The election of 1796 results in John Adams becoming the nation’s second chief executive, but he quickly finds more questions than answers awaiting him on the path to taking the oath of office. Adams is immediately faced with the need to make decisions about who to keep from the previous administration, what if any policy changes to make, and even where he and his family will live. It’s a transition unlike any other in American history to that point, and with various pressing issues waiting on the desk, the honeymoon for the new President promised to be short-lived. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
After President Washington releases his Farewell Address, informing the nation that he would not seek another term, the 1796 election is carried out though, both domestically and abroad, there is much confusion about how exactly the United States would decide upon its next president. Meanwhile, the French plot to interfere with the election, the public attacks on Washington continue, and a military leader meets his untimely end. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “”Evacuation day” and Washington’s triumphal entry in New York City, Nov. 25th, 1783,” Edmund Restein and Ludwig Restein, c. 1879, courtesy of the Library of Congress
Relations between the US and France deteriorate after the Jay Treaty goes into effect while Washington gets involved in the campaign to secure Lafayette’s release from his imprisonment in the Habsburg Monarchy, the administration takes care of business as the end of Washington’s second term draws closer, and the parties position themselves to launch into the 1796 presidential campaign as soon as Washington finally makes official his plans to retire (aka the worst kept secret in the 18th century). Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Portrait of Marie Adrienne Francoise de Noailles, Marquise de La Fayette (1759-1807)”, 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
As Alexander Hamilton readies himself to depart from the administration at the beginning of 1795, I use this defining point of the Washington presidency to explore various points of domestic policy and foreign issues including the establishment of the Trans-Oconee Republic, the state of the Democratic-Republican faction, the first steps of the Thermadorian government in France, the Kościuszko Uprising in Poland, the influx of refugees from Saint-Domingue and the progress of the Haitian Revolution, and British intrigues in the Caribbean. Many issues face Washington and his new Cabinet secretaries as they enter the final two years of his second term. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Portrait of Tadeusz Kościuszko” by Karl Gottlieb Schweikart, courtesy of Wikipedia
James Monroe arrives in France as major changes are occurring in the governance of the nation – Robespierre is out, and the Thermadorians are in. Back in the US, Washington and Hamilton ride at the head of an army west to put an end to the Whiskey Rebellion once and for all, but they will be shocked by what they find as they draw nearer to Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, as we near the end of 1794, the longest serving member of Washington’s Cabinet considers his future. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: James Monroe by Louis Semé [c. 1794], courtesy of Wikipedia
Developments on both sides of the Atlantic keep the administration busy in 1794. Prominent envoys are sent to both Britain and France in order to avert the US being drawn into conflict with a foreign power. General Wayne and his troops march into action in the Northwest Territory. Even Washington is getting into the action as he heads into the field to face the rebels in western Pennsylvania. Though only five years old, the new government under the Constitution is tested like never before. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured image: John Jay, copy based on an original by Gilbert Stuart, courtesy of Wikipedia
Washington returns to Philadelphia to deal with the continued agitations of French Minister Genêt. Meanwhile, Attorney General Randolph goes south on a fact-finding mission, Philip Freneau continues his attacks against Washington and his administration in the pages of the National Gazette, and events continue to unfold in Europe which have ramifications across the pond. Through all of this, the President has to decide what to do with his partisan Cabinet and how to preserve neutrality without offending either Britain or France. Source information 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.