Constitution and New Republic, 1776-1800

Constitution and New Republic,
Setting up the New Republic
Presidential Cabinet, Court System,
Finances, and Political Parties
Washington takes the oath of office
April 30, 1789
Federal Hall Washington
Washington’s Presidency
 Received all electoral votes
– Electors wrote down 2 names
– Top winner became President, runner-up became Vice President
 Adams (Federalist) becomes VP
 Remained neutral in politics
– Neutral: not taking a side
 Inaugurated on April 30, 1789
– Inaugurated: sworn in
 His every action was seen as a precedent since he was the
first president
– Precedent: an example
Setting Up the Courts & Cabinet
 Constitution created the Supreme
Court BUT left lots of decisions up to
– Federal Judiciary Act (1789)
• 6 member court
• Created lower federal courts
 Congress also had the job of creating
departments to help the President run
the U.S.
– The heads of the departments became
Washington’s cabinet
– Washington was able to select the men
who led each department
Forming the First Cabinet
 Sec. of Treasury
– Hamilton
– Managed the country’s money
 Sec. of War
– Knox
– Oversaw the country’s defenses
 Sec. of State
– Jefferson
– Oversaw relations between the U.S.
and other countries
 Constitution never mentioned a
cabinet, but Wash set the
precedent for the cabinet to
advise the president
Economic Problems
 War debt
– Owed money to foreign countries, merchants,
AND private citizens
– More than 52 million dollars
• About $1,291,836,000 today! (1.3 billion)
– Government leaders saw it as a requirement for
the U.S. to pay this money back
• Wanted to maintain business relationship with those
foreign countries
• Also wanted to be able to borrow money in the
Hamilton’s Financial Program
 Tried to gain support of the elite
 Showed his belief in a strong central government
– 1. Govt should pay public debt and state debt
– 2. Revenue should be raised
• Revenue: government income
• Favored tariffs: taxes on imported goods
– 3. Create a National Bank
• Safe place to keep govt money
• Would make loans
• Issue paper money
 Washington supported his plan
 This plan would strengthen the national
government  worried Jefferson
Beginnings of Political Parties
 Constitution does not mention parties
 Early disagreements over the creation of the new
republic led to the creation of allies and enemies
 Writers of the Constitution had to make it general
enough so that it would be flexible for the many
different situations that would emerge
 This also led to disagreements over its meaning
– Two camps emerge
• Federalist
• Anti-Federalist (Republican)
 Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay
 Thought a stronger, more centralized govt was
 Abandoned the ideas of the Articles of
 Feared chaos and the power of the people
 Jefferson was the leader
 Feared centralized power
 Trusted the will of the people
 Thought Constitution was too removed from the
 Demanded a bill of rights
Opposition to Hamilton’s Program
 Virginia (VA) and many other Southern states
protests assuming state debts
– They had already paid their debts
– Did not like helping the North
– Future capital is moved to D.C. as
 National Bank
– Created a debate over interpretation of Constitution
• Loose (broad or flexible) vs. strict (narrow or limited)
– Washington passed over protests of Jefferson and
– Bank established in 1791
Establishing Authority
Whiskey Rebellion, Securing the
Frontier, and Foreign Policy
Whiskey Rebellion
 Conflict arose over the
taxes from Hamilton’s
 Farmers refused to pay
 Whiskey Rebellion
– Farmers in Pennsylvania
beat up a tax collector
– Others threatened to attack
Pittsburg (the capitol)
– Wash sent troops to control
the rebels
– Proved that the govt could
AND would enforce the law
Whiskey Rebellion Flag
Securing the Frontier
 Northwest Territory was claimed by multiple nations
– Spain, Britain, U.S., and Native Americans
 Spain threatened to close port of New Orleans
– Worried Americans in the West who used it for trade
 Britain still held forts west of the Appalachian Mts.
(violation of the Treaty of Paris of 1783)
– Supported Native Americans in the area
– Stirred up trouble between NAs and American settlers
 Battle of Fallen Timbers
– Wash knew that the NW Territory was important to our security
and growth
– Sent troops to current day Michigan to defeats the NAs
– NAs retreated and Britain refused to help
• Did not want another war with U.S.
– NA hopes of keeping their land were crushed
French Revolution
To Help France…
Or Not...
 They aided us during the
 Britain was our biggest
 Treaty still bound U.S.
and France together as
 Jefferson favored helping
trading partner
 Britain was against France
– Too risky to fight them
 Hamilton favored not
Washington decided that we would be neutral
Congress passed a law forbidding aid to either side
Jay’s Treaty
 Britain began seizing American
ships and goods
 Chief Justice John Jay went to
negotiate with Britain
 At the same time, news of our
victory at Fallen Timbers
arrived in Britain
– They agreed to leave the Ohio
Valley and pay us back for our
stolen ships
 This helped reduce awkward
tension between the U.S. and
Pinckney’s Treaty
 Also helped reduce
tensions, but with
Spain instead of
 U.S. got the freedom
to travel on the
Mississippi and store
goods at New Orleans
without paying for it
 31st parallel was also
accepted as the new
boundary of Florida
Washington’s Farewell
 Although some opposed his policy of neutrality,
he served as a symbol of national unity for 8 years
 His farewell address provided advice and
warnings for the country:
Benefits of federal government
Warns against political parties
Importance of morality
Stable credit
Policy of neutrality
Against over-powerful militaries

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