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Robert Kennedy's United States History Class

Study Guide

1. How did Jefferson’s actions reflect his theory of government?
2. Why was the principle of judicial review important for the future of the Supreme Court?
3. What were the principal consequences of the War of 1812?
4. What were the major boundary disputes resolved by John Quincy Adams?
5. Do you think that the Monroe Doctrine would be a source of peace or conflict for the United States? Why?
6. How did agriculture and industry support a market economy in the North?
7. What was the intention behind the “American System”?
8. What agreements made up the Missouri Compromise?
9. How did the federal government initially try to enforce the Indian Removal Act?
10. What do you think might be the consequences of Calhoun’s nullification theory for federal-state relations?
11. What were some of Jackson’s reasons for opposing the Second Bank of the United States?
12. How did “wildcat banks” contribute to the panic of 1837?

14. In what ways do you think the Missouri Compromise and the nullification crisis of 1832 might be considered important milestones in American history?

Think About:

• the expansion of slavery into the West

• Calhoun’s nullification theory

• Jackson’s reaction to South Carolina’s actions

15. What factors set the stage for the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Trail of Tears?

Think About:

• U.S. expansion to the west • removal treaties

• Jackson’s response to Worcester v. Georgia

Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy


The Election of 1800:

John Adams' Presidency was not popular. Adams and Congress enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, which restricted the free speech of the opposing Democratic-Republicans. Anti-Federalists in Virginia and Kentucky responded by passing the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, written by Jefferson and Madison, which tried to invalidate the Alien and Sedition Acts. Adams even angered his own party by disregarding his cabinet's advice. By 1800, Adams was clearly vulnerable.

The Constitution originally called for the individual with the most votes in an election to become President, and for the runner-up to become Vice President. George Washington, who had approved of this system, had justified it by the belief that it worked against factionalism in political parties. However, it had already resulted in the alienation of Vice President Thomas Jefferson under the Adams administration.


In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr ran against Adams and his running mate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. The two Anti-Federalist candidates would have preferred for Jefferson to become President and Burr to become Vice President. But the Electoral College vote was tied between the two of them. The Federalist-controlled House of Representatives was called upon to chose between them. It had to vote thirty-six times before Jefferson was chosen to be President, and then only with the reluctant agreement of Alexander Hamilton. Congress later approved the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitutional amendment allowing for separate balloting for President and Vice President in the Electoral College.


(Vice President Aaron Burr bore a grudge against Hamilton for this. In 1804, when the two ran for Governor of New York, they dueled, and Burr killed Hamilton.)

Jefferson’s Presidency

The election of 1800 pitted Thomas Jefferson, a leader of the Democratic- Republicans (sometimes shortened to “Republicans”), against President John Adams and his Federalist Party.

Jeffersonian Democracy


Jefferson's first term was called the Revolution of 1800, because of the many changes to America. The peaceful transition of power effectively capped the demise of the Federalists, but not before the Federalists had established a strong, working central government structured and principled as described in the Constitution, instituted a sound financial system, and began diversifying the economy. An indirect legacy of the Federalists, via the Judiciary Act of 1801 and the ensuing Marbury v. Madison, was the doctrine of judicial review, or the power of the federal judiciary to invalidate federal laws on constitutional grounds.


Jefferson differed from the Federalists in that he saw government as a threat to individual freedom; the only protection against that threat was democracy and strong protections of personal liberties. He did not, however, reject wholesale the accomplishments of the Federalist administrations that preceded him, and his combination of them with his own beliefs came to be known as Jeffersonian democracy.



Jefferson’s theory of government, often called Jeffersonian republicanism, held that the people should control the government and that a simple government best suited the needs of the people. In accord with his belief in decentralized power, Jefferson tried to shrink the government and cut costs wherever possible. He reduced the size of the army, halt- ed a planned expansion of the navy, and lowered expenses for government social functions. He also rolled back Hamilton’s economic program by eliminating all internal taxes and reducing the influence of the Bank of the United States.


Jefferson was the first president to take office in the new federal capital, Washington, D.C. Though in appearance the city was a primitive place of dirt roads and few buildings, its location between Virginia and Maryland reflected the growing importance of the South in national politics. In fact, Jefferson and the two presidents who followed him— James Madison and James Monroe—all were from Virginia. This pattern of Southern dominance under- scored the declining influence of both New England and the Federalists in national political life at that time.



Just before leaving office, President Adams had tried to influ- ence future judicial decisions by filling federal judge- ships with Federalists. But the signed documents authorizing some of the appointments had not been delivered by the time Adams left office. Jefferson argued that these appointments were invalid and ordered Madison, his secretary of state, not to deliver them.

This argument led to one of the most important Supreme Court decisions of all time in Marbury v. Madison (1803). (See page 118.) The Federalist chief justice John Marshall declared that part of Congress’s Judiciary Act of 1789, which would have forced Madison to hand over the papers, was unconstitutional. The decision strengthened the Supreme Court by establishing the principle of judicial review—the ability of the Supreme Court to declare a law, in this case an act of Congress, unconstitutional. 



In 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte of France had persuaded Spain to return to France the Louisiana Territory, the land spanning from the Mississippi River west to the Rocky Mountains. France had handed this territory over to Spain in 1762, after the French and Indian War, but Napoleon planned to use it as a “breadbasket” for the colonial empire that he hoped to build in the West Indies. Many Americans were alarmed when they heard of this trans- fer, as they feared that a strong French presence in North America would force the United States into an alliance with Britain.

However, by 1803, Napoleon had abandoned his ideas of an American empire and offered to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States. Jefferson doubted whether the Constitution gave him the power to make such a purchase, but he decided to proceed. At a price of $15 million, the Louisiana Purchase more than doubled the size of the United States. Under the direction of President Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark organized and led a group, including Patrick Gass, and set off in 1804 to explore the new territory. The explorers brought back valuable information about the West and showed that transcontinental travel was possible.

Barbary Wars, 1801–1805 and 1815–1816


The Barbary States were a collection of North African states, many of which practiced state-supported piracy in order to exact tribute from weaker Atlantic powers. Morocco was an independent kingdom, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli owed a loose allegiance to the Ottoman Empire. The United States fought two separate wars with Tripoli (1801–1805) and Algiers (1815–1816), although at other times it preferred to pay tribute to obtain the release of captives held in the Barbary States.

Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates - Past is Present (2009)

The practice of state-supported piracy and ransoming of captives was not wholly unusual for its time. Many European states commissioned privateers to attack each others’ shipping and also participated in the transatlantic slave trade. The two major European powers, Great Britain and France, found it expedient to encourage the Barbary States’ policy and pay tribute to them, as it allowed their merchant shipping an increased share of the Mediterranean trade, and Barbary leaders chose not to challenge the superior British or French navies.


Prior to independence, American colonists had enjoyed the protection of the British Navy. However, once the United States declared independence, British diplomats were quick to inform the Barbary States that U.S. ships were open to attack. In 1785, Dey Muhammad of Algiers declared war on the United States and captured several American ships. The financially troubled Confederation Government of the United States was unable to raise a navy or the tribute that would protect U.S. ships.


In contrast to the dispute with Algiers, U.S. negotiations with Morocco went well. Moroccan Sultan Sidi Muhammad had seized a U.S. merchant ship in 1784 after the United States had ignored diplomatic overtures. However, Muhammad ultimately followed a policy of peaceful trade, and the United States successfully concluded a treaty with Morocco in 1786. However, Congress was still unable to raise enough funds to satisfy the Dey of Algiers.

In an attempt to address the challenge posed by the Dey of Algiers, Thomas Jefferson, then U.S. Minister to France, attempted to build a coalition of weaker naval powers to defeat Algiers, but was unsuccessful. However, the Kingdom of Portugal was also at war with Algiers, and blocked Algerian ships from sailing past the Straits of Gibraltar. As a result, U.S. merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean remained safe for a time and temporarily relieved the U.S. Government from the challenges posed by the Barbary States.

In 1793 a brief Portuguese-Algerian truce exposed American merchant ships to capture, forcing the United States, which had thus far only managed to conclude a treaty with Morocco, to engage in negotiations with the other Barbary States. In 1795, The U.S. Government dispatched diplomats Joel Barlow, Joseph Donaldson, and Richard O’Brien to North Africa and successfully concluded treaties with the states of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. Under the terms of these treaties, the United States agreed to pay tribute to these states. The treaty with Algiers freed 83 American sailors.

The adoption of the Constitution in 1789 gave the U.S. Government the power to levy taxes and to raise and maintain armed forces, powers which had been lacking under the Articles of Confederation. In 1794, in response to Algerian seizures of American ships, Congress authorized construction of the first 6 ships of the U.S. Navy. In 1801, the Pasha of Tripoli, Yusuf Qaramanli, citing late payments of tribute, demanded additional tribute and declared war on the United States. The United States successfully defeated Qaramanli’s forces with a combined naval and land assault by the United States Marine Corps. The U.S. treaty with Tripoli concluded in 1805 included a ransom for American prisoners in Tripoli, but no provisions for tribute.

In 1812, the new Dey of Algiers, Hajji Ali, rejected the American tribute negotiated in the 1795 treaty as insufficient and declared war on the United States. Algerian corsairs captured an American ship several weeks later. In accordance with an agreement between the Dey and British diplomats, the Algerian declaration was timed to coincide with the start of the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States. The war with Britain prevented the U.S. Government from either confronting Algerian forces or ransoming U.S. captives in Algiers. Once the Treaty of Ghent ended war with Britain, President James Madison was able to request that Congress declare an authorization of force on Algiers, which it did on March 3, 1815. The U.S. Navy, greatly increased in size after the War of 1812, was able send an entire squadron, led by Commodore Stephen Decatur, to the Mediterranean.

When the U.S. naval expedition arrived in Algiers, a new ruler, Dey Omar, was in power. Omar wished to restore order after several years of political instability and was acutely aware that he could no longer count on British support against the Americans. Decatur had already defeated two Algerian warships and captured hundreds of prisoners of war, and was in a favorable position for negotiation. Dey Omar reluctantly accepted the treaty proposed by Decatur that called for an exchange of U.S. and Algerian prisoners and an end to the practices of tribute and ransom. Having defeated the most powerful of the Barbary States, Decatur sailed to Tunis and Tripoli and obtained similar treaties. In Tripoli, Decatur also secured from Pasha Qaramanli the release of all European captives. The U.S. Senate ratified Decatur’s Algerian treaty on December 5, 1815. Dey Omar repudiated the treaty, but another U.S. squadron arrived after a combined Anglo-Dutch bombardment of Algiers, and U.S. commissioner William Shaler dictated terms of a new treaty which contained essentially the same provisions as the old one. Shaler concluded his negotiations on December 23, 1815, but the Senate, owing to an accidental oversight, did not ratify the treaty until February 11, 1822.


The Barbary States, although they did not capture any more U.S. ships, began to resume raids in the Mediterranean, and despite punitive British bombardments did not end their practices until the French conquest of Algeria in 1830.

Embargo and Non-Intercourse Acts

In 1807, Britain and France, frustrated with America's refusal to help either of them in the Napoleonic Wars, were constantly seizing American merchant ships and taking their cargo and sailors.


The Chesapeake-Leopard Affair


Britain disregarded American neutrality. It seized American ships and forced their sailors to join the Royal Navy, often without regard for the sailors' nationality. This forced service was known as impressment. The British claim that these impressed sailors were "deserters" was not subject to review, and these sailors were often not really deserters from the Royal Navy. In June of 1807, the commander of the American ship Chesapeake had refused to let an encroaching British ship search it for British deserters. The British ship, Leopard, attacked in American waters. The Chesapeake lost, and four "deserters" were taken from its crew. President Jefferson demanded an apology for the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair from the British, and an end to impressment. Yet while the British government did apologize for the Affair, they did not stop searching American ships or end impressment. British impressment of American citizens, with subsequent personal loss to the families of these sailors and economic problems for their ships, was a major cause of the War of 1812.


The Embargo Act and its aftermath

On June 22, 1807, Jefferson called an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss continuing British and French disregard for American sea neutrality. The pro-British faction of Americans urged Jefferson to go to war with France. But the Congress kept to its principles in extremis, and on December 22, 1807 it passed the Embargo Act. This law stopped American merchants from trading by sea with any other nation. The originators of the law hoped that it would protect all merchant ships, and perhaps weaken the economies of both Great Britain and France. The embargo did indeed stop nearly all trade between America and Europe. But it severely damaged the economy of the United States. Merchants, who mainly belonged to the Federalist Party, howled in complaint. Smuggling flourished. And the embargo made neither Great Britain or France respect US neutrality.

In 1808 the Democratic-Republican candidate James Madison was elected. He was also a Virginian and had been Jefferson's Secretary of State. Yet the Democrat-Republicans suffered reverses in the House of Representatives. The Embargo Act was unpopular and had damaged the party. In 1809 Congress modified it with the Non-Intercourse Act, an addendum to the embargo which let merchants trade with any nation other than Britain and France. Although trade improved, British and French ships begin seizing American ships again.

A final change to the Embargo and Non-Intercourse acts was passed in 1810 with Macon's Bill No. 2. The bill said that if either Britain or France dropped trade restrictions against the U.S. and stopped seizing American ships, the United States would trade with them and not with the other. The French Emperor Napoleon consented to the conditions of the Bill. America agreed to trade with France and its colonies, rather than Great Britain and its colonies. The end of an American impartiality maintained for years was a prelude to The War of 1812.

The War of 1812


Washington, Adams, and Jefferson had attempted to keep the United States neutral in the conflict between Napoleonic France and her allies and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Russia and their allies. France had been an ally of the United States during the revolutionary war, but the United Kingdom was extremely powerful. Britain was at war with France and to impede American trade with France imposed a series of restrictions that the U.S. contested as illegal under international law. The American Congress declared war on Britain on June 18, 1812 for a combination of reasons: outrage at the impressment of thousands of American sailors into the British navy, frustration at British restraints on neutral trade, and anger at British military support for Native Americans defending their tribal lands from encroaching American settlers.


Historians such as Robin Reilly have argued that the United States's declaration of war on Great Britain was a victory for French diplomacy, forcing Britain to divert its attention and some resources from continental matters. The British might have seen no reason for a war with the United States. In its war against France, Great Britain depended on American supplies, including beef and oak. Any combat in North America was a distraction from the Duke of Wellington's army in its attempt to contain and defeat the French in Spain.

Politics of the War

Both former President Jefferson and current President Madison, Democratic Republicans, supported the war with the aim of ending British aggression and the hope of taking Canada from the British. President Madison and his advisers believed a conquest of Canada would be quick and easy, hoping the British would hand the Americans the land because of their war with Napoleon. (Former President Thomas Jefferson himself stated that "the acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us the experience for the attack on Halifax, the next and final expulsion of England from the American continent.") New England Federalists opposed the war, which was partially driven by Southern and Western desires for more land. The war was highly unpopular in New England, because the New England economy relied heavily on trade, especially with Great Britain. The Declaration of War was passed by an extremely small margin. The Federalist Party, which had been weakened at the end of the Adams administration, surged in popularity among the citizens of New England states.


In Great Britain, meanwhile, Prime Minister Spencer Perceval had been shot and killed by an aggrieved ex-merchant. This put Lord Liverpool in charge of the government. He wanted to improve relations with the United States, and repealed the orders of impressment. But the war had already begun.


Federalists joined renegade Democratic Republicans in supporting New York City mayor Dewitt Clinton for president in the election of 1812. Clinton lost to President Madison by 128 to 89 votes -- a respectable showing against a wartime president -- and the Federalists gained some congressional seats and carried many local elections. But the South and the West who favored the war remained solidly Democratic Republican.


The War of 1812 was fought from 1812 to 1815 and involved both land and naval engagements. The combatants were the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom also included its own American colonies, especially Upper Canada (now called Ontario), Lower Canada (Quebec), Nova Scotia, and Bermuda. The British had agreed to recognize all of the American land from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, except for Spanish Florida. Yet it still maintained forts in American territory. The British had recruited Indians, such as Tecumseh, to aggravate American settlers and even continued to maintain forts on American soil. The British encouraged Native American tribes to harass American settlers. The British took interest in the Ohio Valley and Kentucky region due to its fur trade.


Neither country was prepared for this struggle. American efforts to lure recruits, with sign-up bonuses and promises of three months pay and rights to purchase 160 acres of western land upon discharge, met with mixed success. This was especially true on the American frontier and on the high seas, where American sailors were pressed into service in the British Royal Navy, as the British were waging war against Napoleonic France. The British had only some 5,000 troops in its North American possessions, and the British war against Napoleon continued in continental Europe, as the British fleet blockaded most of the European coastline. By 1812, the US military Academy at West Point (founded in 1802) had produced only eighty-nine regular officers. Senior army officers were aged Revolutionary War Veterans or political appointees.The American military was still unorganized and undisciplined compared to the British. Militias in New England and New York often refused to fight outside their own states, and often retreated when they did. Desperate for soldiers, New York offered to free any slaves who enlisted, with compensation to their owners, and the U.S Army made the same offer to slaves in the Old Northwest and in Canada. In Philadelphia Black leaders formed a Black brigade to defend the city, but in the Deep South fear of arming slaves kept them out of the military. This fear even kept out a New Orleans-based free Black militia founded during Spanish control of Louisiana. The British were able to recruit slaves by promising freedom in exchange for service. The American lack of discipline and New England distaste for the war made its waging more difficult than President Madison had originally imagined.


The Atlantic Theater


The U.S. Navy was not twenty years old and had a mere twenty-two vessels. However, early in the war, the British could not spare many ships from its anti-Napoleonic fleets. In addition to America's regular Navy, its government commissioned privateers. These were private vessels entitled to attack and destroy British commercial ships, and to take any goods they found on those ships. This was essentially legalized piracy. The British also used privateers. The British planned to protect its shipping in Canada while blockading major American ports. However, there were a series of American naval victories on the Atlantic at this early stage of the war.


On August 19, the USS Constitution engaged HMS Guerriere. The battle held off the coast of Nova Scotia became the first naval encounter. The HMS Guerriere was led by Captain Dacres, who was confident that the British navy could take the USS Constitution, "There is a Yankee frigate at forty-five minutes, she is surely ours. Take her in fifteen minutes and I promise you four months pay." The Constitution didn't fire until it was twenty-five feet away, shooting both cannon and grape shot. In the middle of the battle, a Guerriere cannonball bounced off of the Constitution's side. An American seaman exclaimed, "Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!" The Guerriere, which had been instrumental in enforcing the British blockade, lost decisively. Her crew was brought on board as prisoners. When American Captain Hull realized that the British ship had been too badly damaged to be salvaged, it was set fire and blown up. The news of the victory made all Boston celebrate.


Yet despite some victories on the Atlantic, the U.S. Navy could not match the powerful British Navy. The British blockaded nearly every American port on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The British had America so blockaded that that U.S. trade declined nearly 90% in 1811. This major loss of funds threatened to bankrupt the American government.


In October 1812, the Constitution, then captained by William Bainbrige, won another victory against HMS Java off the coast of Brazil. This second British ship was also rendered unsalvageable, while the Constitution remained unharmed. The veteran ship had won the nickname "Old Ironsides" in some of the first victories against Great Britain on the high seas. The victory led from General Hull sparked new hope to the Americans. It also redeemed them from the loss at the battle at Fort Dearborn, Ohio on August 15, 1812. This latter engagement left General Hull wounded and forced to surrender.


American Captain Stephen Decatur, who had gained fame during the Barbary War, also enabled early naval victories. On October 25, 1812, Decatur commanded the USS United States to capture the HMS Macedonian. And in January of 1813 Captain David Porter sailed the USS Essex into the Pacific to counter the harassment of British whaling ships on the American whaling industry. Essex inflicted some $3 million in damages to British whaling ships before finally being captured off the coast of Chile on March 28, 1814.


However, on the Atlantic Coast, Sir John Coape Sherbrooke embarked on the Penobscot Expedition in September 1814. He led five hundred British sailors off the coast of Maine (then part of Massachusetts), a main hub for smuggling between the British and Americans. During twenty-six days Sherbrooke raided and looted several cities and destroyed seventeen American vessels, winning the Battle of Hampden and occupying Castine for the remainder of the war.


The Great Lakes/Canadian/Western Theater


The United States' attempt to invade Canada by land was a miserable failure. The Western theater of the war was mostly fought in the Michigan, Ohio, and the Canadian border area. Geography dictated the military operations that would take place in the West, primarily around Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the Saint Lawrence River, and Lake Champlain.


Chesapeake Campaign


The Chesapeake Bay was a center of trade, commerce and government. The British brought war into the Chesapeake area in 1813 and 1814.[1] On July 4, 1813, Joshua Barney convinced the Navy Department to build twenty barges to protect the Chesapeake Bay. These barges were successful at harassing the Royal Navy, but proved useless to the overall course of the war.


When Napoleon had been defeated in 1814, the British moved more of their ships to the United States. On August 24th of that year, British troops marched on the city of Washington, the Navy ready to lend its support. The British burnt the White House, the Capitol, and the American ships in harbor. The entire Library of Congress was destroyed by fire. More of the city would have burnt if there hadn't been rain that evening. President James Madison's wife, Dolly Madison, had been warned by a letter hours before the onslaught. The President, his wife, and his Cabinet fled, Dolly Madison first seizing a life-size painting of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. (When former President Thomas Jefferson heard of the destruction of the Library, he offered to replenish it. In May of 1815 the Government bought 6,700 volumes from Jefferson, the whole of his own library, for $23,950.) The buildings burned all night. Yet this British attack was meant for a diversion from its ensuing Battle of Baltimore. Here the British blockaded the harbor and attacked its three forts at the same time by land and sea. Yet despite the overwhelming assault, all the fortresses stood with only light damage, and Fort McHenry flew its flag as usual that morning. The British troops withdrew, and its fleet left to regroup and battle again in New Orleans. An American, Francis Scott Key, had been detained on a British ship overnight as he entreated for the compassionate release of an American national. His heart stirred by the raising of the flag, he wrote a set of verses on the occasion. Set to the tune of an old British drinking song, "The Star-Spangled Banner" later became the American National Anthem.


The Southern Theater


By 1814 the blockade of American ports had tightened until United States ships found it increasingly difficult to sail without meeting forces of superior strength. In August 1814, American and British negotiators met in Ghent, Belgium to discuss peace. The Treaty of Ghent ended the war in December, but made no substantial changes to policies before the War. With no way to send the news of the Treaty quickly, the US did not hear of it for several weeks.


As part of their policy of supporting local Indians against the Americans, the British had been aiding the Creek Indians in the South. In March 1814, General Andrew Jackson and General John Coffee led a force comprised of about 2,000 Tennessee militiamen, Choctaw, Cherokee, and U.S. regulars in a war against the Creek Indians. Out of 1,000 Creeks, led by Chief Menawa, 800 were killed at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Only 49 of Jackson's forces were killed. Jackson pursued the remaining Creeks until they surrendered.


At the end of the year, General Jackson was on the move again. This time he was leading forces to New Orleans, Louisiana, to defend against the invading British. In one of the last and the greatest battles of the war, Jackson decisively routed the British forces. 1,784 British soldiers were killed: the Americans lost only 210. The British left New Orleans, and the battle made General Jackson a hero. The British then secured Mobile bay and were victorious in the Battle of Fort Bowyer, but afterwards had to simply march away.

The End of the War

When the war had finished, 1,600 British and 2,260 American troops had died. Slow communication also blocked New England's news of American success in the Battle of New Orleans. Pessimists feared the US's

dissolution or defeat. But when news of the Treaty of Ghent reached America in early 1815, fears were allayed. Neither side could claim absolute victory, but the Americans were encouraged that they did not falter against the British.

American diplomacy was triumphant, as it had been in the Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase. If it had not stopped the conflict before the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the British might have been able mobilize a hundred thousand veterans and the full power of its Navy.

Hartford Convention

New England merchants and shippers had already been upset about the trade policies of the Jefferson administration (the Embargo Act of 1807) and the Madison administration (the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809). They had wholly opposed war with Great Britain, fearing damage to New England industry. With trade illegal and a British blockade, New England states, particularly Massachusetts and Connecticut, felt the brunt of President Madison's war-time policies. President Madison had maintained executive control over the military defense of New England rather than allowing state governors to take control. Many New Englanders saw this as an attack on their states' sovereignty.

On October 10, 1814, the Massachusetts legislature voted for delegates from all five New England states to meet on December 15 in Hartford, Connecticut, to discuss constitutional amendments pertaining to the interests of New England states. Twenty-six delegates gathered in Hartford.

The meetings were held in secret and no records were kept. The Hartford Convention concluded with a report stating that states had a duty and responsibility to assert their sovereignty over encroaching and unconstitutional federal policy. 

In addition, a set of proposed Constitutional amendments was established, including:

  • Prohibition of trade embargos lasting longer than 60 days;
  • 2/3rds majority in Congress for declaration of offensive war, admission of new states, and interdiction of foreign commerce;
  • Rescinding 3/5ths representation of slaves (perceived as an advantage to the South);
  • One-term limit for the President of the United States; and
  • A requirement that each succeeding president be from a different state than his predecessor.

While some delegates may have desired secession from the Union, no such proposal was adopted by the Convention.

Three commissioners from Massachusetts were sent to Washington, DC, to negotiate these terms in February 1815, but news that the war had ended and of General Jackson's victory at New Orleans preceded them. The act was perceived by many as disloyal, and the commissioners returned to Massachusetts. The Hartford Convention sealed the decline of the Federalist Party.

James Monroe Presidency and The Era of Good Feelings 

After the war a new wave of nationalism spread across the United States. Before this, citizens of the United States tended to view themselves as citizens of their individual states (i.e. New Yorkers or Georgians): now they viewed themselves as Americans. Their new nation had defeated the British empire.

The Federalists' opposition to the War of 1812 and the Hartford Convention terminally damaged the party. Some Anti-Federalists even called them traitors. The last serious Federalist candidate, Rufus King, ran for the presidency in 1816, losing to James Madison's Secretary of State James Monroe. The party disbanded in 1825.

National pride and the lull in partisanship led to what journalist for Boston's Columbian Sentinal Benjamin Russell called an Era of Good Feelings, as the newly elected President Monroe came through on a goodwill tour in 1817.

Balancing Nationalism and Sectionalism


These economic differences often created political tensions between the different sections of the nation. Throughout the first half of the 19th century, however, American leaders managed to keep the nation together.

As the North, South, and West developed different economies, President Madison developed a plan to move the United States toward economic independence from Britain and other European powers. In 1815 he presented his plan to Congress. It included three major points: 

  • establishing a protective tariff
  • rechartering the national bank
  • sponsoring the development of transportation systems and other internal improvements in order to make travel throughout the nation easier

Madison and Clay supported tariffs on imports to pro- tect U.S. industry from British competition. Most Northeasterners also welcomed protective tariffs. However, people in the South and West, whose livelihoods did not depend on manufacturing, were not as eager to tax European imports. Nevertheless, Clay, who was from the West (Kentucky), and John C. Calhoun, a Southerner (South Carolina), convinced congressmen from their regions to approve the Tariff of 1816. Also in 1816, Congress voted to charter the Second Bank of the United States for a 20-year period and to create a unified currency.

Clay's American System


In spite of these efforts to unify the national economy, sectional conflicts remained part of American politics. In 1818 settlers in Missouri requested admission to the Union. Northerners and Southerners disagreed, however, on whether Missouri should be admitted as a free state or a slave state.

Behind the leadership of Henry Clay, Congress passed a series of agreements in 1820–1821 known as the Missouri Compromise. Under these agreements, Maine was admitted as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. The rest of the Louisiana Territory was split into two parts. The dividing line was set at 36°30´ north latitude. South of the line, slavery was legal. North of the line—except in Missouri—slavery was banned.

he 1824 Election and Presidency of John Q. Adams

With the dissolution of the Federalist Party, there were no organized political parties for the 1824 presidential election, and four Democratic-Republicans vied for the office. The Tennessee legislature and a convention of Pennsylvania Democratic-Republicans had nominated General-turned-Senator Andrew Jackson for president in 1822 and 1824. The Congressional Democratic-Republican caucus selected Treasury Secretary William H. Crawford for president and Albert Gallatin for vice president. Secretary of State John Q. Adams, son of the former President Adams, and House Speaker Henry Clay also joined the contest. Crawford might have won had he not suffered a debilitating stroke during the course of the election.


When the electoral votes were cast and counted, no candidate had a majority of votes. Jackson had won the most votes, but Constitutionally, a plurality was not good enough, and the vote for the top three candidates went to the House of Representatives. Clay, with the least amount of votes, was ineligible, but still wielded a lot of power as speaker of the house. And since Clay had a personal dislike of Jackson and supported many of Adams' policies, which were similar to his American System, Clay threw his support to Adams, and Adams won the presidency, much to the chagrin of Jackson, who had won the most electoral and popular votes. After Adams appointed Clay as secretary of state, Jackson's supporters protested that a "corrupt bargain" had been struck. Here is a table from the Wikipedia article on the 1824 election:

The 1824 election enabled the resurgence of political parties in America. Jackson's followers, members of the Democratic Party, were known as Jacksonians; Adams, Clay, and their supporters established the National Republican Party. Partisan politics was back in style in Washington, DC.

During John Quincy Adams' term as president, he undertook an ambitious domestic agenda, implementing many aspects of the American System. The Cumberland Road was extended, and several canal projects were carried out, including the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, the Portland to Louisville Canal, the connection of the Great Lakes to the Ohio River system, and the enlargement and rebuilding of the Dismal Swamp Canal in North Carolina. Adams worked diligently to upgrade and modernize infrastructure and internal improvements, such as roads, canals, a national university, and an astronomical observatory. These internal improvements would be funded by tariffs, an issue which divided the Adams administration. While Secretary Clay most certainly supported tariffs, Vice President John C. Calhoun was opposed.


Unfortunately for President Adams, his agenda met with many setbacks. Adams' ideas were not very popular, even from within his own party. Yet the major reason Adams had a tough time enacting his agenda was the anger of the Jacksonians after the 1824 elections. In 1827, the Jacksonians won control of Congress, making continued implementation even more difficult. But Adams believed that administration officials could only be removed from office because of their incompetence, even when those officials were political opponents. Many administration officials were in fact supporters of Andrew Jackson. Adams' generous policy towards Indians further angered the population, as when the federal government sought to assert authority on behalf of the Cherokee, and Georgia became inflamed. The final nail in the coffin of the Adams administration was when President Adams signed the Tariff of 1828 into law. This law was intended to protect Northern industry, but the South reviled it. The "Tariff of Abominations," as it was called, virtually crippled the administration in its final year.


The campaign was brutal, bitter, and personal, with even Jackson's wife attacked, accused of bigamy. In the end, Adams lost, only gaining 83 votes in electoral college to Jackson's 178. Adams refused to attend Andrew Jackson's inauguration, much as Adams's father had not attended that of Thomas Jefferson. However, Adams's presidency was not his final role. In 1830, he became the first former president elected to Congress after serving as president.


The Election of Andrew Jackson


Despite these sectional tensions, the story of America in the early 19th century was one of expansion—expanding economies, expanding territory, and expand- ing democracy. The man who embraced the spirit of that expansion and to many personified it was Andrew Jackson, who captured the presidency in 1828.




In 1830 Congress, with the support of Jackson, passed the Indian Removal Act. Under this law, the federal government provided funds to negotiate treaties that would force the Native Americans to move west.


Many of the tribes signed removal treaties. However, the Cherokee Nation refused and fought the government in the courts. In 1832, the Supreme Court ruled in Worcester v. Georgia that the state of Georgia could not regulate the Cherokee Nation by law or invade Cherokee lands. However, Jackson refused to abide by the Supreme Court decision, saying, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.”




In the years fol- lowing the Court’s ruling, U.S. troops rounded up the Cherokee and drove them into camps to await the journey west. A Baptist missionary described the scene. Beginning in the fall of 1838, the Cherokee were sent off in groups of about 1,000 each on the 800-mile journey, mostly on foot. As winter came, more and more Cherokee died. The Cherokee buried more than a quarter of their people along the Trail of Tears, the forced marches the Cherokee followed from Georgia to the Indian Territory



The Industrial Revolution—largescale production resulting in massive change in social and economic organization—began in Great Britain in the 18th century and gradually reached the United States. Industry took off first in New England, whose economy depended on shipping and foreign trade. Agriculture there was not highly profitable, so New Englanders were more ready than other Americans to embrace new forms of manufacturing—and prime among these were mechanized textile, or fabric, mills. Soon, farmers in the North began to specialize in one or two crops or types of livestock (such as corn and cattle), sell what they produced to urban markets, and then purchase with cash whatever else they needed from stores. Increasingly, these were items made in Northern factories. As a result, a market economy began to develop in which agriculture and manufacturing each supported the growth of the other.




Meanwhile, the South continued to grow as an agricultural power. Eli Whitney’s invention of a cotton gin (short for “engine,” or machine) in 1793 made it possible for Southern farmers to produce cotton more profitably. The emergence of a Cotton Kingdom in the South—and thus the need for more field labor—contributed to the expansion of slavery. Between 1790 and 1820, the enslaved population increased from less than 700,000 to over 1.5 million. In the North, things were different. By 1804, states north of Delaware had either abolished slavery or had enacted laws for gradual emancipation. Slavery declined in the North, but some slaves remained there for decades

Balancing Nationalism and Sectionalism

Nullification and the Bank War

In 1824 and again in 1828, Congress increased the Tariff of 1816. Jackson’s vice- president, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, called the 1828 tariff a Tariff of Abominations because he blamed it for economic problems in the South.

The South’s economy depended on cotton exports. Yet the high tariff on manufactured goods reduced British exports to the United States, and because of this, Britain bought less cotton. With the decline of British goods, the South was now forced to buy the more expensive Northern manufactured goods. From the South’s point of view, the North was getting rich at the expense of the South.



To try to free South Carolinians from the tariff, Calhoun developed a theory of nullification. Calhoun’s theory held that the U.S. Constitution was based on a compact among the sovereign states. If the Constitution had been established by 13 sovereign states, he reasoned, then the states must still be sovereign, and each would have the right to determine whether acts of Congress were constitutional. If a state found an act to be uncon-

stitutional, the state could declare the offending law nullified, or inoperative, within its borders.


The Senate debated the tariff question (and the underlying states’ rights issue). Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts opposed nullification and South Carolina Senator Robert Hayne aired Calhoun’s views.

In 1832 the issue of states’ rights was put to a test when Congress raised tar- iffs again. South Carolinians declared the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 “null, void, and no law.” Then they threatened to secede, or withdraw from the Union, if customs officials tried to collect duties.


In response, an outraged Jackson urged Congress to pass the Force Bill to allow the federal government to use the military if state authorities resisted pay- ing proper duties. A bloody confrontation seemed likely until Henry Clay forged a compromise in 1833. Clay proposed a tariff bill that would gradually lower duties over a ten-year period. The compromise also included passage of the Force Bill. The tension between states’ rights and federal authority sub- sided—temporarily.




Although Jackson defended federal power in the nullification crisis, he tried to decrease federal power when it came to the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson believed that the national bank was an agent of the wealthy, and that its members cared nothing for the common people.


In 1832 Jackson won reelection despite the efforts of his critics to make a campaign issue out of Jackson’s opposition to the bank. After his reelection, he tried to kill the bank by withdrawing all government deposits from the bank’s branches and placing them in certain state banks called “pet banks” because of their loyalty to the Democratic Party. As a result, the Bank of the United States became just another bank.


Jackson won the bank war, but his tactics and policies angered many people. Many accused him of acting more like a king than a president. In 1832, his opponents formed a new political party, which they later called the Whig Party.

Successors Deal with Jackson’s Legacy


When Jackson announced that he would not run for a third term in 1836, the Democrats chose Vice-President Martin Van Buren as their candidate. The newly formed Whig Party ran three regional candidates against him. With Jackson’s support, however, Van Buren easily won the election



Along with the presidency, however, Van Buren inherited the consequences of Jackson’s bank war. Many of the pet banks that accepted fed- eral deposits were wildcat banks that printed bank notes wildly in excess of the gold and silver they had on deposit. Such wildcat banks were doomed to fail when people tried to redeem their currency for gold or silver.

By May 1837, many banks stopped accepting paper currency. In the panic of 1837, bank closings and the collapse of the credit system cost many people their savings, bankrupted hundreds of businesses, and put more than a third of the population out of work. G


In 1840 Van Buren ran for reelection against Whig Party candidate William Henry Harrison, who was known as “Tippecanoe” for a battle he won against Native Americans in 1811. The Whigs blamed Van Buren for the weak economy and portrayed Harrison, the old war hero, as a man of the people and Van Buren as an aristocrat.


Harrison won the election, but died just a month after his inauguration. John Tyler, Harrison’s vice-president, became president. A strong-minded Virginian and former Democrat, Tyler opposed many parts of the Whig program. He halted hopes for significant Whig reforms.


The Democrat and Whig parties went on to dominate national politics until the 1850s. The new politicians appealed more to passion than to reason. They courted popularity in a way that John Quincy Adams and his predecessors never would have. Thus, the style of politics in America had changed drastically since the 1790s. Political speeches became a form of mass entertainment, involving far more Americans in the political process. Also, the West was playing an increasing role in national politics. That trend would continue as more Americans moved to places like Texas and California.


Wikibooks contributors, "US History/War, Nationalism, and Division," Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project,,_Nationalism,_and_Division&oldid=2719998 (accessed November 14, 2014).