0Chapter Themes

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Chapter 10

Launching the New Ship of State, 1789–1800

0Chapter Themes

Theme: Led by Washington and Hamilton, the first administration under the Constitution overcame various difficulties and firmly established the political and economic foundations of the new federal government. The first Congress under the Constitution, led by James Madison, also contributed to the new republic by adding the Bill of Rights.

Theme: The cabinet debate over Hamilton’s financial measure expanded into a wider political conflict between Hamiltonian Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans—the first political parties in America. Federalists supported a strong central government, a "loose" interpretation of the Constitution, and commerce (business). (Democratic) Republicans supported states' rights, a "strict" interpretation of the Constitution, and agriculture (farmers).

Theme: The French Revolution created a severe ideological and political division over foreign policy between Federalists and Republicans. The foreign-policy crisis coincided with domestic political divisions that culminated in the bitter election of 1800, but in the end power passed peacefully from Federalists to Republicans. American isolationist tradition emerges as a result of Washington's strong neutrality stance and his farewell warnings about foreign alliances.

0chapter summary (Read and Underline)

The fledgling government faced considerable difficulties and skepticism about its durability, especially since traditional political theory held that large-scale republics were bound to fail. But President Washington brought credibility to the new government, while his cabinet, led by Alexander Hamilton, strengthened its political and economic foundations.

The government’s first achievements were the Bill of Rights and Hamilton’s financial system. Through effective leadership, Hamilton carried out his program of funding the national debt, assuming state debts, imposing customs and excise taxes, and establishing a Bank of the United States.

The bank was the most controversial part of Hamilton’s program because it raised basic constitutional issues. Opposition to the bank from Jefferson and his followers reflected more fundamental political disagreements about republicanism, economics, federal power, and foreign policy. As the French Revolution evolved from moderation to radicalism, it intensified the ideological divisions between the pro-French Jeffersonians and the pro-British Hamiltonians.

Washington’s Neutrality Proclamation angered Republicans, who wanted America to aid Revolutionary France. Washington’s policy was sorely tested by the British, who routinely violated American neutrality. In order to avoid war, Washington endorsed the conciliatory Jay’s Treaty, further outraging the Republicans and France.

After the humiliating XYZ affair, the United States came to the brink of war with France, but Adams sacrificed his political popularity and divided his party by negotiating peace.

These foreign-policy disagreements embittered domestic politics: Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, to which Jefferson and Madison responded with the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions.

Note Cards: Use note-card directions
  1. George Washington

  2. Cabinet

  3. Bill of Rights

  4. James Madison

  5. Ninth Amendment

  6. Tenth Amendment

  7. Judiciary Act of 1789

  8. Alexander Hamilton

  9. Funding At Par

  10. Assumption

  11. Customs Duties

  12. Tariff

  13. Excise Tax

  14. Tariff of 1789

  15. Excise Tax of 1791

  16. Bank of the United States

  17. Whisky Rebellion

  18. Democratic -Republicans

  19. Federalists

  20. Loyal Opposition

  21. French Revolution

  22. Reign of Terror

  23. Neutrality Proclamation of 1793

  24. Citizen Edmond Genet

  25. Josiah Harmar and Arthur St. Clair

  26. Battle of Fallen Timbers

  27. Mad Anthony Wayne

  28. Miami Confederacy

  29. Treaty of Greenville

  30. Jay’s Treaty

  31. Pinckney’s Treaty

  32. Washington’s Farewell Address

  33. John Adams

  34. The XYZ Affair

  35. Talleyrand

  36. Convention of 1800

  37. Alien & Sedition Acts

  38. VA & KY Resolutions

  39. Election of 1800

Chapter 10 Study Guide
Growing Pains

1. Evaluate the population trends of the 1790s.
Washington for President

2. Evaluate George Washington’s personal qualities.
The Bill of Rights

3. Why was it important that the first Congress address the concept of a Bill of Rights?

4. How are amendments proposed?

5. Madison had initially argued against a Bill of Rights. What does his attention to the Ninth Amendment reveal about his

objections to a Bill (List) of Rights?
Hamilton Revives the Corpse of Public Credit

6. What were Alexander Hamilton’s financial objectives?

7. How did Alexander Hamilton's economic plans lead to the District of Columbia?
Customs Duties and Excise Taxes

8. Explain Hamilton's overall economic plan for America.

9. Why did Hamilton believe that national debt was a good thing?

10. How did Hamilton propose to pay off the debts?

Hamilton Battles Jefferson for a Bank

11. What was Hamilton’s plan for a Bank of the United States?

12. How did the issue of the Bank of the United States reveal a difference in understanding about the Constitution between

Jefferson and Hamilton?

Mutinous Moonshiners in Pennsylvania

13. How was Hamilton’s financial plan partly responsible for the Whiskey Rebellion?

14. Was the Whiskey Rebellion a victory for freedom, order, or both? Explain.
The Emergence of Political Parties

15. Why did political parties develop during George Washington's presidency? Were they good or bad?

16. How did the political parties of the time differ from our modern understanding of political parties?
The Impact of the French Revolution
17. Evaluate the differences between the French and American revolutions.

18. In what way did the French Revolution expose the differing views of Democratic-Republicans and Federalists?

Two Revolutions

19. In what ways were the French and American revolutions intertwined?

20. In what ways did the American and French revolutions diverge?

21. What are some of the reasons why the French revolution ended so badly and the American so peacefully?
Washington's Neutrality Proclamation
22. Explain the reasoning for and against Washington's Neutrality Proclamation.

Embroilments with Britain
23. How did British actions towards Native Americans and American merchant ships incite many Americans?
Jay's Treaty and Washington's Farewell

24. Did John Jay betray American interests in Jay's Treaty.

25. What were Washington’s accomplishments as President?
John Adams Becomes President

26. Why did the election of 1796 become so bitter?

27. What handicaps did John Adams face as he became president?
Unofficial Fighting with France

28. What French actions brought America close to war in the closing years of the 18th century?

Adams Puts Patriotism above Party

29. How did avoiding war with France hurt John Adams' political career?

The Federalist Witch Hunt

30. Explain the reasons for the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

31. Explain the provisions of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

32. What was the reaction to the Alien and Sedition Act

The Virginia (Madison) and Kentucky (Jefferson) Resolutions

33. What was the basic principle behind the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions?

34. Which was more dangerous to the US Constitution: the Alien and Sedition Acts or the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions?

Federalists versus Democratic-Republicans

35. What were some key differences between Federalists and Democratic Republicans?

Analysis 0Questions DO NOT DO THESE!

  1. 0Did the Bill of Rights satisfy the Anti-Federalists concerns? Was individual liberty and state sovereignty protected by the new amendments? What about assaults on the new Bill of Rights such as the national bank and the Alien and Sedition Acts?

  2. 0Why did Hamilton move so rapidly to create large financial commitments by the federal government? Since we normally think of the “federal debt” as something bad, why did Hamilton think of it as something good and necessary for the national welfare?

The love of fame, the ruling passion of the noblest minds, prompts a man to plan and undertake extensive and arduous enterprises for the public benefit, requiring considerable time to mature and perfect them.” 0Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804) (Federalist No. 72, 1788)

  1. 0How sympathetic should Revolutionary Americans have been to the king-killing French Revolution?

  2. 0Why were political parties viewed as so dangerous by the Founding Fathers? Why did parties come into being at all, and why did they come to be accepted as legitimate ways to express political disagreement?

  3. 0How wise was Washington's insistence on neutrality? What about the fact that, while this foreign policy stance may not have violated the letter of the alliance with France, it did violate the spirit of the alliance? Do you agree that, as the authors contend, "self-interest is the basic cement of alliances"? Does a nation have an obligation to maintain alliances previously established even when it is no longer in that nation's self-interest?

  4. 0What role did domestic politics and economic realities play in establishing an American foreign policy? How should American diplomats interact with European governments? Consider the fact that some Americans do not want diplomats to follow standard European protocol (like kissing the Queen's hand or paying bribes to speak to public officials).

Further concessions on the part of Great Britain cannot, in my opinion, be attained. If this treaty fails, I despair of another.…If I entirely escape censure, I shall be agreeably disappointed.” 0John Jay (1754–1829) (Letter, 1795)

  1. 0Contrast the Hamiltonian Federalist belief that the “wealthy and well educated” ought to run the government with the Jeffersonian Republican belief that the common person, if educated, could be trusted to manage public affairs.

  2. Was George Washington uniquely suited to be a successful first President under the Constitution? How might the United States be different if Alexander Hamilton were the first President? Thomas Jefferson? Benjamin Franklin? Consider political ideas, economic issues, and foreign policy.

My movements to the chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to his place of execution.” 0George Washington (1732–1799) (1788)

  1. Compare the American political dilemmas presented by the French Revolution with those in the twentieth century caused by the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian revolutions.

  2. “ Our prevailing passions are ambition and interest; and it will be the duty of a wise government to avail itself of those passions, in order to make them subservient to the public good.” - Alexander Hamilton, 1787 How was this viewpoint manifested in Hamilton’s financial program as Secretary of the Treasury?

  3. There is no American history separate from the history of Europe. Test this generalization by examining the impact of European events on the domestic policies of the U.S. from 1789 to 1815.

  4. Between 1783 and 1800, the new government of the United States faced the same political, economic, and constitutional issues that troubled the British government’s relations with the colonies prior to the Revolution. Assess the validity of this generalization.

  5. Early United States foreign policy was primarily a defensive reaction to perceived or actual threats from Europe. Assess the validity of this generalization with reference to United States foreign policy on TWO major issues during the period from 1789 – 1825.

  6. Evaluate the relative importance of domestic and foreign affairs in shaping American politics in the 1790’s.

  7. Analyze the impact of the American Revolution on both slavery and the status of women in the period from 1775 to 1800.

  8. To what extent was the election of 1800 aptly named the “Revolution of 1800?” Respond with references to TWO of the following areas:

Economics Foreign Policy Judiciary Politics
17. Settlers in the eighteenth century backcountry sometimes resorted to violent protest to express their grievances.

Analyze the causes and significance of TWO of the following.

March of the Paxton Boys Regulator Movement

Shays’ Rebellion Whiskey Rebellion

My reputation has been so much the sport of the public, for fifty years, and will be with posterity, that I hold it a bubble, a gossamer, that idles in the wanton summer air.” 0John Adams (1735–1826) (Letter to Jefferson, 1813)

Political opposition can never absolve gentlemen from a rigid adherence to the laws of honor.…You have indulged in the use of language derogatory to my honor as a gentleman.…To this I expect a definite reply which must lead to an accommodation, or the only alternative which the circumstances of the case will justify.” 0Aaron Burr (1756–1836) (Dueling challenge to Alexander Hamilton, 1804)


  • In 1794, an uprising in PA over a federal tax on whisky is suppressed by militia on orders from President Washington

  • As secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton has a profound impact on establishing policies that will determine the nation’s economic direction and growth. Deficit spending, initiated in large part by Hamilton, endures as an economic and political tool.

  • Politically opposed to Hamilton is Washington’s secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, a staunch opponent of Hamilton’s brainchild, the Bank of the U.S.

  • Despite Washington’s concerns about political party affiliations, the period witnesses the emergence of two political parties: the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.

  • Washington warns the new nation about establishing alliances with foreign nations; the key to America’s future, according to the first president, lies in a policy of neutrality.

  • After Washington’s administration, the Federalists passed legislation that restricted civil and political rights. A response in the form of the VA and KY Resolutions offers a states’ rights challenge to questionable federal laws.

  • Debate continues over the distinction made by most historians that Jefferson and Hamilton represented opposing views: Hamilton as an advocate of a strong central government, commerce, and manufacturing; Jefferson as a supporter of states’ rights and an agrarian future for the nation. Some historians contend, however, that the two adversaries simply represented two types of wealth and class: manufacturers and planter-slaveholders.

    Advanced Placement United States History Topic Outline

1. The Early Republic, 1789-1815

A. Washington, Hamilton, and shaping of the national government

B. Emergence of political parties: Federalists and Republicans

C. Republican Motherhood and education for women

D. Beginnings of the Second Great Awakening

E. Significance of Jefferson's presidency

F. Expansion into the trans-Appalachian West; American Indian resistance

G. Growth of slavery and free Black communities

H. The War of 1812 and its consequences
2. The Transformation of Politics in Antebellum America

A. Emergence of the second party system

B. Federal authority and its opponents: judicial federalism, the Bank War, tariff controversy, and states' rights debates

C. Jacksonian democracy and its successes and limitations

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