Presidential Political Eras 1, 2 and 3

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Political Eras

"And Now the Rest of the Story"

1) 1788-1824 Elections 
England's Political Influence Finally Ends and the South Has Some Success in Controlling Northern Business Interests.
The causes of the American Revolution began with a disagreement over the way Great Britain treated the colonies. Americans wanted the rights of Englishmen. Federalists favored unity through a strong central government, close ties to Britain, a centralized banking system, and close links between government and men of wealth who should run government. Democratic-Republican Party of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe strongly opposed Alexander Hamilton's Federalist agenda of a strong central government. Instead they wanted more state's rights for the developing Democratic Federalist Republic. See Characteristics of Market System Capitalism and Political Economy.

1) Executive privilege was created by President Washington to keep Jay Treaty documents from Congress. Other Presidents would claim the right and courts would sometimes have to decide legality. Think NSA data spying.
Hamiltonian economics outlined a coherent program of national mercantilism with government-assisted economic development. Think business expansion, infrastructure investment, Japan, and China.
3) 1791 Whiskey Rebellion against federal taxes failed. It was the first of many disagreements concerning taxes. Think Tea Party.
4) Liberal political revolution
against monarchs ravaged Europe and fear of anarchy swept U.S. political Oligarchs.
5) A Quasi-War with France
was not escalated by Adams despite the desires of his cabinet. He used the Alien and Sedition Acts to limit a citizen's right to disagree. A few opposition leaders were jailed. It was the first of many attempts by U.S. President to ignore the Constitution in the name of national defense. Think the Pentagon Papers, War on Terror...
6) First Barbary War was the first fought on foreign soil. It stopped payment of tribute to Mediterranean pirates. War on Terror Begins.
7) 1800 cutthroat election
made Adams a one-term president and ended the twelve-year Federalist reign of increased federal government.

8) The 1803 Louisiana Purchase 
and 1819/1821 treaties with Spain more than doubled the size of the U.S. Later U.S. would force a war with Mexico to expand into the Southwest.
9) War of 1812
protected freedom of the Sea and ended hostilities with Britain
10) Missouri Compromise
of 1820 admitted Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. It postponed the coming pain. Does 12/15 climate agreement postpone pain from expected climate change?
11) Monroe Doctrine of 1823
kept U.S. out of European politics and vice versa until WWI.

12) 1828 "Tariff of Abominations resistance slowed expanding business interests. It caused the Nullification Crisis as states wanted to declare federal laws unenforceable Tariffs continued as the main source of federal revenue until surpassed by post WW II income tax revenues. See Nullification Have Free Trade Agreements replaced tariffs as a way to help business at worker expense? See 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and maybe 2015 Trans Pacific Partnership.

2) 1828-1852 Elections

Federalism vs. State's Rights
The Democratic-Republican Party of the Jefferson became factionalized in the 1820's so Jackson supporters began to form the modern Democratic Party. It hoped to pass political power from established elites to ordinary voters by ending the spoils system. They continued the Bank War against eastern business interests by opposing the renewal of the Second Bank of the United States. Democrats also opposed Whig sponsored modernizing programs that they felt would build up industry with protectionism at the expense of taxpayersThese battles continue today!  Democrats fought Adams and Anti-Jacksonian revival factions which soon emerged as the Whig Party. They were led by Henry Clay who advocated the primacy of Congress over the Executive Branch as well as Northeast industry protectionism. The battle of presidential versus congressional power continues today.
1) Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced Indians westward.
2) 1933 Compromise Tariff solved the North-South fight over protectionism.
3) 1838 Mormon War ended with roughly 20,000 Mormons relocated.
4) A failed 1842 Impeachment attempt of J. Taylor occurred because he used a presidential veto to override Northeast bank and tariff issues. Previous Presidential vetoes had been on constitutional grounds. It would be the first of a few politically motivated impeachment attempts. Think Obama impeachment poll.
5) Manifest destiny caused the Mexican War, southern Slave Power was maintained and the Oregon Treaty acquired much of the Northwest Territory. England got British Columbia.
6) The Compromise of 1850 postponed war as did the 1854 Kansas Nebraska Act which substantially increased North-South tensions. Think postponing budget problems.

3) 1856-1892 Elections
Civil War, Northeast Takes Control, Gilded Age Wealth
Built on the Backs of the Poor, Women and Children

The civil War was followed by massive transportation industrialization which involved railroads, canals and steamships. Massive wealth was created. Farm mechanism lowered the cost of food and this coupled with science made for a somewhat more prosperous middle class. Immigrants suffered.







1) Panic of 1857 was caused by over-consumption of goods from Europe which lowered the hard currency supply. Also overbuilding by competing railroads and rampant Western land speculation caused problems. Think bubbles!

2) Civil War

3) Enforcement Acts of 1870-71 was designed to protect blacks from the Ku Klux Klan and to protect Indians. It failed.

4) Panic of 1873 was caused by the hard currency Coinage Act of 1873. It lowered the money supply. Workers blamed cheap foreign labor. Called the Long Depression until the 1930's when it was superseded by the Great Depression, it caused severe hardship. It would not be the last time a lack of money and immigrants were blamed for economic problems. See Mexico, United States barrier. Think Great Recession.

5) Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 added merit to federal hiring practices and began replacement of the spoils system though who you know continued.



6) Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 lasted until 1942. Scott Act of 1888 expanded the restrictions on Chinese immigration. See Japanese American 4 Year Interment.

7) Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 began an attempt to regulate business trusts and harness their use of monopoly power

8) McKinley Tariff of 1890 set a record for high rates. Profits increased as did the price of consumer goods.

9) Panic of 1893 resulted in a severe depression. Reluctantly, J.P. Morgan bailed out the gold standard with $60,000,000.

10) The 1894 Wilson–Gorman Tariff lowered tariffs slightly and created a 2% tax on income over $4,000 ($88,100 in 2010dollars). It was declared unconstitutional by the 1895 Supreme Court. Think taxes on the top one-percent.

11) Harrison appoints four conservative S.C. judges to fight coming progressive movement.