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Chapter 11 Political Developments in the Early Republic
Transcript of Chapter 11 Political Developments in the Early Republic
Washington was reluctantly pulled out of retirement to serve as the first President, taking the Oath of Office on April 30, 1789
When setting up the Executive Branch, Congress approved three departments to advise the President - War, State, and Treasury. Washington chose
Henry Knox Secretary of War (handles the nation's military),
Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State (handles relationships with other nations), and
Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury (handles the nations finances).
Washington chose Jefferson and Hamilton because both men were strong patriots, who had bright minds and had served their country during the war, but it is their differences that soon make them political rivals.
The most critical problem facing the new government was the lack of funds.
To raise money Congress placed a tax on the production of luxury goods, like whiskey and carriages
Settlers living West of the Appalachian Mountains were outraged - it was cheaper for them to distill their grains into whiskey before shipping it to the Eastern cities - and refused to pay.
The "Whiskey Boys" in Western Pennsylvania tarred and feathered a tax collector.
At Hamilton's urging, Washington sent 13,000 troops to put down the rebellion.
This worried Jefferson, because he believed it was foolish to send such a large force to capture tax rebels, but worse he worried that Hamilton was prepared to violate people's liberties by using force to end opposition to government policies.
The French Revolution
1789 the French people rebelled against their king - building a nation on "liberty, equality, and fraternity"
Three years later they set up a republic and declared "a war of all peoples against all kings."
Thomas Jefferson and his supporters, the Democratic-Republicans, or simply Republicans, were thrilled seeing the French Revolution as part of the "crusade for democracy"
Alexander Hamilton and his followers, the Federalists, worried that what happened to the wealthy families in France - 20, 000 wealthy men, women, and children were killed - could happen to them too
Washington's Farewell Address
The growing divisions between the Federalists and Republicans so disturbed Washington that he agreed to run for a second term, however he would not run for a third
In his farewell address he reminded the nation of their similarities and warned them of two dangers
1. the problems the nation was having with other nations and
2. the "spirit of party" - he said it was natural to have different opinions, but it becomes dangerous when you have passionate loyalty to the party
How did the Federalist and Republican visions for the United States differ?
Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Party
Hamilton was born in the West Indies on the island of St. Croix and moved to New York at the age of 13 to get a better education
Hamilton and most Federalists believed that people were basically selfish and out for themselves and for this reason distrusted a government that gave too much power to the people
Federalists believed that "the best people" - educated, wealthy, public spirited men like themselves should run the country
As John Jay put it, "Those who own the country, ought to govern it."
Federalists favor a strong central government with a loose construction or broad interpretation, of the Constitution where with the elastic clause Congress, could "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper."
Hamilton wanted to strengthen the country by developing a stronger economy
based on manufacturing, not agriculture,
by paying the nations debts quickly
creating a national bank - keep tax money safe and print a strong common currency
Federalists sided with Great Britain in her conflict with France in 1793
Thomas Jefferson and the Republican Party
Thomas Jefferson was a very bright young man who was very curious about the world around him
He used land inherited from his father to set up a tobacco plantation
Jefferson felt that informed citizens could make good decisions for themselves
Republicans favor democracy over all other forms of government and they feared that the Federalists' view of "the best people" governing was dangerously close to a monarchy
Republicans favored small national government/strong state government with a strict construction on the Constitution
Republicans felt that America's future belonged with the farmers not with big city merchants and bankers
Republicans also felt the National Bank was unfair to farmers since the bank would not give loans to buy land
Republicans sided with France, while regretting the bloodshed, they felt it was a small price to pay for freedom
The Presidency of John Adams
It was clear by the election of 1796 that political parties were going to play a role in the election of the President - Republicans supported Jefferson, and the Federalist supported John Adams - when the votes were counted Adams won by 3 votes
At first Adams tried to work closely with Jefferson, but then the Federalist Congress passed four laws called the Alien and Sedition Acts - laws to protect that nation form foreigners - which made life hard on the Republicans
Alien Acts - three laws aimed at aliens or non-citizens
lengthened the time it took for an immigrant to become a citizen 5 to 14 years
the other two allowed the president to either jail or deport aliens who were suspected of activities that threatened the government
Sedition Act - made encouraging rebellion against the government a crime
The Election of 1800
In this election each candidate chose a vice president as a running mate - Republicans chose Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr and Federalists chose John Adams and Charles Pinckney
Hamilton did not agree with Adams on foreign policy and tried to convince the electors to pick Pinckney over Adams, splitting the Federalist ticket
Each elector cast two votes, with the idea that whoever comes in second would be vice president, however when the votes were cast it was a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr
In case of a tie, the Constitution sends the election to the House of Representatives, each state was then given a vote, Burr could have told his supporters in the House to support Jefferson, but he did not - after 6 days and 35 votes it was Hamilton who broke the tie by asking his supporters to vote for Jefferson,
in 1804 the Twelfth Amendment was added to the Constitution - cast separate ballots, if there is a tie, the House picks president and the Senate picks the vice president
A Peaceful Revolution
The election of 1800 was a victory for Jefferson and his Republican Party. But it was also a victory for the new system of government established by the Constitution. In other countries, power changed hands by means of war or revolution. In the United States, power had passed from one group to another without a single shot being fired.