President James Madison
Physically frail, he was an unlikely candidate for political greatness. Considered the "Father of the Constitution," he co-authored the Federalist Papers and the Bill of Rights. Appalled by Alexander Hamilton's vision of federal power, he helped found the Democrat-Republican Party to pursue a more limited federal government. After serving as Secretary of State for President Jefferson, he was elected president in 1808. Faced with issues of impressment and neutral rights, he issued a declaration of War against Great Britain in 1812. He retired to his Virginia plantation in 1817.
This Shawnee chief organized an Indian confederacy to try to defend Indian land and culture in the Ohio country. He combined military skill and oratory brilliance to fashion one of the biggest pan-Indian alliances. In 1811 his confederacy was shattered at the Battle of Tippecanoe. He was killed later at the Battle of the Thames during the War of 1812.
Battle of Tippecanoe
This battle took place on November 7, 1811 between Shawnee Indians and U.S. forces. In the years after 1805, the Shawnee Prophet and his brother Tecumseh encouraged Indian resistance to U.S. demands for land in the Old Northwest. William Henry Harrison, the governor of Indiana Territory, was greatly concerned and organized more than 1,000 troops. The Prophet had decided that he must attack to forestall Harrison. This battle was fiercely fought, and the Americans lost nearly 200 killed and wounded. It is likely that Indian casualties were about the same. Harrison, however, claimed a major victory because the Indians dispersed. The Indians, however, were now more determined than ever to resist the Americans, and many were ready to join the British in the event of war.
This term was given to members of the U.S. Congress who strongly supported American participation in the War of 1812. The most adamant were Western and Southern members, including Speaker of the House Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun. By 1811, these young Congressmen called for war against Great Britain as the only way to defend the national honor and force the British to respect America's neutral rights.
General William Henry Harrison
He led the militia assault upon Tecumseh's village at Tippecanoe Creek in October 1811. Then, after the British had captured Detroit in the summer of 1812, he took charge of efforts to halt the British advance. After recapturing Detroit in late September 1813, he pursued the retreating British forces into Canada. At the Battle of the Thames in October of that same year, British troops along with their Native American allies, were so soundly defeated that they never posed a threat to the security of the Northwest Territory again. (Tecumseh was killed in the battle.) In 1840, he became the first Whig President, winning the election with a "log cabin" and "hard cider" appeal to the common people. The 68-year-old caught a cold at his inauguration and died after serving only one month in office.
Francis Scott Key
From the deck of the a British ship on the night of September 13th 1814, this man observed the ineffectual British bombardment of Fort McHenry, the city's principal defensive fortification. He was so inspired to see the American flag still flying over the fort on the morning of September 14 that he composed "The Star-Spangled Banner" while returning to shore with his friends. His words were soon set to music, and before long, the tune was being played all around the nation. In 1931, Congress resolved that the "Star-Spangled Banner" would become the nation's official anthem, which President Herbert Hoover then promptly signed into law.
Treaty of Ghent
Signed on December 24, 1814 in Belgium by representatives from the United States and Great Britain, this treaty officially ended the War of 1812. The war had essentially been a draw, and the treaty did not call for any significant changes to the status quo from before the war. The U.S. Senate unanimously ratified the treaty on February 16, 1815.
In December 1814, this meeting of Federalists in Connecticut was organized to protest the War of 1812 and propose several constitutional amendments, including changes to protect the commercial interests of New England. These antiwar Federalists were discredited when the United States achieved an honorable peace in the Treaty of Ghent that same month. This meeting became a synonym for disloyalty and treason, and the Federalist Party, which rapidly declined after the war, never lived down its notoriety.
Battle of New Orleans
This battle took place on January 8, 1815, weeks after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed. It was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American forces, with General Andrew Jackson in command, defeated an invading British Army. At the end of the day, the British had 2,037 casualties; the Americans had 71 casualties. Such a route of British forces stirred American nationalism and contributed to the heroic legacy of Andrew Jackson.
In this 1817 agreement, the United States and Britain agreed to limit naval forces on the Great Lakes. Perhaps the first arms limitation agreement in history, this agreement was an example of a larger Anglo-American rapproachment that followed the War of 1812. Eventually, as an outgrowth of this decision, the entire border between Canada and the United States was demilitarized, a remarkable achievement.
Convention of 1818
In this meeting, Britain and the United States agreed to the 49th parallel as the northern boundary of the Louisiana Territory between Lake of the Woods and the Rocky Mountains. The two nations also agreed to joint occupation of the Oregon country for ten years. This agreement was an example of a larger Anglo-American rapproachment that followed the War of 1812.
Also known as the Adams-Onís Treaty, this treaty was ratified in 1821. The United States purchased Florida from Spain and established a definitive boundary between Spanish-held Mexico and the U.S. territory gained in the Louisiana Purchase.
At the suggestion of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, President Monroe announced in 1823 that the American continents were no longer open to colonization, and the United States would look with disfavor on any attempt to extend European control over independent nations in the Western Hemisphere. Although this policy is not an actual law, it has profoundly influenced the making of U.S. foreign policy. Subsequent presidents often referred to this policy as justification for U.S. intervention in hemispheric affairs.
Era of Good Feelings
In the nationalistic spirit that followed the War of 1812, rival political parties disappeared. President Monroe was so popular and the nation appeared so secure, prosperous and content that in 1817, a Boston newspaper coined this phrase to describe the mood that had settled upon the country. The era lasted from 1817 to 1823 in which the disappearance of the Federalists enabled the Republicans to govern in a spirit of seemingly nonpartisan harmony.
Second Bank of the United States
Congress (re)chartered this institution in 1816. It had extensive regulatory powers over currency and credit. It came under heavy criticism during the Panic of 1819. In 1823, Nicholas Biddle became president of this institution and pursued a strategy that strategy improved America's financial condition and stabilized the money supply, although it stifled growth in the South and West. Biddle made a major tactical blunder in 1832, however, by calling for Congress to renew the charter four years earlier than necessary. President Jackson vetoed the bill and made it the major issue of his reelection campaign later that year. This war quickly became an extremely divisive partisan issue, with Democrats supporting Jackson and Whigs supporting Biddle.
John Quincy Adams
Although he was able and principled,he served as an ineffectual president, hampered by accusations that he won the Election of 1824 by arranging a "corrupt bargain" with Speaker of the House Henry Clay. After a bitter and personally abusive campaign, Jackson won a decisive election for the presidency four years later in 1828. He is far better remembered for his earlier accomplishments as a diplomat, notably as secretary of state under President James Monroe, when he help negotiate treaties that secured Florida and the northern border with Canada. As Secretary of State, he also drafted the Monroe Doctirne.
As an orator, champion of the Union, and constitutional lawyer, he was one of the great statesmen of his day. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1812 and served there until1816. He subsequently pursued a highly successful legal practice that involved several precedent-setting appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court. His arguments in Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819), McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), and Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) were supported by Chief Justice John Marshall and earned him the nickname "Expounder of the Constitution." As a member of the newly formed Whig Party, he argued for higher protective tariffs and attacked Calhoun's theory of nullification in his famous debates against Robert Hayne in 1830. Years later, with the Union in danger of a civil war over slavery, he backed Clay's compromise efforts. In the course of debate, he spoke in favor of compromise, "not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a Northern man, but as an American."
John C. Calhoun
In a remarkable 40-year political career, he played a vital role in protecting Southern interests. At the beginning of his congressional career, he was a militant nationalist. In Congress, he joined a group of young men led by Henry Clay who were known as War Hawks. Years later, as a political philosopher and statesman, he defended the institution of slavery as "a positive good," and as an ardent proponent of states' rights, he authored the South Carolina Exposition and Protest that advanced the right of the South to nullify those laws passed by the national legislature that were viewed as harmful to its sectional interests.
This great American statesman and orator represented Kentucky in both the House of Representatives and Senate. He was a leading war hawk advocating war with Great Britain in 1812. After the war, he advocated his "American System" for modernizing the economy, especially tariffs to protect industry, a national bank, and internal improvements to promote canals, ports and railroads. He was a founder and leader of the Whig Party that Challenged Jaksonian Democrats in the 1830s and 1840s. Although his multiple attempts to become president were unsuccessful, he secured a reputation as the "Great Compromiser" for his role in drafting the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the compromise tariff of 1833 (that relieved the nullification crisis) and the Compromise of 1850.
This nationalistic program was the brainchild of Kentucky Congressman Henry Clay. It envisioned an active role for the federal government in fostering the U.S. economy through a national bank, a protective tariff, and such internal improvements as canals and roads.
Missouri's application for statehood in 1819 caused considerable controversy because, if it had been admitted as a slave state, Missouri would have tipped the balance in the Senate toward slave states. Opponents of slavery wanted Missouri to eliminate the institution prior to being admitted as a state; proponents thought that was a matter for Missouri alone to decide. In 1820, this compromise, hammered out by Speaker of the House Henry Clay, solved the problem at least temporarily by admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine (formerly part of Massachusetts) as a free state. The law further provided that slavery would be prohibited in the Louisiana Territory north of 36°30' north latitude and permitted south of that line.
Election of 1824
In this election, four candidates from the same party competed for the nation's highest office. In the end, Andrew Jackson received the most popular votes and the most electoral votes but he was not elected. Because no candidate won a majority of electoral votes, the election was thrown into the House of Representatives. Speaker of the House Henry Clay steered the election toward John Quincy Adams. When Adams then appointed Clay to be Secretary of State, Jackson and his supporters leveled charges of a "corrupt bargain."
Tariff of Abominations
Also known as the Tariff of 1828, this tariff placed high taxes on imported manufactured products to help fledgling industries in New England. Southern planters condemned the tariff because it kept their profits down and stifled free trade. Because it favored the North at the expense of the South, southerners claimed it was unconstitutional. Later, southern states and spokesmen like John C. Calhoun argued for a state's right o nullify unconstitutional laws.
South Carolina Exposition and Protest
After Congress passed a high tariff in 1828, which Southerners designated the Tariff of Abominations, South Carolina responded with this document. It was secretly authored by John C. Calhoun, who was then serving as vice president under Andrew Jackson. In this document, Calhoun laid the groundwork for the doctrine of nullification. Over time, the doctrine of nullification developed into the doctrine of secession, by which the Southern states asserted their right to leave the Union after President Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860, leading to the outbreak of the Civil War.
In his 1828 "South Carolina Exposition and Protest," John C. Calhoun argued that if an act of Congress violated the Constitution, a state could interpose its authority and declare it legally void or inoperative--within its own boundaries. This policy would evolve into the doctrine of states' rights and even secession.