• By the time the constitution was ratified,
KY, TN, and Ohio were growing.
• Most of the population still lived East of
• New territories were loyal to the gov’t,
but most states were skeptical.
• Finances were a mess both for the
states and the new government.
The Washington Years
• Washington is only President unanimously
elected to office.
• He didn’t seek the position, but felt
compelled to take it.
• 1st Capitol was in New York City.
• Named his first Cabinet: Sec. of State –
Jefferson, Sec. of Treas. – Alex. Hamilton,
Sec. of War – Henry Knox
The Washington Years
• As promised, the gov’t needed to deliver a
Bill of Rights.
• James Madison drafted 10 amendments
and got Congress to approve (2/3 vote)
• All were ratified because they (9 & 10)
protected the rights of states.
• The Judiciary Act also set up the Supreme
Court – John Jay as first Chief Justice.
Hamilton and the Debt
• As Sec. of Treasury, Hamilton
had the task of reducing debt
and getting revenue.
• He supported the wealthy and
believed in a trickle-down
• He also wanted the debt of the
gov’t and states to be paid by
• He said the states went in debt
during the war and the new
gov’t should pay.
• Hamilton knew states w/ heavy debts
would love the plan.
• Other states, like VA, did not want to hand
their debtors over to the federal gov’t.
• Deal was made with VA to go along if the
Federal District would locate on Potomac.
• Deal went through and so did his plan.
The Lovely Debt
• Hamilton saw the $75 million debt as a
necessary tool. How?
• If you have debtors, they have a stake in
making sure the gov’t is strong.
• They also needed revenue like a small
import tariff and an excise tax on whiskey.
• Later, the whiskey tax would prove
• Hamilton wanted a national bank, but
Jefferson thought the fed. gov’t too strong
• They both sent arguments in writing to
Washington, and Hamilton won.
• Hamilton used argument that the step was
necessary and proper to aid the gov’t.
• It was a huge success.
• Took place in W. Pennsylvania in 1794
• Small-time distillers were angry over the
excise tax and threatened revolt.
• Washington sent out the military to put
down the “revolt”.
• Easily dispersed and strengthened the
• Hamilton and Jefferson differed on the
amount of power the feds should have.
• They even had clashes of power.
• Political parties grew out of this.
• Hamiltonians became the Federalists
• Jeffersonians the Democratic-Republicans.
• Thus began the two-party system.
Le French Revolution
•In 1789, the French Revolution had just begun.
The people wanted a constitution
•In time, they wanted the king’s head.
•They got it as well as his wife’s.
•American’s were torn as to which side they
•Washington issued the Neutrality
Proclamation in 1793.
• Both Hamilton and Jefferson agreed.
• Though France had helped America, we
were too weak to get involved.
• Americans did not all feel the same way.
• Bitter debates and divisions ensued.
• In the end, it served both France and
America’s best interest to remain neutral.
American Foreign Policy
• America hoped to remain neutral, but
Britain tried to draw them in.
• American ships were seized in the West
• John Jay went to England to broker a
deal, but didn’t fare very well.
• Americans blamed him and our gov’t.
Washington as Precedent
• Washington decided not to seek the
Presidency in 1796.
• He believed that 2 terms was enough.
• He advised the gov’t to not make any
• Washington led a young, fractured nation
through her infant years.
• Britain did not give America a pass for
staying out of the war.
• They continued to block westward
expansion by arming Indians.
• Treaty of Greenville – 1795 – Indians
ceded land to Americans.
• British began seizing American ships in
• Americans are ticked!!
Election of 1796
• John Adams, Washington’s Vice-President,
ran for the Federalists.
• Hamilton was too unpopular w/ masses.
• Thomas Jefferson ran for the Democratic-
• Adams narrowly won and Jefferson
became his VP.
• France saw Jay’s Treaty with England as
violation of their own treaty.
• Adams sent an envoy to France.
• Tallyrand sent cronies to elicit bribes to
meet with him.
• Americans were angered and returned.
• Undeclared war was fought on seas.
• France surrendered. (surprise)
Alien and Sedition Acts
• Federalists passed laws in Congress to
allow President to kick foreigners out.
• Designed to protect Federalist votes.
• Also passed Sedition Act which
criminalized articles or speech that was
• Jefferson Republicans argued these laws
violated the 1st amendment.
• Mainly represented business and the
• Loose interpretation of Constitution.
• Pro-British in foreign affairs for economic
• Strong central government trumps weaker
• Represented the middle class and the
• Believed that the free press was one of
the most important freedoms.
• Pro-French in their foreign affairs.
• Believed that all free men (who are
educated) should have the right to vote.