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Terms in this set (48)

Rights which theoretically are inherent in all human beings and which therefore cannot be denied or rightfully taken away. Identified by John Locke as the rights of life, liberty, and property, these rights seem to stem from the concept of Natural Law, an idea created by the Stoics of ancient Greece who argued that there is a universal moral law which cannot be rightfully violated and which transcends all human or societal laws. Later interpreted by the Church during the Middle Ages to mean God's Law, Natural Law came to stand for standards and rights which governments could not violate, and that led to its use as a justification for resistance to or rebellion against illegitimate or oppressive authority (as Jean Bodin did in his Six Laws). The Whigs and the Whig Ideology, as suggested by John Locke's work, came to identify Natural Rights with the rights of Englishmen, and the colonists, who also believed in that ideology, appealed to this idea as a justification for their opposition to British policies such as the Writs of Assistance. Natural Rights are significant not only because they provide the colonists with a justification for rebellion but also because they are a major support for the rise of the belief in individual rights generally in Western Civilization and, particularly, the pervasive, nearly unquestioning belief in the US in such rights. These rights are problematical, however, for two reasons. They are theoretical and cannot be proven and therefore depend on public belief plus legislative and judicial support. Second, as a theoretical concept open to interpretation, the Natural Rights doctrine can be used for different purposes such as establishing constitutions and laws or destroying constitutions and laws.
The landmark US Supreme Court case of 1803 in which the decision by Chief Justice John Marshall provided the court with the power of judicial review thereby increasing the power of the court and making the judiciary a powerful third branch of the federal government. Judicial review meant that, because the courts interpret the law whenever they decide a case, the court had the authority to determine the constitutionality of legislation thereby giving people opposed to legislation another method of having that legislation considered and rewritten or eliminated. The irony was that the court gave this power to itself. One of several important cases by which the Marshall court (1801-1835) increased the power of the court and the federal government, Marbury v. Madison began when William Marbury sued Secretary of State James Madison when he did not receive his commission as Justice of the Peace which he had been granted in 1801 by outgoing President John Adams. Marshall, a Federalist, opposed Jefferson and his philosophy, found in favor of Marbury, but could not order Madison to deliver the commission for fear that the court would be weakened if Madison refused. Instead, Marshall ruled that the court could not order a writ of mandamus because a portion of the Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional. Marbury failed to receive his commission, but the court obtained new power. Jefferson could do nothing about it, although he tried to impeach some Federalist judges. The US Supreme Court, the least democratic part of the government, established itself as the last word on the law and the Constitution.
Meeting of Federalist party members held at Hartford, Connecticut in late December 1814 which, while attempting to take advantage of the unpopularity of Jefferson and Madison's policies and the War of 1812 and bring about constitutional reforms which would restore the Federalist party to national power, actually ended any chance of a Federalist revival. The Federalist party had grown in strength in the elections of 1808 and 1812, and in 1814 moderate Federalists took control of the convention and called for constitutional amendments to prevent radical Federalists (who had opposed the war, refused to support it, and even traded and dealt with the British) from calling for the secession of the Northeast from the Union. The convention proposed a number of Constitutional amendments on the grounds that New England was about to become a permanent minority within the nation which would be unable to protect its interests (not unlike the South's argument in 1861). First, the 3/5 clause for counting slaves (benefiting the South and West) should be deleted. Second, naturalized citizens (who tended to be Republicans) should not be allowed to hold office. Third, a 2/3 majority of Congress would be required to declare war. Fourth, a 2/3 majority of Congress would be required to admit new states (dominated by Republicans) into the Union. Fifth, two presidents could not be elected successively from the same state. Sixth, embargoes could not last more than 60 days. The primary purpose of the convention was to promote states rights and prevent one part of the country from becoming a hostage to the rest, but the representatives of the convention arrived in Washington in mid-January 1815 just after the city received the news of the victory at New Orleans and the end of the war. Their resolutions appeared to be unpatriotic, and the new nationalism of the postwar era overrode their cause of states rights. The timing of the convention, if nothing else, destroyed the possibility of the Federalists again becoming a force in national politics, and by 1820 the Federalist party was virtually dead. The first two party system had ended with the triumph of the Democratic-Republicans.
The first constitution of the United States, approved by the Second Continental Congress in November 1777 and ratified by the states in March 1781, it established a confederal government under which the individual states were sovereign and the central government was extremely weak with largely theoretical powers delegated to it by the states. Formally, the new central government created by the Articles had control over foreign affairs, Indian affairs, and interstate relations, but in actuality it had almost no power because it could not raise money or troops on its own, regulate trade, or pass laws binding individual citizens. In force from 1781 to 1789, the Articles created only one branch at the national level--the legislature (Congress), and it functioned merely as an agent of the states. Each state had one vote; important legislation required the agreement of nine states and amendments required unanimity. Reflecting the revolutionaries' rejection of unitary government, their demand for local control, their suspicion of executives (colonial governors), and their reliance on the states as a power base, the Articles did not provide for an independent executive or judicial branch. The government under the Articles had some successes, but it had four major problems--with finance (being unable to raise money to pay the national debt), with commerce (being unable to regulate trade), with foreign affairs (being unable to protect its borders), and with internal instability (being unable to enforce the law). The history of the Articles suggests that a government which is highly decentralized and weak may be a detriment rather than a benefit.
Diplomatic incident between the US and France in 1797-1798, the core of which was a demand in October 1797 by the three representatives of the French foreign minister, Talleyrand, (referred to as X, Y, and Z in US dispatches) for a bribe of $250,000 and a loan to France of $12 million before talks could begin. The affair is representative of the crisis in foreign relations which the US faced in the 1790s as the war in Europe threatened to draw in the US. After Jay's Treaty and the election of John Adams and the Federalists in 1796, France argued that the treaties of 1778 were being violated. It refused to receive the new US minister, C.C. Pinckney, and it began to seize US ships. Adams, to avoid war with France which Hamilton and other Federalists favored, sent a three-man commission to France (C.C. Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry). They rejected the demands for a bribe and a loan--but not officially until January 1798. A journalist reported, probably elaborating, that the Americans had said, "Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute." When the correspondence was made public in April 1798, outrage swept the US, and that month an undeclared naval war--the "Quasi-War"--began between the US and France in the Caribbean. It lasted until 1800. Adams, fearful of full-fledged war and of the intentions of Hamilton and the High Federalists who apparently wanted war and an army as an excuse to rid the US of their political opponents, moved to restore peace with France. Although this peace effort would divide the Federalists and endanger his political future, Adams named a new minister to France in 1799 and sent another peace commission. On September 30, 1800 they signed the Treaty of Mortfontaine (known as the Convention of 1800). This ended the Quasi-War and led to the abrogation of the defensive alliance with France under the treaties of 1778. The XYZ Affair, partly because of the highly charged ideological divisions in the US and partly because of American moralism, led to an undeclared war at sea, the suppression of rights at home through the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the possibility of the US becoming fully involved in the European wars which could have been disastrous for the new nation.
The purchase of the Louisiana Territory on April 30, 1803 by the US (Jefferson Administration) from France (Napoleon) for $15 million--an act which violated the doctrine of strict construction of the Constitution and therefore is an example of how Jefferson seemed to go against his own principles. Although without clear boundaries, the Louisiana Territory included the land drained by the western tributaries of the Mississippi River and roughly doubled the size of the US. Napoleon sold it (cheap) because the war in Europe was about to begin again and he needed money and because a successful rebellion in Haiti had ruined his plans for an American empire and had made the Louisiana Territory virtually worthless to him. Jefferson bought it because it ensured the future success of the US as a republic, destined to cover a continent. More specifically, the US needed to control the Mississippi River and its mouth, and Jefferson thought the territory ensured that the US would have open land for many generations and would therefore remain an agrarian republic. Opposition to the purchase came from Democratic Republicans who argued that it was unconstitutional and unprincipled and from Federalists who saw the acquisition as placing Federalists in a permanent minority status and therefore undermining Federalist policies, New England interests, and the country's standards of morality and decency. Those fears led to the Northern Confederacy Scheme of 1803-04 when the Northeastern states threatened to secede from the Union. The purchase could be seen as an indication of Jefferson's pragmatism. Or, as historian Lance Banning says, the purchase could be viewed not as a sign of unprincipled hypocrisy but of Jefferson's belief in a larger principle--having a republic--for which the "Principles of '98" were simply means.
Measure enacted by Parliament in May 1773 which set off the third crisis in British-colonial relations (the first two were the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Duties of 1768, both of which were opposed by a combination of merchants and artisans) and led to the war for independence. The act ostensibly benefited both the English and the colonists by lowering the cost of tea while maintaining a tax on tea and while saving the East India Company from bankruptcy, but the colonial radicals saw the act as a nefarious plot to entice the colonists to pay a tax (and thereby accept the principle of taxation) by buying cheaper tea (an unnecessary luxury) and thereby providing revenues to the British which could be used to pay the royal governors and deny the colonists control over such officials. The East India Company already had a monopoly on the sale of tea in North America (formerly auctioned in London to buyers), but the Tea Act extended that monopoly to the importation and distribution of tea in the colonies thereby bypassing colonial merchants and lowering the price of the tea so much that smuggling would be less profitable. The act therefore threatened the profits, if not the businesses, of colonial importers. Led by John Hancock of Massachusetts (a leading smuggler), these merchants and their artisan allies used the committees of correspondence to keep the ships from unloading their cargoes in various harbors. When Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the ships to leave Boston harbor, the Boston Sons of Liberty dumped the tea into the harbor on the evening of December 16, 1773. Parliament then passed the Coercive Acts in April 1774, and that led to the First Continental Congress in the colonies in September 1774.
Privately controlled financial institution chartered by the federal government in 1791 to handle the government's financial affairs and pool private capital for economic development. Bank of the United States, first chartered from 1791 to 1811, in accordance with a second report issued by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in December 1790. A central or national bank, the B.U.S. was envisioned as an instrument by which the national government could promote the growth of industry and commerce--first, by putting the government on a sound financial footing; second, by providing a national paper currency to increase stability and flexibility in the economy nation-wide; third, by making borrowing easier for business; and fourth, by tying the wealthy to the national government by purposely establishing a national debt which the wealthy would hold by buying government securities. The B.U.S. was important because it strengthened the national government, promoted the existence of the US as a single economic unit, and raised political and constitutional questions--how much power should the national government have and should the Constitution be read broadly or narrowly? The debate over the B.U.S. contributed to the emergence of political parties because Jefferson and Madison opposed it on three grounds. Ideologically, they opposed it as a force which would undermine the republic by obstructing the formation of a virtuous citizenry. Politically, they opposed the B.U.S. because while it was a public institution with immense power, it would be controlled by the wealthy few. It was capitalized at $10 million with only 1/5 of that coming from the government and 4/5 from private investors. Constitutionally, they opposed it because the Constitution did not provide for a national bank, and they argued for strict construction of the Constitution so the government would have only those powers actually stipulated. The B.U.S. required loose construction based on the "necessary and proper" clause in Article I, Section 8.
Treaty between the US and Britain, negotiated for the US by John Jay, signed November 14, 1794, and ratified in 1795 despite its unpopularity which led to its identification with John Jay as his treaty. The treaty was intended to avoid war, obtain a commercial agreement, and resolve differences such as the British occupation of the Northwest posts and British seizure of US ships, goods, and men which began in 1793. It provided for normal diplomatic relations, for British evacuation of the Northwest posts, for a commission to settle debt claims and the US-Canadian border in the Northeast, for reopening trade with the British West Indies but under severe restrictions, but no recognition of the rights of neutrals or any restriction on impressment. Anti-British sentiment was turned against the treaty and John Jay as Jeffersonians accused Jay, Hamilton, and the Federalists of sacrificing US interests in order to preserve and promote Hamilton's policies which depended to a considerable degree on retaining good relations with Britain. The treaty had at least three results: it weakened the Federalist party, it motivated the Jeffersonians to organize for the elections of 1796, and it induced Spain to sign the Pinckney Treaty (Treaty of San Lorenzo). The two treaties were important for reducing foreign infringement on US territory, for reducing the possibility of the secession of the Trans-Appalachian region, and for reducing the possibility of the US becoming involved in the European wars.
Four laws passed by the Federalist-dominated Congress in 1798 in response to the crisis with France and the Quasi-War. An attack by the High Federalists on their political enemies the Democratic-Republicans, these laws placed severe restrictions on recent immigrants and on freedom of speech. There were three alien acts which first, extended the period required to become a citizen from five to fourteen years; second, authorized the president to deport any noncitizens considered a threat to the public safety; and third, authorized the president to arrest or deport any noncitizens subject to an enemy power. The Sedition Act set fines and jail terms for persons advocating disobedience to federal law or printing or speaking "false, scandalous, and malicious" statements against "the government of the US or the President of the US." Note the Vice President, who was Thomas Jefferson, was not included, and that was because the laws, strongly partisan, were directed against Jefferson and his party. Several Jeffersonian newspaper publishers were recent immigrants, and the Sedition Act led to fourteen prosecutions. The Sedition Act was an attack on the First Amendment rights of speech, press, and belief. The Federalists argued that the Jeffersonians identified with France, were intent on destroying the republic, and therefore had to be stopped. Hence, these acts are an example of how, at various times in US history, restrictions on freedom have been carried out in the name of protecting freedom. One result of the Alien and Sedition Acts was the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.
(1768-1813): Shawnee chief who led one of the most successful efforts to unite the tribes west of the Appalachians and thereby resist the westward expansion of whites and preserve Native American culture. Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa, known to whites as "The Prophet," were two of several visionary leaders who appeared among the eastern woodlands tribes in the 1790s and early 1800s and who led movements to save Native American culture which was near collapse. Inspired by the Second Great Awakening (occurring in the white culture ca. 1800) and reacting to the cultural destruction wreaked on the tribes by contact with the whites and the loss of their land and cultural ways, Tenskwatawa in 1805 called for a religious and cultural revival similar to efforts by Alexander McGillivray among the Creeks in the 1790s and Handsome Lake among the Seneca ca. 1800. Once the Native Americans had returned to their old values and banished white ways (including alcohol), Tenskwatawa prophesied that God would return the world to the way it was before the arrival of whites. While Tenskwatawa preached, Tecumseh undertook the organization of the tribes of the Old Northwest plus others such as the southern Creeks into a confederation able to withstand the white advance. Basically a defensive organization, Tecumseh's confederation was a viewed as a threat by all Westerners. When Tecumseh and the Shawnee refused to sign the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809) by which Miami and Delaware chiefs had relinquished claims to much of western and central Indiana, William Henry Harrison the governor of Indiana Territory attacked the village of Tippecanoe and defeated Tenskwatawa in September 1811 while Tecumseh was negotiating with tribes south of the Ohio River. Tecumseh, never a British agent earlier, then joined with the British and subsequently died at the Battle of the Thames in 1813 in Canada during the War of 1812. With the defeat in the War of 1812, the military power of the eastern woodlands tribes was destroyed, and they could not meaningfully resist the whites' westward advance.