; Lecture 6
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

Lecture 6


  • pg 1
									Lecture 6. The New Nation. The Jeffersonian era. The war of 1812 (Madison's war).
James Monroe.

Washington received all the votes of the presidential electors and was chosen as the first
President of the United States (1789). John Adams was chosen as the Vice-President.
Washington's personal prestige gave the president's office power and the presidency
became the focus of patriotism and national unity.
       The first Congress served as the continuation of the Constitutional Convention,
because its main task was to fill in the gaps. The first Congress also created three
executive departments - state, treasury, and war. In the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress
provided for a Supreme Court of six members and a system of lower district courts and
courts of appeal. The first chief justice was John Jay. From 1801 to 1835 the office was
held by John Marshall, whose Supreme Court became very powerful and who was the
supporter of strong government.
       One of the questions was where to create the capital city. The site chosen after
some discussion was on the border between Maryland and Virginia, and thus equally
accessible from both north and south. But of course it would be decades before it became
a city in its own right. (Washington, D.C.)

Federalists and Republicans
       The first twelve years under the new constitution were troubled by the debates,
which had not been solved initially. The principal of them was what kind of state the
United States should be - a strong nation-state, with complex commercial economy, or a
more modest national government and agrarian.
       George Washington believed in strong national government. He himself did not
get involved in congressional debates, but the dominant figure of his administration
became Alexander Hamilton. He wanted to create a strong elite, and therefore introduced
several reforms, how to get rid of old debts, how to introduce taxes (excise tax on alcohol
and import tariff). He also wanted to set up a national bank. His reforms were introduced,
and were quite successful. But at the same time his measures, especially the idea of
creating a national bank, created opposition, and the farmers complained that they had
been taxed excessively. An opposition to the government formed.
       There were no political parties according to the Constitution. The founders did
not want to have parties fearing that the factions might become too strong. But now two
groups emerged: the Federalists, led by John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, and the
Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The Republicans argued that
Hamilton and his followers had become a self-interested faction. They established
committees, societies, and caucuses in every state; they corresponded across state lines,
and they wanted to influence the election results. So in fact both acted as parties,
although they claimed that they acted in the true interests of the nation. The Federalists
were most numerous in the commercial centers of the Northeast and southern seaports;
the Republicans were most numerous in rural areas. There were two visions of America
.The Federalists' vision of America was a nation with a wealthy, enlightened ruling class,
a vigorous, independent commercial economy, and a thriving manufacturing section.
Republicans promoted a vision of an agrarian republic, in which most citizens would
farm their own land. They did not want too much urbanization or commercialization.
       Washington himself tried not to get involved in party politics. But when he ran for
the second term (1792), the Federalists were able to consolidate their positions. They
acted effectively in two areas in which the old Confederation had not always been
successful: the western territories and diplomacy.
       Before the Revolution a few thousand white people lived west of the
Appalachian divide; by the 1790s their numbers were 120,000. How to include these
settlements in the new nation was a question. The Ordinance of 1784 had divided the
western territory (north of Ohio River) into ten self-governing districts. In 1787 the ten
western districts were united into a single Northwest Territory. This ordinance also
specified that a population of 60,000 was required as a minimum of statehood. The same
territory was claimed by the Indians of the region. The Congress tried to persuade Indians
to cede their land, but the Indians did not want to give them up. Violence broke out
between the whites and Indians, which climaxed in the early 1790s. The Indians were
defeated in the Battle of the Fallen Timbers in 1794. As a result, they had to cede a
considerable portion of their land.
       The outlying western areas were loosely tied to the national government. In 1794,
farmers in western Pennsylvania raised a challenge to federal authority when they refused
to pay the new whiskey excise tax. Washington gathered an army of 15,000 men and
went to Pennsylvania. At the approach of this army, the rebellion collapsed.
       The loyalty was not only won by intimidation, but also by allowing the states to
join the union. North Carolina and Rhode Island joined the union after the Bill of Rights
had been appended to the Constitution. Vermont became the 14th state. Next came
Kentucky, in 1792, Tennessee became a state in 1796.
       As to foreign policy, Great Britain sent a minister to the USA in 1791. But when
the war between Britain and France began (1793), Congress took steps to ensure
neutrality in the war. This was not easy. British ships seized hundreds of American ships
in the French West Indies, and the public was outraged. Hamilton persuaded Washington
to send John Jay to Britain for negotiations. Although Jay did not achieve everything that
was planned, the war with Britain was avoided. The Republicans were angered, because
the treaty oriented American trade and policy toward Britain. After Jay's treaty the
relations with Spain were also settled.
       Washington refused to run for the third term. (This became a precedent for other
presidents, and was only broken by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.) So his Vice President
John Adams received the party's nomination. He won (elections in 1796) and Thomas
Jefferson, who was the second, became Vice President.
       The relations with Britain and Spain had improved, but there was friction with the
relationship with the Revolutionary France. The Federalists viewed France as a country
that represented the worst in human society, where standards of respect and social
hierarchy had been abandoned. There was the continuing French aggression at sea, and
clear attempts to subvert American politics through bribery and revolutionary
propaganda. Namely, Tayllerand demanded a loan and a bribe before the negotiations
could begin. The French agents were named by code letters XYZ, and the XYZ affair
(1797) awakened public outrage. An informal war (1798-99) between the USA and
France began, which was ended in 1800 when a new French government agreed to a
treaty with the USA.
       The conflict with France helped the Federalists increase their power. With this
power they thought of silencing the Republican opposition. In 1798 there was an
outbreak of panic over the supposed revolutionary conspirators, organized by the German
Illuminati sect. There were fears that they were planning to eliminate religion, family and
sexual morality, and the radicals found their leader in Jefferson. The federal government
passed two acts: The Alien Act, which made it more difficult for the foreigners to become
American citizens, and the Sedition Act, which allowed the government to prosecute
those who engaged in "sedition" against the government. President Adams signed them,
but was careful in implementing them.
       Republican leaders began to look for ways of reversing the acts. Jefferson and
Madison wrote two Resolutions (passed in Kentucky and Virginia) in which they argued
that the federal government had been formed by a contract and thus had only certain
delegated powers. Whenever a party involved in the contract decided that the central
government had exceeded its powers, it had the right to nullify the laws. The resolutions
did not pass, but a national crisis was created. The presidential election of 1800 was
shaped by this crisis. The Republicans won, but before resigning President Adams
reformed the judiciary and appointed Federalists to newly created federal judgeships. The
importance attached to the victory earned the election a nickname the "Revolution of
1800". Jefferson was seen as extreme as the new French emperor Napoleon by the
Federalists. On the other hand, the Republicans believed the nation had been saved from
tyranny (similar to Britain).

The Jeffersonian era
Despite the impeachment of some Federalist judges, Jefferson proved far more moderate
than feared. When Thomas Jefferson and his followers assumed control of the national
government in 1801 they had a distinct vision of America. They favored a society of
independent farmers, not industrialism. They proposed a federal government of limited
power. But almost nothing worked out according to their vision. The American society
became increasingly more complex, and the simple agrarian society was impossible to
maintain. American cultural life was dominated by a vigorous and ambitious nationalism;
Jefferson sometimes exercised strong authority, and arranged the single greatest increase
in the size of the United States.

The Second Awakening
          During revolutionary times the practice of religion had weakened and by the
1790s only a small proportion of white Americans were members of formal churches
(perhaps as little as 10 per cent). There were new "rational" religious doctrines, for
example Deism. Deists accepted the existence of God, but considered him a remote being
who had withdrawn from direct involvement with the human race. Religious skepticism
was widespread. Beginning in 1801, traditional religion staged a dramatic comeback in
the form of a wave of revivalism known as the Second Great Awakening.
          The conservative theologians tried to fight the spread of rationalism and church
establishments revitalize their organizations. Presbyterians were active on the frontier, the
Methodist church, which had come to America in the 1770s, sent itinerant preachers
throughout the nation and it became the fastest-growing denomination in America. The
Baptists, who were also relatively new, found a strong following in the South. They were
all quite successful and in the summer of 1801, a group of evangelical ministers presided
over the first camp meeting that lasted several days and was attended by about 25,000
          The basic message of the Second Great Awakening was that people must admit
God into their daily lives and reject the skeptical or rational attitudes. Yet, few
denominations pursued with the idea of predestination, and the belief in personal
salvation through good works actually increased the number of believers. A striking
feature of revivalism was the large number of women, especially young women. In some
areas of the country, revival meetings were open to people of all races. Some prominent
black preachers emerged who translated the egalitarian message of the Awakening - that
salvation was available to all - into a similar message for the blacks. The spirit of
revivalism was particularly strong among Native Americans, but it took a form different
from that of white or black society. The most important revivalism came from the efforts
of an Indian prophet: Handsome Lake, from the tribe of Seneca. Handsome Lake called
for a revival of traditional Indian ways.
Louisiana Purchase

       When Jefferson became US President, Napoleon Bonaparte made himself ruler of
France. In the year that Jefferson was re-elected, Napoleon named himself emperor.
Having failed to seize India from the British, Napoleon wanted to restore French power
in the New World. The lands east of the Mississippi, which France had ceded to Britain
in 1763, were part of the United States now. But the lands west of the Mississippi
belonged to Spain. In 1800, under the secret treaty of San Ildefonso, France regained the
title to Louisiana, which included almost the whole of the Mississippi Valley and New
Orleans. He hoped that this territory would become the heart of French Empire in
       Jefferson (who was still formally in power) was troubled when he heard of the
secret treaty. New Orleans was an outlet for American ships to take American produce to
world markets. After the Spanish intendant (still formally in power) had closed New
Orleans for American ships, the westerners demanded that the President do something.
The President decided to buy Louisiana from the French. In the meantime, Jefferson
persuaded Congress to appropriate funds for an expansion of the army and the
construction of a river fleet, and he hinted that the United States was ready to attack New
Orleans and form an alliance with Britain.
       Perhaps for this reason and for some others Napoleon decided to sell. Robert
Livingston and James Monroe who were in Paris accepted the offer and signed an
agreement with Napoleon on April 30, 1803. The price agreed was 80 million francs or
15 million dollars. The French retained exclusive commercial rights and the residents of
Louisiana were incorporated into the union with the same rights and privileges as other
citizens. The Congress approved of the treaty and Louisiana was organized on the general
pattern of the Northwest Territory.

Lewis and Clark expedition
       Meanwhile, a series of explorations were revealing the geography of the far-flung
new territory to the white Americans. In 1803, even before the Louisiana Purchase
Jefferson planned an expedition to the Pacific Ocean, to gather geographical data and
explore the prospects of trade with the Indians. The leader of the expedition was
Meriwether Lewis, a veteran of Indian wars, and his companion William Clark, an
experienced frontiersman and Indian fighter. In 1803 Lewis started out and was joined a
little later by Clark They gathered men and supplies and in the spring of 1804 set out
from St. Louis. They reached the Pacific in late autumn 1805 and returned to St. Louis in
September 1806. Another explorer sent out by President Jefferson was Zebulon
Montgomery Pike, who went up the valley of the Arkansas River and into what later
became known as Colorado (the peak in Colorado bears his name).
        Jefferson's re-election in 1804 suggested that most of the nation approved the new
territorial expansion. But some Federalists were opposed to it. The Federalists in New
England feared that the expansion of the territory would weaken their power and they
concluded that it was time to separate. Alexander Hamilton refused to support them and
they chose Vice President Aaron Burr. However, when Burr lost the election in New
York, he accused Hamilton and they fought a duel, as a result of which Hamilton died.
Burr went west and joined General Wilkinson. There were rumors that they planned the
separation of the Southwest from the Union. In 1806 Burr was arrested, but was acquitted
at trial. The Burr case showed that while the central government remained weak,
ambitious political leaders might, in their search for power, threaten the existence of the
United States.

The War of 1812, or the Second War of Independence
        In the last years of Jefferson's presidency two conflicts were taking shape that
drew the United States into a difficult war. This was the beginning of Napoleonic wars,
and both Britain and France prevented US trade. The other was the conflict between the
white settlers and the Indians. The Indian tribes mobilized and forged connections with
British forces in Canada and Spanish forces in Florida. Both were the cause of the war of
        After the French navy had been defeated in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), the
French barred British ships from entering any of the ports controlled by the French or
their allies. The British blockaded the European coast. In the early 19th century the
Americans had formed an important merchant marine. As a result of the blockade, the
Americans could not trade with their European partners, as they happened to be in
between the two warring nations. Moreover, the British stopped the American ships on
the high seas to search for sailors who had deserted their ships (impressment). There was
one incident with the naval frigate Chesapeake that was attacked by the British. In an
attempt to prevent future incidents, which would lead to the war, Jefferson persuaded
Congress to pass an Embargo in 1807. This prohibited American ships from leaving the
United States for any foreign port. The law hit the merchants and ship owners hard and
was unpopular.
       In 1808 James Madison, Jefferson's secretary and political ally won the
presidential election. Before leaving office, Jefferson offered "peaceable coercion"
ending his embargo. Congress passed the Non-Intercourse Act, which opened all ports to
American ships except those of France and Great Britain. Napoleon announced that
France would no longer interfere with American shipping in 1809, but Britain did not.
When it did, it was too late.
       As the American settlers moved westward and expelled Indian tribes from their
lands, Indians looked to the British as their protectors remembering the British attempt to
limit westward expansion. The British in Canada relied on the Indians as trading partners
and military allies. After the Chesapeake incident the British in Canada began to take
desperate measures for their own defense. Among those measures they also renewed their
ties with the Indians and provided them with increased supplies. The border conflict
intensified with the emergence of two remarkable native leaders. One was Tenskwatawa,
a charismatic religious leader and orator known as the "Prophet". As he had recovered
from alcoholism, 'the white evil', he began to preach native ways and inspired a religious
revival that spread through numerous tribes and helped unite them. People came in
thousands to him.
       The Prophet's brother Tecumseh - the "Shooting Star" - chief of the Shawnees
rose to be a political leader who understood that only by united action could the advance
of white civilization be resisted. Beginning in 1809, he set out to unite all the tribes of the
Mississippi Valley, he wanted to make the Ohio River a boundary between the United
States and the Indian country. He claimed that only Indians had right to their land and
none of them could rightfully cede any of it. But while Tecumseh went to visit the tribes
in the south, Governor Harrison came and burned down Prophettown, and when
Tecumseh returned he found his confederacy in disarray. But there were Indians who
were ready to go on fighting and by spring of 1812 there were raids on white settlements.
Indians had also got some support from Canada, and a lot of Americans began to think of
driving the British out of North America and annexing the province. In the south the
people began to think of the acquisition of Spanish Florida (the present-day Florida,
southern areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana). The slaves escaped across the
borders, there were Indian raids, but above all, the ports on the Gulf of Mexico were
considered very valuable.
       In 1810, American settlers in West Florida seized the Spanish fort at Baton Rouge
and asked the government to annex Florida. As Spain was Britain's ally, a war with
Britain seemed to be the solution. By 1812, war fever was raging on both the northern
and southern borders of the United States. A new generation of congressmen emerged
who were aggressive and impatient, very many of them from the new states or from the
backcountry. Two men, Henry Clay of Kentucky and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina,
would play a large role in national politics. They were supporters of the war. And
although Madison preferred peace, he approved a declaration of war against Britain on
June 18, 1812. At first Britain did not even react, but after Napoleon lost most of his
army in Russia, Britain turned its attentions to America.
       Americans entered the war with great enthusiasm. In the summer of 1812,
American forces invaded Canada through Detroit. Fort Dearborn (Chicago) fell before an
Indian attack. At first, the Americans were victorious on the seas, but by 1813 the British
army was counterattacking effectively.
       The Americans achieved success on the Great Lakes, this permitted them to raid
and burn York (now Toronto). They dispersed the British fleet in the battle of Put-in Bay
on September 10, 1813. Another was the Battle of the Thames where the Indian chief
Tecumseh was killed (Oct. 5, 1813). This weakened the Indian resistance in the North.
       In the South, Andrew Jackson attacked the Creek Indians and in the Battle of
Horseshoe Bend 1814 broke the resistance of the Creeks. The tribe receded further
inland. Jackson led the American forces further south.
           After the surrender of Napoleon in 1814, England prepared to invade the United
States. A British armada sailed up to the American coast and landed an army on the
outskirts of Washington. The government fled and several buildings (incl. the White
House) were in flames. Then they proceeded to Baltimore, but could not conquer it (the
birth of "The Star-Spangled Banner", since 1931 the official national anthem). American
forces turned back a British naval and land force and secured the northern border of the
United States. In south the battles continued. In January 1815, the British forces attacked
New Orleans, but were not successful. This battle happened after the peace treaty had
already been signed. Most of the battles, however, were failures. As a result, there was
popular opposition to the war, and to the Republican government. The Federalists in New
England were thinking of seceding from the country where they were in the minority and
where slaveholders and backwoodsmen were in power. They gathered at Hartford,
Connecticut (Dec. 15, 1814), but as the news of Jackson's victory and the peace treaty
reached them, their cause seemed futile, even irrelevant. But as a party their name was
           When the American and British delegations met in Ghent, Belgium, both sides
made extravagant demands, but the treaty itself ended fighting. The treated was signed in
1814. The British were eager to settle disputes with America, because they were
exhausted from the war with Napoleon and had debts. The Americans realized that now
that the French danger was gone, the British would no longer interfere with American
           Slowly the relations with Britain improved and a commercial treaty of 1815 gave
the right to trade freely with England and much of the British Empire. The border
disputes were settled and the frontier became the longest unguarded frontier in the world.
For the Indians it meant disaster. Their leader was dead and the British did not guard the
Northwest any longer.
           After the war the United States resumed the economic growth and territorial
expansion that had characterized the first half of the 19th century. But the war showed
some weaknesses: the inadequacy of the existing financial systems and transportation.
           As the states had their own banks, they continued issuing their own money. The
differences between the currencies were difficult to tell, and counterfeiting was easy.
Therefore Congress chartered the second Bank of the United States in 1816, much like its
predecessor of 1791, but with more capital. The state banks continued, but the power and
size of the national bank forced the smaller banks to issue sound notes.
       In England modern industrialism was emerging. Power-driven machines were
replacing the hand-operated tools and manufacturing became more rapid and extensive,
which had profound social and economic consequences. This was a revolution
comparable to when humans had turned from hunting and gathering to farming. Centuries
of tradition, of social patterns, of cultural and religious assumptions were challenged and
often shattered.
       What happened in England did not happen in America, but there were some
technological advances, which eventually transformed America. The first modern factory,
a textile mill, was built on Rhode Island. Congress also acted to promote manufacturing,
and the most dramatic growth was enjoyed by the American textile industry. Francis
Cabot Lowell started cloth manufacturing in Massachusetts.
       An important prerequisite for industrialization is transportation. The United
States had no system of efficient movement of raw materials to factories and of finished
goods to markets. One means of transportation that developed was steamboat. In early
19th century the first steamboat was launched. As to the roads, the old debate was raised
again: whether national money should be used to build roads. When Ohio entered the
Union in 1803, part of the public funds was used to build a highway.
       Steam-powered shipping also expanded the domestic market. And one reason for
this was the westward expansion. The westward expansion of the white American
population was one of the most important developments of the century. There were
several reasons for this expansion. One reason was the population growth, which drove
many Americans out of the east. Between 1800 and 1820 the population nearly doubled -
from 5.3 million to 9.6 million. Most Americans were still farmers and the agricultural
lands of the East were mostly occupied or exhausted. In the South, the plantation system
and its slave labor force limited opportunities for new settlers. There was a lot of land in
the west, and the federal government pushed the Indians farther west, making the fertile
regions beyond Mississippi safer for white settlement. Another common feature was
mobility. Individuals and families moved constantly, settling for a few years, then selling
their land and resettling somewhere else.
       In Georgia, Eli Whitney invented a cotton gin (engine), which helped clean
cotton. Soon cotton growing spread throughout the South. The slavery, which had
decreased with the decrease of tobacco fields, established itself firmly in the South.
Whitney also invented machine tools, which produced spare parts, and the uniformity of
cotton gins everywhere ensured that spare parts would fit all of them. In the Old
Southwest (now known as the Deep South) a new agricultural economy emerged. The
market for cotton continued to grow, and the first settlers were soon followed by planters
and the small clearings were turned into vast cotton fields. The first log cabins were soon
replaced by bigger log dwellings and ultimately by imposing mansions. The rapid growth
of the Old Northwest and Southwest resulted in the admission of four new states to the
Union: Indiana in 1816, Mississippi in 1817, Illinois in 1818, and Alabama in 1819.
       There was a setback to the general growth in 1819, when there was an economic
crisis. This was the result of high farm prices after the Napoleonic wars, land speculation
and loans. Several state banks failed. Another crisis was the debate over the question of
slavery. In 1819, there were eleven free states and eleven slave states; the admission of
another state, Missouri would upset that balance. At the same time the northern part of
Massachusetts wanted to enter the union as a free state of Maine. Finally both were
admitted, but this Missouri compromise revealed a rift that would erupt later.
       The trade grew with the farther regions as well. Mexico that controlled Texas,
California, and much of the rest of the far Southwest, won its independence from Spain in
1821. Wanting to revive its economy Mexico opened the regions for trade. The
merchants from the United States poured in, and soon replaced the Indian and Mexican
traders. Mexico lost its markets in its own colony as a steady traffic of commercial wagon
trains began moving back and forth along the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and New
       The expansion of the economy, the growth of white settlement and trade in the
West, the creation of new states reflected the rising spirit of nationalism that permeated
the United States in the years following the war of 1812. In 1816 the presidential
elections were won by James Monroe of Virginia. He had been a soldier in the
Revolution, a diplomat in France and England, and a cabinet officer.
       Monroe made up his cabinet so that Federalists and Republicans, easterners and
westerners, southerners and northerners were included. He also made a tour of good will
through the country. In Boston, the Federalist newspaper commented on it as an "era of
good feelings". In 1820 Monroe was elected for the next term, and the Federalist Party
ceased to exist. For a decade America was virtually a one-party state.
       Monroe had chosen John Quincy Adams as his Secretary of State. Adams had
also been a diplomat and his aim was the promotion of American expansion. The first
challenge was Florida. The United States had already annexed West Florida, but that
claim was in dispute. Adams began negotiations with the Spanish minister, but before the
negotiations ended General Jackson invaded Florida on the excuse of stopping raids on
American territory. Adams supported this raid showing to the Spanish that they had
power enough to take Florida by force. In 1819 Spain ceded Florida to the United
States, who, in return, gave up its claims to Texas.
       In 1822, President Monroe established diplomatic relations with five nations - La
Plata (later Argentina), Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. In 1823, Monroe went further
and announced a policy that would ultimately be known as the "Monroe doctrine",
although it was mainly the work of John Quincy Adams. "The American continents,"
Monroe declared, "…are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future
colonization by any European powers." Many Americans feared that France would help
Spain in an effort to regain its lost empire. And they were also afraid that Great Britain
might want to get control of Cuba. This foreign policy showed the growing spirit of
nationalism and established the idea of the United States as the dominant power in the
Western Hemisphere.

To top