Teaching Resource Catalog

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The Early Republic (1789-1824)

                          

The Washington Administration and Hamilton’s Reports to Congress

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This lecture explores the crucial presidential administrations of George Washington.  Important themes to focus upon are Washington’s efforts to establish lasting precedents concerning the operation of the federal government, Alexander Hamilton and his controversial financial policies, political conflicts within the administration over foreign affairs, and the President’s “Farewell Address.”

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Federalists vs. Republicans: The Beginnings of the Two-Party System

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This lecture looks at the emergence of the nation’s two-party system during Washington’s presidency.  The key topics to discuss include the start of the Democratic-Republican Societies, the growth of newspapers in the United States (most of which took part in the heated political debates), the different visions of the United States as articulated by Federalist and Republican politicians, and the Washington administration’s efforts to deal with these growing ideological splits.

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John Adams and the Quasi-War with France

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This lecture looks at John Adams presidency with a particular focus on the United States’ difficulties with Revolutionary France.  Topics include the XYZ Crisis, war fever in the United States, military engagements on the high seas, and the final resolution of the crisis via President Adams’ diplomacy.  Lecturers should also explore the domestic impact of the crisis, particularly the Federalists’ Alien and Sedition Acts and the Republicans’ Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.

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The Election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson’s Experimental Presidency, and a Changing America

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This lecture explores the pivotal election of 1800 and Thomas Jefferson’s “experimental” presidency.  Important topics to examine are the increasingly democratic nature of American elections, Jefferson’s efforts to reverse Federalist policies, and the nation’s geographic expansion to the west, including the Louisiana Purchase(1803) and the explorations of Lewis and Clark(1804-06).  This lecture should also cover the emergence of the federal judiciary and especially Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall.

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War of 1812

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This lecture examines what’s often called “America’s second war for independence.”  Topics include the conflict’s antecedents, which began during Jefferson’s administration (British impressments, seizure of American merchant vessels, the Chesapeake incident, and the Embargo Act), Madison’s declaration of war, American preparedness (or lack thereof), the war’s military campaigns on both land and sea, and the conflict’s inconclusive ending with the Treaty of Ghent(1814).  Lecturers should also note how the battle of New Orleans(1815), fought after the peace treaty had been signed, convinced Americans that they had indeed “won” the war, thus stimulating a remarkable outburst of nationalism and patriotism.

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The “Era of Good Feelings” and the Missouri Crisis

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This lecture explores the years immediately following the War of 1812 (i.e., 1815-1824) when the nation experienced important changes, including the collapse of the Federalist Party, the near-unanimous election of the Republican President James Monroe, and rapid demographic growth as well as geographic expansion to the west.  Lecturers should also look at the creation of a truly national economy (along with its cycles of boom and bust, including the “Panic of 1819”) and the start of the sectional crisis with the congressional debate over slavery and Missouri statehood.

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  • Thomas Jefferson ( Wikipedia )

    Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale in 1800.