Establshing a New Nation and the First Four Presidents
|1788||George Washington elected president|
|1791||Bank of the United States|
Battle of Fallen Timbers
|1796||John Adams elected president|
Alien and Sedition Acts
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
|1800||Thomas Jefferson elected president|
Marbury v. Madison
|1804-1806||Lewis and Clark expedition|
Establishing a New Nation
The first 25 years of the new nation were tumultuous. Many obstacles and challenges arose, some of which the framers of the Constitution had foreseen, others of which were unanticipated. During the first four presidential administrations, the nation began to take shape.
George Washington set a precedent for the isolationism that was to characterize American foreign policy for many decades afterward. Washington refused to involve the United States in the French Revolution, and upon leaving office in 1796, he warned his successors to avoid getting involved in foreign wars.
John Adams was the first president to represent a political party. He was the candidate of the Federalists, who believed in strong central government rather than government dominated by the states. Adams struggled successfully to maintain peace with France, at the cost of signing the Alien and Sedition Acts. Many people believed that these acts were unconstitutional because they infringed on individual liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Kentucky and Virginia passed resolutions declaring that states did not have to obey unconstitutional laws.
Thomas Jefferson became president in 1800; he doubled the size of the United States by purchasing the Louisiana Territory from France. Under Jefferson, the Supreme Court established the principle of judicial review, which gave the Court the right to decide whether a law was unconstitutional and, if so, to strike it down.
Under James Madison, war broke out between the American Indians and the United States. The U.S. troops defeated the Native-American confederation at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Soon after, the United States was plunged into war again, this time with Britain. In late 1814, the Treaty of Ghent ended the war, establishing an alliance with Britain that has continued uninterrupted to the present day.
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