In the wake of multiple political losses in the first few years of the 19th century, as the election of 1804 neared, numerous Federalist leaders from New England began to consider the possibility of whether their prospects and those of their home region would be better served by breaking away from the United States. In the meantime, Commodore Edward Preble arrived in the Mediterranean to prosecute war against Tripoli while back in Albemarle County, the life of one of Jefferson’s family members hung in the balance. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Uriah Tracy” by Ralph Earl [c. 1790], courtesy of Wikipedia
Intro and Outro Music: Selections from “Jefferson and Liberty” as performed by The Itinerant Band
The nation had little time to process the news that Adams was defeated in his bid for reelection as a constitutional crisis developed regarding who would succeed him to the post. Meanwhile, the outgoing president only had a few weeks remaining to secure the ratification of the Convention of Mortefontaine, get several federal judges confirmed including a new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and get a new Treasury Secretary in place. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Front View of the President’s House, in the City of Washington” [c.1807], courtesy of Wikipedia
As President Adams and the federal government transition to the new federal capital, the next presidential election looms, and both Federalist and Democratic-Republican leaders work on behalf of their favored candidates to meet challenges to their prospects. While Federalists cope with an internal debate over exactly which candidate to support, Democratic-Republicans in Virginia work to cover up the involvement of French agents in Gabriel’s Rebellion. All the while, the US commission to France scrambles to conclude their work with a treaty in time for Adams and the Federalists to claim credit for winning the peace. Source notes for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “A view of the Capitol of Washington before it was burnt down by the British” by William Russell Birch [c. 1800], courtesy of Wikipedia
In Trenton, Adams confronted his Cabinet as well as Gen. Alexander Hamilton over the peace mission to France before the government moved back to Philadelphia for one last winter. After the new session of Congress began in December 1799, news arrived which was described as a national tragedy and had many wondering what lay in store for the US as a new century dawned. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Representation of the great fire at New York” by Franz Xaver Habermann [c. 1776], courtesy of Wikipedia
News arrives in Philadelphia of the French government refusing to accept Charles Cotesworth Pinckney as the US Minister to France, and various individuals both inside and outside the Adams administration spring into action to try to gain control of US foreign policy. Meanwhile, Adams works to cultivate sources independent of the State Department to keep him informed of affairs in Europe, and forces conspire to launch an attack on one of the leading figures of the American political landscape. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Portrait of William Vans Murray,” Mather Brown [c. 1787], courtesy of Wikipedia
Though finally managing to resolve his personnel issues, Washington and his Cabinet find themselves faced with a host of new problems including a new round of debate over the Jay Treaty and political maneuverings by the Democratic-Republicans as the next presidential election draws ever closer. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “James McHenry” by H Pollock, courtesy of Wikipedia
The Jay Treaty finally arrives in Philadelphia, but it turns out to be more of a curse than the blessing for which Washington and his administration were hoping. As Washington and Randolph scramble to figure out what to do with the treaty, the opposition makes preparations for a full-on attack on this treaty with the British. Meanwhile, the Administration learns of US Minister James Monroe’s “fraternal embrace” of the French and goes in search of a special envoy to send to Spain. Diplomacy and political intrigue abound at home and abroad in 1795. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Portrait of John Jay” by Gilbert Stuart [c. 1794], courtesy of Wikipedia
The Washington administration is beset by various problems in the west while the British threaten American shipping interests in the West Indies, leading the two nations on the path to war. Though growing ever more tired of his position, President Washington must devise a plan to thwart attempts at rebellion in the west, decide upon an envoy to send east to London to seek out a diplomatic resolution, and begin work to build the US Navy. No rest for a weary President in 1794! Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
The lead up to Washington’s second inaugural ended up being much more dramatic than anyone could have imagined as personal conflicts threatened the construction of the Federal City, Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds threatened to be made public knowledge, and Representative William Branch Giles filed resolutions against Hamilton accusing him of official misconduct and calling for his dismissal. In the middle of all this, a reluctant president turns to his family for support as he prepares himself for what already appears will be a more turbulent four years ahead than his first term had been. Source information can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Increasingly during the Washington administration, tensions were beginning to build between pro-administration and anti-administration factions which would ultimately culminate in the development of the First Party System. This episode looks at some of the structural and cultural reasons for these divisions as well as some of the early leaders of the two factions including, of course Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.