Warren Junto

Written By Dr. Troy L. Kickler

A disciple of Anti-Federalist Willie Jones and a leading statesman of the early republic era, Nathaniel Macon mentored a group of Tar Heel Democratic-Republicans/Jeffersonians who feared government encroachment and disliked Federalist policies: the Warren Junto.  The group included not only Warren countians, including James Turner, but also David Stone (Bertie County), Richard Standford (Raleigh-Durham district), and William Hawkins (Granville County). The Warren Junto became a political force during the early 1800s.

Members of the Warren Junto held various state and national offices.  Stone, as a Congressman, and Turner, as a state senator, for instance, helped usher in the Republican ascendancy across the nation and state (the Revolution of 1800), and both later served as governor: Turner (1802-05) and Stone (1808-1810).   A long-time politician, William Hawkins served as governor during the War of 1812.  

Although its members were of Jefferson’s party, the Warren Junto criticized the third president for being too moderate and compromising.  For Standford’s criticism of Jefferson, a considerable Federalist minority in his district ensured his electoral seat.  The Warren Junto allied with the “Richmond Junto”—a nickname given to Virginia politicians, including Spencer Roane, John Randolph of Roanoke, John Taylor of Caroline, and Benjamin Watkins Leigh.  With the Virginians, the Warren Junto comprised the Old Republicans (dissatisfied Southern politicians whose paradoxical combination of Lockean liberalism and Burkean conservatism convinced them that as early as 1805 the Democratic-Republican Party had compromised its platform).

 Old Republicans, also known as Tertium Quid (Third thing), opposed many Republican and Federalist policies.  The Quids and the Warren Junto were more Jeffersonian than Jefferson.