The American Promise, Ch 10 Outline

The American Promise Value Edition, Combined Version (Volumes I & II): A History of the United States

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I. Jefferson's Presidency A. Turbulent Times: Election and Rebellion 1. In the election of 1800, results remained uncertain from November to February 1801 as voters in the electoral college, using the single balloting system to choose both president and vice president, gave equal numbers of votes to Jefferson and to his running mate, Senator Aaron Burr. 2. Because Aaron Burr refused to concede the presidency to Jefferson, the election moved to the Federalist-dominated House of Representatives for a decision. 3. Some Federalists preferred Burr, but Alexander Hamilton thought he would be more dangerous than Jefferson in the presidency. 4. Of the nine votes needed to win, Jefferson had the votes of eight states on the first ballot; it took thirty-six more ballots and six days to get the ninth vote in his column. 5. The election of 1800 demonstrated that the leadership of the nation could shift from one group to a distinctly different one in a peaceful transfer of power affected by ballots, not bullets. 6. As the country struggled over its white leadership crisis, a twenty-four-year-old slave, named Gabriel, who worked as a blacksmith, plotted a rebellion in Virginia. 7. Betrayed to authorities by a few nervous slaves, Gabriel's revolt never materialized, but it scared white Virginians, and in September and October they hanged twenty-seven black men for contemplating rebellion until Jefferson advised Governor Monroe that the hangings had gone far enough. B. The Jeffersonian Vision of Republican Simplicity 1. Jefferson sidestepped the problem of slavery and turned his attention to establishing a mode of governing that was in clear contrast to that of the Federalists. 2. Once in office, Jefferson emphasized unfussy frugality and a casual style. 3. Jefferson's paramount goal was to scale back the exercise of federal power and promote policies that would foster the independence of ordinary American citizens. 4. In Jefferson's vision, the source of true liberty in America was the independent farmer, someone who owned and worked his land both for himself and for the market. 5. Jefferson set out to dismantle Federalist innovation, reducing the sizes of the army and navy, abolishing all federal internal taxes, and reducing the national debt through customs duties and the sale of western lands. 6. A properly limited federal government, according to Jefferson, was responsible merely for running a postal system, maintaining federal courts, staffing lighthouses, collecting customs duties, and conducting a census once every ten years. C. The Judiciary and the Midnight Judges 1. John Adams seized the short time between his election defeat and Jefferson 's inauguration to appoint 217 Federalist men to various judicial, diplomatic, and military posts.
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2. Most of this windfall of appointments came to Adams as a result of the Judiciary Act of 1801, which revised the original Judiciary Act of 1789, and authorized sixteen, instead of six, circuit courts, each headed by a new judge, and reduced the Supreme Court from six to five judges.
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