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IPOLITICAL PARTIES.                              55 I
what they were once.    Every important measure has a ten-
dency to show what the constitution is, and what it ought to
be in order to carry a nation safely through unforeseen trials.
The names of parties, often in themselves unmeaning, stick
The names of par- to them because Jt ^ convenient to have a brief
*                 expression for a number of characteristic quali-
ties.    In our constitutional history the federalists were the
party which was most active in forming the constitution and
in making the union a veritable state ; with this practical aim
it combined a certain attachment to England and English
precedents, and was averse to universal suffrage and to poli-
tical abstractions.    It was the party of Washington and many
others of the first men of our best age; but, after furnishing
the two first presidents, it gave way to the democratic party,
and expired, as a party, at the end of the war with England,
in 1815.    The democrats were the party of states' rights, of
political abstractions, of universal suffrage except for slaves ;
and, in the commotions of the earlier years of the century, it
was hostile to England and sympathized with France.    But
while its name has remained, its doctrines have been consid-
erably altered, nor do the names which have been applied to
the antagonist parties (whigs, republicans) represent in any
exact sense the successors of the old federalists.    Of the some-
what progressive sense of the names whigs and tories,  we
have spoken already.     Guelphs and   Ghibellines continued
to be names of political factions in the towns of northern and
middle Italy, until long after the German emperors had ceased
to be formidable either to the town liberties or the pope's un-
restricted action.    These factions were kept in being by the
quarrels of the different republics with one another, and by
the traditions of the noble families carrying down family feuds
from age to age.    And when, after a long sleep, actual con-
troversy between the emperors and the popes began again In
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the old parties had new
life put into them, whether with the same or with new names,
but without the old motives,    (Comp, Ranke, Hist, of the
popes, B. iii.,  i.)