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>> THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A BOLD INVENTION OF ENORMOUS RISK. AN 8-YEAR WAR OF INDEPENDENCE FOLLOWED BY INTENSE POLITICAL DEBATE PRODUCED A REPUBLIC OF, BY, AND FOR THE PEOPLE. A DEMOCRACY IN A WORLD RULED BY KINGS AND EMPERORS, IT WAS A NEW EXPERIMENT WITH THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT–A COURT, A CONGRESS, AND AN EXECUTIVE– SHARING POWER, A PRECARIOUS BALANCING ACT PURPOSELY LEFT OPEN TO INTERPRETATION IT IS THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT THAT MOST EMBODIES THE HOPES AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IT’S A POSITION INVESTED WITH GREAT POWER, THAT IS DEFINED BY CHALLENGES AND CRISES, BY THE BURDEN OF THE PAST AND VISIONS OF THE FUTURE, AND BY THE PERSONALITIES OF THE 43 MEN WHO HAVE BECOME PRESIDENT. A STORY OF AMERICA CAN BE TOLD THROUGH THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE PRESIDENTS APRIL 30, 1789. THE MORNING DAWNED CLEAR AND CRISP IN NEW YORK CITY. THE 33,000 PEOPLE LIVING IN THE CITY FLOODED THE STREETS AS A YELLOW COACH PULLED BY SIX WHITE HORSES MADE ITS WAY TO FEDERAL HALL INSIDE WAS THE HERO OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR, GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON HE WAS ABOUT TO BECOME THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES >> OF ALL THE INSTITUTIONS THAT THE FRAMERS OF THE CONSTITUTION CREATED, THE ONE THAT WAS THE MOST NOVEL WAS THE PRESIDENCY AND I THINK THE REASON FOR THAT WAS THAT THERE WAS NO REAL MODEL OUT THERE IN THE 18th CENTURY WORLD, SO A LOT WAS LEFT OPEN ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE PRESIDENCY >> AT THE TIME THAT THE OFFICE WAS CREATED, MOST COUNTRIES LIVED UNDER MONARCHIES, SO THEY WERE WRESTLING A LOT IN THE EARLY DAYS WITH HOW TO DEAL WITH THESE BASIC QUESTIONS OF POWER [GUNFIRE, CANNONS FIRING] >> THE QUESTION BEGAN AT THE END OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, WHEN IT WASN’T CERTAIN WHAT KIND OF GOVERNMENT THE NEWLY FREE COUNTRY WOULD HAVE OR WHAT PART OF IT WOULD HAVE THE MOST CONTROL >> THESE PEOPLE ARE PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS, BUT WHAT THEY DON’T HAVE IS EXPERIENCE IN CREATING A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT. THEY ONLY HAVE EXPERIENCES AT THE COLONIAL OR STATE LEVEL >> AND THE WHOLE THING IS ONE BIG EXPERIMENT. NOBODY HAS DONE THIS BEFORE. THIS IS A GROUP OF WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN LITTLE COUNTRIES, BUT NOW ARE UNITED UNDER A NEW CONSTITUTION >> AT THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION IN 1787, THE DELEGATES COULDN’T AGREE ON HOW MUCH POWER A PRESIDENT SHOULD WIELD >> MOST OF THE STATES HAD PRESIDENTS WHO WERE NO MORE THAN FIGUREHEADS. NOT SURPRISINGLY, WHEN THE DELEGATES TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION ARRIVED, A LOT OF THEM HAD THAT SORT OF THING IN MIND >> THE ORIGINAL MEN WHO WROTE THE CONSTITUTION DID NOT THINK THE PRESIDENCY WAS ALL THAT IMPORTANT. FOR THEM, THE HEART AND SOUL OF A REPUBLIC WAS THE CONGRESS >> CONGRESS REPRESENTED THE STATES, WHILE THE PRESIDENT WOULD BE A CENTRALIZED, SINGULAR POWER. A HEATED DEBATE CIRCLED THE NEW POSITION. THE AMOUNT OF AUTHORITY IT RECEIVED WOULD DETERMINE THE BALANCE OF CONTROL IN THE GOVERNMENT >> WELL THE FOUNDING FATHERS CLAIMED THAT KING GEORGE III WAS AN ABUSIVE EXECUTIVE, SO THEY DIDN’T GIVE THE PRESIDENT A LOT OF UNILATERAL POWER THEY ESTABLISHED STRONG COURTS, A STRONG LEGISLATURE, AND A RELATIVELY WEAK CHIEF EXECUTIVE >> THEY REALLY WANTED THE EXECUTIVE TO BE THE AGENT OF WHAT THE LEGISLATURE WOULD INSTRUCT OR TELL THE EXECUTIVE TO DO >> IN A WORLD OF MONARCHS, WHERE BLOODLINES DETERMINED LEADERSHIP, THIS NEW DEMOCRACY ALSO FACED A UNIQUE AND IMPORTANT QUESTION, HOW TO CHOOSE A PRESIDENT >> IT WAS GENERALLY THOUGHT THAT ORDINARY AMERICANS WOULD NOT KNOW THE CANDIDATES, WOULD NOT KNOW WHO THEY WERE. SO WHAT WOULD AN ORDINARY FARMER IN UPSTATE NEW YORK KNOW ABOUT SOME CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT? ALMOST NOTHING >> THE DELEGATES INSTEAD SET UP THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE SYSTEM EACH STATE GOT A DIFFERENT NUMBER OF ELECTORS, BASED ON HOW MANY CONGRESSMEN EACH HAD THE ELECTORS THEMSELVES WOULD BE CHOSEN BY A POPULAR VOTE IN EACH OF THE STATES OR BY THEIR LEGISLATURES. BUT TENSION AMONG THE DELEGATES WAS STILL HIGH OVER WHO WOULD BE THE FIRST TO HOLD THE OFFICE. THE QUESTION THREATENED TO DOOM THE CONVENTION UNTIL GEORGE WASHINGTON AGREED TO RUN

>> ONE OF THE THINGS THAT REASSURED SKEPTICS ABOUT THE WHOLE IDEA OF A STRONGER FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WAS THAT GEORGE WASHINGTON WOULD BE THE FIRST PRESIDENT >> THEY KNEW THAT WASHINGTON WOULD NOT TRY TO BECOME KING, BECAUSE HE HAD ALREADY WALKED AWAY FROM THAT POSSIBILITY AT THE END OF THE REVOLUTION AND SO IT WAS THAT GENIUS FOR RENOUNCING POWER THAT IRONICALLY ENSURED WASHINGTON WOULD BE THE FIRST PRESIDENT >> THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TOOK PLACE ON FEBRUARY 4, 1789. 69 ELECTORS MET IN THEIR RESPECTIVE STATES AND CAST TWO BALLOTS. THE WINNER WOULD BE PRESIDENT, AND THE RUNNER-UP, VICE PRESIDENT WASHINGTON SWEPT THE FIRST BALLOT WITH ALL 69 VOTES THE WINNER OF THE SECOND BALLOT, JOHN ADAMS, BECAME VICE PRESIDENT >> WHEN WASHINGTON WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT, PEOPLE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO CALL HIM >> HIS TITLE WASN’T A FRIVOLOUS ISSUE. IT WAS SYMBOLIC OF THE DEBATE DURING THE CONVENTION OF HOW MUCH POWER TO VEST IN THE PRESIDENCY >> JOHN ADAMS WANTED IT TO BE ALMOST REGAL, “HIS MAJESTY, THE PRESIDENT.” >> WASHINGTON SETTLED ON A MORE MODEST TITLE, “HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT.” >> PART OF BEING HIS EXCELLENCY IS THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHAKE HANDS. THEY WOULD BOW TO EACH OTHER. BUT PART OF THIS IS BECAUSE GEORGE WASHINGTON DIDN’T LIKE TO SHAKE HANDS WITH EVERYONE >> IT’S NOT THAT HE HAD A PHOBIA ABOUT BEING TOUCHED. IT’S THAT THERE WAS A CERTAIN DIGNITY, HE THINKS, THAT WENT WITH THE PRESIDENCY >> WHATEVER WASHINGTON DID, NEARLY EVERY ACTION AND DECISION TOOK ON SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE, SIMPLY BECAUSE IT WAS THE FIRST >> VIRTUALLY EVERY DAY OF HIS PRESIDENCY, WASHINGTON FACED– SHOULD A PRESIDENT ACCEPT PRIVATE DINNER INVITATIONS? SHOULD A PRESIDENT ATTEND FUNERALS? NO ONE KNEW WHAT A PRESIDENT WAS. AND SO WASHINGTON VERY DELIBERATELY SOUGHT THE ADVICE OF PEOPLE AROUND HIM >> HE, NOT SURPRISINGLY, THOUGHT HE NEEDED ADVISORS, SO HE CREATED THIS CABINET, BUT IT WAS THE GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO WERE RESPONSIBLE TO DEVISE POLICY, TO EXECUTE POLICY, TO BECOME HIS CLOSEST ADVISORS >> THE CONSTITUTION TALKS ABOUT EXECUTIVE OFFICERS, SO THE IDEA THAT THERE WOULD BE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF THE GREAT DEPARTMENTS OF GOVERNMENT WASN’T A SHOCK THE INTERESTING PART IS THAT WASHINGTON ULTIMATELY DECIDES TO CONVENE HIS EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND TO MEET WITH THEM >> OVER TIME, THE CABINET HAS GROWN FROM 4 MEMBERS TO 15, BUT ITS FUNCTION HAS REMAINED LARGELY THE SAME >> WASHINGTON BROUGHT THE BRIGHTEST MINDS OF AMERICA TOGETHER AS HIS ADVISORS, AS A CABINET. HE INVENTED THAT HE COULD HAVE CHOSEN YES MEN. HE COULD HAVE CHOSEN PEOPLE WHO GO, “YES, WHATEVER YOU WANT.” BUT, NO, HE BROUGHT TOGETHER PEOPLE WHO WERE BRILLIANT IN THEORY AND BRILLIANT IN PRACTICE >> THOMAS JEFFERSON WAS SECRETARY OF STATE. FOR TREASURY SECRETARY, HE PICKS ALEXANDER HAMILTON, AND FOR SECRETARY OF WAR, HE PICKS HENRY KNOX, WHO WAS ONE OF HIS GENERALS IN THE REVOLUTION. AND WHENEVER HE HAS A DECISION TO MAKE, A POLICY DECISION OR A DECISION ABOUT HOW HE SHOULD DO SOMETHING, HE CONSULTS ALL OF THEM >> WASHINGTON SPENT HIS FIRST YEAR AS PRESIDENT IN THE COUNTRY’S CAPITAL, NEW YORK CITY. CONGRESS MET AT FEDERAL HALL ON WALL STREET, WHILE THE PRESIDENT HAD AN OFFICE AND RESIDENCE NOT FAR AWAY >> WASHINGTON, D.C., THERE’S NOTHING THERE. IT’S SWAMP. IT’S WILDERNESS. THE CAPITAL OF THE UNITED STATES HAD BEEN MOVING AROUND. WHEN GEORGE WASHINGTON IS INAUGURATED, IT’S IN NEW YORK CITY, AND NEW YORK CITY HOPES TO KEEP IT >> SOUTHERN STATES WANTED THE CAPITAL MOVED SOUTH BETWEEN VIRGINIA AND MARYLAND. NORTHERN STATES RESISTED THE MOVE, BUT THEY ALSO WANTED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ASSUME THE TENS OF MILLIONS IN DEBT THEY’D AMASSED DURING THE REVOLUTION IT WAS THE FIRST BATTLE BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH, AND THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT WAS THE PRIZE >> HAMILTON REALLY FELT LIKE IF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT COULDN’T TAKE OVER ALL THESE STATE DEBTS FROM THE REVOLUTION, THEN THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT ITSELF REALLY WOULDN’T NECESSARILY HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO KEEP DOING WHAT IT NEEDED TO DO >> WASHINGTON AGREED, SUPPORTING A COMPROMISE THAT WOULD SWAP NORTHERN DEBT FOR A SOUTHERN CAPITAL >> ALEXANDER HAMILTON, HE MAKES A DEAL WITH JAMES MADISON, CONGRESSMAN FROM VIRGINIA, AND ALSO THOMAS JEFFERSON, AND THE ARRANGEMENT IS THAT THE CAPITAL WILL MOVE FROM NEW YORK CITY TO PHILADELPHIA FOR 10 YEARS,

AND THEN IT WILL GO TO A SITE ON THE POTOMAC RIVER, SO IT WILL END UP IN THE SOUTH >> WASHINGTON OVERSAW CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW FEDERAL CITY, HIRING THE PLANNERS WHO LAID IT OUT AND THE ARCHITECTS WHO DESIGNED THE BUILDINGS, AND HE HAD VERY SPECIFIC THOUGHTS ON THE PRESIDENT’S FUTURE HOME >> ONE OF THE ASPECTS OF ARCHITECTURE THAT HE LIKED WAS THE OVAL ROOM. I MEAN, HE MADE SURE THAT THAT PATTERN WAS THERE IN THE WHITE HOUSE >> THOSE OVALS WERE INCORPORATED INTO THE NEW MANSION, WITH THE DIPLOMATIC RECEIVING ROOM, THE BLUE ROOM, AND THE TOP FLOOR’S YELLOW ROOM. THE FIRST OVAL OFFICE WOULD BE ADDED MORE THAN A CENTURY LATER BY WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT. WASHINGTON’S DAYS WERE CONSUMED WITH THE BUSINESS OF THE NATION. HIS WORKDAY USUALLY STRETCHING FROM 4:00 A.M. UNTIL 3:00 P.M >> HE ACTUALLY HAD MORE PEOPLE WORKING FOR HIM AT MOUNT VERNON THAN HE DID IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT. THERE WERE EIGHT CLERKS THAT CONSTITUTED THE STATE DEPARTMENT. THE FIRST BUDGET OF THE UNITED STATES WAS ABOUT $2 MILLION. THE ARMY WAS A FEW HUNDRED MEN. AND YET YOU CAN SEE IN THAT IMPOSSIBLY REMOTE CULTURE, THE SEEDS OF SOMETHING MUCH MORE FAMILIAR TO US >> WASHINGTON ALSO PLANTED THE SEEDS OF THE PRESIDENCY’S RELATIONSHIP TO CONGRESS >> HE UNDERSTOOD THAT ULTIMATELY ABOUT EXECUTIVE MATTERS, HE WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH WAS MAINTAINED AS A BRANCH SEPARATE FROM THE LEGISLATURE, AND IT COULD HAVE BEEN SWALLOWED UP VERY QUICKLY >> ON ONE OF THE FEW OCCASIONS HE DIRECTLY CONSULTED LEGISLATORS, HE FOUND THEM UNRECEPTIVE TO HIS AUTHORITY >> HE WENT TO THE SENATE ONE DAY WITH AN INDIAN TREATY, THINKING THAT HE WOULD GET THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF THE SENATE WHILE HE STOOD THERE. AND SOMEONE IN THE SENATE FIRMLY MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE SENATE WOULD SET UP ITS OWN TIMETABLE FOR ADVISING WHETHER OR NOT IT GAVE ITS CONSENT. WASHINGTON LOST HIS TEMPER. HE SAID, “THIS DEFEATS EVERY PURPOSE OF MY COMING HERE, AND I’LL BE DAMNED IF I EVER DO THAT AGAIN.” HE DIDN’T, AND NEITHER HAS ANY PRESIDENT EVER SINCE >> AMERICA IS NOT A DEFERENTIAL CULTURE, AND WE’RE ALWAYS NERVOUS ABOUT CONCENTRATION OF POWER. AND SO, WHILE WASHINGTON HAD GREAT JUDGMENT AND GOT A LOT OF WHAT HE WANTED, THE FACT IS THAT WASHINGTON WAS NOT TWISTING ARMS IN CONGRESS, WAS NOT IN THERE PUSHING MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO VOTE ONE WAY OR THE OTHER >> THE CONTENTIOUS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT WAS DEVELOPING, AND WASHINGTON’S INFLUENCE WOULD SOON BE TESTED WHEN AN INSURRECTION FROM THE FRONTIER THREATENED TO DESTROY THE COUNTRY JUST AS IT WAS BEGINNING >> 1792, INCUMBENT GEORGE WASHINGTON WAS UP FOR REELECTION. BUT THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR HERO, THE MAN UNANIMOUSLY CHOSEN TO BE THE NATION’S FIRST PRESIDENT, WASN’T THINKING OF A SECOND TERM. HE WAS THINKING OF RETIREMENT TO HIS BELOVED FARM AT MOUNT VERNON >> GEORGE WASHINGTON REALLY WAS NOT PARTICULARLY EAGER TO BE PRESIDENT. AT STATE DINNERS, CEREMONIAL DINNERS, HE WOULD BE SITTING AT THE HEAD OF THE TABLE, KIND OF LOOKING INTO SPACE, AND BANGING A PIECE OF SILVERWARE AGAINST THE TABLE WHILE THE CONVERSATION WENT ON AROUND HIM, BECAUSE HE REALLY JUST WANTED IT TO BE OVER SO HE COULD LEAVE >> HE WAS EXHAUSTED BY PUBLIC SERVICE. HE HAD BEEN IN SERVICE OF THE COUNTRY SINCE REALLY 1775. THE OTHER THING THAT HAPPENED IS THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME, PEOPLE STARTED CRITICIZING HIM, AND IT MADE HIM VERY ANGRY >> THAT WAS HIS ONE EGO FLAW HE WAS ACCUSTOMED TO BEING ADMIRED. HE WAS NOT ACCUSTOMED TO ANYONE CHALLENGING HIM >> WASHINGTON MIGHT NOT HAVE RUN AGAIN, IF NOT FOR THE URGING OF THOMAS JEFFERSON, WHO FEARED THAT THE COUNTRY WOULD SPLIT APART WITHOUT HIS LEADERSHIP THE PRESIDENT EVENTUALLY AGREED, AGAIN RUNNING UNOPPOSED AND WINNING UNANIMOUSLY >> WASHINGTON’S GENIUS AS A POLITICIAN WAS TO CONVINCE EVERYONE, BEGINNING WITH HIMSELF, THAT HE WAS NO POLITICIAN. BUT HIS SECOND TERM WAS MUCH LESS SUCCESSFUL THAN THE FIRST >> THE WHOLE IDEA OF WHAT THE RELATIONSHIP WILL BE BETWEEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE STATES IS HUGELY UNDER DEBATE IN THIS PERIOD. IT’S PART OF WHY THE 1790s IS SUCH A SORT OF DIRTY, NASTY, MUDSLINGY KIND OF ERA OF POLITICS >> WASHINGTON’S OWN CABINET WAS DIVIDED, WITH TREASURY SECRETARY ALEXANDER HAMILTON IN THE

FEDERALIST CAMP AND SECRETARY OF STATE THOMAS JEFFERSON IN THE OTHER >> YOU COULD SEE THIS STRUGGLE BETWEEN WHAT WILL DOMINATE IN AMERICAN POLITICAL ECONOMY, THAT IS WHAT KINDS OF LAWS AND POLICIES WILL GOVERNMENT SET? >> BUT I THINK THAT THE CRITICAL DEVELOPMENT TOOK PLACE ONLY AFTER 1793, AFTER ISSUES OF FOREIGN POLICY CAME TO THE FORE IN AMERICAN POLITICS >> IN FEBRUARY OF 1793, ONLY A MONTH BEFORE WASHINGTON’S SECOND INAUGURATION, FRANCE DECLARED WAR ON BRITAIN [CANNONS FIRING] AND THE UNITED STATES FOUND ITSELF CAUGHT BETWEEN THE TWO WASHINGTON MADE A DARING DECISION >> THE LAST THING IN THE WORLD THE UNITED STATES NEEDED IN THE 1790s WAS TO BECOME CAUGHT UP IN EUROPE’S MURDEROUS QUARRELS WE WOULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED, MILITARILY OR OTHERWISE, AND WASHINGTON DID SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARILY BOLD WASHINGTON ISSUED A NEUTRALITY PROCLAMATION >> THERE WAS SOME QUESTION WHETHER THIS WAS EVEN CONSTITUTIONAL. PRESIDENTS DON’T GET TO DECLARE WAR. CONGRESS DECLARES WAR. AND NEUTRALITY IS SORT OF SAYING WE’RE NOT GONNA GO TO WAR, SO WHERE DOES THE PRESIDENT GET OFF DECLARING NEUTRALITY? >> WASHINGTON WAS VILIFIED IN THE PRESS >> HE WAS CALLED A BETRAYER OF THE REVOLUTION, A DUPE OF KING GEORGE. HE WAS BURNED IN EFFIGY IN PHILADELPHIA >> WASHINGTON TOOK SOME CRITICISM FOR THIS, BUT IT BECAME ONE OF THE LONGEST-LASTING PRECEDENTS IN AMERICAN POLITICAL HISTORY, THE IDEA THAT THE UNITED STATES OUGHT TO REMAIN ALOOF FROM THE WARS OF EUROPE >> WHAT WASHINGTON DOES IS TO SET EARLY ON THE PRECEDENT THAT THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT MAKES FOREIGN POLICY >> BUT WASHINGTON ALSO HAD TROUBLE ON THE DOMESTIC FRONT, WHICH THREATENED TO TEAR APART THE COUNTRY’S YOUNG DEMOCRACY IN THE SUMMER OF 1794, AN ARMED INSURRECTION OF FARMERS AND FRONTIERSMEN CHALLENGED THE AUTHORITY OF FEDERAL TAX COLLECTORS OVER A WHISKEY TAX >> PEOPLE IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA, THEY HAVE A GUN BATTLE WITH THE LOCAL REVENUE COLLECTOR. THE COMMANDER OF THE LOCAL MILITIA IS KILLED A COUPLE OTHER PEOPLE ARE KILLED AND INJURED, AND THEN THE WHOLE COUNTRYSIDE IS, LIKE, ENRAGED >> THE WHISKEY REBELS, THEY REMEMBERED THAT THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR HAD BEEN ALL ABOUT EXCESSIVE TAXATION THERE’S A DIRECT LINE THAT RUNS FROM THE REBELS OF 1776 AND THE WHISKEY REBELS OF THE 1790s AND THE TEA PARTY OF 2010 AND 2012 >> WASHINGTON UNDERSTOOD THE THREAT THIS DEFIANCE POSED TO THE COUNTRY, BUT IT ALSO HANDED HIM AN OPPORTUNITY TO CEMENT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S AUTHORITY BY PUTTING THE POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT INTO PRACTICE >> WASHINGTON MARCHED TROOPS INTO WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA TO SUPPRESS THIS REVOLT. THE IDEA THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS WILLING TO DO THAT AND DID THAT KIND OF ACTION WAS REALLY A STRONG STATEMENT >> THE REBELLION WAS PUT DOWN WITHOUT A SHOT EVER BEING FIRED AFTER GETTING WORD THAT AN ARMY WAS MARCHING OUT TO MEET THEM AND THAT WASHINGTON WAS LEADING IT, THE REBELS RETREATED TO THEIR HOMES. OF ALL THE PRECEDENTS SET BY WASHINGTON, THE MOST PIVOTAL WOULD NOT BE IN HOW HE EXERCISED HIS POWER, BUT BY HOW HE RELINQUISHED IT >> IT SEEMS LIKE A SMALL THING TO US TODAY, BUT THE FACT THAT GEORGE WASHINGTON STEPPED DOWN AFTER TWO TERMS SHAPED, IN MANY WAYS, THE SURVIVAL OF THE REPUBLIC >> FOR 144 YEARS, PRESIDENTS HONORED THIS TRADITION, NONE SERVING MORE THAN TWO TERMS UNTIL FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT BY 1951, CONGRESS WOULD MAKE WASHINGTON’S PRECEDENT LAW WITH THE 22ND AMENDMENT. BUT IN 1796, WASHINGTON’S DECISION TO LEAVE WAS VIEWED WITH TREPIDATION >> IN 1796, A LOT HAS CHANGED AND ONE OF THE THINGS IS THAT PARTIES ARE BEGINNING TO DEVELOP AND THAT IT’S A REAL CONTEST, AND PEOPLE ARE MANIPULATING, AND THE PRESS IS INVOLVED >> NONE OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS EXPECTED THERE TO BE POLITICAL PARTIES. JAMES MADISON DOES WRITE IN THE FEDERALIST PAPERS ABOUT FACTIONS, BUT HE TREATS THEM LIKE A SCIENTIST HANDLING GERMS. “FACTIONS ARE BAD.” BUT, LO AND BEHOLD, IN A FEW YEARS, THERE ARE TWO PARTIES >> THE 1796 CONTEST PITTED FEDERALIST AND VICE PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS AGAINST THE FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE AND LEADER OF THE DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICANS, THOMAS JEFFERSON. ADAMS CAME OUT VICTORIOUS BY A SLIM MARGIN,

CARRYING 71 ELECTORAL VOTES TO JEFFERSON’S 68 >> JOHN ADAMS BELIEVED THAT HE DESERVED THE PRESIDENCY. HE HAD HAD A LONG, DISTINGUISHED CAREER. HE HAD CONTRIBUTED MIGHTILY TO THE SUCCESS OF THE REVOLUTION. IT WAS HIS TIME >> IN SOME WAYS, IT’S EASIER FOR A PRESIDENT TO BE HIMSELF SUCCEEDING SOMEONE OF THE OPPOSITE PARTY THAN IT IS TO BE A PRESIDENT WHO IS SEEN AS THE THIRD TERM OF HIS PREDECESSOR JOHN ADAMS EMBODIED THAT CURSE >> AT 61, ADAMS BROUGHT AN IMPRESSIVE BACKGROUND TO THE PRESIDENCY. HE HAD HELPED WRITE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, HE HAD NEGOTIATED THE TREATY THAT ENDED THE REVOLUTION, AND ADAMS HAD BEEN A DELEGATE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION HE HAD THE RESUME, BUT LACKED ONE ESSENTIAL QUALITY >> HIS GREAT PROBLEM, OF COURSE, WAS HE WASN’T GEORGE WASHINGTON WASHINGTON WAS A MAJESTIC, LITERALLY LARGER THAN LIFE FIGURE WHO LOOKED LIKE HE WAS BORN TO WEAR A MILITARY UNIFORM JOHN ADAMS WAS A SHORT, SQUAT, BALDING, RATHER UNPREPOSSESSING NEW ENGLAND LAWYER >> SOME PEOPLE REFERRED TO HIM, “HIS ROTUNDITY.” HE WAS NOT A DASHING FIGURE. EVEN WHEN HE GOT DRESSED UP FOR EVENTS, HE MIGHT PUT ON A SWORD, HE LOOKED KIND OF PEDESTRIAN >> THE 2ND PRESIDENT HAD MORE THAN JUST IMAGE PROBLEMS IN RETALIATION FOR WASHINGTON’S PROCLAMATION OF NEUTRALITY, FRANCE HAD SEIZED MORE THAN 300 AMERICAN MERCHANT SHIPS, A DISASTER FOR THE AMERICAN ECONOMY THAT DROVE INSURANCE RATES ON SHIPPING UP 500% ADAMS SENT DIPLOMAT JAMES MONROE TO PARIS TO NEGOTIATE. THE RESPONSE HE GOT ENRAGED THE NATION >> FRENCH WERE LOOKING FOR A BRIBE, AND THEY WERE UNWILLING AT THAT TIME TO NEGOTIATE, AND THEY WANTED A LITTLE SOMETHING TO GREASE THE PALMS IN ORDER TO OPEN UP THE NEGOTIATIONS >> AMERICANS, THEY SAW IT AS AN INSULT TO THEIR SOVEREIGNTY, AN INSULT TO THEIR INDEPENDENCE THEY WERE NOT BEING TREATED PROPERLY, AND IT BECAME AN ENORMOUS ISSUE, AND PEOPLE WANTED TO DECLARE WAR ON FRANCE [CANNONS FIRING] >> ADAMS, HOWEVER, KNEW, THAT WITH AN ARMY OF JUST A FEW THOUSAND TROOPS AND A NAVY OF ONLY 25 VESSELS, THE NEW NATION WAS NO MATCH FOR THE MIGHT OF THE FRENCH >> HE SAID, “LET’S NOT RUSH INTO THIS. LET’S NOT GO OFF HALF-COCKED AND DO SOMETHING THAT WE CAN’T REALLY HANDLE.” >> MANY SAW ADAMS AS WEAK AND TIMID FOR NOT ANSWERING THIS CHALLENGE TO AMERICAN PRIDE HE ATTEMPTED TO REBOUND AND SHOW HIS TOUGHER SIDE BY SIGNING THE ALIEN AND SEDITION ACTS >> WE WERE AFRAID OF ALIENS, FOREIGNERS COMING IN AND SOMEHOW OR OTHER TAKING CONTROL THE LOGIC BEHIND THAT BEING THE GOVERNMENT’S SO NEW AND SO FRAGILE AND SO UNPROVEN THAT IF PEOPLE START TO SAY NASTY THINGS ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT AND ITS LEADERS, IT’LL COLLAPSE >> AND SO ANYBODY WHO SPOKE ILL OF THE GOVERNMENT COULD BE ARRESTED, FINED, AND SOME PEOPLE WERE, SOME NEWSPAPER EDITORS ESPECIALLY >> THE ALIEN AND SEDITION ACTS WERE JUST A TERRIBLE LAW THAT BASICALLY TRAMPLED ON THE CONSTITUTION WHEN THE INK WAS STILL WET, BASICALLY SAYING, “FREEDOM, WELL, IT’S A NICE IDEA ON THAT PIECE OF PAPER, BUT WE’RE NOT REALLY GONNA DO THAT IN HERE, IN THE ADAMS ADMINISTRATION.” >> THE ALIEN AND SEDITION ACTS DOOMED ADAMS’ PRESIDENCY BUT IN AN IRONIC TWIST, IT WOULD ALSO ALLOW HIM TO MAKE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS ANY PRESIDENT HAS MADE TO THE OFFICE AND THE NATION >> 1800. IT WAS A COLD, CLOUDY SATURDAY IN NOVEMBER WHEN PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS, MORE THAN 3 1/2 YEARS INTO HIS TERM, ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., TO TAKE THE KEYS TO HIS NEW HOME. TUCKED BEHIND A WOODY KNOLL, THE PRESIDENT’S HOUSE WAS A GRAND MANSION. UNLIKE THE WHITE HOUSE OF TODAY, THERE WERE NO PORTICOS, NO BALCONIES, BUT WITH THREE FLOORS, THE BUILDING HAD DOZENS OF ROOMS AND HAD COST THE EQUIVALENT OF 3 MILLION IN TODAY’S DOLLARS TO BUILD >> PEOPLE PICTURE WASHINGTON THE WAY IT IS TODAY, AND THEY PICTURE IT WITH THESE MONUMENTAL BUILDINGS AND THIS SENSE OF AUTHORITY. BUT WASHINGTON WAS A FOGGY BOTTOM. IT WAS A SWAMP, THERE ARE ACCOUNTS OF WOLVES WANDERING AROUND IN THE STREETS, AND IT WAS ALL HEAVILY WOODED, AND SOMETIMES PEOPLE WOULD GET LOST >> BUT ADAMS’ TIME IN THE PRESIDENT’S NEW HOME WAS DESTINED TO BE SHORT. HE LOST HIS REELECTION BID TO HIS VICE PRESIDENT, THOMAS JEFFERSON, IN AN ELECTION RIDDLED WITH HORRIFIC PERSONAL ATTACKS, AND THE HOSTILITY MADE MANY WORRY ABOUT THE TRANSFER OF

POWER. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT WOULD PROVE TO BE A TURNING POINT FOR THE PRESIDENCY AND AMERICAN POLITICS >> THIS WAS SUCH AN EXPERIMENTAL GOVERNMENT, AND EVERYONE KNEW THAT. THERE WAS NO GUARANTEE THAT AN ELECTION WOULD WORK, THAT PEOPLE WOULD ACCEPT WHAT CAME NEXT, THAT THINGS WOULD CONTINUE ON. AND THE ELECTION OF 1800 WAS SO TENSE AND SO FRAUGHT AND SO SCARY THAT PEOPLE REALLY DID THINK THAT MAYBE THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT GONNA SURVIVE THAT ELECTION >> WE OWE JOHN ADAMS A GREAT DEAL FOR WHAT HE DID AFTER THE ELECTION OF 1800. HE WAS THE FIRST PRESIDENT WHO WAS DEFEATED RUNNING FOR REELECTION, BUT HE ACCEPTED HIS DEFEAT >> WHEN 57-YEAR-OLD THOMAS JEFFERSON ARRIVED AT THE SENATE TO TAKE THE OATH IN MARCH OF 1801, IT WOULD BE THE FIRST INAUGURATION HELD IN THE NEW CAPITAL CITY. AND FROM THE START, THE 3RD PRESIDENT TOOK A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO THE OFFICE THAN HIS PREDECESSORS >> JEFFERSON ON HIS INAUGURATION DAY WALKED TO THE CEREMONY FROM HIS BOARDINGHOUSE. 175 YEARS LATER, JIMMY CARTER FAMOUSLY GETS OUT OF THE LIMOUSINE AND TOGETHER WITH ROSALYNN CARTER WALKS DOWN PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE THAT WAS A VERY JEFFERSONIAN THING TO DO >> ONE OF THE THINGS THAT JEFFERSON BRINGS IS THIS SENSE OF ACTING OUT DEMOCRACY. WHEN DIPLOMATS ARRIVE AT THE WHITE HOUSE, JEFFERSON ANSWERS THE DOOR IN HIS SLIPPERS AND SHAKES THEIR HAND, AND EVERYONE CALLS HIM MR. PRESIDENT. NONE OF THIS “HIS EXCELLENCY” STUFF >> JEFFERSON CLEARLY HAD HIS OWN UNIQUE VIEW OF THE PRESIDENCY, AND THAT EXTENDED TO THE MANSION HE LIVED IN >> THE WHITE HOUSE IS DESIGNED BY JAMES HOBAN, WHO WINS AN ARCHITECTURAL CONTEST ONE OF THE LOSING ARCHITECTS WAS THOMAS JEFFERSON. WHEN JEFFERSON BECOMES PRESIDENT, HE MAKES SOME CHANGES TO THE WHITE HOUSE ACCORDING TO HIS PLANS, WHICH HE CLEARLY THOUGHT WERE BETTER >> JEFFERSON REMODELED THE KITCHEN AND ADDED A COOKING STOVE TO REPLACE THE OPEN-HEARTH FIREPLACE. HE ALSO PUT PAVILIONS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE MANSION AND SINGLE-STORY WINGS FOR STORAGE. A SHEET-IRON ROOF REPLACED THE SLATE ONE, AND JEFFERSON PERSONALLY OVERSAW THE LANDSCAPING OF WHAT WOULD BECOME THE SOUTH LAWN BUT JEFFERSON’S CHANGES IN WASHINGTON WERE JUST GETTING STARTED >> HE WANTS THE PRESIDENCY TO BE A SMALLER, SCALED-DOWN REPUBLICAN OFFICE >> HE ALSO WAS A KIND OF A PRESIDENT WHO DIDN’T THINK HE SHOULD BE OUT FRONT ON SOME OF THESE ISSUES, HE SHOULD BE WORKING WITH HIS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS BEHIND THE SCENES HE DIDN’T WANT TO APPEAR TO BE A KING, SO HE REALLY LOW-KEYED HIS RELATIONSHIP TO CONGRESS >> JEFFERSON’S RESTRAINED APPROACH TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RECEIVED AN UNEXPECTED CHALLENGE WHEN THE SUPREME COURT, UNDER CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN MARSHALL, DECIDED TO STAKE ITS OWN CLAIM FOR POWER >> THE CASE OF MARBURY VS MADISON WAS THE FIRST ONE IN WHICH THE SUPREME COURT ASSERTED THAT IT COULD OVERTURN AN ACT OF CONGRESS. IT WAS A SHREWD MOVE BY CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN MARSHALL >> MARBURY ESTABLISHED THE PRINCIPLE OF JUDICIAL REVIEW, MEANING THE AUTHORITY OF COURTS TO JUDGE THE ACTS OF OTHER BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT ACCORDING TO THE NORMS OF THE CONSTITUTION >> FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE COURT EMERGED AS A TRUE CHECK TO THE POWERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE BRANCHES. THE DECISION RIPPLED THROUGH HISTORY, CREATING THE FRAMEWORK FOR RULINGS FROM BROWN VS. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO CITIZENS UNITED TODAY. BUT WHILE JEFFERSON SEEMED DISINTERESTED IN FEDERAL POWER, HE APPEARED TO GO AGAINST HIS DEEPEST PRINCIPLES WITH PERHAPS HIS GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT, THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE >> NOW, THE LOUISIANA TERRITORY IS MUCH BIGGER THAN THE STATE OF LOUISIANA. IT’S THE SAME SIZE AS THE EXISTING UNITED STATES >> THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE WAS A “BUY IT NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE” KIND OF A DEAL, SO HE WENT AHEAD WITH IT, ALTHOUGH HE COULD EASILY BE CHARGED WITH VIOLATING SOME OF HIS FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES >> THERE’S NOTHING IN THE CONSTITUTION THAT SAYS THAT THE PRESIDENT CAN BUY LAND WHAT ANSWER DOES JEFFERSON GIVE? JEFFERSON SAYS, “THE RIGHT TO GOVERN TERRITORIES IMPLIES THE RIGHT TO ACQUIRE THEM.” >> THE IRONY IS THE SINGLE MOST HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT ACT OF HIS PRESIDENCY WAS, IN HIS OWN WORDS, A BETRAYAL OF HIS DEEPEST CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES. HE SAID HIMSELF WHEN HE BOUGHT LOUISIANA, HE STRETCHED THE CONSTITUTION SO FAR, IT CRACKED. AND YET THAT’S PART OF PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP, TOO >> BUT THE POPULARITY JEFFERSON ENJOYED DURING HIS FIRST TERM WOULD WANE IN HIS SECOND, A TREND MANY TWO-TERM PRESIDENTS HAVE EXPERIENCED EVER SINCE ANOTHER EUROPEAN WAR THREATENED

TO SPILL ACROSS THE ATLANTIC, AS FRANCE AND BRITAIN ONCE AGAIN BATTLED IT OUT. JEFFERSON’S RESPONSE WAS TO IMPOSE AN EMBARGO THAT STOPPED AMERICA’S TRADE AND SET THE NATION ON EDGE >> ALL THE EMBARGO MANAGES TO DO IS TO CAUSE AN ECONOMIC DEPRESSION. THERE’S A WONDERFUL LETTER IN WHICH A SAILOR WRITES TO JEFFERSON THAT, “I CAN’T GET ANY WORK. HOW AM I TO FEED MY WIFE AND CHILDREN? BY THE WAY, IF YOU EVER COME TO NEW YORK, THIS IS MY ADDRESS IF YOU DARE TO LOOK ME UP.” >> THE EMBARGO THAT HE IMPOSED WRECKED THE AMERICAN ECONOMY WITHOUT DOING ANY PARTICULAR DAMAGE TO THE EUROPEAN POWERS AGAINST WHICH IT WAS DIRECTED HIS SECOND TERM WAS ALMOST A DISASTER >> JEFFERSON, THE CHAMPION OF LIMITED GOVERNMENT, CONTINUALLY FOUND HIMSELF THRUST INTO MAKING DECISIONS. WEARY OF THE OFFICE, LIKE WASHINGTON, HE, TOO, WOULD RETIRE AFTER TWO TERMS HIS SECRETARY OF STATE, JAMES MADISON, WOULD PURSUE THE PRESIDENCY NEXT, BUT SOON FOUND THAT THE ECONOMY WOULD PROVE TO BE THE LEAST OF THE COUNTRY’S PROBLEMS >> 1808. JEFFERSON’S SECRETARY OF STATE AND FELLOW DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN JAMES MADISON WASN’T OPTIMISTIC ABOUT HIS CHANCES IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THE ECONOMIC DISASTER BEGUN UNDER THOMAS JEFFERSON THREATENED TO DERAIL MADISON’S HOPES. AMERICAN EXPORTS HAD PLUNGED FROM $108 MILLION TO JUST 22 MILLION. BUT WITH DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICANS FIRMLY IN CHARGE OF MOST OF THE STATES, MADISON BECAME THE 4TH PRESIDENT WITH AN EASY WIN, 12 STATES TO 5 >> JAMES MADISON WAS A NERD THERE’S JUST NO OTHER WAY TO DESCRIBE HIM. HE WAS LITTLE HE WAS A HYPOCHONDRIAC. HE WAS ANXIOUS. HE COMES HOME, AND HE GOES TO STUDY LAW, AND HE HAS AN ANXIETY ATTACK. HE CAN’T STAND THE PRESSURE. THIS IS A MAN WHO NEVER ACTUALLY HAD A JOB IN HIS LIFE >> THEY CALLED HIM LITTLE OLD APPLEJACK. YOU KNOW, HE’S ALL WIZENED. EVEN THOUGH HE WASN’T THAT OLD, HE KIND OF LOOKED LIKE AN OLD MAN, EVEN IN HIS 40s AND HE NEVER WOULD BE GREETED WITH THESE HUGE OUTPOURINGS OF AFFECTION THE WAY JEFFERSON WAS >> IN FACT, MADISON’S WIFE DOLLY WAS MORE POPULAR THAN HE WAS SHE CREATED THE ROLE OF THE FIRST LADY, ESTABLISHING OPEN HOUSES IN THE EXECUTIVE MANSION EVERY WEDNESDAY WHERE SHE CHARMED WASHINGTON INSIDERS >> SHE HAD WORKED HARD TO MAKE THE WHITE HOUSE A CENTER, BOTH FOR WASHINGTON AND THE COUNTRY. THE CAPITAL CITY WAS NEW, BUT DOLLY MADISON TRIED TO MAKE IT A FIXTURE IN PEOPLE’S MINDS >> BUT IN 1812, AMERICA’S FOCUS WASN’T ON THE PRESIDENT OR HIS FIRST LADY. EMBROILED IN A SEEMINGLY UNENDING WAR WITH FRANCE SINCE 1803, THE BRITISH WERE CONTINUING TO SEIZE AMERICAN SHIPS AND KIDNAP SAILORS IN RETRIBUTION FOR THE NATION’S TRADE RESTRICTIONS >> JAMES MADISON, HE JUST DECIDES, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. WE HAVE TO DECLARE WAR ON BRITAIN.” HE ASKS CONGRESS TO DO SO, AND CONGRESS DOES, BUT IT’S THE NARROWEST VOTE TO DECLARE WAR IN AMERICAN HISTORY >> THE UNITED STATES WASN’T PREPARED TO FIGHT A WAR THE BRITISH ON THE OTHER HAND, HAD BEEN FIGHTING ONE FOR YEARS >> THE AMAZING THING ABOUT THE WAR OF 1812 IS THAT THE UNITED STATES DECLARED WAR AGAINST THE GREATEST SUPERPOWER ON THE PLANET WHILE REALLY THE UNITED STATES HAD VERY SMALL MILITARY AT THE TIME. THERE WAS VERY LITTLE WE COULD DO >> SO MADISON, YOU CAN FAULT HIM FOR BEING UNPREPARED, BUT EVERYBODY WAS UNPREPARED. NO ONE KNEW HOW TO FIGHT A SERIOUS WAR AND IT WASN’T REALLY UNTIL THE CIVIL WAR THAT WE LEARNED WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO HAVE A LARGE ARMY >> RAISING MONEY THROUGH THE SALE OF BONDS, SECURING FOREIGN LOANS, AND THROUGH DEFICIT SPENDING, MADISON MORE THAN TRIPLED THE DEFENSE BUDGET AND NEARLY DOUBLED THE SIZE OF THE ARMY AND ADDED DOZENS OF SHIPS TO THE AMERICAN NAVY >> MADISON IS SEEN AS THIS HIGHLY INTELLECTUAL PRESIDENT– AND HE WAS–AND A LITTLE GUY, NOT TOO IMPRESSIVE. IN MANY WAYS, THAT’S TRUE ALSO. BUT HE COMMANDED TROOPS WHEN HE WAS IN THE OFFICE AS PRESIDENT HE RODE OUT IN THE SKIRMISHES IN THE WAR OF 1812 >> THE WAR ALSO MADE FOR GOOD POLITICS. PUBLIC SENTIMENT FOR WAR HAD BEEN RUNNING HIGH SINCE JEFFERSON’S PRESIDENCY, AND WHEN MADISON SEIZED ON IT, HE ASSURED HIMSELF A SECOND TERM. BUT BY AUGUST OF 1814, BRITISH TROOPS

ENTERED WASHINGTON. THE BRITISH SET FIRE TO THE CITY WHILE MADISON WAS IN MARYLAND LEADING HIS TROOPS >> IT’S HIS WIFE, OF COURSE, DOLLY, WHO’S HOME AT THE WHITE HOUSE WHEN THE BRITISH COME INTO THE CITY AND START BURNING WASHINGTON. SHE RESCUES THE PORTRAIT OF GEORGE WASHINGTON AND HAS THE SERVANTS BREAK THE FRAME–BECAUSE IT’S BOLTED TO THE WALL–SO SHE CAN ROLL UP THE CANVAS AND TAKE IT WITH HER >> THE BURNING OF WASHINGTON WAS A TRUE DISASTER FOR THE UNITED STATES, AT LEAST AT THE MOMENT IT’S DEEPLY EMBARRASSING TO THE UNITED STATES TO HAVE ITS CAPITAL OCCUPIED AND SACKED AND VIRTUALLY DESTROYED, EVEN IN THE PRIMITIVE STATE IN WHICH OUR CAPITAL WAS >> WITH THE PRESIDENT’S HOUSE SMOLDERING AND WASHINGTON, D.C IN RUINS, THE NATION WAS AT A CROSSROADS. BUT AN UNEXPECTED VICTORY AT THE BATTLE OF FORT McHENRY, THE ONE THAT INSPIRED THE WORDS FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM, TURNED THE TIDE >> THE BRITISH REALIZE, YOU KNOW, “THIS WAR’S NOT WORKING FOR US.” BOTH SIDES SEND DIPLOMATS TO THE BELGIAN CITY OF GHENT, AND IN THE WINTER OF 1814, THEY NEGOTIATE A TREATY THAT ENDS THE WAR, THAT BASICALLY PUTS EVERYTHING BACK THE WAY IT WAS WHEN THE WAR BEGAN >> THE WAR WAS OVER. THE COUNTRY HAD PAID A TERRIBLE PRICE. MORE THAN 2,000 AMERICAN SOLDIERS WERE KILLED AND ANOTHER 6,000 INJURED. DESPITE THE COUNTRY’S LOSSES, AMERICAN PRIDE SWELLED >> THE GENERAL VERDICT ABOUT THE WAR OF 1812 IS THAT IT GAVE BIRTH TO A NEW WAVE OF NATIONALISM IN ITS IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH >> BEFORE THE WAR OF 1812, PEOPLE THOUGHT OF THEMSELVES AS VIRGINIANS, MARYLANDERS, NEW YORKERS. THEY REALLY DIDN’T THINK OF THEMSELVES THE WAY WE WOULD TALK AS AMERICANS BUT AFTER THE WAR, THERE’S THIS UNBELIEVABLE SURGE OF NATIONALISM >> WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A DISASTER FOR PRESIDENT MADISON AND THE NATION BECAME A RALLYING POINT >> WHEN MADISON LEFT OFFICE IN 1817, TWO YEARS AFTER THE WAR OF 1812 WAS OVER, HE WAS ACTUALLY QUITE A REMARKABLY POPULAR PRESIDENT. AMERICANS UNDERSTOOD THE DEEPER POINT THAT MADISON HAD BEEN TRYING TO MAKE, THAT THE PRESIDENCY, EVEN IN WARTIME, WAS AN OFFICE THAT SHOULD BE CONDUCTED IN A WAY CONSISTENT WITH REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES >> AND THAT ACTUALLY STARTS A WHOLE ERA OF PROSPERITY AND REALLY USHERS IN THE ERA OF GOOD FEELINGS >> THIS NEW ERA, WITH A NEW PRESIDENT, WOULD TRY TO FINALLY PUT TO REST THE ISSUES OF PARTY POLITICS AND SLAVERY AND MAKE IT CLEAR TO THE WORLD THAT AMERICA WAS NOW THE DOMINANT FORCE IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE >> 1817. THE DAWN OF THE ERA OF GOOD FEELINGS ARRIVED WITH THE 5TH PRESIDENT, JAMES MONROE, WHO HOPED TO MAKE THE BITTER DISPUTES OF WAR AND PARTY POLITICS A DISTANT MEMORY THE 58-YEAR-OLD VIRGINIAN HAD BEEN MADISON’S SECRETARY OF STATE AND ALSO EVENTUALLY HIS SECRETARY OF WAR >> JAMES MONROE, IF YOU TALK ABOUT THE LAST FOUNDING-ERA PRESIDENT, HE’S AN APPROPRIATE GUY TO BE THE LAST ONE. HE SUPPOSEDLY WELL INTO HIS OLD AGE WAS THE LAST GUY STILL DRESSING LIKE THESE EARLIER FOUNDERS DID, IN THE KNEE BREECHES AND THE STOCKINGS. PEOPLE HAD MOVED ON TO REAL PANTS BY THAT POINT >> HE WAS THE LAST OF HIS KIND HE WAS THE LAST PRESIDENT TO WEAR A TRICORN HAT. HE WAS THE LAST PRESIDENT, REALLY, WHO WAS PART OF THE REVOLUTIONARY GENERATION. HE WAS THE LAST OF THE FOUNDERS TO BE PRESIDENT >> WITH THE EXECUTIVE MANSION STILL BEING REBUILT, MONROE KICKED OFF HIS PRESIDENCY WITH A TOUR OF THE NATION BY HORSE AND CARRIAGE, VISITING NEW ENGLAND AND TRAVELING AS FAR WEST AS DETROIT. NOT SINCE WASHINGTON HAD A PRESIDENT TOURED THE COUNTRY AND GOTTEN SO CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE. AND IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS >> THE NATION’S ECONOMY IS BOOMING. NEW YORK IS BUILDING THE ERIE CANAL, AND SO THIS IS EXPANDING AN ECONOMY QUITE RAPIDLY. MONROE PRESIDES OVER THIS. MONROE PROBABLY HAS ONE OF THE HAPPIEST PRESIDENCIES OF ANY PRESIDENT. THERE’S NO GREAT CRISIS. THERE’S NO WAR >> WHEN I THINK OF MONROE, I THINK OF DWIGHT EISENHOWER BOTH PRESIDED, BY AND LARGE, OVER PEACE AND PROSPERITY, AND BOTH SUFFER IN SOME WAYS FOR IT. HISTORIANS TEND TO FOCUS ON THE MELODRAMATIC PRESIDENTS, THE SWASHBUCKLING FIGURES WHO FIND THEMSELVES CONFRONTING GREAT CRISES. WHAT ABOUT PRESIDENTS WHO AVOID CRISES?

>> BUT THERE WAS ONE DIVISION THAT HAD BEEN LINGERING SINCE THE BEGINNING, AN ISSUE THAT WASHINGTON, ADAMS, JEFFERSON, AND MADISON HAD AVOIDED, THE ISSUE OF SLAVERY >> WASHINGTON AND JEFFERSON AND OTHERS OF HIS GENERATION TOOK THE VIEW THAT SLAVERY WAS PROBABLY GOING TO DIE AWAY, AND THEREFORE THEY WEREN’T TOO EXERCISED ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD NO CONTROL OVER IT. THEY EXPECTED THAT IT WOULD BE GONE WITHIN A GENERATION OR TWO AND THEN THE PROBLEM WOULD SIMPLY DISAPPEAR >> SLAVERY’S A VERY COMPLICATED ISSUE, AND IN FACT IT IS THE CENTRAL PARADOX FOR MOST OF AMERICAN HISTORY. DURING THE FOUNDING ERA, THERE WOULD SEEM TO BE A GENTLEMEN’S AGREEMENT OF LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT THE DIFFICULTIES OF BEING A COUNTRY DEDICATED TO FREEDOM WITH AN ENSLAVED POPULATION >> BUT IN 1818, THAT GENTLEMEN’S AGREEMENT FELL APART WHEN MISSOURI PETITIONED CONGRESS TO BE ADMITTED TO THE UNION AS A SLAVE STATE >> THIS IS GONNA BE THE BIG QUESTION. “MISSOURI ALLOWS SLAVERY, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? ARE WE GOING TO ALLOW SLAVERY TO MOVE INTO THE LOUISIANA TERRITORY?” >> IN 1820, AN AGREEMENT EMERGED, THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE. IT ALLOWED MISSOURI INTO THE UNION AS A SLAVE STATE, BUT ALSO ADMITTED MAINE AS A FREE STATE >> IT SAYS ABOVE THIS LINE, THERE WILL NOT BE SLAVERY BELOW THIS LINE, STATES CAN HAVE SLAVERY >> AND THAT HELPED BALANCE THE NUMBER OF STATES COMING IN SO THAT NO REGION–NEITHER THE NORTH NOR THE SOUTH–WOULD BECOME SUPERIOR TO THE OTHER >> THE COMPROMISE HELPED ASSURE MONROE’S REELECTION IN 1820 HE RAN VIRTUALLY UNOPPOSED, AS THE FEDERALIST PARTY HAD WITHERED, LEAVING ONLY THE DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICANS. AND WITH THE CONTENTIOUS ISSUE OF SLAVERY SEEMINGLY SETTLED, MONROE USED HIS SECOND TERM TO FLEX THE COUNTRY’S MUSCLE ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE >> JAMES MONROE, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HE DOES IS SAY THAT THE NEW WORLD AND THE OLD WORLD ARE TWO SEPARATE WORLDS >> MONROE DOCTRINE BECOMES A CENTERPIECE OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY. MONROE WAS SAYING, “THE CARIBBEAN IS OUR BATHTUB. WE GET TO PLAY IN IT. SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA IS OUR SPHERE OF INFLUENCE.” >> THE MONROE DOCTRINE WOULD BE CITED AS A PRECEDENT BY MANY FUTURE PRESIDENTS. WILLIAM McKINLEY USED IT TO JUSTIFY THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR. THEODORE ROOSEVELT USED IT TO BUILD THE PANAMA CANAL. JFK WOULD CITE IT WHEN HE BLOCKED SOVIET SHIPS FROM CUBA. IT HAS PROVEN TO BE ONE OF THE LONGEST-LASTING LEGACIES OF THE FIRST PRESIDENTS >> ONE REASON WHY MONROE, I THINK, IS NOT MORE MEMORABLE IS BECAUSE IT’S TOUGH TO THINK OF MUCH THAT HE EVER SAID THAT WAS QUOTABLE. EVEN THE DOCTRINE THAT BEARS HIS NAME WAS LARGELY THE HANDIWORK OF HIS SECRETARY OF STATE, JOHN QUINCY ADAMS BUT JAMES MONROE GAVE US EIGHT YEARS OF PEACE AND PROSPERITY, AND THAT OUGHT TO BE JUDGED A SUCCESS FOR ANY PRESIDENT >> I THINK WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE SORT OF FOUNDING ERA OF PRESIDENTS, YOU CAN SAY THAT THEY’RE BASELINE PRESIDENTS EACH PRESIDENT HAD A PROVING MOMENT, AND IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, I THINK EACH PRESIDENT PROVED HIMSELF >> IN THE END, MONROE WOULD LEAVE AS WASHINGTON, JEFFERSON, AND MADISON HAD. HE DECLINED TO RUN FOR A THIRD TERM AND RETURNED HOME TO HIS ESTATE IN VIRGINIA. IT WAS THE END OF AN ERA FOR THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY >> AS LONG AS THE PRESIDENCY WAS OCCUPIED BY SOMEONE WHO HAD BEEN OF THAT FIRST GENERATION OF FOUNDERS, THERE WAS THIS ATTACHMENT TO THE PAST THE FIRST FIVE PRESIDENTS ALMOST INHERITED THE POSITION AS THEIR NATURAL RIGHT SUBSEQUENT PRESIDENTS WOULD HAVE TO EARN IT ON THEIR OWN >> THE NATION’S FOUNDING FATHERS HAD LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE, JUST AS ANOTHER NATIONAL HERO WAS PREPARING TO START A NEW ERA FOR THE PRESIDENCY. HE WOULD RISE TO POWER BY FORGING A CONNECTION WITH MEN OF THE FRONTIER, AN ENTIRELY NEW BREED OF AMERICAN

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