George Washington’s Farewell Address
Foreign Policy Documents
Political Cartoon, The Providential Detection
James Madison, 1799
Freedom of Speech Documents
Funding the US Debt
Alexander Hamilton, Report on Public Credit
Letter from Alexander Gallatin to Thomas Jefferson
Election of 1800
Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Address
George Washington's Farewell Address 1796
Originally published in David C. Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser
on September 19, 1796
Friends and Citizens:
The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person … I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made….
Let me now … warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally…
The …domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. ..
…[T]he common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
… It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection…
How does Washington explain the reason for the timing of the speech?
perpetrated—is responsible for
What words does Washington use to describe parties? Are these positive or negative?
According to Washington, what do political parties do to the political system?
Why were these actions something citizens should be against?
Foreign Policy: U.S. Relations with Great Britain/France
The Federalists believed that Jefferson was too close to France. This was a particular concern during the French Revolution when the country was embroiled in war and chaos. In this image, Jefferson is about to throw the constitution on an alter of French despotism, but is stopped by the American eagle.
James Madison on Great Britain in the Aurora General Advertiser, January 23, 1799 [http://www.constitution.org/jm/17990123_foreign.htm] on the website of the Constitution
…In a word, the British Monarchy must, as it assuredly does, hate the American Republic; and this hatred must be in proportion to its fear; and this fear must be in proportion to the practical success of the Republican theory. It will consequently spare no pains to defeat this success, by drawing our Republic into foreign wars, by dividing the people among themselves, by separating the government from the people, by establishing a faction of its own in the country, by magnifying the importance of characters among us known to think more highly of the British government, than of their own …
This pursuit of the British government, is highly criminal…
Republican theory—the idea that government power should come from the people through representatives
Freedom of Speech
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes Against the United States (Sedition Act)
Source: A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 – 1875, Statutes at Large, 5th Congress, 2nd Session
That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United states, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring … the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States
procure—to get something by special means (for example, to buy something).
malicious—being mean on purpose
intent—to do something on purpose
defame—attack someone through speech or writing
Source: Thomas Jefferson, November 16, 1798, Kentucky Resolution [Rough Draft]
[S]pecial provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution which expressly declares, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an Establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press, That, therefore the act of the Congress of the United States passed on the 14th day of July 1798, entitled “An act in addition to the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States,” which does abridge the freedom of the press, is not law, but is altogether void and of no effect.
provision—law in a legal document
expressly declares—specifically states
abridge—lessen or cut-off
void—has no legal force
Funding the Public Debt—Federalists vs. Republicans
The First U.S. Party System: Events, Issues, and Positions
Alexander Hamilton, Report on Public Credit
That loans in times of public danger, especially from foreign war, are found an indispensable resource, even to the wealthiest of them. And that in a country, which, like this is possessed of little active wealth, or in other words, little moneyed capital, the necessity for that resource must, in such emergencies, be proportionably urgent.
And as on the one hand, the necessity for borrowing, in particular emergencies, cannot be doubted, so on the other it is equally evident that to be able to borrow, upon good terms, it is essential that the credit of a nation should be well established.
capital—wealth in money or property
Letter from Albert Gallatin to Thomas Jefferson (feedback on Jefferson’s First State of the Union Address, November 16, 1801, on taxation) [http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field(DOCID+@lit(tj090161))] on the EDSITEment resource
On the other hand, if this Administration shall not reduce taxes, they never will be permanently reduced. To strike at the root of the evil and avert the danger of increasing taxes, encroaching government, temptations to offensive wars, &c., nothing can be more effectual than a repeal of all internal taxes, but let them all go, and not one remain on which sister taxes may be hereafter engrafted. I agree most fully with you that pretended tax-preparations, treasury-preparations, and army-preparations against contingent wars tend only to encourage wars.
Election of 1800
The 1800 election was the first election with a Republican ticket so that electors could have the correct names and spelling of the nominees.
Both sources from The Early American Republic: A History in Documents by Reeve Huston from Oxford University Press, pages 47 and 49.
Results of 1800 Election
Thomas Jefferson First Inaugural Address
March 4, 1801
From the Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I … express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare … that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious … which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye … To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with … legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support …
During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. … Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. … But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. …I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, … abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the …fear that this Government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. …
Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government.
first executive office—presidency
greatness of the charge—the difficulty of the task of being president
contest of opinion—election of 1800
social intercourse—interactions between citizens