SAT Subject US History Practice Question 910: Answer and Explanation
81. One of the major reasons for the development of political parties in the 1790s was that
A. Jefferson and Madison had developed a personal dislike for one another.
B. support for the French Revolution eroded Washington's power.
C. the Alien and Sedition Acts had reduced the number of immigrants entering the United States.
D. differences had developed concerning the interpretation of the Constitution.
E. The Articles of Confederation had created a weak central government.
Correct Answer: D
A differing interpretation of the Constitution developed between the Federalists and Republicans during the administration of George Washington. The Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, believed in a loose interpretation of the Constitution. The Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson, believed that the Constitution must be interpreted strictly. By the end of the 1790s, the party lines had been drawn, culminating in the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts by the Federalists and the Democratic-Republican response in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. Further differences had developed as a result of the French Revolution. Jefferson and Madison were both Democratic-Republicans (A) and known to be friends. Washington (B) remained popular throughout his public career; the French Revolution did not diminish his popularity or power. The Alien and Sedition Acts (C) did not discourage or restrict immigration. They merely established a longer period before a person could become a citizen of the United States. Political parties were nonexistent at the time of the Articles of Confederation (E), which were no longer in effect during the 1790s, having been replaced by the U.S. Constitution.