Presentation on theme: "Election of 1796 Washington struggled to appear above party politics ◦ farewell address stressed need to maintain a “unity of government” reflecting a."— Presentation transcript:
Election of 1796 Washington struggled to appear above party politics ◦ farewell address stressed need to maintain a “unity of government” reflecting a unified body politic Urged country to “steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” Leading contenders for position John Adams of Massachusetts Thomas Jefferson of Virginia ◦ in theory agreed with him around them raged a party contest split along pro-British versus pro-French lines.
Bruised by conflicts with Hamilton Jefferson resigned as secretary of state in 1793 ◦ retreated to Monticello Adams's job as vice president kept him closer to the political action Personality often put people off ◦ Temperamental ◦ thin-skinned - quick to take offense.
Federalists informally chose Adams as candidate ◦ Thomas Pinckney of South Carolina to run with him Republicans settled on Aaron Burr of New York to pair with Jefferson. Constitution did not anticipate parties and tickets. each electoral college voter could cast two votes for any two candidates - only one ballot. The top vote-getter became president, and the next-highest assumed the vice presidency. ◦ changed by Twelfth Amendment in 1804
In stepped Alexander Hamilton Hamilton did not trust Adams preferred Pinckney tried to influence electors to throw their support to the South Carolinian plan backfired
Adams was elected president with 71 electoral votes Jefferson came in second with 68 and thus became vice president Pinckney got 59 votes, while Burr trailed with 30.
Adams's inaugural speech pledged neutrality in foreign affairs and respect for the French people Retained three cabinet members from Washington's administration ◦ secretaries of state, treasury, and war ◦ Hamilton loyalists Vice President Jefferson extended a conciliatory hand to Adams Hamiltonian cabinet ruined the honeymoon. Jefferson's advice spurned ◦ withdrew from active counsel of the president.
The XYZ Affair From start Adams's presidency was in crisis France retaliated for British-friendly Jay Treaty by abandoning 1778 alliance with US French privateers detaining American ships carrying British goods ◦ by March 1797, more than three hundred American vessels had been seized Federalists started murmuring about war with Adams preferred negotiations Dispatched three-man commission to France in the fall of 1797
French officials would not receive them Finally Talleyrand ◦ French minister of foreign affairs sent three French agents- unnamed ◦ later known to the American public as X, Y, and Z $250,000 might grease the wheels of diplomacy $12 million loan to the French government price of a peace treaty Incensed, the commissioners brought news of the bribery attempt to the president.
Even staunch pro-French Republicans began to reevaluate their allegiance Federalist-dominated Congress appropriated ◦ money for an army of ten thousand soldiers ◦ repealed all prior treaties with France 1798, twenty naval warships launched the United States into its first undeclared war ◦ Quasi-War Main action in Caribbean ◦ more than one hundred French ships were captured.
No home-front unity Antagonism intensified between Federalists and Republicans. Seemed little chance of a land invasion by France leading Republicans feared Federalists' real aim might be to raise the army to threaten domestic dissenters President Adams was increasingly mistrustful But cabinet backed the military buildup beginning to suspect that his cabinet was more loyal to Hamilton than to the president.
Pro-French mobs roamed the capital ◦ Adams stocked weapons in presidential quarters Federalists, too, went on the offensive Massachusetts lit a huge bonfire ◦ burned issues of the state's Republican newspapers One Federalist editor ominously declared that “he who is not for us is against us.”
Alien and Sedition Acts Tempers dangerously high ◦ Fears political dissent was akin to treason Federalist leaders moved to muffle the opposition mid-1798 Sedition Act made conspiracy and revolt illegal penalized speaking or writing anything that defamed the president or Congress ◦ Criticizing government leaders became a criminal offense In all, twenty-five men, almost all Republican newspaper editors, were charged with sedition; twelve were convicted.
Congress also passed two Alien Acts First ◦ extended waiting period for an alien to achieve citizenship from five to fourteen years ◦ required all aliens to register with the federal government. Second ◦ empowered the president to deport or imprison without trial any foreigner suspected of being a danger to the United States clear intent to harass French immigrants already in the United States and to discourage others from coming.
Republicans strongly opposed Alien and Sedition Acts on grounds that they were in conflict with the Bill of Rights ◦ did not have the votes to revoke the acts in Congress, 1798 Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions tested the argument that state legislatures have the right to judge the constitutionality of federal laws and to nullify laws that infringe on the liberties of the people as defined in the Bill of Rights Resolutions made little dent in the Alien and Sedition Acts ◦ But idea of a state's right to nullify federal law did not disappear
1798, President Adams regained his balance ◦ restrained in pursuing opponents under the Sedition Act ◦ refused to declare war on France ◦ realized how much he had been the dupe of Hamilton January 1799, letter from France arrived assuring Adams that diplomatic channels were open ◦ new commissioners would be welcomed in France. Adams accepted this overture and appointed new negotiators By late 1799, Quasi-War with France had subsided 1800 negotiations resulted in a treaty declaring “a true and sincere friendship” between the United States and France. Federalists not pleased - Adams lost the support of a significant part of his own party ◦ sealed his fate as the first one-term president of the United States.
Turbulent Times: Election and Rebellion Election of 1800 openly organized along party lines self-designated national leaders of each group met to handpick their candidates for president and vice president. ◦ Adams's chief opponent was Thomas Jefferson. Result of the election uncertain from polling time in November to repeated roll call votes in the House of Representatives February 1801 ◦ Adams no longer in race once it got to the House Contest between Jefferson and his running mate, Senator Aaron Burr of New York
Republican voters slipped up Jefferson and Burr had equal number of votes outcome possible because of the single balloting to choose both president and vice president Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, adopted four years later, provided for distinct ballots for the two offices Burr declined to concede so Federalist-dominated House of Representatives took up its constitutional mandate to choose which Republican would become president.
Each state delegation had one vote ◦ candidate needed nine votes to win Some Federalists preferred Burr believing that his character flaws made him susceptible to Federalist pressure Alexander Hamilton ◦ no friend of Jefferson recognized that high-strung Burr would be more dangerous than Jefferson in the presidency Jefferson was a “contemptible hypocrite” in Hamilton's opinion, but at least he was not corrupt.
Jefferson received eight votes on first ballot Thirty-six ballots and six days later ◦ he got the critical ninth vote, as well as a tenth Remarkable feature of the new constitutional government No matter how hard fought the campaign, the leadership of the nation could shift in a peaceful transfer of power effected by ballots, not bullets
When the election was finally over, President Jefferson mounted the inaugural platform to announce “We are all republicans, we are all federalists,”
As the country struggled over its white leadership crisis twenty-four-year-old blacksmith named Gabriel ◦ slave of Thomas Prossor plotted rebellion in Virginia
Retrospective – group work Each group to create a statement discussing: Objectives and results of the American Revolution for one of the following groups African Americans Native Americans Women White males Make use of your lecture notes and the reading you have done
Jefferson sidestepped the problem of slavery Turned attention to establishing administration in contrast to the Federalists For his inauguration, held in the village optimistically called Washington City ◦ dressed in everyday clothing ◦ walked to the Capitol For modest swearing-in ceremony scaled back Federalist building plans for Washington Cut government budget Avoiding formality of state parties and liveried servants. Jefferson's apparent carelessness was very deliberate.
Jefferson's paramount goal - roll back federal power ◦ not Antifederalist events of 1790s caused him to worry about the stretching of powers watched with distrust as Hamiltonian policies ◦ refinanced the public debt ◦ established a national bank ◦ secured commercial ties with Britain Policies to promote interests of greedy speculators at the expense of the rest of the country In Jefferson's vision, the source of true liberty in America was the independent farmer ◦ someone who owned and worked his land both for himself and for the market.
Set out to dismantle Federalist innovations ◦ Reduced the army by a third ◦ Kept navy small With the consent of Congress ◦ abolished all federal internal taxes based on population or whiskey. Government revenue would now derive solely from customs duties and from the sale of western land Strategy benefited the South ◦ three-fifths clause of the Constitution counted slaves for both representation and taxation South could exercise extra influence in House of Representatives ◦ without the threat of extra taxes end of his first term, Jefferson had deeply reduced Hamilton's cherished national debt.
Government jobs were kept to a minimum President had just one private secretary young man named ◦ Meriwether Lewis ◦ Jefferson paid him out of his own pocket Department of State employed 8 people Treasury Department was by far largest ◦ 73 revenue commissioners, auditors, and clerks ◦ 2 watchmen Entire payroll of the executive branch amounted to a mere 130 people in 1801.
One large set of government workers lay beyond Jefferson's command. His predecessor, John Adams, had seized the few weeks between his election defeat and Jefferson's inauguration to appoint 217 Federalists to various judicial, diplomatic, and military posts. Most of this windfall of appointments came to Adams as a result of the Judiciary Act of 1801, passed in the final month of his presidency. Its predecessor, the Judiciary Act of 1789, had established a six-man Supreme Court and six circuit courts. The new law authorized sixteen circuit courts, each headed by a new judge. If he acted quickly, Adams could appoint sixteen circuit court judges with lifetime tenure, plus dozens more attorneys, marshals, and clerks for each court. The 1801 act also reduced the Supreme Court from six to five justices. Prior to its passage, however, Adams appointed solidly Federalist Virginian John Marshall to a vacant sixth seat. After the 1801 act became law, a future president would not be able to fill the next empty seat.
In the last weeks of February 1801, Adams and Marshall worked feverishly to secure agreements from the new appointees. In view of the slowness of the mail, achieving 217 acceptances was astonishing. The two men were at work until 9 p.m. on the last night Adams was president, signing and delivering commissions (appointment papers) to the new officeholders. The appointment of the “midnight judges” infuriated the Republicans. Jefferson, upon taking office, immediately canceled the appointments of the nontenured men and refused to honor the few appointments that had not yet been delivered. One of them was addressed to William Marbury, who soon decided to sue the new secretary of state, James Madison, for failure to make good on the appointment. This action gave rise to a landmark Supreme Court case, Marbury v. Madison, decided in 1803. The Court, presided over by John Marshall, ruled that although Marbury's commission was valid and the new president should have delivered it, the Court could not compel him to do so. What made the case significant was little noted at the time: The Court found that the grounds of Marbury's suit, resting in the Judiciary Act of 1789, were in conflict with the Constitution. For the first time, the Court acted to disallow a law on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. John Marshall quietly established the concept of judicial review; the Supreme Court in effect assumed the legal authority to nullify acts judged in conflict with the Constitution.
The Promise of the West: The Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition The reach of the Marbury decision went largely unnoticed in 1803 because the president and Congress were preoccupied with other major issues, among them the acquisition of the Louisiana Territory. Up through the Seven Years' War (see chapter 6), France claimed but only lightly settled a large expanse of land west of the Mississippi River, only to lose it to Spain in the 1763 Treaty of Paris. Spain never sent adequate forces to control or settle the land, and Spanish power in North America remained precarious everywhere outside New Orleans. Meanwhile, American farming families were settling Kentucky and Tennessee, along rivers emptying into the upper Mississippi, and for a time, the Spanish allowed them to ship their agricultural produce downriver and even encouraged American settlements across the river, in an effort to augment the population. By 1801, Americans made up a sizable minority of the population around the lower Mississippi. Publicly, Jefferson protested the luring of Americans to Spanish territory, but privately he welcomed it as a potential move toward appropriating territory immediately west of the Mississippi. He wrote, “I wish a hundred thousand of our inhabitants would accept the invitation; it will be the means of delivering to us peaceably, what may otherwise cost us a war.”
Jefferson's fears of war were not unrealistic. In 1802, the Spanish governor revoked American shipping privileges through or past New Orleans. Congressmen began muttering about taking the city by force. Talk of war, especially in Federalist newspapers, became commonplace. In the same year, rumors reached Jefferson that Spain had struck a secret bargain with France to hand over a large part of Spain's trans-Mississippi territory to Napoleon in exchange for some land in Italy. Spain had proved a weak western neighbor, but France was another story. Jefferson was so alarmed that he instructed Robert R. Livingston, America's minister in France, to try to buy New Orleans. At first, the French denied they owned the city. But when Livingston hinted that the United States might simply seize it if buying was not an option, the French negotiator suddenly asked him to name his price for the entire Louisiana Territory, from the Gulf of Mexico north to Canada. Livingston stalled, and the Frenchman made suggestions: $125 million? $60 million? Livingston shrewdly stalled some more, and within days the French sold the entire territory for the bargain price of $15 million (Map 10.2). The French, motivated sellers, needed cash because of their impending war with Britain and the recent failure, despite committing twenty thousand troops, to prevent Haitian independence.
Jefferson and most of Congress were delighted with the outcome of the diplomatic mission. Still, Jefferson had some qualms about the Louisiana Purchase. The price was right, and the enormous territory fulfilled Jefferson's dream of abundant farmland for future generations. But by what authority expressed in the Constitution could he justify the purchase? His frequent criticism of Hamilton's stretching of the Constitution came back to haunt him. His legal reasoning told him he needed a constitutional amendment to authorize the addition of territory; more expedient minds told him the treaty-making powers of the president were sufficient. Expediency won out. In late 1803, the American army took formal control of the Louisiana Territory, and the United States grew by 828,000 square miles.
Even before the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson had eyed the trans-Mississippi West with intense curiosity. In early 1803, he had arranged congressional funding for a secret scientific and military mission into Spanish and Indian territory. Jefferson appointed twenty-eight-year-old Meriwether Lewis, his personal secretary, to head the expedition, instructing him to investigate Indian cultures, to collect plant and animal specimens, and to chart the geography of the West. Congress had more traditional goals in mind: The expedition was to scout locations for military posts, open commercial agreements for the fur trade, and locate any possible waterway between the East and West coasts. For his co-leader, Lewis chose Kentuckian William Clark, a veteran of the 1790s Indian wars. Together, they handpicked a crew of forty-five, including expert rivermen, gunsmiths, hunters, interpreters, a cook, and a slave named York, who belonged to Clark. The explorers left St. Louis in the spring of 1804, working their way northwest up the Missouri River. They camped for the winter at a Mandan village in what is now central North Dakota. The Mandan Indians were familiar with British and French traders from Canada, but the black man York created a sensation. Reportedly, the Indians rubbed moistened fingers over the man's skin to see if the color was painted on.
The following spring, the explorers headed west, accompanied by a sixteen-year-old Shoshoni woman named Sacajawea. Kidnapped by Mandans at about age ten, she had been sold to a French trapper as a slave/wife. Hers was not a unique story among Indian women; such women knew several languages, making them valuable translators and mediators. Further, Sacajawea and her new baby allowed the American expedition to appear peaceful to suspicious tribes. As Lewis wrote in his journal, “No woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter.” The Lewis and Clark expedition reached the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River in November 1805. When Lewis and Clark returned home the following year, they were greeted as national heroes. They had established favorable relations with dozens of Indian tribes; they had collected invaluable information on the peoples, soils, plants, animals, and geography of the West; and they had inspired a nation of restless explorers and solitary imitators.
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