National growing pains



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NATIONAL GROWING PAINS

  • Madison in Power
    • in 1808, Republicans won both houses of Congress, and Madison won presidency
    • Non-Intercourse Act not only proved difficult to enforce, but failed to prevent British from continuing to seize American ships
    • Macon’s Bill No. 2 removed all restrictions on trade with Britain and France
    • when Napoleon announced he would revoke his restrictions if Britain agreed to abandon its own restrictive policies, Madison reapplied the non-intercourse policy to Britain
    • France continued to seize American ships
    • Britain refused to modify the Orders in Council until French actually lifted theirs
    • Madison refused to admit that he had been deceived by Napoleon and concluded that, unless Britain ended its restrictions, the United States must declare war
  • Tecumseh and the Prophet
    • growing numbers of American settlers steadily drove Indians out of the Ohio Valley
    • Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief, attempted to unite all tribes east of Mississippi into a great confederation
    • his brother, the Prophet, added force of a moral crusade; he argued that Indians must give up white ways and preserve their Indian culture
    • in 1811, a military force led by General William Henry Harrison engaged Indians at Battle of Tippecanoe and destroyed the hopes of Tecumseh’s federation
  • Depression and Land Hunger
    • some westerners attributed low prices received for agricultural goods to loss of foreign markets and British depredations against American shipping
    • American commercial restrictions and an inadequate transportation system actually contributed more significantly to agricultural depression
    • Western expansionism fed war fever; westerners wanted Canada and Florida
    • United States took western part of Florida without opposition from Spain
  • Opponents of War
    • maritime interests in east feared war against Britain
    • Napoleon posed genuine and serious threat to United States, and going to war with Britain would aid Napoleon
    • by 1812 conditions in England made change in British maritime policy likely
    • growing effectiveness of Napoleon’s Continental System caused depression in Britain
    • British manufacturers, who blamed hard times on loss of American markets, urged the repeal of Orders in Council
    • gradually, British government moved to suspend Orders, but not until Congress had declared war on Great Britain in 1812
  • The War of 1812
    • the War of 1812 was poorly planned and managed
    • U.S. Navy could not challenge Britain’s mastery of Atlantic
    • Canada appeared to be Britain’s weak spot, but an American invasion failed because of poor leadership and unwillingness of some American militiamen to leave their own soil
    • soon Americans were fighting to keep British from taking American territory
    • Captain Oliver Hazard Perry defeated British fleet and gained control of Lake Erie
    • this made British control of Detroit untenable, and when they fell back, Harrison defeated British at Thames River
    • British captured Fort Niagara and burned Buffalo
  • Britain Assumes the Offensive
    • war against Napoleon occupied British until 1814
    • after Napoleon’s defeat, British put more effort into war with America
    • British undertook a three-pronged attack
    • central British force did take Washington and burn most public buildings
    • they moved up the Chesapeake, American forces stopped them at Baltimore
  • “The Star Spangled Banner”
    • an American civilian, Francis Scott Key, observed bombardment of Fort McHenry from deck of a British ship, where he was being held prisoner
    • when he saw American flag still flying over fort the next morning, he wrote the words to “Star-Spangled Banner,” which was later set to music and eventually became national anthem
    • the burning of Washington shocked many Americans, and thousands came forward to enlist
  • The Treaty of Ghent
    • in 1814, the British and Americans met at Ghent to discuss terms for peace
    • British prolonged negotiations in the hope that their offensive would give them upper hand
    • news of British defeat at Plattsburg forced British to modify their demands
    • they eventually agreed to American demands for the status quo ante bellum
    • negotiators signed Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814
  • The Hartford Convention
    • news of treaty had not yet reached America when a group of New England Federalists met to protest the war and plan for a convention to revise Constitution
    • their opposition to war made them unpopular in rest of country, which in turn encouraged extremists in New England to talk of secession
    • moderate Federalists controlled Hartford Convention
    • their resolutions argued that states had right to interpose their authority to protect themselves from violations of Constitution
    • they also proposed a series of amendments to Constitution
    • news of the Treaty of Ghent discredited Federalists, who had predicted a British victory
  • The Battle of New Orleans
    • news of the Treaty of Ghent failed to arrive in time to prevent Battle of New Orleans
    • Americans, commanded by General Andrew Jackson, successfully withstood British assault and inflicted heavy casualties on British while suffering only minor losses themselves
  • Victory Weakens the Federalists
    • America’s ability to hold off British convinced European powers that the United States and its republican form of government were there to stay
    • the war cost United States relatively few casualties and little economic loss
    • among the big losers were Native Americans and the Federalist party
    • as Europe settled down to what would be a century of relative peace, major foreign threats to United States ended, and commerce revived and European immigration to America resumed
  • Anglo-American Rapprochement
    • American trade had become more important to British economy, and in 1815 the two countries signed a commercial agreement ending discriminatory duties and making other adjustments favorable to trade
    • in 1817, in Rush-Bagot Agreement, the two countries agreed to demilitarize Great Lakes
    • in 1818, a joint Anglo-American commission settled disputed boundary between U.S. and Canada by designating 49th parallel as northern boundary of Louisiana Territory from Lake of the Woods to Rocky Mountains
    • they also agreed to joint control of Oregon country for ten years
  • The Transcontinental Treaty
    • Jackson’s pursuit of Indians into Spanish Florida and his capture of two Spanish forts raised Spanish fears that America would eventually seize all of Florida
    • Spain was even more concerned about security of its holdings in northern Mexico and was ready to give up Florida in exchange for an agreement protecting its Mexican empire
    • Spain had to accept a boundary to Louisiana Territory that followed Sabine, Red, and Arkansas rivers to Continental Divide and 42nd parallel to Pacific
    • the U.S. obtained Florida for $5 million, to be paid to Americans with claims against Spain
  • The Monroe Doctrine
    • fears of Russian expansion in the Western Hemisphere prompted Monroe and secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, to warn: “The American continents are no longer subjects for any new European colonial establishments”
    • Russia agreed to abandon territorial claims south of 54 degrees, 40 minutes and to remove restrictions on foreign shipping
    • a greater threat came when several European powers decided to try to restore Spain’s empire
    • neither British nor Americans wanted to see a restoration of Spanish empire
    • Britain had no desire to recognize new revolutionary republics in South America
    • America had already recognized them
    • Monroe rejected a British proposal for a joint declaration and included a statement of American policy in his message to Congress in 1823
    • U.S. would not interfere with existing European colonies in North or South America and would avoid involvement in European affairs
    • any attempt to extend European control to countries that had won their independence would be considered hostile to U.S.
    • Monroe Doctrine may be seen as final stage of American independence
  • The Era of Good Feelings
    • political factionalism diminished during Monroe’s presidency, known as “Era of Good Feelings”
    • Jeffersonians had come to accept most of Hamilton’s economic policies
    • Jeffersonian balance between individual liberty and responsible government had survived both bad management and war
    • when political divisions reappeared, they were about new issues emerging out of the growth of the country
  • New Sectional Issues: Protection, Western Lands, Banking, Slavery
    • War of 1812 and depression that struck country in 1819 shaped many of controversies of Era of Good Feelings
    • the panic of 1819 strengthened position of protectionists, who argued that American industry needed protection from foreign competition
    • with exception of shipping interests, north favored protectionism and the South initially favored protectionism to foster national economic self-sufficiency
    • eventually South rejected protectionism on ground that tariffs increased price of imports and hampered export of cotton and tobacco
    • charter of First Bank of U.S. was not renewed when it expired in 1811
    • many new state banks were created after 1811, and most recklessly overextended credit
    • after the British raid on Washington created a panic, all banks outside New England suspended specie payments
    • a second Bank of the U.S. was established in 1816, but it was poorly managed and irresponsibly created credit
    • easy credit policies of the banks led to a boom in land sales
    • agricultural expansion in America and resumption of agricultural production in Europe after Napoleonic Wars resulted in falling prices
    • as prices fell, many western debtors faced ruin
    • although slavery became the most divisive sectional issue, it caused remarkably little conflict in national politics before 1819
    • Congress abolished African slave trade in 1808 with little controversy
    • new free and slave states were added to Union in equal numbers, thus maintaining balance in Senate
    • cotton boom led southerners to defend slavery more aggressively
    • West tended to support the South’s position
    • Southwestern slave states naturally supported slavery; northwest was also sympathetic, partly because it sold much of its produce to southern plantations
  • Northern Leaders
    • John Quincy Adams emerged as the best-known northern leader of early 1820s
    • began career as Federalist but became a Republican
    • nationalist, supported Louisiana Purchase, internal improvements and he was opposed to slavery
    • Daniel Webster, nationalist, reflected the interests of his native New England
    • opposed Embargo Act, War of 1812, high tariff of 1816, cheap land, internal improvements, and initially opposed Second Bank (largely on partisan grounds)
    • Martin Van Buren avoided taking positions
    • expressed no clear opinions on such major issues as slavery or the tariff
  • Southern Leaders
    • most prominent southern leader, William H. Crawford of Georgia, was one of the first politicians to try to build a national machine
    • he supported states’ rights, he favored the imposition of a moderate tariff
    • John C. Calhoun of South Carolina took a strong nationalist position on all issues; devoted to South and its institutions
  • Western Leaders
    • Henry Clay’s “American System” reflected his gift for seeing national needs from a broad perspective
    • advocated federal support for internal improvements and a protective tariff
    • although a slave owner, he opposed slavery on principle and favored colonization
    • Thomas Hart Benton championed the small western farmer
    • William Henry Harrison made his reputation as soldier before entering politics; had little impact on developing political alignments of 1820s
    • Andrew Jackson resembled Harrison in many ways
    • his chief assets were his reputation as a military hero and his forceful personality
    • no one knew his views on important issues, but this did not stop enthusiastic supporters from backing him for president
  • The Missouri Compromise
    • Missouri’s request for admission as a slave state touched off a serious political controversy
    • voting that split along sectional lines, House added Tallmadge Amendment to Missouri
    • Enabling Act Tallmadge Amendment prohibited further introduction of slavery into Missouri and provided that all slaves born in Missouri after statehood should be freed at age twenty-five
    • Senate defeated the amendment
    • debate did not turn on morality of slavery
    • Northerners objected to adding new slave states because these states would be overrepresented in Congress under Three-fifths Compromise
    • Missouri entered as a slave state, and its admission was balanced by admission of Maine as a free state
    • to prevent further conflict, Congress adopted a proposal to prohibit slavery in the Louisiana Territory north of 36 degrees 30 minutes
  • The Election of 1824
    • politics continued to divide along sectional lines, no issue divided country so deeply as slavery
    • by 1824, Federalists had disappeared as a national party, and factional disputes plagued the Jeffersonians
    • no candidate won a majority of the electoral college in a bitter contest
    • in the House of Representatives, Clay threw his support to John Quincy Adams, who became the next president
  • John Quincy Adams as President
    • Adams took a Hamiltonian view and sought to promote projects beneficial to national interest
    • he proposed a vast program of internal improvements as well as aid to manufacturing and agriculture
    • a Jeffersonian nationalist would have had difficulty gaining acceptance of these proposals; with his Federalist background, Adams had no chance
    • Adams’s inability to garner popular support and his refusal to use power of appointments to win political support impeded his administration
  • Calhoun’s Exposition and Protest
    • a new tariff in 1828 set high duties on manufactured goods and agricultural products
    • Calhoun believed that tariff would impoverish the South
    • in response, he wrote the “South Carolina Exposition and Protest,” an essay repudiating the nationalist philosophy he had previously espoused and defending the right of a state to nullify an act of Congress
  • The Meaning of Sectionalism
    • the sectional issues that strained ties between people of different regions were products of powerful forces, such as growth and prosperity, that actually bound the sections together
    • other forces unifying the nation were patriotism and commitment to the American experiment in government


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