The American History Company



Books for Study and Reading

References.--Higginson's Larger History, 309-344; Eggleston's United States and its People ch. xxxiv (the people in 1790); McMaster's School History, ch. xiv (the people in 1790).

Home Readings.--Drake's Making of the West; Scribner's Popular History, IV; Coffin's Building the Nation; Bolton's Famous Americans; Holmes's Ode on Washington's Birthday; Seawell's Little Jarvis.



The first way of electing President. Constitution, Art. II, §I; McMaster, 170-171.
Washington and Adams.

192. Washington elected President.--In the early years under the Constitution the Presidents and Vice-Presidents were elected in the following manner. First each state chose presidential electors usually by vote of its legislature. Then the electors of each state came together and voted for two persons without saying which of the two should be President. When all the electoral votes were counted, the person having the largest number, provided that was more than half of the whole number of electoral votes, was declared President. The person having the next largest number became Vice-President. At the first election every elector voted for Washington. John Adams received the next largest number of votes and became Vice-President.

[Illustration: FEDERAL HALL, 1797. Washington took the oath of office on the balcony.]

Washington's journey to New York. Higginson, 217-218.

193. Washington's Journey to New York.--At ten o'clock in the morning of April 14, 1789, Washington left Mt. Vernon and set out for New York. Wherever he passed the people poured forth to greet him. At Trenton, New Jersey, a triumphal arch had been erected. The school girls strewed flowers in his path and sang an ode written for the occasion. A barge manned by thirteen pilots met him at the water's edge and bore him safely to New York.

Washington inaugurated President, 1789. Source-Book, 181-183.
The oath of office.

194. The First Inauguration, April 30, 1789.--Long before the time set for the inauguration ceremonies, the streets around Federal Hall were closely packed with sightseers. Washington in a suit of velvet with white silk stockings came out on the balcony and took the oath of office ordered in the Constitution, "I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." Cannon roared forth a salute and Chancellor Livingston turning to the people proclaimed, "Long live George Washington, President of the United States." Reëntering the hall Washington read a simple and solemn address.

Jefferson, Secretary of State.
Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury. Eggleston, 215.
Knox, Secretary of War.
Randolph, Attorney-General.

195. The First Cabinet.--Washington appointed Thomas Jefferson Secretary of State. Since writing the Great Declaration, Jefferson had been governor of Virginia and American minister at Paris. The Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton. Born in the British West Indies, he had come to New York to attend King's College, now Columbia University. For Secretary of War, Washington selected Henry Knox. He had been Chief of Artillery during the Revolution. Since then he had been head of the War Department. Edward Randolph became Attorney General. He had introduced the Virginia plan of union into the Federal Convention. But he had not signed the Constitution in its final form. These four officers formed the Cabinet. There was also a Postmaster General. But his office was of slight importance at the time.


Federal Officers.
Jay, Chief Justice.

196. Appointments to Office.--The President now appointed the necessary officers to execute the national laws. These were mostly men who had been prominent in the Revolutionary War. For instance, John Jay (p. 126) was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and General Lincoln (p. 134) was appointed Collector of Customs at Boston. It was in having officers of its own to carry out its laws, that the new government seemed to the people to be so unlike the old government. Formerly if Congress wanted anything done, it called on the states to do it. Now Congress, by law, authorized the United States officials to do their tasks. The difference was a very great one, and it took the people some time to realize what a great change had been made.

Titles. Higginson, 222.

197. The Question of Titles.--The first fiercely contested debate in the new Congress was over the question of titles. John Adams, the Vice-President and the presiding officer of the Senate, began the conflict by asking the Senate how he should address the President. One senator suggested that the President should be entitled "His Patriotic Majesty." Other senators proposed that he should be addressed as "Your Highness, the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties." Fortunately, the House of Representatives had the first chance to address Washington and simply called him "Mr. President of the United States."

Ceremonies. Higginson, 222-224.
Monarchical appearances.

198. Ceremonies and Progresses.--Washington liked a good deal of ceremony and was stiff and aristocratic. He soon gave receptions or "levees" as they were called. To these only persons who had tickets were admitted. Washington stood on one side of the room and bowed stiffly to each guest as he was announced. When all were assembled, the entrance doors were closed. The President then slowly walked around the room, saying something pleasant to each person. In 1789 he made a journey through New England. Everywhere he was received by guards of honor, and was splendidly entertained. At one place an old man greeted him with "God bless Your Majesty." This was all natural enough, for Washington was "first in the hearts of his countrymen." But many good men were afraid that the new government would really turn out to be a monarchy.

Struggle over protection, 1789. Source-Book, 183-186.

199. First Tariff Act, 1789.--The first important business that Congress took in hand was a bill for raising revenue, and a lively debate began. Representatives from New England and the Middle states wanted protection for their commerce and their struggling manufactures. Representatives from the Southern states opposed all protective duties as harmful to agriculture, which was the only important pursuit of the Southerners. But the Southerners would have been glad to have a duty placed on hemp. This the New Englanders opposed because it would increase the cost of rigging ships. The Pennsylvanians were eager for a duty on iron and steel. But the New Englanders opposed this duty because it would add to the cost of building a ship, and the Southerners opposed it because it would increase the cost of agricultural tools. And so it was as to nearly every duty that was proposed. But duties must be laid, and the only thing that could be done was to compromise in every direction. Each section got something that it wanted, gave up a great deal that it wanted, and agreed to something that it did not want at all. And so it has been with every tariff act from that day to this.

The first census.
Extent of the United States, 1791.
Population of the United States, 1791.

200. The First Census, 1791.--The Constitution provided that representatives should be distributed among the states according to population as modified by the federal ratio (p. 142). To do this it was necessary to find out how many people there were in each state. In 1791 the first census was taken. By that time both North Carolina and Rhode Island had joined the Union, and Vermont had been admitted as the fourteenth state. It appeared that there were nearly four million people in the United States, or not as many as one hundred years later lived around the shores of New York harbor. There were then about seven hundred thousand slaves in the country. Of these only fifty thousand were in the states north of Maryland. The country, therefore, was already divided into two sections: one where slavery was of little importance, and another where it was of great importance.

Vermont admitted, 1791.
Higginson 229.
Kentucky admitted, 1792. Higginson, 224-230.

201. New States.--The first new state to be admitted to the Union was Vermont (1791). The land which formed this state was claimed by New Hampshire and by New York. But during the Revolution the Green Mountain Boys had declared themselves independent and had drawn up a constitution. They now applied to Congress for admission to the Union as a separate state. The next year Kentucky came into the Union. This was originally a part of Virginia, and the colonists had brought their slaves with them to their new homes. Kentucky, therefore, was a slave state. Vermont was a free state, and its constitution forbade slavery.


Origin of the National Debt. For details, see McMaster, 198-200.

202. The National Debt.--The National Debt was the price of independence. During the war Congress had been too poor to pay gold and silver for what it needed to carry on the war. So it had given promises to pay at some future time. These promises to pay were called by various names as bonds, certificates of indebtedness, and paper money. Taken all together they formed what was called the Domestic Debt, because it was owed to persons living in the United States. There was also a Foreign Debt. This was owed to the King of France and to other foreigners who had lent money to the United States.

Hamilton as a financier.
His plan.
Objections to it.

203. Hamilton's Financial Policy.--Alexander Hamilton was the ablest Secretary of the Treasury the United States has ever had. To give people confidence in the new government, he proposed to redeem the old certificates and bonds, dollar for dollar, in new bonds. To this plan there was violent objection. Most of the original holders of the certificates and bonds had sold them long ago. They were now mainly held by speculators who had paid about thirty or forty cents for each dollar. Why should the speculator get one dollar for that which had cost him only thirty or forty cents? Hamilton insisted that his plan was the only way to place the public credit on a firm foundation, and it was finally adopted.

[Illustration: ALEXANDER HAMILTON. "He smote the rock of the national resources and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth. He touched the dead corpse of the public credit and it sprang upon its feet."--WEBSTER.]

The state debts. Source-Book, 186-188.
Hamilton's plan of assumption.
Objections to it.
Failure of the bill.

204. Assumption of State Debts.--A further part of Hamilton's original scheme aroused even greater opposition. During the Revolutionary War the states, too, had become heavily in debt. They had furnished soldiers and supplies to Congress. Some of them had undertaken expeditions at their own expense. Virginia, for example, had borne all the cost of Clark's conquest of the Northwest (p. 116). She had later ceded nearly all her rights in the conquered territory to the United States (p. 135). These debts had been incurred for the benefit of the people as a whole. Would it not then be fair for the people of the United States as a whole to pay them? Hamilton thought that it would. It chanced, however, that the Northern states had much larger debts than had the Southern states. One result of Hamilton's scheme would be to relieve the Northern states of a part of their burdens and to increase the burdens of the Southern states. The Southerners, therefore, were strongly opposed to the plan. The North Carolina representatives reached New York just in time to vote against it, and that part of Hamilton's plan was defeated.

[Illustration: AN OLD STAGECOACH. The house was built in Lincoln County, Kentucky, in 1783.]

Question of the site of the national capital.
Jefferson and Hamilton.
The District of Columbia.

205. The National Capital.--In these days of fast express trains it makes little difference whether one is going to Philadelphia or to Baltimore--only a few hours more or less in a comfortable railroad car. But in 1791 it made a great deal of difference whether one were going to Philadelphia or to Baltimore. Traveling was especially hard in the South. There were few roads or taverns in that part of the country, and those few were bad. The Southerners were anxious to have the national capital as far south as possible. They were also opposed to the assumption of the state debts by the national government. Now it happened that the Northerners were in favor of the assumption of the debts and did not care very much where the national capital might be. In the end Jefferson and Hamilton made "a deal," the first of its kind in our history. Enough Southerners voted for the assumption bill to pass it. The Northerners, on their part, agreed that the temporary seat of government should be at Philadelphia, and the permanent seat of government on the Potomac. Virginia and Maryland at once ceded enough land to form a "federal district." This was called the District of Columbia. Soon preparations were begun to build a capital city there--the city of Washington.


Hamilton's plan for a United States bank. McMaster, 201.
Jefferson's argument against it.
The bank established.

206. The First Bank of the United States.--Two parts of Hamilton's plan were now adopted. To the third part of his scheme there was even more opposition. This was the establishment of a great Bank of the United States. The government in 1790 had no place in which to keep its money. Instead of establishing government treasuries, Hamilton wanted a great national bank, controlled by the government. This bank could establish branches in important cities. The government's money could be deposited at any of these branches and could be paid out by checks sent from the Treasury. Furthermore, people could buy a part of the stock of the bank with the new bonds of the United States. This would make people more eager to own the bonds, and so would increase their price. For all these reasons Hamilton thought the bank would be very useful, and therefore "necessary and proper" for the carrying out of the powers given by the Constitution to the national government. Jefferson, however, thought that the words "necessary and proper" meant necessary and not useful. The bank was not necessary according to the ordinary use of the word. Congress therefore had no business to establish it. After thinking the matter over, Washington signed the bill and it became a law. But Jefferson had sounded the alarm. Many persons agreed with him, many others agreed with Hamilton. Two great political parties were formed and began the contest for power that has been going on ever since.



Formation of the Federalist party. McMaster, 202.

207. The Federalists.--There were no political parties in the United States in 1789. All the leading men were anxious to give the new Constitution a fair trial. Even Patrick Henry supported Washington. Many men, as Alexander Hamilton and Gouverneur Morris, believed a monarchy to be the best form of government. But they saw clearly that the American people would not permit a monarchy to be established. So they supported the Constitution although they thought that it was "a frail and worthless fabric." But they wished to establish the strongest possible government that could be established under the Constitution. This they could do by defining in the broadest way the doubtful words in the Constitution as Hamilton had done in the controversy over the bank charter (p. 162). Hamilton had little confidence in the wisdom of the plain people. He believed it would be safer to rely on the richer classes. So he and his friends wished to give to the central government and to the richer classes the greatest possible amount of power. Those who believed as Hamilton believed called themselves Federalists. In reality they were Nationalists.

Formation of the Republican party.

208. The Republicans.--Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Albert Gallatin, and their friends entirely disagreed with the Federalists on all of these points. They called themselves Republicans. In the Great Declaration Jefferson had written that government rested on the consent of the governed. He also thought that the common sense of the plain people was a safer guide than the wisdom of the richer classes. He was indignant at the way in which Hamilton defined the meaning of phrases in the Constitution. He especially relied on the words of the Tenth Amendment. This amendment provided that "all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the states are reserved to the states respectively or to the people." Jefferson thought that phrases like "not delegated" and "necessary and proper" should be understood in their ordinary meanings. He now determined to arouse public opinion. He once declared that if he had to choose between having a government and having a newspaper press, he should prefer the newspaper press. He established a newspaper devoted to his principles and began a violent and determined attack on the Federalists, calling them monarchists. These disputes became especially violent in the treatment of the questions which grew out of the French Revolution.

The French Revolution, 1789.

209. The French Revolution.--In 1789 the French people rose against their government. In 1792 they imprisoned their king and queen. In 1793 they beheaded them, and set up a republic. The monarchs of Europe made common cause against this spirit of revolution. They made war on the French Republic and began a conflict which soon spread to all parts of the world.

Effect of the French Revolution on American politics. McMaster, 206-207.
Federalists and Republicans.

210. The French Revolution and American Politics.--Jefferson and his political friends rejoiced at the overthrow of the French monarchy and the setting up of the Republic. It seemed as if American ideas had spread to Europe. Soon Jefferson's followers began to ape the manners of the French revolutionists. They called each other Citizen this and Citizen that. Reports of French victories were received with rejoicing. At Boston an ox, roasted whole, bread, and punch were distributed to the people in the streets, and cakes stamped with the French watchwords, Liberty and Equality, were given to the children. But, while the Republicans were rejoicing over the downfall of the French monarchy, the Federalists were far from being happy. Hamilton had no confidence in government by the people anywhere. Washington, with his aristocratic ideas, did not at all like the way the Republicans were acting. He said little on the subject, but Lady Washington expressed her mind freely and spoke of Jefferson's followers as "filthy Democrats."

Genet at Charleston.
His contest with the government.

211. Citizen Genet.--The new French government soon sent an agent or minister to the United States. He was the Citizen Genet. He landed at Charleston, South Carolina. He fitted out privateers to prey on British commerce and then set out overland for Philadelphia. Washington had recently made a tour through the South. But even he had not been received with the enthusiasm that greeted Genet. But when Genet reached Philadelphia, and began to confer with Jefferson about getting help from the government, he found little except delay, trouble, and good advice. Jefferson especially tried to warn Genet not to be over confident. But Genet would not listen. He even appealed to the people against Washington, and the people rallied to the defense of the President. Soon another and wiser French minister came to the United States.

The Treaty of Alliance of 1778.
The Neutrality Proclamation, 1793.

212. The Neutrality Proclamation, 1793.--Washington and his advisers had a very difficult question to settle. For the Treaty of 1778 with France (p. 115) gave to French ships the use of United States ports in war time, and closed those ports to the enemies of France. The treaty might also oblige the United States to make war on Great Britain in order to preserve the French West India Islands to France. It was quite certain, at all events, that if French warships were allowed to use American ports, and British warships were not allowed to do so, Great Britain would speedily make war on the United States. The treaty had been made with the King of France. Could it not be set aside on the ground that there was no longer a French monarchy? Washington at length made up his mind to regard it as suspended, owing to the confusion which existed in France. He therefore issued a Proclamation of Neutrality. In this proclamation he warned all citizens not to aid either of the fighting nations. It was in this way that Washington began the policy of keeping the United States out of European conflicts (p. 224).

Internal revenue taxes.
The Whiskey Rebellion, 1794. McMaster, 203-204.

213. The Whiskey Insurrection, 1794.--The increasing expenses of the government made new taxes necessary. Among the new taxes was an internal revenue tax on whiskey. It happened that this tax bore heavily on the farmers of western Carolina and western Pennsylvania. The farmers of those regions could not take their grain to the seaboard because the roads were bad and the distance was great. So they made it into whiskey, which could be carried to the seaboard and sold at a profit. The new tax on whiskey would make it more difficult for these western farmers to earn a living and to support their families. They refused to pay it. They fell upon the tax collectors and drove them away. Washington sent commissioners to explain matters to them. But the farmers paid no heed to the commissioners. The President then called out fifteen thousand militia-men and sent them to western Pennsylvania, under the command of Henry Lee, governor of Virginia. The rebellious farmers yielded without fighting. Two of the leaders were convicted of treason. But Washington pardoned them, and the conflict ended there. The new government had shown its strength, and had compelled people to obey the laws. That in itself was a very great thing to have done.

Relations with Great Britain. McMaster, 207-209; Source-Book, 188-190.
Jay's Treaty, 1794.

214. Jay's Treaty, 1794.--Ever since 1783 there had been trouble with the British. They had not surrendered the posts on the Great Lakes, as the treaty of 1783 required them to do. They had oppressed American commerce. The American states also had broken the treaty by making laws to prevent the collection of debts due to British subjects by American citizens. The Congress of the Confederation had been too weak to compel either the British government or the American states to obey the treaty. But the new government was strong enough to make treaties respected at home and abroad. Washington sent Chief Justice John Jay to London to negotiate a new treaty. He found the British government very hard to deal with. At last he made a treaty. But there were many things in it which were not at all favorable to the United States. For instance, it provided that cotton should not be exported from the United States, and that American commerce with the British West Indies should be greatly restricted.

Contest over ratification of Jay's Treaty, 1795.

215. Ratification of Jay's Treaty, 1795.--After a long discussion the Senate voted to ratify the treaty without these two clauses. In the House of Representatives there was a fierce debate. For although the House has nothing to do with ratifying treaties, it has a great deal to do with voting money. And money was needed to carry out this treaty. At last the House voted the necessary money. The British surrendered the posts on the Great Lakes, and the debts due to British subjects were paid. Many people were very angry with Jay and with Washington for making this treaty. Stuffed figures of Jay were hanged, and Washington was attacked in the papers as if he had been "a common pickpocket"--to use his own words.


Treaty with Spain, 1795.
Right of deposit.

216. The Spanish Treaty of 1795.--France and Great Britain were not the only countries with which there was trouble. The Spaniards held posts on the Mississippi, within the limits of the United States and refused to give them up. For a hundred miles the Mississippi flowed through Spanish territory. In those days, before steam railroads connected the Ohio valley with the Eastern seacoast, the farmers of Kentucky and Tennessee sent their goods by boat or raft down the Mississippi to New Orleans. At that city they were placed on sea-going vessels and carried to the markets of the world. The Spaniards refused to let this commerce be carried on. In 1795, however, they agreed to abandon the posts and to permit American goods to be deposited at New Orleans while awaiting shipment by sea-going vessels.

Washington declines a third term.
His Farewell Address.

217. Washington's Farewell Address.--In 1792 Washington had been reëlected President. In 1796 there would be a new election, and Washington declined another nomination. He was disgusted with the tone of public life and detested party politics, and desired to pass the short remainder of his life in quiet at Mt. Vernon. He announced his intention to retire in a Farewell Address, which should be read and studied by every American. In it he declared the Union to be the main pillar of independence, prosperity, and liberty. Public credit must be carefully maintained, and the United States should have as little as possible to do with European affairs. In declining a third term as President, Washington set an example which has ever since been followed.



Hamilton's intrigues against Adams.
Adams elected, President, 1796.

218. John Adams elected President, 1796.--In 1796 John Adams was the Federalist candidate for President. His rival was Thomas Jefferson, the founder and chief of the Republican party. Alexander Hamilton was the real leader of the Federalists, and he disliked Adams. Thomas Pinckney was the Federalist candidate for Vice-President. Hamilton suggested a plan which he thought would lead to the election of Pinckney as President instead of Adams. But Hamilton's scheme did not turn out very well. For by it Jefferson was elected Vice-President. Indeed, he came near being President, for he had only three less electoral votes than Adams.

Relations with France, 1796-97. McMaster, 210-212; Source-Book, 191-194.
The French government declines to receive an American minister.

219. More Trouble with France.--France was now (1796-97) governed by five chiefs of the Revolution, who called themselves "the Directory." They were very angry when they heard of Jay's Treaty (p. 168), for they had hoped that the Americans would make war on the British. James Monroe was then American minister at Paris. Instead of doing all he could to smooth over this difficulty, he urged on the wrath of the Directory. Washington recalled Monroe, and sent in his stead General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina. The Directory promptly refused to receive Pinckney, and ordered him to leave France. News of this action of the Directory reached Philadelphia three days after Adams's inauguration.

Adams's message, 1797.
A commission sent to France, 1797.
The X.Y.Z. Affair, 1797-98.

220. The X.Y.Z. Affair, 1797-98.--Adams at once summoned Congress and addressed the members in stirring words. He denied that the Americans were a "degraded people, humiliated under a colonial sense of fear ... and regardless of national honor, character, and interest." It seemed best, however, to make one more effort to avoid war. Adams therefore sent John Marshall, a Virginia Federalist, and Elbridge Gerry, a Massachusetts Republican, to France. They were to join Pinckney and together were to negotiate with the French Directory. When they reached Paris three men came to see them. These men said that America (1) must apologize for the President's vigorous words, (2) must lend money to France, and (3) must bribe the Directory and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. These outrageous suggestions were emphatically put aside. In sending the papers to Congress, the three men were called Mr. X., Mr. Y., and Mr. Z., so the incident is always known as the "X.Y.Z. Affair."

Excitement in America.

221. Indignation in America.--Federalists and Republicans joined in indignation. "Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute," was the cry of the day. French flags were everywhere torn down. "Hail Columbia" was everywhere sung. Adams declared that he would not send another minister to France until he was assured that the representative of the United States would be received as "the representative of a great, free, powerful, and independent state."

Washington appointed Commander-in-chief. Hamilton and Adams.
The navy.
Naval warfare, 1798-99. McMaster, 213-214.

222. War with France, 1797-98.--The organization of a provisional army was now at once begun. Washington accepted the chief command on condition that Hamilton should have the second place. There were already a few vessels in the navy. A Navy Department was now organized. The building of more warships was begun, and merchant vessels were bought and converted into cruisers. French privateers sailed along the American coasts and captured American vessels off the entrances of the principal harbors. But this did not last long. For the American warships drove the privateers to the West Indies and pursued them as they fled southward. Soon the American cruisers began to capture French men-of-war. Captain Truxton, in the Constellation, captured the French frigate L'Insurgent. Many other French vessels were captured, and preparations were made to carry on the naval war even more vigorously when a treaty with France was signed.

Another commission sent to France.
The treaty of 1800.

223. Treaty with France, 1800.--This vigor convinced the French that they had been hasty in their treatment of the Americans. They now said that if another minister were sent to France, he would be honorably received. Adams wished to send one of the American ministers then in Europe, and thus end the dispute as soon as possible. But the other Federalist leaders thought that it would be better to wait until France sent a minister to the United States. Finally they consented to the appointment of three commissioners. Napoleon Bonaparte was now the ruler of France. He received the commissioners honorably, and a treaty was soon signed. On two points, however, he refused to give way. He declined to pay for American property seized by the French, and he insisted that the treaty of 1778 (pp. 115, 166) was still binding on both countries. It was finally agreed that the Americans should give up their claims for damages, and the French government should permit the treaty to be annulled. John Adams always looked upon this peaceful ending of the dispute with France as the most prudent and successful act of his whole life. But Hamilton and other Federalists thought it was treachery to the party. They set to work to prevent his reëlection to the presidency.

Repressive Laws. McMaster, 211-212.
The naturalization act.
The alien acts.
The Sedition Act.

224. Alien and Sedition Acts, 1798.--The Federalists, even if they had been united, would probably have been defeated in the election of 1800. For they had misused their power to pass several very foolish laws. The first of these laws was the Naturalization Act. It lengthened the time of residence in the United States from five to fourteen years before a foreign immigrant could gain the right to vote. This law bore very harshly on the Republicans, because most of the immigrants were Republicans. Other laws, called the Alien Acts, were also aimed at the Republican immigrants. These laws gave the President power to compel immigrants to leave the United States, or to live in certain places that he named. The worst law of all was the Sedition Act. This was aimed against the writers and printers of Republican newspapers. It provided that any one who attacked the government in the press should be severely punished as a seditious person. Several trials were held under this law. Every trial made hundreds of persons determined to vote for the Republican candidate at the next election.

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions 1798-99. McMaster, 212-213.
Jefferson and Madison on the Constitution.
The Kentucky Resolutions of 1799.

225. Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, 1798-99.--In the exciting years before the Revolutionary War the colonial legislatures had passed many resolutions condemning the acts of the British government (see pp. 77, 84). Following this example Jefferson and Madison now brought it about that the Virginia and Kentucky legislatures passed resolutions against the Alien and Sedition Acts. They declared that the Constitution was a compact between the states. It followed from this that any state could determine for itself whether any act of Congress were constitutional or not. It followed from, this, again, that any state could refuse to permit an Act of Congress to be enforced within its limits. In other words, any state could make null or nullify any Act of Congress that it saw fit to oppose. This last conclusion was found only in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1799. But Jefferson wrote to this effect in the original draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions called the voter's attention to the Federalist abuse of power and did much to form public opinion.

Death of Washington, 1799.

226. Death of Washington, 1799.--In the midst of this excitement George Washington died. People forgot how strongly he had taken the Federalist side in the last few years, and united to do honor to his memory. Henry Lee spoke for the nation when he declared that Washington was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." To this day, we commemorate Washington's birthday as we do that of no other man, though of late years we have begun to keep Lincoln's birthday also.

Election of 1800. McMaster, 215.
Jefferson and Burr.
The election in the House of Representatives.

227. Election of 1800.--It was for a moment only that the noise of party conflict was hushed by the death of America's first President. The strife soon began anew. Indeed, the election of 1800 was fought with a vigor and violence unknown before, and scarcely exceeded since. John Adams was the Federalist candidate, and he was defeated. Jefferson and Burr, the Republican candidates, each received seventy-three electoral votes. But which of them should be President? The Republican voters clearly wished Jefferson to be President. But the Federalists had a majority in the House of Representatives. They had a clear legal right to elect Burr President. But to do that would be to do what was morally wrong. After a useless struggle the Federalists permitted Jefferson to be chosen, and he was inaugurated on March 4, 1801.

[Illustration: PRESIDENT WASHINGTON, 1790. "Observe good faith and justice towards all nations." --Farewell Address.]



§§ 192-194.--a. Describe the method of electing President employed at first.

b. Describe Washington's journey to New York and the inaugural ceremonies, and compare them with the inauguration of the last President.

§§ 195, 196.--a. In whose hands do appointments to federal offices lie?

b. What was the great difference mentioned in § 196? Why was the difference so great?

§§ 197, 198.--a. Why was Washington "stiff and aristocratic"?

b. Would Washington have accepted the title of king? Give the reasons for your answer.

§§ 199-202.--a. Give the reasons for the different views expressed in Congress as to customs duties. What are customs duties?

b. Explain how slavery influenced the views of the Southern members.

c. Compare the extent and population of the United States in 1791 with the extent and population to-day.

d. What two new states were admitted in 1791-92? What was their attitude on slavery? What changes would their admission make in Congress?

§§ 203, 204.--a. Explain carefully Hamilton's plan. What were its advantages? What is meant by the phrase "public credit"?

b. What is meant by the phrase "assumption of the state debts"?

§§ 205, 206.--a. What question arose concerning the site of the national capital? How was it settled? Was this a good way to settle important questions?

b. Why did Hamilton want a Bank of the United States? Was this bank like one of the national banks of to-day?


§§ 207, 208.--a. Compare carefully the principles of the Federalists and the Republicans. Which party would you have joined had you lived then? Why? Which ideas prevail to-day?

b. Discuss Jefferson's views as to the value of newspapers.

§§ 209-212.--a. Why did the Republicans sympathize with the French Revolution?

b. How was the action of the Republicans regarded by Washington? By Hamilton?

c. Why did Washington issue the Proclamation of Neutrality?

§ 213.--a. What is the difference between a tax laid by a tariff on imported goods and an internal revenue tax?

b. How was the rebellion suppressed? Compare this with Shays's Rebellion.

§§ 214-216.--a. State the reasons for the trouble with Great Britain. How was the matter settled?

b. Explain the trouble over the traffic on the Mississippi.

c. How was this matter settled?

§ 217.--a. Why did Washington decline a third term?

b. What are the important points in his Farewell Address?

c. How far has later history proved the truth of his words?


§ 218.--a. How did Hamilton set to work to defeat Adams? Do you think his action justifiable?

b. What was the result of Hamilton's intrigues?

§§ 219-221.--a. To what was the refusal to receive Pinckney equivalent? Describe the X. Y. Z. Affair.

b. What is a bribe? How must bribery in political life affect a government?

c. How was the news of this affair received in America? What does this show about the feeling of both parties toward the government?

§§ 222, 223.--a. Describe the preparations for war. Why was a Navy Department necessary?

b. Why was France wise to make peace with the United States?

c. How was the matter finally settled?

§§ 224, 225.--a. Describe the Naturalization Act.

b. What power did the Alien Act give the President? What danger is there in such power?

c. What is sedition? Compare the Sedition Act with the First Amendment.

d. What were the theories on which the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were based?

§§ 226, 227.--a. What position does Washington hold in our history? Why is it deserved? b. Describe the election of 1800. Why was it fought so bitterly? c. Why should disputes as to elections for President go to the House? d. How was it known that Jefferson's election was the wish of the voters?


a. Write an account of life in the United States about 1790, or life in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Charleston. b. Prepare a table of the two political parties mentioned, with dates and account of origin. As you go on, note upon this table changes in these parties and the rise of new ones. c. On an Outline Map color the thirteen original states and then fill in, with dates, new states as they are admitted. Write on each state F. for free or S. for slave, as the case may be.


a. Early life of Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, or Hamilton. b. Washington's Farewell Address.


In this period we meet two questions, which are still important, tariff legislation and political parties. In connection with the Tariff Act of 1789 (§ 200), touch upon the industries of the different sections of the country and explain how local interests affected men's actions. Show how compromise is often necessary in political action.

It is a good plan to use Outline Maps to show the important lines of development, as the gradual drifting apart of the North and the South on the slavery question.

Illustrate by supposed transactions the working of Hamilton's financial measures. By all means do not neglect a study of Washington's Farewell Address. Particular attention should be given to the two views of constitutional interpretation mentioned in § 207, and considerable time should be spent on a study of §§ 224 and 225.

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