Presentation on theme: " 1816-1824. The Republican candidate James Monroe overwhelmed his Federalist opponent in the 1816 presidential election. He was then reelected in 1820."— Presentation transcript:
The Republican candidate James Monroe overwhelmed his Federalist opponent in the 1816 presidential election. He was then reelected in 1820 without opposition. Monroe was the last president of the “Virginia dynasty” that began with Washington and included Jefferson and Madison. He was also the last president to wear a powdered wig and knee breeches. Monroe’s presidency began with a surge of nationalism and a spirit of harmony. Americans looked forward to enjoying the benefits of peace and prosperity. One Boston newspaper captured the optimistic spirit of the times when it proclaimed that Monroe’s election marked the beginning of an “Era of Good Feelings.”
Henry Clay began his career as one of the leading War Hawks. Following the War of 1812, Clay became the leading proponent of a legislative program called the “American System.” In antebellum America, the term internal improvements referred to transportation projects.
Clay’s American System was designed to promote economic growth and national unity. It included the following four components: o A tariff that would protect American industries and raise revenue to fund internal improvements. o A national bank that would promote financial stability. o A network of federally funded roads and canals. o A vibrant economy with increased trade among the nation’s different regions. Clay’s American System is similar to Alexander Hamilton’s economic vision. Both programs favored a strong federal government that promoted commercial and economic growth.
The Marshall Court continued to render landmark decisions that opposed states’ rights and strengthened the power of the federal government. McCulloch v. Maryland o Declared the national bank constitutional. o Confirmed the right of Congress to utilize its implied powers. o Denied the right of a state to tax the legitimate activities of the federal government. Gibbons v. Ogden o Declared that only Congress had the constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. o Established the commerce clause as a key mechanism for the expansion of federal power. Dartmouth College v. Woodward o Ruled that a state cannot pass laws to impair a legal private contract. o Upheld the sanctity of private contracts against state encroachments.
When Washington took office the North and South were roughly equal in wealth and population. However, with each passing decade the North steadily outgained the South in population growth. As a result, by 1819 the free states in the North had 105 representatives in the House while the slave states in the South had just 81 representatives. While the North controlled a solid majority in the House of Representatives, the Senate was evenly balanced between 11 free and 11 slave states.
In 1819, the territory of Missouri applied for statehood as a slave state. The northern controlled House of Representatives responded by passing the Tallmadge Amendment prohibiting the further introduction of slaves into Missouri and also providing for the gradual emancipation of slaves already in the territory. Although the Senate rejected the Tallmadge Amendment, the issue of extending slavery into the new territories ignited a passionate sectional debate. Outraged southerners believed that the Tallmadge Amendment threatened the future of the plantation system while also implying a moral attack on slavery and thus the southern way of life.
House Speaker Henry Clay promoted compromise that included the following provisions: o Missouri would be admitted into the Union as a slave state. o Maine would be admitted into the Union as a free state. o Slavery would be prohibited in the remaining portions of the Louisiana Purchase north of latitude 36° 30’
The Missouri Compromise temporarily defused the political crises over slavery. However, the Missouri Compromise debate foreshadowed the divisive intersectional debates over the expansion of slavery that resurfaced during the 1840s and 1850s. Thomas Jefferson sensed the future peril when he wrote, “This momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror.”
The Napoleonic Wars accelerated Spain’s decline as a great power. The weak Spanish government found it increasingly difficult to maintain control over its possessions in the Americas. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams exploited Spain’s weakness by negotiating the Adams-Onis Treaty. Under the terms of this agreement, Spain ceded Florida to the United States. In exchange, the United States abandoned claims to northern Mexico (Texas). In addition, the Adams-Onis Treaty defined the southwestern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase.
Spain’s losses were not confined to Florida. Spain lost almost its entire New World empire between 1808 and 1822 as Chile, Peru, Columbia, and Mexico all successfully waged wars of liberation. Following the defeat of Napoleon, the European powers suppressed revolutionary movements in Europe. Humiliated by the loss of its New World colonies, Spain turned to France for help. President Monroe and John Quincy Adams feared that France might use force to help Spain overthrow the new Latin American republics.
Monroe presented the American position on Latin America in a speech to Congress delivered on December 2, The speech included a unilateral declaration of the following key points: o The republican governments in the Americas are different and separate from those in Europe. o The American continent is no longer open to European colonization. o The United States will regard European interference in the political affairs of independent New World nations as hostile behavior. o The United States will not interfere in the internal affairs of European nations. Monroe’s statement received little attention at the time. The European powers refrained from interfering in the New World because of the power of British warships, not the eloquence of Monroe’s words. Monroe’s principles were not forgotten. First called the Monroe Doctrine in 1852, they became the cornerstone of American foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere.