Problems with Founding Fathers

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Last updated: June 4, 2019

Thomas Fogwell Mrs. Leister AP US History 10/26/10 Problems with the Fathers George Washington faced some few yet significant issues regarding the foreign affairs policy of the United States after becoming the first president of the United States of America. It had to do with the war between France and England that took place in the year 1793. The vinculum of the United States with the war was ineluctable as it was involved in trade relations with France. As a result, the British army had seized American ships that were carrying on the trade process with France.At this point of time, the United States needed to take an immediate decision that had to do with the extent of its participation in the war between France and England.

Many people in the United States advocated the idea of United States supporting France in the war against England as France had done so for the United States in the 1770s nevertheless the United States did not do that. In fact, it signed a peace treaty with Britain, which was deemed unfair by many people but President George Washington took a prudent step at this juncture, fully aware of the fact that the United States was not capable of affording another war against England.In 1789 our first President, George Washington, faced many problems. It seemed as though the Westerners might abandon this new government, and the United States were afraid that their western territory might be taken away by the foreign powers.

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There was a possibility that the United States would break up into several small republics. Three main problems that might cause this are: export restrictions, fighting on the frontier, and the national debt. In 1789 the United States had to deal with many serious problems. First, the French and British placed export restrictions which caused problems for many farmers, sailors, and merchants.

Southern planters were frustrated because their principal crops, tobacco and rice, failed. In 1790 less than half of the nation’s exports were produced in the South. In an attempt to generate more business many of the Chesapeake tobacco growers switched to wheat and others expanded to hemp, but this had little effect on the entire region. In the mid-Atlantic there was a high demand for food items, and by 1788 had mostly “.

.. recovered from the Revolution’s ravages. ” Famine fell upon Europe, but American farmers were benefiting from the climbing prices of exports.However, people of New England had poor soil and a short season for growing which barely produced enough grain for local consumption. Another main problem was fighting on the frontier, especially with the Indians, British, and Spanish.

The Southwest had many problems with Indian fighting, especially the Cherokee and Creek Indians. While fighting the Indians the casualty rates were twice as high as when fighting the British. In 1786 the tribes in the Ohio Valley formed a defensive confederacy that refused to acknowledge American rule. Great Britain backed up the Northwestern tribes while Spain backed up the southeastern tribes.In 1786 Indian war tribes began killing, and spreading destruction from Pennsylvania to Georgia.

The only way that whites could defeat the Indians was with vast military force, and by threatening entire tribes with starvation by ravaging their supply of winter food. The United States was heavily in debt. There was $54 million in U. S. debt, of that $42 million was owed to Americans and the rest to foreign countries.

Hamilton had estimated that the states incurred a debt of about $25 million of which the United States had promised to reimburse several million dollars.The problems were overcome in several ways; first Washington successfully defended the territory, provided integrity, restored peace to the frontier, opened the Mississippi River, restarted trade with Europe, and kept the United States out of European conflicts. Since New England had so many problems with trade restrictions they changed to a manufacturing base which was brought about by the development of banks and insurance companies. Then, militia raids that went across the Ohio River had forced back the Miamis, Shawnees, and Delawares from Indiana and Ohio toward the Great Lakes.

Lastly, Hamilton had come up with an idea to pay off all of the foreign debt first, and then assume all of the states debt (so they’d be obligated to the government). He said they would raise money by selling western lands, imposing tariffs, and excising taxes (especially on whiskey). Hamilton also stated to never even attempt to pay off the government debt but to just pay the interest on it so people will invest in bonds. He also suggested that a national bank be built to handle the nation’s finances. The cost of Hamilton’s idea was the Whiskey Rebellion.

Many of the residents protested the tax peacefully by means of mass meetings and petitions. However a few residents resorted to using violence attacking federal revenue officers and destroying property. In order to solve this crisis, Washington marched 12,000 men into Virginia. After that there was no more talk about rebelling. This event was a milestone which set the power of the federal government.

In conclusion, the three main problems that the United States faced in 1789 were: export restrictions, fighting on the frontier, and the national debt.Washington faced these problems and found intelligent ways to deal with them. Alexander Hamilton helped decrease the national debt. He was the most dynamic, imaginative, and energetic statesman of his time. John Adams had the Alien and Sedition Acts passed. These were extremely repressive, resulting in newspaper editors being imprisoned for publishing critical editorials. The result was Adams was defeated for re-election and the Federalist Party was destroyed Adams was still intent on keeping peace. He again asked Talleyrand-Perigord, the French foreign minister, for a treaty.

Adams sent a second commission to France without consulting Congress first. This act was considered the boldest of his career as president and also lost him support in his own party. But Adams believed that refraining from war was his most important achievement.

He had to follow the legacy of George Washington who had unquestioned popularity, and had an electorate trying to choose between England and France as their European ally, not to mention the intrigues of Alexander Hamilton (who was quietly sabotaging him at every turn).


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