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" This government, the offspring of your own choice. . . . adopted upon investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, and containing, within itself, a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and respect."--PRESIDENT WASHINGTON'S Farewell Address to the People of the United States, September 17, 1796.
THE UNION-NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT1
THE FEDERALIST PARTY IN POWER
GEORGE WASHINGTON (FEDERALIST)
199. Washington elected President (Two Terms, 1789-1797); his Inauguration. We have seen (§196) that the Federalists and Anti-Federalists held opposite views about the Constitution. But both agreed that Washington should be placed at the head of the new government. They accordingly united and unanimously elected him the first President of the United States (1789-1793), and when his term of office expired he was reelected (1793-1797). In both cases John Adams was chosen Vice President. New York City was then the capital of the country, but Philadelphia was made so a little later (1790), and ten years afterward the city of Washington became so permanently (1800). Washington was to be inaugurated on March 4 (1789), the day the new Constitution went into operation; but the ceremony was delayed until April 30. The President took his
1 Reference Books (Washington to John Adams, inclusive). A. B. Hart's "Formation of the union," ch. 7-8; W. C. Bryant and Gay's "United States" (revised edition), IV, ch. 5-6; J. S. Bassett's "The Federalist System"; A. B. Hart's "American History by Contemporaries," III, ch. 12-15; A. B. Hart's Source Book," ch. II; J. Schouler's "United States," I, 74-500; J. B. McMaster's "United States," II, 540-604; II, 25-533; F. A. Walker's "Making of the Nation," ch. 5-8. See also the classified List of Books in the Appendix.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
stand on the balcony of the old Federal Hall in Wall Street where Congress met.
The Chancellor of the state of New York then stepped forward and read to him the following oath of office required by the Constitution.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." 1
Laying his hand on an open Bible, Washington replied, "I swear -- so help me God!" Then amidst ringing of bells and firing of cannon, a great shout went up from the multitude of people in the street: "Long live George Washington, President of the United States!"
200. Washington's Cabinet; how the Government raised Money. Washington chose four eminent men, as members of his cabinet or private council, to aid him in the discharge of his presidential duties. For Secretary of State, to deal with the foreign affairs of the nation, he selected Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence; for Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton (§ 196); for Secretary of War, General Henry Knox; for Attorney-General, Edmund Randolph.
Washington next appointed John Jay2 to the very important office of Chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United
1 See Appendix, The Constitution, Article 11, Section I, Paragraph 8.
2 John Jay of New York was one of the signers of the treaty of peace with Great Britain (1783).
PAYING, OUR JUST DEBTS
States. These men did not all agree with Washington in political matters; but they all reverenced him, and they were ready, like him, to do their utmost to promote the welfare and prosperity of the country.
The new government began its great work with an empty treasury; but a government can no more hope to live and pay its bills without money than you or I can. In order to obtain funds, Congress passed the first Tariff Act (1789). It imposed a moderate duty or tax on many foreign goods entering our ports.
Another act levied a tonnage tax on foreign merchant ships coming to the United States. For instance, if a French vessel of six hundred tons loaded with wine came into New York, the owners would have to pay a duty of fifty cents a ton -- or three hundred dollars on the vessel, and eighteen cents a gallon on the wine. Other articles, such as tea, silk, and sugar, were charged different rates.
201. Paying Our Just Debts. Hamilton, who was Secretary of the Treasury (§ 200), got permission from Congress (1790) to use all the money obtained by the Tariff and Tonnage Acts, not needed for the expenses of the government, to do three things:
1. To pay back to France and to other countries what we had borrowed of them during the Revolution.
2. To pay the debts we owed at home to our soldiers, and to those who had lent money to the government during the war.
3. To pay the debts which the different states were owing to their own citizens for expenses which they had incurred in fighting the battles of the Revolution.
Hamilton's wise and honest dealing put the credit of the United States on a sure foundation; it enabled us to pay debts amounting to nearly $6,000,000, and to provide for the payment of many millions more. From that day to this, we have always been able to borrow all the money we wanted.
202. Counting the People in 1790; the First United States Bank; the Mint. Meanwhile the first census was taken. It was a work of great importance, since it determined the number of representatives that could be elected to sit in Congress. The
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
number was fixed at 1 in every 33,000. It is now 1 in over 200,000. (See Appendix, Table of Representation.)
That census showed that we had a total population of not quite 4,000,000, or far less than New York City has now. It showed, too, that nearly all the people lived on a narrow strip of country along the Atlantic coast and that most of them were farmers. Since then our population has grown to over 100,000,000, and it has moved steadily westward.
Next Hamilton (§ 201) persuaded Congress to establish the first Bank of the United States at Philadelphia (1791). Congress also established the first United States mint at the same place
MOVEMENT WESTWARD OF THE CENTER OF POPULATION FROM 1790 TO 1910
In 1790 the center of population (that is, the geographical point where the population is
equal in number in all directions) was about twenty-five miles east of Baltimore. It
has since moved westward, on nearly the same parallel, at the rate of about forty-
seven miles every ten years. (The centers of population are shown by stars.)
(1792). The Bank supplied the country with paper money, which could be used throughout the states. This was an immense help to all business men.
With the opening of the mint we began our decimal system of coinage, -- ten cents make a dime, ten dimes a dollar; no system could be simpler or more convenient.
203. The Rise of Political Parties; Arrival of "Citizen" Genêt; Washington's Proclamation of Neutrality. The discussion in Congress over the question of establishing the Bank of the United States (§ 202) gave rise to the first two regularly organized political parties -- the Federalist and the Republican,
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
The members of the last-named party later called themselves Democratic-Republicans, but finally took the name Democrats, which name they still retain. (The Republican party of the present day did not come into existence until nearly sixty years after the death of Washington.) Alexander Hamilton led the Federalist party and Thomas Jefferson the Republican or, as we should say, the Democratic party.
The Federalists believed in establishing a powerful national government, in order to keep the new-formed Union together. They thought that the proposed Bank of the United States would help this.
The Republicans believed that the liberty of the people could best be preserved by strengthening the state governments. They feared that the national government, advocated by the Federalists, might lead to a monarchy. For this reason they strenuously, but vainly, opposed the establishing of the Bank of the United States.
During Washington's second presidency (1793-1797) France was engaged in a terrible revolution. The people had declared themselves a republic and beheaded their King. This led to a war between France and England. The French sent a minister to this country (1793) to get help to fight the English. He was styled "Citizen" Genêt, for, having abolished all titles of honor and respect, the French could not endure even so simple a title as Mr. He came here expecting to obtain ships, money, and aid from the government. Thousands of our people welcomed him with wild enthusiasm. But Washington feared that if "Citizen" Genêt had his own way he would speedily drag the country into a new war with England.
The President therefore issued a proclamation of neutrality (1793), stating that we should take no part in European quarrels. This proclamation so maddened the excitable Genêt that he endeavored to stir up a mob in Philadelphia, to pull Washington from his seat of office, and overturn the government of the United States. The result was that, at Washington's protest, France recalled her minister, and nothing more was heard of him.
EMIGRATION TO THE WEST
204. Emigration to the West; Cincinnati. Meanwhile, a great movement of population had begun toward the country west of the Alleghenies, -- that section in which Washington had so deep an interest (§ 138). Sevier, Robertson, and other pioneers from the Carolinas had built cabins in the Tennessee country; and Daniel Boone, the famous hunter from the same region, followed by his bold companions, had chopped a narrow path across the wilderness to Kentucky; by the beginning of the Revolution the Americans had got a firm foot hold in that fertile region.
Emigrants crossed the mountains and formed settlements on the rich lands of the Ohio Valley. Marietta, on that river, was already established (1788). A cluster of log huts, which had been built further down the river in the same year, now (1790) received the name of Cincinnati.1 There, not long after (1793), the first western newspaper -- the Sentinel of the Northwest -- was published, and the corner stone laid of the state of Ohio, the first of all that magnificent group of states formed from the Northwest Territory (§ 195), which were one by one (1803-1848) to knock at the doors of Congress and gain admission to the Union.
These settlements were made at heavy cost of life. The Indians rose, resolved to kill or drive out the invaders. After four years of fighting the savages were defeated in a final battle. General Wayne (§ 183) -- "the chief that never slept" -- forced them to sign a treaty of peace (1795) by which they gave up the greater part of the Ohio country to the whites.
I The city was named in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati (a name derived from Cincinnatus, a noted Roman patriot). The society was organized by the officers of the Revolutionary army, headed by Washington.