01:512:104 Lecture 11: Chapter 11

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Chapter 11 - The Triumphs and Travails of the Jeffersonian
Republic 1800-1812
Federalist and republican Mudslingers
Hamilton, a victim of arrogance, privately printed a pamphlet that attacked the credibility of President
Adams. The Jeffersonians soon got a hold of this and published it to the masses.
The most damaging blow to the Federalists was the refusal of Adams to give them a rousing fight with
France. Their feverish war preparations had swelled the public debt and had required disagreeable new
taxes, including a stamp tax. The war scare died out. The military preparations now seemed not only
unnecessary but extravagant. the seamen for the new navy were called "john Adam's jackasses :0. And
John Adams himself was known as "the Father of the American Navy"
The Federalists concentrated their fire on Jefferson himself, who became the victim of one of America's
earliest "whispering campaigns". He was accused of robbing a widow and her children of a trust fund and
of having fathered numerous mulatto children by his own slave women.
As a liberal in religion, Jefferson had earlier incurred the wrath of the orthodox clergy, largely through his
successful struggle to separate church and state in his native Virginia.
Although Jefferson did believe in God, preachers throughout New England, stronghold of Federalism and
congregationalism thundered against his alleged atheism. Old ladies of Federalist families, fearing
Jefferson's election, even buried their Bibles or hung them in wells.
The Jeffersonian "Revolution of 1800"
Jefferson won by a majority of 73 electoral votes to 65. In defeat, the colorless and presumably unpopular
Adams polled more electoral strength than he had gained four years earlier- except for New York.
The Empire state fell into the Jeffersonian basket, and with it the election, largely because Aaron Burr, a
master wire-puller, turned New York to Jefferson by the narrowest of margins. The Virginian polled the
bulk of his strength in the South and West, particularly in those states where universal white manhood
suffrage had been adopted.
John Adams suffered the fate of being the last Federalist President. The Federalist party soon
dissapeared in the days of Andrew Jackson.
Although a change of 250 votes would have deemed Adams victorious, Jefferson claimed it to be another
Revolution and a return to the original spirit of the Revolution.
Responsibility Breeds Moderation
Jefferson was inaugurated president on July 4, 1801 in the swampy village of Washington
Jefferson's inaugural address, beautifully phrased, was a classic statement of democratic principles. "The
will of the majority is in all cases to prevail", Jefferson declared. But, he added, "that will to be rightful
must be reasonable; the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate
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would be oppression". Seeking to allaay Federalist fears Jefferson ingratiatingly intoned, "we are all
Republicans, we are all Federalists"
Jefferson practiced Pell-Mell, seating without regard to rank or class at official dinners.
Jefferson was forced to reverse many of the political principles he had so vigorously championed.
Jefferson was scholarly private and was harrassed by citizens
Jeffersonian Restraint
Jefferson was determined to undo the Federalist abuses begotten by the anti-French hysteria. The hated
Alien Sedition Acts had already expired. The incoming president speedily pardoned the "martyrs" who
were serving sentences under the Sedition Act, and the government remitted many fines.
Shortly after Congress, the Jeffersonians enacted the new naturalization law of 1802. This act reduced
teh unreasonable requirement of fourteen years of residence to the previous and more reasonable
requirement of five years.
Jefferson actually kicked away only one substantial prop of the Hamiltonian system. He hated the excise
tax, which bred bureaucrats and bore heavily on his farmer following, and he early persuaded Congress
to repeal it. His to principle thus cost the federal government about a million dollars a year in urgently
needed revenue.
Jefferson, A Reluctant Warrior
One of Jefferson's first actions as president was to reduce the military establishment to a mere police
force of twenty five hundred officers and men.
the united States would set an example for the world, forswearing military force and winning friends
through "peaceful coercion". Also, the Republicans distrusted large standing armies as standing
invitations to dictatorship.
Pirates of the North African Barbary States had long made a national industry of blackmailing and
plundering merchant ships that ventured into the Mediterranean. Preceding Federalist administrations, in
fact, had been forced to buy protection. At the time of the French crisis of 1798, when Americans were
shouting, "Millions for the defense but not one cent for tribute".
The pasha of Tripoli, dissatisfied with his share of protection money, informally declared war on the
United States by cutting down the flagstaff of the American consulate.
After four years of intermittent fighting, marked by spine-tingling exploits, Jefferson succeeded in extorting
a treaty of peace from Tripoli in 1805. It was secured at the bargain price of only $60,000-a sum
representing ransom payments for captured Americans.
The Louisiana Godsend
1800, A treaty between the King of France and Napoleon, granted Napoleon the territory of the trans-
Mississippi region of Louisiana, which included the area of New Orleans.
Jefferson knew that when the time was ripe, American could dislodge Spain from the territory, but he also
knew that if France moved into the area, a huge amount of bloodshed would be required to dislodge
France. And even then he knew he would need the help of their former enemy Britain to do it.
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