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Flashcards in Antebellum America: Politics Deck (41):

The Era of Good Feelings

The Era of Good Feelings began with James Monroe's election to the Presidency in 1816. With the Federalist Party collapsing, the Democratic-Republicans dominated politics and there was a renewed optimism brought about by a revived American economy and peace in Europe. 


The Rush-Bagot Agreement (1815), established disarmament upon what international border?

In the Rush-Bagot Agreement, British and American diplomats severely limited naval armament on the Great Lakes and set the stage for limits on border forts between the United States and Canada. 

The Rush-Bagot Agreement inaugurated peaceful coexistence between America and Canada.


Under Chief Justice John Marshall, how did the Supreme Court strengthen the federal government?

The Marshall Court issued decisions that established the superiority of the federal government over the states.


Although the Supreme Court had held a federal law unconstitutional in Marbury v. Madison, in what case did the Supreme Court establish the principle that it could hold a state law unconstitutional?

Fletcher v. Peck (1810)

In Fletcher, the Georgia state legislature had enacted a law that voided some land sales which a previous legislature had made and which were induced by bribery.

The Marshall Court held that the Georgia legislature's law was a violation of the U.S. Constitution.


In Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), the Supreme Court was faced with a case in which New York State had issued an exclusive charter to one steamboat operator that conflicted with a charter issued by the federal government. How did the Court rule?

The Court ruled that under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the federal government had wide authority over interstate commerce (one of the steamboats traveled between New York and New Jersey), and the Federal charter overruled the state-level charter.


What prompted General Andrew Jackson's military actions in Florida in the late 1810s?

After Spanish troops were withdrawn from Florida to suppress rebellions in Central and South America, a mixed band of escaped slaves, whites, and Seminole Indians used the lack of authority to launch raids on American settlements and then flee across the border beyond American retribution.

President Monroe authorized Jackson to stop the raids by crossing the border if necessary.


How did the United States acquire Florida in 1819?

With American troops already in Florida (Andrew Jackson had captured Pensacola in 1818), the Spanish government recognized that the United States would likely conquer Florida and agreed to sell it to the United States, as well as give up its rights to the Oregon Territory.

For payment the U.S. government assumed $5 million in claims against Spain and also abandoned any claim to Spanish Texas based upon the Louisiana Purchase.


In 1823, concerned about European attempts to conquer new republics in Central and South America, James Monroe issued the Monroe Doctrine. What did the Monroe Doctrine establish?

The Monroe Doctrine asserted that no further European colonization would be allowed in the New World and any attempt to do so would result in American intervention.


What were the three components of Henry Clay's American System?

The American System's three components were:

  1. Impose a high tariff on foreign goods to protect American manufacturing and provide revenue for internal improvements
  2. Establish a National Bank to provide stable currency and a credit to the federal government
  3. Stimulate internal improvements (transportation projects) to aid the development of the West and to funnel agricultural goods to eastern ports


Why did Congress pass the Tariff of 1816?

Concerned that goods from newly peaceful Britain would flood the U.S. market, Congress passed a high tariff in 1816 to protect American manufacturers. It was the first protectionist tariff.

Although passed by Democratic-Republicans, the Tariff of 1816 was similar to one proposed by Hamilton decades before.


A second Bank of the United States was chartered in 1816 (Hamilton's bank's charter expired in 1811), but was blamed for the Panic of 1819. Why?

The Second Bank of the United States responded to the inflation that resulted from the end of the War of 1812 by tightening public credit. As a result, the economy collapsed.

The West was especially hard-hit as the government foreclosed on farms and debtors were thrown into prison. As a result, the Bank was exceedingly unpopular in the West.


After Maryland tried to tax the Second Bank of the United States, the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. How did the Marshall Court rule?

The Court held that Maryland could not tax the Bank. The Constitution gave the government the implied power to create a bank, and because the power to tax is the power to destroy, Maryland could not tax an institution created by the federal government. 


Prior to Missouri's petition for admission as a slave state, what was the balance of power in the House and the Senate?

There were more Northern Representatives in the House, since the North had a greater population. In the Senate, however, there were 11 free state Senators, and 11 slave state Senators.

Missouri's admission as a slave state threatened to upset the even numbers in the Senate, worrying many in the North.


What was the Tallmadge Amendment?

The Tallmadge Amendment made Missouri's admission to the Union conditional upon its emancipation of the children of all slaves upon their 25th birthday, and required that no further slaves could be taken to Missouri.

The Tallmadge Amendment failed to pass the Senate, but angered Southerners who resented any interference with slavery.


Peculiar Institution

Peculiar Institution was a Southern euphemism for slavery.

The word "slavery" was deemed improper, especially in legislative bodies, and Southerners increasingly used the term "Peculiar Institution" instead.


What were the three key components of the Missouri Compromise (1820)?

The Missouri Compromise:

  1. Missouri admitted as a slave state
  2. Maine admitted as a free state
  3. Slavery disallowed in future territories north of 36°30' except within Missouri itself


Who proposed the Missouri Compromise?

Henry Clay

The Missouri Compromise preserved the balance of power in the Senate, ensuring that for each free state admitted to the Union, a slave state would also be admitted.

Portions of the Missouri Compromise would be repealed by the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854, which allowed new states to vote on whether or not they wanted to allow slavery, and others would be struck down in the Scott v. Sandford decision.


Although the Missouri Compromise (1820) forestalled the Civil War for 30 years, it also began what trend?

The Missouri Compromise began the trend of sectionalism, and citizens began viewing the effect of political and economic activity on one's section as equally important to the effect of the activity on the nation as a whole.

The three sections are generally considered to be the North, the South, and the West.


The election of 1824 featured four candidates for President. Who were they?

  1. John Quincy Adams
  2. Henry Clay
  3. Andrew Jackson
  4. William Crawford

Andrew Jackson won the popular vote, but failed to win a majority. John Quincy Adams finished second, and William Crawford third (although he was nearly dead). Since none of the candidates won a majority, the election of the President was sent to the House of Representatives.


What did Andrew Jackson's supporters consider the "Corrupt Bargain"?

In 1824, the House of Representatives was under the control of Henry Clay (who also finished fourth in the Electoral College that year). Although Andrew Jackson had won the popular vote, Clay's efforts convinced the House to vote for John Quincy Adams as President.

Upon his election, Adams promptly nominated Clay as Secretary of State (considered a stepping stone to the Presidency). Outraged Jacksonians saw a conspiracy afoot, and denounced what they considered a "corrupt bargain."


How did the presidential election of 1824 end the Era of Good Feelings?

Each of the four candidates was ostensibly from the same political party, the Democratic-Republican Party. After the election, the Party split into Democrats (who supported Jackson), and the National Republicans, who became the Whig Party in 1828.


In 1824, and again in 1828, the House passed tariffs that increased the cost of imported goods from Britain, in an effort to protect New England manufacturing. The 1828 Tariff was widely resented in the South. What did Southerners call the 1828 Tariff?

They nicknamed the 1828 Tariff the "Tariff of Abominations." Ironically, the Tariff had been originally proposed by South Carolina Congressman John C. Calhoun.

In response to the Tariff of Abominations, the British sharply reduced their cotton imports from the South, ravaging the South's economic base.


The Election of 1828 pitted John Quincy Adams against Andrew Jackson. How did Jackson's supporters characterize their candidate?

Jackson's supporters characterized him as the champion of the common man. Jackson had no higher education, had been in several duels, and was a military hero.

Jackson's background readily appealed to the newly enfranchised voters of the West, from where he drew much of his support.


The presidential election of 1828 saw a vast increase in voters compared to previous elections. Why?

Changes in many states' electoral laws had removed the rule that a voter must own land in order to vote. Thousands of newly enfranchised voters flocked to the polls, many of them supporting Andrew Jackson.


Kitchen Cabinet

Andrew Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet was a group of informal advisors upon whose counsel Jackson relied, breaking the tradition of consulting formal Cabinet ministers.


Spoils System

Under the Spoils System, the newly elected President appointed those who'd helped him to federal office, such as Postmaster.

Jackson believed that no training was necessary for any federal office. He also rotated federal officeholders after his first term, so as to provide jobs to as many Democrats as possible.


What was the Peggy Eaton Affair?

Peggy Eaton had married Sen. John Henry Eaton shortly after the death of her first husband, in a move that scandalized Washington. Vice President John C. Calhoun's wife, Floride, refused to invite Peggy Eaton to social functions, and induced the wives of other Cabinet members to do the same.

Their actions angered Jackson, whose own wife Rachel had been similarly blackballed. Jackson showed support for Eaton by appointing him Secretary of War. The remainder of the Cabinet resigned in protest, except for Martin van Buren (a bachelor) and Eaton.

For his loyalty, van Buren was appointed Vice President by Jackson when Calhoun resigned.


What was the Indian Removal Act (1830)?

The Indian Removal Act forcibly ejected Indians from lands east of the Mississippi.

Signed by Jackson and carried out for a period of years, the Indians followed the Trail of Tears (so named because thousands died along the way) from parts of the South to new homes in Oklahoma.


What was the Nullification Crisis?

In 1832, during Andrew Jackson's presidency, South Carolina sought to challenge the Tariff of Abominations, which it felt disadvantaged it against Northern competitor states, and passed the Ordinance of Nullification, banning the collection of the Tariff in South Carolina.

Essentially, South Carolina was claiming that it had the ability to nullify, within its borders, a law passed by the federal government. 


How did Andrew Jackson respond to South Carolina's attempt to nullify the Tariff of Abominations?

After asking Congress for a Force Bill, Jackson mobilized the Army, and threatened to hang John C. Calhoun, a South Carolina politician and his former Vice President, from the nearest tree. Jackson, although in favor of states' rights, considered South Carolina's actions to be treason.

After heated debate, cooler heads prevailed, and South Carolina backed down.


What did Andrew Jackson call the "Hydra of Corruption"?

The Second Bank of the United States

Jackson felt that the Bank was unconstitutional, and only served the wealthy. Jackson declared war on the Bank, and on its President, Nicholas Biddle. It did not help the Bank's public image that Biddle was arrogant and unpopular.


How did Henry Clay respond to Jackson's antipathy towards the Bank of the United States?

Although the Bank's charter still had a few years left, Clay pushed a recharter bill through Congress, which Jackson promptly vetoed.

Clay had hoped that Jackson's veto of the recharter bill would swing the election to the Whigs, but the move backfired, and Jackson defeated Clay handily in the 1832 election.


pet banks

Pet banks were local banks, rather than the Second Bank of the United States. Following his reelection in 1832, Jackson had withdrawn the United States' funds from the Bank of the United States, and deposited them in pet banks.



Scrip was currency printed by a bank (today's bills are printed by the federal government). Banks had an option to accept another bank's scrip in repayment for a loan, or to demand gold or silver ("specie") in repayment.

With coffers filled with cash, Jackson's pet bank issued scrip in large quantities.


What was the effect on the economy of Jackson's depositing federal money in pet banks?

With a plentiful supply of ready funds, the banks lent the money to speculators, who in turn increased the price of land. Inflation also became a problem, driven by the ready supply of available cash.


How did Jackson attempt to deal with the rising inflation that followed his deposit of federal funds in pet banks?

Jackson issued his Specie Circular, which required that purchases of government land be made in gold and silver, rather than paper currency. 

Since banks were more willing to lend scrip, rather than gold and silver, this led to a sudden curtailment of credit, resulting in the Panic of 1837.


Who was blamed for the Panic of 1837?

The blame for the Panic and the depression which followed fell squarely upon Martin van Buren, Jackson's chosen successor. This was in spite of the fact that the Panic was largely due to Jackson's withdrawal of funds from the Second Bank of the United States, and the resulting Specie Circular.


By 1840, the new Whig party stood poised to beat Martin van Buren, and elevate William Henry Harrison to the Presidency. The Whig campaign was known as the "Log Cabin and Hard Cider Campaign." Why?

Much like the Democrats did with Jackson years before, the Whigs ran a well-organized campaign, emphasizing Harrison's log-cabin background and providing hard cider to voters.

Harrison, known as Old Tippecanoe for his military victory, was swept to victory on the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!"


After William Henry Harrison died in office (after one month), John Tyler succeeded to the Presidency. What was unique about Tyler's position as President?

Tyler was the first Vice President to become President following the death of a sitting President. Nicknamed "His Accidency," John Tyler governed not as a caretaker, but as a viable President, setting the standard for future Vice Presidents in the same situation.

By the end of his term, Tyler was unpopular. Democrats felt him too similar to the Whigs, and Whigs felt him too close to the Democrats, especially after Tyler vetoed the Whig bank recharter.

John Tyler was later elected to the Confederate Congress, but died before taking office. 


What was Jacksonian Democracy?

Jacksonian Democracy centered upon the participation of the public in elections and the government. Under Jackson's view any man could fill any office in the federal government. Jacksonian Democracy favored a strong President and a weak Congress. 

The era of Jacksonian Democracy lasted until the 1850s, when slavery once more loomed large as a national political issue.


What were the Gag Rule Debates?

Between 1831-1836, William Lloyd Garrison and other abolitionists sent anti-slavery petitions to Congress. Rather than hear the petitions, in 1836 Congress voted to table any anti-slavery petition without debate, known as a gag rule. From 1836 until the gag rule was repealed in 1844, Congress repeatedly debated whether to keep the gag rule in place.