Starter • What are the qualities of a good leader? • Rank the presidents that you remember in order from best to worst.
The Building of a Government • In 1789, George Washington was unanimously elected by the newly formed Electoral College. • Since he was the first, Washington was able to set many precedents– actions that would become ‘tradition’ by later presidents. • First to set up a Cabinet: a group of advisors who headed the executive departments; • Added ‘so help me God’ to the inaugural oath; • Wanted to be addressed as ‘Mr. President’. • Served two terms. • Under Washington, the Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed, allowing for the formation of the courts system.
Hamilton’s Plan • As the Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was tasked with paying off the new nation’s debt. • So, Hamilton came up with a four-part plan to both pay off the debt, and build the nation’s credibility and reach economic security. • Pay off all foreign debt and interest • Federal government would assume the state’s debts • Impose a tax on whiskey and tariffs (taxes on imported goods) • Create a national bank and national currency • In order to get Hamilton’s Plan passed, a compromise had to be reached. • The compromise was that in ten years’ time, the nation’s capital would be moved to Washington, D.C.
Emerging Political Parties • Not everyone was on board with Hamilton’s Plan, and it greatly intensified the differences between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.
Domestic Issues • While the government was starting to establish itself, Washington was confronted with his first major issue as president– Native American attacks on settlers in the Northwest Territory. • The British were providing weapons to the Native Americans. In a display of force, Washington used federal troops to defeat the Native Americans at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. • Native Americans were forced to yield land (mainly in Ohio) to the U.S. government.
Foreign Issues • While Washington was quick to act on domestic issues, he was more hesitant when it came to foreign troubles. • Although the French had aided the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, when the rebels went after all monarchies in Europe (including Britain), the U.S. divided. • The Federalists wanted to support Britain, the D-Rs: France. • Recognizing that the U.S. was too young to get involved in another war, Washington declared neutrality (another precedent). • In an attempt to avoid war, Washington did approve the formation of treaties with European countries– Great Britain and Spain.
The XYZ Affair • After Washington left office, his vice-president, John Adams became the new president. • After the Jay Treaty was signed, the French were upset that the U.S. seemed to align with the British. • Adams sent envoys to France to negotiate a peaceful solution. • Instead of reaching a solution, the French officials demanded $250,000 in bribes and wanted to humiliate the U.S. This became known as the XYZ Affair. • Public sentiment against France grew more negative, and to pay for Adams’ expansion of the military (to go after French ships), taxes increased.
Adams’ response • The Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts to target those who spoke out negatively against the government. • In response to the passage of these acts, certain states deemed the Sedition Act unconstitutional. • Written by Jefferson and Madison, the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions insinuated that states had the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional. • This was the first major push for states’ rights in the nation’s short history.
The Election of 1800 • After angering both Federalists and D-Rs, Adams had no hope of being re-elected. • In a turn of events, Jefferson and his running-mate, Aaron Burr, tied in electoral votes. • The Constitution did not include a provision for deciding between electoral votes. The vote went to the House of Representatives. • Hamilton disliked Burr, so he rallied support for Jefferson. • The 12th amendment, added in 1804, requires electors to vote separately for president and vice-president. • Burr was upset at his loss, and ultimately killed Hamilton in a duel.