Oct. 29, 2001
The Early American Republic
II. Hamilton’s Financial System
The Bank of the United States (2/91)
Private corporation under private control, holding
TJ-AH debate on the constitutionality of the bank:
hinged on the "necessary and proper" clause, involved basic
philosophies of government .
Immediate taxation: import duties & the the Excise or
Whiskey Tax (3/91).
Report on Manufactures (12/91): government “bounties”
& protection for manufacturing industries. Never passed.
III. Sovereignty and Sectionalism in the 1790s
A. Jefferson left cabinet at end of 1793, leaving
government controlled by Hamilton and the Federalists.
B. Political Background: War between Great Britain and
revolutionary France, in which both sides pressured U.S. for support.
1. Diplomatic insults (Jay Treaty-from Great Britain, XYZ
Affair-from France) and fears of subversion from both sides.
2. Federalists tilted toward Great Britain, due to interests of merchants,
financiers, and manufacturers in northeastern cities, and also to fears of
revolution and democracy.
3. Federalists strongest in New England and among upper classes of coastal
cities. Felt they were defending social order & religion as well as the
stability of the government.
4. Republicans tilted toward French.
5. Republican opposition strongest in rural South and West. Support in
cities came especially from immigrants and workers.
6. Most effective opposition came from newspapers, many of them edited by
immigrants who had fled from British repression.
C. Federalist efforts to assert sovereignty of national
1. Whiskey Rebellion, 1794: 13,000 troops sent to
suppress protests against excise tax in western Pennsylvania.
2. “Quasi-War” with France, 1798-1800: undeclared naval war (with
possibility of wider conflict) leading to military build-up and crackdown on
Acts, 1798: allowed government to easily deport immigrant radicals, made
criticism of government a crime, led to arrests of opposition newspaper
editors. Bill of Rights held to be no barrier.
4. Direct or “Window” Tax: first federal income tax, designed to pay for
5. Intimidation and violence (sometimes by paramilitary groups) against
Republicans. Example: attack on Rep. Matthew Lyon on floor of Congress.
6. Fries’ Rebellion, 1800: military force used against German farmers who
resisted collection of the Direct Tax.
D. Republican Response: Southern Style
Resolutions, 1798-99: Jefferson & Madison arranged for state
legislatures to protest the Sedition Act.
a) States and voters, not courts, as enforcers of
constitutionality. Could "interpose" themselves to stop
violations and nullify unconstitutional laws.
b) Birth of “compact theory,” formulated by James Madison, one of
constitution’s chief authors.
2. Tactic rejected even by other southern state
legislatures, lost Jefferson votes.
E. Republican Responses: Middle States Style
1. Campaigns to elect Jefferson president, using
newspapers such as Philadelphia Aurora (along with many more), party
organization, democratic tactics like speeches, parades, festivals.
2. Middle States (NY & PA), where sides were evenly matched and party
politics was long familiar, led the way. Key to Jefferson's national victory
was Republican win in NY state legislative elections, engineered by Vice
Presidential candidate Aaron Burr.
IV. Sectionalism and Potential Civil War in the Election of
A. Federalist New England vs. Republican South.
Feds saved New England by attacking Jefferson’s religious beliefs.
B. NY and PA as "swing states" that gave
Jefferson and Burr the win.
C. Electoral College tie allowed Federalists in Congress to
delay Jefferson's election, toy with choosing Burr instead, causing first real
brush with civil war.