George Washington was chosen as the first president of the US. John Adams became the first vice president. Many Americans feared a president would try to become king, but they trusted Washington. Washington said the president should be addressed as “Mr. President.”
Congress set up 3 departments in the executive branch and President Washington appointed people to head those departments. State Department –Handles relations with foreign countries –Thomas Jefferson was the first Secretary of State –Condoleezza Rice is the current Secretary of State
As secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton’s biggest challenge was paying off the national debt from the Revolutionary War. A national debt is $$ owed by the US. The US owed about $11.7 million to foreign countries and about $40.4 million to US citizens.
Hamilton wanted to pay the foreign debt immediately and gradually repay the total value. During the war, the gov’t raised $$ w/ bonds. Bonds are certificates of debt that carry a promise to buy back the bonds at a higher price. Bondholders who needed $$ sold their bonds for less than the original value to speculators. Speculators are people who buy items at low prices.
The 2 nd part of his plan caused disagreements b/c paying full value would allow speculators to make a profit. Thomas Jefferson thought this idea cheated bondholders who had sold their bonds at low prices.
The states owed $25 million for Revolutionary War expenses. Hamilton wanted the federal gov’t to pay for $21.5 million of this debt. He believed that this action would help the federal gov’t. The S., however, did not want to help the federal gov’t pay the debts of other states.
Hamilton knew in order to get his plan passed, he would need the help of southern representatives. Hamilton met w/ southern representatives and promised the moved the capital from the N. to the S. The compromise worked!! The capital was moved from Philadelphia to land between Maryland and Virginia. This land is known as Washington D.C.
Alexander Hamilton believed in a strong federal gov’t. Thomas Jefferson wanted to protect the powers of the states. Their conflict reflected basic differences in their opinions about democracy. Hamilton had little faith in the people and thought they could not make their own decisions unless they were wealthy. Jefferson, on the other hand, believed that it was the right of all people to rule the country.
Hamilton and Jefferson also fought over how the country’s economy should grow. Hamilton wanted to promote manufacturing and business. In addition, he wanted to pass higher tariffs. Jefferson worried about depending too much on business and manufacturing. He believed that farmers would be the most effective by this. A final disagreement between Hamilton and Jefferson was over the start of a national bank.
Hamilton wanted to start a national bank where the gov’t could safely deposit its money. The bank would also make loans to the gov’t and businesses. Both Jefferson and James Madison believed that Hamilton’s plan gave too much power to the federal gov’t. Jefferson wrote to President Washington to stop the development of the national bank. However, Washington and Congress agreed w/ Hamilton and in 1791 the Bank of the US was created.
Alexander Hamilton placed a tax on whiskey. His actions led to a rebellion in the west. Many farmers used the surplus corn to make whiskey. They used this whiskey to trade for other goods they needed. 500 farmers w/ swords, guns, and pitchforks attacked tax collectors and burned down buildings.
This protest was known as the Whiskey Rebellion. President Washington personally took 13,000 soldiers to crush the rebellion. The rebellion collapsed as soon as the army crossed the Appalachian Mts.
The gov’t faced problems w/ Native Americans in the W. On many occasions, Native Americans turned to Britain and Spain for help. The 2 European nations jumped on the chance to prevent further American settlement. Washington signed treaties w/ Indians concerning lands in the west, yet many Americans ignored the treaties and moved onto the Indian lands.
At first, many Americans cheered and supported the French overthrowing the gov’t. The French had helped the Americans gain their independence and their revolution seemed to embody many of the ideals of the American Revolution. However, this changed when the war became bloody, attacked religion and had a disregard for citizens liberties.
In 1793, France and Britain went to war. People in the S. sided w/ France while people in the N. sided w/ Britain b/c they traded w/ Britain. President Washington issued the Proclamation of Neutrality which: –Prohibited American citizens from fighting in the war –Barred French/British warships from American ports –Closed American seaports
The British began seizing American ships that traded w/ the French and made the merchants join the British navy. When the US made peace with the Native Americans in the W., the US and Britain signed the Jay’s Treaty. Jay’s Treaty did the following: –Britain agreed to withdraw from American soil –Pay damages for ships they seized –Allow American ships to trade w/ British colonies
The US even signed a treaty with Spain known as Pinckney’s Treaty. –In the treaty, Spain gave America access to the Mississippi River and destroyed their forts on American soil.
Washington served 8 yrs as president and announced he would not run again for another 4 yrs. Before Washington left the presidency, he issued the “Farewell Address”. In his address, Washington: –Said political parties are EVIL –Do not have permanent alliances w/ foreign nations (don’t trust foreign countries) –Stay out of European affairs, let them handle their own business (mind your own business)
Election of 1796 The election of 1796 began a new era in US politics. For the 1 st time, more than 1 candidate ran for president. Political parties had begun to form. Despite Washington’s warnings about political parties, the rivalry between 2 parties dominated the 1796 election.
Alexander Hamilton found the Federalist Party, which supported the federal gov’t and big businesses. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison found the Democratic-Republican Party, which wanted to limit the power of the federal gov’t. In the end, John Adams defeated Thomas Jefferson and became the 2 nd president of the US.
Many people did not like John Adams b/c they saw him as cold and distant. However, they respected him b/c of his hard work, honesty, and intelligence.
Early in his administration, Adams faced a problem w/ France. The French did not like the treaty the US signed w/ Britain. They viewed it as the US assisting the British in their war.
President Adams, wanted to avoid war w/ France. Therefore, he sent delegation to Paris to try to resolve the issue. The French foreign minister refused to meet w/ the Americans. Instead, he sent 3 agents who demanded a bribe and a loan for France from the US. Adams referred to the 3 agents as X, Y, and Z, this became known as the XYZ Affair. The President urged congress to declare war on France.
Congress responded by creating the Navy Department and built warships. They also appointed George Washington as commanding general. Congress, however, never really declared war on France. Instead, the US and France fought an undeclared war naval battle.
B/c the US had a lot of immigrants, they wondered if a war broke out w/ France, who would all the immigrants support. As a result, the US passed the Alien Act. –Gave president the power to deport aliens he considered dangerous –Made it difficult for immigrants to become citizens –Made individuals live here 14 yr instead of 5 yrs to become citizens of the US
Congress also passed the Sedition Act. –Made it a crime to speak, write, or publish “false, scandalous and malicious” criticism of the gov’t, Congress or the president.