Acrimony & Intimacy
The political dialogue within the highest echelon of the revolutionary generation was a decade-long shouting match.
Politics, even at the highest level in the early republic, remained a face-to-face affair in which the contestants, even those who were locked in political battles to the death, were forced to negotiate the emotional affinities and shared intimacies produced by frequent personal interaction.
I suppose there’s an odd comfort in knowing that our polarized political climate is not a complete novelty. I know I’ve employed “shouting match” to describe current discourse on more than one occasion. The latter quote encapsulates one of the reasons Ellis thinks the fledgling nation was able to survive despite the circumstances of the former. Perhaps it could be said that their intense political interest was also matched by intense personal interest in this political experiment, and because of the shared nature of their endeavor, there was some personal interest in one another.
May our ideology always be subservient to our hospitality.