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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 people. 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 America. 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 1812. 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 tainted. 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 commerce. 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 Mexico. 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.
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