Jeffersonian Democracy

"Never did a prisoner, released from his chains, feel such relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles of power."


   I. Election of 1800 = "Revolution of 1800" (?)
       A. Tie vote between Jefferson & Burr (both Dem-Rep)
            1. Burr = antithesis of nation's Founding Fathers
            2. Election decided by House of Representatives
            3. Solved by Twelfth Amendment
       B. Congressional elections solidly Dem-Rep
       C. Peaceful/orderly change of political machinery
       D. End of the political road for Federalist Party
 II. Jefferson's First Term = "Parade of Triumphs"
       A. Inaugural Address unexpectedly tame
            1. Downplayed differences between parties
            2. Hardly alarming to Federalists
       B. Jefferson: intelligent, reserved, casual, resentful
       C. Jefferson's conduct toward existing Federalist policies
            1. Alien & Sedition Acts repealed or allowed to expire
            2. Whiskey Tax repealed
            3. Hamilton's fiscal plan largely untouched
            4. Fed'l-state power balance not disrupted
            5. Sharp cuts in military expenditures
       D. Marbury v. Madison (re: Judiciary Act of 1801)
            1. Adams's "midnight judges"
            2. Marshall's ruling = "judicial review"
            3. Jefferson's abuse of impeachment process
       E. War with Tripoli (1801)
       F. Louisiana Territory (1803) = America × 2
            1. Purchased from France for $15 million
            2. Two-ocean country foreseeable (14 new states)
            3. Lewis & Clark Expedition (w/ Sacajawea)
            4. Strengthened U.S. claim to Oregon Country
            5. Other western explorers (inc. Freeman, Pike)
       G. Essex Junto (1803)
            1. Northern Confederacy
            2. Hamilton vs. Burr duel
III. Jefferson's Second Term = "Clouds on the Horizon"
       A. Yazoo land frauds
       B. Burr's hazy conspiracy
       C. Napoleonic Wars
            1. Military stalemate caused economic warfare
                  • Berlin Decree & Milan Decree
                  • Orders in Council & Chesapeake incident
            2. Embargo Act of 1807 ("peaceable coercion")
                  • disastrous to American economy
                  • widespread bitter opposition
            3. Non-Intercourse Act (1809)
            4. Macon's Bill No. 2 (1810)
       D. Election of 1808 = Jefferson passes the torch
            1. Embargo Act did not darken Jefferson's record
            2. Federalists gained some seats in Congress
       E. Madison: intelligent, conscientious, vacillating
IV. War of 1812 (aka "Mr. Madison's War")
       A. Federalists (North) vs. "War Hawks" (South/West)
            1. Why war?
                  • economic hardship
                  • imperialistic desire (esp. Florida)
                  • frontier Indian hostilities
                  • spirit of patriotism aroused by arrogant British
            2. Why not war?
                  • pure political opposition (unanimous nay vote)
                  • natural cultural & economic ties w/ Britain
                  • military considerations
                      - American forces no match for Britain's
                      - real potential danger to America was France
       B. Failure of early American offensive vs. Canada
       C. Notable American sea victories (Hull & Perry)
            1. USS Constitution in mid-Atlantic (Aug 1812)
            2. USS Niagara on Lake Erie (Sep 1813)
       D. Key defeats of Indian forces (Harrison & Jackson)
            1. Shawnee/Tecumseh at Thames River (Oct 1813)
            2. Creek/Red Eagle at Horseshoe Bend (Mar 1814)
       E. British three-pronged assault (mid-1814)
            1. Montreal (Battle of Plattsburgh)
            2. Chesapeake Bay (Fort McHenry)
            3. New Orleans (casualties: Br. = 2100; Am. < 25)
                  • chronology troublesome
                  • real significance
                      - military battle victory?
                      - presidential election campaign!
       F. Treaty of Ghent = status quo ante bellum (Dec 1814)
            1. Long process (demands, but no military basis)
            2. John Quincy Adams chief American negotiator
       G. Hartford Convention (1814)
       H. Lasting American traditions
            1. Key's poem: "The Star-Spangled Banner"
            2. "Uncle Sam" personification
            3. Executive mansion = "White House" (?)
 V. Era of Good Feelings = "Death of the Federalist Party"
       A. Monroe: patriotic, non-partisan, unimaginative
            1. 1816 = defeated Rufus King (last Federalist)
            2. 1820 = one vote shy of unanimous
       B. Post-war America
            1. America's "Second War for Independence"
                  • improved Anglo-American relations
                      - revival of trade
                      - lessened military friction
                  • democracy amid peace & prosperity
                      - shift from existence mode to spirit of growth
                      - embraced Washington's isolationism idea
            2. Increased immigration from Europe
            3. Explosion of American patriotism & nationalism
                  • July 4th celebration
                  • Noah Webster's dictionary
       C. New political leadership (esp. "Great Triumvirate")
            1. North → Adams, Clinton, Van Buren, Webster
            2. South → Calhoun, Crawford
            3. West → Benton, Clay, Harrison, Jackson
       D. Domestic issues
            1. Transportation links between East & West
                  • National Road (west from Cumberland, Maryland)
                  • Erie Canal (Albany to Buffalo/Lake Erie, New York)
                  • Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (1st run = 1830)
            2. Panic of 1819
            3. Missouri Compromise (1820)
                  • Missouri (slave) & Maine (free)
                  • slavery banned north of 36° 30'
            4. Supreme Court decisions
                  • Sturges v. Crowninshield (1819)
                  • Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819)
                  • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
                  • Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
       E. Foreign affairs
            1. Normalization of Anglo-American relations
                  • Rush-Bagot Agreement (1817)
                  • Convention of 1818
                      - joint sovereignty of Oregon Country (10 yrs)
                      - 49th parallel = U.S./Canadian border
            2. Adams-Onís Transcontinental Treaty (1819)
                  • U.S. rec'd Florida for $5 million
                  • 42nd parallel = north boundary of New Spain
                  • U.S. relinquished claim to Texas
            3. Monroe Doctrine (1823)
                  • statement of official policy (not a treaty)
                      - first U.S. attempt at hemispheric leadership
                      - completed evolution of U.S. independence
                  • immediate targets were Russia & Spain
                  • monarchial Europe vs. democratic New World
                  • globally pooh-poohed; militarily unsupportable
VI. Election of 1824 = "Corrupt Bargain" (?)
       A. Candidates
            1. John Quincy Adams (Sec. of State) → New England
            2. William Crawford (Sec. of Treasury) → South
            3. Henry Clay (Speaker of the House) → West
            4. Andrew Jackson (war hero) → broad nat'l appeal
            5. John C. Calhoun (Sec. of War) → settles for V-P spot
       B. Jackson misses out
            1. Tops in popular vote & electoral vote, but ...
            2. House of Reps picks Adams, then Adams picks Clay


  1. President Thomas Jefferson was known for his

    1. bipartisan appointment of political officials.
    2. support of agrarian interests.
    3. attention to the ceremonial aspects of the presidency.
    4. outstanding achievements in foreign affairs.

  2. James Madison's margin of victory in the 1808 presidential election was a clear indication of

    1. the public's desire to return to the Federalist ideals of pre-1800.
    2. President Thomas Jefferson's popularity as well as the political ineptitude of the Federalists.
    3. the growing connection between northern commercial interests and Jeffersonian economic policies.
    4. the outstanding accomplishments of President Thomas Jefferson's second term.

  3. The Era of Good Feelings marked the disappearance of
    1. sectionalism.
    2. the Federalist Party.
    3. excessive taxation.
    4. troubles with the Indians on the frontier.

  4. President James Monroe's chief accomplishments occurred in
    1. westward expansion.
    2. Indian policy.
    3. business and industry.
    4. foreign affairs.

  5. Which action established the 49th parallel as the official boundary between Canada and the United States?
    1. Treaty of Ghent.
    2. Convention of 1818.
    3. Adams-Onís Treaty.
    4. Monroe Doctrine.


1.  Thomas Jefferson described the presidential election of 1800 as a "revolution."
     Discuss this pronouncement.

2.  Compare Thomas Jefferson's political theory with his political actions, accounting
     for any discrepancies.

3.  As Thomas Jefferson left his second term as President, he stated, "Never did a
     prisoner, released from his chains, feel such relief as I shall on shaking off the
     shackles of power." Use this quote to compare Jefferson's two presidential terms.

4.  The War of 1812 has at times been labeled "Mr. Madison's War" and the "Second War
     for Independence." Explain how each of these descriptions is accurate.

5.  The Monroe Doctrine, according to historian John Garraty, was the "final stage in the
     evolution of American independence." Justify this statement, tracing the evolutionary
     process from a beginning point of your choice.

"The Battle of New Orleans"   by Johnny Horton