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The American Revolution and the early federal republic

Prelude to revolution
Britain's victory over France in the Great War for the Empire had been won at very great cost British government e!penditures" which had amounted to nearly #$"%&&"&&& annually before the war" rose to about #'("%&&"&&& annually during the war As a result" the burden of ta!ation in England was probably the highest in the country's history" much of it borne by the politically influential landed classes Furthermore" with the ac)uisition of the vast domain of *anada and the prospect of holding British territories both against the various nations of +ndians and against the ,paniards to the south and west" the costs of colonial defense could be e!pected to continue indefinitely -arliament" moreover" had voted .assachusetts a generous sum in compensation for its war e!penses +t therefore seemed reasonable to British opinion that some of the future burden of payment should be shifted to the colonists themselves/who until then had been lightly ta!ed and indeed lightly governed The prolonged wars had also revealed the need to tighten the administration of the loosely run and widely scattered elements of the British Empire +f the course of the war had confirmed the necessity" the end of the war presented the opportunity The ac)uisition of *anada re)uired 0ondon officials to ta1e responsibility for the unsettled western territories" now freed from the threat of French occupation The British soon moved to ta1e charge of the whole field of +ndian relations By royal proclamation 2'3$45 a line was drawn down the Appalachians mar1ing the limit of settlement from the British colonies" beyond which +ndian trade was to be conducted strictly through British6appointed commissioners These steps were not in time to prevent a serious uprising under the 7ttawa chief -ontiac" however8 and the proclamation" which sprang in part from a respect for +ndian rights" caused consternation among British colonists for two reasons +t meant that limits were being set to the prospects of settlement and speculation in western lands" and it too1 control of the west out of colonial hands The most ambitious men in the colonies thus saw the proclamation as a loss of power to control their own fortunes

The tax controversy
George Grenville" who was named prime minister in '3$4" was soon loo1ing to meet the costs of defense by raising revenue in the colonies The first measure was the -lantation Act of '3$(" usually called the ,ugar" or Revenue" Act" which reduced to a mere threepence the duty on imported foreign molasses but lin1ed with this a high duty on refined sugar and a prohibition on foreign rum 2the needs of the British treasury were carefully balanced with those of West +ndies planters and 9ew England distillers5 The last measure of this 1ind 2'3445 had not been enforced" but this time the government set up a system of customs houses" staffed by British officers" and even established a vice6admiralty court ,itting at :alifa!" 9ova ,cotia" the court heard very few cases" but in principle it appeared to threaten the cherished British privilege of trials by local ;uries Boston further ob;ected to the ta!'s revenue6raising aspect on constitutional grounds" but" despite some e!pressions of an!iety" the colonies in general ac)uiesced -arliament ne!t affected colonial economic prospects by passing a *urrency Act 2'3$(5 to withdraw paper currencies" many of them surviving from the war period" from circulation This was not done to restrict economic growth so much as to ta1e out currency that was thought to be unsound" but it did severely reduce the circulating medium during the difficult postwar period and further indicated that such matters were sub;ect to British control Grenville's ne!t move was a stamp duty" to be raised on a wide variety of transactions" including legal writs" newspaper advertisements" and ships' bills of lading The colonies were duly consulted and offered no alternative suggestions The feeling in 0ondon" shared by Ben;amin Fran1lin" was that" after ma1ing formal ob;ections" the colonies would accept the new ta!es as

they had the earlier ones But the ,tamp Act 2'3$%5 hit harder and deeper than any previous parliamentary measure As some agents had already pointed out" because of postwar economic difficulties the colonies were short of ready funds 2+n <irginia this shortage was so serious that the province's treasurer" =ohn Robinson" who was also spea1er of the assembly" manipulated and redistributed paper money that had been officially withdrawn from circulation by the *urrency Act8 a large proportion of the landed gentry benefited from this largesse 5 The ,tamp Act struc1 at vital points of colonial economic operations" affecting transactions in trade +t also affected many of the most articulate and influential people in the colonies 2lawyers" ;ournalists" ban1ers5 +t was" moreover" the first >internal? ta! levied directly on the colonies by -arliament -revious colonial ta!es had been levied by local authorities or had been >e!ternal? import duties whose primary aim could be viewed as regulating trade for the benefit of the empire as a whole rather than raising revenue @et no one" either in Britain or the colonies" fully anticipated the uproar that followed the imposition of these duties .obs in Boston and other towns rioted and forced appointed stamp distributors to renounce their posts8 legal business was largely halted ,everal colonies sent delegations to a *ongress in 9ew @or1 in the summer of '3$%" where the ,tamp Act was denounced as a violation of the Englishman's right to be ta!ed only through elected representatives" and plans were adopted to impose a no importation embargo on British goods A change of ministry facilitated a change of British policy on ta!ation -arliamentary opinion was angered by what it perceived as colonial lawlessness" but British merchants were worried about the embargo on British imports The .ar)uis of Roc1ingham" succeeding Grenville" was persuaded to repeal the ,tamp Act/for domestic reasons rather than out of any sympathy with colonial protests +n '3$$ the repeal was passed" however" on the same day as the Aeclaratory Act" which declared that -arliament had the power to bind or legislate the colonies >in all cases whatsoever ? -arliament would not have voted the repeal without this assertion of its authority The colonists" ;ubilant at the repeal of the ,tamp Act" dran1 innumerable toasts" sounded peals of cannon" and were prepared to ignore the Aeclaratory Act as face6saving window dressing =ohn Adams" however" warned in his Aissertation on the *anon and Feudal 0aw that -arliament" armed with this view of its powers" would try to ta! the colonies again8 and this happened in '3$3 when *harles Townshend became *hancellor of the E!che)uer in a ministry formed by -itt" now Earl of *hatham The problem was that Britain's financial burden had not been lifted Townshend" claiming to ta1e literally the colonial distinction between e!ternal and internal ta!es" imposed e!ternal duties on a wide range of necessities" including lead" glass" paint" paper" and tea" the principal domestic beverage 7ne ominous result was that colonists now began to believe that the British were developing a long6term plan to reduce the colonies to a subservient position" which they were soon calling >slavery ? This view was ill6informed" however Grenville's measures had been designed as a carefully considered pac1age8 apart from some tidying6up legislation" Grenville had had no further plans for the colonies after the ,tamp Act :is successors developed further measures" not as e!tensions of an original plan but because the ,tamp Act had been repealed 9evertheless" the colonists were outraged +n -ennsylvania the lawyer and legislator =ohn Aic1inson wrote a series of essays that" appearing in '3$3 and '3$B as 0etters from a Farmer in -ennsylvania " were widely reprinted and e!erted great influence in forming a united colonial opposition Aic1inson agreed that -arliament had supreme power where the whole empire was concerned" but he denied that it had power over internal colonial affairs8 he )uietly implied that the basis of colonial loyalty lay in its utility among e)uals rather than in obedience owed to a superior +t proved easier to unite on opinion than on action Gradually" after much manoeuvring and negotiation" a wide6ranging non importation policy against British goods was brought into

operation Agreement had not been easy to reach" and the tensions sometimes bro1e out in acrimonious charges of non cooperation +n addition" the policy had to be enforced by newly created local committees" a process that put a new disciplinary power in the hands of local men who had not had much previous e!perience in public affairs There were" as a result" many signs of discontent with the ordering of domestic affairs in some of the colonies/a development that had obvious implications for the future of colonial politics if more action were needed later

Constitutional differences with Britain
<ery few colonists wanted or even envisaged independence at this stage 2Aic1inson had hinted at such a possibility with e!pressions of pain that were obviously sincere 5 The colonial struggle for power" although charged with intense feeling" was not an attempt to change government structure but an argument over legal interpretation The core of the colonial case was that" as British sub;ects" they were entitled to the same privileges as their fellow sub;ects in Britain They could not constitutionally be ta!ed without their own consent8 and" because they were unrepresented in the -arliament that voted the ta!es" they had not given this consent =ames 7tis" in two long pamphlets" ceded all sovereign power to -arliament with this proviso 7thers" however" began to )uestion whether -arliament did have lawful power to legislate over the colonies These doubts were e!pressed by the late '3$&s" when =ames Wilson" a ,cottish immigrant lawyer living in -hiladelphia" wrote an essay on the sub;ect Because of the withdrawal of the Townshend round of duties in '33&" Wilson 1ept this essay private until new troubles arose in '33(" when he published it as *onsiderations on the 9ature and E!tent of the 0egislative Authority of the British -arliament +n this he fully articulated a view that had been gathering force in the colonies 2it was also the opinion of Ben;amin Fran1lin5 that -arliament's lawful sovereignty stopped at the shores of Britain The official British reply to the colonial case on representation was that the colonies were >virtually? represented in -arliament in the same sense that the large voteless ma;ority of the British public was represented by those who did vote To this =ames 7tis snorted that" if the ma;ority of the British people did not have the vote" they ought to have it The idea of colonial members of -arliament" several times suggested" was never a li1ely solution because of problems of time and distance and because" from the colonists' point of view" colonial members would not have ade)uate influence The standpoints of the two sides to the controversy could be traced in the language used The principle of parliamentary sovereignty was e!pressed in the language of paternalistic authority8 the British referred to themselves as parents and to the colonists as children *olonial Tories" who accepted -arliament's case in the interests of social stability" also used this terminology From this point of view" colonial insubordination was >unnatural"? ;ust as the revolt of children against parents was unnatural The colonists replied to all this in the language of rights They held that -arliament could do nothing in the colonies that it could not do in Britain because the Americans were protected by all the common6law rights of the British 2When the First *ontinental *ongress met in ,eptember '33(" one of its first acts was to affirm that the colonies were entitled to the common law of England 5 Rights" as Richard Bland of <irginia insisted in The *olonel Aismounted 2as early as '3$(5" implied e)uality And here he touched on the underlying source of colonial grievance Americans were being treated as une)uals" which they not only resented but also feared would lead to a loss of control of their own affairs *olonists perceived legal ine)uality when writs of assistance/essentially" general search warrants/were authoriCed in Boston in '3$' while closely related >general warrants? were outlawed in two celebrated cases in Britain Townshend specifically legaliCed writs of assistance in the colonies in '3$3 Aic1inson devoted one of his 0etters from a Farmer to this issue

When 0ord 9orth became prime minister early in '33&" George +++ had at last found a minister who could wor1 both with himself and with -arliament British government began to ac)uire some stability +n '33&" in the face of the American policy of non importation" the Townshend tariffs were withdrawn/all e!cept the ta! on tea" which was 1ept for symbolic reasons Relative calm returned" though it was ruffled on the 9ew England coastline by fre)uent incidents of defiance of customs officers" who could get no support from local ;uries These outbrea1s did not win much sympathy from other colonies" but they were serious enough to call for an increase in the number of British regular forces stationed in Boston 7ne of the most violent clashes occurred in Boston ;ust before the repeal of the Townshend duties Threatened by mob harassment" a small British detachment opened fire and 1illed five people" an incident soon 1nown as the Boston .assacre The soldiers were charged with murder and were given a civilian trial" in which =ohn Adams conducted a successful defense The other serious )uarrel with British authority occurred in 9ew @or1" where the assembly refused to accept all the British demands for )uartering troops Before a compromise was reached" -arliament had threatened to suspend the assembly The episode was ominous because it indicated that -arliament was ta1ing the Aeclaratory Act at its word8 on no previous occasion had the British legislature intervened in the operation of the constitution in an American colony 2,uch interventions" which were rare" had come from the crown 5 British intervention in colonial economic affairs occurred again when in '334 0ord 9orth's administration tried to rescue the East +ndia *ompany from difficulties that had nothing to do with America The Tea Act gave the company" which produced tea in +ndia" a monopoly of distribution in the colonies The company planned to sell its tea through its own agents" eliminating the system of sale by auction to independent merchants By thus cutting the costs of middlemen" it hoped to undersell the widely purchased" inferior" smuggled tea This plan naturally affected colonial merchants" and many colonists denounced the act as a plot to induce Americans to buy/and therefore pay the ta! on/legally imported tea Boston was not the only port to threaten to re;ect the cas1s of ta!ed tea" but its reply was the most dramatic/and provocative 7n Aecember '$" '334" a party of Bostonians" thinly disguised as .ohaw1 +ndians" boarded the ships at anchor and dumped some #'&"&&& worth of tea into the harbour British opinion was outraged" and America's friends in -arliament were immobiliCed 2American merchants in other cities were also disturbed -roperty was property 5 +n the spring of '33(" with hardly any opposition" -arliament passed a series of measures designed to reduce .assachusetts to order and imperial discipline The port of Boston was closed8 and" in the .assachusetts Government Act" -arliament for the first time actually altered a colonial charter" substituting an appointive council for the elective one established in '$D' and conferring e!tensive powers on the governor and council The famous town meeting" a forum for radical thin1ers" was outlawed as a political body To ma1e matters worse" -arliament also passed the Euebec Act for the government of *anada To the horror of pious 9ew England *alvinists" the Roman *atholic religion was recogniCed for the French inhabitants +n addition" Fpper *anada 2i e " the southern section5 was ;oined to the .ississippi valley for purposes of administration" permanently bloc1ing the prospect of American control of western settlement

The Continental Congress
There was widespread agreement that this intervention in colonial government could threaten other provinces and could be countered only by collective action After much intercolonial correspondence" a *ontinental *ongress came into e!istence" meeting in -hiladelphia in ,eptember '33( Every colonial assembly e!cept that of Georgia appointed and sent a delegation The <irginia delegation's instructions were drafted by Thomas =efferson and were later published as A ,ummary <iew of the Rights of British America 2'33(5 =efferson insisted

on the autonomy of colonial legislative power and set forth a highly individualistic view of the basis of American rights This belief that the American colonies and other members of the British Empire were distinct states united under the 1ing and thus sub;ect only to the 1ing and not to -arliament was shared by several other delegates" notably =ames Wilson and =ohn Adams" and strongly influenced the *ongress The *ongress' first important decision was one on procedureG whether to vote by colony" each having one vote" or by wealth calculated on a ratio with population The decision to vote by colony was made on practical grounds/neither wealth nor population could be satisfactorily ascertained/but it had important conse)uences +ndividual colonies" no matter what their siCe" retained a degree of autonomy that translated immediately into the language and prerogatives of sovereignty Fnder .assachusetts' influence" the *ongress ne!t adopted the ,uffol1 Resolves" recently voted in ,uffol1 county" .assachusetts" which for the first time put natural rights into the official colonial argument 2hitherto all remonstrances had been based on common law and constitutional rights5 Apart from this" however" the prevailing mood was cautious The *ongress' aim was to put such pressure on the British government that it would redress all colonial grievances and restore the harmony that had once prevailed The *ongress thus adopted an Association that committed the colonies to a carefully phased plan of economic pressure" beginning with non importation" moving to non consumption" and finishing the following ,eptember 2after the rice harvest had been e!ported5 with non e!portation A few 9ew England and <irginia delegates were loo1ing toward independence8 but the ma;ority went home hoping that these steps" together with new appeals to the 1ing and to the British people" would avert the need for any further such meetings +f these measures failed" however" a second *ongress would convene the following spring Behind the unity achieved by the *ongress lay deep divisions in colonial society +n the mid6 '3$&s upriver 9ew @or1 was disrupted by land riots" which also bro1e out in parts of 9ew =ersey8 much worse disorder ravaged the bac1country of both 9orth and ,outh *arolina" where frontier people were left unprotected by legislatures that ta!ed them but in which they felt themselves unrepresented A pitched battle at Alamance *ree1 in 9orth *arolina in '33' ended that rising and was followed by e!ecutions for treason Although without such serious disorder" the cities also revealed acute social tensions and resentments of ine)ualities of economic opportunity and visible status 9ew @or1 provincial politics were driven by intense rivalry between two great family6based parties" the Ae0anceys" who benefited from royal government connections" and their rivals" the 0ivingstons 2The politics of the )uarrel with Britain affected the domestic standing of the parties and eventually eclipsed the Ae0anceys 5 Another phenomenon was the rapid rise of dissenting religious sects" notably the Baptists8 although they carried no political program" their style of preaching suggested a strong undercurrent of social as well as religious dissent There was no inherent unity to these disturbances" but many leaders of colonial society were reluctant to ally themselves with these disruptive elements even in protest against Britain They were concerned about the domestic conse)uences of letting the protests ta1e a revolutionary turn8 power shared with these elements might never be recovered When the British general Thomas Gage sent a force from Boston to destroy American rebel military stores at *oncord" .assachusetts" fighting bro1e out between militia and British troops at 0e!ington and *oncord on April 'D" '33% Reports of these clashes reached the ,econd *ontinental *ongress" which met in -hiladelphia in .ay Although most colonial leaders still hoped for reconciliation with Britain" the news stirred the delegates to more radical action ,teps were ta1en to put the continent on a war footing While a further appeal was addressed to the British people 2mainly on =ohn Aic1inson's insistence5" the *ongress raised an army" adopted a Aeclaration of the *auses and 9ecessity of Ta1ing Fp Arms" and appointed committees to deal with domestic supply and foreign affairs +n August '33% the 1ing declared a state of rebellion8

by the end of the year" all colonial trade was banned Even yet" General George Washington" commander of the *ontinental Army" still referred to the British troops as >ministerial? forces" indicating a civil war" not a war loo1ing to separate national identity Then in =anuary '33$ the publication of Thomas -aine's irreverent pamphlet *ommon ,ense abruptly shattered this hopeful complacency and put independence on the agenda -aine's elo)uent" direct language spo1e people's unspo1en thoughts8 no pamphlet had ever made such an impact on colonial opinion While the *ongress negotiated urgently" but secretly" for a French alliance" power struggles erupted in provinces where conservatives still hoped for relief The only form relief could ta1e" however" was British concessions8 as public opinion hardened in Britain" where a general election in 9ovember '33( had returned a strong ma;ority for 0ord 9orth" the hope for reconciliation faded +n the face of British intransigence" men committed to their definition of colonial rights were left with no alternative8 and the substantial portion of colonists/about one6third according to =ohn Adams8 however" contemporary historians believe the number to have been much smaller/who preferred loyalty to the crown" with all its disadvantages" were localiCed and outflan1ed Where the British armies massed" they found plenty of loyalist support8 but" when they moved on" they left the loyalists feeble and e!posed The most dramatic internal revolution occurred in -ennsylvania" where a strong radical party" based mainly in -hiladelphia but with allies in the country" seiCed power in the course of the controversy over independence itself 7pinion for independence swept the colonies in the spring of '33$ The *ongress recommended that colonies form their own governments and assigned a committee to draft a declaration of independence This document" written by Thomas =efferson but revised in committee" consisted of two parts The preamble set the claims of the Fnited ,tates on a basis of natural rights" with a dedication to the principle of e)uality8 the second was a long list of grievances against the crown/not -arliament now" since the argument was that -arliament had no lawful power in the colonies 7n =uly H the *ongress itself voted for independence8 on the (th it adopted the Aeclaration

The American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War thus began as a civil conflict within the British Empire over colonial affairs" but" with America being ;oined by France in '33B" ,pain in '33D" and the 9etherlands in '3B&" it became an international war 7n land the Americans assembled both state militias and the *ontinental 2national5 Army" with appro!imately H&"&&& men" mostly farmers" fighting at any given time By contrast" the British army was composed of reliable and well6trained professionals" numbering about (H"&&& regulars" supplemented by about 4&"&&& German mercenaries The war began when the British general Thomas Gage sent a force from Boston to destroy American rebel military stores at *oncord" .assachusetts After fighting bro1e out at 0e!ington and *oncord on April 'D" '33%" rebel forces began a siege of Boston that ended when the American general :enry Ino! arrived with artillery captured from Fort Ticonderoga" forcing General William :owe" Gage's replacement" to evacuate Boston on .arch '3" '33$ An American force under General Richard .ontgomery invaded *anada in the fall of '33%" captured .ontreal" and launched an unsuccessful attac1 on Euebec" in which .ontgomery was 1illed The Americans maintained a siege on the city until the arrival of British reinforcements in the spring and then retreated to Fort Ticonderoga The British government sent General :owe's brother" Richard" Admiral 0ord :owe" with a large fleet to ;oin his brother in 9ew @or1" authoriCing them to treat with the Americans and assure them pardon should they submit When the Americans" who declared themselves independent on =uly (" '33$" refused this offer of peace" General :owe landed on 0ong +sland and on

August H3 defeated the army of General George Washington" the commander in chief of the American forces When Washington retreated into .anhattan" :owe drew him north" defeated his army at *hatterton :ill near White -lains on 7ctober HB" and then stormed the garrison Washington had left behind on .anhattan" seiCing prisoners and supplies 0ord *ornwallis" having ta1en Washington's other garrison at Fort 0ee" drove the American army across 9ew =ersey to the western ban1 of the Aelaware River and then )uartered his troops for the winter at outposts in 9ew =ersey 7n *hristmas night" Washington crossed the Aelaware and attac1ed *ornwallis's garrison at Trenton" ta1ing nearly '"&&& prisoners Though *ornwallis soon recaptured Trenton" Washington escaped and went on to defeat British reinforcements at -rinceton Washington's Trenton6-rinceton campaign roused the country and 1ept the struggle for independence alive +n '333 a British army under General =ohn Burgoyne moved south from *anada with Albany in 9ew @or1 as its goal Burgoyne captured Fort Ticonderoga on =uly %" but as he approached Albany he was twice defeated by an American force led by Generals :oratio Gates and Benedict Arnold" and on 7ctober '3" '333" at ,aratoga" he was forced to surrender his army Earlier that fall" :owe had sailed from 9ew @or1 to *hesapea1e Bay" and once ashore he had defeated Washington's forces at Brandywine *ree1 on ,eptember '' and occupied the American capital of -hiladelphia on ,eptember H% After a mildly successful attac1 at Germantown on 7ctober (" Washington )uartered his ''"&&& troops for the winter at <alley Forge Though the conditions at <alley Forge were blea1 and food was scarce" a -russian officer" Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von ,teuben" was able to give the American troops valuable training in manoeuvres and in the more efficient use of their weapons <on ,teuben's aid contributed greatly to Washington's success at .onmouth 2now Freehold5" 9ew =ersey" on =une HB" '33B After that battle British forces in the north remained chiefly in and around the city of 9ew @or1 While the French had been secretly furnishing financial and material aid to the Americans since '33$" in '33B they began to prepare fleets and armies and in =une finally declared war on Britain With action in the north largely a stalemate" their primary contribution was in the south" where they participated in such underta1ings as the siege of British6held ,avannah and the decisive siege of @or1town *ornwallis destroyed an army under Gates at *amden" ,outh *arolina" on August '$" '3B&" but suffered heavy setbac1s at Iings .ountain on 7ctober 3 and at *owpens on =anuary '3" '3B' After *ornwallis won a costly victory at Guilford *ourthouse" 9orth *arolina" on .arch '%" '3B'" he entered <irginia to ;oin other British forces there" setting up a base at @or1town Washington's army and a force under the French *ount de Rochambeau placed @or1town under siege" and *ornwallis surrendered his army of more than 3"&&& men on 7ctober 'D" '3B' Thereafter" land action in America died out" though war continued on the high seas Although a *ontinental 9avy was created in '33%" the American sea effort lapsed largely into privateering" and after '3B& the war at sea was fought chiefly among Britain and America's European allies American privateers swarmed around the British +sles" and by the end of the war they had captured '"%&& British merchant ships and 'H"&&& sailors After '3B& ,pain and the 9etherlands were able to control much of the water around the British +sles" thus 1eeping the bul1 of British naval forces tied down in Europe

Treaty of Paris
The military verdict in 9orth America was reflected in the preliminary Anglo6American peace treaty of '3BH" which was included in the Treaty of -aris of '3B4 Ben;amin Fran1lin" =ohn Adams" =ohn =ay" and :enry 0aurens served as the American commissioners By its terms Britain recogniCed the independence of the Fnited ,tates with generous boundaries" including

the .ississippi River on the west Britain retained *anada but ceded East and West Florida to ,pain -rovisions were inserted calling for the payment of American private debts to British citiCens" for American access to the 9ewfoundland fisheries" and for a recommendation by the *ontinental *ongress to the states in favour of fair treatment of the loyalists .ost of the loyalists remained in the new nation -erhaps as many as B&"&&& Tories migrated to *anada" England" and the British West +ndies .any of these had served as British soldiers" and many had been banished by the American states The less ardent and more cautious Tories" staying in the Fnited ,tates" accepted the separation from Britain as final and could not be distinguished from the patriots after the passage of a generation The loyalists were harshly treated as dangerous enemies by the American states during the war and immediately afterward They were commonly deprived of civil rights" often fined" and fre)uently deprived of their property The more conspicuous were usually banished upon pain of death The British government compensated more than ("&&& of the e!iles for property losses" paying out almost #4"4&&"&&& +t also gave them land grants" pensions" and appointments to enable them to reestablish themselves

Foundations of the American republic
+t had been far from certain that the Americans could fight a successful war against the might of Britain The scattered colonies had little inherent unity8 their e!perience of collective action was limited8 an army had to be created and maintained8 they had no common institutions other than the *ontinental *ongress8 and they had almost no e!perience of continental public finance The Americans could not have hoped to win the war without French help" and the French monarchy /whose interests were anti6British but not pro6American/had waited watchfully to see what the Americans could do in the field Although the French began supplying arms" clothing" and loans surreptitiously soon after the Americans declared independence" it was not until '33B that they entered into a formal alliance .ost of these problems lasted beyond the achievement of independence and continued to ve! American politics for many years" even for generations .eanwhile" however" the colonies had valuable" though less visible" sources of strength -ractically all farmers had their own arms and could form into militia companies overnight .ore fundamentally" Americans had for many years been receiving basically the same information" mainly from the English press" reprinted in identical form in colonial newspapers The effect of this was to form a singularly wide body of agreed opinion about ma;or public issues Another force of incalculable importance was the fact that for several generations Americans had to a large e!tent been governing themselves through elected assemblies" which in turn had developed sophisticated e!perience in committee politics This factor of >institutional memory? was of great importance in the forming of a mentality of self6government .en became attached to their habitual ways" especially when these were habitual ways of running their own affairs8 and these habits formed the basis of an ideology ;ust as pervasive and important to the people concerned as republican theories published in Britain and the European continent .oreover" colonial self6government seemed" from a colonial point of view" to be continuous and consistent with the principles of English government/principles for which -arliament had fought the *ivil Wars in the mid6'3th century and which colonists believed to have been reestablished by the Glorious Revolution of '$BBJBD +t was e)ually important that e!perience of self6government had taught colonial leaders how to get things done When the *ontinental *ongress met in '33(" members did not have to debate procedure 2e!cept on voting58they already 1new it Finally" the *ongress' authority was rooted in traditions of legitimacy The old election laws were used <oters could transfer their allegiance with minimal difficulty from the dying colonial assemblies to the new assemblies and conventions of the states

Problems before the econd Continental Congress
When the ,econd *ontinental *ongress assembled in -hiladelphia in .ay '33%" revolution was not a certainty The *ongress had to prepare for that contingency nevertheless and thus was confronted by two parallel sets of problems The first was how to organiCe for war8 the second" which proved less urgent but could not be set aside forever" was how to define the legal relationship between the *ongress and the states +n =une '33% the *ongress provided for the enlistment of an army and appointed *olonel George Washington 2who had made a point of turning up in uniform5 commander in chief +t then turned to the ve!atious problems of finance An aversion to ta!ation being one of the unities of American sentiment" the *ongress began by trying to raise a domestic loan +t did not have much success" however" for the e!cellent reason that the outcome of the operation appeared highly dubious At the same time" authority was ta1en for issuing a paper currency This proved to be the most important method of domestic war finance" and" as the war years passed" *ongress resorted to issuing more and more *ontinental currency" which depreciated rapidly and had to compete with currencies issued by state governments 2-eople were inclined to prefer local currencies 5 The *ontinental Army was a further source of a form of currency because its commission agents issued certificates in e!change for goods8 these certificates bore an official promise of redemption and could be used in personal transactions 0oans raised overseas" notably in France and the 9etherlands" were another important source of revenue +n '3B& *ongress decided to call in all former issues of currency and replace them with a new issue on a (&6to6' ratio The -hiladelphia merchant Robert .orris" who was appointed superintendent of finance in '3B' and came to be 1nown as the Financier" guided the Fnited ,tates through its comple! fiscal difficulties .orris' personal finances were ine!tricably tangled up with those of the country" and he became the ob;ect of much hostile comment" but he also used his own resources to secure urgently needed loans from abroad +n '3B' .orris secured a charter for the first Ban1 of 9orth America" an institution which owed much to the e!ample of the Ban1 of England Although the ban1 was attac1ed by radical egalitarians as an unrepublican manifestation of privilege" it gave the Fnited ,tates a firmer financial foundation The problem of financing and organiCing the war sometimes overlapped with *ongress' other ma;or problem" that of defining its relations with the states The *ongress" being only an association of states" had no power to ta! individuals The Articles of *onfederation" a plan of government organiCation adopted and put into practice by *ongress in '333" although not officially ratified by all the states until '3B'" gave *ongress the right to ma1e re)uisitions on the states proportionate to their ability to pay The states in turn had to raise these sums by their own domestic powers to ta!" a method that state legislators loo1ing for reelection were reluctant to employ The result was that many states were constantly in heavy arrears" and" particularly after the urgency of the war years had subsided" the *ongress' ability to meet e!penses and repay its war debts was crippled The *ongress lac1ed power to enforce its re)uisitions and fell badly behind in repaying its wartime creditors When individual states 2 .aryland as early as '3BH" -ennsylvania in '3B%5 passed legislation providing for repayment of the debt owed to their own citiCens by the *ontinental *ongress" one of the reasons for the *ongress' e!istence had begun to crumble Two attempts were made to get the states to agree to grant the *ongress the power it needed to raise revenue by levying an impost on imports Each failed for want of unanimous consent Essentially" an impost would have been collected at ports" which belonged to individual states/ there was no >national? territory/and therefore cut across the concept of state sovereignty Agreement was nearly obtained on each occasion" and" if it had been" the *onstitutional *onvention might never have been called But the failure sharply pointed up the wea1ness of the *ongress and of the union between the states under the Articles of *onfederation

The Articles of *onfederation reflected strong preconceptions of state sovereignty Article ++ e!pressly reserved sovereignty to the states individually" and another article even envisaged the possibility that one state might go to war without the others Fundamental revisions could be made only with unanimous consent" because the Articles represented a treaty between sovereigns" not the creation of a new nation6state 7ther ma;or revisions re)uired the consent of nine states @et state sovereignty principles rested on artificial foundations The states could never have achieved independence on their own" and in fact the *ongress had ta1en the first step both in recommending that the states form their own governments and in declaring their collective independence .ost important of its domestic responsibilities" by '3B3 the *ongress had enacted several ordinances establishing procedures for incorporating new territories 2+t had been conflicts over western land claims that had held up ratification of the Articles Eventually the states with western claims" principally 9ew @or1 and <irginia" ceded them to the Fnited ,tates 5 The 9orthwest 7rdinance of '3B3 provided for the phased settlement and government of territories in the 7hio valley" leading to eventual admission as new states +t also e!cluded the introduction of slavery/though it did not e!clude the retention of e!isting slaves The states had constantly loo1ed to the *ongress for leadership in the difficulties of war8 now that the danger was past" however" disunity began to threaten to turn into disintegration The *ongress was largely discredited in the eyes of a wide range of influential men" representing both old and new interests The states were setting up their own tariff barriers against each other and )uarrelling among themselves8 virtual war had bro1en out between competing settlers from -ennsylvania and *onnecticut claiming the same lands By '3B$" well6informed men were discussing a probable brea1up of the *onfederation into three or more new groups" which could have led to wars among the American republics

tate politics
The problems of forming a new government affected the states individually as well as in confederation .ost of them established their own constitutions/formulated either in conventions or in the e!isting assemblies The most democratic of these constitutions was the product of a virtual revolution in -ennsylvania" where a highly organiCed radical party seiCed the opportunity of the revolutionary crisis to gain power ,uffrage was put on a ta!payer basis" with nearly all adult males paying some ta!8 representation was reformed to bring in the populations of western counties8 and a single6chamber legislature was established An oath of loyalty to the constitution for some time e!cluded political opponents and particularly Eua1ers 2who could not ta1e oaths5 from participation For the rest" the state constitutions reflected the firm political ascendancy of the traditional ruling elite -ower ascended from a broad base in the elective franchise and representation through a narrowing hierarchy of offices restricted by property )ualifications ,tate governors had in some cases to be men of great wealth ,enators were either wealthy or elected by the wealthy sector of the electorate 2These conditions were not invariable8 <irginia" which had a powerful landed elite" dispensed with such restrictions 5 ,everal states retained religious )ualifications for office8 the separation of church and state was not a popular concept" and minorities such as Baptists and Eua1ers were sub;ected to indignities that amounted in some places 2notably .assachusetts and *onnecticut5 to forms of persecution Elite power provided a lever for one of the most significant transformations of the era" one that too1 place almost without being either noticed or intended This was the acceptance of the principle of proportional representation as the determining rule of political action +t was made not only possible but attractive when the larger aggregations of population broadly coincided with the highest concentrations of propertyG great merchants and landowners from populous areas could continue to e!ert political ascendancy so long as they retained some sort of hold on the political process 2This would hardly have been possible if American politics had been ruled

by class war" but this was not the case 5 The principle reemerged to dominate the distribution of voters in the :ouse of Representatives and in the electoral college under the new federal *onstitution Relatively conservative constitutions did little to stem a tide of increasingly democratic politics The old elites had to wrestle with new political forces 2and in the process they learned how to organiCe in the new regime5 E!ecutive power was wea1ened .any elections were held annually" and terms were limited 0egislatures )uic1ly admitted new representatives from recent settlements" many with little previous political e!perience The new state governments" moreover" had to tac1le ma;or issues that affected all classes The needs of public finance led to emissions of paper money +n several states these were resumed after the war" and" since they tended 2though not invariably5 to depreciate" they led directly to fierce controversies The treatment of loyalists/adherents of the British cause/was also a theme of intense political dispute after the war Aespite the protests of men li1e Ale!ander :amilton" who urged restoration of property and rights" in many states loyalists were driven out and their estates seiCed and redistributed in forms of auction" providing opportunities for speculation rather than personal occupation .any states were depressed economically +n .assachusetts" which remained under orthodo! control" stiff ta!ation under conditions of postwar depression trapped many farmers into debt Fnable to meet their obligations" they rose late in '3B$ under a Revolutionary War officer" *aptain Aaniel ,hays" in a movement to prevent the court sessions ,hays's Rebellion was crushed early in '3B3 by an army raised in the state The action caused only a few casualties" but the episode sent a shiver of fear throughout the country's propertied classes +t also seemed to ;ustify the classical thesis that republics were unstable +t thus provided a potent stimulus to state legislatures to send delegates to the convention called 2following a preliminary meeting in Annapolis5 to meet at -hiladelphia to revise the Articles of *onfederation

The Constitutional Convention
The -hiladelphia *onvention" which met in .ay '3B3" was officially called for by the old *ongress solely to remedy defects in the Articles of *onfederation But the ><irginia -lan? presented by the <irginia delegates went beyond revision and boldly proposed to introduce a new" national government in place of the e!isting confederation The *onvention thus immediately faced the )uestion of whether the Fnited ,tates was to be a nation This decision was effectively made when the plan for a bicameral legislature was approved The alternative" based on the old single chamber representing autonomous states" was passed over when the hastily drafted 9ew =ersey -lan was defeated in mid6=une The *onstitution as it emerged after a summer of debate embodied a much stronger principle of separation of powers than was generally to be found in the state constitutions The chief e!ecutive was to be a single figure 2a composite e!ecutive was discussed5 and was to be elected by an electoral college" meeting in the states This followed much debate over the <irginia -lan's preference for legislative election The principal control on the president was the rather remote threat of impeachment 2to which =ames .adison attached great importance5 The <irginia -lan's proposal that representation be proportional to population in both houses was severely modified by the retention of e)ual representation for each state in the ,enate After some contention" antislavery forces gave way to a compromise by which three6fifths of the slaves would be counted as population for purposes of representation 2and direct ta!ation5 ,lave states would thus be perpetually overrepresented in national politics8 provision was also added for a law permitting the recapture of fugitive slaves" though in deference to republican scruples the word >slaves? was not used

*ontemporary theory e!pected the legislature to be the most powerful branch of government Thus" to balance the system" the e!ecutive was given a veto" and a ;udicial system with powers of review was established +t was also implicit in the structure that the new" federal ;udiciary would have power to veto any state laws that conflicted with either the *onstitution or with federal statutes ,tates were forbidden to pass laws impairing obligations of contract/a measure aimed to encourage capital/and the *ongress could pass no e! post facto law But the *ongress was endowed with the basic powers of a modern/and sovereign/government This was a republic" and the Fnited ,tates could confer no aristocratic titles of honour The prospect of eventual enlargement of federal power appeared in the clause giving the *ongress powers to pass legislation >necessary and proper? for implementing the general purposes of the *onstitution The states retained their civil ;urisdiction8 but there was an emphatic shift of the political centre of gravity to the federal government" of which the most fundamental indication was the universal understanding that this government would act directly on citiCens" as individuals" throughout all the states" regardless of state authority The language of the *onstitution told of the new styleG it began" >We the people of the Fnited ,tates"? rather than >We the people of 9ew :ampshire" .assachusetts" etc ? The draft *onstitution aroused widespread opposition Anti6Federalists/so6called because their opponents deftly seiCed the appellation of > Federalists"? though they were really nationalists/were strong in states such as <irginia" 9ew @or1" and .assachusetts" where the economy was relatively successful and many people saw little need for such e!treme remedies Anti6Federalists also e!pressed fears/here touches of class conflict certainly arose/that the new government would fall into the hands of merchants and men of money .any good republicans detected oligarchy in the structure of the ,enate" with its si!6year terms The absence of a bill of rights aroused deep fears of central power The Federalists" however" had the advantages of communications" the press" organiCation" and" generally" the better of the argument Anti6Federalists also suffered the disadvantage of having no internal coherence or unified purpose The debate gave rise to a very intensive literature" much of it at a higher intellectual level than can be found in to6day's public debates The most sustained pro6Federalist argument" written mainly by Ale!ander :amilton and =ames .adison 2assisted by =ohn =ay5 under the pseudonym of -ublius" appeared in the newspapers as The Federalist These essays attac1ed the feebleness of the *onfederation and claimed that the new *onstitution would have advantages for all sectors of society while threatening none +n the course of the debate" they passed from a strongly nationalist standpoint to one that showed more respect for the idea of a mi!ed form of government that would safeguard the states .adison contributed assurances that a multiplicity of interests would counteract each other" preventing the consolidation of power continually charged by their enemies The Bill of Rights" steered through the first *ongress by .adison's diplomacy" mollified much of the latent opposition These first '& amendments" ratified in '3D'" adopted into the *onstitution the basic English common6law rights that Americans had fought for But they did more Fnli1e Britain" the Fnited ,tates secured a guarantee of freedom for the press and the right of 2peaceable5 assembly Also unli1e Britain" church and state were formally separated in a clause that seemed to set e)ual value on non establishment of religion and its free e!ercise 2This left the states free to maintain their own establishments 5 +n state conventions held through the winter of '3B3 to the summer of '3BB" the *onstitution was ratified by the necessary minimum of nine states But the vote was desperately close in

<irginia and 9ew @or1" respectively the '&th and ''th states to ratify" and without them the whole scheme would have been built on sand

The social revolution
The American Revolution was a great social upheaval but one that was widely diffused" often gradual" and different in different regions The principles of liberty and e)uality stood in star1 conflict with the institution of African slavery" which had built much of the country's wealth 7ne gradual effect of this conflict was the decline of slavery in all the 9orthern states8 another was a spate of manumissions by liberal slave owners in <irginia But with most slave owners" especially in ,outh *arolina and Georgia" ideals counted for nothing Throughout the slave states" the institution of slavery came to be reinforced by a doctrine of racial inferiority" which proved hard to dispel Although the manumissions did result in the development of new communities of free blac1s" who en;oyed considerable freedom of movement for a few years" in the '3D&s the condition of free blac1s deteriorated as states adopted laws restricting their activities" residences" and economic choices They came to occupy poor neighbourhoods and grew into a permanent underclass" denied education or opportunity The War of +ndependence also dramatiCed the economic importance of women Women had always contributed indispensably to the operation of farms and often businesses" while seldom ac)uiring independent status8 but" when war removed men from the locality" women often had to ta1e full charge" which they proved they could do Republican ideas spread among women" influencing discussion of women's rights" education" and role in society ,ome states modified their inheritance and property laws to permit women to inherit a share of estates and to e!ercise limited control of property after marriage 7n the whole" however" the Revolution itself had only very gradual and diffused effects on women's ultimate status ,uch changes as too1 place amounted to a fuller recognition of the importance of women as mothers of republican citiCens rather than ma1ing them into independent citiCens of e)ual political and civil status with men The American Revolution was in many respects a manifestation of the Enlightenment in political" civil" and ecclesiastical action 7ne of its triumphs was the passage of the <irginia ,tatute for Religious 0iberty in '3B$ 2which =efferson" the original author" proudly had printed in the ne!t edition of the French EncyclopKdie5 The state would tolerate all religions but give formal favour to none8 people were free to follow the dictates of their own religious consciences Although several states retained formal establishments" there was much competition among sects +n 9ew England and in commercial centres of activity" and later in newer western settlements" the earlier severe *alvinism gradually gave way to a gentler and more indulgent universalismG people came to hope and then to believe that God actually wanted his creatures to be happy Aoctrinally" moreover" Fnitarianism appealed to an increasing number of *ongregationalists A great new revivalist movement arose again around '3DB" mainly in the new West" and this fre)uently renewed revival spirit appealed directly to the senses and away from the moderate intellectualism of the Enlightenment Americans had fought for independence to protect common6law rights8 they had no program for legal reform Gradually" however" some customary practices came to seem out of 1eeping with republican principles The outstanding e!ample was the law of inheritance The new states too1 steps" where necessary" to remove the old rule of primogeniture in favour of e)ual partition of intestate estates8 this conformed both to the egalitarian and the individualist principles preferred by American society :umaniCation of the penal codes" however" occurred only gradually" in the 'Dth century" inspired as much by European e!ample as by American sentiment As for the problem of the indigenous population" Americans had no clear or consistent solution +ndians were not ta!ed8 they were not citiCens8 and yet they often lived" traded" and earned a living in and around Euro6American centres and settlements +n the west" +ndian and Euro6

American cultures interacted and constantly learned from one another" but their essentially incompatible aims often bro1e into hostility The new government of the Fnited ,tates thus found itself involved at once in a war on its northwestern frontiers with a formidable enemy A temporary peace was achieved after Anthony Wayne's victory in '3D( at the Battle of Fallen Timbers The following year'H +ndian tribes signed the Treaty of Greenville" opening the northwest for F , settlement

The Fnited ,tates from '3BD to 'B'$
The Federalist administration and the formation of parties
The first elections under the new *onstitution were held in '3BD Washington was unanimously voted the nation's first president :is secretary of the treasury" Ale!ander :amilton" formed a clear6cut program that soon gave substance to the old fears of the Anti6Federalists :amilton" who had believed since the early '3B&s that a national debt would be >a national blessing"? both for economic reasons and because it would act as a >cement? to the Fnion" used his new power base to realiCe the ambitions of the nationalists :e recommended that the federal government pay off the old *ontinental *ongress' debts at par rather than at a depreciated value and that it assume state debts" drawing the interests of the creditors toward the central rather than state governments This plan met strong opposition from the many who had sold their securities at great discount during the postwar depression and from ,outhern states" which had repudiated their debts and did not want to be ta!ed to pay other states' debts A compromise in *ongress was reached/than1s to the efforts of ,ecretary of ,tate =efferson/whereby ,outhern states approved :amiltonLs plan in return for 9orthern agreement to fi! the location of the new national capital on the ban1s of the -otomac" closer to the ,outh When :amilton ne!t introduced his plan to found a Ban1 of the Fnited ,tates" modelled on the Ban1 of England" opposition began to harden .any argued that the *onstitution did not confide this power to *ongress :amilton" however" persuaded Washington that anything not e!pressly forbidden by the *onstitution was permitted under implied powers/the beginning of >loose? as opposed to >strict? constructionist interpretations of the *onstitution The Ban1 Act passed in '3D' :amilton also advocated plans for the support of nascent industry" which proved premature" and he imposed a revenue6raising whis1ey e!cise that led to a minor rebellion in western -ennsylvania in '3D( A party opposed to :amilton's fiscal policies began to form in *ongress With .adison at its centre and with support from =efferson" it soon e!tended its appeal beyond *ongress to the constituencies .eanwhile" the French Revolution and France's subse)uent declaration of war against Great Britain" ,pain" and :olland further divided American loyalties Aemocratic6 Republican societies sprang up to e!press support for France" while :amilton and his supporters" 1nown as Federalists" bac1ed Britain for economic reasons Washington pronounced American neutrality in Europe" but to prevent a war with Britain he sent *hief =ustice =ohn =ay to 0ondon to negotiate a treaty 2'3D(5 The Fnited ,tates gained only minor concessions and/humiliatingly/accepted British naval supremacy as the price of protection for American shipping Washington" whose tolerance had been severely strained by the Whis1ey Rebellion and by criticism of the =ay Treaty" chose not to run for a third presidential term +n his farewell address 2in a passage drafted by :amilton5 he denounced the new party politics as divisive and dangerous -arties did not yet aspire to national ob;ectives" however" and" when the Federalist =ohn Adams was elected president" the Republican =efferson" as the presidential candidate with the second greatest number of votes" became vice president Wars in Europe and on the high seas" together with rampant opposition at home" gave the new administration little peace <irtual naval war with France had followed from American acceptance of British naval

protection +n '3DB a French attempt to solicit bribes from American commissioners negotiating a settlement of differences 2the so6called M@N Affair5 aroused a wave of anti6French feeling 0ater that year the Federalist ma;ority in *ongress passed the Alien and ,edition Acts" which imposed serious civil restrictions on aliens suspected of pro6French activities and penaliCed F , citiCens who criticiCed the government" ma1ing nonsense of the First Amendment's guarantee of free press The acts were most often invo1ed to prosecute Republican editors" some of whom served ;ail terms These measures in turn called forth the <irginia and Ientuc1y resolutions" drafted respectively by .adison and =efferson" which invo1ed state sovereignty against intolerable federal powers War with France often seemed imminent during this period" but Adams was determined to avoid issuing a formal declaration of war" and in this he succeeded Ta!ation" which had been levied to pay anticipated war costs" brought more discontent" however" including a new minor rebellion in -ennsylvania led by =acob Fries The rising was put down without difficulty" but widespread disagreement over issues ranging from civil liberties to ta!ation was polariCing American politics A basic sense of political identity now divided Federalists from Republicans" and in the election of 'B&& =efferson drew on deep sources of Anti6Federalist opposition to challenge and defeat his old friend and colleague Adams The result was the first contest over the presidency between political parties and the first actual change of government as a result of a general election in modern history

The !effersonian Republicans in power
=efferson began his presidency with a plea for reconciliationG >We are all Republicans" we are all Federalists ? :e had no plans for a permanent two6party system of government :e also began with a strong commitment to limited government and strict construction of the *onstitution All these commitments were soon to be tested by the e!igencies of war" diplomacy" and political contingency 7n the American continent" =efferson pursued a policy of e!pansion :e seiCed the opportunity when 9apoleon Bonaparte decided to relin)uish French ambitions in 9orth America by offering the 0ouisiana territory for sale 2,pain had recently ceded the territory to France5 This e!traordinary ac)uisition" purchased at a price of a few cents per acre" more than doubled the area of the Fnited ,tates =efferson had no constitutional sanction for such an e!ercise of e!ecutive power8 he made up the rules as he went along" ta1ing a broad construction view of the *onstitution on this issue :e also sought opportunities to gain Florida from ,pain8 and" for scientific and political reasons" he sent .eriwether 0ewis and William *lar1 on an e!pedition of e!ploration across the continent This territorial e!pansion was not without problems <arious separatist movements periodically arose" including a plan for a 9orthern *onfederacy formulated by 9ew England Federalists Aaron Burr" who had been elected =efferson's vice president in 'B&& but was replaced in 'B&(" led several western conspiracies Arrested and tried for treason" he was ac)uitted in 'B&3 As chief e!ecutive" =efferson clashed with members of the ;udiciary" many of whom had been late appointments by Adams 7ne of his primary opponents was the late appointee *hief =ustice =ohn .arshall +n the case of .arbury v .adison 2'B&45" in which the ,upreme *ourt first e!ercised the power of ;udicial review of congressional legislation" .arshall's main target was the e!ecutive" not the legislature8 he de!terously succeeded in confirming but ;udiciously limiting the court's constitutional role without putting its actual authority at ris1 By the start of =efferson's second term in office" Europe was engulfed in the 9apoleonic Wars The Fnited ,tates remained neutral" but both Britain and France imposed various orders and decrees severely restricting American trade with Europe and confiscated American ships for violating the new rules Britain also conducted impressment raids in which F , citiCens were

sometimes seiCed Fnable to agree to treaty terms with Britain" =efferson tried to coerce both Britain and France into ceasing to violate >neutral rights? with a total embargo on American e!ports" enacted by *ongress in 'B&3 The results were catastrophic for American commerce and produced bitter alienation in 9ew England" where the embargo 2written bac1ward as >7 grab me?5 was held to be a ,outhern plot to destroy 9ew England's wealth +n 'B&D" shortly after .adison was elected president" the embargo act was repealed

"adison as president and the War of #$#%
.adison's presidency was dominated by foreign affairs Both Britain and France committed depredations on American shipping" but Britain was more resented" partly because with the greatest navy it was more effective and partly because Americans were e!tremely sensitive to British insults to national honour *ertain e!pansionist elements loo1ing to both Florida and *anada began to press for war and too1 advantage of the issue of naval protection .adison's own aim was to preserve the principle of freedom of the seas and to assert the ability of the Fnited ,tates to protect its own interests and its citiCens While striving to confront the European adversaries impartially" he was drawn into war against Britain" which was declared in =une 'B'H on a vote of 3DJ(D in the :ouse and 'DJ'4 in the ,enate There was almost no support for war in the 9orthern states The war began and ended in irony The British had already rescinded the offending orders in council" but the news had not reached the Fnited ,tates at the time of the declaration The Americans were poorly placed from every point of view +deological ob;ections to armies and navies had been responsible for a minimal naval force +deological ob;ections to ban1s had been responsible" in 'B'H" for the ,enate's refusal to renew the charter of the Ban1 of the Fnited ,tates .ercantile sentiment was hostile to the administration Fnder the circumstances" it was remar1able that the Fnited ,tates succeeded in staggering through two years of war" eventually winning important naval successes at sea" on the Great 0a1es" and on 0a1e *hamplain 7n land" a British raiding party burned public buildings in Washington" A * " and drove -resident .adison to flee from his capital The only action with long6term implications was Andrew =ac1son's victory at 9ew 7rleans/won in =anuary 'B'%" two wee1s after peace had been signed in Ghent" Belg =ac1son's political reputation rose directly from this battle +n historical retrospect" the most important aspect of the peace settlement was an agreement to set up a boundary commission for the *anadian border" which could thenceforth be left unguarded +t was not the end of Anglo6American hostility" but the agreement mar1ed the advent of an era of mutual trust The conclusion of the War of 'B'H" which has sometimes been called the ,econd War of American +ndependence" mar1ed a historical cycle +t resulted in a pacification of the old feelings of pain and resentment against Great Britain and her people/ still for many Americans a 1ind of paternal relationship And" by freeing them of an!ieties on this front" it also freed Americans to loo1 to the west