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Lecture Notes - Week of February 22

by: HIST289V

Lecture Notes - Week of February 22 HIST289V

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About this Document

Covers the lectures on February 22 and February 24.
What Does it Mean to be an American?
Dr. Howard Smead
Class Notes
history, American History
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by HIST289V on Sunday February 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST289V at University of Maryland - College Park taught by Dr. Howard Smead in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see What Does it Mean to be an American? in History at University of Maryland - College Park.


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Date Created: 02/21/16
2/22/16  Declaration of Independence  Does not have force of law at all  More just a document voicing what America stands for  Constitution  Acted as a document that “fixed” the country after the Articles of Confederation  Largely the product of James Madison  Preamble states some of the powers that the National Government will now have, assesses many of the problems that were seen in the Articles of Confederation  Bill of Rights  Consists of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution  Dealt with mainly the rights of the people  Provides the peoples’ protection from the National Government  Republicanism  Highlights liberty and inalienable rights as central values  Is able to support an activist government  Prohibits inherited power  Expects citizens to exercise individual power  Alexander Hamilton  Born in a British sugar colony, was always extremely intelligent and well educated  Had a distrust for pure republican, was more of a monarchist  Did not trust the common people  Pushed for a strong central government run by the wealthy and well-educated folk of the nation  Adopted a “loose” interpretation of the Constitution  Supported the “implied powers” of the federal government to use when necessary  Also adopted the “checks and balances” system to restrain power  Founded on the 3-branch system of government that the U.S. employs (executive, legislative, judicial)  Support Britain, realized the importance of the nation as a trade partner  His outlook on government was greatly influenced by his economic ideals  Supported a diverse economy of agriculture, trade, finance, and manufacturing  Pushed for a national bank to control monetary policy and a national debt system to establish credit  Provided citizens with the opportunity to borrow money from the government  “Report on Manufactures”  Put tariffs on foreign goods  Supported giving subsidies to domestic manufacturing  Government should support business and commerce  Thomas Jefferson  Virginia planter elite, highly educated, owned hundreds of slaves  Saw America as a nation of small farmers  Entertained the lifestyle of owning enough land to guarantee self-sufficiency and personal independence  Supported independence in both a political and personal sense and viewed it as the hallmark of republicanism  Placed no trust in special privilege (although this view was quite hypocritical)  Believed that power should reside in the hands of common people  Feared the permanent political class that Hamilton envisioned  Saw the Yeomanry as the chosen people of God  Adopted an agrarian view on economics as well  Entailed limiting the government support of trade, finance and manufacturing sectors  No central bank, no internal taxes  Thought the government should pay off the national debt following the Revolutionary War, supported a balanced budget  Jefferson’s ideas caught on well with the nation since they were so relatable to the people  Supported a weak central government and strong state governments  Operated under strict constructionism: a literal interpretation of the Constitution  Big supporter of the individual rights granted to citizens  Supported France as a trade partner  Jeffersonian Republicanism  Supported the common man, but also believed that the best would rise to the upper tiers of power in society  A “natural aristocracy”  These men would be the representatives of the People, acting in correspondence to the opinion of their People  Distrusted the elitist system in place in Hamilton’s view of Republicanism  Much too aristocratic for the liking of Jefferson  Factions over federalism emerge  An argument about where the power should lie in America  Federalist  Supported a stronger, more connected union  Included Madison, Washington, John Adams, Hamilton  Formed into the Federalist Political Party, but dissipated by the Election of 1820 and turned into the Whig party  Much later, it would form into the Republican Party  Anti-Federalist  Opposed national/consolidated principles, supported states rights over national power  Supported the principle of the Articles of Confederation  Included Jefferson, Madison, Burr, John Randolph of Roanoke, Jeffersonians,  Became known as the Jeffersonian Republicans, then the Democratic Republicans, then finally the Democratic Party 2/24/16  Alexis de Tocqueville  Known for his famous piece “Democracy in America”  Coins the term “individualism” when examining America  Showed the pronounced emphasis on the rights of the individual  However, he also stressed that the Americans had a sense of commitment to the common good  A good balance of individualism and communitarianism  This was different from the common man of Western Europe, who possessed a high value of the self, but did not share the same commitment to the common good  Problems of American Democracy  Too much power invested in the legislative branch, both federal and state  Abuse of freedom, or disrespect of another’s freedom, or lack of concern for it  Abusing the freedom of minorities/lack of freedom for minorities  Drive for equality  Excessive individualism  Excessive materialism  Solutions for these “dangerous democratic tendencies”  Powerful, independent judiciary  Strong executive branch  Local self-government  De-centralization of power away from federal government  Freedom of religion and its practice  Education of women  Free association of citizenry  Free press  Harriet Martineau  Wrote “Society in America” (1837)  Stated that Americans had great respect for the common  Market Revolution  Early 1800’s  Represented the expansion of trade in agricultural products and manufactured goods  Happened on both the domestic and world stage  Farmers were no longer just supplying for themselves  Formed a stronger connection in the country  Led to much more advanced transportation routes and methods  New roads, canals, and railroads (later)  Questions arose: should the government get involved in this market expansion?  In the west, it would make sense for the government to fund the expansion in this undeveloped land for trade and living purposes  Rather, in New England (a much more developed and civilized society) they did not need much help at all  Transportation improvements  Canals  Erie Canal  Cut transportation costs  Increased the frequency of trade  Railroads  Developed in 1840’s, but it did not have its biggest impact until after the Civil War  Turnpikes  Stage Coaches  Steamboats  Basics of slavery  Involuntary servitude; human bondage; tyranny  Never critical to the economy outside of the Southern states  Slavery, in addition to the cotton gin, was a staple in the Southern economy  Brutal labor system justified by racism  New World slavery was the only example of enslaving solely people of another race  Slaves were treated as property like an inanimate object  Sanctioned by the Constitution  3/5 ’s Clause (counted slaves as 3/5 of a person)  Slave trade will be legal until at least 1808  Fugitive slave clause


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