7. Checks and balances, three branches, separation
a. Idea originally advocated by Baron de Montesquieu -- Spirit
of the Laws
b. Three branches of gov't:
1. Executive: enforces the law,
can veto acts of congress
2. Legislative: makes the law,
two houses compete but must agree before any law can be passed.
3. Judiciary: interprets the
law, protected from the executive and legislative braches by
c. By checks and balances, the Constitution allowed a federal
government to be
created which could correct some of the weaknesses of the previous
without losing all the principles for which the Revolution was
1. Solution to the problem of concentrated authority, the
greatest obstacle to the creation of a national government.
2. Solution to tyranny of the people, an, excess of
democracy, of the, mob.
d. Makes possible the idea of a large republic, that had been
opposed by the
population n because of the fear that government would be too
far from the
people and cause tyranny.
a. Solution suggested by Madison and his contemporaries to the
question of state vs. federal sovereignty.
1. All power, at all levels of government flows
from the people.
2. Neither the federal government, nor state
governments are sovereign, all derive their authority from below.
9. Federalists vs. anti-federalists (this is the battle over
related to political parties)
1. Of the 55 delegates, only 39 signed the new constitution.
b. Opponents to ratification -- Anti-Federalists
1. Included Yates (NY), Mason (VA), Martin, Mercer (MD), and
2. States' rightists believed that the government is best which
governs least .
tended to be small farmers, artisans, illiterates and from the
3. Also concerned that there was no bill of rights to protect
4. The first serious opposition came in Massachusetts from Samuel
Adams and John
c. Supporters of the Constitution -- Federalists
1. These realists believed that if the natural rights philosophy
was taken straight, it would topple the government.
2. They tended to be from the cultured propertied groups along
the Atlantic Seaboard.
3. Federalist Papers -- Alexander Hamilton , major author,
contribution by John Jay, James Madison.
- Supporters of the Constitution were better organized to present
arguments for ratification, stressing the inadequacy of the
Confederation and that the Constitution conformed to the best
- Most significant argument of papers offfered by James Madison,
republican form of government could extend over a vast amount
d. Early Ratification
1. Delaware, the first state to ratify the
constitution (7 December 1787).
2. Pennsylvania , 1st large state, ratified the
constitution 12 December 1787
3. New Jersey (18 December) and Georgia (2
January 1788) both unanimously ratify the constitution.
4. The fifth to ratify was Connecticut (9
5. Massachusetts , after noting the absence of a
bill of rights, and having been assured that the first Congress
them, voted ratified the constituion.
6. Maryland , also desiring a bill of rights,
was seventh (28 April) to ratify the constituion.
7. The eighth, South Carolina , ratified the
constituion (23 May)
8. The ninth state, which made the constitution
operational for those states, was New Hampshire (21 June 1788)
9. Constitution had been ratified (2 July).
e. Later States
1. Virginia 's Ratification
- Patrick Henry, worked hard to keep Virginia, the most populous
ratifying the document; while Federalists Washington, Marshall
worked for ratification.
- Realizing that Virginia could not make it as an independent
New Hampshires ratification, the state assembly ratifies
the constitution on
- One month later, New York ratified the constitution.
- North Carolina did not ratify the constitution until 21 November
submitting first twelve amendments to be considered in Congress.
- Rhode Island did not convene an assembly to consider the constitution
receiving threats from the other states in 1790 but ratifies
it 29 May 1790.
10. Bill of Rights
a. A set of amendments guaranteed certain individual rights
concern of anti-federalists - had been promised as a condition
of r r
(ified cationists - that other states87ate governments are soverign,
their authority from atification in some states.
b. Amendments to the new Constitution could be proposed by a
vote in both Houses of Congress or by constitutional conventions
called by 2/3
of the states.
c. James Madison introduced 12 amendments to the constitution
September, that were quickly passed and submitted to the states
d. Ratified, 15 December 1791.
1. Ratification was aided by the addition of NC, RI and VT as
states, all of
which ratified these ten amendments, because MA, GA and Connecticut
e. First Amendment guaranteed religious freedom from the national
was modeled after the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
f. Tenth Amendment satisfied the states' rightists by specifying
that all other
rights not delegated or prohibited belonged to the states and
to the people.
11. Judiciary Act of 1789
a. The Supreme Court was organized to consist of a Chief Justice
b. The act created 13 district courts and 3 circuit courts and
office of Attorney General, which became a cabinet level post.
c. John Jay - first Supreme Court chief justice.
12. First Cabinet
a. Constitution mentions executive departments indirectly but
does not describe how many or of what purpose.
b. First Congress creates three departments, state, treasury,
and war, and established the offices of the attorney general
1. Hamilton is appointed first Secretary of the
Treasury, Henry Knox is appointed Secretary of War, and Federalist
Randolph first attorney general.
2. Jefferson is appointed first Secretary of
c. Cabinet is characterized by bickering between Hamilton and
13. Hamiltons Federalist plan (this use of Federalist
is a reference to the
a. Economic Philosophy
1. Report on Public Credit (1790)
- Plan to shape fiscal policies of the administration to favor
in return wealthy would lend the gov't monetary & moral
2. Report on Manufactures (1791)
- Advocated promotion of a factory system in U.S. so the nation
its national resources and strengthen capitalism, the basis
for the tariff
component financial plan.
b. Five major components of Hamilton's Plan
1. Funding at Par
- Purpose: Bolstering national credit
a. Believed gov't couldn't borrow money without investor confidence
- Urged Congress to pay off the entire national debt by "funding
at par" and to
assume all debts incurred by the states during the Revolutionary
war to pay at
face value and with accumulated interest
- Govt bonds had depreciated since the new Treasury was
believed incapable of
paying its obligations.
a. Speculators still had large amounts of bonds.
b. Many wealthy investors rushed to buy as many bonds as possible
in rural areas
at rock-bottom prices before news of Hamilton's plan reached
c. Many original bondholders (common people) sold unknowingly
as they were often
poor and desperate for immediate cash.
2. Assumption of State Debts
- Hamilton urged Congress to assume the states' debts.
- Hamilton's ulterior motive: further obligate states to the
a. Hamilton believed nat'l debt was a "blessing" that
would cement the union.
b. States with huge debt were delighted (esp. Mass.), but States
with less debt
or no remaining debt were unhappy because they did not want
to pay taxes on
someone elses debts. (Virginia)
- North-South struggle ensued over assumption
- Compromise achieved in 1790 throughh "log rolling":
Two opposing factions
agree to vote for the others bills so that their bills
a. Federal government would assume all state debt
b. South would get new federal district-- now District of
c. Madison and Jefferson instrumental in helping set up
3. Tariffs (customs duties) became a source of revenue for paying
- Tariff revenues depended on a healthy foreign trade.
- Revenue Act of 1789 imposes an 8% tariff on dutiable imports,
4. Excise taxes
- 1791, Hamilton secured an excise tax on a few domestic items
a. Backcountry distillers most affected by the tax.
- Hamilton not overly concerned with the protests from the frontier
been antifederalist in sentiment.
5. Battle for the National Bank: most important Hamilton v.
- Foundation of Hamilton's financial plan was a Bank of the
a. Gov't would be the major stockholder despite bank being a
private stock corp.
b. Federal Treasury would deposit its surplus
moneys in the bank.
1. Federal funds would stimulate business by
remaining in circulation.
c. Government would print urgently needed paper
money thus providing a sound & stable national currency.
- Jefferson strongly opposed the bank
a. States' righters feared liberties would be jeopardized by
a huge central
1. State banks would not be able
to compete against federal bank.
2. Federal gov't did eventually
enjoy a monopoly of surplus funds
b. strict construction loose constrution
Jeffersons strict interpretation of the Constitution did
not stipulate the
creation of a natl bank, while Hamiltons urged a
broad interpretation of the
1. Set a precedent for enormous federal powers, the elastic
clause -- Provided
for passing any laws "necessary & proper" to carry
out the powers vested in the various governmental agencies.
- Washington reluctantly signed the bank measure into law in
a. Bank chartered for 20 years; located in
b. Old North-South friction surfaced again
1. Bank favored commercial and financial centers
in the North, while ending Southern state banks.
c. Bank issue sparked the open public split between Hamilton
14. Federalists and Republicans (again
a. Founding Fathers in Philadelphia did not envision the existence
1. Organized opposition seemed disloyal and
against spirit of national unity..
2. Factions had existed only over special
issues: e.g. Tories & Whigs, Federalists &
Antifederalists. Factions were not parties.
3. Jefferson & Madison first organized their
opposition to Hamilton only in Congress
- As their antagonism at Hamilton grew, political parties began
- By 1792-1793, two well-defined grouups had crystallized:
a. Hamiltonian Federalists
b. Jeffersonian Republicans
- Our two-party system is owed to thee clash between Hamilton
1. Emerged from the federalists of the
pre-Constitution period by 1793.
2. Believed in gov't by the upper classes with
secondary attention to the masses.
- Openly advocated rule by the "besst people," the
wealthy, cultured, and
3. Distrusted the common people.
- Regarded democracy as a "mobocracy, too important
to be left to the people.
4. Supported a strong central government
- Maintain law & order; crush democrratic excesses (Shays
5. Federal gov't should foster business, not
interfere with it.
- Most Federalists lived in urban areas of the seaboard where
manufacturing flourished, most are involved in this commerce,
manufacturers, and shippers.
6. Pro-British in foreign policy over other
- Foreign trade with Britain was key in Hamilton's plan.
1. Advocated the rule of the
people; government for the people
- Believed in the wisdom of the common ppeople; teachability
of the masses
2. Biggest appeal was to the
middle class and the underprivileged
believed the best government was one that governed least.
- Bulk of power should be retained by thhe states.
- Central authority was to kept at bay bby a strict interpretation
Constitution, to prevent tyranny. (especially the 10th Amendment).
4. National debt was a curse to
future generations that should be paid off ASAP.
5. Jeffersonians themselves were
- Insisted on no special privileges for special classes, esp.
6. Believed in freedom of speech
to expose tyranny.
7. Basically pro-French
- It was to <America's advantage to support liberal ideas
of the French
15. Citizen Genet affair, Treaties of Jay and Pickney
a. Citizen Genet
1. French envoy/ profiteer undertook to entice
U.S. profiteers to outfit French ships and supply the French
war cause and
- Wrongly believed Neutrality Act did noot truly reflect the
Americans, appealed to votes for support.
2. Washington demanded his withdrawal & Genet
3. America & France benefited from U.S.
- >America's neutrality meant it could still deliver foodstuffs
to the West
- If U.S. entered war, British navy would blockade coasts and
cut off needed
b. Jay Treaty (1794) -- Temporarily eased U.S. conflict with
1. A. Significance: Most important immediate
cause for formation of Democratic Republican party.
2. Background: British had continued menacing
Americans on U.S. soil and on the high seas
- British remained in their northern froontier posts on U.S.
a. Violation of the Peace treaty of 1783
b. Sold firearms and alcohol to Native Americans who attacked
- Hundreds of Americans impressed into sservice on British vessels
hundreds of others imprisoned.
- Federalists unwilling to go to war
3. Washington sent Jay, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
to London in
- Jeffersonians feared the conservative Jay would sell out
- Hamilton handicapped Jays negotiations; secretly gave
Brits U.S. bargaining
4. Provisions: America won few concessions
- British renewed their pledge to removee their posts from U.S.
soil (as in
- British consented to pay damages for rrecent seizures of American
- British refused to guarantee against ffuture maritime seizures
impressments or the inciting of Native Americans to violence
on the frontier.
- Jay forced to bind U.S. to pay pre-Revolution debts owed to
5. Jeffersonian outrage vitalized the new Democratic-Republican
- South felt betrayed that northern merchants would be paid
- Southern planters would be taxed to paay pre-Revolution debt.
6. War with Britain was averted
- Washington, after realizing a war with Britain would be worse
than passage of
Jays humiliating treaty, reluctantly and courageously
pushed for ratification
of the treaty
c. Pinckney Treaty of 1795 (1796)
1. Normalized relations with Spain
2. Spanish Motive: fearful of an Anglo-American
alliance; sought to appease Americans
- >Spain a declining power in Europe, and on the American
3. Treaty provisions: (Spanish concessions)
- Granted free navigation of the Misssissippi to the U.S. including
deposit at port city of New Orleans
- Yielded large area north of Floridaa that had been in dispute
for over a
16. XYZ Affair and undeclared war with France
A. French Directory government infuriated by Jay Treaty
1. Condemned it as an initial step towards alliance with Britain
2. Saw it as a flagrant violation of the Franco-American Treaty
3. French warships began seizing U.S. merchant vessels (about
4. Refused to receive America's newly appointed envoy; threatened
B. XYZ Affair
1. President Adams sent a delegation to Paris in 1797 (incl.
2. Secretly approached by three go-betweeners (agents"X,Y,
-- French demanded a large loan of $32 million florins and a
$250K for U.S. privilege of merely talking to foreign minister
3. Negotiations broke down and Marshall came homeseen
as a hero
4. War hysteria swept the U.S.
-- Federalists encouraged that the Jeffersonians' ally (French)
C. Undeclared Naval Warfare, 1798-1799 -- Quasi -War
1. U.S. war preparations set in motion
a. Navy Department at the cabinet level was created: 3 ship
b. Marine Corps established
c. Army of 10,000 men was authorized (not fully raised)
-- Washington was top general but gave aactive command to
2. Adams suspended all trade with France and authorized American
to capture armed French vessels
3. Undeclared hostilities ensued for 2 1/2 years between 1798-1800
a. Principally in the West Indies.
b. U.S. privateers + U.S. navy captured over 80 French armed
c. Several hundred Yankee merchantmen lost to the French.
d. Full-blown war loomed imminently and Adams sought to keep
D. Convention of 1800 (Adam's Finest Moment)
1. French Foreign Minister Talleyrand became eager to negotiate
-- Did not want another enemy on the side of the British
2. Adams shockingly submitted to the Senate a new foreign minister
a. Hamiltonian "High Federalists" enraged by designs
sought military glory
b. Jeffersonians and moderate Federalists favored one last try
3. Envoys arrived in 1800 to negotiate with Napoleon (who was
4. Convention of 1800
a. France agreed to end the 22-year Franco-American alliance
b. U.S. agreed to pay the damage claims of American shippers.
c. Thus, America's only peacetime military alliance for a century
a half was ended
a. Major war with France avoided
b. Rapprochement made possible the Louisiana Purchase 3 years
-- If war had occurred, Napoleon would nnot have sold Louisiana
c. Adams felt this to be his finest achievement.
17. Alien and Sedition Acts
Resolutions of Kentucky and
E. Alien and Sedition Acts (1798)
1. Purpose: Federalists passed a series of oppressive laws in
would reduce power
of Jeffersonian foes and silence anti-war opposition
2. Alien Acts
a. Attack on pro-Jeffersonian "aliens"
i. Most immigrants lacked wealth and were welcomed by
ii. Scorned by Federalists who did not want the "dregs"
Europe voting in U.S.
b. Raised residence requirements for U.S. citizenship from 5
c. President empowered to deport "dangerous" foreigners
in time of
peace and to
deport or imprison them in time of hostilities.
d. Laws in some ways seemed sensible
i. Some foreign agitators were coming into the country (Citizen
ii. Many from France sought anti-British policies
iii. Others were foreign agents who should have been expelled.
e. Alien Acts never enforced but some frighented foreign agitators
3. Sedition Act
a. Anyone who impeded the policies of gov't or falsely defamed
the president, would be liable to a heavy fine and imprisonment.
b. Direct violation of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution
-- Federalist Supreme Court not interestted in declaring it
c. Many outspoken Jeffersonian editors were indicted; 10 brought
trial & convicted
d. Law expired in 1801 the day before Adams left office.
-- Demonstrated dubious intentions of biill (in case a
Federalist was not elected in
1800, Republicans would not have the Sedition Act to
4. Popular support for Alien and Sedition Acts significant
a. Anti-French hysteria played into the hands of the Federalists
b. Largest ever Federalist victory in 1798-99 congressional
5. Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (Jefferson
a. Republicans convinced Alien and Sedition acts were
-- Process of deciding constitutionalityy of federal laws
b. Jefferson & Madison secretly created a series of resolutions
-- As V.P. Jefferson in awkward position & feared prosecution
c. Premise: States had the right to nullify unconstitutional
passed by Congress
d. Aim not to break up the union but preserve it by protecting
-- Essentially campaign documents to deffeat the Federalists
e. Compact theory
i. Popular among 17th c. English political philosophers (John
ii. 13 sovereign states created the federal gov't & had
iii. Thus, national gov't was an agent or creation of the
iv. Nullification: Individual states were the final judges of
whether a federal law was
i. No other states passed the Jefferson & Madison resolutions
ii. Federalists argued that the people, not the states, had
the original compact
-- Argued Supreme Court, not states, couuld nullify laws.
g. Significance: Later used by southerners to support nullification
and ultimately secession
prior to Civil War.
18. Revolution of 1800
IX. The Jefferson "Revolution of 1800"
A. Federalist handicaps
1. Federalist split over going to war with France biggest reason
-- Hamilton and "High FFederalists" openly broke from
his refusal to fight
2. Alien and Sedition Acts
3. Federalists swelled the debt in preparation for war with
-- New taxes (incl. a stamp tax) were leevied to pay the costs.
4. Military preparations now seemed unnecessary
B. Federalist mudslinging accused Jefferson of:
1. being an atheist (Jefferson really a deist)
-- His success with separating church &aamp; state in Virginia
incurred the wrath
of the orthodox clergy esp. in Congregationalist &
Federalist New England.
2. robbing a widow and her children of a trust fund
3. fathering mulatto children by his own slave woman (note:
tests apparently proved that Jefferson had fathered at least
child from his slave
mistress, Sally Hemmings)
C. Jefferson defeats Adams: 73 to 65
1. Most support from South & West where universal manhood
-- New York was the pivotal key: Aaron Burr narrowly turned
2. Yet, Jefferson tied with Burr, his V.P. running mate, for
a. House of Representatives had to break the deadlock
b. Federalists wanted Burr; hated Jefferson
c. Eventually, a few anti-Burr Federalists, refrained from voting
became president (swayed by Hamilton; Burr now hates
3. Significance: Peaceful change of power was revolutionary
a. Transfer of power on a basis of an election that all parties
b. Britain would not achieve the same stature for another
19. Midnight appointments
a. Aftermath of the Election of 1800
1. Adams, a Federalist, was fearful of a Republican winning
thinking that Jefferson would undo all the things that the Federalists
2. In the remaining weeks of his presidency, he
made several judicial
appointments, which because of the lateness of them, are called
3. Many of these were delivered just before Adams left office.