Policies of WAJMaMoJ

What are the domestic and foreign policies of presidents?

George Washington

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What is a precedent?

A precedent is an act or decision that sets an example for others to follow. George Washington set many precedents for future presidents. These included establishing the cabinet, setting the title "Mr. President", and choosing to leave the presidency after two terms.

Who is Alexander Hamilton and how was he involved in the debt crisis?

George Washington chose Alexander Hamilton to be the Secretary of Treasury. This position is concerned with the financial and monetary issues of the United States. After the Revolutionary War, the United States was left with war debt and little to do about it. The cost of the war, paying soldiers, providing clothes, ammunition, medical supplies and food, was very costly.
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What is the banking system?

As a solution to the financial issues of the Early Republic, Alexander Hamilton proposed creating a national bank that would be owned by the government and private investors. He proposed that the national government help states pay off their debts. He also proposed that Congress would pay monies owed to other nations.

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State, opposed the idea of a national bank. They believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution. In other words, since the Constitution did not specifically mention the creation of the bank as a power granted to Congress then it could not be done. They also felt that a national bank would only benefit the wealthy and not farmers or small businessmen.

Alexander Hamilton believed in a loose interpretation of the Constitution. He believed that the bank was "necessary and proper" and Congress was entitled to creating it.
Alexander Hamilton on a National Bank

How does the national bank help create a stable economic system?

The purpose of a national bank would be to provide the government loans and hold its deposits. It would give Americans a uniform currency (the same type of money). The bank would also promote business and industry by extending credit and providing loans.

What is the "necessary and proper" clause?

Alexander Hamilton looked to the Constitution to find the permission to establish a national bank and found the "necessary and proper" clause. The "necessary and proper" clause is also known as the elastic clause and is used to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the meaning of the Constitution. The Founding Fathers made the assumption that even if the Constitution did not specifically list a power didn't mean that they could not exercise that power. The clause is used in cases when the Constitution grants a power to Congress, that it also grants Congress the "necessary and proper" means to carry out that power.
George Washington 1, Whiskey Rebellion 0 | How Booze Built America

What is the Whiskey Rebellion?

The United States was in debt after the Revolutionary War. To raise money for the government, Alexander Hamilton convinced Congress to pass a tax on liquor. Farmers in Western Pennsylvania staged an armed rebellion against tax collectors. The tax on the grain used to make whiskey was decreasing the farmers profits on the grain they produced. The battle cry of "no taxation without representation" also began to resurface.

President Washington sent in the federal troops to put down the rebellion. President Washington said that if citizens wanted a change in the law they had to do it peacefully and through the proper authorities. This action proved to the country that the government would use force where necessary in order to keep control and order.
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What is the Proclamation of Neutrality?

Events in Europe began to threaten the new nation. The people in France rose up against their king and declared France a republic. Most Americans were thrilled by the French Revolution. However, when France went to war with Britain in 1793, President Washington faced a difficult decision. During the American Revolution, the United States had signed an alliance with France promising to provide aid and support in times of war.

Washington knew that the United States was not prepared for war. Instead, he announced a policy of neutrality. Under this Proclamation of Neutrality, the United States would do nothing to aid either France or Britain in their war against each other.
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What is the Federal Judiciary Act?

The Federal Judiciary Act was a law that established the federal court system. It created the precedent that federal courts could overturn state decisions. It also stated that the Supreme Court had the final say in all legal matters. President Washington asked John Jay to be the first Supreme Court Justice.

What is the presidential cabinet?

The cabinet is a group of advisors to the president. The Constitution does not mention a cabinet, but it does state that the President may require opinions of heads of executive departments. The cabinet today includes positions such as the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury, the Secretary of Education, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The presidential cabinet strengthens the power of the federal government by helping the executive branch be organized into departments. These departments then help the executive branch carry out the laws.
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What advice did Washington give in his Farewell Address?

Before leaving office, President Washington prepared a farewell address. In it he reminded Americans of all that bound them together as people. "With slight shades of difference," he said, "you have the same religion , manners, habits and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together."

Next, Washington warned of two threats to the nation's future. One threat was "the spirit of party" which he thought was a grave danger to the new nation. It was natural for people to hold different opinions. But he warned against the dangers of passionate loyalty to political parties. If fighting between parties was not controlled it could tear the young nation apart.

He also warned that the United States could gain nothing by becoming entangled in other nations' affairs. "It is our true policy", he declared, "to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." Washington's policy of avoiding alliances with other countries became known as isolationism. For the next century, isolationism would be the foundation of American foreign policy.
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What are the Alien and Sedition Acts?

The threat of war with France made some people question whether aliens would remain loyal to America. An alien is a person living in a country but is not a citizen of that country. This fear led to passing the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Alien Act allowed the president to imprison aliens or send those he considered dangerous out of the country. The Sedition Act made it a crime to speak, write, or publish "false, scandalous, and malicious" criticisms of the government.

The Alien and Sedition Acts resulted in a decrease in immigration and led some foreigners who were already in the United States to leave. The acts also convicted 10 Republican newspaper editors who had criticized the Federalist government. People throughout the United States began to oppose the Federalist Party and eventually the acts led to a movement that allowed states to overturn federal laws.
The XYZ Affair

What is the XYZ Affair?

During the presidency of John Adams, Britain and France enter into war with each other...again! France began to seize American ships to prevent the United States from trading with Britain. President Adams sent a delegation of negotiators to France to settle the issue and come up with a solution. When the delegates reached France, three agents...Agent X, Agent Y, and Agent Z...met with the Americans and assured them they would get to meet with the French minister. (This is the guy in charge!) France agreed to stop seizing American ships if the United States would loan the $10 million and also provide a bribe to the French minister for $250,000. The Americans refused, cancelled their treaties with France, and began to set aside money to increase the US military. The threat of war with France was a real possibility.

How did Adams influence the founding of the US Navy?

President Adams wanted to strengthen the military and asked Congress to set aside money (or appropriate funds) to build and expand the navy. He also named George Washington commanding general of the new American military.

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Why was the 12th amendment created after the election of Thomas Jefferson?

The election of Thomas Jefferson ended in a tie with Aaron Burr. The electoral college continued to vote and came up with a tie for 36 attempts before a decision was finally reached. The 12th amendment was passed to set up the voting on the president and the vice president separately to avoid a situation like this again.

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Thomas Jefferson - 3rd President

On March 4, 1801, the day of the inauguration, Jefferson dressed in everyday clothes. He left his boardinghouse and walked to the Senate to be sworn in as president. President Adams did not attend the ceremony. He had slipped out of the presidential mansion and left the city so he would not have to watch Jefferson become president.

In his inaugural address, Jefferson tried to bridge the gap between the developing political parties and reach out to Federalists with healing words. Jefferson had been responsible for the creation of the Democratic-Republican party during Washington's term as president. "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists," he said.

Then he outlined some of his goals, which included "a wise and frugal government" and "the support of state governments in all their rights." Jefferson had long been a supporter of states' rights. He believed that a large federal government threatened liberty and that vigilant states could best protect freedoms. He had continued to develop these ideas since writing the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Jefferson believed in reducing the power and size of the federal government. These ideas were similar to the French philosophy of laissez-faire which means "let people do as they choose." Under this philosophy, Jefferson believed that the government should have a small role in the lives of citizens.

Who are the midnight judges?

Before Thomas Jefferson took office, the Federalists passed the Judiciary Act of 1801. The act set up regional courts for the United States with 16 judges and many other judicial officials. In his last days as president, John Adams made hundreds of appointments to these positions, and the Federalist-controlled Congress approved them. By these actions, Adams shut President-elect Jefferson out of the appointment process and ensured that Federalists would control the courts.

Adams and John Marshall worked around the clock in the final hours of the Federalist government, processing the papers for these judicial appointments. The appointments could not take effect, however, until the papers (commissions) for these last-minute "midnight judges" were delivered. When Jefferson became president on March 4th, a few of the commissions had not yet been delivered. He told Secretary of State Madison not to deliver them. One commission was addressed to William Marbury.

To force the delivery of his commission, Marbury took his case directly to the Supreme Court, which he claimed had jurisdiction (permission) as a result of the Judiciary Act. John Marshall wrote an opinion turning down Marbury's claim. He noted that the Constitution did not give the Court jurisdiction to decide Marbury's case.
Supreme Court Stories: Marbury v. Madison

What is Marbury v Madison?

President Adams made hundreds of appointments (giving government jobs) in the last days of his presidency. When President Jefferson took over, he refused to deliver the commissions for the government jobs. He wanted his own people in those positions. William Marbury was one of the gentlemen that did not receive his commission that had been promised by President Adams. He chose to take his case to the Supreme Court and sue that the refusal of granting his commission was unconstitutional. The case will set up judicial review.

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What is judicial review?

In the Supreme Court case of Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall establishes judicial review with his decision in the case. The decision states that the Supreme Court's (judicial branch) duty is to interpret the law. The Supreme Court decides if laws are constitutional and if the law is already in effect, then the court can declare it no longer legal. Any decisions made by the Supreme Court are final. With his decision, Marshall extended the power of the Supreme Court and also broadened federal power at the expense of the states.
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What is the Louisiana Purchase?

President Jefferson believed New Orleans was the key to controlling North America. However, France had control of the port city and a huge tract of land in the center of the continent. President Jefferson sent James Monroe to France to negotiate with Napoleon Bonaparte to buy the city. France, however, was in desperate need of money to help pay for the war they were in with Britain. Napoleon sold the territory to the United States in 1803 for the price of $15 million. This was approximately three cents an acre. The purchase of the territory doubled the size of the United States. President Jefferson worried about the purchase though. He felt the Constitution did not grant the President powers to purchase land.

What was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were sent to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. Their goal was to discover if there was a passage to the Pacific Ocean through the Missouri River. Sacajawea, a 17-year old Shoshone woman, served as their interpreter on the journey.

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A Disastrous Trade Ban

Britain began to practice impressment (kidnapping American sailors and forcing them to serve in the British Navy) and began to violate America's neutral rights. These actions led Jefferson to ban some trade with Britain. In December 1807, the Republican Congress passed the Embargo Act. An embargo prohibits trade with another country. Although Britain was the target of this act, the embargo banned imports from and exports to all foreign countries. Jefferson wanted to prevent Americans from using other countries as go-betweens in the forbidden trade.

With the embargo, Jefferson and Madison hoped to hurt Britain but avoid war. They believed the British depended in American agricultural products. As it turned out, the embargo of 1807 was a disaster. The measure wiped out all American commerce with other nations. Worse, it proved ineffective against Britain. The British simply traded with Latin America for its agricultural goods.

The embargo clearly had not worked. On March 1, 1809, Congress repealed it. In its place Congress enacted the much weaker Nonintercourse Act. The new act prohibited trade only with Britain and France and their colonial possessions. It was no more popular or successful than the Embargo Act.
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1812 War - The Battle at Baltimore

What is the significance of the War of 1812?

The War of 1812 during James Madison's presidency established the US as a country with an identity when the new country defended itself. This proved to the rest of the world that the Americans were a powerful force. No territory was gained or lost at the end of the war and there was no clear winner.

What were the causes of the War of 1812?

1. impressment (kidnapping) of US sailors
2. shipping/trade interference
3. Britain supported Indian resistance against the Americans
4. War Hawks - people who persuaded Congress to support a declaration of war against Britain

What were the significant events of the War of 1812?

1812 British navy blockades the coast

1813 Defeat of the British and Indians in the Northwest Territory

1814 British attack Washington DC and set fire to public buildings including the White House. Dolley Madison, wife of President Madison, saves the presidential portrait of George Washington. Americans recapture the city and defeat the British at Ft. McHenry.
Francis Scott Key wrote a poem from which the "Star Spangled Banner" was written after witnessing the bombardment of the fort.

1815 Battle of New Orleans. The Treaty of Ghent was already in progress when the final battle takes place. General Andrew Jackson defeated the British making him a national hero.

The Treaty of Ghent ended the war and restored relations between countries to pre-war status.

Whitney Houston - Star Spangled Banner

What was the Era of Good Feelings?

James Monroe's presidency was nicknamed the "Era of Good Feelings". The reasons are as follows:
1. victory in the War of 1812
2. economy was booming
3. Federalist party opposition was fading
4. Monroe was popular, personable, and interested in reaching out to the American people.

How did Monroe's presidential tour affect citizens of the US?

James Monroe followed a precedent set by George Washington and toured the country. He was seen by more Americans than any other president up until that time.

How did Monroe deal with Spanish Florida?

President Monroe sent Andrew Jackson to tame the Seminoles that were raiding American settlers in Georgia. Jackson's orders were vague and as a result he traveled deep into Spanish territory. Once there he discovered weaknesses in the Spanish forts. President Monroe then began to pressure Spain to sell the US the territory of Florida as well as Spanish territory within the Louisiana Purchase.

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What is the Monroe Doctrine?

Revolutions began to erupt in the Spanish colonies in South America. European powers, such as Britain and France, threatened to form alliances to help Spain regain their power. President Monroe made a statement to Congress stating that America would resist European influences in the Western Hemisphere. This became known as the Monroe Doctrine. The policy reinforced American neutrality in European wars and conflicts. (We would stay out of their business.) The policy stated that America would not accept any recolonization of a country by Britain. The Monroe Doctrine became the cornerstone of American foreign policy.