Nov. 8, 2001
Jeffersonian Experiment and its Ironies
Jefferson: An Experiment in "Governing Without Government"
Inaugural Address: Defending the American "experiment" in
non-authoritarian and laying out the principles of the new administration.
B. Domestic policy:
making the government smaller, cheaper, and less coercive.
the Federalist security program: expiration of Alien and Sedition Acts,
abolition of direct tax, greater tolerance, cancellation of military
2. Phasing out of
Hamilton's financial system: debt would be paid off, B.U.S. allowed to
expire in 1811.
C. A Republican
1. Overall goal:
allow U.S. to stay predominantly agricultural for as long as possible,
postponing need for urbanization or manufacturing.
principles in international affairs: Neutrality (preventing wars &
need for large military) and free trade (maximizing markets for U.S.
3. Primary in
western hemisphere: Expansion of nation's agricultural land base, by
acquiring new territory and clearing existing territory of Indians.
4. Chief methods:
example, negotiation, and "peaceable coercion" (idea of
punishing nations that did not allow free trade, such as British, by
restricting access to U.S. market).
II. Source of
the Ironies: Jeffersonian Expansionism
A. The Louisiana
Purchase: Triumph of the Jeffersonian Style of Foreign Policy
nature of the Purchase. Main goal had been control of New Orleans and the
2. Jefferson got
worried when Spain, a weak power, gave Louisiana back to Napoleon's France
Federalists urged war with Spain before French could take over Louisiana.
TJ sent mission to buy New Orleans from France.
interest in Americas because of failure to reconquer French colony Sainte-Domingue
(present Haiti), Napoleon offered to sell all of Louisiana for $15
hesitated, because constitution did not grant power to buy new territory,
but then accepted.
Trans-Mississippi West was a considered a desert.
B. The Louisiana
Purchase and Jefferson's two-faced Indian policy
1. Lewis and
Clark as ambassadors to the far western Indians.
3. Intended use
of Louisiana: dumping ground for remaining Indians east of the
Mississippi. Jefferson as the father of "Indian removal."
C. Reactions to the
Louisiana Purchase: The Northern Confederacy and the rise of New England
and War: Breakdown of the Jeffersonian Experiment
Embargo, 1807-1809: an experiment in "peaceable coercion" that
grew less and less peaceable and more and more coercive.
1. Cause was
British and French practice, during Napoleonic Wars, of treating U.S.
ships as enemies if they tried to trade or cooperate with the other power.
2. Definition of
the embargo: total ban on U.S. trade with foreign countries.
example of Revolution-era trade boycotts: Europe (especially British)
needed our food & money more than we needed their manufactured goods.
4. Impact: little
on British or French policy, but met with great resistance from Americans,
especially in New York and New England.
resorted to military force and progressively more repressive enforcement
laws to make the Embargo work.
principles desert him: The Giles Enforcement Act, Jan. 1809.
B. New Pres. James
Madison's drift toward war, using weaker versions of the embargo, 1809-1812.
IV. The War of
stalemate in the North and East, including two failed invasions of Canada
and the burning of Washington, D.C. in 1814.
successful war of conquest in the West and South, mostly against Indians.
1. The Indians as
an impediment to expansion, especially of the Southern plantation economy.
2. Catalyst for
renewed Indian resistance: religious revivals/resistance movements led by
Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa in NW, Red Sticks in South. Became armed
rebellions somewhat supported by British & Spanish.
3. Gen. William
Henry Harrison's conquest of the Northwest. Key battles: Tippecanoe
(1811), Put-in-Bay (1813) & the Thames River (1813).
Jackson's conquest of the Southwest, including victory over the Creek
rebels (Red Sticks) at Horseshoe Bend (1814)
British at the Battle of New Orleans (1815), the lone defeat of British
troops by American troops in this war.
C. New England
Reaction: The Hartford Convention, 1814-1815.
1. War and
embargo especially harmful to economy and unpopular in New England. Region
losing population. Resentment at long and apparently permanent Southern
control of federal government.
2. Convention of
New England states called at Hartford, Conn. Some leaders had wanted to
secede, but moderates gained control.
resolutions calling for various constitutional amendments to reduce power
of the South and protect power of New England within the Union.
4. Followed some
ideas of VA and KY Resolutions, employing compact theory, and originated
idea of a minority or sectional veto over national policies.
5. Bad timing:
Hartford Convention killed Federalist Party a national force, branding it
Aftermath and Results of the War
"Era of Good Feelings", Republicans adopted many old Federalist
policies, including the resurrection of the Bank of the United States.
2. US government,
through agency of Gen. Andrew Jackson, used naked military aggression to
seize Spanish territory and finish off Indians in t he South: postwar
Indian treaties, First Seminole War (1818), Arbuthnot and Ambrister case,
3. The War of
1812 and the Origins of the Westward Movement: The Great Migration of
carved from Jackson and Harrison’s conquests: LA (1812), IN (1816), MS
(1817), IL (1818), AL (1819).
westward movement of regional cultures, economic boom in sales of land
& equipment to emigrants, expansion of banking to finance it all.
Experiment's Greatest Irony:
The Origins of the U.S. Industrial Revolution
A. Preconditions in
trends before and during the war.
and land shortages in the Northeast.
Pre-industrialization: War period as the golden age of "household
manufactures" and outwork.
fortunes made in shipping boom before 1807, by merchants trading with both
sides during Napoleonic Wars.
B. Francis Cabot
Lowell and the Boston Associates: Pent-up merchant capital, wartime
restrictions, and the origins of the New England textile industry.
1. Lowell was
wealthy Boston merchant whose business was stalled by Jefferson's embargo.
2. Looking for
other investment opportunities, Lowell traveled in Europe and in process
stole British technology for mechanized textile production (the
3. Lowell and the
Boston Associates opened state-of-the-art textile factory in Waltham,
Mass., and later a whole series of them in new town of Lowell, Mass. First
workers were young farm women.
C. Waltham and
Lowell were beginning of a process that would transform U.S. into a
manufacturing giant, with New England (along with Middle States) as center