Nash, Chapter 7 Creating a Nation

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Nash, Chapter 7

Creating a Nation

  1. Manufacturing in Colonial America: Increasing investment in Northeast corridor. Artisans slowly displaced. Increasing reliance on wage labor. This will rapidly transform during the “market revolution” set in motion following the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars in Europe

  1. David Brown of Dedham, Massachusetts: As a Republican critic of the Adams administration (democratic-republican clubs) and a vocal opponent of the Federalist Party in the press, Brown was convicted under the terms of the Sedition Act – this is representative of the polarized political culture of the period.

  1. Political discussions during the 1790s: Political discussions during the 1790s evoked tremendous controversy and debate – especially as the French Revolution unfolded through its various phases

  1. As the first president, George Washington: Washington was trying to establish a precedent. He considered seriously the significance of his early actions and decisions. He made a point to step down from power after two terms. He warned the nation against “foreign entanglements”

  1. The Bill of Rights: protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, freedom of speech, press, and yes, religion (this one’s for you Christine O’Donnell), due process of law and the right to trial by jury – no economic rights

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Together with the Free Exercise Clause ("... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof")

  1. Alexander Hamilton: According to Hamilton, the proper role of the new government was to promote economic enterprise.

  1. Hamilton in government: According to Hamilton, the proper role of the new government was to stabilize the government’s finances and establish its credit; to tie the interests of the wealthy to the government; to promote foreign trade and domestic industry; and to secure an alliance with England. He proposed funding the national debt; federal assumption of the state’s debts, creation of a national bank; a series of taxes; protective tariffs; bounties for commercial agriculture and the funding of internal improvements.

  1. Hamilton as secretary of the Treasury: As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton sought to stabilize the government’s finances and to establish its credit.

  1. Hamilton’s plan to fund the national debt: Hamilton intended his plan for federal assumption of state debts to strengthen the tie between wealth and national power/establish an oligarchy (rule by the few – the rich)

  1. Opponents of Hamiltonian economics: Opponents feared Hamilton’s plan to fund the national debt would result in a windfall profit for financial speculators. Many warned, especially Southerners, that his plan would unduly support the wealthy and dangerously expand the power of the federal government. Jefferson opposed Hamilton’s goal of a commercial republic with merchants and dependent laborers, and argued for a republic of independent farmers dedicated to economic and political equality/An empire of liberty

  1. Hamilton on wealth and power: Though of humble origins, Hamilton was basically an elitist who argued for a top-down approach to national construction. He was wary of democratic impulses. This is an early vision of the path the United States would ultimately take – especially in the North – Hamilton’s plan laid the foundation for the market revolution in the United States (chapter 10)

  1. Hamilton’s debt plan: Hamilton, believing that government must ally itself with the richest elements of society to make itself strong, proposed to Congress a series of laws, which it enacted, expressing this philosophy. A Bank of the United States was set up as a partnership between the government and certain banking interests. A tariff was passed to help the manufacturers. It was agreed to pay bondholders-most of the war bonds were now concentrated in a small group of wealthy people-the full value of their bonds. Tax laws were passed to raise money for this bond redemption.

  1. Hamilton on “implied powers”: Following the Constitutional doctrine of “implied powers,” the national government possesses the authority to enact laws necessary and proper for exercising specific powers.

  1. Jefferson in “implied powers”: Jefferson opposed Hamilton’s argument of “implied powers” because he feared indefinite expansion of federal authority.

  1. Jefferson on Hamilton’s national bank: Unconstitutional, according to Jefferson – this becomes the position of the Republicans (which later morphs into the Democratic Party)

  1. The Whiskey Rebellion: In 1794 the farmers of western Pennsylvania took up arms and rebelled against the collection of this tax. Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton led the troops to put them down. We see then, in the first years of the Constitution, that some of its provisions-even those paraded most flamboyantly (like the First Amendment)-might be treated lightly. Others (like the power to tax) would be powerfully enforced. Farmers in Western Pennsylvania rebelled because they resented loss of control as a market economy disrupted traditional ways of life and eastern areas gained in political strength. The federal government put the hammer down with Washington himself leading an army to suppress the uprising.

  1. Hamilton on the Whiskey rebels: Hamilton viewed the rebels as a mob. He advocated their swift and merciless repression. He saw this as a test of the Washington administration’s ability to govern.

  1. The French Revolution: As the Revolution of 1789 became increasingly radical and violent by 1793, Britain headed a coalition to end the turmoil. Washington proclaimed neutrality. Both the French and British, however, sought to control American trade. Democratic Republican societies supported revolutionary France and its minister, Citizen Genet. Federalists feared the social anarchy of revolutionary France and viewed England as a force for order and economic stability.

  1. The French Revolution and radicalism

  1. The Federalist position on the French alliance: The Federalists argued that the French alliance of 1778 was dissolved when the French monarchy collapsed

  1. Federalist position on revolutionary France (by mid-1790s): By the 1790s, the Federalists were squarely against the radical tendencies being expressed in the revolution. They basically sided with England

  1. Citizen Genet: Genet tried to inspire the Congress to reject the Neutrality Proclamation. Washington ordered his removal.

  1. Democratic-Republican societies: Hotbeds of political opposition to the Federalist majority in the Congress and the Federalist president, John Adams

  1. Pinckney’s Treaty (1795): Also known as Treaty of San Lorenzo, in which Spain agreed to grant free navigation of the Mississippi

  1. American negotiations in the 1790s: All about the West – Imperialist designs clear early on – Native American lands, negotiating the removal of British forts, opening the Mississippi

  1. Jefferson on democracy, the Constitution and the French Revolution: Agrarian republic of independent farmers. Artisans would be “urban yeoman.” He advocated rapid westward expansion as a means to reduce emerging class tensions. He basically outlined the American philosophy for imperialism.

  1. Election of 1796: Adams and Jefferson elected president and vice president respectively based upon votes in the Electoral College

  1. Adams and Jefferson: Adams was a committed Federalist, Jefferson a leading Republican – They differed in many ways but perhaps not as much as people make out.

  1. Adams as Federalist – basically supported the Hamiltonian economic agenda but was also not prone to nationalist rhetoric and patriotic flourishes when it came to war

  1. War crisis with France: Intensifies the political factionalism and debate – this will degrade into a form of tyranny

  1. XYZ Affair: 1798, French agents suggest a bribe and a loan to “grease the wheels” of negotiation regarding a treaty with France. Adams resisted the flare up and call for war. The Federalist majority in the Congress, however, used this as an opportunity to pass the Alien and Sedition Acts, supposedly for national security, but really as a means to shut down political opposition. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions challenged the laws and unconstitutional. Adams avoided war and restored good diplomatic relations with France by the election of 1800 – (interposition and nullification)

  1. Alien Act of 1798: authorized the president to expel dangerous aliens (French radical really)

  1. Sedition Act of 1798: Smothered political opposition (this only a little over a decade after the First Amendment to the Constitution was added!) – Should there be limits to free speech?

  1. Alien and Sedition “backfire”: The law generated rather than quieted opposition. – Are there justifiable limitations to speech when it comes to public safety and national security?

  1. Who was convicted under the Sedition Act?

  1. Republican Congressman Mathew Lyon: Republican Congressman Lyon was imprisoned for criticizing President Adams (he said Adams could kiss his ass)

  1. Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions: Written anonymously by Jefferson and Madison in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, they declared that states could nullify federal laws that the states considered unconstitutional.

  1. Jeffersonians charge the Federalists in election of 1800 with an unconstitutional exercise of federal power

  1. The election of 1800 – a peaceful transfer of power amidst heightened political tension.

  1. Results of the election of 1800 - Jefferson wins the presidency – the republic remains in tact

  1. Election of 1800 and the House of Representatives

  1. The Jeffersonian base: manufacturers in Philadelphia, wealth merchants in NYC, shipbuilders in Boston, commercial farmers in South Carolina, urban laborers, Irish and French Immigrants, and members of religious minorities.

  1. Louisiana Purchase (1803): Why did Napoleon do this? 1) the money; he believed he could no longer defend the claim because the French lost San Domingue (Haiti – the only successful slave led revolution in history) – Jefferson seized the opportunity

  1. Lewis and Clark – (1803-1806): they proved the feasibility of an overland route to the Pacific

  1. Napoleonic Wars and impressments: Both the French and the English began seizing American shipping and drafting into service American merchant sailors (even, sometimes, military sailors as with the Leopard incident)

  1. Non-Importation Act (1806): Prohibited the importation of English goods that could be produced domestically or purchased elsewhere

  1. The Embargo Act (1807): Provoked and economic depression and encouraged much bitterness within the US (especially the Northeast). This law was passed in response the Leopard Indicent – What Jefferson was trying to do was protect American neutral rights without resorting to war.

  1. Marbury v Madison (1803): The Supreme Court decision that established the principle of judicial review.

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