Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration heralded a change from the previously Federalist-controlled government. The nation’s political system became better defined and its nationalistic and international positions grew clearer in the period from 1801 to 1823. Further westward expansion of the nation continued in the aftermath of the War of 1812. However, this expansion ultimately led to North–South divisions over the question of statehood for Missouri and over the expansion of slavery into the territories.
II. Political Visions
A. Separation of Church and State
In Jefferson’s 1801 letter to the Baptist association in Danbury, Connecticut, Jefferson declared that the First Amendment to the Constitution supported a “wall of separation between church and state.” This idea caused New England Federalists to believe their worst fears had been realized.
B. Religious Revivals
Religious revivalism characterized this period, especially among Methodists and Baptists, who preached all humans were equal in God’s eyes. This encouraged a growing democratic political culture.
C. Political Mobilization
Despite the fact that the electorate was by and large confined to property-holding men, partisan politics captured the imagination of most Americans.
D. The Partisan Press
The National Intelligencer, which served as the official voice of the Democratic-Republicans, and the New-York Evening Post, which served as the voice of the Federalists, helped to build the party system and a national political culture.
E. Limited Government
Jefferson refused to recognize any of Adams’s late-term Federalist appointments and, where possible, filled government positions with loyal Democratic-Republicans. Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin cut the budgets of both the army and the navy and moved to reduce the national debt. Congress, controlled by Democratic-Republicans, repealed all internal taxes.
Jefferson chose not to use the Alien and Sedition Acts against his opponents and pardoned those convicted under the provisions of those acts. Both acts were allowed to expire.
Congress replaced the Naturalization Act of 1798 with the Naturalization Act of 1802, which made it easier for aliens to become naturalized citizens.
F. Judicial Politics
The Democratic-Republican Congress impeached and removed Federal District Judge John Pickering. However, the failure of Congress to remove Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase preserved the independence of the Supreme Court and established the precedent that only criminal actions justified impeachment.
G. The Marshall Court
As Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall upheld federal supremacy over the states and protected the interests of commerce and capital. Under Marshall, the Court became an equal branch of the government.
H Judicial Review
In Marbury v. Madison, John Marshall ended criticism that the Supreme Court functioned as a partisan instrument. By ruling that a section of the Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional, he also advanced the concept of judicial review and enhanced the independence of the judiciary.
I. Election of 1804
Jefferson carried fifteen of seventeen states in the 1804 election.
Personal animosity between Hamilton and Burr led to the Hamilton-Burr duel. In the famous duel, Burr killed Hamilton. Burr then conspired to create a political empire in the Southwest. Tried for treason, he was acquitted and fled to Europe.
J. Nationalism and Culture
A wave of nationalism characterized American culture in the early nineteenth century. Paintings depicted great events in U.S. history, construction projects used domestic building materials, and spelling was “Americanized” by Noah Webster.
III. Continental Expansion and Indian Resistance
A. New Orleans
Spain’s decision to deny Americans the right to store their products at New Orleans prior to transshipment to foreign markets, and the subsequent transfer of the Louisiana Territory to the French, threatened the American economy.
B. Louisiana Purchase
James Monroe joined Robert Livingston in France with orders from Jefferson to buy the port of New Orleans and as much land as possible in the Mississippi Valley. Napoleon offered all 827,000 square miles of the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million.
C. Lewis and Clark Expedition
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were commissioned by President Jefferson to head an exploratory expedition to the Pacific coast.
The Corps of Discovery was a diverse group consisting of immigrants, Clark’s slave York, and a female guide and translator, Sacagawea. The expedition brought valuable information on the West to an expansion-minded United States.
Land-hungry white Americans generally ignored the presence of Native Americans.
D. Divisions Among Indian Peoples
Some Indian nations were “accommodationists” who adopted white customs, while others were “traditionalists” who preferred to adhere to traditional ways.
Shawnee brothers Tenskwatawa (called Lalawethika as a youth) and Tecumseh led a traditionalist revolt against American encroachment on their Ohio land and attempted to create an Indian federation.
E. Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh
Tenskwatawa (called The Prophet by whites) claimed to have returned from the dead, and he encouraged Indians to abandon white culture and return to their traditional ways.
The Prophet and Tecumseh encouraged resistance against American aggression. Tecumseh turned Prophet’s religious message into a political one and traveled widely in an attempt to unify northern and southern Indians to resist white occupation.
In the Battle of Tippecanoe, the supporters of Prophet and Tecumseh were dispersed.
IV. The Nation in the Orbit of Europe
A. First Barbary War
The United States refusal to pay tribute to Tripoli for safe passage of its ships, sailors, and passengers through the Mediterranean led the Bashaw of Tripoli to declare war on the United States in 1801.
A treaty ended the war in 1805, but the U.S. continued to pay tribute to Algiers, Morocco, and Tunis until 1815.
The U.S. economy relied heavily on shipping in the early years of the republic. The United States paid a heavy price when, as a result of the Napoleonic wars, France and Britain launched a commercial war and blockaded each other’s trade.
B. Threats to American Sovereignty
Britain resorted to stopping American ships to remove “deserters,” many of whom had actually become American citizens, and impress them into the British navy.
Britain blocked goods the U.S. believed were part of neutral trade. Congress passed the Non-Importation Act in 1806, which barred British manufactured goods from entering American ports.
In 1807, the crew of the H.M.S. Leopard attacked and boarded the U.S.S. Chesapeake in American waters. The incident led many Americans to demand war, but Jefferson responded instead with “peaceable coercion.”
C. The Embargo of 1807
The Embargo of 1807 forbade virtually all exports from the United States and became extremely unpopular as the American economy collapsed.
Domestic manufacturing was made profitable by the embargo, and merchants began to shift capital from shipping to manufacturing.
In 1807 Congress passed an act that ended the international slave trade as of January 1, 1808.
Believing that slaves would bring higher prices once the law went into effect, slave traders withheld slaves from the market in the months after the law was passed.
D. Early Abolitionism and Colonization
Free African Americans organized at least fifty abolitionist societies in the United States by 1830.
Early white antislavery advocates fought for the gradual abolition of slavery and helped African Americans who attempted to end slavery through judicial decisions.
The American Colonization Society advocated gradual emancipation and the removal of former slaves to Africa.
E. Election of 1808
Jefferson, emulating Washington, declined a third term. This led to the contested nomination of Democratic-Republican James Madison, who later won the election. However, Federalists gained seats in Congress.
F. Women and Politics
The wives of politicians hosted social events at which political and diplomatic negotiations were encouraged among people of divergent interests. Dolley Madison cultivated good will for President Madison by visiting Congressmen’s wives.
In the era of the embargo, the buying power of women proved very important.
G. Failed Policies
The Non-Intercourse Act of 1809 resumed trade with all countries except Britain and France. In 1810, Congress substituted Macon’s Bill Number 2, which Napoleon used to trick the United States into declaring non-intercourse with Great Britain.
H. Mr. Madison’s War
The debate over a declaration of war against Great Britain in 1812 revealed a deeply partisan Congress.
V. The War of 1812
A. Invasion of Canada
The British captured Fort Dearborn and turned back American troops north of Niagara and near Lake Champlain, thwarting American efforts to invade Canada.
B. Naval Battles
Although the American navy experienced some victories on the Atlantic in the first year of the war, the British continued to rule the waves. By 1814, the Royal Navy had put into effect a blockade that covered almost all American ports along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory gave the Americans control of Lake Erie.
C. Burning Capitals
William Henry Harrison’s forces won the Battle of the Thames, killing Tecumseh. The Americans proceeded to raze the Canadian capital of York and to burn the Parliament building.
In August 1814, the British occupied and burned Washington, D.C. In September 1814, the Americans held firm at Baltimore and Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner.”
D. War in the South
Andrew Jackson’s forces defeated the Creek nation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. By the Treaty of Fort Jackson, the Creeks ceded 23 million acres of their land.
Andrew Jackson became a national hero when his troops defeated six thousand British soldiers near New Orleans. Ironically, the battle occurred two weeks after diplomats had signed the Treaty of Ghent.
E. Treaty of Ghent
The treaty, signed on December 24, 1814, restored the status quo antebellum. European conflicts had ended, so both sides could afford to accept the accord.
F. American Sovereignty Re-Asserted
The War of 1812 affirmed the independence of the United States and ensured Canada’s independence from the United States.
With the end of the war, America again turned its attention to the Barbary Coast where the Dey of Algiers had declared war on the United States.
As a result of the treaty ending the Second Barbary War, the U. S. would never again have to pay tribute for passage in the Mediterranean. The war also helped reaffirm American sovereignty as well as its commitment to the principle of freedom of the seas.
G. Domestic Consequences
Made up of Federalist delegates from New England, the convention that met in Hartford, Connecticut, in the winter of 1814–1815 endorsed radical changes to the constitution. The timing of the convention led to the demise of the Federalist faction.
The war destroyed Indian resistance, opened vast new tracts of farmland in the old Southwest and in the old Northwest, and stimulated economic growth. The conclusion of the war also accelerated westward expansion, industrial takeoff, and the entrenchment of slavery.
VI. Early Industrialization
A. Preindustrial Farms
At the beginning of the nineteenth century most farmers practiced mixed agriculture. Their main source of labor was family members, with work divided along gender lines. Farmers often cooperated with one another and often repaid debts in kind rather than in money.
Many farmers engaged in both a local economy and, when they had a surplus of farm products, in long-distance trade. Only in the long-distance trade were credit and debt calculated in monetary value.
B. Preindustrial Artisans
Most artisans lived in seaport towns. Master craftsmen supervised apprentices and journeymen. There was little specialization of labor in the workshop, and the pace of work was uneven and unregimented.
C. Early Industrialization
The “putting-out” system in which women worked their looms for wages rather than primarily for their families, developed in the Northeast in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Early factories emerged in tandem with the putting-out system.
VII. Sectionalism and Nationalism
A. American System
President Madison’s nationalist program included the recommendation for a national bank, improved transportation, and a protective tariff.
Congress chartered the Second Bank of the United States in 1816 and enacted the Tariff of 1816. However, Madison vetoed an internal improvements bill out of the belief that the federal government did not have the constitutional authority to build local roads and canals.
B. Early Internal Improvements
Despite Madison’s veto of Calhoun’s “Bonus Bill,” both Republicans and Federalists agreed on the need for internal improvements.
In 1806 Congress approved funding for the National Road from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, Virginia. The road was ultimately extended into Indiana.
Investments in roads, canals, and railroads caused northeastern seaboard cities to become the center of American commerce. New arteries opened east-west travel in the 1820s.
The state of New York began construction on the Erie Canal in 1817. Upon its completion in 1825, it linked the Great Lakes to the Atlantic seaboard. The building of canals began to re-orient Midwestern commerce through the North.
The South relied mostly on steamboats, which dominated river trade after Fulton’s successful trial of a steamboat in 1807.
C. Panic of 1819
The American economic expansion immediately after the War of 1812 was built on easy credit.
Europeans began to experience economic recovery, and Great Britain passed the Corn Laws. Prices of agricultural exports from the United States fell as did the price of cotton.
The Second Bank of the United States demanded that state banks repay loan in specie. State banks began to call in their loans and mortgages. Farmers could not pay their mortgages. Ultimately, the nation’s banking system collapsed.
D. Missouri Compromise
The slavery question resurfaced in 1819 when Missouri petitioned to enter the Union as a slave state, a move that would have pushed slavery farther northward and tilted the political balance in the Senate toward the slave states.
Henry Clay proposed the compromise that let Maine enter the Union as a free state and Missouri enter as a slave state. The agreement prohibited slavery in the rest of the Louisiana Territory north of 36º 30’.
E. The Era of Good Feelings
Monroe was elected president in 1816 and continued Madison’s domestic program.
In McCulloch v. Maryland, a case regarding the Second Bank of the United States, the Supreme Court, under the leadership of chief justice John Marshall, reaffirmed the power of the national government over the states. In ruling that it was within Congress’s power to charter the Second Bank, Marshall ruled that a law was constitutional if the ends were legitimate and the means not prohibited.
F. Government Promotion of Market Expansion
Several additional Supreme Court rulings provided a legal foundation for government promotion of economic development and encouraged business enterprise and risk taking.
Federal and state courts encouraged the proliferation of corporations by granting limited liability to corporation owners.
The federal government assisted the development of a commercial economy through the expansion of the United States Post Office and by the passage of patent laws.
G. Boundary Settlements
John Quincy Adams served brilliantly as Secretary of State.
Adams successfully negotiated the Rush-Bagot Treaty with Great Britain, which limited the naval forces of the two nations on the Great Lakes.
Adams was in large measure responsible for the Convention of 1818, which fixed the United States–Canadian border from Lake of the Woods to the Rockies along the 49th parallel. The U.S. and Great Britain also agreed to jointly occupy the Oregon Country for 10 years.
The Adams-Onís Treaty called for Spain to cede Florida to the United States and defined the southwestern border of the Louisiana Territory. America assumed $5 million worth of claims against Spain and gave up claim to Texas.
Between 1808 and 1822, a number of states in Latin America declared their independence from Spain. The U.S. feared that France would aid Spain by attempting to return these states to Spanish rule.
H. The Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine demanded non-colonization in the hemisphere by European nations, nonintervention in the affairs of New World nations, and pledged noninterference by the United States in European affairs.