I. Transfer of Power
A. Democratic-Republican goals
You should remember from Chapter Eight that Jefferson represented a different political faction, who held a different notion of what “America” should be, than the Federalists who has been in power for the last twelve years. When Jefferson took office in 1801, this was the DemocraticRepublicans’ chance to put their ideas into action. Democratic-Republicans promoted limited government, farming, simplicity; they wore plain pants rather than wigs and knee breeches worn by Federalists. At his inaugural, Jefferson spoke of reconciliation, of putting aside political differences, but the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists remained bitter enemies.
Jefferson filled government jobs with Democratic-Republicans, ignoring some of Adams’ appointments and firing many who hadn’t resigned. Jefferson thus cut the influence of
Federalists in government jobs. Jefferson had the support of Congress; they repealed all internal taxes, including the Whiskey Tax. Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin cut the army and navy’s budgets dramatically and closed foreign embassies. The Jefferson government cut the Army to only 3000 active members and the Navy to six ships. The Jefferson government vowed to spend less and to make government more honest and less wasteful. Congress let expire or repealed the Alien and Sedition Acts; they were never used by the Democratic Republicans against the Federalists.
B. Problems with the Courts
Jefferson then turned to the Judiciary. The most recent Congress had just passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, passed at the very end of the Adams presidency, which created 15 new judgeships filled by Adams’ midnight appointments. Under Jefferson, the new Congress repealed that action. Then two impeachment proceedings were initiated to test the waters for removal of the Federalist justices by trial. According to the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge can be removed from office only for "high crimes and misdemeanors."
In the first test, Justice John Pickering of New Hampshire became the target. He had written the New Hampshire Constitution and was now a U.S. district court judge, who was also an alcoholic and undoubtedly insane. He sat to consider United States v. Eliza, a case concerning a ship seized in violation of revenue laws. Allegedly, Pickering was drunk and raved profanities throughout the trial. He was tried by the U.S. Senate, based upon articles of impeachment drawn up by the U.S. House. Pickering was removed from office by a strict party-line vote.
The other target for impeachment was Justice Samuel Chase. An avowed Federalist, he had targeted Democratic-Republicans and had worked for their prosecution under the Alien and Sedition Acts. It was true that many of his rulings had been driven by politics, and specifically, his handling of the trial of John Fries, of Pennsylvania, Fries’ Rebellion, that provided the motivation to impeach him. Congress failed to convict Chase. Fortunately for Chase, he had defenders among moderate Republicans in the Senate who feared overreaching their congressional authority. In the latter case, the Senate vote failed to carry the two-thirds majority in favor of conviction. The trial was a joke.
Still, under Chief Justice
John Marshall, (1801-1835), the Supreme Court consistently upheld federal supremacy over the states, and protected commerce and capital. Marshall increased the court’s power in the landmark case Marbury vs. Madison (1803). William Marbury was one of the midnight appointments made by Adams, but James Madison, Thomas Jefferson’s new Secretary of State, blocked the appointment and Marbury sued. If the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Marbury, would Jefferson and Madison ignore it? If they ruled against Marbury, it would be a victory for the Democratic Republicans. The Court ruled that they did not have the authority to compel Madison to honor the appointment. It was out of their role, out of their jurisdiction. Even though the ruling was a sort of non-decision decision (the Court said that Congress was asking the Court to take actions that were unconstitutional), the key development out of this case was the principle of judicial review – the notion that the U.S. Supreme Court was the ultimate authority on interpreting the constitutionality of a law passed by Congress, and the Court could declare laws to be unconstitutional.
C. Louisiana Purchase
Jefferson’s acquisition of the Louisiana Territory in 1803 was another source of contention. Jefferson shared with many Americans the idea that the U.S. was destined to expand its “empire of liberty” and made westward expansion a national priority. However, at this time, the U.S. only extended westward to the Mississippi River. Spain had controlled the Louisiana Territory (beginning in the modern-day state of Louisiana but extending northward to Minnesota and westward to Montana) since 1763. France acquired this territory through secret deliberations in 1800 and 1801. Napoleon Bonaparte, then Emperor of France, seemed to be building a French Empire in the New World. Spain ignored Pinckney’s Treaty, trying to make the most of New Orleans before it was to hand it back to France. Western farmers grumbled about Napoleon and thought he would close down access to the Mississippi River and to New Orleans.
Jefferson prepared for war with France, but first sent James Monroe and Robert Livingston as ambassadors to France to try to smooth things over. Their objective: to buy New Orleans and a chunk of the Mississippi Valley. France surprisingly offered to sell ALL 827,000 square miles for $15 million. Once he had failed to recapture Haiti, Napoleon had given up his dreams of an empire in the
New World and instead decided he needed the money to pursue his war against Great Britain. The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the nation geographically, and it offered tremendous opportunities for whites to expand their settlements westward. It would help make Jefferson’s dream of a farmers’ republic a reality, and it offered space for Indians to be sent to get them out of the war for this white settlement. The only problem was that concluding this agreement contradicted Jefferson’s plans to cut spending.
Jefferson wondered whether or not it was constitutional that he purchase the land. This is because Jefferson was a strict constructionist when it came to reading and interpreting the
Constitution. Basically, if the Constitution does not expressly say something is allowed, then that thing is not allowed. The alternative point of view (shared like people such as Alexander Hamilton) was called loose constructionism. Loose constructionists took the view that, if the Constitution did not expressly say something was not allowed, then that thing is fine. In the case of Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase, he became a loose constructionist, temporarily, because he decided that it was a matter of national security and that it also offered benefits nature wise-and environmentally. Nevertheless, Congress ratified the treaty purchasing the territory by a vote of 24-7. Today, the Louisiana Purchase is known as one of Jefferson’s biggest accomplishments.
In 1803, Jefferson sent an expedition headed by Meriwether Lewis and William
Clark. Meriwether Lewis was a Virginian. He had served in the effort to put down the Whiskey
Rebellion and was Jefferson’s personal secretary—today we’d call it a Chief of Staff. William Clark was also a Virginian, but he had more military experience; he had served in the Battle of Fallen Timbers and was living on the frontier in Kentucky. The men led thirty-one other men including Clark’s slave Ben York; the expedition also included Lewis’ Newfoundland Dog. All the men were hand-picked; the two officers for their leadership abilities, and their detachment for frontier, hunting, woodcutting, specialized craftsmanship, and interpreting skills.
During the middle of the trip, two French-Canadian fur trappers and one of the trappers’ Shoshone Indian wife, Sacagawea, replaced two men that Lewis and Clark sent home. The captains felt that because of her Shoshone heritage, Sacagawea could be important in trading for horses when the Corps reached the western mountains and the Shoshones. While Sacagawea did not speak English, she spoke Shoshone and Hidatsa. Her husband Charbonneau spoke Hidatsa and French. In effect, Sacagawea and Charbonneau would become an interpreter team. As Clark explained in his journals, Charbonneau was hired “as an interpreter through his wife.” If and when the expedition met the Shoshones, Sacagawea would talk with them, then translate to Hidatsa for Charbonneau, who would translate to French. The Corps’ Francois Labiche spoke French and English, and would make the final translation so that the two English-speaking captains would understand. And continued the rest of the way through more hostile and unknown Indian territory with the expedition. In November 1805, the expedition reached the Pacific Ocean, then turned around and returned in September, 1806.
As a result of the expedition, the U.S. gained an extensive knowledge of the geography of the West, and Clark’s many maps were quite accurate. The expedition encountered fifty new Indian tribes and the Corps of Discovery observed and described 178 plants and 122 species of animals, including the Grizzly Bear, the Pronghorn Antelope, and the Prairie Dog, the Magpie, and the cutthroat trout. They sent specimens back to Jefferson, and several live animals (most of which died); however, Jefferson for several years had a prairie dog, previously unknown in America. Additional outcomes of the expedition was that it encouraged the fur-trade in the West, it strengthened the U.S.’s claim to Oregon, and it made Americans interested in the West.
While the trip was, for the most part, a triumph—only one member of the expedition died; the fate of Ben York, Clark’s slave, is a little less wonderful. York became the first African American to cross the continent north of Mexico, and played an important role in the expedition. Indians marveled at his skin color, but also his physical strength. On the journey, York worked with the rest of the men, and voted with the men when important decisions had to be made. York hunted with Clark, whereas in most states, slaves were prohibited from handling firearms unless they lived on the frontier and had a license. York also was known as a bit of a practical joker. Arriving back in St. Louis at the end of the Journey, York shared in the public welcoming party, and received the praise of the community. He asked Clark for his freedom, or to be hired out near Louisville to be closer to his wife, who had a different owner. Clark refused for two years. Only at least ten years after the expedition did Clark grant York his freedom. York went into the shipping business in Kentucky and Tennessee.
In another expedition to the West, in 1805, its worth noting that Jefferson also sent Zebulon Pike to explore Colorado. He discovered the now-famous 18,000 foot peak in Colorado Springs—Pike’s Peak, and was actually captured by the Spanish in 1807, though freed soon after. Jefferson’s second term, though it was marked by the achievements of the Lewis and Clark and Pike expedition, was quite eventful in other ways.
Pause for 60-second Quiz 1: What were some of the ways Jefferson and his Democratic-Republicans put their ideas about government in to practice? Which statement is correct?
Jefferson allowed all Federalists appointed to judicial positions remain in their offices when he
(Jefferson) took power
Jefferson expanded the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy to protect America’s strategic interests
Jefferson preferred to exercise strict constructionism but became a loose constructionist to purchase the Louisiana Territory from Spain, on the premise of creating an “empire of liberty”
Jefferson preferred to exercise loose constructionism but became a strict constructionist to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France, on the premise of creating an “empire of liberty”
II. Jefferson’s Second Term A. Hamilton-Burr Duel
One of the key events in Jefferson’s second term was the Hamilton-Burr duel, which took place in Weehawken, New Jersey in July, 1804; Burr shot and killed Hamilton. The duel was the culmination, the final event in a long list of conflicts between Burr and Hamilton. In 1791, Burr defeated Hamilton’s father-in-law for a position as New York Senator in a bitterly contested campaign. In 1800, when the Electoral College was tied, Hamilton’s maneuvering to elect Adams and Pinckney caused Adams and Jefferson to become president and vice president.
In 1804, when Burr ran for governor of New York, Hamilton campaigned viciously against him, and Burr lost. The Albany Register published a letter saying that Hamilton had bashed Burr at a political dinner, and Burr demanded an apology. Hamilton refused, claiming he could not remember the specific comments he had made. Burr demanded that Hamilton deny everything he had ever said regarding Burr’s character. Hamilton, having already been disgraced when news of an adulterous affair became public, could not afford further embarrassment. Burr challenged Hamilton to the duel in a letter, and despite the efforts of their friends to mediate and to defuse the situation, Hamilton accepted, hoping to defend his honor.
Hamilton and Burr crossed the Hudson River into New Jersey at dawn. Dueling was illegal in New York, so they found a site high above a cliff in Weehawken New Jersey. The same site had been used for several duels before. Both men were accompanied by “seconds,” men who carried the weapons and made sure the protocol was followed. Both men looked away as the dueling began so that they would not witness what happened and could not testify against the men. Hamilton fired first and missed.
Some have attributed Hamilton’s misfire to an intentional decision on his part—he did not want to shoot and kill Burr. A letter that Hamilton wrote the night before the duel states:
"I have resolved, if our interview is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire." When Burr later learned of this, he responded: "Contemptible, if true." Others have attributed Hamilton's apparent misfire to a faulty firing mechanism on his gun.
Burr, probably hoping to merely wound Hamilton in the leg, instead shot Hamilton in the lower abdomen, causing considerable damage to his internal organs, particularly his liver and spine. Hamilton died the following day and was buried in Manhattan. Burr traveled, hoping to avoid capture.
He was charged with murder in New York and New Jersey but never brought to trial. Burr, the active Vice-President, eventually returned to Boston. Until 2006, Aaron Burr was the first Vice-President to shoot someone during his vice-presidency.
B. The Burr Conspiracy
With his political career over, Burr allegedly hatched a plot to establish a new empire carved out of Louisiana territory. After being charged with murder for killing Alexander Hamilton during their famous duel in 1804, Aaron Burr fled to Philadelphia in an attempt to escape arrest. Here he met Harman Blennerhassett, and James Wilkinson, who would become crucial to the planning and attempted execution of his conspiracy. Burr’s true intentions are still ambiguous; however, it is generally believed that his major objectives were to separate Western states and territories from the rest of the union and to free and conquer the Spanish possessions of Texas and Northern Mexico. Burr envisioned a new empire in the West over which he would rule.
Burr traveled to the West to recruit people for his mission, and eventually authorities discovered his plans; one of Burr’s own men revealed the plans. Wilkinson warned Jefferson that Burr was “meditating the overthrow of [his] administration” and “conspiring against the State.”
Jefferson alerted Congress of the plan, and ordered the arrest of anyone who conspired to attack Spanish territory. He warned authorities in the West to be aware of suspicious activities. Convinced of Burr’s guilt, Jefferson ordered his arrest. Burr surrendered to local authorities.
Burr was charged with treason for assembling an armed force to take New Orleans and separate the Western from the Atlantic states. He was also charged with high misdemeanor for sending a military expedition against territories belonging to Spain. The government then dropped this second charge for lack of evidence.
Burr’s trial brought into question the ideas of executive privilege and the independence of the executive. Burr’s lawyers asked Chief Justice John Marshall to subpoena Jefferson, claiming that they needed documents from Jefferson in order to accurately present their case. Jefferson proclaimed that as President, he reserved the right to decide “what papers coming to him as
President, the public interests permit to be communicated [and] to whom.” He insisted that all relevant papers had been made available, and that he was not subject to this writ because he held executive privilege. He also argued that he should not be subject to the commands of the judiciary, because the constitution guaranteed the executive branch’s independence from the judicial branch. Marshall sided with Burr, deciding that the subpoena could be issued despite Jefferson’s position of presidency. Though Marshall vowed to consider Jefferson’s office and avoid “vexatious and unnecessary subpoenas,” his ruling was significant because it suggested that like all citizens, the President was subject to the law.
Burr’s case required Marshall to consider the definition of treason. It raised the question of whether or not intent was enough to convict someone of treason. Marshall ruled that because Burr had not committed an act of war, he could not be found guilty. Because the First Amendment guaranteed Burr the right to voice opposition to the government, “merely suggesting war or engaging in a conspiracy was not enough to require a conviction.” In order to be convicted of treason, Marshall ruled, an overt act of participation must be proven with evidence. Intention to divide the union was not an overt act: “There must be an actual assembling of men for the treasonable purpose, to constitute a levying of war.” A strict constructionist, Marshall further supported his decision by indicating that the Constitution stated that two witnesses must see the same overt act against the country, and only Wilkinson would testify against Burr.
Years later, he returned to New York City to practice law and was tried and acquitted for his role in the duel. He died in 1836 in Staten Island, New York, having never apologized to Hamilton's family or shown any remorse for ending Hamilton's life, though he once remarked "Had I read Sterne
more and Voltaire less, I should have known the world was wide enough for Hamilton and me."
C. International Affairs
In Jefferson’s second term, the Burr Conspiracy wasn’t the only distraction that the administration faced. Problems with Europe again returned. England and France were again at war, and once again, each independently outlawed all American commerce with their opponent. The British navy also began seizing American ships with cargoes bound for Europe and once again began to kidnap American soldiers and force them to serve in the Royal Navy. The problem partly stemmed from the practice of British sailors jumping ship to join U.S. merchant vessels. Thousands of such deserters were considered fair prey by the British navy, which also routinely impressed American citizens on the pretext that they were British deserters, many of whom were in fact just that. In 1806, Jefferson sent diplomats to England, but their trip was a failure.
Tensions mounted, and in the summer of 1807, the British warship Leopard attacked an American naval vessel, the Chesapeake, just outside of Hampton Roads, Virginia. The British boarded the ship, seized four, and killed three. Cries for war erupted throughout the nation. Americans were outraged.
Jefferson banned all British ships from U.S. ports, ordered state governors to prepare to call up 100,000 militiamen, and suspended trade with all of Europe. He reasoned that U.S. farm products were crucial to France and England and that a complete embargo would bring them to respect U.S. neutrality. Jefferson wanted to avoid a war that would interrupt the economy and increase the power of the federal government. He had several options: He could allow things to continue the way they were, he could use some force with warships to escort the merchant ships or by arming the merchant ships, he could try to exert economic pressure on Great Britain, or he could encourage American manufacturing to make up for the loss of imports.
In 1807, Congress passed the Non-Importation Act and the Embargo Act. Its purpose was to prohibit American ships from departing American ports for foreign ports. It caused economic devastation; the South accepted the Embargo, but the North complained. Smuggling was
widespread, especially in the North. The Embargo Act led to a resurgence in the Federalist Party. In
1809, shortly before the end of his presidency, Congress replaced the Embargo Act with the non-
Intercourse Act, which banned trade with England, France, and their colonies, but allowed it with
other countries. It authorized the President to renew trade with whichever country made a gesture of peace first. James Madison, America’s next president, inherited this hostile situation.
Pause for 60-second Quiz #2: What were some of the setbacks encountered by the Jefferson Administration? All of the following statements are true except which one?
The Burr Conspiracy led to the Supreme Court limiting the right of a President to claim executive privilege in legal cases
The Burr Conspiracy led to the loss of several western states, who seceded from the United State
The Embargo Act harmed American economic interests, instead of French and British economic interests
The British Navy continued to impress American sailors into its own (British) ranks
III. Jefferson’s retirement and later years
Thomas Jefferson retired to his Virginia plantation home, Monticello. The former President was happy to be free from executive duties and eager to satisfy his boundless curiosity for life. In retirement, Jefferson pursued science and natural history through research, experimentation, and invention. He continued in his post as the elected president of the American Philosophical Society until 1815. He tackled Plato's Republic in the original Greek as well as Greek versions of the Bible. All the while, he kept up an extensive private correspondence with friends and acquaintances all over the world. Nothing, however, attracted Jefferson's attention more than his pet project, the University of Virginia. Jefferson designed all of its campus buildings, set up its curriculum, selected its faculty, and joyfully nurtured it into existence. He proudly thought his work on the university a fitting conclusion to his life of public service.
Even as he struggled to make ends meet, Jefferson enjoyed his popularity until becoming ill in early 1826. He had sold much of his private library to the federal government to replace the books burned by the British when they occupied Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812, but his expenses were large. The onetime master of over 150 slaves still owned many of them although most had been used as collateral for borrowed money. Indeed, at his death, Jefferson freed no slaves partly because he worried about what would happen to them as free people but mostly because they had been mortgaged to his creditors. Jefferson's debts reflected his often conspicuous lifestyle. He loved to entertain his guests with fine wine and foods. Monticello frequently overflowed with guests; sometimes as many as fifty people stayed the night.
Racked with pain from rheumatism and an enlarged prostate, Jefferson could barely move when invited to attend the celebration of the 1826 Fourth of July festivities in Washington, D.C. He and John Adams, who was also alive but too ill to attend, were to be the honored guests on the fiftieth anniversary of the presentation of the Declaration of Independence by the revolutionary Continental Congress. Barely conscious, Jefferson lapsed into a coma and died, perhaps willfully, after hearing from his doctor the whispered words that he had lived until the Fourth. Adams died the same day.
IV. The Presidency of James Madison (1809-1817) and the War of 1812
James Madison was the hand-picked successor to Jefferson. Madison had been at the Constitutional Convention, he had played a role in the writing of the Bill of Rights, he was a congressman from Virginia, and had been Jefferson’s Secretary of State. At 5 feet, 4 inches in height (163 cm) and 100 pounds (45 kg), Madison was the nation's shortest president.
A. Tecumseh, Tenskwatawa, and Tippecanoe
When Madison became president, America had several problems. First, conflict between the
Indians and the Americans in the Northwest (meaning the Great Lakes region) raged. The United States continued to gain title to Native American land after the Treaty of Greenville, at a rate that created alarm in Indian communities. William Henry Harrison became governor of the Indiana Territory and, under the direction of President Thomas Jefferson, pursued an aggressive policy of obtaining titles to Indian lands. Two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa, organized another pan-tribal resistance to American expansion.
Tecumseh's goal was to get Native American leaders to stop selling land to the United States. While Tecumseh was in the south attempting to recruit allies among the Creeks, Cherokees, and Choctaws, Harrison marched against the Indian confederacy, with 1,000 men, planning to destroy an Indian village in Indiana. The Indians attacked the Americans, but the Americans held firm, defeating Tenskwatawa and his followers at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. The Americans hoped that the victory would end the militant resistance, but Tecumseh instead chose to openly ally with the British, who were soon at war with the Americans in the War of 1812.
B. The War of 1812
The story of the Madison years, though, is really that of the War of 1812. How did it begin? Why did it begin? What happened and what was the result?
When Madison took over
the Presidency in 1809, conflict with the British continued. Despite the Non-Intercourse Act, British Royal Naval vessels continued to intercept unarmed American merchant ships and continued to kidnap American sailors and force them to serve in the British Navy. Madison had his mind made up: he wanted to go to war, and in the summer of 1812, Madison sent his message to Congress, and Congress declared war 2 ½ weeks later on Great Britain. Why did it take such a while?
War would bring death, debt, taxes, standing armies, and military and commercial losses. Madison knew that public opinion had to support the war, or it would never work. Federalists were opposed to the war, because they knew the country was unprepared. In 1811, in the United States House of Representatives, a loose political faction called the War Hawks, under the leadership of speaker Henry Clay, began agitating for a declaration of war against Britain, both as a response to
real grievances and as an opportunity to acquire the British colonies.
But between late-1811 and the summer of 1812, American prospects improved significantly because of developments in England. George III lapsed into insanity, and the British prime minister was assassinated. After fighting the French for years, Britain was in economic disarray. At that time, Madison then urged Congress to declare war, citing the impressments of American sailors, interference with neutral trading rights, and British alliances with western Indians. 2 ½ weeks later, Congress declared war.
Poorly equipped and poorly prepared, the United States military faced many obstacles, but nevertheless persisted. The result of the war with Britain was a tie.
2. Combat operations
The war was conducted in four theatres of operations, beginning in roughly the order here:
Canada and the Great Lakes Region
The Atlantic Ocean
The coast of the United States
The Southern States
The United States invaded Canada, unsuccessfully, though. The British captured Detroit and much of Michigan and Ohio. Finally, the Americans built warships on the Great Lakes faster than the British and gained the upper hand. The United States eventually regained control of the Old Northwest. In the Battle of the Thames in October 1813, Tecumseh died and with his death, Native American unity was destroyed. Americans burned Toronto, and looted and raided the Parliament Building.
In the seas, America’s small and outnumbered Navy
(because of Jefferson’s costcutting measures), struggled against the British and performed poorly. The U.S. outfitted private merchant ships, called privateers, to fight the British, or to carry weapons as they attempted to trade with Latin America, Portugal or Spain. This helped somewhat, but the Americans lost several ships in the first year of the war.
Along the Coast of the United States, most of the fighting occurred in either Maine or the Chesapeake. The British claimed the Northern half of Maine, a mostly unsettled area; the issue of ownership would not be resolved until 1842. More notably, though, the British launched a counter-offensive against the United States concentrating on the Chesapeake region—the BaltimoreWashington area.
In part as retaliation for the American destruction of Toronto, Royal troops occupied
Washington, D.C. in August 1814. They burned the White House, but not before Dolley Madison directed employees to remove important documents and herself saved Gilbert Stuart’s full-size portrait of George Washington. The major battle in the region occurred a few weeks later at Baltimore, where Francis Scott Key, imprisoned on a British ship, watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry from the harbor and wrote the verses of “the Star-Spangled Banner,” (which became the national anthem in 1931). The United States successfully defended Baltimore against the British. Although the British inflicted heavy damages symbolically, they achieved little militarily and failed to capture any territory.
d. There were really two separate wars going on in the South—one between Americans and the Indians, and the other between Americans and the British. The last campaigns of the War
took place in the South, against the Creeks along the Gulf of Mexico— especially in the Florida Panhandle, Southern Mississippi and Southern Alabama, and in New Orleans. The Creek Indians rose up, and Andrew Jackson raised his Tennessee Militia to conquer them. Jackson’s men defeated the Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in Mississippi in March 1814. The Creeks ceded 2/3 of their land, half of Alabama and part of southern Georgia—to the United States, thus beginning westward expansion in the South. Andrew Jackson saw no difference between the Creeks that had fought with him and the Red Sticks that fought against him. Conflict continued in Florida until 1818 with the Indians, however.
To prevent a British invasion, Jackson seized several Gulf Coast cities, then marched on to New Orleans to defend it against the British. The Battle of New Orleans was the last battle in the war. Between December 1814 and January 1815, he defended the city against a force led by Major General Sir Edward Pakenham, who was killed in an assault on January 8, 1815. The Battle of New Orleans was hailed as a great victory in the United States, making Andrew Jackson a national hero, eventually propelling him to the presidency.
3. The Hartford Convention New England had never supported the War. Delegates from five New England states met in Late1814 to discuss constitutional amendments to protect New England’s interests. Meeting in Hartford, CT, the 26 delegates proposed curbing the policies of the ruling Republicans by
(a) Prohibiting any trade embargo lasting over 60 days;
Requiring a two-thirds Congressional majority for any declaration of war, admission of a new state, or interdiction of foreign commerce;
Shifting the bulk of Federal tax payments to the slaveholding South;
Limiting future Presidents to one term;
(e) Requiring each future President to be from a different state than his predecessor. (These last provisions were aimed directly at the ruling Virginia Dynasty.)
The Republican-dominated Congress would never have recommended any of New England's proposals for ratification. Hartford Convention delegates intended for them to embarrass the President and the Republicans in Congress— and also to serve as a basis for negotiations between New England and the rest of the country.
Some Hartford Convention delegates may have been in favor of New England's secession from the United States, and forming an independent republic. No such resolution was adopted at the convention; however, Massachusetts actually sent three commissioners to Washington, D.C. to negotiate these terms. When they arrived in February, 1815, news of Andrew Jackson's success at the Battle of New Orleans, and the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, preceded them and, consequently, their presence in the capital seemed both ludicrous and subversive. They quickly returned to Massachusetts. Thereafter, both the Hartford Convention and the Federalist Party became synonymous with disunion and secession, especially in the South. The Federalist Party was ruined as a national party, and survived only in a few localities for several more years before vanishing entirely.
Meanwhile, diplomats in Ghent, Belgium signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814, ending the war. (News of the treaty had not reached New Orleans before the battle was fought.) On February 17, 1815, President Madison signed the American ratification of the Treaty of Ghent and the treaty was proclaimed the following day. By the terms of the treaty, all land captured by either side was returned to the previous owner, the Americans received fishing rights in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and all outstanding debts and property taken was to be returned or paid for. Later that year, John Quincy Adams complained that British naval commanders had violated the terms of the treaty by not returning American slaves captured during the war, since the British did not recognize slaves as property.
During the blockade of the Chesapeake, in fact, British Rear Admiral Cockburn had been instructed to encourage American slaves to defect to the Crown. Royal Marine units were raised from these escaped slaves on occupied Chesapeake islands, and fought for the Crown. (In fact, the Star-Spangled Banner has a verse praising the fact that slaves liberated by the British and enlisted into their military were not able to defeat the Americans at Fort McHenry.) Some men, and dependents were taken to the naval base in Bermuda, from which the blockade was orchestrated, where they were employed about the dockyard, and where a further Marine unit was raised from their numbers as a dockyard guard. Orders were eventually given to send these Marines to the British Army to be re-enlisted into West Indian Regiments. Many resisted this change of service and were given land to settle in the West Indies. Many of those who agreed to transfer to the Army found themselves back in the USA, taking part in the Louisiana campaign.
4. Effects on Canada
The repelling of the stronger American force helped to build unity in British North America between French and British settlers there. It also created an anti-American attitude that affected Canadian Politics for quite some time. The Americans never blocked the St. Lawrence River, but nevertheless after the war, afraid that it might happen in the future, Britain built an expensive canal that provided an alternate supply route, linking Kingston, Canada to Ottawa. Ottawa became the capital because it would be easier to defend in case of a future war.
5. Effects on Great Britain
The Royal Navy, embarrassed by American privateers, made some changes to its naval fleet, but largely overlooked the war.
6. Effects on America
With peace finally established, Indian resistance had come to an end and westward expansion could continue to the west and South. Manufacturing had grown as a result of the War, mainly in New England. Most important, America had defeated the British, and America was swept by a sense of euphoria and national achievement in finally securing full independence from Britain. Embarrassed by the Hartford Convention and rendered powerless by the Democratic-Republicans’ victory, the Federalists fell apart and ceased to be a factor in national politics. However, the Democratic-Republicans began to divide over their economic policies.
Pause for 60-second Quiz #3: What were some of the outcomes of the War of 1812? Which of the following is true?
The United States conquered Canada
Great Britain attacked and burned the U.S. Capitol at Philadelphia
The United States gave back land to Indians who fought against Great Britain
Great Britain and the United States more did not exchange large swaths of territory or riches due to the war
Key for 60-second Quizzes
c. Jefferson was a strict constructionist, which is why the Louisiana Purchase was difficult for him to rationalize
b. The Burr Conspiracy did not actually come to fruition, even though Burr allegedly planned to split off several western states
d. The war was a draw, with no permanent changes in handholding or payments of indemnities