Hist 110 American Civilization I Instructor: Dr. Donald R. Shaffer Upper Iowa University
Lecture 7a Establishing a National Government U.S. Constitution left many details undecided, which became the business of the new national government in its early days Bill of Rights Meant to provide explicit guarantees of personal liberty 19 amendments proposed, 10 adopted and ratified Judiciary Act of 1789 Organized the federal judiciary, establishing district courts, appeals courts, and supreme court Federal judiciary’s actions tentative at first Washington as President Had great freedom in organizing the executive Organized his administration with precedents in mind George Washington c. 1795
Lecture 7a Hamilton’s Financial Program Hamilton was a cynic, but enjoyed a warm relationship with Washington (he had been his aide during the war) U.S. finances in bad shape U.S. debt: $54,124,464.56 in 1789 Report on Public Credit (1790) Hamilton proposed assuming state war debts, combining them with U.S. debt, and issuing new bonds to cover both Wanted to give investors more incentive to support the new government 2 nd Report on Public Credit (1790) Hamilton proposed Congress charter and invest in a bank to promote manufacturing Strict vs. broad construction Report on Manufactures (1791): Hamilton wanted a protective tariff Idea rejected by Congress, increasingly dominated by James Madison and his followers who adopted a tariff to fund the national debt and current government operations Alexander Hamilton First Treasury Secretary First Bank of the United States Philadelphia
Lecture 7a Growing Divisions The debate over Hamilton’s economic problem helped create political division Domestic Basis of Division Hamilton, Adams, and other Federalists wanted to promote more manufacturing Jefferson, Madison, and their followers, called Republicans, felt the stability of the republic required the U.S. stay mostly agricultural Foreign Policy Basis of Division The French Revolution, which started in 1787 and grew increasingly radical in the early 1790s, with the execution of the French King, Louis XVI, and France emerging as a republic Federalists were uncomfortable with the radicalism of the French Revolution, while Republicans tended to be more sympathetic Each faction was suspicious of the other as plotting against liberty Washington – “The Patriot King” Although sympathetic to the Federalists, Washington was able to largely stay above the divisions on the basis of his reputation George Washington personally led nearly 13,000 militia to crush the “Whiskey Rebellion”: a 1794 revolt of farmers in Western Pennsylvania against paying a federal excise tax on whiskey Why Washington’s personal interest?
Washington declined to run for President again in 1796 Adams prevailed over Jefferson in the Electoral College, with Jefferson becoming Vice President under the rules of that time Conflict with France XYZ Affair (1797): French diplomatic intimidation caused outrage in the U.S. Quasi-War (1798-1801): led to an undeclared naval war between the U.S. and France in the Caribbean Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) Four laws, the most important being the Sedition Act, in which Federalists essentially tried to outlaw Republican criticism of Adams administration Virginia & Kentucky Resolutions Jefferson and Madison’s way of criticizing the Federalists while avoiding arrest for sedition They proposed the states could “nullify” unconstitutional laws like the Sedition Act Lecture 7a Adams as President USS Constellation and Delaware capture the French vessel Le Croyable on July 7, 1798 First armed clash of the Quasi-War With British help the U.S. prevailed over France – why the British assistance?
Lecture 7a Election of 1800 Rematch of the 1796 election with Jefferson challenging Adams One of the most controversial and bitter elections in American history It also revealed a weakness in the Constitution of 1787 Initial results of Electoral College: Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied throwing the election into the Federalist- controlled House of Representatives 35 ballots produced no winner there, until several Federalists changed their votes, electing Jefferson The change supposedly came from Alexander Hamilton’s influence Election led to 12 th Amendment mandating running mates be voted for on one ticket Aaron Burr Thomas Jefferson’s ostensible running-mate