Americans like to recycle the names of their political parties. That’s because there are a few key concepts in our system of government that are very important to us, and we like to emphasize those in our party names.
We Americans like the idea of a republican system of government: a government of laws rather than men. So two entirely different and organizationally separate political parties in American history have taken the name “Republican.” There was the Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson, and the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln. Both contributed important things to America’s life as a free republic.
Then there’s another concept that we Americans have liked, and rightly so. That concept is federalism. Federalism means real power is shared by more than one level of government. Here in the United States, federalism means states have real power and the national government has real power too. So far in our history, the name “Federalist” has been used by two political parties.
The first Federalist Party was really more of an issue-coalition. It was made up of those who favored ratification of the U.S. Constitution, which was intended to establish a federal system. When the goal of ratification was accomplished in 1788, this first Federalist Party dissolved.
The second Federalist Party came into existence around 1790 and lasted about 25 years. It was not the same party, but there was quite a bit of overlap in personnel. The second Federalist Party was the party of George Washington, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. It favored a number of initiatives, some of which were not good ideas. Nobody’s perfect. But its chief issue was opposition to the foreign policy of revolutionary France. The French Revolution released a swarm of evil ideas. Mob-ocracy, radical egalitarianism, and an explicit rejection of Christian culture led quickly to the Reign of Terror, during which rival factions in France ran their opponents through the guillotine. Then it led to dictatorship under Napoleon. In both modes it kept Europe at war for nearly a quarter-century. The French revolutionary government would have liked to have made the United States a pawn in its war to export revolution to the rest of the world. The Federalist Party of that era had its finest hour when it successfully resisted that influence on American politics.
Today America needs a new political party capable of becoming one of the two major parties. The Republican Party is no longer the party of Lincoln and Reagan. It has now become the party of Donald Trump. That leaves Christians and Constitutional conservatives out in the political wilderness, with no party to represent them. There are a number of goals for which a new party should strive, but central to them would be the twin goals of bringing the national government back in line with the Constitution and restoring the balance of federalism. If it was not obvious before, it should be unmistakable now in the Age of Trump that the once-great Republican Party is not likely to do those things.
I’m therefore delighted that concerned conservatives are now seeking to launch a new Federalist Party. It’s not the same group as the first two federalist parties. We have different problems today, but the answers are virtually the same. What this country needs now, aside from an overwhelming revival of biblical Christianity, is a government that functions according to the U.S. Constitution. No political party can bring revival, but it ought to be the chief goal of every American political party to keep our government in line with the Constitution. Since neither of the two major parties shows any sign of doing that, I say, Godspeed the new Federalist Party, and I earnestly recommend it to your attention.