Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Fisher Ames (1758–1808)

“...there will not be morals without justice; and though justice might possibly support a democracy... a democracy cannot possibly support justice.”

Fisher Ames, of Dedham in Massachusetts, was one of the most eloquent Federalists at the time of America's birth. An ardent opponent of Jeffersonian democracy, Ames feared the worst for the new nation, predicting spiritual decay and social anarchy.

As a member of the Federalist contingent of American revolutionaries, he strongly supported property rights and looked with favor upon the aristocratic character of his party. He was, as John Quincy Adams remarked, a stern moralist-a result of his Calvinist upbringing. Some of his colleagues in the Federalist Party, among them Hamilton and Marshall, advocated economic and territorial expansion inspired by a strong nationalist spirit, a program Ames vehemently opposed.