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Chapter 9: The New Nation Takes Form, 1789-1800

Lecture to accompany the text The American Promise: A History of the United States, Volume 1 to 1877

Jason Holloway

on 23 September 2013

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Transcript of Chapter 9: The New Nation Takes Form, 1789-1800

1. The Search for Stability
How does the opening story of Alexander Hamilton reflect on the history presented in this chapter?
The first goal after the constitutional issues of the 1780s is to ensure stability.
Washington as the first president is one way to do this.
The Government also adds a Bill of Rights to address the Anti-Federalist concerns.
Republicanism is beginning to redefine women's role in society.
5. Conclusion: Parties Nonetheless
What diplomatic concerns did the new nation face during this time period?
What growing divisions are reflected amongst the big names of this era?
How did the Political ‘Parties’ differ in their platforms?
Ultimately partisanship between the Republicans and the Federalists will guide U.S. politics for the next two decades deeply concerning many.
Professor Holloway
Chapter 9: The New Nation Takes Form, 1789-1800
Hamilton's Economic Policies
The new government is launched in a period of great economic advancement.
The government moves in 1790 from New York to Philadelphia to be closer to its economic concerns.
Alexander Hamilton launches a plan to solidify its economic base but problems arise including the first major domestic rebellion.
3. Conflict on America's Borders and Beyond
There is frequent external conflict during this period.
There are troubles with the Creek in the Southwest.
There are difficulties with Native American tribes in the Northwest.
Conflict between the European powers forces American involvement to some degree.
There is a Caribbean slave revolt that awakens fears of the same in the U.S.
Washington is reelected in 1792 to a second term.
4. Federalists and Republicans
Between economic and foreign policy debates two rival groups begin emerging, the Federalists and the Republicans.
The Federalists support Britain and commercial interests.
The Republicans support France and worry about overly centralized government.
These labels refer not yet fully to independent political parties but more as movements and the divisiveness of them is seen as a failure of the system.
Washington decides not to run for a third term and so the division of government continues with the election of the federalist John Adams in 1796.
Washington Inaugurates the Government
Washington wins overwhelmingly in the election as the first president with 2/3 of the electoral college.
His defeated adversary John Adams gets 1/3 and the Vice Presidency.
Washington is seen as a good choice due to his Public servant nature.
His help during the Newburgh Conspiracy and his ceremonial surrender of his sword at the end of the Revolutionary War further his standing.
There is a debate over title and address of the President.
Washington was virtuous but that was about it.
He is careful to avoid royal splendor but is close at times.
He forms the first cabinet with Henry Knox at War, Alexander Hamilton at Treasury and Jefferson at State.
He includes the attorney general and chief justice as well but not the VP.
The first cabinet reflects a mix of political thought that will effect the Us for the next several decades.
The Bill of Rights
seven states ratify the constitution on the promise of a bill of rights.
All agree to add them to heal divisions over ratification.
Madison takes the wording of them directly from the state constitutions.
Congress approves twelve amendments in late 1789 and by 1791 ten are ratified.
One through eight deal with personal liberties, nine and ten with the division of power between state and federal government.
Not all parties are satisfied as eighty amendments were proposed but most are not considered if they reopened larger questions of federal structure.
There is no more debate on slavery either.
A big admission, the right to vote, is later covered by four amendments.
Why was the right to vote not included initially?
The Republican Wife and Mother
Even though women are excluded from politics there is still a reevaluation of women's role in a republic society.
Women are expected to help reform the morals and manners of men in a republican fashion, helping to safeguard rights.
If women favor unselfish suitors this will benefit society.
What is the idea behind republican motherhood and how does it relate to female education?
Some writers argue that more education will make women into rational beings with voting a step away.
The shift in women's roles are subtle but important, expanding claims for women's rights is just beginning and still largely advanced in order to perform traditional roles more effectively.
Agriculture, Transportation, and Banking
There is during this period a huge demand for grain from an Europe in the midst of revolutionary wars.
As a result there is a massive boost in American productivity, trade, etc.
Cotton begins large scale production in the South after Eli Whitney develops the cotton gin in 1793.
There is a huge increase in road building which further increases prosperity.
Before 1790 only one road connected all the states.
Another development as well was the growth of the banking system, how do banks act to increase the monetary supply?
All in all good times lead to an expansion of the population.
The first census in 1790 shows grow of 35% from 3.9 million to 5.3 million.
The Public Debt and Taxes
The economic upturn plus new powers for the government mean that an opportunity exists to repay the entire national debt.
Hamilton disagrees with this notion and says debt should be funded but not repaid.
The reissuing of bonds ensures that their holders have an interest in the new government.
New bonds would also inject new capital into the country.
For Hamilton, the national debt is a good thing as it binds the union together and makes the country credit-worthy.
Debt funding starts off speculation on a large scale.
Another issue debated was Hamilton's plan to assume the states' debt which only half the states had paid off.
Madison and Jefferson deeply disagree arguing that the debt should be retired at a fraction of its written value.
All three discuss and come to an agreement over dinner.
Congress votes for the debt package and Hamilton backs the vote to move the capital to a new site down south on the Potomac.
The First Bank of the United States and the Report on Manufactures.
The Bank of the U.S. is a big part of the plan to solidify the economic base of the nation.
It is modeled on European Central Banks which use government money to invigorate the economy.
The Government will fund 20% and private investments 80%; together they will raise 10 million dollars.
The central bank will control credit, interest rates, and currency value.
Hamilton argues again with Jefferson and Madison. Washington ultimately backs Hamilton.
When the bank went public stocks are sold out in hours and a month long run occurs.
Hamilton also releases a Report on Manufactures which argues for using government money to subsidize infant industries alongside tariffs on imports.
This plan is not considered nor voted on in Congress.
The Whiskey Rebellion
The new plans require taxes to finance them.
The new taxes are not placed on imports or on land taxes but on whiskey, why?
A 25% tax is assessed at the distillery beginning in 1791.
The tax is figured to be passed on to the consumers.
Eastern states favor the tax as they prefer rum.
Many think that less alcohol is good for society in general.
Whiskey drinkers and westerners resent this tax and appeal to Congress.
Some farmers argue that the tax is unfair as they receive less than 1/3 of their crops' value.
There much evasion of the new law, and Hamilton makes less money than expected off it but conversely increases prosecution of violators.
One tax collector in western PA refuses to give up and indirectly starts a 7,000 man Whiskey Rebellion marching on Pittsburgh.
Washington gathers 13,000 men and marches to meet them but they disperse before hand.
Politicians of the time are deeply split on how to view these actions.
Creeks in the Southwest
The new government firmly takes charge of Native American policy.
The Creeks are having problems with Georgia so the feds step in.
The government singles out Alexander McGillivray for negotiations due to his complex background.
The Americans offer protection and a guarantee of tribal lands for a limited concession of territory.
McGilligray sends them away to humiliate them in part due to Creek military strength.
The government can't spare the resources for war so they invite the chief to New York.
The 1790 Treaty of New York signs the original terms with generous gift allowances.
These gifts have multiple objectives, what are some of them?
The treaty is ultimately unrealistic and never fully implemented.
Washington and his administration try an Indian policy more akin to the British but facts on the ground meant that confrontation is almost inevitable.
Ohio Indians in the Northwest
Native Americans in the Northwest are essentially neglected in the 1783 Treaty of Paris.
The 1784 Treaty of Stanwix does not settle issues as many tribes are not present.
The British still occupy a half dozen forts in the region and engage in fur trading throughout the region.
The American population doubles between 1770 and 1790 with thousands flooding into Kentucky and Ohio.
The U.s. army establishes a base at Fort Washington, Cincinnati, and leads pacification efforts of western Ohio.
Native Americans deflect and defeat several different advances.
New leadership eventually moves in and eliminates the organized threat in the Ohio region at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
In 1795, Native American negotiate the Treaty of Greenville where huge amounts of land is ceded to the U.S. in Ohio.
The U.S. also gives large annual subsidies to the Native Americans, why?
There is a temporary peace in the region though the hunger for land will continue.
France and Britain
Wars are near constant between France and Britain again during the French Revolution.
The French Revolution is flattering to the Americans.
Lots of sympathy exists for France in the U.S. though some are fearful of revolutionary excess.
At first these are just matters of personal preference but over time acquire important foreign policy ramifications.
The French alliance and assistance during the revolution lead many to support France but radical turns and British commercial interests have others to be more neutral.
Washington issues a Neutrality Proclamation in 1793 but trade is continually violated by both sides.
John Jay is sent to negotiate outstanding and new issues with the British.
The Jay Treaty is signed that please few and is seen as being too generous to Britain.
A close bitter vote barely ratifies the treaty and secures its' fundinghttp://api.ning.com/files/ZCdQRqc*BDfP9TR6gdyJVb5DwadVAQo1s1DZVJLWk3SLj6Asu0ens2zQCG3GkFt9afNJ4oR33zh8pnmXAu7IW*8Hahc95VWp/bois_caiman.jpg
The Haitian Revolution
As the French Revolution starts it sparks a slave revolt in Saint Domingue, a French colony on the western third of Hispaniola.
By 1804, Haiti would secure its independence as the only successful slave rebellion in history.
In 1790, 30,000 whites dominate an island of 500,000 slaves, 2/3 of whom are African born, growing mainly coffee and sugar.
28,000 people of mixed race live on the island owning 1/3 of the land and ¼ of the slaves but are completely excluded from political power.
Problems in the colony arrive with news of the French Revolution.
A three stage process occurs: 1st the colony rebels to join the Revolutionary government; 2nd the mixed race group rebels to gain equal access to political power; 3rd there is a full scale slave revolt.
France, Spain, and Britain are all involved at various points.
Toussaint L’Ouverture leads the successful revolution.
Many white and mixed race planters flee to the U.S. particularly to Charleston and New Orleans.
Americans are in general very interested in news from Haiti and most are terrified of the possibility of similar events occurring in the U.S.
French speaking blacks are completely barred from entering the U.S.
Jefferson and others are deeply fearful of a potential race war.
Haiti does have supporters in the Northeast but in general the new state will be neglected and essentially boycotted for decades.
The Election of 1796
Washington leaves arguing for unity of government and no permanent foreign alliances.
Adams runs against Jefferson and wins but constitutional issues mean that Jefferson is now the new Vice President.
This constitutional deficiency is not corrected until the twelfth amendment of 1804.
Adam’s cabinet is essentially dominated by Hamilton’s people who is extremely influential in government.
Attempts by Jefferson and Adams to come to a working relationship are ended by those on the cabinet supporting Hamilton.
The X,Y,Z Affair
The French abandon the U.S. alliance as a result of Jay’s Treaty.
The French refuse accrediting the new American ambassador to France.
French privateers begin to raid American shipping to Britain and by 1797 three hundred ships have been seized.
Many Americans begin to talk about an open war with France.
Congress subsequently approves a large increase in military spending.
Three American commissioners are sent to France to come to an arraignment but are refused meetings.
X,Y, and Z, three French government officials, request a 250,000 dollar bribe and a twelve million dollar loan as the prerequisites for peace.
The commissioners are outraged and refuse the request for bribery bringing the scandal back to the U.S. where the public is inflamed by this news.
The U.S. puts even more money into the military and launches an unofficial war known as the Quasi-War.
The main action takes place in the French Caribbean where one hundred French ships are captured.
Since France is unlikely to invade the U.S. many Republicans are fearful that the military buildup is an excuse for Hamilton to gain and consolidate more power.
The two political groups in American society are increasingly acrimonious, with frequent societal disturbances and views the other group almost as traitors.
The Alien and Sedition Acts
With the political dissent so high and nearly out of control the Federalists move to clamp down on dissent.
They pass in 1798 the Sedition Act which made conspiracy and revolt illegal, it also penalized speaking or writing poorly of the President or Congress.
Since criticizing the government is now illegal, twenty five Republican editors are charged and twelve convicted.
Congress also passes two alien acts which increase the wait of foreigners for citizenship from five years to fourteen and force them to register with the government.
It also gives the government the power to legally detain them without trial if they are viewed as dangerous to the United States.
This is meant to discourage French immigration from coming to the U.S.
The Republicans strongly oppose these laws as contradictory to the Bill of Rights but do not have the votes or the judges to overturn them.
Jefferson and Madison create the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions that suggest that states can nullify Federal law if needed, an idea that continues to be influential up until the Civil War.
During Adams’ administration he does not use these new laws to jail his opponents and also doesn’t declare war on France.
Adams realizes how Hamilton has been manipulating things behind the scenes.
In January 1799 he arranges a peaceful settlement with France.
The Federalists are ultimately unhappy with his presidency and do not support him sufficiently for reelection in 1800, in which Jefferson becomes president.
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