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Important Accomplishments During the Presidencies of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe

By cleoandteddy Nov 06, 2012 872 Words
Thomas Jefferson was a member of the Democratic-Republican party and took office on March 4, 1801 as the third President of the United States. While holding the title of President from 1801 to 1809, Jefferson made many major accomplishments. For example, he reduced internal taxes and plans were made to extinguish the public debt. Also, Jefferson allowed the Alien and Sedition Acts to end without renewal and had the excise tax on liquor that caused the Whiskey Rebellion repealed. This reduced government revenue leading Jefferson to cut costs by reducing the military, relying instead on state militias. During his first term, America engaged in war with the Barbary States. The U.S. had been paying tribute to pirates from this area to stop attacks and the seizing of American ships. When the pirates asked for more money, Jefferson refused leading Tripoli to declare war. This ended in success for the U.S. who was no longer required to pay tribute to Tripoli. One of his most significant accomplishments as president was when, in 1803, Jefferson purchased the Louisiana territory from France for $15 million. Ironically, Jefferson had to go against his strict views of the Constitution in order to purchase the territory, since there was no amendment stating that a president could buy land. After buying the territory, Jefferson began the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the Louisiana territory and it was a success. Thomas Jefferson also signed the Embargo Act in 1807 in response to the incident when the British boarded the U.S.S. Chesapeake and impressed soldiers to work on their vessel and even killed one. This act stopped America from exporting and importing foreign goods. Jefferson thought this would have the effect of hurting the trade in France and Great Britain. However, it had the opposite effect, hurting American trade. Lastly, on January 1, 1808, Jefferson ended the foreign slave trade and established the precedent of Executive Privilege (The right of the president of the United States to withhold information from Congress or the courts). James Madison, also a Democratic-Republican, took office on March 4, 1809 as the fourth President of the United States. Like Jefferson, James Madison held the title of President for two terms but had few significant accomplishments during this time. For example, at the beginning of his first term Madison attempted to enforce the Non-Intercourse Act. This allowed the US to trade with all nations except France and Great Britain because of the attacks on American shipping by those two nations. Madison offered to trade with either nation if it would stop harassing American ships but neither agreed. Also, Madison passed Macon’s Bill No. 2 in 1810 which repealed the Non-Intercourse Act. Instead, this bill said that whichever nation stopped harassing American ships would be favored and the U.S. would stop trade with the other nation. France agreed but the British continued to steal American sailors and seize ships. The continued British seizing of American ships angered the United States and the U.S. eventually declared war with Britain in 1812 after the “War Hawks” (young group including Henry Clay and John Calhoun that favored war with Britain) pressed Madison for a more militant policy. The young U.S. was not in the position to be at war and its forces took a huge beating but a few naval and military victories, notably General Andrew Jackson’s triumph at New Orleans, convinced Americans that the war had been successful. This led to an upsurge of nationalism in the United States and the New England Federalists who had opposed the war were so rejected that the Federalists disappeared as a party altogether. James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States and was inaugurated on March 4, 1817. Monroe held office for a total of eight years and made many significant accomplishments during his presidency. His two terms in office came to be known as the “Era of Good Feeling” because Americans were very confident in him and the economy was booming. But in 1819, the U.S. started a small depression. Unemployment rates increased, bankruptcies increased, and foreclosures increased. Many believed that this was just a result of starting a new government, and this was its natural course. Fortunately for Monroe, there was not much backlash towards him. An accomplishment during his term was the signing of the Adams-Onis Treaty, which ceded Florida from Spain to the U.S. in 1819. In 1820, Monroe signed the Missouri Compromise which admitted Missouri as a slave state, and Maine as a free state and banned slavery north and west of Missouri forever. The Missouri Compromise resolved the struggle when a painful economic depression undoubtedly increased the dismay of the people of the Missouri Territory in 1819 when their application for admission to the Union as a slave state failed. The area of Monroe's greatest success was in foreign affairs. This was the era in which much of South America achieved independence from Spain. Monroe wanted to insure that no European regime interfered with this independence process. He issued the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, which warned European states not to become involved in the affairs of the Western hemisphere.

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