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Launching the New Ship of State, 1789


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Title: Launching the New Ship of State, 1789

Chapter 10
  • Launching the New Ship of State, 17891800

I. Growing Pains
  • United States was growing rapidly
  • Population doubled every twenty-five years
  • First official census, 1790, recorded 4 million
  • Cities blossomed proportionately
  • Philadelphia42,000 New York33,000 Boston18,000
    Charleston16,000 Baltimore13,000.
  • Americas population was still 90 rural
  • All but 5 lived east of the Appalachian
  • Overflow concentrated in Ky., Tenn., Ohio.

I. Growing Pains (cont.)
  • People in the west were particularly restive and
    dubiously loyal
  • The mouth of the Mississippi lay in Spanish hands
  • Many observers wondered whether the emerging
    United States would ever grow to maturity.

II. Washington for President
  • George Washington was unanimously drafted as
    president by the Electoral College in 1789
  • The only presidential nominee ever to be honored
    by unanimity
  • He was the only one who did not in some way angle
    for this exalted office
  • He commanded by strength of character rather than
    the arts of the politician.

II. Washington for President (cont.)
  • Washingtons long journey from Mount Vernon to
    New York City was a triumphal procession
  • Took the oath of office on April 30, 1789, on a
    crowded balcony overlooking Wall Street
  • Washington put his stamp on the new government by
    establishing the cabinet
  • The Constitution did not mention a cabinet (see
    Table 10.1) it merely provided that the president
    may require written opinions (see Art. II, Sec.
    II, para. 1 in the Appendix).

II. Washington for President (cont.)
  • At first only three full-fledged department heads
    served under the president
  • Secretary of StateThomas Jefferson
  • Secretary of the TreasuryAlexander Hamilton
  • Secretary of WarHenry Knox.

III. The Bill of Rights
  • Failure of the Constitution to provide
  • Guarantees of individual rights such as freedom
    of religion and trial by jury
  • Some ratified the Constitution on the
    understanding they would soon be included
  • Drawing up a bill of rights headed the list of
    imperatives facing the new government.

III. The Bill of Rights (cont.)
  • Amendments could be proposed in two ways
  • By a new constitutional convention requested by
    two-thirds of the states
  • Or by a two-third vote of both houses of Congress
  • James Madison determined to draft the amendments
    himself he then guided them through Congress
  • The Bill of Rights, adopted by the necessary
    states in 1791, safeguard some of the most
    precious American principles.

III. The Bill of Rights (cont.)
  • Among these protections for freedom of religion,
    speech, and the press
  • Right to bear arms
  • Right to be tried by a jury
  • Right to assemble and petition the government for
    a redress of grievances
  • The Bill of Rights also prohibited
  • Cruel and unusual punishment
  • Arbitrary government seizure of private property

III. The Bill of Rights (cont.)
  • Madison inserted the Ninth Amendment
  • It declares that specifying certain rights shall
    not be construed to deny or disparage others
    retained by the people
  • Reassurance to the states righters
  • He also included the Tenth Amendment
  • Which reserves all rights not explicitly
    delegated or prohibited by the federal
    Constitution to the States respectively, or to
    the people.

III. The Bill of Rights (cont.)
  • Thus Madisons amendments swung the federalist
    pendulum back in an antifederalist direction (See
    Amendments I-X.)
  • The Judiciary Act of 1789
  • Organized the Supreme Court with a chief justice
    and five associates, federal district and circuit
    courts, established the office of attorney
  • John Jay became the first chief justice.

Table 10-1 p182
IV. Hamilton Revives the Corpse of Public Credit
  • Hamiltons role in the new government
  • Worked to correct the economic vexations of the
    Articles of Confederation
  • Planned to shape the fiscal policies of the
    administration in favor of the wealthier groups
  • First to bolster the national credit
  • Funding at par
  • Urged Congress to fund the entire national debt
    at par
  • And urged Congress to assume completely the debts
    incurred by the states during the recent war.

IV. Hamilton Revives the Corpse of Public Credit
  • Funding at par meant that the federal government
    would pay off its debts at face value, plus
    accumulated interesta total sum of 54 million
  • Because people believed this was impossible for
    the government, bonds depreciated to ten or
    fifteen cents on the dollar.
  • Congress passed Hamiltons measure in 1790.
  • Hamilton urged Congress to assume the debts of
    the states, totaling some 21.5 million
  • Assumption the state debts could be regarded as
    a proper national obligation

IV. Hamilton Revives the Corpse of Public Credit
  • He believed that assumption would chain the
    states more tightly to the federal chariot
  • It would shift the attachment of wealthy
    creditors from the states to the federal
  • States burdened with heavy debts, like
    Massachusetts were delighted by Hamiltons
  • States with small debts, like Virginia, were less
  • While Virginia did not want the state debts
    assumed, they did want the forthcoming federal
    districtnow District of Columbia, located on the
    Potomac River.

V. Customs Duties and Excise Taxes
  • The new ship of state was dangerously overloaded
  • The national debt was 75 million
  • Hamilton, Father of the National Debt, was not
    greatly worried
  • Believed within limits, a national debt was a
    national blessing
  • Wanted to make debt an asset for vitalizing the
    financial system (see Figure 10.1).

V. Customs Duties and Excise Taxes (cont.)
  • Money was to come from customs duties
  • Tariff revenues from a vigorous foreign trade
  • The first tariff law imposed 8 on the value of
    dutiable imports, passed in 1789
  • Revenue was the main goal
  • Was also designed to erect a low protective wall
    around infant industries
  • Hamilton wanted to see the Industrial Revolution
    come to America, thus urged more protection for
    the well-to-do manufacturing groups

V. Customs Duties and Excise Taxes (cont.)
  • Congress only voted two slight increases in the
    tariff during Washington's presidency
  • Hamilton sought additional internal revenue
  • In 1791 secured an excise tax on a few domestic
    items, notably whiskey
  • New levy of 7 cents a gallon borne by the
    distillers who lived in the backcountry
  • Whiskey flowed so freely on the frontier in the
    form of distilled liquor that it was used for

Figure 10-1 p184
VI. Hamilton Battles Jefferson for a Bank
  • Hamiltons capstone proposed a bank of the
    United States
  • Took his model from the Bank of England
  • Proposed a powerful private institution, with the
    government the stockholder and where the federal
    Treasury would deposit its surplus monies
  • The federal funds would stimulate business by
    remaining in circulation

VI. Hamilton Battles Jefferson for a Bank (cont.)
  • The bank would print urgently needed money,
    providing a sound and stable national currency
  • Jefferson was vehemently against the bank
  • He insisted that there was no specific
    authorization in the Constitution
  • He believed that all powers not specifically
    granted to the central government were reserved
    to the states (see Amendment X)
  • He concluded that the states, not Congress, had
    the power to charter banks.

VI. Hamilton Battles Jefferson for a Bank (cont.)
  • Hamilton, at Washingtons request, prepared a
    brilliantly reasoned reply to Jeffersons
  • He believed the Constitution did not forbid it
  • Jefferson believed that what it did not permit it
  • Hamilton invoked the clause of the Constitution
    that stipulates that Congress may pass any laws
    necessary and proper to carry out the powers
    vested in the various government agencies (see
    Art. I, Sec. VIII, para. 18)
  • Congress was empowered to collect taxes

VI. Hamilton Battles Jefferson for a Bank (cont.)
  • Congress was empowered to regulate trade
  • Therefore, according to Hamilton a national bank
    was necessaryimplied powers and loose
    interpretation of the Constitution
  • Hamilton s financial views prevailed
  • Washington signed the bank measure into law
  • The most support for the bank came from the
    commercial and financial centers of the North
  • The strongest opposition arose from the
    agricultural South.

VI. Hamilton Battles Jefferson for a Bank (cont.)
  • The Bank of the United States was created by
    Congress in 1791
  • Chartered for twenty years
  • Located in Philadelphia
  • It was to have a capital of 10 million, 1/5
    owned by the federal government
  • Stocks were thrown open to public sale.

VII. Mutinous Moonshiners in Pennsylvania
  • The Whiskey Rebellion
  • Flared up in southwestern Pennsylvania
  • Big challenge for the new national government
  • Hamiltons high excise tax hurt
  • Defiant distillers cried Liberty and No Excise
  • Washington summoned the militias
  • When the troops reached western Pennsylvania,
    they found an insurrection
  • Two convicted culprits were pardoned.

VIII. The Emergence of Political Parties
  • All Hamiltons schemes encroached sharply upon
    states rights
  • Organized opposition began to build
  • Now there was a full-blown bitter political
  • National political parties
  • Unknown in America when Washington took his
    inaugural oath
  • The Founders had not envisioned the existence of
    permanent political parties

VIII. The Emergence of Political Parties (cont.)
  • The two-party system has existed in the United
    States since that time (see Table 10.2)
  • Their competition for power proved to be the
    indispensable ingredients of a sound democracy
  • The party out of power plays the invaluable role
    of the balance wheel, ensuring that politics
    never drifts too far.

Table 10-2 p186
IX. The Impact of the French Revolution
  • Now there were the two major parties
  • Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans
  • Hamiltonian Federalists
  • With Washingtons second term, foreign-policy
    issues brought the differences between the
    parties to a fever pitch
  • The first act of the French Revolution, 1789
  • Twenty-six years later Europe would come to a
    peace of exhaustion.

IX. The Impact of the French Revolution (cont.)
  • Few non-American events have left a deeper scar
    on American political and social life
  • Early stagessurprisingly peaceful
  • Attempted to impose constitutional restrictions
    on Louis XVI
  • 1792 France declared war on Austria
  • News later reached America that France had
    proclaimed itself a republic
  • Americans were enthusiastic.

IX. The Impact of the French Revolution (cont.)
  • The guillotine was set up, the king was beheaded
    in 1793
  • The church was attacked
  • The head-rolling Reign of Terror had begun
  • The earlier battles had not hurt America
    directly, but not until Britain was caught into
    the revolution did the revolution spread to the
    New World.
  • Every major European war, beginning in 1688,
    involved a watery duel for control of the
    Atlantic Ocean (See Table 6.2, p. 103).

X. Washingtons Neutrality Proclamation
  • French-American alliance of 1778
  • Bound the United States to help the French defend
    their West Indies
  • Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans favoring
    honoring the alliance
  • America owed France its freedom, and now was the
    time to pay the debt of gratitude
  • Washington was not swayed by the clamor of the

X. Washingtons Neutrality Proclamation (cont.)
  • Washington
  • Believed that war had to be avoided at all costs
  • The strategy of playing for time while the
    birthrate fought Americas battles was a cardinal
    policy of the Foundling Fathers
  • Hamilton and Jefferson were in agreement.
  • In 1793 Washington issued his Neutrality
    Proclamation shortly before war broke out between
    England and France.

X. Washingtons Neutrality Proclamation (cont.)
  • Neutrality Proclamation
  • Proclaimed the governments official neutrality
    in the widening conflict
  • Sternly warned American citizens to be impartial
    toward both armed camps
  • Americas first formal declaration proved to be a
    major prop of spreading isolationist tradition
  • It proved to be enormously controversial
  • The pro-French Jeffersonians were enraged and the
    British Federalists were heartened.

X. Washingtons Neutrality Proclamation (cont.)
  • Debate intensified
  • Citizen Edmond Genet, representative of the
    French Republic, landed at Charleston, S. Car.
  • Was swept away by his enthusiastic reception by
    the Jeffersonian Republicans
  • He came to believe that the Neutrality
    Proclamation did not reflect the American
    peoples wishes
  • Thus embarking on non-neutral activity not
    authorized by the French alliance
  • Washington demanded Genets withdrawal.

X. Washingtons Neutrality Proclamation (cont.)
  • Neutrality Proclamation
  • Illustrates the truism that self-interest is the
    basic cement of alliances
  • In 1778 both France and America stood to gain
  • In 1793 only France did
  • Technically , the Americans did not flout their
    obligation because France never officially called
    on them to honor it
  • America was more useful to France.

Map 10-1 p191
XI. Embroilments with Britain
  • President Washingtons policy of neutrality was
    sorely tried by the British
  • For ten years they maintained a chain of northern
    frontier posts on U.S. soil in defiance of the
    peace treaty of 1783 (see Map 10.1)
  • London was reluctant to abandon her lucrative fur
  • London also hoped to build an Indian buffer state
  • They openly sold firearms and firewater to the
    Indians of the Miami Confederacy

XI. Embroilments with Britain (cont.)
  • Battle of Fallen Timbers, 1794
  • General Mad Anthony Wayne routed the Miamis
  • British refused to shelter the Indians fleeing
    the battle the Indians offered Wayne the peace
  • In the Treaty of Greenville, August 1795, they
    gave up vast tracts of the Old Northwest
  • In exchange they received 20,000 and an annual
    annuity of 9,000

XI. Embroilments with British (cont.)
  • The right to hunt the lands they had ceded
  • They hoped for recognition of their sovereign
  • The Indians felt it put some limits on the
    ability of the United States to decide the fate
    of Indian peoples.

XI. Embroilments with the British (cont.)
  • The British seized 300 American merchant ships,
    impressed scores of seamen into British service
    and threw hundreds into foul dungeons.
  • Impressment incensed patriotic Americans
  • War with the worlds mightiest commercial empire
    would pierce the heart of the Hamiltonian
    financial system.

XII. Jays Treaty and Washingtons Farewell
  • Jays Treaty
  • Washington decided to send Chief Justice John Jay
    to London in 1794
  • In London, Jay routinely kissed the queens hand,
    must to the dismay of the Jeffersonians
  • Jay entered the negotiations with weakness, which
  • was further sabotaged by Hamilton
  • Jay won few concessions

XII. Jays Treaty and Washingtons Farewell
  • British concessions
  • They promised to evacuate the chain of posts on
    U.S. soil
  • Consented to pay damages for the seizure of
    American ships
  • But the British stopped short of pledging
  • Anything about future maritime seizures and
  • Or about supplying arms to the Indians.

XII. Jays Treaty and Washingtons Farewell
  • Jays unpopular pact
  • Vitalized the newborn Democratic-Republican party
  • It was seen as a betrayal of the Jeffersonian
  • Even Washingtons huge popularity was compromised
    by the controversy over the treaty.
  • Other consequences
  • Fearing an Anglo-American alliance, Spain moved
    to strike a deal with the United States in the
    Pinckneys Treaty of 1795.

XII. Jays Treaty and Washingtons Farewell
  • Pinckneys Treaty
  • Granted the Americans virtually everything they
    wanted from Spain
  • Including free navigation of the Mississippi
  • The right of deposit (warehouse rights) at New
  • The large disputed territory of western Florida
    (See Map 9.3 on page 167.)
  • Washington decided to retire
  • Exhausted from diplomatic and partisan battles,
    he decided against future terms.

XII. Jays Treaty and Washingtons Farewell
  • His choice contributed powerfully to establishing
    a two-term tradition for American presidents.
  • His Farewell Address to the nation in 1796
  • It was never delivered orally, printed only in
    the newspapers
  • He strongly advised the avoidance of permanent
  • But only favored temporary alliances for
    extraordinary emergencies

XII. Jays Treaty and Washingtons Farewell
  • Washingtons contributions
  • The federal government was solidly established
  • The west was expanding
  • The merchant marine was plowing the seas
  • He kept the nation out of both overseas
    entanglement and foreign wars
  • When Washington left office in 1797, he was
    showered with the brickbats of partisan abuse,
    quite in contrast with the bouquets that had
    greeted his arrival.

XIII. John Adams Becomes President
  • John Adams, with the support of New England, won
    with the narrow margin of 71 to 68 votes in the
    Electoral College
  • Jefferson, as runner up, became vice-president
  • Adams was a man of stern principles, who did his
    duty with stubborn devotion
  • He was a tactless and prickly intellectual
  • Had no appeal to the masses
  • He was regarded with respectful irritation.

XIII. John Adams Becomes President (cont.)
  • He had other handicaps
  • He had stepped into Washingtons shoes, which no
    successor could hope to fill
  • He was hated by Hamilton
  • Most ominous of all, Adams inherited a violent
    quarrel with Francea quarrel whose gunpowder
    lacked only a spark.

XIV. Unofficial Fighting with France
  • The French were infuriated by Jays Treaty
  • Condemned it as the initial step toward an
    alliance with Britain, their perpetual foe
  • Assailed it as a flagrant violation of the
    Franco-American Treaty of 1778
  • French warships, in retaliation, began to seize
    defenseless American merchant vessels, three
    hundred by mid-1797
  • The Paris regime refused to receive Americas
    newly appointed envoy and even threatened to
    arrest him.

XIV. Unofficial Fighting with France (cont.)
  • Adams tried to reach an agreement with the
  • Appointed a diplomatic commission of three men,
    including John Marshall, the future chief justice
  • Adams envoy reached Paris in 1797 where they
    hoped to meet with Charles Maurice de Talleyrand,
    the crafty French foreign minister
  • They were secretly approached by three
    go-betweens, later referred to as X, Y, and Z
  • They demanded a loan of 32 million florins.

XIV. Unofficial Fighting with France (cont.)
  • Plus a bribe of 250,000 for the privilege of
    merely talking with Talleyrand
  • Terms were intolerable and negotiations quickly
    broke down
  • John Marshall, on reaching New York in 1798, was
    hailed as a conquering hero for his
  • The XYZ Affair sent a wave of hysteria sweeping
    through the United States.
  • The slogan of the hour Millions for defense, but
    not one cent for tribute.

XIV. Unofficial Fighting with France (cont.)
  • War preparations
  • Pushed along at a feverish pace, despite
    considerable Jeffersonian opposition in Congress
  • The Navy Department was created the three-ship
    navy was expanded
  • The United States Marine Corps was reestablished
  • A new army of 10,000 men was authorized (but not
    fully raised)

XIV. Unofficial Fighting with France (cont.)
  • War itself
  • War was confined to the sea, mainly West Indies
  • 2 1/5 years of undeclared hostilities (1798-1800)
  • American privateers and men-of-war captured over
    80 armed French vessels
  • Several hundred Yankee merchant ships were lost
    to the enemy
  • Only a slight push, it seemed, might plunge both
    nations into a full-dress war.

XV. Adams Puts Patriotism Above Party
  • Embattled France wanted no war
  • Talleyrand realized there was no use in fighting
    the United States
  • The British were driven closer to their wayward
  • Talleyrand let it be known that if the Americans
    would send a new minister, he would be received
    with proper respect
  • This brought to Adams a degree of personal
    acclaim that he had never known beforeand would
    never know again.

XV. Adams Puts Patriotism Above Party (cont.)
  • Adam exploded a bombshell when in 1799 he
    submitted to the Senate the name of a new
    minister to France
  • American envoys found things better when they
    reached Paris early in 1800
  • The Corsican Napoleon Bonaparte had recently
    seized dictatorial power
  • The Convention of 1800 treaty was signed in

XV. Adams Puts Patriotism Above Party (cont.)
  • The Convention of 1800
  • France agreed to annul the 22-year-old marriage
    of (in)convenience
  • As a kind of alimony the United States agreed to
    pay the damage claims of American shippers
  • John Adams deserves immense credit for his
    belated push for peace
  • He smoothed the path for the peaceful purchase of
    Louisiana three years later
  • His suggestion for his tombstone Here lies John
    Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility
    of peace with France in the year 1800.

XVI. The Federalist Witch Hunt
  • Federalist actions to muffle the Jeffersonian
  • First, aimed at pro-Jeffersonian aliens
  • Raised the residence requirement from 5 years to
  • This law violated traditional American policy of
    open-door hospitality and speedy assimilation
  • Second, Alien Laws
  • President could deport dangerous foreigners in
    time of peace and defensible as a war measure
  • This was an arbitrary grant of executive power
    contrary to American tradition/Constitution.
    Never enforced.

XVI. The Federalist Witch Hunt (cont.)
  • Third, Sedition Actslap at two priceless
    freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution by the
    Bill of Rights
  • Freedom of speech and freedom of the press (First
  • This law provided that anyone who impeded the
    policies of the government, or falsely defamed
    its officials, would be liable to a heavy fine
    and imprisonment
  • Federalists believe it was justified
  • Many outspoken Jeffersonian editors were indicted
    under the Sedition Act and ten were brought to
  • The Sedition Act seemed to be in direct conflict
    with the Constitution.

XVII. The Virginia (Madison) and Kentucky
(Jefferson) Resolutions
  • Jefferson secretly penned a series of
  • Approved by the Kentucky legislature in 1798,
  • Madison drafted a similar but less extreme
    statement adopted by the Virginia legislature in
  • Both stressed the compacts theory
  • A theory popular among English political
  • This concept meant that the thirteen sovereign
    states, in creating the federal government, had
    entered into a compact, or contract, regarding
    its jurisdiction
  • The nation was consequently the agent or creation
    of the states.

XVII. The Virginia (Madison) and Kentucky
(Jefferson) Resolutions
  • The individual states were the final judges of
    whether their agent had broken the compact by
    overstepping the authority originally granted
  • Jeffersons Kentucky resolutions concluded that
    the federal regime had exceeded its
    constitutional powers and that with regard to the
    Alien and Sedition Acts, nullification a
    refusal to accept themwas the rightful remedy.
  • No other state legislatures fell into line
  • The Federalist states added ringing condemnations
  • They argued that the people, not the states, had
    made the original compact, therefore it was up to
    the Supreme Court-not the statesto nullify
    unconstitutional legislation passed by Congress.

XVII. The Virginia (Madison) and Kentucky
(Jefferson) Resolutions
  • The Virginia and Kentucky resolutions
  • Brilliant formulation of the extreme states
    rights view regarding the union
  • More sweeping in their implications than their
    authors had intended
  • Later used by southerners to support
    nullificationultimately secession
  • Neither Jefferson nor Madison had any intention
    of breaking the union they wanted to preserve

XVIII. Federalists Versus Democratic-Republicans
  • As the presidential contest of 1800 approached
  • Federalists and Democratic-Republicans were
    sharply etched (see Table 10.3)
  • Conflicts over domestic politics and foreign
    policy undermined the unity of the Revolutionary
  • Could the fragile and battered American ship of
    state founder on the rocks of controversy?
  • Why would the United States expect to enjoy a
    happier fate?

Table 10-3 p198