Chapter 11

The Triumphs and Travails of the Jeffersonian Republic



Federalist and Republican Mudslingers

Thomas Jefferson became the victim of one of America's first "whispering campaigns."  The Federalists accused him of having an affair with one of his slaves.


The Jeffersonian "Revolution of 1800"

Thomas Jefferson beat John Adams to win the election of 1800 by a majority of 73 to 65 electoral votes.

Revolution of 1800: the term given to the election of 1800; no Federalist became president after this election.


Responsibility Breeds Moderation

Unlike his predecessors, after Jefferson's election, he dismissed few public servants for political reasons.

Jeffersonian Restraint

Jefferson quickly pardoned the prisoners of the Sedition Acts.  The Naturalization Law of 1802 reduced the requirement of 14 years of residence to the previous 5 years.

Jefferson also did away with the excise tax.

Albert Gallatin: Secretary of Treasury to Jefferson; believed that a national debt wasn't a blessing; he reduced the national debt.

The "Dead Clutch" of the Judiciary

Judiciary Act of 1801: passed by the expiring Federalist Congress; created 16 new federal judgeships and other judicial offices.  The new Republican-Democratic Congress quickly repealed the act and kicked out the 16 newly seated judges.  One Federalist judge, Chief Justice John Marshall, was not removed.  He served under presidents including Jefferson and others for 34 years.  He shaped the American legal tradition more than any other person.

James Madison was the new Secretary of State.

Marbury vs. Madison (1803) - James Madison, the new secretary of state, had cut judge Marbury's salary; Marbury sued James Madison for his pay. The court ruled that Marbury had the right to his pay, but the court did not have the authority to force Madison to give Marbury his pay. Most importantly, this decision showed that the Supreme Court had the final authority in determining the meaning of the Constitution.

Samuel Chase: a Supreme Court justice that the Democratic-Republican Congress tried to impeach; he was not removed due to a lack of votes in the Senate.


Jefferson, a Reluctant Warrior

Jefferson preferred to make the military smaller.

Jefferson was forced to change his thoughts of not using military force when the leader of Tripoli informally declared war on the United States.  Jefferson sent the new navy to Tripoli and after 4 years of fighting, a deal was reached.  The U.S. paid Tripoli $60,000 for the release of captured Americans.


The Louisiana Godsend

Napoleon Bonaparte convinced the king of Spain to give Louisiana land area to France in 1800.

Not wanting to fight Napoleon and France in western America, Jefferson sent James Monroe to join Robert Livingston in Paris in 1803 to buy as much land as he could for $10 million. 

Napoleon decided to sell all of Louisiana and abandon his dream of a New World Empire for 2 reasons:

1) He failed to re-conquer the island of Santo Domingo, for which Louisiana was to serve as a source of foodstuffs.

2) Because Britain controlled the seas, Napoleon didn't want Britain to take over Louisiana. Selling the land to America removed this possibility and it gave Napoleon much-needed cash. He also hoped giving the land to America would help make America a world-power that would disrupt the ambitions of the British king.

Robert Livingston: along with James Monroe, he negotiated in Paris for the Louisiana land area; signed a treaty on April 30, 1803, ceding Louisiana to the United States for $15 million.  The Americans had signed 3 treaties and gotten much land to the west of the Mississippi.  820,000 square miles at 3 cents/acre.  (Louisiana Purchase)

Louisiana in the Long View

Jefferson sent his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis and a military officer, William Clark to explore the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase.

The Aaron Burr Conspiracies

Aaron Burr: Jefferson's first-term vice president; after being dropped from Jefferson's cabinet, he joined a group of extremist Federalists who plotted the secession of New England and New York; Alexander Hamilton uncovered the plot.  Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel and Hamilton accepted.  Hamilton refused to shoot and he was shot and killed by Burr.

General James Wilkinson: the corrupt military governor of the Louisiana Territory; made an allegiance with Burr to separate the western part of the United States from the East and expand their new confederacy with invasions of Spanish-controlled Mexico and Florida; betrayed Burr when he learned that Jefferson knew of the plot; Burr was acquitted of the charges of treason by Chief Justice John Marshall and he fled to Europe.


A Precarious Neutrality

Jefferson was reelected in 1804, capturing 162 electoral votes, while his Federalist opponent (Charles Pinckney) only received 14 votes.

England was the power of the seas, and France had the power of land.

England issued a series of Orders in Council in 1806.  They closed the European ports under French control to foreign shipping.  The French ordered the seizure of all merchant ships that entered British ports.

Chesapeake Affair: a royal ship attacked the U.S. frigate, the Chesapeake, after the Americans refused to returned four alleged British deserters.


The Hated Embargo

In 1807, Jefferson passed the Embargo Act.  It banned the exportation of any goods to any countries.  With the act, Jefferson planned to force France and England, who both depended on American trade, to respect America and its citizens, who had been killed and captured by both countries.  The embargo significantly hurt the profits of U.S. merchants and was consequently hated by Americans.

The act was repealed in 1809 and a substitute act was enacted: The Non-Intercourse Act.  It opened up trade to every country except France and Britain.

The embargo failed because Jefferson overestimated the dependence of Britain and France on America's trade. Britain was able to trade with the Latin American republics and France had enough land in Europe to support itself.


Madison's Gamble

James Madison became president on March 4, 1809.

Congress issued Macon's Bill No. 2. It reopened American trade with the entire world, but it had a clause stating that if Britain or France repealed its commercial restrictions, then the U.S. would reinstate its trading embargo against the non-repealing country. Napoleon convinced James Madison to give Britain three months to lift its Orders in Council.  Madison did, but Britain chose not to lift its Orders in Council, and Madison had to re-enact the United States's trade embargo, but this time just against Britain. 

Macon's Bill No. 2 led to the War of 1812.


Tecumseh and the Prophet

Twelfth Congress: met in 1811; the "war hawks" wanted to go to war with the British and wanted to eliminate the Indian threats to pioneers.

Tecumseh & Tenskwatawa: Shawnee brothers who unified many Indian tribes in a last ditch battle with the settlers; allied with the British.

William Henry Harrison: governor of the Indiana territory; defeated the Shawnee at the Battle of Tippecanoe.


Mr. Madison's War

On June 1, 1812, Madison asked Congress to declare war on the British and it agreed.

The Democratic-Republicans who supported the war ("war hawks") felt that the country had to assert American rights to the world.  They wanted to invade Canada, the Indians' stronghold, because the Indians were being armed by the British to attack the settlers.

The Federalists were opposed because they supported Britain.


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