Jeffersonian Democracy refers to the term of office of Thomas Jefferson which marks the end of Federalist control of American politics. A milder agrarian aristocracy replaced a commercial aristocracy, thereby setting an example of democratic simplicity. Jeffersonian placed more emphasis in the common man and brought more idealism into the government.
Election of 1800: Jefferson and fellow Republican Aaron Burr, who ran for Vice-presidency in the same year, received an equal number of electoral votes, thus creating a tie and throwing the presidential election into the House of Representatives, in agreement to Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution. With Hamilton’s coercion, Jefferson was elected as president, with Burr as Vice-president. (The Constitution was amended to require separate votes for each position.)
Revolution of 1800: Described by Jefferson in the his election of 1800, in which he sought to restore the country to the liberty and tranquility it had known before Alexander Hamilton’s economic program and John Adams’s Alien and Sedition Acts. The national debt, most internal taxes, and the navy, where some of the problems needed to be fixed.
JEFFERSONIAN DEMOCRACY: Jefferson’s administration severely cut naval and military operations. 70 percent of the national revenue was applied to reducing the national debt as well. Most importantly, Jefferson purchased the Louisiana territory from the French, though a Constitutional violation. Gallatin was the genius behind the public debt cut and creating a large surplus of funds. He opposed war, seeing it as detrimental to the national economy.
Midnight judges: Federalists dominated the government, but with the election of 1800, Jefferson drove them out, resulting in Adams’s last day in office (December 12, 1800). On this date he appointed last-minute judges to keep the judiciary in the Federalists hands, by using the Judiciary Act of 1801.
Justice Samuel Chase: Associate justice of the Supreme Court and signer of the Declaration of Independence, he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1791 by Washington, and was impeached for his criticism of President Jefferson. Chase was defended strongly, and was later acquitted by the Senate.
Tripolitan War: (1802-5) War between the United States and the North African state of Tripoli, to which the US had been paying tribute, since 1784, for shipping access. The US refused to pay in 1801, which resulted in US ships being captured, but the US captured the town of Derna, led by Lieut. Stephen Decatur in 1805, to end the war.
Treaty of San Ildefonso: Treaty on October 1, 1800, in which Spain ceded the Louisiana territory to France, which was becoming a foremost military power. Threat of French expansion was the result of Jefferson’s goal to obtain the territory, not for expansionism, but the opportunities of trade by New Orleans as a sea port.
LOUISIANA PURCHASE: When France obtained the territory from Spain, Jefferson’s goal to purchase the territory was the great port of New Orleans, land West of the Mississippi, as well as the threat of French invasion. Jefferson obtained the territory for $15 million, and was ratified as a treaty by the Senate, though purchasing the territory was constitutionally illegal and going beyond his presidential rights. From this territory became 14 new state governments.
Toussaint L’Ouverture: Haitian general on the island of Santo-Domingo, who succeeded in liberating the island from France in 1801, and becoming president for life of the country. 1802, Napoleon sent troops to crush the Haitians, and Toussaint was defeated, and accused of conspiracy; where he was imprisoned and died in France.
LOUISIANA PURCHASE: Most Federalists opposed the Louisiana Purchase on the grounds that it would decrease the relative importance of their strongholds on the eastern seaboard. Jefferson, a Republican, saw no reason to hand the Federalists an issue by dallying over ratification of the treaty made to obtain the territory.
Hamilton-Burr duel: Election of 1800 Between Jefferson and Burr, had turned to the House of Representatives for the decision of the next president Burr’s election in 1804, for the governor of NY State, where Hamilton opposed him, again. Dueled Hamilton on July 11, 1804, where Hamilton was killed.
Burr treason trial: Burr purchased land in the newly acquired Louisiana territory, and intended to invade the Spanish territory and establish a separate republic in the Southwest, or seize land in Spanish America. He was arrested and indicted for treason, and was acquitted on Sept. 1, 1807, after a six-month trial in Richmond, Virginia.
Lewis and Clark: They explored the vast territory west of the Mississippi River by the US, when they were commissioned by Jefferson. They cataloged plants and animals, and established relations with Indian inhabitants. They reached the Rockies, over the Continental Divide, and reached the Pacific in November 1805.
Impressment: Arbitrary seizure of goods or individuals by a government or its agents for public services. Used by British to regain deserters from the Royal Navy to American vessels during 1790 to 1812. This was one of the reasons for the War of 1812, when British vessels boarded and obtained their crew from the high paying American ships.
Chesapeake-Leopard affair: In 1807 the US Chesapeake was stopped in the mid-Atlantic by the British Leopard. The British demanded the return and surrender of four deserters from the royal navy, in which the Chesapeake’s commanding officer, James Barron, refused, resulting in British attack. Barron relented and the men were seized.
EMBARGO OF 1807: This law was passed in December 1807 over Federalist opposition, and prohibited United States vessels from trading with European nations during the Napoleonic War. The Embargo Act was in response to the restrictive measure imposed on American neutrality by France and Britain, who were at war with each other. To pressure the nations to respect the neutral rights of the US and to demonstrate the value of trade with the US, Jefferson imposed the embargo instead of open warfare.
Non-Intercourse Act: The Non-Intercourse Act of March 1, 1809, repealed the Embargo Act, and reactivated American commerce with all countries except the warring French and the British. The US also agreed to resume trade with the first nation of the two, who would cease violating neutral rights, pressuring the needs for American goods.
Tecumseh: A Shawnee leader, who fought against the United States expansion into the Midwest. He opposed any surrender of Native American land to whites, and tried with his brother, Tenskwatawa the "Prophet," in uniting the tribes from American customs, especially liquor. He was defeated at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.