Introducing the Story: Welcome to Federalist Boston

Introducing the setting to my upcoming four-part historical fiction continuity series.

Boston, 1792. Four years after the ratification of the United States Constitution. Three years after it came into force.

George Washington is president. John Adams is his restless vice president. Congress is slowly getting its legislative act together. Alexander Hamilton continues to tangle horns with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison over banking, war debt, tariffs, industry, and big government. Factions are forming and reforming—Pro-Administration, Anti-Administration, Federalist, Anti-Federalist, Democratic-Republican.

In Boston, everything is changing. Governor John Hancock’s health is failing. Sam Adams is waiting in the wings as lieutenant governor. Meanwhile, a powerful new political class is on the rise—wealthy merchants, lawyers, and politicians who have moved to Boston from Essex County and are pushing out the old guard. The Congregational Church, the inheritance of the Puritans, is in crisis as more and more churches convert to Unitarianism. Catholicism is now legal. And young architect Charles Bulfinch, recently returned from his Grand Tour of the Continent, is rebuilding the town in a new style.

Joseph Coolidge House, Boston. Charles Bulfinch, architect. (Wikimedia Commons.)
Joseph Coolidge House, Boston. Charles Bulfinch, architect. (Wikimedia Commons.)

Across the Atlantic, the French revolutionary government is upsetting the European political landscape. In a few months, they will have declared war on Great Britain. American trade suffers under European political pressure—no matter where they sail, American merchant ships face heavy duties, prohibitions, government-sponsored monopolies, and unfriendly navies. The one exception is China.

This is Federalist America, the era of Hamilton: An American Musical, when a young country is charting its future course and all decisions matter. A time when the population is small and people know each other, when local, state, and national politics might as well be one and the same.

Boston, 1791. Wikimedia Commons CC.
Boston, 1791. (Wikimedia Commons.)

Against this backdrop… enter Molly and Josiah. Mrs. Robb and Deborah. Daniel Warren. Prudence and Joy and Tabitha. Mark Findley and George Peterson and Filippo and Lewis and the Scamps. Mrs. Beatty. Melvill and Harvey. Daniel Warren. Mrs. Warren. The players in my story of love, family, politics, crime, suffering, and faith.

Writing a story set in Federalist Boston has been a thorough delight! All I need now is a musical score by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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