THE EARLY NATIONAL PERIOD 1783-1815

 

THE CONFEDERATION PERIOD, THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, AND THE WASHINGTON AND ADAMS= ADMINISTRATIONS

The Vice Presidency

John Adams, our first vice president called the job, Athe most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived.@ The United States is virtually the only country that allows the vice president to complete any unexpired term of office for the president; most other countries allow the vice president to serve as a caretaker until an election can be called. Many unkind things have been said about the office beginning with Adams. A number of vice presidents have noted that their job consisted of attending the funerals of foreign leaders and sitting around waiting for the American president to die in office. An Irish American newspaperman called it the lowest gift of the American people, noting that while you could not be sent to jail for being vice president, it was kind of a disgrace. Franklin Roosevelt=s first vice president, John Nance Garner, said the job Awasn=t worth a bucket of warm spit.@

The vice presidency has not proven to be the natural lead in to the presidency. Prior to George Bush=s election to the presidency in 1988, the last vice president to be elected directly to the White House was Martin van Buren in 1836. Though our first and second vice presidents, Adams and Jefferson, eventually became president, the natural job that led to the presidency probably was Secretary of State, a job which was held by later presidents Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Martin van Buren. This pattern of success later ceased, since the last president who had previously served as Secretary of State was James Buchanon, elected to the White House in 1856.

TERMS TO KNOW

Articles of Confederation - The first American constitution, passed and accepted by the thirteen states in 1781.  Replaced by the current U.S. Constitution in 1787.
The Old Northwest - American territory added by the 1783 Treat of Paris, land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, and north of the Ohio River.
The Northwest Ordinance - Legislation passed by the Confederation Congress in 1787 which prescribed the method by which the 'Old Northwest' Territory would eventually change to states.  Also outlawed Slavery in the Northwest Territory.
The Land Ordinance of 1785 - passed by the Confederation Congress in 1785, this act governed the sale of land in the 'Old Northwest.'
Separation of church and state - in the Jefferson style, this idea of separation forbade states to predetermine certain religions as favored religions (also described as established or privileged religions).
Unicameral Legislature - a one house legislative, such as the Confederation Congress. (The current Congress consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and is a two house, or bicameral, legislature
The Constitutional Convention - Arose out of the failed Annapolis Convention (on trade and commerce) of 1786, whereby the states would meet (in Philadelphia, May, 1787) "to render the constitution of the Federal government adequate to the exigencies of the Union."
Framers - those individuals in attendance at the 1787 Constitutional Convention
James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Federalists (supporters of the new Constitution) versus Anti-Federalists (Opponents of the new Constitution) - the two opposing sides in the Ratification Battle over the 1787 Constitution.
The Federalist Papers - a series of published articles written in support oft he 1787 Constitution
The Bill of Rights - the first ten amendments to the 1787 Constitution
Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances - Montesquieu's theory that government powers should be divided up into certain organizations, or branches, and that by dividing powers, the government branches keep an eye on each other from becoming too powerful
ex post facto
- legislation with an effective date that is back dated, forbidden by Constitution of 1787.
Bill of Attainder - legislation which  is only applicable to a single person, or small group of persons, forbidden by Constitution of 1787.
Virginia Plan - also known as the large state plan or (Edmund) Randolph Plan, which called a government based on three branches of government, with a two house national legislature with representation based on population of each state for both houses.
New Jersey Plan - also known as the small state plan or (William) Paterson Plan, which called for a one house national legislature with representation based equality for all states
The Great Compromise - also known as the Connecticut or (Roger) Sherman Plan which created a two house national legislature, a lower house  (House of Representatives) with representation based on population and an upper house (Senate) with representation based on state equality (two seats each).
Electoral College  
Hamiltonians (Federalists) v. Madisonians (Jeffersonian-Republicans) - the first two political parties.  The Federalist Party no longer exists; the Republicans are today known as the Democrats.
Hamilton's Fiscal Polices - called for 1)assumption of state debts; 2) creation of the First Bank of the United States; and, 3)funding the national debt
Shays's Rebellion - (1786) Daniel Shays led a group of disgruntled farmers from Western Massachusetts in rebellion, all unhappy about high taxes, lack of paper money, and economic woes.  The rebellion was crushed, but struck fears into the hearts of the upper classes in Boston that their position in life was threatened by citizens they described as 'ignorant desperadoes' and 'mobbish insurgents.'  Shays had been a captain in the Continental Army and was a Revolutionary War veteran, and the fact that a man who represented the values of the American Revolution was in such desperate straits that he would lead a revolt suggested the weakness of the entire Confederation Period and the threat to the nation's recently earned independence.
Election of 1796 -our first contested election between two political hopefuls, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  Insider efforts by Alexander Hamilton to affect the outcome led to Adams earning the presidency, while his opponent Jefferson became vice-president.
Washington=s Farewell Address - A political statement on the part of our first president upon his departure from office, in which he called for an end to political partisanship and bickering, and for the nation to avoid 'entangling alliances' (permanent treaties).
Alien and Sedition Acts -
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions - resolutions passed by the legislatures of these two states which opposed the Alien and Sedition Acts, and suggested that all states had a right to oppose unfair Federal legislation by refusing to enforce federal law within their state boundaries, in effect, nullifying Federal law (know as Theory of Nullification).
XYZ Affair -

SAMPLE TEST QUESTIONS

What were the arguments in favor of the new Constitution?

What were the arguments opposing ratification of the new Constitution?

Who is known as the AFather of the Constitution?@

Describe the plans of Alexander Hamilton to solve the nation=s financial problems.

What were the two major themes of George Washington=s Farewell Address?

Why did partisan politics rise up during Washington=s presidency?

What are the theories of state=s rights and nullification?

What is the difference between a loose and strict interpretation (construction) of the Constitution?

THE JEFFERSONIANS IN POWER

AIf we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.@-Thomas Jefferson

TERMS TO KNOW

Election of 1800 - Presidential election decided in the U.S. House of Representatives, which chose Jefferson over Aaron Burr, after both tied for first in the electoral college.  Led to the passage of the 12th Amendment, where each Elector casts two votes, one each for president and vice-president.
Aaron Burr - intended by the Republicans to be the next vice-president, pending the Electoral Cllege vote of 1800, Burr tied with Jefferson for first in the Electoral College, which tossed the decision to the House of Representatives, with Burr unwilling to openly renounce any desires to be the next president. 
The Revolution of 1800 - the orderly and peaceful transfer of power from one political party, the Federalists (Adams), to the other, the Republicans (Jefferson)
Embargo Act - legislation passed during the Jefferson administration in response to British and French interference with American trade with Europe.  Act cut off all foreign trade to all nations by the United States, and led to economic disaster.
Non-Intercourse Act - legislation passed during the Madison administration in response to British and French interference with American trade with Europe. Act restored American trade with all nations except for Britain and France
Macon=s Bill #2
- legislation which restored American trade to both Britain and France, and whichever of the two nations renounced further interference with American trade first would be rewarded with an American boycott of trade with the other nation.
Louisiana Purchase - territory purchased by United States from Emperor Napoleon I of France, territory stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, offered by Napoleon to the Americans after the United States originally sought to purchase only New Orleans and its environs.
Impressment of sailors - illegal action of the British to compel American merchantmen into military service with the Royal Navy, prior to War of 1812.
Maritime Rights - naval rights for neutral nations during time of war.
Marbury v. Madison
(1802) - U.S. Supreme Court case which established the authority of the Supreme Court to review legislation for compliance with the U.S. Constitution. Also called 'judicial review.'

SAMPLE TEST QUESTIONS

What was the Revolution of 1800?

What is judicial review?

RECOMMENDED READING

Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., In Pursuit of Reason: the Life of Thomas Jefferson.

THE WAR OF 1812

The War of 1812 represented a risky undertaking by the United States, considering the nation entered the war unprepared militarily of financially, and was not united politically. The war is sometimes referred to as the Second American Revolution because the U.S. tried to rid itself of foreign interference in American trade with Europe. Europe had been at war since 1792, trying to stem the tide of the French Revolution of 1789. With Napoleon on the verge of controlling the continent, Britain regularly interfered with neutral traders, including the U.S. France did the same. The U.S. had hoped that Britain would be unable to effectively deal with American military force because of fighting in Europe. Once war ended in 1814, however, the British could tend to the Americans full time. At the same time, since war was over in Europe, interference with American trade ceased because France and Napoleon had been defeated. Negotiators then began in earnest to end a war which neither side wanted in the first place.

TERMS TO KNOW

Status Quo Ante Bellum - the grounds of the peace settlement between Britain and the U.S. in December, 1814, which ended the War of 1812, via the Treaty of Ghent.  Both sides agreed to end the fighting, and return to the status which existed prior to the war's start.  No agreements were reached on the grievances which had precipitated the war in 1812, such as guarantees of maritime rights.
War Hawks - Young congressmen elected to the House of Representatives in 1810 who demanded that President Madison stop interference with American trade, even if war were to result.  Best know of the War Hawks were John C. Calhoun and Henry Clay.
Battle of New Orleans - most recognized battle of the War of 1812 which, ironically took place after the Treaty of Ghent which ended the war.  This huge American victory gave instant fame to General Andrew Jackson, later the 7th president.
Hartford Convention - Federalist political convention held in 1814 in Hartford, Connecticut, in the heartland of opposition to the War of 1812.  Federalists discussed the possibility of New England's secession from the United States. Led to the eventual death of the Federalist Party
Battle of Fort McHenry - famous land-sea battle held at the gates to Baltimore harbor, where Americans repelled the British attempt to seize the city.  Francis Scott Key, who observed the battle, wrote the words to our future national anthem in celebration of the American victory.

SAMPLE TEST QUESTIONS

What were the reasons why the United States and Britain went to war in 1812?

What is the meaning of the term status quo ante bellum?

Who were the War Hawks and why did they want war with Britain?

Who defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans?

THE ERA OF GOOD FEELINGS

TERMS TO KNOW

Missouri Compromise - Political compromise achieved by Henry Clay which allowed for: 1)Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state; 2)Maine to separate from Massachusetts and enter the Union as a free state, and 3)restrict slavery to the southern portion of the Louisiana Territory.  Slavery, while still a political question, has begun to emerge as a central question in the future of the nation, and the compromise led to a famous comment by former President Thomas Jefferson: "Like a firebell in the night, it awakened and filled me with terror."
American System - Proposal of Henry Clay to tie the nation's sections (North, South, and West) together as one nation.  Plan called for Internal Improvements, a new higher rate Protective Tariff, and the chartering of a new national bank of the United States (2d BUS).
McCullough v Maryland (1819) - Supreme Court case which ruled that Maryland could not prevent the 2d BUS from operation within Maryland's borders.  Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that "implied" powers did exist in the Constitution.
Election of 1824 - Presidential election in which the candidate with the most popular votes and most Electoral College votes (Andrew Jackson) did not earn the presidency.  Since Jackson failed to win 50% plus one of the Electoral College, the next president was chosen by the House of Representatives, which selected John Quincy Adams
Corrupt Bargain - Deal between Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams, whereby Clay supported Adams' for the presidency after 1824 Election in return for Adams' nomination of Clay for Secretary of State.
Rush-Bagot (1817), Convention of 1818, and Adams-Onis (1819) - Treaties which made border adjustments concerning the United States.
Monroe Doctrine 
Protective Tariff - taxes placed on goods entering the United States from abroad, which were also manufactured in the U.S. Designed to protect new (infant) American industries.  Had the added benefit of providing the Federal Government with a source of revenue.

SAMPLE TEST QUESTIONS

What was the Acorrupt bargain?@

What famous Kentuckian developed the American System?