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Honors U.S. History Name:

Mr. Irwin
Week 6 Period:

Chapter 2-3 Lecture

First President, 1789 - 1797

GEORGE WASHINGTON – Our first president, he is the only president in our nation’s
history who had no affiliation with a political party.

Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton to be Secretary of Treasury. Hamilton

believed that the government of the U.S. should have strong national power. He set out
to raise money to pay off our nation’s Revolutionary War debt by getting Congress to
pass some new taxes. At first some of the Southern states didn’t want to go along with
Hamilton’s plan, but when he offered to try to put a deal together to move our nation’s
capital to the South, Hamilton got the support that he had been seeking. As the result,
the following three events are all related:

• A 1789 tariff on imported goods.

• The Whiskey Tax, passed in 1791.

• The new capital of the United States would become the District of Columbia,
located on the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland.

In 1791, under Secretary Hamilton’s lead, the Bank of the United States was

Upon leaving the office of the president, George Washington gave what has become a
famous farewell address in which he warned America:

• To steer clear of foreign wars.

• To remain free of foreign attachments.

• To put aside political differences and work for the good of the whole country.

Second President, 1797 - 1801

JOHN ADAMS – A Federalist, Adams been Vice President under George Washington.
Adams served as president for one term. The election of 1796 became an election
between political parties, the Federalists vs. the Democratic–Republicans. This election
also brought to light the issue of “sectionalism, ” as almost all of the electors from the
Southern states voted for Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, while all the electors from the
Northern states voted for Adams, who was from Massachusetts.
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Key events or issues during the Adams administration were:
• Friction with France over control of the Northwest Territory.

• The seizure of Europe-bound American ships by the French.

• The XYZ Affair.

• America begins seizing French ships.

• The Federalists want to declare war against France, but Adams seeks a
diplomatic solution.

• Friction between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans

• The Aliens and Seditions Acts

• The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

• The concept of nullification was born

Third President, 1801 - 1809

THOMAS JEFFERSON - During the presidential election of 1796, Thomas Jefferson, of
the Democratic-Republican Party ran against Federalist, John Adams. Adams received
71 electoral votes, while Jefferson received 68 electoral votes. At that time, the
Constitution stated that the person who obtains the largest number of electoral votes
shall become president, and the person who obtains the second largest number of
electoral votes shall become vice-president.

The result of this election was that:

• The country wound up with a Federalist president in Adams, and a
Democratic-Republican vice president in Jefferson.

• Both men respected each other, but because of their differences in political
philosophy, they would not always agree on matters of government.

• Congress, began to believe that it would be preferable to have a president

and vice president in office, who shared the same political philosophy.

• After the unusual events of the election of 1800, which revealed a flaw in the
Constitution relating to electing a president, Congress drafted the 12th
Amendment to the Constitution (ratified in 1804), which states that it must be
indicated on voter ballots which candidate is running for president and which
candidate is running for vice president.
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THE ELECTION OF 1800 – In the election of 1800, John Adams ran for reelection, and
Thomas Jefferson, once again, ran against Adams.
• This time, Jefferson received more electoral votes than Adams, and therefore
kept Adams from obtaining a second term as president.

• Even though Jefferson beat Adams in the election of 1800, Jefferson, due to a
technicality, ended up tied for the presidency with Aaron Burr, who was actually
running for the office of vice president!

• Jefferson and Burr were the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the
Democratic-Republican party. The original intent was that Jefferson would be
running for the office of president and that Burr would be running to become
Jefferson’s vice-president.

• According to the Constitution (at the time of the election), should two candidates
receive the same amount of electoral votes and therefore end up tied with more
votes than any other candidate, the matter would be sent to the House of
Representatives to be resolved.

• The House of Representatives ultimately broke the tie between Jefferson and
Burr, in favor of Thomas Jefferson.

• Once this tie was broken, Burr still ended up with more electoral votes than
Adams, so according to the Constitution (at that time), Burr became vice
president under Jefferson.

• The events of the election of 1800 caused the 12th Amendment to be written
(Ratified in 1804). This Amendment says that there will be distinct ballots to
indicate whether a person is running for president or vice president.

• The 12th Amendment goes on to state that the person receiving the highest
number of presidential votes will be declared the president, and that the person
who receives the highest number of vice presidential votes will be declared vice

• Today we use the “party ticket” approach to presidential ballots. These ballots
instruct voters to choose one pair of candidates of the same political party. On
the ballot, it is clearly indicated which person is running for president and which
person is running for vice president.

JEFFERSONIAN REPUBLICANISM – Jefferson believed that people should control

government. He believed that a simple government best suited the needs of the
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MIDNIGHT APPOINTMENTS – Upon taking office in 1801, Jefferson discovered that in
the final days of the Adams presidency, Mr. Adams had signed a number of presidential
orders that appointed several individuals to become federal judges.

• For some reason, the orders had not been properly delivered.

• Jefferson, not wanting these appointments of a Federalist president to be

consummated, intervened and instructed his Secretary of State, James Madison,
to withhold delivery of these appointments.

MARBURY v MADISON (1803) - Jefferson’s refusal to allow the Midnight Appointments

to be consummated, resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court Case, Marbury v Madison
(1803),which we will study in detail.

THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE – Students will watch the film of the same title.

LEWIS & CLARK – Students will watch the film titled the Technology of Lewis and

• As The Louisiana Purchase film indicates, ten years before Lewis and Clark, and
before he was president, Jefferson had already toyed with the idea of an
expedition westward, to try and find a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean.

o This would be one of Lewis and Clark’s objectives.

• The Lewis and Clark Expedition left St. Louis, Missouri on May 14, 1804.

• The expedition reached the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean in November
of 1805.

• Lewis and Clark returned back to St. Louis on September 23, 1806.

• Their journey proved that transcontinental travel was possible.

• Although no northwest passage was found, a wealth of information was brought

back about the area by Lewis & Clark.

JEFFERSON IS REELECTED IN 1804 – Friction with Great Britain results in failed

American economic policies based upon embargoes and the boycotting of British

• In 1807, both Britain and France were frustrated that the U.S. failed to take sides
in the war that was going on between them (the Napoleonic Wars).

• American merchant ships are seized by both countries.
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• The American cargoes and the American sailors are seized.

o Impressment – the forcible seizure of men for military service.

JUNE 1807 – THE CHESAPEAKE-LEOPARD AFFAIR – The British ship, Leopard,

attacks the American, Chesapeake, in American waters because the American
commander refused to let the British search for deserters on the American ship.

• The British prevail in this altercation, board the American ship and take back four
British deserters.

• Jefferson demands and receives an apology from the British, but the practice of
searching American ships and of impressing American sailors continues.

DECEMBER 1807 – THE EMBARGO ACT – In an effort to protect its ships, and
impose economic sanctions, the United States passes a law that cuts off international

• It was intended to punish the economies of England and France.

• The embargo stopped nearly all trade between the U.S. and Europe.

• This Act unfortunately ended up damaging the U.S. economy!

• American merchants complained that their businesses were being hurt.

• Smuggling of goods between Europe and America became a by-product of the


Fourth President, 1809 - 1817

JAMES MADISON, another Democratic-Republican, wins the election of 1808.

Congress modifies the Embargo Act by instituting the Non-Intercourse Act in 1808. This
Act loosened up international trade, but outlawed trade with either Great Britain or
France. The seizure of American ships and impressment of American sailors continues.
Overall both the Embargo Act and the Non-Intercourse Acts are seen as failures.
America did not get the respect from Britain or France. The Acts ended up causing
economic distress on our own economy.

THE WAR OF 1812 – Small scale fighting between Great Britain and the U.S. that
actually began under Jefferson’s presidency, increases during Madison’s presidency.

• Great Britain and France are still engaged in the Napoleonic Wars.
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• American shipping and commerce continues to be negatively affected.

• In 1812, Congress declares war against Great Britain.


• Impressment

• British in Canada, supplying weapons to Native Americans, who in turn attack


• American “War Hawks” demand that we go to war against Great Britain.

According to the Constitution, it is the Legislative Branch of our government that has the
power to declare war.

• President Madison asks Congress to declare war.

• The war vote passes congress and America is officially at war against Great

• America tries to put a navy together for the war effort.

• The U.S. commissions privateers to attack enemy ships, seize enemy goods and
destroy the enemy ships.

o Privateering = legalized piracy.


• The U.S. engages in a war that it is ill-prepared to fight.

• Great Britain fights the French and the U.S. simultaneously, placing a higher
priority on the fight with the French.


• After defeating Napoleon in 1814, the British march on our nation’s capitol, in
Washington D.C., and set it on fire!

• The Capital building, presidential mansion and other public buildings are

• THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS – On January 8, 1815, the British attack the
American port of New Orleans, but are beaten by the Americans.
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o U.S. troops led by General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, score an
important victory at New Orleans.

o By this time however, Great Britain and the U.S. had already signed a
peace treaty, the Treaty of Ghent (Belgium), on Christmas eve of 1814.

o When the news of the treaty finally arrives, the war is over.


• Neither side really ended up the victor.

• Overall, the British were more successful on land, and the Americans were more
successful at sea.

• The end of the Federalist Party.

• Growth of American industry.

• The war confirmed that the U.S. could protect itself and remain a free and
independent nation.

• The United States ends up with a national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner!!!

On September 13, 1814, under unusual circumstances, American attorney Francis Scott
Key was detained onboard a British ship in Baltimore harbor. As the result, he became
an eyewitness to the shelling by the British, of Fort McHenry, and the American
defensive responses. In 1931, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation to adopt his battle
inspired poem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” as our official national anthem.

- End of Lecture -
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