Unit 1: Pre-Columbus Americas through John Adams’ Administration America and Europe on the Eve of Discovery The Americas on the Eve of Discovery

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Strict Interpretation- “What the Constitution does not specifically allow, it forbids”

ex. No power given to federal gov. to run public education- so that power is reserved for the states

Loose interpretation- “What the Constitution does not specifically forbid, it allows.”- uses the “Elastic Clause” as justification for “implied” powers.

ex. The Constitution does not specifically forbid Congress from creating a bank, so it created the Bank of the United States during the Washington administration

The Bill of Rights- The first ten Amendments to the Constitution.

  • A promise made to get states to ratify the Constitution

  • ***Calmed the fears of people who believed the federal government had been given too much power***

Ratifying the Constitution- Federalists vs. Antifederalists



  • Favored the Constitution

  • Wanted a strong federal government

  • Federalists Papers- series of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that urged citizens to support ratification of the Constitution

  • Against the Constitution

  • Favored strong states and feared the power given to the federal gov. by the Constitution

  • Letters From a Federalists Farmer- essay opposing the ratification of the Constitution

  • *Antifederalists called for the addition of a Bill of Rights

***With the promise of adding a Bill of Rights, the Constitution was ratified by the needed 9/13 states in June of 1788

Ideas and Principles of the Constitution
Separation of Powers into Three Branches

Washington’s Terms as President

Judiciary Act of 1789- provided for a Supreme Court, federal district and circuit courts

  • Allowed for a system of appeals from state and lower courts

  • ***Guaranteed federal law would remain the supreme law of the land

Washington’s Cabinet

Secretary of State: Thomas Jefferson

Secretary of Treasury: Alexander Hamilton

Secretary of War: Henry Knox

Hamilton’s Economic Plan- His plan to get the young nation on sound economic ground. Using our debt as an asset.

  • Funding at Par: Agreeing to pay in full, the nation’s debts with interest- the more creditors we owe, the greater the incentive to see the US succeed

  • Assumption: taking on the debt of the states that they accrued during the war- drawing them closer to the national gov.

  • ***Establishing a national bank to print money, handle nation’s finances- Hamilton believed in the concept of implied powers

  • Tariff: a small tax on imported goods to raise revenue and protect US manufacturers

  • Excise Tax: A small tax on a few domestic items, notably whiskey

The First Political Parties- Developed out of differences in Washington’s cabinet

Federalists (Hamilton)

Democratic-Republicans (Jefferson)

  • Strong central government

  • Republic led by well-educated elite

  • Loose interpretation of the Constitution

  • Economy based on shipping & manufacturing

  • Supporters (mainly in the north): merchants, manufacturers, landowners, investors

  • Strong state governments

  • Democracy of virtuous farmers and tradespeople

  • Strict interpretation of the Constitution

  • Economy based on farming

  • Supporters (mainly in the south): farmers, tradespeople

The Whiskey Rebellion (1794)

  • Whiskey producers in Penn. Refused to pay the excise tax; attacked tax collectors

  • Washington sends 13,000 troops to put down the “rebellion” (4 farmers were found when the troops got there)

  • *** The new government’s ability to suppress the rebellion demonstrated its power and authority

Washington and Foreign Affairs

  • Washington urged neutrality. U.S. should stay away from permanent alliances (like the one it made with France in 1778…), and foreign entanglements

  • Meanwhile, Britain & France were at war, and Britain was seizing American merchant ships, impressing their sailors into service for the Royal Navy

  • To avoid war, Washington sent John Jay to negotiate a settlement

    • Jay’s Treaty (1794)- Britain promised to abandon forts on the frontier and pay damages for the recent seizures of US ships.

  • Pinckney’s Treaty (1795)- Spain, fearing a US-British alliance, gave US trade rights on the Miss. River, port rights at New Orleans, and the disputed territory of Western Florida

Adams’ Administration (1797-1801)

  • France was furious over Jay’s Treaty, and began seizing American ships

  • Adams sent a diplomat to Paris, who was threatened with arrest. Uh-oh. Adams tried one more time for peace…

  • XYZ Affair- Three US diplomats, including John Marshall, sent to Paris in 1797 to meet French foreign minister Talleyrand

    • They were secretly approached by three go-betweens (misters X, Y, & Z), who demanded a loan of 32 million florins, and a bribe of $250,000 to see Talleyrand

    • Negotiations quickly broke down

    • ***provoked a wave of anti-French sentiment

    • ***US prepared for war with France

      • *Created the Navy Department

      • *Re-established the US Marines

      • *Undeclared warfare at sea went on for three years (1798-1800)

Alien & Sedition Acts- A series of laws passed by Federalists designed to muffle or minimize Jeffersonian foes. They heightened tension between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans

  • Many immigrants were active in the Democratic-Republican party

  • Many of Adams’ critics were foreign born

  • ***to counter the “threat” against the government, Federalists passed the Alien & Sedition Acts

    • Alien Acts

      • Raised the residency requirement from 5 to 14 years

      • Allowed the president to deport or jail ANY undesirable alien

    • Sedition Act

      • Set fines & jail terms for anyone trying to hinder the gov. or who spoke out against the gov.

***Democratic-Republicans were outraged! Said laws violated 1st Amendment rights!***
Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions- written by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, warned of the dangers of the Alien & Sedition Acts

  • Relied on the compact theory

    • The thirteen colonies had entered into a compact, or contract when creating the federal government.

    • Because the national government was a creation of the states, then the states were the final judges of whether the federal government violates the Constitution.

  • Kentucky Resolution- asserted the principle of nullification

The Jeffersonian Era

The Jeffersonian Revolution- Thomas Jefferson won the bitter presidential election of 1800, resulting in the peaceful transition of power from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republicans.

  • Jeffersonian Republicanism is the theory of government was that the people should control the government and that a simple government best suited the needs of the people

  • He reduced the size of the army, halted expansion of the navy

  • He lowered government’s expenses and eliminated internal taxes

  • Although we call it a “Revolution,” Jefferson showed the nation, and the opposition party of the Federalists, that a transfer of power from one party to the other wouldn’t result in an upheaval of the government.

John Marshall Strengthens the Court- Chief Justice John Marshall helped solidify the power of the Federal government like no other justice in U.S. history.

  • His decision in Marbury v. Madison (1803) strengthened the Supreme Court by establishing the principle of judicial review

    • The ability of the Supreme Court to declare a law, in this case an act of Congress, unconstitutional

Jefferson and Expansion- ***two ordinances passed in 1785 and 1787 (during the Articles of Confederation) provided for the settlement of land west of the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River

  • Settlers pushed into the Old Northwest, where Native Americans still lived.

Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase- The end of our alliance with France, in 1800, resulted in the opportunity for Jefferson to purchase Louisiana from France in 1803.

  • Was president authorized by Constitution to negotiate a purchase of land?- NO!

  • Jefferson envisioned the US as a nation of farmers, and saw this opportunity to help that vision come true

  • ***He believed the U.S. had a destiny to expand West***

  • He purchased over 828,000 square miles for $15million (3 cents/acre)

  • This doubled the size of the US all the way to the Rocky Mountains

Jefferson and Native Americans: Jefferson was actually the first president to propose moving Native Americans off of their land

  • Indians and whites could not co-exist until Indians assimilated

  • Jefferson worked towards voluntary removal of tribes to western lands

  • Appointed Gen. William Henry Harrison governor of Indiana Territory.

  • Harrison was to stop Indian attacks on white settlers

Jefferson and Foreign Policy- France renewed its war against Britain in 1803, which raged for 11 years. The neutral US would inevitably get caught in the crossfire.

  • Britain forced all merchant ships heading to France to first stop at British ports

  • Britain continued impressment (kidnapping sailors & forcing them into service on British ships) of US sailors

  • France began seizing all ships entering British ports

  • *There was no way to trade with either nation without a fight!

Following renewed British impressment of American sailors, the US struck back…diplomatically

  • The Embargo Act (1807)- forbade the export of ALL GOODS from the US!

    • ***This resulted in a sharp decline of US international trade, hurting North and South**

    • After threats of secession from New England states, Congress repealed the Embargo Act, but…

James Madison elected president (1808)

  • Non-Intercourse Act (1809)- reopened trade with all nations...except Britain and France, our two biggest partners.

  • Macon’s Bill #2- If either Britain or France would repeal its trade restrictions against America, then we would renew our embargo against the non-repealing nation. France half-promised to repeal…we took the bait

  • ***Britain refused to repeal, leaving us no choice but to trade with France alone…ending our neutrality and bringing us one step closer to war with Britain

War of 1812 (the Second War for Independence)


  • Continued British impressment of US sailors

  • British arming of hostile Native Americans

Madison and the War of 1812

  • US military leaders considered Canada an important front in the War of 1812

  • ***Canada was a base of British power and a refuge for American Indian tribes that had resisted westward expansion

Tecumseh & the Prophet- Two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh & Tenskwatawa (“the Prophet”), began to weld together a confederacy of all the tribes east of the Mississippi. They were known as the Ohio Confederacy.

  • They hoped to stem the tide of American settlers to the Old Northwest

  • Tecumseh urged supporters NEVER to cede or sell land to whites unless ALL Indians agreed

  • ***Congress became convinced that British in Canada were helping these tribes resisting westward expansion

  • The US, led by William Henry Harrison, defeated the Prophet at the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, driving the Prophet into an alliance with the British

  • Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames during the War of 1812.

Major Battles of the War of 1812:

  • Invasion of Canada (1812)

  • Battle of Lake Erie (1813)

  • Burning of Washington D.C. by the British (1814)

  • American Victory at the Battle of New Orleans (Jan. 1815)

    • ***Ended British interference with American commerce in the lower Mississippi River Valley

    • ***Boosted American morale

Treaty of Ghent- Dec. 24, 1814

  • The treaty ending the War of 1812 was basically an armistice (cease fire)

    • Both sides agreed to stop fighting

    • Both sides agreed to restore conquered territory

  • There was no resolution in the treaty to the actual causes of the war!

    • British suppling Indians with weapons and the attacks that ensued

    • British impressment

Following victory in the War of 1812, America entered a time of nationalism, a spirit of oneness known as “The Era of Good Feelings”

  • Henry Clay (KY) promoted an elaborate plan to develop an interconnected market within America for American goods.

  • This plan became known as the American System. It had three parts:

  • A strong banking system to provide credit

  • A protective tariff to help eastern manufacturing flourish

  • A network of roads and canals, especially through the Ohio Valley, to help raw materials flow up from the South and West, while finished products would flow in the return direction from the North and East

An Era of Feelings, Not As Good As They Were Called

Although the years after the War of 1812 were called an “Era of Good Feelings,” many issues caused contention amongst regions and political factions in the United States.

Monroe’s Administration Deals with Expansion and Foreign Threats

The Missouri Compromise (1820)- As settlers moved into the Louisiana territory, Missouri soon had reached the point to apply for statehood---Would it be a free or a slave state?

  • North wanted Missouri free, the South wanted it slave

  • ***To keep the balance of power in Congress, Henry Clay brokered a Compromise

    • Maine would be admitted as a free state

    • Missouri would be allowed slavery, BUT…

    • Slavery was prohibited in all territory north of Missouri’s southern border (36’30)

The Monroe Doctrine- Fearing that European monarchs would try to recapture colonies in Central and South America that had gained independence, President Monroe stated his foreign policy doctrine in Dec. 1823

  • It was a warning to European powers

  • 1.) ***the era of colonization is OVER. What European powers had in the New World, they could keep, but there were no to try and take more land

  • 2.) ***European monarchs were NOT to intervene in the New World, and the US would not intervene in European affairs

Tariffs Cause Tension- An unforeseen consequence of the War of 1812 was growth of American manufacturing and factories, which grew as a result of our self-imposed embargoes and the war.

  • Following the war, British competitors tried to undercut our manufacturers with cheap goods

  • American factories cried to Congress for help!

Tariff of 1816- the first protective tariff in US history

  • 20-25% on imported goods, but…

  • drove up prices for ALL Americans

Tariff of 1824- Raised tariffs even higher
Tariff of 1828 (The Tariff of Abominations) and the nullification crisis

  • Raised tariffs over 50%

  • The South cried FOUL!!

  • They were forced to pay for the tariff that helped the North, in the prices of manufactured goods they relied upon.

***John C. Calhoun and the Nullification Crisis- John C. Calhoun wrote The South Carolina Exposition in protest of the Tariff of 1828

  • It denounced the tariff as unjust and unconstitutional

  • ***It explicitly proposed that the states should nullify the tariff…declaring it null and void within their boarders

  • The stage was set for a showdown!!!

Andrew Jackson and the Nullification Crisis

  • Jackson inherited the tariff problem from president John Quincy Adams, as the Tariff of 1828 was passed during the Quincy Adams administration

  • Congress passed the Tariff of 1832, which lowered tariffs, but not enough to appease the South

  • ***South Carolina’s legislature ruled the Tariff of 1832 null and void, and threatened to secede from the Union if president Jackson tried to collect tariff duties!!!

  • Jackson sent the navy & military to South Carolina, prepared a sizable army

  • Henry Clay negotiated the Compromise Tariff of 1833, reducing tariffs to their rates in 1816. The South was pleased, BUT…

  • Congressed passed the Force Bill, authorizing the president to use the army and navy to collect federal tariff duties

    • South Carolina’s legislature dropped its threat of secession, accepting the Compromise Tariff of 1833…but swiftly nullified the Force Bill

Jackson’s Bank War- Believing that the Bank of the United States was an agent of the wealthy, that its members did not care about the common people, and that it was ultimately corrupt, President Jackson set out to kill it.

  • When Henry Clay rammed an early recharter bill for the Bank of the U.S. through Congress, in 1832, Jackson fiercely vetoed it.

    • Jackson’s veto vastly amplified the power of the presidency, largely because it was based on his personal dislike of the bank, rather than the constitutionality of the bill.

  • He then set out to kill the bank by withdrawing all government deposits from it

    • The deposits were placed in certain western state banks called “pet banks” and smaller “wildcat banks,” because they were loyal to Jackson’s Democratic party

    • These pet banks flooded the country with paper money, leading to rampant speculation in western lands

  • When Jackson tried to rein in the wildcat currency by decreeing all public lands to be purchased with “hard” or metallic money, the economy screeched to a sudden halt.

    • Soon, the Panic of 1837 would lead to banks collapsing, hundreds of businesses going bankrupt, and more than a third of the population unemployed.

Jacksonian Democracy- President Jackson sought to give common people a chance to participate in government

  • Property requirements had eased during the presidency of John Quincy Adams, enlarging the voting population

  • Andrew Jackson won the support of many of these new voters, earning the reputation as the “champion of the common man” (even though he NOT part of the common people when he was elected)

  • Jackson used the Spoils System to give jobs to political supporters, replacing workers of the previous administration with friends and political allies

Indian policy reverses under President Jackson

  • Georgia, 1828: the Georgia legislature declared the Cherokee tribal council illegal, asserted state jurisdiction (authority) over Indian land

  • ***Indian Removal Act (1830)- Congress authorized the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole) west of the Mississippi in present-day Oklahoma

  • Worcester v. Georgia (1832)- Native Americans win their case against Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled Indians were sovereign over their lands. President Jackson ignored the court’s ruling

The Trial of Tears (1836-1839)- The systematic removal of the Cherokee to “Indian Territory” in present-day Oklahoma

  • ***More than four thousand Cherokee died on the Trail of Tears

  • ***President Jackson asserted that States had the authority to extend their laws over American Indian land.

Texas and Manifest Destiny

Texas Revolution: The Republic of Texas Enters the Union – Americans, encouraged by the Mexican government to migrate to Texas in the 1820s, declared Texas Independence in 1836, after they refused to obey Mexican law

  • Hundreds of Americans, including Davey Crocket, rushed to Texas to help Texans fight for independence

  • The Alamo, 1836- Gen. Santa Ana (Mexico) trapped and killed nearly 200 Texans at the Alamo.

  • ***Americans, cried “Remember the Alamo!” as they joined to help Texas win independence on April 21, 1836

President John Tyler and Texas Annexation

  • Tyler became president when Harrison died in 1841.

  • ***Tyler achieved annexation of Texas in early 1845.

Manifest Destiny- the idea that Americans were ordained by God to settle all of North America west to the Pacific Ocean

  • This mission manifested itself in the 1840s and 1850s

  • ***This idea was behind political decisions to annex Texas in 1845, declare war against Mexico in 1846 (and eventually win New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, AND California), and to gain control of Oregon Country from Britain in 1846

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