In the nation's new constitutional government important new institutions included the cabinet a system of federal courts, and a national bank. Political parties gradually developed from the different views of citizens in the Northeast, South, and West. The new government faced special challenges in foreign affairs, including the War of 1812 with Great Britain. After the war, a spirit of nationalism took hold in American society. A new national bank was chartered, and Supreme Court decisions strengthened the power of the federal government.
The Impact Today
Policies and attitudes that developed at this time have helped shape the nation.
• Important precedents were set for the relations between the federal and state governments.
• Washington's caution against foreign involvement has powerfully influenced American foreign policy
• Many Americans have a strong sense of national loyalty
The American Republic Since 1877 Video The Chapter 4 video, "The Battle of New Orleans," chronicles the events of this pivotal battle of the War of 1812. 1798
1789 • Washington elected president
1793 • Louis XVI guillotined during French Revolution
1794 • Jay's Treaty signed
1794 • Polish rebellion suppressed by Russians
1798 • Alien and Sedition Acts introduced
1799 • Beethoven writes Symphony no. 1
1804 • Lewis and Clark explore and map Louisiana Territory
1805 • British navy wins Battle of Trafalgar
1808 • Congress bans international slave trade
1811 • Battle of Tippecanoe fought against Tecumseh's Shawnee confederacy
1812 • United States declares war on Great Britain
1812 • Napoleon's invasion and retreat from Russia
1815 • Napoleon defeated at the Battle of Waterloo
1819 • Spain cedes Florida to the United States; Supreme Court decides McCulloch v. Maryland case
1823 • Monroe Doctrine declared
1821 • Mexico achieves independence from Spain
• Greek independence declared
---Painter and President by J.L.C. Ferris
Visit the American Republic Since 1877 Web site at tarvol2.glencoe.com and click on Chapter Overviews-Chapter 4 to preview chapter information.
The Federalist Era
Guide to Reading
President Washington had to tackle economic and foreign policy challenges. President Adams continued to guide the country through troubled times.
• Describe the growing divisions between the nation's political parties.
• Discuss the major foreign policy developments during the Washington and Adams administrations.
Global Connections The United States settled its differences with Britain and Spain but then faced the threat of war with France.
Preview of Events
1789 Washington elected president
1794 Whiskey Rebellion quelled
1798 XYZ Affair; Alien and Sedition Acts passed
1800 Convention of 1800 ends Quasi-War
An American Story
On April 6, 1789, the ballots of the presidential electors were officially counted in the new United States Senate. As expected, George Washington became the first president of the United States under the new Constitution. Americans everywhere greeted the news with great joy, but Washington remained unexcited. Calling his election "the event which I have long dreaded," Washington described his feelings as "not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution."
Although Washington had high hopes for the new Constitution, he did not know if it would work as intended. "I am ... [bringing] the voice of the people and a good name of my own on this voyage; but what returns will be made of them, Heaven alone can foretell." Despite his doubts and frustrations with the "ten thousand embarrassments, perplexities and troubles of the presidency," the new president retained his faith in the American people. He explained that "nothing but harmony, honesty, industry and frugality are necessary to make us a great and happy people.... We are surrounded by the blessings of nature."
—adapted from Washington: The Indispensable Man
Creating a New Government
When Washington and the newly elected Congress took office, one of the first tasks they faced was organizing the government itself. In the summer of 1789, Congress created three executive departments: the Department of State, which focused on foreign affairs, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of War. Congress also created the Office of the Attorney General to advise the government on legal matters.
To head these departments, Washington wanted men who were "disposed to measure matters on a Continental Scale" instead of thinking about their own states. He chose Thomas Jefferson to serve as secretary of state, Alexander Hamilton to lead the Treasury Department, General Henry Knox as secretary of war, and Edmund Randolph as attorney general. During his presidency, Washington regularly met with these officials. Over time, the department heads came to be known as the cabinet, a group of advisers to the president.
In addition to creating the executive departments, Congress also organized the judicial branch. The Judiciary Act of 1789 established 13 federal district courts and three circuit courts of appeal. Washington, with the consent of the Senate, then selected the first federal judges. The Judiciary Act also stated that the Supreme Court would have six justices, and Washington chose John Jay as the first chief justice of the United States.
One of the most important acts of Congress during its first session in 1789 was passing the Bill of Rights. During the campaign to ratify the Constitution, the Federalists had promised on several occasions to add a bill detailing the rights of American citizens. James Madison, who emerged as one of the key leaders in Congress, made the passage of such a bill top priority. He hoped it would demonstrate the good faith of federal leaders and build support for the new government.
In late September 1789, after many debates, Congress sent 12 constitutional amendments to the states for ratification. Ten were approved and went into effect in 1791. They are generally referred to as the Bill of Rights, although only the first eight offer safeguards to protect the rights of individuals against the government. The Ninth Amendment states that the people have other rights that are not listed in the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment states that any powers not specifically given to the federal government are reserved for the states. At the time, Madison tried to word the Bill of Rights to apply to the state governments as well, but Congress rejected that idea. Not until after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War would the Supreme Court begin to apply the Bill of Rights to the states.
Reading Check Identifying What executive departments did Congress establish?
Hamilton's Financial Program
By the end of 1789, the new federal government was up and running. Now its most pressing concerns were economic.
Repaying the National Debt The federal government had inherited a huge debt from the Continental Congress. To fund the Revolutionary War, the Congress had issued bonds —paper notes promising to repay money after a certain length of time. By 1789 the new United States owed roughly $40 million to American citizens and another $11.7 million to France, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Alexander Hamilton believed the only way for the new federal government to establish its credit was to make good on these debts. If it called in the old bonds and exchanged them at full value for new, interest-bearing ones, then the wealthy creditors, bankers,
New Government The cabinet and the Congress, which met in New York's Federal Hall (left), included some of the new elements of Washington's first administration. What departments did the four cabinet members head?
and merchants who held the bonds would have a stake in the federal government's success. In his First Report on Public Credit, issued in January 1790, Hamilton proposed funding the Confederation's debts in this way. He also proposed that the federal government take over the states' debts from the war.
Led by Madison, critics attacked Hamilton's proposals. During the 1780s, many original bond purchasers such as farmers and Revolutionary War veterans had been forced to sell their bonds at a discount to speculators, people willing to take a business risk in hopes of financial gain in the future. Madison was outraged that Northern speculators who had paid as little as $10 for a $100 bond would now receive full value, while the original buyers received nothing. Furthermore, Northerners now owned roughly 80 percent of the bonds, but much of the tax money that would be used to pay off the bonds would come from the South.
Madison objected to taking over state debts for similar reasons. Most Southern states had already paid their debts. They did not want their taxes used to pay the debts of the Northern states.
The congressional debate over Hamilton's proposals raged for months. Finally, in July 1790, Hamilton struck a deal with Madison and Jefferson. The latter two would use their influence to convince Southerners in Congress to vote for Hamilton's plan. In return, the capital of the United States would eventually be moved from New York to a location along the Potomac River. Southerners believed that having the capital in the South would help to offset the strength of the Northern states in Congress. To get the last few votes he needed, Hamilton also agreed that the federal government would compensate the states that had already paid off their debts.
The Bank of the United States With his system of public credit finally in place, Hamilton asked Congress to create a national bank to manage the country's debts and interest payments. Under Hamilton's plan, the Bank of the United States would also have the power to make loans to the government and to private individuals. Most importantly, the bank would be allowed to issue paper money, providing a national currency that would stimulate trade, investment, and economic growth.
Hamilton's proposal for a national bank immediately encountered opposition. Southerners pointed out that Northern merchants would own most of the bank's stock because only they could afford it. At the same time, Madison argued that Congress had no power to establish a bank because that was not among its enumerated powers, or powers specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
Despite Madison's objections, Congress passed the bank bill and sent it to the president. Unsure whether to sign or veto the bill, Washington consulted Attorney General Randolph and Secretary of State Jefferson. Both opposed the bill, arguing that the Constitution did not authorize the government to create a bank. Washington then asked Hamilton for his opinion.
Hamilton pointed out that Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution gave the federal government the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper" to execute its responsibilities. The "necessary and proper" clause created implied powers—powers not explicitly listed in the Constitution but necessary for the government to do its job. A national bank, Hamilton argued, was necessary to collect taxes, regulate trade, and provide for the common defense. Jefferson agreed the implied powers existed, but he believed "necessary and proper" meant absolutely necessary and not simply convenient. Hamilton's logic persuaded Washington to sign the bill. In 1791 the Bank of the United States was established for a 20-year period.
History Through Art
Commander in Chief This illustration shows the president reviewing troops at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion. What triggered the rebellion?
The Whiskey Rebellion Hamilton believed the federal government also had to establish its right to impose direct taxes on the people. In his Second Report on Public Credit, issued in December 1790, Hamilton proposed an excise tax on American whiskey. An excise tax is a tax paid by the manufacturer of a product and passed on to those who buy the product. The sales tax many Americans pay today is an example of an excise tax.
In 1791 Congress approved Hamilton's proposal and enacted a high excise tax (about 25 percent) on whiskey. The tax hit Western farmers hard. Whiskey was used as a medium of exchange in the West, where bank notes and coins were not available in large quantities.
Complaints against the whiskey tax began in 1791, but it was not until the summer of 1794 that rebellion erupted. Farmers in western Pennsylvania began terrorizing tax collectors, robbing the mail, and destroying the whiskey-making stills of those who paid the tax. Determined to uphold federal authority to impose taxes, President Washington sent nearly 13,000 troops to crush the Whiskey Rebellion. The huge army caused the rebels to disperse without a fight.
Reading Check Explaining Why did Alexander Hamilton propose an excise tax on American whiskey?
The Rise of Political Parties
During Washington's first term in office, disagreement over Hamilton's financial program had split Congress into factions. These factions became the nation's first political parties. Hamilton's supporters called themselves Federalists. Their opponents, led by Madison and Jefferson, took the name Democratic-Republicans. They were commonly referred to as Republicans. (The party became known as the Democratic Party later in the 1800s.)
Hamilton favored a strong national government led by the "rich, well born, and able." He believed that democracy was dangerous to liberty. Hamilton also believed that manufacturing and trade were the basis of national wealth and power. He favored policies that supported these areas of the economy. The Federalist Party included many artisans, merchants, manufacturers, and bankers. The party also attracted urban workers and Eastern farmers who benefited from trade.
Thomas Jefferson emerged as the leader of the Democratic-Republicans. Jefferson believed that the strength of the United States was its independent farmers. As long as most people owned their own land, they would tight to preserve the Republic.
In general, Democratic-Republicans supported agriculture over commerce and trade. They feared that too much emphasis on commerce would lead to a society divided between the rich who owned everything and the poor who worked for wages. Over time, the Democratic-Republicans came to stand for the rights of states against the federal government. The party had a strong base in the rural South and West.
Reading Check Identifying What were the nation’s first two political parties, and what issues did each favor?
Washington's Foreign Policy
Shortly after Washington was inaugurated in 1789, the French Revolution began in Europe. At first, most Americans sympathized with the revolutionaries, who seemed to be fighting for the same rights Americans had won a few years earlier.
By spring 1793, however, a group of French radicals had seized power. They stripped aristocrats of their property and executed thousands of people, including the French king, Louis XVI, and the queen, Marie Antoinette. The violence and chaos turned many Federalists against the French. Many Republicans, however, continued to support the Revolution, viewing it as a fight for liberty.
Student Web Activity Visit the tarvol2.glencoe.com American Republic Since 1877 Web site at and click on Student Web Activities—Chapter 4 for an activity on early political parties.
Competing National Visions
Hamilton and the Federalists
Strong national government
Ruling power given to wealthy, educated
Government should promote manufacturing
Loose interpretation of the Constitution
Protective tariffs protect domestic industries
Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans
Strong state government
Ruling power given to all landowners
Government should promote agriculture
Strict interpretation of the Constitution
Protective tariffs burden farmers
1. Interpreting Charts Which party did not support tariffs, and why?
2. Making Generalizations Which party usually attracted bankers and manufacturers?
Analyzing Political Cartoons
A Fiery Protest Antifederalists burned at the stake a figure representing John Jay after Jay's Treaty with England was signed in 1794. Why were people angry about the treaty?
The turmoil within France soon led to conflict with other European kingdoms. When France declared war against Great Britain in 1793, the United States found itself in a difficult position. The Treaty of 1778 with France required the United States to help defend France's colonies in the Caribbean. Fulfilling this agreement might mean war with Great Britain. In an effort to avoid the conflict, President Washington issued a proclamation on April 22, 1793, declaring the United States to be "friendly and impartial" toward both warring powers.
Jay's Treaty Remaining neutral proved difficult. Britain used its navy to block the delivery of goods to French ports, seizing hundreds of American ships. At the same time, the British were reportedly inciting Native American attacks in the West, where British soldiers still occupied some forts they had promised to evacuate after the American Revolution. These activities pushed the United States to the brink of war in the spring of 1794.
Desperate for a diplomatic solution, Washington sent John Jay to Britain. The British were busy fighting France and did not want to fight the United States as well. They agreed to sign what came to be called Jay's Treaty.
The British drove a hard bargain, however, knowing that the Americans depended on trade with Britain. They refused to stop seizing American ships or to compensate American merchants for lost cargoes. Instead, they agreed to create an international commission to hear the merchants' claims. They also insisted on establishing another commission to consider the claims of British subjects seeking repayment of pre-Revolutionary debts.
Although he gave ground on many issues, Jay was able to persuade the British to give the United States most-favored nation status. This meant that Americans would not be discriminated against when they traded with Britain but would receive the same treatment as other favored nations. Britain also agreed to allow limited American trade with its Caribbean colonies and to evacuate its forts in American territory.
When the public learned the terms of Jay's Treaty, the Democratic-Republicans immediately accused the Federalists of being pro-British. Across much of the country, public meetings were held condemning the treaty. George Washington deliberated long and hard but finally agreed to implement it. His decision prevented war with Great Britain and protected the fragile American economy.
Pinckney's Treaty Jay's Treaty also helped the United States win concessions from Spain, which still controlled Florida and territory west of the Mississippi River. In 1795 Spain joined France in its struggle against Britain. The signing of Jay's Treaty raised fears in Spain that the British and Americans might now join forces to seize Spain's North American holdings. Spain quickly offered to negotiate all outstanding issues with the United States.
Also in 1795 the Spanish signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo—better known as Pinckney's Treaty, after the American negotiator, Thomas Pinckney. The treaty granted the United States the right to navigate the Mississippi and to deposit goods at the port of New Orleans. Spain also agreed to accept the 31st parallel as the northern boundary of western Florida.
Reading Check Explaining Why did President Washington choose neutrality El the war between Britain and France?
Compromise and the Capital City Southern states that had already paid their war debts accepted Hamilton's financial program on the condition that the new national capital be located along the Potomac River.Why did Southerners think having a Southern capital would benefit them?
A New Administration
George Washington served two terms in office. By the end of his second term, however, he had grown exasperated by party politics and the attacks on his character in Democratic-Republican newspapers. Although many people urged him to run again, Washington decided to retire.
Before leaving office, the president wrote a long letter to the American people. Published on September 19, 1796, and widely reprinted, Washington's Farewell Address urged Americans to support the federal government and avoid sectionalism—dividing the country into North against South, or East against West. Washington also warned against the dangers of political parties, comparing party fervor to a fire that could easily burn out of control. Washington further advised Americans against excessively strong attachments to foreign countries: "'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world."
With Washington stepping down, the United States held its first openly contested presidential election in 1796. The Federalists nominated John Adams, and the Republicans chose Thomas Jefferson. Anger over Jay's Treaty made the election close, but when the votes were counted, John Adams had won.
Adams and the Quasi-War One of Adams's first challenges was dealing with French aggression at sea. France, still at war with Britain, had been enraged by Jay's Treaty. The French had begun stopping American ships and seizing their goods if they were going to Britain. These actions led many Federalists to call for war against France. Although critical of the French, Adams, like Washington, was reluctant to involve the United States in a major war. Instead he sent Charles Pinckney, Elbridge Gerry, and John Marshall to negotiate with France in 1797.
After weeks of waiting, the Americans were finally approached by three French officials, referred to in later documents as X, Y, and Z. They asked for a bribe of $250,000 to initiate talks, along with an American loan of $12 million. Pinckney’s indignant reply—"No, no, not a sixpence"—inspired pro-war Federalists to coin a stirring slogan: "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute."
The XYZ Affair heightened tensions with France. In June 1798, Congress voted to suspend all trade with France and to allow the navy to capture armed French ships. The two nations were soon fighting an undeclared war at sea, which came to be known as the Quasi-War.
In the fall of 1798, France proposed new negotiations. To the Federalists' dismay, Adams agreed to the talks. In September 1800, the two countries signed the Convention of 1800, ending the Quasi-War. The United States gave up all claims against France for damages to American shipping. France released the United States from the Treaty of 1778.
Domestic Troubles At home, divisions between the two political parties had been deepening. Many Federalists suspected pro-French Republicans of stirring up the people so much that they would attempt to overthrow the government. They also resented the harsh criticisms printed in Republican newspapers. Taking advantage of their congressional majorities, the Federalists decided to strike back at the opposing party.
In the spring and summer of 1798, the Federalists pushed four laws through Congress that became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. The first three laws were aimed at aliens, people living in the country who were not citizens. The Federalists knew
---Refer to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC The Election of 1800 image on page 158 in your textbook.
1. Interpreting. Maps Which states split their electoral votes between the two parties?
2. Applying Geography Skills. Where did the Federalists is have strong support? What policies did they favor that would account for their strength there?
*According to the Constitution, each elector in the Electoral College voted for two people in a presidential election. The person receiving the most votes became president, and the person receiving the second-highest number of votes became vice president. Under this system a tie was possible, as happened in the case of the tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr in 1800. The House of Representatives then elected Jefferson after 35 rounds of voting in which there was no clear winner. To prevent such confusion in the future, the Twelfth Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1804. The amendment stipulates that electoral votes for president and vice president are counted and listed separately.
many recent immigrants had come from France and Ireland. These immigrants were often anti-British and tended to vote for the Republican Party once they gained citizenship. The first law required immigrants to wait 14 years before becoming citizens, thus weakening Republican support. The next two laws gave the president the power to deport without trial any alien deemed dangerous to the United States.
The fourth law made it a federal crime to utter or print anything "false, scandalous, and malicious" against the federal government or any federal official. In short, the act deprived citizens of their right to criticize public officials. The government indicted 15 people under this act, including leading Republicans.
In 1798 and 1799, the Republican-controlled legislatures of Kentucky and Virginia passed resolutions, secretly written by Jefferson and Madison, criticizing the Alien and Sedition Acts. Both resolutions argued that the Constitution was an agreement among the states. The states therefore had the power to judge whether a federal law was unconstitutional.
This idea that states have authority over the Constitution is called state sovereignty. It is different from the idea of states' rights. Americans today often believe the federal government is above the state governments in power, but the Constitution originally intended to divide power between the states and the federal government. Defenders of states' rights, wanted to prevent the federal government from exercising powers that should belong to the states. Both the Virginia and the Kentucky Resolutions were trying to protect states' rights, but in doing so, they developed the new idea of state sovereignty.
The Virginia Resolutions introduced the theory of interposition. They argued that if the federal government did something unconstitutional, the states could interpose between the federal government and the people to stop the action. The Kentucky Resolutions advanced a similar theory called nullification. According to this theory, if the federal government passed an unconstitutional law, the states had the right to nullify the law, or declare it invalid.
Although the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions had little immediate effect, states used these ideas later to defend their interests. During the War of 1812, for example, New England states refused to enforce federal laws restricting trade. In
the years before the Civil War, Southern states cited the resolutions to protect their trade and to preserve slavery.
Reading Check Analyzing What was the purpose of the Alien and Sedition Acts?
The Election of 1800
Although John Adams hoped to win re-election in 1800, he faced a difficult battle. The Alien and Sedition Acts had angered many people, as had a new tax the Federalists had introduced on houses, land, and enslaved Africans. The Republican nominees for president and vice president, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, campaigned against the new taxes and the national bank. They accused the Federalists of favoring monarchy and discouraging political participation.
The election was closely contested and had an unexpected outcome, one that revealed a flaw in the system for selecting the president. The Constitution does not let citizens vote directly for the chief executive. Instead each state chooses a number of electors equal to its number of senators and representatives in Congress. This group, known as the Electoral College, then votes for the president.
The Constitution specified that each elector would vote for two candidates. The candidate receiving the most votes would become president; the runner-up would become vice president. Ties would be decided by the House of Representatives.
To avoid a tie between Jefferson and Burr, the Republicans had intended for all their electors to vote for Jefferson, and for all but one to vote for Burr. Somehow the plan went awry. When the votes were counted, Adams had 65, and Jefferson and Burr each had 73. Now the Federalist-controlled House of Representatives had to choose the president from the top two vote getters, who were both Republicans.
Some Federalists in the House hoped to use the deadlock to keep their party in power. Some despised Jefferson and wanted to select Burr. Other Federalists, including Burr's archenemy Alexander Hamilton, gave their support to Jefferson. This led to a tie in the House of Representatives. Finally, in February 1801, Jefferson informed Federalist James Bayard that if elected, he would not undo Hamilton's financial system. Bayard then cast a blank ballot, ensuring that Jefferson would have more votes than Burr. Jefferson became the new president.
The election of 1800 was an important turning point in American history. The Republicans had won not only the presidency but a majority of seats in Congress. The Federalists, who controlled the army as well as the government, could have refused to step down. Instead, they upheld the Constitution. The election of 1800 established that power in the United States could be peacefully transferred despite disagreements between political parties. The election also led to the Twelfth Amendment in 1804, which provided for separate ballots for the president and vice president.
Reading Check Summarizing What changes did the election of 1800 bring?
3. Explain how the Alien and Sedition Ads interfered with the lives of people living in the United States.
4. Global Connections How did Great Britain and France test American neutrality during the presidencies of Washington and Adams?
5. Synthesizing Why did Hamilton think the United States should take responsibility for the debts of both the Confederation and the states?
6. Organizing Use a graphic organizer similar to the one below to list the first political parties, their leaders and supporters, and their positions on issues.
2. Comparing Charts and Maps Study the chart on page 155 and the map on page 158. How did the election results reflect the Democratic-Republican position on protective tariffs?
Writing About History
8. Expository Writing Write an editorial that responds to George Washington's Farewell Address. Defend or dispute Washington's opinion that political parties and permanent foreign alliances are dangerous.
Reading a Flowchart
Why Learn This Skill?
Sometimes, determining a sequence of events can be confusing, particularly when many events are occurring at the same time. Reading a flowchart can help you understand how events are related and how one event leads to others.
Learning the Skill
Flowcharts show the steps in a process or a sequence of events. A flowchart could be used to show the movement of goods through a factory, of people through a training program, or of a bill through Congress. The following steps explain how to read a flowchart:
• Read the title or caption of the flowchart to find out what you are studying.
• Read all of the labels or sentences on the flowchart.
• Look for numbers indicating sequence or arrows showing the direction of movement.
• Evaluate the information in the flowchart.
Practicing the Skill
The flowchart on this page shows a sequence of events that led to the expansion of territory within the United States. Analyze the information in the flowchart and then answer the questions.
1. What does the flowchart show?
2. How do you know in what sequence the events took place?
3. What inspired Napoleon to acquire the Louisiana Territory from Spain?
4. How did the United States react to France's acquisition of the Louisiana Territory?
5. What additional information from the chapter could you add to the flowchart to show a further sequence of events?
Circumstances Leading to the Louisiana Purchase
French leader Napoleon plans to rebuild France’s empire in North America.
Napoleon convinces Spain to give the Louisiana Territory back to France.
President Jefferson sends ambassador Robert Livingston to France to try to block the deal.
Napoleon later wants to conquer Europe, but he needs funds to carry out his plans.
President Jefferson agrees to purchase Louisiana Territory.
Complete the Practicing Skills questions on page 175 and the Chapter 4 Skill Reinforcement Activity to assess your mastery of this skill.
Applying the Skill
Making a Flowchart Gather information about the steps necessary to apply to college. Then make up a flowchart outlining the steps. Present your flowchart o the class.
Glencoe's Skillbuilder Interactive Workbook CD-ROM, Level 2, provides instruction and practice in key social studies skills.
The Republicans Take Power
Guide to Reading
President Jefferson limited the scope of the federal government and made the Louisiana Purchase, President Madison led the country into the War of 1812.
Key Terms and Names
judicial review, Louisiana Purchase, contraband, impressment, embargo, War Hawks
Sequencing As you read about the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, complete a time line similar to the one below to record major events of their administrations.
• Summarize the changes Thomas Jefferson brought to the federal government.
• Describe the causes and the outcome of the War of 1812.
Government and Democracy The Supreme Court asserted the power to decide whether laws passed by Congress were constitutional.
Preview of Events
1803 Supreme Court decides Marbury v. Madison; Louisiana Purchase
March 4, 1801, was Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C. The still unfinished capital of the United States was only a tiny village. Stumps and mud holes filled Pennsylvania Avenue, and a swampy wilderness separated Capitol Hill from the president's mansion. A Washington resident described the modest inauguration ceremony:
“The sun shone bright on that morning.... Mr. Jefferson ... walk[ed] from his lodgings, which were not far distant.... Soon afterwards he entered ... and bowing to the Senate, who arose to receive him, he approached a table on which the Bible lay and took the oath which was administered to him by the Chief Justice.... At dinner ... A gentleman from Baltimore, ... asked permission to wish him joy. 'I would advise you,' answered Mr. Jefferson smiling, 'to follow my example on nuptial occasions when I always tell the bridegroom I will wait till the end of the year before offering my congratulations.' And this was the only and solitary instance of any notice taken of the event of the morning.”
—quoted in The Life of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson Takes Office
Thomas Jefferson privately referred to his election as the "Revolution of 1800." Believing that Washington and Adams had acted too much like royalty, the new president opted for less pomp and ceremony. Jefferson was the first president to begin his
John Marshall During his Supreme Court tenure, this staunch Federalist was concerned with establishing a strong federal government. What case established the principle of judicial review?
term at the new capital, Washington, D.C., and he used this opportunity to break with his predecessors' style. He rode on horseback rather than in carriages, and he substituted intimate dinners for formal receptions. In addition to setting a new style, Jefferson also reversed some of his predecessors' policies, but he did not overturn the entire Federalist program.
Restraining Federal Power A strong believer in small government, Jefferson hoped to limit the scope of federal power. Many Federalists expected him to dismantle the Bank of the United States. However, Jefferson's secretary of the treasury, Albert Gallatin, supported Hamilton's system and convinced the president to keep the national bank. Instead of maintaining the public debt and paying interest on it, though, Jefferson began paying it off. He cut government spending, did away with all excise taxes, including the hated whiskey tax, and trimmed the armed forces.
Conflict With the Courts Jefferson also hoped to weaken the Federalists' control of the judiciary. Just before Congress had changed hands, the Federalist majority had passed the Judiciary Act of 1801. This act created 16 new federal judgeships, which Adams filled with Federalists. Adams supposedly stayed up until midnight on his last day in office, signing their appointments.
One of the first acts of the new Republican Congress was to repeal the Judiciary Act of 1801, abolishing the offices of the "midnight judges." The Republicans then tried to remove other Federalists from the bench by impeachment. Republican leader believed that the impeachment power was one of the Constitution's checks and balances. Congress could therefore remove judges for arbitrary and unfair decisions, not just for criminal behavior. Only two judges were brought to trial, however, and only one was ousted. The attempt to remove the judges established the tradition that judges could only be removed for criminal behavior, not simply because Congress disagreed with their decisions.
Jefferson tried a different tactic with William Marbury. In his last days as president, Adams has appointed Marbury to be justice of the peace in Washington, D.C. Jefferson told his new secretary o state, James Madison, to withhold the documents that would confirm the appointment.
Marbury asked the Supreme Court for a writ, o court order, directing Madison to deliver the documents. The Court might have been expected to corn ply. After all, the Judiciary Act of 1789 empowered the Supreme Court to issue such writs.
In 1803 in Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall and his fellow justices unanimously agree that Marbury should be given his documents, but that the Supreme Court could not issue the court order because it had no jurisdiction. Marshall pointed out that the Constitution was very specific about the kind of cases that could be taken directly to the Supreme Court rather than a lower court. Thus the section of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that authorized the Supreme Court to issue writs was unconstitutional and invalid. (See page 963 for information on Marbury v. Madison)
Although the ruling did not help Marbury, it was a landmark decision for the Supreme Court. The Court had asserted its right of judicial review, the power t: decide whether laws passed by Congress are constitutional and to strike down those that are not. Marshall remained as Chief Justice for more than 31 years, building the Supreme Court into a powerful, influential, and independent branch of the federal government.
Reading Check Evaluating Why was Marbury v. Madison significant?
The United States Expands West
Jefferson strongly supported the country's westward expansion, which had begun well before his presidency. During Washington's terms, Americans had flocked to the fertile region between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. In 1792 Kentucky had enough people to become a new state, and Tennessee gained statehood in 1796. Meanwhile, settlers from Pennsylvania and Virginia were moving into the Northwest Territory, but they were coming into conflict with Native Americans there.
President Washington sent General Anthony Wayne to put down Native American resistance by force. In August 1794, at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in Ohio, Wayne's troops won a decisive victory. In August 1795, 12 Native American nations signed the Treaty of Greenville. In exchange for a yearly payment of $10,000 from the federal government, they gave up land near present-day Chicago and Detroit, as well as a large area in southern Ohio and Indiana. The flow of Americans into the region rapidly increased. By 1803 Ohio had enough settlers to become a state.
The Louisiana Purchase While Americans were pushing west, the French were hoping to rebuild their empire in North America. French leader Napoleon Bonaparte convinced Spain to give Louisiana back to France in 1800. Jefferson was uneasy about France controlling the lower Mississippi. He ordered the American ambassador in Paris, Robert Livingston, to try to gain concessions for the United States.
Livingston accomplished little at first. By 1803, however, Napoleon had begun making plans to conquer Europe. To gain funds and to pre-empt an alliance between the United States and Great Britain, Napoleon offered to sell all of the Louisiana Territory, as well as New Orleans, to the United States. Livingston immediately agreed. On April 30, 1803, the United States bought Louisiana from France for $1 1.25 million. It also agreed to take on French debts owed to Americans, worth about $3.75 million, making the total cost about $15 million.
The Senate overwhelmingly ratified the Louisiana Purchase. For less than three cents an acre, the United States had more than doubled its size and gained control of the entire Mississippi River.
Lewis and Clark and Zebulon Pike Even before Louisiana became a part of the United States, Jefferson convinced Congress to fund an expedition to explore the territory. Led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the expedition headed west up the Missouri River in May 1804. Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman, acted as a guide during much of the voyage. Other Native Americans led the group along a path through the Rocky Mountains, and the explorers eventually traced the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. The Lewis and Clark expedition not only provided a wealth of information about Louisiana, it also gave the United States a claim to the Oregon Territory.
Zebulon Pike also explored the Louisiana Territory. In 1805 he mapped much of the upper Mississippi River. In 1806 he headed west to Colorado, where he encountered the mountain now known as Pikes Peak. Pike later mapped part of the Rio Grande and traveled across northern Mexico and southern Texas. His account of this trip gave Americans detailed information about the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains.
The Essex Junto The Louisiana Purchase alarmed many New England Federalists. They knew that as new states appeared in the South and West, New England would lose political influence. In Massachusetts, a small group of Federalists known as the Essex Junto drafted a plan to take New England out of the Union.
Battle of Fallen Timbers This monument commemorates the victory of General Anthony Wayne (right) over Blue Jacket. The Treaty of Greenville opened the Ohio Territory to American settlers. What amount did the government pay the Native Americans for the territory?
Vice President Aaron Burr, sympathetic to their goal, agreed to run for governor of New York in 1804. During the campaign, Alexander Hamilton called Burr "a dangerous man, and one who ought not be trusted with the reins of government." When Hamilton's remarks were published, Burr challenged him to a duel. Hamilton agreed, and on July 11, 1804, Burr shot and killed Hamilton. The nation had lost a brilliant leader and one of its founders.
Reading Check Explaining Why did Thomas Jefferson want to purchase the Louisiana Territory? Rising International Tensions
Foreign affairs preoccupied President Jefferson during his second term in office. France had resumed its war against Britain in mid-1803, and the United States had proclaimed its neutrality. In 1806 and 1807, however, both France and Britain adopted policies forbidding neutral countries from trading with the enemy. Any vessels traveling to Europe became subject to search and seizure by one side or the other.
Soon British warships were regularly stopping American merchant ships and searching them for contraband—smuggled goods—and for British sailors who had fled their vessels. If the British found deserters, they practiced impressment a legalized form of kidnapping, to force the sailors back into service. They also used impressment to take American sailors.
Calls for War In June 1807, tensions between the United States and Britain reached the boiling point when the British warship Leopard stopped an American warship, the Chesapeake. When the Chesapeake's captain refused to submit to a search, the Leopard opened fire, killing three Americans. The British then boarded the Chesapeake and seized four sailors.
The attack enraged the public. Anti-British mobs rioted in several cities, and protesters marched through the streets. President Jefferson, like Washington and Adams before him, did not want to be drawn into a European conflict. Instead, he decided to use economic sanctions against both Britain and France.
Jefferson asked Congress to pass the Embargo Act of 1807, halting all trade between the United States and Europe. The embargo, a government ban on trade with other countries, wound up hurting the United States more than Britain or France. In the Northeast, once-lucrative shipping businesses came to a standstill, while farmers saw the demand for their crops fall. Realizing that the embargo was costing the Republican Party support, Congress repealed it in March 1809.
Shortly before its repeal, Jefferson left office, having decided not to seek a third term but to retire to Monticello, his estate in Virginia. Jefferson had succeeded in limiting the role of the federal government, but he also left his successor with a foreign policy crisis.
New Economic Pressures The new Republican president, James Madison had easily won the election of 1808