The federalist era nationalism triumphant
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THE FEDERALIST ERA: NATIONALISM TRIUMPHANT. Border Problems interstate conflicts immediately reasserted themselves at the end of war government faced struggle to assert control over territory granted by Treaty of Paris


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  • Border Problems

    • interstate conflicts immediately reasserted themselves at the end of war

    • government faced struggle to assert control over territory granted by Treaty of Paris

    • Great Britain removed forces from 13 states but refused to surrender its outposts on frontier in

    • southwest, Spanish closed Mississippi River to American commerce

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  • Foreign Trade

    • Americans could trade with European powers, and a Far Eastern trade developed

    • British import duties reduced American exports to England and its colonies in western hemisphere

    • British merchants poured inexpensive manufactured goods into United States

    • Congress could not pay the nation’s debts; states raised taxes to pay their debts; and the entire economy was cash poor

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  • states experienced hard times from 1784 to 1786

  • retaliatory tariffs on British goods would have dealt with some of problems, but Confederation lacked authority to levy them

  • a move to grant Congress power to tax imports failed when it did not gain unanimous consent of states

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  • The Specter of Inflation

    • Continental Congress and states paid for Revolutionary War by printing paper money, which resulted in inflation

    • some states attempted to restore credit by raising taxes and restricting new issues of money

    • powerful deflationary effect had its greatest impact on debtors, particularly farmers

    • debtors clamored for the printing of more paper money; some states yielded to pressure resulting in wild inflation

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  • Daniel Shays’s “Little Rebellion”

    • determined to pay off state debt and maintain sound currency, Massachusetts legislature levied heavy taxes resulting deflation leading to foreclosures

    • in 1786, mobs in western part of state began to stop foreclosures by forcibly preventing courts from holding sessions

    • Daniel Shays led a march on Springfield preventing state supreme court from meeting

    • state sent troops, and the “rebels” were routed

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  • To Philadelphia and the Constitution

    • in 1786, delegates from five states met in Annapolis to discuss common problems

    • Alexander Hamilton, who advocated a strong central government, proposed calling another convention for following year to consider constitutional reform

    • meeting approved Hamilton’s suggestion, and all states except Rhode Island sent delegates to convention in Philadelphia

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  • The Great Convention

    • remarkably talented group of delegates assembled in Philadelphia to revise Articles of Confederation

    • framers agreed on basic principles

    • should be a federal system with independent state governments and a national government

    • government should be republican in nature, drawing its authority from the people

    • no group within society should dominate

    • framers were suspicious of power and sought to protect interests of minorities

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  • The Compromises that Produced the Constitution

    • after voting to establish a national government, delegates faced two problems: what powers should government be granted and who would control it?

    • first question generated relatively little disagreement

    • delegates granted central government right to levy taxes, to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, and to raise and maintain an army and navy

    • second question proved more difficult

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  • larger states argued for representation based on population; smaller states wanted equal representation for each state

  • Great Compromise created a lower house based on population and an upper house in which each state had two representatives

  • issue of slavery occasioned another struggle and another compromise

  • three-fifths of slaves were counted for purposes of taxation and representation, and Congress was prohibited from outlawing slave trade until 1808

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  • creation of a powerful president was most radical departure from past practice

  • only faith in Washington and assumption that he would be first president enabled delegates to go so far

  • delegates also established a third branch of government; the judiciary

  • founders worried that powerful new government might be misused, so they created a system of “checks and balances” to limit authority of any one branch

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  • Ratifying the Constitution from past practice

    • framers provided their handiwork be ratified by special state conventions

    • this gave people a voice and bypassed state legislatures

    • new Constitution would take effect when nine states ratified it

    • Federalists (supporters of the Constitution) and Antifederalists (their opponents) vied for support in state conventions

    • Federalists were better organized than their opponents

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  • the from past practiceFederalist Papers brilliantly explained and defended proposed new system

  • most states ratified Constitution readily once its backers agreed to add amendments guaranteeing civil liberties of people against encroachments by national government

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  • Washington as President from past practice

    • first electoral college made George Washington its unanimous choice

    • Washington was a strong, firm, dignified, conscientious, but cautious, president

    • he was acutely aware that his actions would establish precedent, so he meticulously honored the separation of powers

    • Washington picked his advisors based on competence and made a practice of calling his department heads together for general advice

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  • Congress Under Way from past practice

    • first Congress created various departments and federal judiciary

    • it also passed first ten amendments to Constitution known as the Bill of Rights

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  • Hamilton and Financial Reform from past practice

    • one of its first acts, Congress imposed a tariff on foreign imports

    • Congress delegated to Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of Treasury

    • he proved to be farsighted economic planner

    • He suggested that debt be funded at par and that United States assume remaining state debts

    • Congress went along because it had no choice

    • Southern states stood to lose, since they had already paid off most of their debts

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  • Madison and Jefferson agreed to support Hamilton’s plan in exchange for latter’s support for plan to locate permanent national capital on banks of Potomac River

  • Hamilton also proposed a national bank

  • Congress passed a bill creating the bank, but Washington hesitated to sign it

  • Jefferson argued that Constitution did not specifically authorize Congress to charter corporations or engage in banking

  • Hamilton countered that bank fell within “implied powers” of Congress

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  • Washington accepted Hamilton’s reasoning, and the bank became an immediate success

  • Hamilton hoped to change an agricultural nation into one with a complex, self-sufficient economy

  • toward that end, his Report on Manufactures issued a bold call for economic planning

  • a majority in Congress would not go so far, although many of the specific tariffs Hamilton recommended did become law

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  • The Ohio Country: A Dark and Bloody Ground became an immediate success

    • western issues continued to plague new country

    • British continued to occupy their forts, and western Indians resisted settlers encroaching on their hunting grounds

    • Westerners believed that federal government was ignoring their interests

    • Compounding their discontent was imposition of a federal excise tax on whiskey

    • Resistance to tax was especially intense in western Pennsylvania

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  • Revolution in France became an immediate success

    • French Revolution and subsequent European wars affected America

    • Alliance of 1778 obligated United States to defend French possessions in Americas

    • Washington issued a proclamation of neutrality

    • France sent Edmond Genet to United States to seek support

    • Genet licensed American vessels as privateers and commissioned Americans to mount military expeditions against British and Spanish possessions in North America

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  • Washington requested that France recall Genet became an immediate success

  • European war increased demand for American products, but it also led both France and Britain to attack American shipping

  • larger British fleet caused more damage

  • American resentment flared, but Washington attempted to negotiate a settlement with British

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  • Federalists and Republicans: The Rise of Political Parties

    • Washington enjoyed universal admiration, and his position as head of government limited partisanship

    • his principal advisors, Jefferson and Hamilton, disagreed on fundamental issues, and they became leaders around whom political parties coalesced

    • Jefferson’s opposition to Hamilton’s Bank of the United States became the first seriously divisive issue

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  • 1794: Crisis and Resolution toward France widened split between parties

    • several events in 1794 brought partisan conflict to a peak

    • attempts to collect whiskey tax in Pennsylvania resulted in violence

    • in July, 7,000 rebels converged on Pittsburgh and threatened to burn the town

    • the sight of federal artillery and liberal dispensation of whiskey turned them away

    • Washington’s large army marched westward, when he arrived, the rebels had dispersed

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  • Jay’s Treaty toward France widened split between parties

    • Washington sent John Jay to negotiate treaty with England

    • American indebtedness to England and fear of Franco-American alliance inclined British to reach accommodation with United States

    • Jay obtained only one major concession; British agreed to evacuate posts in west

    • they rejected Jay’s attempts to gain recognition of neutral rights on high seas

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  • 1795: All’s Well That Ends Well duties on British goods

    • Washington decided not to repudiate the Jay Treaty, and Senate ratified it in 1795

    • Jay’s Treaty became basis for regularization of relations with Britain

    • Spain, fearing an Anglo-American alliance, offered United States free navigation of Mississippi and right of deposit at New Orleans

    • this treaty, known as Pinckney’s Treaty, also settled disputed boundary between Spanish Florida and United States

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  • Washington’s Farewell Fallen Timbers, opened west to settlement

    • settlement of western and European problems did not end partisan conflict at home

    • at end of his second term, Washington decided to retire and in his farewell address, he warned against partisanship at home and permanent alliances abroad

  • The Election of 1796

    • Washington’s retirement opened gates for partisan conflict

    • Jefferson represented Republicans

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  • the Federalists considered Hamilton too controversial, so they nominated John Adams for president and Thomas Pinckney for vice-president

  • Adams won, but partisan bickering split Federalist vote for vice-president, so Jefferson received second highest total and therefore became vice-president

  • Federalists quarrel among themselves, and Adams was also unable to unite bickering party

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  • The XYZ Affair they nominated John Adams for president and Thomas Pinckney for vice-president

    • in retaliation for Jay Treaty, the French attacked American shipping

    • Adams sent commission to France to negotiate settlement

    • mission collapsed when 3 French agents (X, Y, and Z) demanded a bribe before making deal; the commissioners refused

    • Adams released the commissioners’ report, which embarrassed the Republicans

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  • The Alien and Sedition Acts alliance with France and began preparations for war

    • Federalists feared that Republicans would side with France if war broke out

    • refugees from both sides of European war flocked to United States

    • Federalists pushed a series of repressive measures through Congress in 1798

    • Naturalization Act increased residence requirement for citizenship

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  • Alien Enemies Act empowered president to arrest or expel aliens in time of declared war

  • Sedition Act made it a crime “to impede operation of any law,” to instigate insurrection, or to publish “false, scandalous and malicious” criticism of government officials

  • Federalists attempted to silence leading Republican newspapers

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  • The Kentucky and Virginia Resolves aliens in time of declared war

    • Jefferson did not object to state sedition laws, but believed that Alien and Sedition Acts violated First Amendment; he and Madison drew up resolutions arguing that laws were unconstitutional

    • Jefferson further argued states could declare a law of Congress unconstitutional

    • neither Virginia nor Kentucky tried to implement these resolves; Jefferson and Madison were in fact launching Jefferson’s campaign for president

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