As Jefferson assumed office and Democratic-Republicans took control of the federal government in March 1801, new leaders emerged while others exited the stage or moved to the periphery. The new administration would get its start still dealing with the aftermath of the recent contentious election, and the new President had to weigh, with his words and his first decisions, how to balance his obligations to his party and the best interests of the nation. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “Election Day in Philadelphia” by John Lewis Krimmel [c. 1815], courtesy of Wikipedia
As the new federal capital comes alive with government officials and newspaper publishers moving in to be on hand for the congressional session opening in November 1800, President Adams waits with the rest of the nation to learn the results of electors being chosen across the United States. His path to reelection however grows ever darker due to a dispute with his running mate’s brother and a pamphlet released by Alexander Hamilton. Sources used in this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
Featured Image: “General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney” by James Earl [c. 1795], courtesy of Wikipedia
With yellow fever raging in Philadelphia, the federal government has to move once more, adding to the headaches of Secretary of War James McHenry who had his position in the Cabinet already being undermined by General Alexander Hamilton. In Quincy, John Adams meets with Elbridge Gerry to learn more about the latest offer for diplomatic talks with the French while in Virginia, Vice President Jefferson and former Rep. James Madison plot how to oppose the Alien and Sedition Acts. Sources used in this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
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
Washington, his household, and his administration struggle to deal with an epidemic of yellow fever as it makes its way through the city of Philadelphia, indiscriminately infecting people from all walks of life including a resident at the President’s House. In addition to the loss of life, the epidemic brings up questions about how best to utilize medical knowledge to the public good, the role of the press, the relationship of individuals to their environment, and the ability and role of the government in a crisis management situation. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.
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.
Washington’s inauguration, while starting up the wheels of the executive branch, leaves many questions to be answered by the first chief executive and the new government. What titles will be used to address the president? How will he make himself available to the public and to the other branches of government? What does seeking “the Advice and Consent of the Senate” really mean anyway? So much of what we take for granted with the presidency nowadays is established in Washington’s first few months on the job, and these precedents that he established in the early part of his administration are the focus of this episode. Source information for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.