Part 1 Executive Summary
WASHINGTON avoided war with England
Go to Part 2 and learn how
Theodore Roosevelt took on corporate
trusts that controlled railroad rates and routes and which
destroyed small towns and farms and cost consumers with higher prices.
|GEORGE WASHINGTON||Summary of Events2||The Politics|
1) A SPEEDY DEATH TO GENERAL WASHINGTON
Washington had been unanimously elected by the Electoral College in 1788 and 1792.
Britain, at war with France, was seizing U.S. ships trading with France.
In addition, London was reneging on its pledge made as part of the treaty ending the Revolutionary War to vacate forts in Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, and Michilmackinac. She was also arming Indians and spurring them to attack American settlers. These attacks were killing helpless women and children.
Trying to avoid a war with Great Britain that might "strangle the infant nation in its cradle," Washington secretly sent aristocratic Chief Justice John Jay to England to negotiate a peace treaty. Eventually word got out and many found some treaty demands humiliating. Article 12 of the treaty stated America could trade with the West Indies with only small ships really aggrieved Southerners as it severely hurt their exports. Another article stated the U.S. could not export products native to the islands. To make matters worse, a Provision Order issued later by Britain required U.S. ships carrying grain to France be stopped and the cargo confiscated. see Jay Treaty.
Editors Note: Secretary of State Hamilton wanted to negotiate but his friendship with England ruled him out. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jay was sent. Soon to be a Republican, he was far from being a loyal cabinet member.
Former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson hated the English, adored France, and demanded retaliation. In 1793, not happy with his job among Federalists and missing Virginia; he quit and began to organize the Republicans who would opposed Federalist leaders, Washington, Adams, and Hamilton.
Alexander Hamilton, who was always arguing with Jefferson over foreign policy and economics. He also felt America could not win a war with Britain. See
2) Kick This Treaty To Hell
A Virginia Republican ignored Washington's order to keep the contents of the treaty secrete and passed a copy to the French who saw that the contents were made public. When Hamilton defended the treaty in front of the New York City Hall he was stoned and left with a bloody face. In Boston, a British ship was set aflame. The net result was our First Party System.
Some wanted Washington impeached as cartoons depicted the President being chased out of town feeling the treaty's enactment was unconstitutional.
Washington's attempt to use Executive Privilege to keep Jay Treaty information from Congress was the first of many such Presidential attempts. Richard Nixon attempted used is perhaps the most notorious.
Post revolution economic problems began the discussion of U.S. Income Inequality.
" A speedy Death to General Washington!"
One reason for unhappiness was that the south was not compensated for slaves that fought for England to obtain freedom.
3) THE DAMNEDEST LIAR
To support the treaty powerful Federalist rolled into gear and stopped issuing ship insurance until the treaty was enacted. In Philadelphia, debtors were pressured by banks to support the treaty. By 1796, Britain had scrapped the Provision Order accepting Washington's version of the treaty excluding Article 12 so large ships could trade in West Indies. The tide had turned in favor of the treaty.
4) HE MAY RETIRE WITH UNDIMINISH- ED GLORY
controlled house tried to withhold ninety thousand dollars needed to enact the Jay Treaty.
John Adams feared a war with Britain might
result in a "civil war" between the Anglophile Northeast who
wanted to protect their manufacturing and the Southern
Francophiles more interested in exporting cotton.
The funding vote tie of 49 to 49 was surprisingly broken by Republican Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania who was chairing a Committee of the Whole. He committed political suicide by voting for the funding and against the wishes of his German American constituents who hated England. After the vote, Frederick was stabbed by his German-American brother-in-law.
Edward Livingston of New York demanded
Washington hand over all documents related to treaty bargaining. Limited
access was granted and Washington said the only way to get unlimited access
was to impeach him.
In a letter to John Jay Washington stated he had survived "the Storm" and would never forget the "pernicious" people "disseminating the poison" against him. As Washington predicted, in 1812, America was powerful enough to get their way in a war with England. Click to enlarge both pictures.
Of the nine presidents who owned slaves only Washington freed them upon the death of Martha.
|As was common for Southerners of his day; Washington was plagued by seven deadly diseases during his life. Upon leaving office he suffered from a bad back, painful false teeth and rheumatism. Washington was very unhappy with the verbal political war between people with presidential aspirations, especially Hamilton and Jefferson whose dislike for each other approached paranoia. Hamilton's was over a weak central government unable to fulfill his dreams of Manifest||
He feared French invasion after their
revolution because it would have southern support.
Jefferson's was that a central government that would
end his Southern based rural world best described by
"Gone With the Wind."
1 From the 2007 first edition
4. Help in keeping track of presidential elections, they happen on even
numbered decades as Lincoln was elected in 1860, Kennedy, 1960. For
more on Washington see
Know Much About History Chapter 3 on Growth of a Nation from the Creation of the
Constitution to Manifest Destiny and
Meacham's Thomas Jefferson. PART VII reviewing
Jefferson as opposition to the Federalists of Hamilton and Adams.
10 Best and 10 Worst Presidents from Rant Political
|Summary of Events||The Politics||
More Summaries 2-8 pages
IRRITATED TO MADNESS
Adams defeated Republican Thomas Jefferson by three electoral votes. Living in Washington's shadow was not easy and Adam's complained that
"Old Muttonhead" could not write a sentence without a few misspellings.
Adams had inherited the danger of a war with France's newest
revolutionary regime called the "Directory." See
French Revolution 1 of 4 Videos. Because of the Jay Treaty,
French privateers were ordered to seize and plunder U.S. ships.
Now Vice President Francophile Jefferson was made minister to France. Twelve new frigates were built to fortify the Eastern coast. The ultra-Federalist unsuccessfully demanded a fifteen thousand man army and said concerning the horrible French tyrants, the Republicans want to "lick" their "feet."
Hamilton had back Thomas Pickering in the 1796 election because he could be more easily controlled.
Adams kept Washington Cabinet fearing firing them would turn the world upside down.
Upon arriving in France, Jefferson advised the Directory to drag its feet on a treaty as Adams would be a one term President.
Note: Adams had a very caustic person. He was a centrist President at a
Personality descriptions from Hamilton's
biography by R. Chernow
Politics and Presidential Elections from 1788 to 2012
6) OH, THAT I WAS
The French Foreign Minister tried to bribe an American envoy for what today would be about six million dollars and the reply was "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." Outrage followed, but Adams never shared the ultra-Federalist zeal to face down the French. He attempted to keep the bribe secret but the Federalist made the information public. It became known as the XYZ Affair
Many, like Quaker doctor George Logan, told Adams that the French wanted to talk. When Logan told the secretary of State the same thing, he was thrown out and the High Federalists got the Logan Act passed. To this day it bans U.S. citizens without official sanction from bargaining with foreign governments.
By 1798, talk of war was rampant and John Adams became a war leader. He enjoyed it. Always jealous of Washington's battlefield reputation, Adams could not resist the opportunity to portray a dashing military figure including a sword hanging from his waist. He had proclaimed a "warlike" spirit and congress passed the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts giving Adams the power of deportation. A congressman was arrested for anti-government writing, fined one thousand dollars, and jailed.
A new property tax was passed to pay for a twenty thousand man army.
Eventually Adams announced a new peace mission and the Federalists were none too pleased. It caused Adams to fall into a deep depression.
New U.S. citizens would vote Republican so Federalist extended the waiting period for citizenship to fourteen years.
|A British political cartoon depicting the affair: America is represented by the woman, who is being plundered by five Frenchmen. The figures grouped off to the right are other European countries; John Bull, representing Great Britain, sits laughing on a hill.|
|Ultra-Federalist war hawks thought Adams weak. Eventually he gave in and let them exacerbate differences with France for "electioneering purposes." By backing the Federalist taxes and military spending, Adams felt he was helping America acquire "monstrous fortunes."|
7) ROCKS AND
QUICKSAND ON ALL SIDES
Hamilton asked Washington to denounce the peace mission but the Hero of
Mount Vernon was too tired to join the Federalist family feud. A month
before his death in late 1799, Washington wrote that it was "anxious and
painful" for him to see his cherished country moving "by hasty strides
to some awful crisis.
See Meacham's Thomas Jefferson. PART VII reviewing Jefferson as opposition to the Federalists of Hamilton and Adams.
By the 1800 even the most self-absorbed Hamilton understood that the country's politics was becoming a struggle "between the rich and the poor."
In May the Republicans won in South Carolina and with it the votes needed to defeat Adams for reelection. The Three Fifths Compromise giving states more electoral votes based on their slave population resulted in Jefferson becoming the first of four early 18th southern presidents.
Adams tried to regroup by finally firing some of his pro Hamilton high Federalist cabinet. He also abolished the Provisional Army which he considered a "wildest extravagance" of that "knight-errant" though he approved and financed a Navy.
Adam's response to political attacks from Jefferson
stated that the real problem wash that Hamilton suffered from "a
super-abundance of secretions which he could not find whores
The successful peace negotiations in France came too late for John Adams to be reelected and because of a tie, Thomas Jefferson beat not Adams but New York Republican Aaron Burr in a House of Reprehensive vote. Voting procedures would be changed by the 12th Amendment.
The Aurora published in Philadelphia printed that God had thrown Adams out like "polluted water."
To his death, Adams never understood why his making peace with France never carried the esteem brought by Washington's peace with Britain. He felt America must realize that "great is the guilt of an unjust war."
Editor's Note: John Adam's was the first President to try and muzzle the press with his Alien and Seditions Act. Many to follow would try to quiet the negative comments of free speech. This happened despite the 1735 Freedom of the Press Zenger Trial
"Adams lost reelection because the county was ready for a change. Federalist policies that bothered them included The Jay Treaty, The Alien and Sedition Acts, the truculent policies toward France, the vast army being formed under Hamilton and taxes levied to support it." Hamilton was to pessimistic about America. Think Jimmy Carter. The Republicans took over because of the strong central pull of America's politics and her desire to reign in anything perceived as extreme. From Hamilton's biography by R. Chernow
8) THE MOST SPLENDID DIAMOND IN MY CROWN
Hamilton fighting his fatal
with Vice President Aaron Burr (the depiction is inaccurate: only the two "seconds" actually
witnessed the duel) Wiki
Click to enlarge. See Famous Duels from American History
Editor's Note: The duel with Alexander Hamilton occurred because both men were grasping at straws to continue their political careers because the Federalists had lost control of government. Hamilton criticized Burr in hopes to end his political career. Hamilton especially didn't like Burr's attempt to succeed from the union with a Northeast confederacy. Succession talk would continue to pop up, usually over slavery, whenever a region was unhappy. Abe Lincoln ended such thoughts though at a terrible price.
|Andrew Jackson||Summary of Events||The Politics|
|9) I WILL KILL IT!
Editor's Note: Alexander Hamilton experience the additional misery caused Revolutionary War excess currency Inflation. Jefferson and Madison who opposed the bank did not serve in the war. They felt the bank better served the industrial north. The agricultural south wanted inflation to make "real" debt payments to northern banks less painful. Politics is often local.
|Life got off to a difficult beginning as Andrew
lost his parents and brothers by the age of 14 and he had to live on
family charity. In 1796 as newly admitted Tennessee's first congressman
lawyer Andrew Jackson arrived in Philadelphia with his pony tail wrapped
in deer skin. His victories at New Orleans and in Florida over the English
in the War of 1812 had made him the most idealized American since General Washington.
President John Quincy Adams1 easily lost his reelection bid to Andrew Jackson, who was dead set against extending the Second Bank of the United States charter and its condescending President, Nicholas Biddle. Jackson felt the bank had excessive power over farmers, mechanics, and others unconnected to the eastern ' " moneyed aristocracy" ' Land speculation losses in Tennessee made Jackson feel that "debt, bankers, and paper money --' "ragg money" '-- were all the devil's work." He felt the bank had used its ' "golden favors " ' to help Adams be elected. Largely owned by foreigners autocracy, he felt the bank was corrupt.
Biddle's First Bank of the United States had political problems from the beginning as Jefferson battled with Hamilton over the need for a central bank. Now Jeffersonian anxiety about its power and lack of accountability caused Congress not to renew its charter. In 1816 a Second Bank of the United States with a twenty year charter was established. It was the federal government's fiscal agent. Loans to House and Senate members by the bank gave Biddle a valuable weapon against Jackson. A confrontation between Jackson and Biddle during which the President made it clear that he thought the bank unconstitutional occurred early in Jackson's second term. See The Panic of 1825 and the Most Fantastic Financial Swindle-of-All-Time
First Bank of the United States had been instituted by Hamilton during Washington's
presidency. When asked about constitutionality, Hamilton told Washington
it was an implied
powers, that needed
to accomplish a specific power granted by the constitution. Jefferson was
furious as he wanted a narrow interpretation but as President, he
used said power for the Louisiana
Once purchased, he got Congress to approve the purchase.
Thomas Jefferson Part III
Jackson lost the1824 presidential election which went to the House because Jackson lacked an electoral college majority. Jackson insisted there was a electoral college ' " corrupt bargain" '-- between John Quincy Adams, who became President and Henry Clay, who became Secretary of State.
President Jackson blamed his wife Rachel's death a month after he won
the 1928 election on election politics. Handbills had suggesting she was an
"adulteress and whore" for not having been properly divorce when they married.
1 As his father before him, John Adams became only the second
President not to attend his success inaugural.
A promissory note issued by the Second Bank of the United States, December 15, 1840, for the amount of $1,000. Wiki
|10) NOT A MAN OF FORCE
|In his first annual message in December of 1829 Jackson denounced the bank as unable to keep a sound currency and unconstitutional even though the Supreme court 1819 ruled in favor of the bank. To fight Jackson, Biddle enlisted the friendly congressman to make a report countering Jackson's complaints about the bank and then used Bank funds to publish the report throughout the country.||Senator Henry Clay a friend of the Bank
was chosen to oppose Jackson's 1832 reelection. "While a member of the
House, Clay had been a well-paid director and council for the Bank He
now claimed ' "no connection " 'with the Bank for a decade, but in fact,
Biddle had just given him a quit five-thousand dollars." Before the
election and thinking Jackson's reelection was to much to risk a
veto, Biddle ask Congress for an early charter renewal.
|11) I WAS BORN
FOR THE STORM
Day, 1832, the Senate and House voted to renew the charter the Second Bank
of the "United State." Most of Jackson's cabinet was against a clash with Biddle so
he got help from his wordsmith-tactician Amos Kendall to help. Amos became a
member of what became known as the President's "Kitchen Cabinet
drafted most of Jackson's hellfire message that vetoed the Bank's renewal.
Jackson's veto was sustained.
|Few Presidents before him vetoed bills and he was the first to do so simply because he did not like it. Neither the Senate the House got the two-thirds votes necessary to overturn Jackson's veto of there charter renewal. Biddle "flung open the cash draws" to stop the President's reelection in 1932, but Jackson and Van Buren with 55% of the vote easily beat Clay. As Jackson predicted Clay would not do well west of the mountains and south of the Potomac. Clay only won Kentucky.|
|12) WHO WOULD HAVE
HAD THE COURAGE
|Biddle had not given up
on charter renewal of the bank and called
for a run on moneyed institution to cause a shortage of funds and
an outcry for a new charter. Jackson countered with a plan to move all
federal funds from the Bank to "pet
banks". But William Duane at
Treasury refused because Biddle would crush the use of pet banks.
Jackson's Cabinet sided with Duane and when Duane refused to resign,
Jackson fired him. When no one seriously objected, the power of the
President was again enhanced.
"When the deposits were pulled, the "Boston Post said Jackson was like Jesus expelling the money-changers from the temple." Biddle tightened credit hoping to excite the public. This caused distress among New York merchants who went to the White House and complained. At one point Jackson said ' "Go to the monster!... Go to Nicholas Biddle! We have no money here..,. Biddle has all the money." ' Biddle's efforts resulted in a Senate censure of President Jackson on March 28, 1834. Lead by Clay, the Whigs began blocking all Jackson governing efforts. When Biddle refused to let Jackson withdrew pension funds, Jackson stopped paying pensions and told veterans to blame Biddle's bank and the Whigs who defend it. In November the voters turned the Whigs out.
Biddle opened a new bank but that didn't go well and when sued by bank shareholders, he escaped to his home in the country with an immense fortune. He beat criminal indictment but was dead by fifty-eight.
audacity [in firing Duane] gave later Presidents more power. Had he not redefined the veto
and broadened expectations of what Presidents owed the people, the
American future would have been very different."
This democratic cartoon from 1833 shows Jackson destroying the bank with the approval of an Uncle Sam like figure to the far right and annoyance of the bank's President shown as the Devil. WIKIPEDIA Click to enlarge.
Democratic cartoon shows Jackson fighting the monster Bank. "The Bank," Jackson told Martin Van Buren, "is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!" from Wiki
|ABRAHAM LINCOLN||Summary of Events||The Politics|
|13) I AM GOING TO BE BEATEN
|In August of 1864 near
the end of his first term as President Lincoln
road his horse home from the Whitehouse an attempted assassination failed
as the bullet creased his stovepipe hat. Since the election he had
been entering Washington at night in a disguise.
"....a Lincoln admirer sent the President a copy of Old Hickory's letter warning that the Southern states might succeed over the ' "pretext" ' of slavery. In it Jackson sputtered that ' "ambitious men who would involve their country in civil wars, ' " should be sent to ' "Haman's gallows." '
"Querulous editorials he [Lincoln] dismissed by saying ' " I know more about that than any of them." (editors note. President Obama mad a similar statement about his ability compared to those around him) "... Lincoln resembled Jackson most of all in the strength of his personal will."
|Abraham Lincoln was more melancholy than
usual that summer in Washington where in faced both the insects that plagued
the city and the stench of dismal canal and the nearby swamps. Reelection
was not assured "... his political advisors told him that his
Emancipation Proclamation was dragging him down:" as
Northerners were willing to fight to preserve the union but not to free the slaves.
Abe was a Democrat who became a Whig. Andrew Jackson had followed the same path to the White House. "For Lincoln, Whigs like John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay embodied the rational intellect, -- Jackson the ' "burning appetite" ' of the mob--people like his father, who thought reading was loafing." In 1860, wanting to be a down-to-earth electable candidate like Jackson, Lincoln was not presented as the ...' "well-to-do lawyer he had become, but instead as ' "Honest Abe the Rail Splitter. " '
14) TOO ANGELIC FOR THIS DEVILS REBELLION
|Lincoln ran for President in 1860 on a
platform to leave slavery in tact where it was already in force. When
Congress freed slaves that had escaped to the North in 1862 Lincoln was
rebuffed in an attempt to pay the South for slowly phasing out
|Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation freeing
all slaves on New Year's day of 1863 was a "...military
measure..." to stop slaves from helping the South. It was a political
worry and he stated that could he save the Union without freeing the slaves,
"... I would do so."
The proclamation freed those states
fighting the Union. Boarder states still in the Union were too valuable
Despite such efforts, his party was killed in the 1862 midterm elections. Radicals passed the Wade-Davis bill to vanquish Lincolns plans not to punish the South but Lincoln let it die without signature. When Wade and Davis tried to ditch Lincoln for General Grant, Grant supported Lincoln.
More political trouble came the summer of 1863 when Lincoln asked for five hundred thousands men and General Sherman said one less soldier would lose Lincoln votes among those already serving. A new draft disallowed men from avoiding service with a $300 substitute, though conscious objectors were allowed. Many thought this new draft would kill his reelection but Lincoln thought what good is an election without a country.
The war was not going well in the summer of 1864 as Grant was stalled in his move toward Atlanta. Grant had lost 6,000 men in Virginia and the South prepared to raid Washington. The expected raid put Pressure on Lincoln to peruse peace. New York Times Publisher Horace Greeley published an open letter t the President: " Our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country... shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions...and of new rivers of human blood." The attack ailed due to Union reinforcements and tactical mistakes by the South.
|15) A WELL-MEANING BABOON
|After his party lost the 1862 midterm
election Lincoln fired General McClellan. Now he was Lincoln's likely
Democratic opponent favored by wealthy Democrats who favored the
general because he would
not fight the South over slavery.
Party leaders provided McClellan with a furnished townhouse in New York and railroad equities in hopes he could unite the Copperheads, who wanted immediate peace and with the War Democrats who were willing to wait. Lincoln was in political trouble because he had made known his belief that peace with slavery was not possible and he would not change his mind because slavery must be finished. About 200,000 slaves had fled the South after the Emancipation Proclamation.
|By 1864, much of the
country was tired of the war and against Lincoln concerning the slavery issue. After McClellan's
nomination, political bosses thought Lincoln would win only
three states and asked him to consider not running.
A "moist-eyed and despondent" Lincoln told General Carl Schurz ...' "God knows I have tried very hard... And now to have it said by men who have been my friends ... that I have been seduced by ... power, and that I have been doing this and that unscrupulous thing... only to keep myself in office!" ' Lincoln would not step down!
|16) THE COUNTRY WILL BE SAVED
|Before the Lincolns came to Washington,
wife Mary had fired Abe's ambitions. But the lose of their son Willie in
1862 and the war had gotten to her. Dressed in permanent black, she feared
critics would force her son Robert to be drafted and he would be captured and killed. She was obsessed that her husband would be assassinated.
|Lincoln spent much time that summer
hoping for help from
the Bible . "Suddenly Lincoln regained his political
balance." He may have been helped by the Democratic platform designed by
Copperheads who wanted the war over. The South could do what they want.
This enraged many McClellan backers. Lincoln won easily.
1864 presidential election results
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