Jefferson’s Undeclared War

After the election of 1800, the Democratic-Republicans held solid majorities in both houses but refused to give Jefferson his declaration of war. Instead, Jefferson received an authorization to use force that authorized the Navy to seize Tripolitan ships and cargoes and to commission privateers.

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The First Presidential Veto

Washington’s rationale for sending it back to Congress was that it was not a true representation of each state’s population. The original bill established the number of potential Representatives at 120 which would be divided by the 15 states, i.e. each state would receive up to eight.

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The Democratic-Republican Party Conundrum of the Election of 1808

James Madison, Jefferson’s Secretary of State, chose George Clinton, the Governor of New York, as his preferred running mate. However, both Clinton and James Monroe, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Clinton also sought the top job as the Democratic-Republican Party candidate.

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Madison Used Tariffs to Force the British to Change Their Trade Policies

Slowly but steadily during the the 23 years Europe was consumed by war, U.S. manufacturing grew. By 1815, 20% of the workforce in the northern states – primarily Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont – was employed by manufacturing. In the southern states – Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia – only eight percent of the workers were in factories.

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Congress Asserts Control Over the Northwest Territories

Understand that while the Congress of the Confederation was debating this bill (the Northwest Ordinance of 1787), the Constitution Convention was in full swing. Within two months of passing of the Land Ordinance of 1787, the Convention would present a document for ratification. Almost immediately after the Constitution was ratified in 1788, newly sworn-in President George Washington urged that the First U.S. Congress re-affirm the Land Ordinance of 1787.

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Land Ordinance of 1785 Facilitates Public Schools

Since the land given to the U.S. was poorly, to be kind, surveyed, the first recommendation was to set standards on how the land would be surveyed. Western Ohio was chosen as the first territory in which townships would be created from six-mile by six-mile pieces of land called a section. Each township would be a square of 36 sections and the language in the Land Ordinance of 1785 provides the methodology of how surveyors would measure the land down to the individual lot.  

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Rules of Engagement for Statehood

Immediately, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia claimed all the land from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Connecticut claimed a sliver of land west of Pennsylvania. There was still some disputed land on the border of the U.S. and Canada and the southern border of Georgia north of western Florida, which would be resolved over time.

Members of the Continental Congress saw the lines drawn on a map as blatant land grabs by the individual states. So, what could the Continental Congress do?

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The Trade That Led to Creation of D.C.

A national capital was not a new idea. Several sites were proposed under the Articles of Confederation, and all were in either NY, NJ, or PA, something the southern states would not accept. Under the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress did not have the power to create a national capital, so the issue died until the new Constitution empowered the Federal government to create a home.

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The Powerful Insurrection Act of 1807

When one realizes the Insurrection Act was written in 1807, we had been an independent country for just 24 years. The British still maintained forts on U.S. soil in the Northwest Territories and were instigating the Native Americans against the United States. They were impressing U.S. sailors into the Royal Navy and seizing our ships carrying goods to countries fighting England during the Napoleonic Wars. Our leaders felt the pressure of domestic as well as international threats. President Jefferson and Congress wanted to give the president the power to use military force if necessary to suppress a rebellion.

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