exam... I'm having trouble answering it. Washington's Farewell warned against the dangers of international alliances and the formation of political parties, right? Knowing this, I still am unsure of what the answer is (personally, I think it's A but I feel I am incorrect).

Which of the following groups most strongly opposed Washington’s point of view in the address?

(A) Democratic-Republicans

(B) New England merchants

(C) Southern plantation owners

(D) Federalists

My reasoning for why it's A (taken from my comment): If you want my reasoning, it's because Washington was shown to support Hamilton (a Federalist). Also, the Democratic-Republicans wanted to support France in the war against Britain, which violated Washington's neutrality policy. However, Hamilton wanted to side with the British for possible economic advantages, meaning that Federalist motives also conflicted with the ideas in Washington's address. That's why I'm confused, because my reasoning appears to be self-contradicting. I also don't know too much about the political stance of merchants and plantation owners.

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    It's not homework. I'm practicing for the exam on my own. I found the exam through the CollegeBoard website. Since I was stuck on this question, I decided to come here for help. – CuriousHistorian Oct 9 '14 at 19:28
  • If you want my reasoning, it's because Washington was shown to support Hamilton (a Federalist). Also, the Democratic-Republicans wanted to support France in the war against Britain, which violated Washington's neutrality policy. However, Hamilton wanted to side with the British for possible economic advantages, meaning that Federalist motives also conflicted with the ideas in Washington's address. That's why I'm confused, because my reasoning appears to be self-contradicting. I also don't know too much about the political stance of merchants and plantation owners. – CuriousHistorian Oct 9 '14 at 19:31
  • Don't just dismiss this as someone trying to get answers for homework, when I'm honestly in need of clarification on historical concepts. – CuriousHistorian Oct 9 '14 at 19:32
  • Great, now if only someone could help... – CuriousHistorian Oct 9 '14 at 20:13
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    What a horrible question (the CollegeBoard's, not yours). I think the best answer is vote to close as "unclear what you're asking". There was more than one point of view in the address - it covered numerous topics to which any of the 4 groups listed would have different opinions on. – Comintern Oct 10 '14 at 0:29
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  • It's a bad question
  • The answer is A, Democratic-Republicans

Benjamin Franklin Bache was a vehement Republican. As editor of the Philadelphia Aurora, he was also perhaps Washington's most outspoken and vitriolic detractor. Yet even he couldn't find anything to fault in the substance of the address:

Without any commentary, Bache reprinted the address over the next two days. He could hardly have faulted a moving statement that referred to the benefit of education in enlightening public opinion, the mischief of trade restrictions and foreign influence, and even the personal failings of the president himself. The Aurora did, however, question the president's sincerity as he left office, saying he delivered "the profession of republicanism, but the practice of monarchy and aristocracy." Arguing that the nation had been "debauched" by Washington, another editorial remarked that "the masque of patriotism may be worn to conceal the foulest designs against the liberties of a people." (source)

So the best response Bache could muster to the Farewell Address was claiming that Washington didn't mean it.


Perhaps the biggest policy difference in the speech was that Washington called for free trade with all nations:

. . . our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing. (source)

This wouldn't be so far from Republican preferences, except for the fact that in practice, commercial neutrality meant that the majority of American commerce would continue to be with Britain.

Madison and other Republicans wanted to use "commercial coercion" (withholding American raw materials from Britain) as leverage in gaining further concessions (especially the opening of the lucrative West Indies market to American shipping). Still, Washington and Madison are both ultimately championing free trade.

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Well, I think this question is quite controversial. However, APUSH loves to throw these questions at you to see what answer is MOST correct, rather than having a single correct answer. Although I do think this is a very bad question... the only explanation I could come up with was this:

Washington expressed that he supports a ratification process, stating in his farewell address that "it is the right of the people to alter the government to meet their needs." This was a Federalist point of view... as they wanted to ratify the Articles of Confederation rather than just amend them. Because of this, the most correct answer would be A (Democratic-Republicans)... previously known as just Anti-Federalists during the process of ratifying the Articles of Confederation. In simplest terms, the Federalists wanted to ratify the AoC, which Washington supported, and the DR's (Anti-Feds) wanted to amend the Constitution, something in which Washington probably would not have been sided with. Also, he tended to favor Hamilton. Hope this helped, and good luck!

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It's not really clear what you are asking. If you are asking for an explanation of why (A) is the correct answer, it is as follows:

The main thrust of the address was to support a unified country under a single centralized government (Federalism) and neutrality with regards to foreign powers. Both of these aims were supported by the Jay Treaty which Washington and the Federalists (like Hamilton) sponsored.

This humiliating treaty kowtowed to England to buy peace and betrayed France, who had helped America in the Revolutionary War. The treaty was favored by rich people like New England merchants and big plantation owners because it would make it easier for them to resume trade with England.

The small farmers who made up the bulk of the country bitterly opposed this rich man's treaty because it did nothing to help them and made all kinds of unnecessary concessions to England, which they had fought and died for and now rich pricks like Hamilton were just giving it away.

Jefferson welded all these small farmers into a potent political force, the Republicans, who favored states rights, not Federal power (and Federal taxes). These farmers wanted to support France, just as France had supported them, and they resented the idea that the states should be lorded over by a central power ruled by a president, who was not too far off from a king in their eyes.

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I'm not an expert, but I think its mostly because the democratic republicans wanted to go to war against Britain (with France) and Washington wanted neutrality.

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