Friday, March 7, 2008

Chapter 9 A New Republic (1789-1800)

Chapter 9: Launching a New Republic 1789–1800
Section 1 : Washington’s Presidency
Main Idea: The president and the Congress began to set up the new government.
George Washington was inaugurated as the nation’s first president in 1789. John Adams became vice-president. Washington faced a difficult task. He knew his actions as president would set an example for all future presidents.Congress passed the Federal Judiciary Act of 1789. With this act the Supreme Court was established to include a chief justice and five associate judges. Today, we have nine judges. The act also provided for other lower federal courts. John Jay was appointed Chief Justice. The Constitution gave Congress the power to create departments to help the president. The president appointed the department heads, who became his cabinet. Washington chose Henry Knox as secretary of war, Thomas Jefferson as secretary of state, Edmund Randolph as attorney general, and Alexander Hamilton as secretary of the treasury. As secretary of the treasury, Hamilton had to straighten out the nation’s finances. First, the government needed to pay its debts. By 1789, the national debt was more than $52 million. The following year, Hamilton proposed his financial plan to Congress: first, pay off all war debts; second, raise government revenues; and third, create a national bank. The issue of repayment of state war debts became controversial. Many southern states had
already repaid their debts and resented being asked to help pay northern states’ debts. The states eventually reached a compromise. The southern states would support the plan in exchange for placing the nation’s capital in the south. Washington, D.C. was built on the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland. To raise revenue Hamilton favored tariffs—taxes on imported foreign goods. Tariffs raised money for the government and encouraged the growth of American industry. The last part of Hamilton’s plan—the creation of a national bank—would provide the government with a safe place to keep money. The bank also would make loans to
government and businesses, and issue bank notes. The resulting debate over Hamilton’s plan exposed differences about how to interpret the Constitution. Madison and Jefferson argued that the Constitution did not give the government the power to set up a bank. They believed that the government has only those powers that the Constitution clearly says it has. Hamilton believed that the Constitution could be more loosely interpreted. He argued that the bank was necessary to carry out the government’s duties. Hamilton won the debate, and the Bank of the United States was set up in 1791.
Section 2: Securing the Northwest Territory
Main Idea: Washington established central authority at home and avoided war with European powers. There was a interest in the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. The 1783 Treaty of Paris tried to resolve land claims, but within a few years, Spain, Britain, the United States, and Native Americans each claimed parts of this area, known as the Trans-Appalachian West. Spain claimed much of North America west of the Mississippi, as well as Florida and the Port of New Orleans. New Orleans was key to trade for settlers in the West. The Spanish, however, threatened to close the port. In violation of the Treaty of Paris, the British held forts north of the Ohio River in the Northwest Territory. The Native Americans hoped to form an independent nation bordered by the Ohio River to the south and Canada to the north. They fiercely resisted settlement of their land. Washington sent troops under Anthony Wayne to the Ohio Valley in order to secure the Northwest. In the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Wayne defeated the Native Americans. By signing the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, they agreed to surrender much of present-day Ohio and Indiana. A conflict arose over the government’s tax on whiskey. Farmers protested the tax. They could more easily carry whiskey than grain to market, where they traded it for other goods. In 1794, a group of farmers in western Pennsylvania rebelled against the tax. Washington sent troops who crushed the “Whiskey Rebellion.” In 1789, French citizens began a revolution to overthrow their government. They wanted all people to have liberty and economic equality. As the struggle turned violent, King Louis XVI and thousands of French citizens were killed. Then, France declared war against Britain, Spain, and Holland. The war put the United States in an awkward position. France had been America’s ally in the American Revolution. A 1778 treaty bound France and the United States together. But many Americans thought that British trade was too important to the American economy to risk war. As a result, Washington decided that the United States would remain neutral and not take sides. Neutrality became difficult when Britain began seizing the cargoes of American ships in 1792. Washington sent Chief Justice John Jay to England to persuade the British to end the seizures. In Jay’s Treaty, the British agreed to pay damages for American vessels they had seized. They also agreed to give up their forts on the Northwest frontier by 1796. In 1795, Pinckney’s Treaty with Spain gave Americans the right to travel freely on the Mississippi River and to store goods at the port of New Orleans without paying custom
duties. Spain accepted the 31st parallel as the northern boundary of Florida and the southern boundary of the United States.
Section 3: The Federalists in Charge
Main Idea: The split between Hamilton and Jefferson led to the growth of political parties. Alexander Hamilton favored the British government and opposed the French Revolution. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison thought the opposite. Hamilton also wanted a strong central government. Jefferson and Madison thought such a government would lead to tyranny. Finally, Hamilton wanted an America in which trade, manufacturing, and cities grew. Jefferson and Madison wanted an America of planters and farmers. These issues led to debate and led the nation to form two political parties. Jefferson and Madison founded the Democratic-Republican Party. Hamilton and his friends formed the Federalist Party. In 1796, the Federalists chose John Adams as their candidate for President. The Democratic-Republicans chose Jefferson. Adams won the electoral vote. Since the Constitution said the runner-up should become vice-president, Jefferson became vice-president. After Washington left office in 1797, the French began seizing American ships to prevent them from trading with the British. Adams sent Pinckney, Elbridge Gerry, and John Marshall to Paris to meet with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Three agents—later referred to as X, Y,and Z—told the Americans that the French minister wanted the United States to loan France ten million dollars. The minister also wanted a bribe. The Americans refused. This incident became known as the XYZ Affair. In 1798, Congress canceled its treaty with France and allowed U.S. ships to seize French vessels. The conflict with France made Adams and the Federalists popular with the American public. However, Democratic-Republicans criticized the Federalists. To silence their critics the Federalist Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. The acts largely targeted aliens—immigrants who were not yet citizens—and newspapers. One act made it unlawful to say or write anything false or harmful about the government.Democratic-Republicans tried to fight the Alien and Sedition Acts through states’ rights. They believed states had the right to judge a federal law as being unconstitutional. Resolutions written by Jefferson and Madison passed the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures in 1798 and 1799. These declared that the Alien and Sedition Acts violated the Constitution. Congress repealed the Alien and Sedition Acts or let them expire. Adams opened talks with France and peace was made. The treaty, called the Convention of 1800, cleared the way for American and French ships to sail the ocean in peace. Despite his success in establishing peace between the U.S. and France Adams lost the presidential election of 1800 to Jefferson.