George Washington's Presidency
Annotated Timeline Project by Runas Basnet
The First President Election
The electoral college which have 69 members, voted by writing two names on the ballot
The person who got the most votes is president
The person who got the second most votes is vice-president
What should be Washington be called
There was a great debate on what Washington should be called. Adams and others felt that he should be called “Your excellency” like other leaders of foreign countries.Many felt that the term reeked of a monarchy.Washington ended the argument by telling them that he would be called “Mr. President”.
Biggest problem with new country is no $$$$. Congress decides to tax luxury items (like whiskey). Settlers west of the Appalachians were angry since it cost a lot to transport the wheat to the whiskey makers. Many farmers simply refused to pay it. Fortunately, the US learned from the mistakes of Shay’s Rebellion and decided to deal with the problem.In an effort to end any protests, they lowered the tax. Many began to pay, BUT…The “Whiskey Boys” in western Pennsylvania tarred and feathered tax collectors that tried to enforce the law. Alexander Hamilton and George Washington believed the rebellion was a threat to the authority of the national government and decided to lead 13,000 militia to stop the threat.It worked! They stopped the Rebellion and proved that the new government was strong and powerful.
Founding our Nation Captial
Hamilton was Washington’s Secretary of Treasury. Hamilton believed the nation could be great if it built a strong economy. Strong economy = strong nation .Before that could happen, the us had to pay off all of the war debts quickly.The plan to repay the debt was greatly opposed. The Southern states had mostly repaid their war debt and didn’t think it was fair to make them pay for the North’s debt. What could persuade the South to agree to the debt plan???
Founding our Nation’s Capital
Both the North and the South wanted the capital in their section of the country.
Hamilton said he would support a plan for the capital to be in the South IF the South would support his plan to pay off the debt.
The debt plan passed and the nation’s new capital, the District of Columbia, was located in the South between Maryland and Virginia.
Hamilton wanted Congress to create a national bank for several reasons…
it could collect taxes and keep them safe.
It could print money backed by the government, giving the nation a stable currency
MOST IMPORTANTLY, it could make loans to business people to build new factories and ships. This would help expand American businesses and trade.
Once again, there was opposition to Hamilton’s plan.His opponents wanted to know where in the Constitution it gave the Congress the power to establish a bank.Hamilton’s FEDERALISTS believed in a LOOSE CONSTRUCTION, or a broad interpretation, of the Constitution. So, they believed Why couldn’t the Congress establish a bank? His opponents, the REPUBLICANS; however, believed in STRICT CONSTRUCTION or strict adherence to the Constitution. They felt that since it did not explicitly say that the Congress would set up a bank, they should not be allowed to set up a bank.Hamilton pointed out that the elastic clause allowed Congress to “make all laws necessary and proper” to carry out its listed powers.One of those powers was collecting taxes so Hamilton believed that Congress was justified in setting up a bank to help the government with tax collection.
Hamilton finally got his bank approved in 1791. The Bank of the United States helped the economy grow and prosper.
While the Whiskey Rebellion was happening in the US, the French were rebelling against their king. The leaders of the French Revolution hoped to build a nation based on “liberty, equality, and fraternity”.Initially, it was a great cause with well meaning leaders and France does eventually become a Republic. Americans were thrilled. They saw the French Revolution as a crusade for democracy.But eventually, the French Revolution starts taking a different course.The leaders, cheered on by angry mobs, begin beheading wealthy nobles. (A symbol of the class system that they are rebelling against).Things get out of control.Word spreads back to America and the wealthy Americans worried that the same thing could happen in America.
The lasting effect of the French Revolution for Americans, was the division of its government.
There were two very different political parties…
Thomas Jefferson and his followers supported the revolution and called themselves Democratic-Republicans or Republicans.
Alexander Hamilton and his followers did not (remember they were wealthy) and they called themselves Federalists.
The division of between Republicans and Federalists worried George Washington so much that he ran for a second term.
Hamilton and Jefferson both told him that he was the only person that could keep the country together.
He ran and easily won a second term as president.
Near the end of Washington’s second term, he said that he would not run again.
Wrote a letter and had it published in a Philadelphia newspaper.
He also pointed to two major problems the country faced…
Problems with foreign affairs
“steer clear or permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”
Trade should still remain open
Problems with the “Spirit of the Party”
warning against the rise of political parties and sectionalism as a threat to national unity
Despite the political differences, Washington had led the country through very difficult times and had left the nation united and at peace.