The Presidency of George Washington

Video: George Washington: election, precedents, cabinet

Video: George Washington bio

Washington elected unanimously

Vice President John Adams

Washington acted cautiously
Aware of precedents for the future
Only used his veto power when he felt a bill was unconstitutional

First Congress (April 1789):

Members were Federalists—generally

Congress succeeded at its four immediate tasks:

a. Revenue Act of 1789.

Congress adopted a 5 percent tariff on certain imports.
Raised sufficient revenue to support the new government.

b. Bill of Rights

Responding to state ratification conventions' call for a bill of rights.
James Madison took the lead.
First ten amendments to the Constitution passed.

c. Beginnings of a "Cabinet"

Video: The First Cabinet

1. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson

2. Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton

Video: Alexander Hamilton

3. Secretary of War Henry Knox

4. Attorney General Edmund Randolph

d. Judiciary Act of 1789.

Organized the federal judiciary.
Supreme Court (6 members)
District courts (13)
Circuit courts of appeal (3)

First political party system:

Both groupings gradually divided into two opposing camps, each accusing the other of having sold out the principles of the Revolution.

I. Federalists

They began calling themselves Federalists to link themselves with the federal Constitution.

Key person: Alexander Hamilton
(George Washington and John Adams were both Federalists.)

Federalist Party (Ohio History Central)

Supporters: Those in favor of the Constitution during ratification
Concentrated in New England

Federalists believed in the following:

a. For a strong national government
b. For Central economic planning
c. For a National Bank
d. For Internal improvements (roads, harbors)
e. Wanted a commercially-oriented America: for manufacturing
f. In favor of protective tariffs (a tax on imported goods—to protect American industry)
g. Who should hold power?: social elite—best interests of the people
h. Wanted more order, less liberty: protection of property rights
i. For a broad construction==loose interpretation of the Constitution
j. Foreign policy: wanted closer ties with Great Britain

II. Democrat-Republicans

Key person: Thomas Jefferson.
James Madison his principal associate.

Democrat-Republican Party (Ohio History Central)

They began calling themselves Republicans, contending that they were the true heirs of the Revolution and that Hamilton was plotting to subvert republican principles.


Anti-federalists during ratification process
Southern planters
Small farmers south of New England
Non–English ethnic groups—Irish, Scots, and Germans

Their policies were generally the opposite of the Federalists on almost every domestic and foreign policy issue

a. Wanted a limited national government; favored States rights
b. Against a National Bank
c. Against Internal improvements (roads, harbors)
d. Against manufacturing—it would cause slums in cities
e. Against protective tariffs
f. Wanted an America based more on farming than on factories
g. Who should hold power?: the people
h. Wanted more liberty, less order
i. For a limited construction==tight interpretation of the Constitution
j. Foreign policy: wanted closer ties with France

Hamilton's economic program

a. Report on Public Credit (1790)

Approved by Congress
Consolidate debts at national level==power to national level
Debt holders will want national government to
Fund foreign and domestic debt at full face value
Speculators who paid 10% of face value would get rich
Assume remaining debts owed by states
Those who had paid off already were mad
Deal made to move U.S. capitol to Washington, D.C.

b. Defense of the Constitutionality of the Bank (1790)

Congress approved it
Hamilton liked the British system: Bank of England
Said U.S. need a central bank to facilitate money movements

Hamilton's argument that a bank is permitted based on a loose interpretation of the Constitution

Can make laws necessary for commerce, taxation, war, etc.
Implied powers argument
Jefferson: a bank not permitted: strict constitutional view

c. Report on Manufactures (Dec 1791)

Congress did not approve it
Reverse reliance on Europe for manufactured goods
Encourage infant U.S. industries (shoes and textiles) with govt subsidies
Tariffs to protect infant industries
Promote immigration of technicians and laborer.

Whiskey rebellion (1794)

Video: Whiskey Rebellion

Whiskey Rebellion

Hamilton's economic program required tax on whiskey to fund debt
Farmers turned grain into whiskey (easier to ship)
Farmers (mostly Democrat-Republicans) in western Pa. refused to pay
Challenge to national authority had to be confronted
Army sent to disperse the "rebellion" which "faded away like a vapor"
Washington believed rebellion politically motivated by Jeffersonians
Jeffersonians believed military response unnecessary

French Revolution

Meanwhile, developments in foreign affairs magnified the domestic disagreements.
Disagreements over the American response to the French revolution led to partisan disagreements.
U.S. initially welcomed the French revolution but was bothered by its excesses.
(Remember: U.S. was first independent country without a king.)

French Revolution (Historian of the State Department)

Genet Affair (1793)

Video: Genet Affair

Genet Affair (1793)

Proclamation of Neutrality (April 1793)

Video: Proclamation of Neutrality

Proclamation of Neutrality issued by George Washington.
U.S. a small nation; caught in world war between Britain and France
U.S. wanted to remain neutral; continue trade with everyone
U.S. would act "friendly and impartial" toward the warring powers

Democratic–Republican societies:

A republic==consensus==no factions or disagreements
Composed chiefly of artisans and craftsmen
Members: Jefferson followers; sympathetic to French Revolution
Some 40 such societies organized (1793-1800)
Saw themselves as heirs of the Sons of Liberty
First grassroots political organizations
Opposed to Washington's administration; first formal political dissent

Washington's Farewell Address

"The great rule of our conduct in regard to foreign nations is to have with them as little political connection as possible."

"It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world."

The Presidency of John Adams:

Election of 1796 won by John Adams, but a quirk in Electoral College made Jefferson (opposite political grouping) vice president.

Video: 1796 Election of John Adams

XYZ affair (1798)

Video: XYZ Affair/Alien and Sedition Acts

Jay's treaty (between Britain and America) made France jealous
France began capturing American ships carrying British goods
President Adams sent three commissioners to ask France to stop
French demanded a bribe of $250,000 prior to any discussions
Americans took this as evidence of French disrespect
Anti–French sentiment—even cries for war—swept the country
Remember: partisanship between Federalists and Democrat-Republicans
Adams held off demand for war

Quasi–War with France:

An undeclared naval war began in the Caribbean between warships of the U.S. navy and French privateers seeking to capture American merchant vessels.

French–American Convention (1800):

Ended the Quasi–War
Freed America from French Treaty of Alliance
Peaceful settlement cost Adams re–election
Laid foundation for Louisiana Purchase (1803)

Alien and Sedition Acts (1798):

Video: XYZ Affair/Alien and Sedition Acts

John Adams is the President associated with these laws.
They were a Federalist attempt to muzzle Jeffersonian-Republicans
Political criticism defined as treasonous
No concept of loyal opposition
First major crisis over civil liberties

Sedition Act of 1798 Becomes Law (On This Day, Finding Dulcinea)

Kentucky and Virginia resolutions:

Video: Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions

How could Democrat-Republicans combat the Alien and Sedition Acts

National-level institutions (President, Congress, Court) were controlled by Federalists
They therefore turned to only other forum available for protest: state legislatures

Presidency of Thomas Jefferson

From 1801–1824, all three American presidents were Republicans and Virginians:

Thomas Jefferson (8 yrs.)
James Madison (8 yrs.)
James Monroe (8 yrs).

Video: Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson the person

Virtual Field Trip to Monticello: Thomas Jefferson's day

Jefferson's Empire of liberty

Jefferson shared with other Americans the belief that the U.S. was destined to expand its "empire of liberty."
Most past empires had been run by dictators.

Four obstacles to America's empire of liberty would have to be confronted:

a. French in New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory
b. Spanish in Florida and Mexico
c. British in Canada
d. Native Americans throughout the continent.

Presidential Election of 1800

Republicans Jefferson and Burr tied for the election
Jefferson selected by Federalist–controlled House of Representatives
Peaceful transition of power between political parties
New Congress controlled by Democrat-Republicans

Jefferson won election of 1800 (Today in History, Library of Congress)

Louisiana Purchase (1803)

Great Map:

The obstacle to the "empire of liberty" posed by the French was the first to be overcome.

Louisiana Purchase (Today in History, Library of Congress)

U.S. paid $15 million to France.
Doubled the size of America.

Jefferson compromised his strict constructionist views

Lewis and Clark Expedition (May 1804-Sept 1806)

Reason for the expedition:
Explore the extent of the Louisiana Purchase: find the source of rivers that drain into Mississippi.

Here is a terrific map of the total route:

4,000 Miles.
Began in St. Louis; up the Missouri River to its source
Across the Rocky Mountains (Continental Divide)
Rivers running east go to Mississippi, those to West to Pacific Ocean
Winter camp in Astoria, Oregon

Video: The Corps of Discovery

Meriwether Lewis (The West)

Sacagawea (The West)

War with Barbary pirates (1801-1815)

Barbary States: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripoli (today's Libya).

Video: Thomas Jefferson, Barbary Coast, Louisiana Purchase

Pirates attacked U.S. ships in the Mediterranean
U.S. got tired of paying protection money
President Thomas Jefferson built up the US naval and marine capacity
Pirates were defeated by 1815; no more protection money

Presidency of James Madison

Video: James Madison bio

Preserving American trading rights and neutral status in a world at war


World War b/n England and France started up again in 1803.
U.S. was the chief supplier of food to both sides for a while.
By 1805, France and Britain began blockading each other's ports.
As a trading partner of both countries, the U.S. paid a high price.

Chesapeake Affair (1807)

British warship Leonard; American warship Chesapeake
British attacked, boarded, (and killed 3 Americans) in American waters.
Exposed American military weakness
Intensified American objections to impressment.
Sparked American demands to go to war
Jefferson—with Congress not in session—able to resist war demands.


Jefferson did not want a military fight with British
He was generally pacifistic; war cost big bucks for a small nation
He fought with "peaceable economic coercion."
Embargo Act of 1807 prohibited all exports from the U.S.
Policy was well–intentioned, but unpopular and unsuccessful.
Mocked as "OGRABME"
American economy collapsed
British not hurt at all
Only bright spot: U. S. manufactures—textile mills—received a boost
Domestic market became exclusively American.

WAR OF 1812

Remember: Britain and France locked in a world war

Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812.

American grievances with British:

1. Impressment

Britain's navy suffered a severe shortage of sailors.
Britain stopped American ships
Forcible draft of American sailors.

2. Desire to defend American independence and honor

The vote for war

Congress deeply divided over whether to go to war with Britain.
Federalists in New England did not want to go to war.
Many Federalist considered conflict to be "Mr. Madison's War."
Raising troops in New England was difficult.
People in west wanted to go to war.

War Hawks

Their fathers had fought in the Revolution.
They themselves wanted to prove themselves in war

Key names:

a. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina

b. Henry Clay of Kentucky

Key battles of the War of 1812:

1. Washington, D.C.

British captured the city.

Video: British burn Washington, 1814

British Troops Burn White House and Capitol (Finding Dulcinea, On This Day)

2. Baltimore

British bombarded; Americans held out.

Francis Scott Key Writes “The Star-Spangled Banner” (Finding Dulcinea, On This Day)

3. Horseshoe Bend (in today's Alabama)

Andrew Jackson (future American president) defeated the Creek Indians.

He forced them to sign away most of their land.

Andrew Jackson's Victory in Creek War (Today in History, Library of Congress)

4. New Orleans (8 Jan 1815)

Andrew Jackson's troops defeated the British.

British: 300 killed, 1300 wounded, 500 captured
Americans: 30 killed, 40 wounded

Video: Battle of New Orleans (6:58)

Battle of New Orleans

Hartford Convention (15 Dec 1814—5 Jan 1815)

Federalist delegates from New England
Unhappy with the war's stoppage of New England trade
Seemed treasonous during wartime.
Led to demise of Federalist Party
News arrived in Washington at same time as that of New Orleans

Treaty of Ghent (24 December 1814)

Did not specifically address any of the issues for which America went to war.
Merely restored the prewar status quo.

Consequences of War of 1812

1. Affirmed the freedom won in the Revolutionary war
2. Strengthened America's resolve to avoid European politics
3. Dealt a serious blow to Indian resistance to American expansion
4. Increased nationalism—renewed feeling of confidence and assertiveness
5. Stimulated economy (capitalists began to invest in home manufactures)
6. Sealed the fate of the Federalists

Election of 1824: Corrupt Bargain

Video: Corrupt Bargain of 1824

John Quincy Adams versus Andrew Jackson
Jackson won plurality (not majority) of electoral votes and popular vote
House of Representatives chose the president
It chose Adams.
Adams accused of having made a "corrupt bargain" with Henry Clay.
Jackson immediately began to run for election of 1828.

Election of 1828

Andrew Jackson won the election over John Quincy Adams.

Jackson's slogan: Adams can write; Jackson can fight.
[Jackson had been the military victor over the Creek Indians and the British]

Jackson's party: Democrats
After the demise of Federalists and the one-party Era of Good Feelings
Democrats became the first well–organized national political party.

Presidency of Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson biography

Video: The Hermitage (Jackson's plantation in Nashville)

1. Spoils system. To the victors belong the spoils. Rotation in office.

2. "Kitchen Cabinet." Jackson relied on political friends, not Cabinet, for advice.

3. Native American Resistance and Removal

Most whites wanted land
Most whites were racist: had little respect for Indians' rights and culture
Indians always seemed to be in the way of whites' land hunger
Some whites: physically separate Indians and white settlers
Other whites: "civilize" Indians and assimilate them into American culture

a. Removal Act of 1830

Video: Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act

The government forced the Five Civilized Tribes to move west of the Mississippi River.


b. Five Civilized tribes: Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Cherokee, Seminole

Indian Removal

c. Cherokees

Cherokees. If civilizing Indians was the American goal, no tribe met that test better than the Cherokees


Video: Sequoya and the Cherokees

Bilingual tribal newspaper
Formal government complete with legislature and court system
Written constitution modeled after that of the U.S.
Ownership of black slaves
Almost total conversion to Christianity.

d. Cherokee Trail of Tears

One part, a sad one, of the overall Indian removal.

Some 4,000 of the 13,000 Cherokees died along the way.

Overland Trails to the West


The Overland Trails are as follows:
Oregon Trail
California Trail
Santa Fe Trail
Mormon Trail

Oregon Trail (1843)

"Oregon fever" began after the Panic of 1837
Fremont mapped the trail (1842)
1843—major increase in migration over the Trail

Map and pictures of landmarks

Independence, Missouri to Oregon/California
Trip was 2,000 miles; took 6 months
The travelers cover 15 miles a day
Hardly anyone died from Indian attacks

Video: Oregon Fever (10:44)

Oregon Trail:

a. Introduction
b. Route West
c. "Jumping off"
d. Power
e. Hardships
f. Buffalo
g. Native Americans
Read only the section entitled "Relationships"

Manifest destiny

Term first used by editor John L. O'Sullivan (1845)

Manifest Destiny
Famous painting analysis (John Gast)

American expansion westward and southward was

a. Inevitable
b. Just
c. Divinely ordained

In accordance with this view:

a. Native Americans: savages, best eliminated

b. Hispanics: inferior peoples, best controlled or conquered

Oregon Country

Northwest boundary dispute

U. S. negotiated for Oregon Country (1846).
U.S. went to brink of war with Britain over Oregon boundary.
President James K. Polk's campaign slogan: Fifty-Four Forty or Fight
U.S. could not fight Mexico and Britain at same time

Boundary dispute map:

Territorial Acquisitions Map: Oregon Country

California Gold Rush (1849)

Video: Gold Rush (8:47)

1. Discovery of gold (1848) (2 months before Mexican-American war treaty)

California Gold Rush (1849)
Overland trail plus passage around South America
100,000 arrived in one year

2. California statehood (1850)

Gold discovered at Sutter's Mill

President Polk sparks the California Gold Rush

Texas Revolution

Video: American settlers move into Texas

Americans moved into Spanish (then Mexican) Tejas
Panic of 1819 pushed some Americans westward
Mexico gained its independence from Spain (1821)

Spain gave land grants to Moses Austin
Mexico continued the same deal with his son, Stephen Austin (1824)

Americans not happy with three aspects of life in Mexico:

1. Catholicism: Settlers either converted superficially or ignored requirement

2. Slavery

In 1829, Mexico freed its slaves
Colonists freed their slaves but signed them to lifelong indentured servant contract

3. Self government

Texas part of Mexican Coahuila (Texas outnumbered 3 to 1)
Americans demanded a Mexican state of their own

Dictator Santa Anna abolished separate Mexican states (1834)

Texas revolution (1836)

By 1835, Texas population: 30,000 Americans; 3,000 Mexicans
"War party" declared Texas independent in1836
Guests who rebelled against their hosts

Video: Texas and Mexican War

Main battles of the Texas Revolution:

Mexican Army commanded by General Santa Anna.


a. Alamo:

187 all died (including some famous persons: Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis)

Video: Alamo (2:25)

Video: Alamo and Goliad (1:06)

The Alamo Came Under Attack (Finding Dulcinea, On This Day)

Key people who died at the Alamo

1. Davy Crockett

2. Jim Bowie

3. William Travis

b. Goliad: 350 captured Americans were massacred

c. San Jacinto: (today's Houston, Texas)

Video: San Jacinto (0:53)

Sam Houston attacked Mexicans during a siesta
630 Mexicans killed
Santa Anna captured

Texas: the Lone Star Republic (1836–1845)

Texas a separate country during the period 1836-1845

Sam Houston the first president.

Video: Sam Houston (1:44)

Population increased from 30,000 to 142,000

Annexation to the US delayed until 1845: volatility of the slavery issue

Territorial Acquisitions Map

Wilmot Proviso (1846)

a. Many northerners opposed the war with Mexico
b. They saw in a war an evil design by slave owners to increase possible slave territory

c. Democrat Congressman David Wilmot of Pennsylvania proposed a bill that would outlaw slavery in any territory won from Mexico.
d. His proposal did not pass Congress.

e. But the Wilmot Proviso became a rallying cry for abolitionists & those against spread of slavery.

f. Most white northerners were racists, not abolitionists.
g. Whites wanted to protect themselves—not southern blacks—from the Slave power.
h. They wanted to keep this new land only for free white people

Free–Soil Party

Formed in 1848 to prevent slavery in the territories won from Mexico.

Free Soilers did not necessarily want to abolish slavery.

They simply wanted to prevent its spread into the Western territories.

Party slogan was Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, and Free Men.

Free Soil party was made up of
1. Northern Democrats committed to the Wilmot proviso
2. Antislavery ("Conscience" as opposed to "Cotton") Whigs


Mexican-American War Video (129:00)

Mexican War Regular Map:

1. Mexico felt annexation of Texas cause for war

American sent forces into disputed region to provoke a Mexican attack
Mexicans did attack
America declared war

2. Some in U.S. opposed war:

Many northerners opposed the war with Mexico
They saw in a war an evil design by slave owners to increase possible slave territory

Two of those who opposed the war: Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln

3. American interest in California (then a part of Mexico):

Bartered manufactured goods for cowhides
Boston companies set up resident agents in California
Agents' reports back East sparked interest in California

a. Richard Henry Dana's Two Year Before the Mast: a best seller (1840)

Richard Henry Dana

His ship was named the Pilgrim

b. Sutter's Fort. Sacramento. At end of Overland Trail.

4. Bear Flag Revolt (June 14, 1846)

When war with Mexico seemed likely, U.S. claimed California in the Bear Flag Revolt

Key names in this Revolt: William B. Ide; John Fremont; Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo

Separate country for less than a month

Bear Flag Republic

U.S. Forces in Mexico

Army Life: U.S. Army

Army Life: Mexican Army

a) US General Zachary Taylor: invaded Mexico from north

Battle of Buena Vista

b) US General Winfield Scott: invaded Mexico from seacoast

Battle of Cerro Gordo
Battle of Chapultepec

Halls of Montezuma
Marines raised U.S. flag over National Palace in Mexico City

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

U.S. paid Mexico $15 million
Present states: California, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona
U.S. territory enlarged by 20%
Gold was discovered in California (1848): a few months before treaty signed

Territorial Acquisitions Map

Legacy of the Mexican-American War

$100 million in military costs
13,000 Americans died
Training ground for military officers later famous in Civil War
Gold discovered in California (1848): a few months before treaty signed
Continuing controversy over extension of slavery in land won from Mexico