American history I: final exam review



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The Judiciary Act of 1789

  • Passed by the First Congress

  • Established the Federal Court system; made clear that the Supreme Court was the highest court in the U.S.

  • President Washington appointed John Jay to be the first Chief Justice

  • Native American Relations

  • As more settlers pushed west across the Appalachians and into the Ohio River Valley, they increasingly came into conflict with Native Americans

  • Native Americans were NOT U.S. citizens and were not protected by American law; the settlers, however, were and the government took action to protect the interests of settlers over those of the Native American tribes

  • The Western Indian Confederacy

  • Many tribes in the Great Lakes region began working together to present a united front against further U.S. expansion into the Ohio Valley

  • The Indian Confederacy badly defeated inexperienced U.S. troops in battles in both 1790 and 1791

  • A Growing Threat

  • The Native Americans were emboldened by the British, who continued to trade guns and supplies out of Canada (and even from forts in U.S. territory which the British refused to abandon)

  • The Native chiefs demanded that the U.S. give up its claims to the Ohio Valley and increasingly became a threat to American settlers in the region

  • Washington Takes Action

  • Even though President Washington sympathized to a degree with the Native Americans’ plight, he could not tolerate attacks against American citizens who were legally settling in U.S. territory

  • Washington ordered Secretary of War Henry Knox to raise an army (The Legion of the United States) to end the Indian threat

  • Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794, near Toledo, Ohio)

  • 3000 US troops led by General “Mad Anthony” Wayne finally defeated Indian Confederation warriors led by Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket

  • This defeat effectively ended the Northwest Indian War

  • Treaty of Greenville (August 2, 1795)

  • Natives agreed to surrender most of Ohio and areas that are today Detroit and Chicago for $20,000 in goods and the creation of a permanent boundary between US and Indian territory

  • Future settlers would, unfortunately, ignore the negotiated boundary

  • The defeat of the Indian Confederacy and the continuing presence of the Legion of the United States in the region finally prompted the British to surrender their remaining forts located on U.S. soil in 1796 to General Wayne

  • The French Revolution

  • Most Americans sympathized with French revolutionaries at first

  • Hamilton’s Federalists turned against the revolutionaries when the Revolution became too violent

  • Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans continued to support the French in their fight for liberty

  • War between Britain and France

  • Americans traded with both countries, so when Britain and France went to war with one another in 1793, it was a problem

  • The U.S. was bound by the Treaty of 1778 to help defend France’s Caribbean colonies, but honoring this treaty could lead the U.S. into war with England

  • George Washington believed the young and weak U.S. could not afford to get involved in the war between France and Britain, so he chose not to honor the Treaty of 1778, instead issuing The Proclamation of Neutrality in April, 1793, declaring the U.S. to be “friendly and impartial” to both countries

  • Problems with Britain

  • Britain began blockading France and seized any ships trying to enter French ports

  • Hundreds of U.S. ships and their cargoes were seized by the British as a result

  • This angered U.S. merchants, who were taking huge financial losses

  • Jay’s Treaty (1795)

  • Washington sent John Jay to negotiate with the British government

  • The U.S. agreed that Britain had the right to seize goods bound for France; in return, Britain agreed to grant the U.S. “most favored nation” status and to allow American merchants free trade with British colonies in the Caribbean to offset the lost trade with France

  • Democratic-Republicans were angered by treaty and felt that Jay had sold out the French

  • Consequences of Jay’s Treaty

  • France retaliated against the U.S. for signing Jay’s Treaty by beginning to seize U.S. ships bound for English ports

  • These attacks caused many members of the Federalist Party (which supported the wealthy merchants who owned most of the ships and cargos being attacked) to call for a declaration of war against France

  • This also deepened the division between the pro-British Federalists and pro-French Democratic-Republicans

  • Pinckney’s Treaty (1796)

  • Spain, worried by the possible alliance between the U.S. and Britain represented by Jay’s Treaty, negotiated with U.S. diplomat Thomas Pinckney to allow the U.S. free navigation of the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans

  • The treaty also settled the dispute over the location of the northern border of Spanish Florida, creating a fixed border between the U.S. and Spanish held territories

  • Unlike Jay’s Treaty, Pinckney’s treaty was universally popular with Americans for ending any threat of war with Spain

  • Washington’s Farewell Address

  • Published in fall of 1796

  • The 64-year-old Washington explained his decision to not seek a third term as President and offered advice to the American people on what dangers they should avoid in the future to preserve the American Republic:

    • Stay neutral in foreign affairs and avoid all “foreign entanglements” (alliances & wars)

    • Good government is based on religion and morality, so elect only moral men to office

    • Political parties are divisive and dangerous to national unity – avoid them at all costs

  • The Presidency of John Adams (Federalist, 1797 – 1801)

  • Adams beat out Thomas Jefferson in America’s first contested presidential election in 1796 by only 3 electoral votes

  • The “XYZ” Affair (1797)

  • Adams was reluctant to get involved in a war, so he sent John Marshall and two other diplomats to attempt to negotiate with the French

  • The U.S. delegation was asked by three French agents (whom Adams would only name as X, Y, and Z to Congress) to pay a $250,000 bribe and to promise $12 million in loans to the French government just to even meet with French officials

  • The American delegation refused and angrily returned home

  • American newspapers quickly picked up the story and attacked France in editorials and cartoons

  • The Quasi-War (1798)

  • France’s actions led to increased calls for war from angry Americans

  • In June 1798, Congress suspended trade with France and ordered the U.S. Navy to begin attacking French ships

  • The U.S. and France were in an undeclared state of war, at least at sea

  • Political Divisions Continue

  • Democratic-Republicans were highly critical in the press of the Adams administration’s handling of foreign affairs

  • Federalists took advantage of public support for Adams’ stand against France to pass laws aimed at weakening the Democratic-Republican Party

  • The Alien Acts (1798)

  • The Federalist-controlled Congress passed three bills aimed at “aliens”:

  • Required immigrants to wait 14 years before they could become citizens

  • Authorized the President to order the deportation, without trial, of any alien considered “dangerous”

  • The Alien Acts were clearly targeting recent French and Irish immigrants, who tended to be anti-British and to vote Democratic-Republican

  • The Sedition Act (1798)

  • The Federalists also passed the Sedition Act, which limited free speech by making it illegal to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its officials

  • Was used to silence Democratic-Republican critics, including newspaper editors and politicians

  • The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

  • In response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, in 1798 the legislatures of Kentucky and Virginia passed resolutions arguing that any state can refuse to enforce federal laws they believe to be unconstitutional – they can, in effect, “nullify” the law (the Doctrine of Nullification)

  • These resolutions were anonymously published by the two most vocal of the Democratic-Republicans, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson

  • The Convention of 1800

  • By the fall of 1798, France asked to reopen negotiations with the U.S.

  • In September 1800, the two nations agreed to the terms of the Convention of 1800

  • The U.S. agreed to give up any claims against France for damages to US shipping

  • France agreed to release the U.S. from the terms of the Treaty of 1778

  • The Role of Women in America

  • Primary roles of American women were to be wives, mothers, and homemakers

  • Some poor, single women worked outside the home as servants

  • Women had few property rights, could not vote

  • Abigail Adams (Wife of President John Adams)

  • Pushed for women’s rights to education, to own property, and to have a voice in politics

  • "...remember the ladies … Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands … all Men would be tyrants if they could … [we] will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

  • Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin (Patented in 1794)

  • A machine that separated cotton fibers from the hard to remove seeds

  • The gin made cotton farming much more profitable by freeing up workers to pick cotton instead of to clean it, and led to the rise of “King Cotton”, the South’s economic dependency on the cotton trade

  • Growth in the cotton trade led to the continuation and growth in slavery

  • Slavery: a “necessary evil”

  • The 3/5ths Compromise in the Constitution only counted slaves as 3/5 of a person for representation and taxation purposes, but did not make them citizens or give them any legal rights (including the right to vote)

  • Some free black men in the North did enjoy citizenship and voting privileges, based on state laws

  • By 1800, there were close to 1 million slaves in US, equaling about 1/6th of the population

  • Many people, however, opposed slavery as a moral wrong; even some slave owners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson worried about the consequences of keeping slaves, and most northern states had passed laws ending slavery there by the early 1800s

  • The Election of 1800

  • The Alien & Sedition Acts, coupled with an increase in taxes, had made Adams unpopular

  • The Democratic-Republicans won the election, but due to a quirk in the Electoral College, it was a tie between their intended president, Thomas Jefferson, and their intended vice-president, Aaron Burr

  • In the event of no candidate holding a majority of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives has to decide which candidate will win

  • Federalists controlled the House of Representatives, and so they would have to choose between Jefferson and Burr

  • Alexander Hamilton preferred Jefferson, but the House ended up with a tied vote due to Jefferson having many enemies amongst the Federalists

  • Finally, Jefferson promised not to fire Federalist employees of the government and not to dismantle Hamilton’s economic system; this got him the one vote he needed to break the tie

  • Amendment XII (1804)

  • The Jefferson-Burr controversy led to a change in the Constitutional rules for electing the president and vice-president

  • Old rules – whoever got the most votes for president won, whoever got the second most votes became vice-president

  • New rules – presidential candidates must choose a vice-presidential running mate and they are elected together as a “ticket”

  • The Peaceful Revolution

  • The Federalists controlled the Presidency, Congress, the Federal Courts, and the military in 1800, and could have refused to recognize the results of the election – instead, they honored the election’s results and upheld the Constitution

  • This first transition of power from one political party (the Federalists) to another (the Democratic-Republicans) is sometimes called “The Peaceful Revolution”

    • Inauguration

    • Jefferson was the first president to be inaugurated in Washington

    • To set the tone for what he wanted his presidency to stand for, Jefferson refused to ride in a carriage to the Capitol, choosing instead to walk

    • A bitter John Adams refused to attend the inauguration

    • Jefferson took a conciliatory tone in his speech, saying “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists”

    • Few Immediate Changes

    • Jefferson felt that diplomats under Washington and Adams had signed good treaties with England, Spain, & France, and had kept the U.S. out of war.

    • He conceded that Hamilton’s Bank of the United States was helping to get the country out of debt and create economic stability

    • Jefferson also kept his promise to not dismiss Federalist bureaucrats within the government

    • The Midnight Judges

    • Just before Jefferson’s inauguration, however, the Federalist Congress had passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, creating 16 new federal judgeships

    • In the days before leaving office, Adams signed letters appointing Federalists to fill these new life-long positions

    • Upon taking office, Jefferson ordered his Secretary of State, James Madison, to “lose” the “Midnight Judges” commissions; without the required paperwork, the judges could not take office

    • Angry that they were being blocked by Madison, the judges sued the executive in federal court

    • Marbury v. Madison

    • William Marbury, who had been appointed Justice of the Peace for the District of Columbia, appealed to the Supreme Court seeking an order to compel Madison to produce his commission

    • The Supreme Court found that, while Madison’s actions were illegal and the judges had a right to be seated, the Supreme Court did not have authority over the case because the Judiciary Act of 1789, which had allowed Marbury to bring the case directly to the Supreme Court, was in conflict with the Constitution and, therefore, void

    • This decision established the precedent of judicial review, or the idea that the Supreme Court can decide whether laws violate the Constitution and should be “struck down”

    • Jeffersonian Democracy

    • Jefferson championed the idea that “common” men should be allowed to vote, as opposed to the Federalist idea that only a privileged elite should vote

    • He believed that better education would prepare people for participation in government and that education was the key to social mobility and building a meritocracy (a system where people advance based on their merits)

    • Jeffersonian Economics

    • Jefferson believed that America’s future was as an agrarian (farming) based economy, rather than as an industrialized state

    • Jefferson also supported the idea, made popular by British economist Adam Smith, of a “laissez-faire” approach to the economy – government should not use tariffs or regulations to interfere in the “natural” operation of the economy

    • Jefferson and the National Debt

    • Under Hamilton, the government had borrowed money to finance national growth; he thought debt was a good thing: If the government borrowed from its rich citizens, those citizens would have an interest in the nation’s growth

    • Jefferson decided to abandon this policy; he reduced the federal budget and cut taxes in an effort to downsize government and reduce the national debt

    • Jefferson and Slavery

    • Jefferson believed that slavery would ultimately fail, even without government regulation

    • Jefferson did, however, pressure Congress to ban the importation of new slaves as soon as possible and to limit its spread into new territories

    • Despite being a slave-owner himself, Jefferson clearly believed that slavery was morally wrong (evidence suggests, however, that he did hold racist beliefs about the inferiority of Africans)

    • In 1802, a scandal erupted after a report was published that Jefferson had fathered 6 children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings (who happened to be his late wife’s half-sister)

    • Jefferson never directly addressed the reports, but modern DNA research indicates that the reports were probably true

    • Burr-Hamilton Duel

    • More scandal rocked the nation in July 1804 when Jefferson’s Vice-President Aaron Burr killed his rival Alexander Hamilton in a duel

    • Burr was charged with murder, but was acquitted and finished his term as VP (he later was arrested and tried for treason for plotting to seize territory in Louisiana to create his own country – he was also acquitted of these charges)

    • Hamilton’s death left the Federalist Party without its most effective leader

    • Louisiana

    • Louisiana had been reacquired by France when Napoleon conquered Spain in 1800

    • Napoleon decided that he could not afford to protect the territory due to the threat of war with England and a slave revolt in Haiti, so he offered to sell Louisiana to the United States; this would free up French troops to be used elsewhere and provide Napoleon with ready cash to cover his military expenses

    • The Louisiana Purchase

    • Jefferson was prepared to offer $10 million to France for just the port of New Orleans, so he was shocked when Napoleon offered the entire Louisiana Territory (all 828,000+ mi² of it) for only $15 million

    • Afraid that Napoleon would withdraw the offer, Jefferson agreed to the purchase, even though he doubted that his Constitutional authority to do so

    • Once completed, the Purchase doubled the size of the U.S. and extended its borders all the way to the Rocky Mountains

    • The Purchase also began to build in Americans the belief that they were “destined” to control North America

    • Jefferson, who believed in a “strict” interpretation of the Constitution, had used a “loose” interpretation to empower himself to make the Purchase – this led to accusations of hypocrisy

    • Federalists opposed the Purchase out of fear that the West would be mostly populated by farmers, which would reduce the political influence of rich Northern merchants

    • The Lewis & Clark Expedition

    • Jefferson had ordered an expedition to explore the West even before the U.S. made the Purchase

    • This “Corps of Discovery” was launched from Pittsburgh in August 1804, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

    • They gathered samples of minerals, plants and animals, mapped the territory and identified what Native American groups occupied the West

    • They finally reached the Pacific Ocean in December 1805, thanks to the guidance of a Native American woman named Sacagawea, and arrived back in St. Louis in September 1806

    • The Pike Expedition

    • Army Captain Zebulon Pike was sent out by Jefferson in 1805 to further explore the Louisiana Territory

    • His 1805 mission located the source of the Mississippi River

    • His 1806-07 expedition was tasked with exploring the southwestern portion of the Purchase, but wandered into Spanish territory and were taken as prisoners but soon released

    • The Barbary Pirates

    • American shipping had been protected from powerful North African pirates by the British (before the Revolution) and the French (from 1778 – 1783), and then by paying $80,000/year in tributes until 1801

    • When the pasha of Tripoli (a sort of “pirate prince”) demanded $225,000 from the U.S. in 1801, Jefferson refused to pay, resulting in the pasha declaring war against the U.S.

    • Jefferson sent the U.S. Navy to the Mediterranean and successfully fought a 4-year long war against the pirates, although the frigate U.S.S. Philadelphia was lost in the fighting

    • Tribute payments to the Barbary states would not be completely eliminated until a second American naval expedition to the region in 1815

    • The Napoleonic Wars

    • In May 1803, Britain and France went to war for the third time since 1778

    • Britain declared that all ships headed for European ports needed special licenses from the British government and would be subject to search by the British Navy

    • France declared that ships obeying British orders would have their goods confiscated by the French government

    • Impressment of Sailors

    • Britain began stopping U.S. ships to search them for British “deserters” and often forced crewmen from U.S. ships to join the crews of British ships instead, a practice called “impressment”

    • This practice infuriated American citizens, leading some to call for war with Britain

    • The USS Chesapeake incident

    • In 1807, the British warship HMS Leopard attempted to stop the American warship USS Chesapeake

    • The Chesapeake refused to stop and be boarded, so it was fired upon by the Leopard

    • The attack killed 3 American sailors; ultimately, the Chesapeake surrendered and the British impressed four of her crewmen

    • This attack led to even more calls for war against Britain

    • Embargo Act of 1807

    • Even though he was pro-France, President Jefferson wanted to avoid a war with Britain

    • To prevent any further incidents which might lead to war, he convinced Congress to pass the Embargo Act, stopping all trade between the U.S. and Europe

    • The embargo ended up hurting the U.S. more than it did Britain or France

    • American shipping companies failed; Southern farmers, who sold most of their cash crops (especially cotton and tobacco) in Europe, were ruined

    • The Act was ultimately repealed in 1809, after Jefferson had left office

    • The Presidency of James Madison (Democratic-Republican, 1809 – 1817)

    • Death of the First National Bank

    • The National Bank had been created as part of Hamilton’s Economic Plan

    • Opposition to the Bank by Democratic-Republicans led Congress to not renew the Bank’s charter when it expired in 1811

    • State and private banks took over, issuing their own currency; the flood of money into the market lead to high inflation

    • The U.S. government would have to borrow money from these state and private banks to pay for the War of 1812, leaving it deeply in debt after the war
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