John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on copper. National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.

Uncle to John Hancock, to whom he left his fortune.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 242.7 x 150.9 cm (95 9/16 x 59 7/16 in). Harvard University Portrait Collection, Cambridge, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 145.73 x 122.24 cm (57 3/8 x 48 1/8 in). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 x 40 in. (127.00 x 101.60 cm.). Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm ). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 3/8 x 40 1/4 in. Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KA.

Known as Colonel James.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 50 1/2 x 40 5/8 in. Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Pastel on laid paper; w:36.8 x h:44.5 cm. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 127 x 101.92 cm (50 x 40 1/8 in). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by John Singleton Copley (1738—1815)

Oil on canvas; 126.05 x 100.33 cm (49 5/8 x 39 1/2 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

By 1789 many of the Federalists, particularly Hamilton, had no confidence whatsoever left in the virtue or the natural sociability of the American people as adhesive forces: to rely on such wild schemes and visionary principles, as radicals like Jefferson and Paine did, to tie the United States together, the Federalists said, was to rely on nothing. Hence Hamilton and the other Federalist leaders had to find things other than republican virtue and natural sociability to make the American people a single nation.

Tying people together, creating social cohesiveness, making a single nation out of disparate sections and communities without relying on idealistic republican adhesives — this was the preoccupation of the Federalists, and it explains much of what they did — from Washington’s proposals for building canals to Hamilton’s financial program.

Gordon S. Wood
The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011)