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History 7a Final Study Guide

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CH7&8: The Early United States of America 1781-1823

-Major Themes in United States History

  • Slavery
  • Territorial Expansion
  • Debates/disputes regarding the nature of U.S. government

-American War for Independence

  • Americans fought to protect their rights/liberties from a strong English government.
  • Increasing power of English government threatened American rights/liberties
  • War financed by individual states/colonies, wealthy Americans, and by foreign countries (e.g. France)

Early U.S. History

  • 1st government: Articles of Confederation 1781-1788 (weak)
  • Economic troubles from war for Independence
  • Constitutional Convention: May-Dec 1787
  • Federalist
  • In support of strong national government
  • Pro-government
  • Anti-Federalists/Democratic Republicans
  • In opposition of strong national government

Articles of Confederation

  • Ratified 1781.
  • First system of government in the United States.
  • Government: loose connection of the states
  • Each state had a single vote in Congress;
  • No executive nor judiciary office;
  • Congress power to conduct foreign affairs, matters of war and peace, maintaining army;
  • Congress could not directly tax citizens.
  • States enjoy a high degree of sovereignty

Economic Crisis

  • Recall: War for Independence financed by states.
  • Paper money was printed.
  • Soldiers were paid with bonds that were to be redeemed at a future date. They rejected
  • After war, runaway inflation.
  • Difficult for U.S. government to pay off debt.
  • Articles of Confederation ineffective in dealing with the economic crisis.
  • Demands for revising the Articles of Confederation.
  • Some (nationalists) wanted a strong central government.

The Constitutional Convention

  • 55 delegates from the various states met in Philadelphia in May 1787. Rhode Island didn’t participate
  • Delegates debated over the political representation in Congress:
  • Large states (population) vs. small states
  • Free states vs. slave states
  • James Madison proposed a new system of government
  • Great Compromise: Congress would be a bicameral body.
  • One house based on population (House of Representatives).
  • One house based on equal representation of states (Senate). 2 per state
  • Three-fifths compromise: three-fifths of a states’ slave population would be counted towards political representation and taxation.
  • Electoral college established to ensure that election of president was not a popularity contest
  • Each state has a certain number of electors
  • Based on the number of representatives in the House and the Senate- bigger state has more
  • Under new Constitution:
  • A system of checks and balances (Executive-president-enforce the law, Judicial-supreme court, and Legislative Branches);
  • Congress had the power of taxation
  • Also had power to borrow money, regulate commerce, declare war, and negotiate with foreign nations;
  • President had power to enforce the law;
  • Supreme Court interpreted the law;
  • Individual states enjoyed certain amount of sovereignty.
  • Overall, a stronger system of government under the Constitution.
  • Supporters of Constitution called Federalists.
  • Argued that a strong government would protect American liberties.
  • Opponents of Constitution called Anti-Federalists.
  • Feared that the government had too much power, which threatened the liberties of American citizens.
  • Also known as Democratic Republicans, or simply Republicans.

The Bill of Rights

  • Anti-Federalists demanded a Bill of Rights to protect the inalienable rights of American citizens.
  • Anti-Federalists would not ratify the Constitution unless the demand was met.
  • James Madison, a supporter of the Constitution, introduced the first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.
  • Constitution ratified in 1788.
  • Overall, the Constitution defined the powers of the federal government and the rights of American citizens.
  • Tenth Amendment- If a specific power is not given to the Federal government by the Constitution then the individual states have the right to assume that power

Washington’s Presidency

  • Washington elected president in 1789. Hero of war
  • Congress established various departments/secretaries:
  • State* international relation
  • Treasury* finance
  • War
  • Justice
  • Under Washington, Thomas Jefferson appointed Secretary of State and Alexander Hamilton appointed Secretary of Treasury.
  • Jefferson an Anti-Federalist. Don’t like strong government
  • Hamilton a Federalist. Supporter of constitution

Hamilton’s Controversial Fiscal Program

  • In 1790, Hamilton issued several financial proposals to deal with the economic crisis.
  • Protective tariff (tax) to develop American industry; foreign goods
  • Promote American made product; keep money in
  • Credit program (government bonds); improve credit
  • Guarantee to get money back
  • Creation of a Bank of the United States.
  • central bank to pay everything
  • Want rich people to invest
  • Opposition to Hamilton’s program:
  • Anti-Federalists (Jefferson) argued that the government did not have the power, under the Constitution, to create a Bank.
  • Strict interpretation of the Constitution.
  • Federalists (Hamilton) argued that the Constitution implicitly gave the government the authority to use whatever means were “necessary and proper” to carry out its enumerated powers.
  • Loose interpretation of the Constitution. Implied power
  • Washington supported Hamilton’s loose interpretation of the Constitution.
  • Compromise to the acceptance of Hamilton’s Fiscal Program:
  • Southern states demanded that the capital be moved further south.
  • Worry that political authority concentrated in the northern states.
  • Capital moved from New York City to a spot on the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland.
  • Would become Washington D.C.

American Expansion

  • During 1780s, Congress (Articles of Confederation) approved measures that would expand U.S. territory west.
  • Land Ordinance of 1785:
  • Allowed for land to be surveyed and sold.
  • Land north and west of the Ohio River
  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787:
  • Once population of a western territory was large enough, it could petition for statehood and join the Union. As an official state
  • Slavery prohibited in states north of the Ohio River.
  • New states:
  • Kentucky (1792)
  • Tennessee (1796)
  • Ohio (1803)
  • Indiana (1816)
  • Illinois (1818)
  • Michigan (1837)
  • Wisconsin (1848)

French Revolution

  • 1789-1799: Start of the Revolution; similar principles to American Revolution
  • A popular revolution that was initially rooted in many similar principles to the U.S. War for independence.
  • France mired in debt; French King, Louis XVI turned to direct taxes on the people; many peasants would have to pay tax.
  • 1791-1792: French King made to accept a constitutional monarchy
  • 1793- Louis XVI executed
  • 1793-1796: Reign of terror
  • 1799: Napoleon Bonaparte; Napoleon assume control of France
  • 1802-1803: Napoleon in control of Spain

American International Relations

  • 1789: French Revolution
  • Initially, Americans supported the Revolution.
  • 1793: French Revolution turned violent and chaotic.
  • American supported faded.
  • Washington proclaimed the United States neutral in the conflict.
  • Washington elected to a second term as President.
  • Retired after second term (1796).
  • In farewell address, Washington set out U.S. foreign policy:
  • Friendly, but neutral, relations.

Jefferson’s Presidency

  • John Adams elected president in 1796.
  • Vice president under Washington.
  • Served only one term.
  • Jefferson elected president in 1800.
  • As president, Jefferson sought to reduce the power and size of the federal government.
  • Promoted western expansion.
  • Served two terms as president.
  • In 1803, Jefferson would be confronted with an opportunity that would challenge his adherence to a “strict interpretation” of the Constitution. Nature of us government

The Louisiana Purchase

  • 1799: Napoleon Bonaparte took control of France.
  • Quickly dominated most of western Europe, including Spain. Conquer Spain
  • Acquired Louisiana territory in 1800. Spain colony
  • Bonaparte at war with England and needed money to finance war.
  • 1803: Bonaparte offered to sell Louisiana to the United States for $15 million.
  • Jefferson presented with a dilemma:
  • Purchase Louisiana
  • Constitution had no clause about government purchasing land from a foreign power.
  • If Jefferson purchased Louisiana, he would go beyond the powers defined by the Constitution.
  • Not purchase Louisiana
  • Jefferson consistent in his “strict interpretation” of the Constitution.
  • However, would alienate many Americans who wanted to expand west.
  • Ultimately, Jefferson chose to purchase Louisiana.
  • Admitted that he had gone beyond the bounds of the Constitution.
  • Claimed that his act was justified because it benefited the American people.
  • Louisiana purchased doubled the size of the United States.

A Contradictory Indian Policy

  • Western tribes resisted American efforts of western settlement.
  • Jefferson hoped that Indians would either:
  • Assimilate to white (American) civilization; or
  • Move west across the Mississippi.
  • Some native tribes organized resistance to American expansion.
  • Led by Tecumseh.
  • Native organized resistance would make an alliance with the English (Canada) outside help

Problems with American Neutrality

  • The United States traded with both England and France while the latter two were at war with each other.
  • England created a naval blockade around France.
  • England sized American trading vessels.
  • England forced American sailors to serve in the English navy.
  • Impressment
  • Jefferson protested English actions.
  • Attacks on American economic freedom (freedom of trade)
  • Failed negotiations.
  • Then threats, which England ignored.
  • 1807: Jefferson persuaded Congress to pass an Embargo Act.
  • The United States refused to engage in international trade.
  • Meant to force England’s recognition of America’s neutrality and America’s freedom to engage in foreign trade.
  • Embargo Act backfired:
  • England continued to capture American sailors & ships; and
  • Created an economic depression in the United States.

Madison and an Impending Crisis

  • Madison won the 1808 presidential election.
  • During first year of presidency, Madison repealed the Embargo Act.
  • However, Madison continued to enact punitive measures against the English.
  • Measures still proved ineffective.
  • Some Congressmen called for war against England.
  • Known as the War Hawks.

The War Hawks



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