Chapter 8: Jeffersonian Ascendancy

Chapter 8: Jeffersonian Ascendancy

Chapter 8: Jeffersonian Ascendancy Embarrassments Overseas France and Great Britain were fighting for supremacy of the seas forms of total war were unknown in the 18th century Napoleons armies

carried the ideology of the French Revolution across the Continent transformed conquered nations into French satellites Admiral Horatio Nelson destroyed the main French fleet at Trafalgar demonstrating the supremacy of the Royal Navy on land though, Napoleon crushed Britains allies

Austria and Russia at the Battle of Austerlitz the U.S. profited from European adversity served as neutral carriers American ships transported goods to any port in the world where they could find a buyer American merchants grew wealthy serving Britain and France the Royal Navy did not allow direct trade between France and its colonies, so they used broken voyages

American vessels sailing out of French ports in the Caribbean, would put in briefly in the United States, pay nominal customs fees, and then leave for France British announced in the Essex decision that broken voyages were illegal Royal Navy began seizing American ships in record number also stepped up the

impressment of sailors on ships flying the U.S. flag Orders of Council trade regulations that forbade neutral trade with the Continent and threatened seizure of any ship that violated these orders was in effect a paper blockade

Napoleon instituted the Continental System that closed all continental ports to British trade, cutting the British out of a large market neutral ships carrying British goods were liable to seizure British ordered American ships to stop off to pay duties and secure clearances in England on the way to the continent Napoleon was determined to seize any vessel

that obeyed the British Thomas Jefferson ordered James Monroe and William Pinckney to negotiate a commercial treaty with Great Britain the resulting treaty said nothing about impressment and Jefferson refused to submit the treaty to the Senate for ratification the Leopard a ship of the Royal Navy, sailing off the coast of Virginia, commanded an American warship to submit to a search for deserters

the captain of the Chesapeake refused to cooperate Leopard opened fire, killing three men and wounding eighteen the act violated the sovereignty of the United States and the American people demanded revenge the United States was unprepared for war against such a powerful nation an expensive conflict with Great Britain would quickly undo the fiscal reforms of his first term

Embargo Divides the Nation peaceable coercion through the Embargo Act if Britain and France refused to respect the rights of neutral carriers, then the United States would keep its ships at home protect them from seizure, but it would also deprive the European powers of much needed American goods, especially food a total embargo of American commerce would soon force Britain and France to negotiate with the United States in good faith turned into a Jeffersonian nightmare

compliance required a series of enforcement acts that over fourteen months became increasingly harsh Jefferson and a Republican Congress would have had to establish a police state to make it work Northerners hated the embargo and continued to smuggle supplies Jefferson dispatched federal troops led by the conspiratorial General Wilkinson to overawe the citizens of New York president insisted that it was better to preserve ships from

possible seizure than to make profits sailors and artisans were thrown out of work the Federalist party did experience a brief revival in New England, and a few extremists suggested the possibility of state assemblies nullifying federal law embargo never seriously damaged the British economy the embargo was repealed a few days before James Madisons inauguration A New Administration

Goes to War James Madison - his intellectual abilities were great, but he lacked the qualities necessary for effective leadership neither Britain nor France showed the slightest interest in respecting American neutral rights Madison was compelled to put the Non-Intercourse Act into effect authorized the resumption of trade between the U.S. and all nations of the world except Britain and France either of these countries could restore full commercial relations simply by promising to observe the rights of neutral carriers Macons Bill #2

sponsored by Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina reestablished trade with both England and France as soon as either of these European states repealed restrictions on neutral shipping, the U.S. government promised to halt all commerce with the other

Napoleon acted on Macons Bill Madison acted impulsively he announced that unless Britain repealed the Orders in Council by November, the United States would cut off commercial relations he didnt know that Napoleon had no intention of living up to his side of the

bargain; his agents continued to seize American ships Westerners believed that British agents operating out of Canada had persuaded Tecumsehs warriors to resist the spread of American settlement American troops routed the Indians at the Battle of

Tippecanoe and Harrison became a national hero Tecumseh was forced to seek British military assistance against the Americans, something he probably would not have done had Harrison left him alone Fumbling Toward Conflict anti-British mood of Congress intensified

called for action, for resistance to Great Britain, for any course that promised to achieve respect for the U.S. and security for its republican institutions War Hawks (aggressive nationalists) spoke of honor and pride, as if foreign relations were a sort of duel between gentlemen

June 1, 1812 Madison sent Congress a declaration of war against Great Britain at the moment Madison was calling for war, the British government was suspending the Orders in Council, a gesture

that would have preserved the peace Madisons goal - force the British to respect American maritime rights, especially in the Caribbean Madisons Problem figure out how a small, military weak nation like the U.S. could effectively fight against Great Britain by threatening to seize Canada, the Americans

might compel the British to make concessions on maritime issues some expansionists were more concerned with conquering Canada than they were about the impressment of American sailors Congress accepted the war declaration and the U.S. marched to war against the

most powerful maritime nation in Europe The Strange War of 1812 Republicans failed to appreciate how unprepared the country was, but they refused to mobilize needed resources House rejected proposals for direct taxes and authorized naval appropriations only with great reluctance did not seem to understand that a weak, highly decentralized government the one Jeffersonians had

championed was incapable of waging an expensive war against the worlds greatest sea power New Englanders refused to cooperate with the war effort chose to proclaim an honorable neutrality and carried on a lucrative, though illegal, commerce with the enemy the British government

apparently believed the New England states might negotiate a separate peace and the Royal Navy did not bother to blockade the major northern ports American military operations focused initially on the western forts militia was led by aging officers with little military aptitude, and no matter how

enthusiastic, they were no match for welltrained European veterans Captain Isaac Hull of the Constitution did defeat the Guerrire in a fierce battle American privateers destroyed or captured a number of British merchant ships so long as Napoleon threatened the Continent, the British could spare few

warships for service in America but as soon as peace returned in Europe, (spring of 1814), Britain redeployed its fleet and easily blockaded the tiny U.S. Navy conquering Canada would be more difficult than the War Hawks ever imagine whoever controlled the

Great Lakes, controlled the West Oliver Hazard Perry destroyed a British fleet at Put-in-Bay General Harrison overran an army of British troops and Indian warriors at the Battle of Thames River during this battle, Tecumseh was killed

in 1814, the British took the offensive planned to increase pressure on three separate American fronts: the Canadian frontier Chesapeake coastal settlements

New Orleans the Canadian frontier Sir George Prevost marched his army south into upper New York State a hastily assembled American fleet led by Captain Thomas Macdonough turned back the British off Plattsburg on Lake Champlain when Prevost heard of this setback, he retreated into Canada Americans did not realize the full significance of this battle, because it accelerated the peace negotiations

the British government concluded that major land operations along the Canadian border were futile on August 24, 1814 in response to the losses in Upper Canada, a small force of British marines burned the American capital a victory that was more symbolic than strategic the British then launched a fullscale attack on Baltimore the fort guarding the harbor held out against a heavy bombardment and the British

gave up the operation survival of Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner Battle of New Orleans never should have occurred British landed a large assault force under General Edward Pakenham at precisely the same time diplomats in Europe were preparing the final drafts of a peace treaty combatants knew nothing of these developments

Pakenham ordered a frontal attack against General Andrew Jacksons well-defended positions in a short time, the entire British force had been destroyed Americans suffered light casualties victory transformed Jackson into a national folk hero and provided the people with a much needed source of pride if the British had managed to occupy New Orleans, they would have been difficult to dislodge, regardless of the provisions of the peace treaty

Hartford Convention: The Demise of the Federalists fall of 1814, a group of leading New England politicians, many moderate Federalists met to discuss relations between the people of their region and the federal government men who met at Hartford did not advocate secession from the Union convention delegates only

recommended changes to the Constitution proposal suggested that congressional representation be calculated on the basis of the number of white males living in the state tired of the three-fifths rule that gave southern slaveholders a disproportionately large voice in the House wanted to limit each president to a single term in office insisted that a two-thirds majority was necessary before Congress could declare war, pass commercial regulations, or

admit new states to the Union convention dispatched its resolutions to Washington everyone was celebrating the victory of New Orleans and the announcement of peace Republican leaders accused the New Englanders of disloyalty and people throughout the country came to believe a group of wild secessionists had attempted to destroy the Union Hartford Convention was the end of the Federalist party Treaty of Ghent Ends the War

Ghent a Belgian city where the Americans opened talks with the British in the early weeks of negotiation, the British made impossible demands insisted on territorial concessions from the United States the right to navigate the Mississippi River wanted the creation of a large Indian buffer state in the Northwest Territory Americans listened to these demands more or less politely, and then

rejected the entire package lectured the British about maritime rights and impressment the British government realized that no amount of military force could significantly alter the outcome of hostilities in the United States

Treaty of Ghent Christmas Eve 1814 dealt with none of the topics contained in Madisons original war message neither side surrendered territory Britain refused to even discuss impressment two sides merely agreed to stop fighting, postponing the issue of neutral rights stalemate was preferable to continued conflict and the treaty was ratified 35 to 0 most Americans viewed the War of 1812 as an important

success military accomplishments had been unimpressive but the people had been swept up in a wave of nationalism The war, made Americans feel and act more as a nation; and the permanency of the Union is thereby secured. Americans gradually came to realize they had nothing to

fear from Europe and in this time of peace, sectional divergence would start to threaten to destroy the republic The U.S.S. Constitution Republican Legacy July 4, 1826 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died

James Madison had fought for republican values and championed a prosperous nation where virtuous, independent citizens pursued their own economic interests had tolerated no aristocratic pretensions but many asked the aging president why slavery had endured

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