Challenges of an Early President

Why was it challenging to be a President in the early years?

Internal Divisions

Where's My Army?

In the year 1789, President George Washington's army was disbanded because the government couldn't afford to keep up with the expenses of the army. Without a national army, how would the President (and also the commander-in-chief of the army) keep other countries from attacking? This made presidency difficult because without an army, you're more likely to get beat if a nation comes and attacks.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

In 1792, George Washington had to make the difficult decision of staying in office for a second term; but not a third. He wasn't sure if this decision would please the people; since most Americans looked up to him as a national hero and a great leader. How would the country be without George Washington as their leader? This made presidency difficult because Washington was known for his reputation; but if he left the executive position, he wasn't sure how people would react.

Movin' On Out

In the year 1800, the nation's capital was moved to Washington D.C. instead of New York City. Meanwhile, John Adams's presidency was in full swing; however, most of the government buildings were still under construction during this time. Still, the Adams family lived in the White House while some of it was still being constructed. This made his presidency difficult because it's hard to concentrate on pressing issues if you're in a home that is being constructed on.

Spreading the Land

In 1811, settlers continued to move westward into the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. However, Indians already inhabited these places and had to be moved in order to settle. The Indians revolted and formed an Indian alliance to go against the new settlers. Gov. William Harrison led the U.S. militia that took down the Indians, and moved them out. This made presidency difficult because the Indians were a roadblock in the continuation of the growing area of the United States; and didn't let America reach its full potential quite as fast.

International Relations

France Revolts

In 1789, the French decide to pursue America's footsteps and overthrown their government as well to form a democracy. In this revolution, Washington didn't know whether to side with the people or the monarchy; since he was particularly close with both of them. This was the start as to what the United States' foreign policy would be; and made it very difficult to decide how to handle international feuds. Because of this war, Washington decided to form a "policy of neutrality"; meaning he wouldn't go one way or another. This made presidency for Washington difficult because Washington didn't know who to side with and had to come up with some big issues fast.

Ohio Homage

In 1794, the Americans decided to move further west to expand the nation's borders. However, Great Britain refused to move from the Ohio valley and give up the land to America. This made George Washington very frustrated with how the British government was acting. Soon after, a treaty (Jay's treaty) was proposed that said that Britain would pull troops from the Ohio Valley and give it to America. This made presidency difficult because all Washington wanted to do was expand their land through a section of North America; but British troops were preventing that.

Trading Gone Wrong

In the year 1803, France and Great Britain were again in a conflict with each other that made them both very greedy. Whenever an American ship reached (for instance) Great Britain, France would destroy it and all of the cargo from America. What would the government do without the money from their exports? This continued on for years, until Thomas Jefferson decided to place an embargo on the countries; making it so France and Great Britain wouldn't get trade items from them and not get U.S. ships destroyed. This made presidency frustrating because America wasn't even doing anything wrong; yet they were still getting their trade ships destroyed.