Chapter 10: Launching the New Ship of State 1789-1800

  • Americans had come to distrust central authority from their experience with King George III
  • Almost no revenue, MUCH public debt
  • Worthless paper money plentiful, metallic money scarce.

Growing Pains:

  • Constitution launched in 1789
  • Population growth! - 90% rural, 5% West of Appalachians.
  • Mouth of Mississippi controlled by Spaniards. Spanish and British tried to lure settlers w/ $$ and promise of independence.

Washington fir President:

  • Washington unanimously drafted as president by Electoral College in 1789
  • NYC=temporary capital
  • Washington established cabinet. Secretary of State: Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of Treasury: ALEXANDER HAMILTON!, Secretary of War: Henry Knox

The Bill of Rights:

  • James Madison drafted Bill of Rights himself - then guided them through Congress
  • BoR adopted in 1791
  • Judiciary Act of 1789 - created federal courts. Supreme Court - chief justice and 5 associates - attorney general.
  • John Jay = first chief justice

Hamilton Revives the Corpse of Public Credit:

  • Hamilton's plan: shape fiscal policies to favor wealthy groups, they would then lend government monetary and political support => propertied classes would fatten, money would trickle down to the masses.
  • Urged Congress to "fund at par" - federal government would pay off debts w/ interest $54 million
  • State debts became national obligation => bound states tighter to federal government
  • Virginia wanted federal district on the Potomac, carried through in 1790

Customs Duties and Excise Taxes:

  • Hamilton - "Father of the National Debt" - He made debt into an asset for vitalizing financial system and government (what a genius! - yes, you are allowed to swoon)
  • First tariff law 1789: low tariff of about 8% on the value of dutiable imports
  • 1791 - tax on domestic items like whiskey (excise revenue)

Hamilton Battles Jefferson for a Bank:

  • Hamilton proposed a Bank of US - powerful private institution, government would be major stockholder, federal funds would stimulate business and bank could print much needed paper money.
  • Jefferson opposed - "unconstitutional,"; bank should be left to the states as it isn't in the Constitution.
  • Jefferson believed that what the Constitution did not permit, it forbade.
  • Hamilton believed what the Constitution did not forbid, it permitted. "implied powers" "loose construction" "elastic clause"
  • Washington was convinced - signed bank measure into law. 1791 - Philadelphia - $10 million
  • Bank supported by North and opposed by South

Mutinous Moonshiners in Pennsylvania:

  • The Whiskey Rebellion - SW Pennsylvania 1794. Tax was a burden on "homespun pioneer folk,' "Liberty and No Excise" protest, tarred and feathered revenue officers.
  • Militia (from several states) marched don them
  • Washington pardoned rebels. => Foes of government administration condemned brutal display of force - 'sledgehammer to crush a gnat'

The Emergence of Political Parties:

  • Hamilton's successes - funding, assumption, excise tax, the bank, the suppression of Whiskey Rebellion - all things that encroached states' rights
  • In the past, factions existed: Whigs and Tories, federalists and anitfederalists, but all were over specific issues and didn't count as legit parties.
  • Madison and Jefferson organized opposition to Hamiltonian ways.
  • Newspapers spread both ideals and sides began to form.
  • "Loyal opposition" allows for balance in government. - But founding fathers were against it because it seemed kind of like disloyalty.

The Impact of the French Revolution:

  • Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans vs. Hamiltonian Federalists on foreign policy
  • French Revolution: Democratic-Republicans overjoyed, Hamiltonians hostile to "despicable mobocracy"
  • Guillotine, bloodshed, reign of terror - yikes!

Washington's Neutrality Proclamation:

  • Franco-American alliance of 1778 was still on.
  • Democratic-Republicans were for fighting w/ France against Britain.
  • Washington knew war must be avoided.
  • Neutrality Proclamation of 1793 - no taking British or French sides, US government would be neutral/
  • Jeffersonians (pro-French) upset, especially cause Washington didn't consult with Congress about this
  • Edmond Genet - recruited armies to invade Spanish Florida and British Canada. Genet was suppressed and replaced.
  • US effectively was on French side, and provided food for the French army.

Embroilments with Britain:

  • British retained northern frontier posts - sold firearms to Indians of Miami Confederacy (Little Turtle = war chief)
  • Miamis attacked US army
  • Under General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, Miamis got pwned at the Battle of Fallen Timbers
  • Treaty of Greenville - Miami Confederacy gave up vast tracts of Old NW (inc. Indiana and Ohio) in exchange for $$, right to hunt on the lands they'd given up, MOST hoped recognition of their sovereign status.
  • British navy attacked US merchant ships - Jeffersonians wanted to fight Britain again, but Federalists refused

Jay's Treaty and Washington's Farewell:

  • 1794 Washington sent Jay to London.
  • Britain would pay damages for recent seizures, but they made no peace promises for the future, and US had to pay debts from Revolutionary War (good for north, bad for south)
  • Jeffersonian mobs figuratively hanged, burned, and guillotined John Jay (it's safe to assume they were pissed)
  • Pinckney's Treaty of 1795 with Spain granted Americans free navigation of the Miss. and N. Florida.
  • Washington retired after two terms, farewell address warned against "temporary alliances"

John Adams Becomes President:

  • Election was close - Adams won, Jefferson became VP - 1796
  • Adams "tactless and prickley intellectual aristocrat"
  • Hamilton hated Adams - resigned in 1795 - led "High Federalists"

Unofficial Fighting with France:

  • French furious w/ Jay's Treaty
  • French warships seized American merchant vessels.
  • Adams sent agents X, Y, and Z (John Marshall being one of them) to France to meet w/ Talleyrand (French Foreign Minister) and negotiate to avoid war. Never met him because they were asked to pay large sums of money. XYZ affair.
  • Navy Department created. Marine Corps. Army authorized.
  • 1798-1800: unofficial war on the sea

Adams Puts Patriotism Above Party:

  • War would be bad - Adams sent enjoys to France for peace
  • Convention of 1800: France and US "annul marriage" but America agrees to pay damages. Success for Adams.

The Federalist Witch Hunt:

  • Federalists raised requirements for aliens desired to be citizens from 5 years to 14.
  • President empowered to deport dangerous foreigners in peacetime and deport or imprison them in times of hostility.
  • Sedition Act: Anyone who impeded policies of government or falsely defamed officials would be liable to fine and imprisonment (1st amendment?!?!)

The Virginia (Madison) and Kentucky (Jefferson) Resolutions:

  • Jefferson(ians) feared Congress would take away more rights in Constitution - head towards dictatorship
  • Jefferson and Madison drew up resolutions that were accepted by Virginia and Kentucky legislatures. 1798-1799
  • Compact theory: national government was a creation of the states - individual states were the final judges on whether the federal government had overstepped its authority. Federal government had exceeded power through Alien and Sedition Acts. Should be nullified (refused).

Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans:


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