Review - Chapter four- Factions Political Thought In America, By Phillip Abbott. (Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press Inc., 1999) Chapter four, Factions, is in depth chapter dealing with the creation of political parties based on political debates and personal views. Phillip Abbott discusses the emergence of the four political parties: the Federalists, the Republicans, the Democrats and the Whigs, as "attempts to outline and implement a political ideology for a new nation without disintegrating into an armed conflict (136)." In chapter four, Abbott gives us an in-depth background to the political parties and defines each view clearly. He breaks them up into two competing party systems. First, the republicans and the Federalists, and secondly, the Democrats and the Whigs.
The Federalist, Abbott states, were more about nationalism and a executive dominating government managed by the culturally and economic elite who sought out approval from different masses. The Republicans, however, showed us less of a monarchial view and more of a locally centered polity, managed by agrarian elites.
The Democrats, or the Jacksonian movement, depicted by Abbott as the party, who like the federalist, relied heavily on the president rather than the federal government. The Whigs, who challenged the Democrats, were basically about virtuous representation.
Chapter four shows us how Abbott ties in the three languages: Liberalism, Biblical thought and Republicanism by saying, that the "four political parties of the republic managed to present four identifiable philosophies of government: constitutionalism, private property, political participation and the idea of progress, that were mixtures of the three languages of American political theory (9)." In defining the parties, Abbott shows us the basic need for a republic, party competition. Party competition expressed by Abbott, is a part of our history, a history of citizens and leaders to talk, argue and interact with one another for profundity and purpose.