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Life in the New Nation

Events of the First Five Presidencies

Todd Wonderlin

on 12 December 2017

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Transcript of Life in the New Nation

The French Revolution - Federalists opposed the Revolution, while Jeffersonian Republicans saw it as an extension of the American Revolution
War between France and England - Washington proclaimed
, and refused to take sides*
However, Britain threatened America, so Washington signed
Jay's Treaty
to keep neutral*
Many Americans saw this as a sellout to the hated British
Events of the First
Five Presidencies

Elected unanimously
John Adams was VP*
Life in the New Nation
1. George Washington
Problems when Washington was inaugurated
Huge war debt*
Lacked a permanent capital*
No federal officers* beyond Washington, Adams, and the Congress
He set the bar very high -
his major goal was to gain respect for the U.S. among other nations*
- act that becomes an example or tradition to be followed*
Washington established many:
Only served two terms*
Being called "Mr. President,"* not a royal term
Always deferred to Congress about military decisions*
Picked his own Cabinet*
Washington's Cabinet

Attorney General - Edmund Randolph*
Secretary of War - Henry Knox*
Secretary of State -
Thomas Jefferson*
Secretary of the Treasury -
Alexander Hamilton*
Hamilton vs. Jefferson
-Federalist Party (wanted strong central gov.) -Jeffersonian Republican (wanted to limit gov. power)
-Economy should be based on industry -Economy should be based on agriculture
-Only the educated should be involved in gov. -Everyone should be involved in gov.
-Needed a national bank to pay off war debt -A national bank would be unconstitutional
-Believed in a "loose" construction -Believed in a "strict" construction
Loose Construction
- the government could use powers that were not specifically prohibited by the Constitution*
(favored by
Strict Construction
- the government could only do what the Constitution specifically said it could*
(favored by
Several key issues arose during Washington's presidency
Foreign Problems
Domestic Problems
The Whiskey Rebellion
- Some frontiersmen refused to pay the tax on whiskey.*
Washington led an army of 12,000 to western PA and squashed the rebellion himself.
Political parties soon began to form* -
(wanted a strong government) vs.
Jeffersonian Republicans
(wanted a weaker government) - exactly what Washington didn't want
Farewell Address
Washington announced that he wouldn't seek a third term in 1796
He offered much advice for the nation in his Farewell Address:
Warned against the formation of political parties*
Called for a foreign policy of neutrality*
Advised against divisive sectionalism
Positioning of a new
capital city
Planning a Capital City
NYC was home to the government during Washington's first term
The capital was moved to Philadelphia in 1790
However, wealthy southern land owners wanted it further south, and made a deal to agree to the national bank if it were moved there
Residence Act of 1790
- specified a 10-square-mile stretch of land along the MD-VA border*
Capital moved to the District of Columbia in 1800 (name changed to Washington, D.C. after Washington's death)
The Election of 1796
2. John Adams
3. Thomas Jefferson
4. James Madison
5. James Monroe
VP - Thomas Jefferson*
Very close election, as the country was divided
Main candidates were John Adams (Federalist) and Thomas Jefferson (Jeffersonian Republican)*
Federalists won with 71-68 electoral votes*
Because Jefferson finished in second, he became the new Vice President under the old election system in the Constitution
This led to problems in the White House
Many issues plagued Adams' presidency
Foreign Problems
America was drifting to war with France
Adams sent officials to France to negotiate for peace
In the
XYZ Affair,
the French demanded a bribe from the Americans, which they refused to pay - led to a naval war*
Alien and Sedition Acts (1798)
- gave the government increased powers over citizens' rights*
It essentially became illegal to criticize the government
Federalists used this to silence many Republicans
Domestic Problems
Jefferson and James Madison believed the Alien and Sedition Acts violated freedom of speech (1st Amendment)
Responded with the
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
- argued that if states saw federal actions as unconstitutional, the law could be "null and void" in the state*
These were never enforced, but
challenged federal power*
This caused tensions to rise even further between Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans
Foreign Problems
1. XYZ Affair
2. Alien and Sedition Acts
Domestic Problems
1. VA & KY Resolutions
2. Increased party tensions
Fury in Congress over the Alien and Sedition Acts
The Election of 1800
There was a truly nasty campaign* - Adams was called an "enemy of the people," Jefferson was portrayed as a "godless man"
Jefferson won the popular vote, but not a majority of the electoral college - his main rival was actually his running mate, Aaron Burr (73-73 electoral votes)
The vote then went to the House of Representatives
The voting remained deadlocked, but on February 17, 1801, the House elected Jefferson the third President of the United States*
The election proved that power could be transferred peacefully from one political party to another*
VP - Aaron Burr
- George Clinton*
Sought to reduce the
power of government*
Many positive issues arose
during Jefferson's presidency
Marbury v. Madison
The first major action by the Supreme Court
John Adams had tried to appoint several judges before he left office, and Jefferson tried to stop this from occurring, so one judge, William Marbury, sued
The Court ruled that it could not force Jefferson to appoint William Marbury
Established power of
judicial review
- enables courts to decide if state and federal laws are Constitutional*
Louisiana Purchase
American farmers depended on the Mississippi River to send their crops to foreign markets
Jefferson sent James Monroe to France to try to buy New Orleans to the U.S. for $10 million
The French then offered all of "Louisiana" to the U.S. for $15 million - Monroe agreed, without Jefferson's approval - but he overcame his "strict construction" view and allowed it
This more than doubled the size of the U.S.*
Lewis and Clark Expedition
- 1804-1805, gathered substantial information about the Louisiana Territory*
BUT, the Embargo Act of 1807
ruined his second term
Embargo Act of 1807
Jefferson tried to punish the British and French for interrupting American trade
The Act outlawed most trade with foreign countries*
In reality, it didn't really injure the French and British
Many Americans hated it, and despised the direct interference of the national government on the economy
The Election of 1808
James Madison (Jeffersonian Republican) vs. Charles Pinckney (Federalist)
Madison won easily (122-47 electoral votes)*
However, George Clinton continued to serve as Vice President
VP - George Clinton*
- Elbridge Gerry*
The War of 1812 dominated his presidency
The War of 1812
Cause #1
The British had encouraged Indians to attack American settlers to the West & interfered with American shipping*
Cause #2
British practice of
- the act of forcing American sailors into the British navy*
Causes of the War of 1812
An unprepared American military invaded British-held Canada
They were badly defeated in many battles in the Northwestern territories of the United States*
The British won a number of naval battles in the Atlantic,* due to a far-superior British navy
In August, 4,000 British troops invaded Washington, D.C., and burned the White House*
"Star-Spangled Banner"
was written at the Battle of Fort McHenry
Treaty of Ghent

officially ended the war*
The Election of 1816
James Monroe, a Republican and former governor of VA, easily won election (and also re-election in 1820) as the Fifth President of the U.S.*
VP - Daniel Tompkins*
Major Issue #1
Monroe Doctrine
Major Issue #2
Missouri Compromise
The Monroe Doctrine
President Monroe's attempt to keep European countries from interfering with the Western Hemisphere* - it had four main points:
1. The U.S. would remain neutral in the affairs of European nations
2. The U.S. would recognize existing colonies of European nations in the Western Hemisphere
3. The U.S. would not permit any further colonization of the Western Hemisphere
4. Any attempt by a European power to colonize the Western Hemisphere would be seen as a hostile action by the U.S.
The Monroe Doctrine
The Missouri Compromise
Congress's plan to admit Missouri as a state
Three main points:
1. Slavery would not be restricted in Missouri*
2. Maine would be admitted into the U.S. as a free (non-slave) state*
3. Slavery could not exist north of 36*30' N latitude*
Effects - kept the balance between slave and free states at 12 states each*
Second War of Independence??
What do you think might have happened if George Washington wasn’t as strong a president as he was?
What do you think was the most influential event of the presidencies of Adams and Jefferson? Why?
Full transcript