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Harry S Truman
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« on: August 22, 2018, 05:29:34 pm »

John Bull's Revenge

A humiliating military defeat leaves the future of the American republic unclear.

Presidents of the United States

1. George Washington (Unaffiliated, Virginia) 1789 – 1797
2. John Adams (Federalist, Massachusetts) 1797 – 1801
3. Thomas Jefferson (Republican, Virginia) 1801 – 1809
4. James Madison (Republican, Virginia) 1809 – 1814 §
–. Henry Clay (Republican, Kentucky) 1814 – 1815
4. James Madison (Republican, Virginia) 1815 – 1817
5. DeWitt Clinton (Republican, New York) 1817 – 1825
6. Henry Clay (Radical Republican, Kentucky) 1825 – 1833
7. David Crockett (Democratic, Tennessee) 1833 – 1837
8. William H. Harrison (National, Ohio) 1837 – Incumbent

Vice Presidents of the United States

1. John Adams (Federalist, Massachusetts) 1789 – 1797
2. Thomas Jefferson (Republican, Massachusetts) 1797 – 1801
3. Aaron Burr (Republican, New York) 1801 – 1805
4. George Clinton (Republican, New York) 1805 – 1812
Vacant, 1812 – 1813
5. Elbridge Gerry (Republican, Massachusetts) 1813 – 1814
Vacant, 1814 – 1817
6. John C. Calhoun (Republican, South Carolina) 1817 – 1825
7. Nathan Sanford (National Republican, New York) 1825 – 1829
8. Martin Van Buren (Radical Republican, New York) 1829 – 1833
9. James F. Randolph (Radical Republican, New Jersey) 1833 – 1837
10. John Tipton (Liberal, Indiana) 1837 – 1839
Vacant, 1839 – Incumbent
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 10:05:06 pm by Harry S Truman, GM »Logged



Harry S Truman
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2018, 05:33:41 pm »

The Disaster of 1814

The capture of Washington City sealed the fate of Madison's administration.

Fresh from victory in Europe, in 1814 the British Empire turned west to confront the smaller yet symbolically powerful conflict raging across the Atlantic. At war with the United States for nearly two years, the threat posed by Napoleon’s legions had thus far prevented Britain from bringing the full might of her armies to bear against the challenge of her former colonies; with Napoleon defeated and the continent (at least for the moment) at peace, the time had come for Brittannia to bring the upstarts to heel.

His Majesty’s forces proposed a three-front offensive against the Americans for the Summer of 1814, the climax of which came at Bladensburg on August 24, when the British Army soundly defeated the Americans under General William Winder, and in a stunning coup took President Madison and the rest of the Cabinet prisoner. Forced to look on as British soldiers sacked and burned Washington City, Madison was left no alternative but to advise surrender. The fall of Baltimore three weeks later, together with news of the capture of Fort Eerie, put an end to what remained of American resistance, and Congress ratified the Treaty of Geneva in January 1815 on the grudging recommendation of Acting President Henry Clay.

The terms of the peace were bitter for the United States. While the eleventh-hour victory of General Andrew Jackson’s army at New Orleans saved that port from conquest, news of Madison’s capture and the fall of Washington was enough to turn popular opinion in New England against the Union. Led by Timothy Pickering, a former Secretary of State and ally of the late Alexander Hamilton, a convention of the New England states issued the Hartford Proclamation in the Winter of 1815–15, announcing the formation of an independent confederacy with the financial and military support of Great Britain. In the Northwest, the United States was forced to recognize the claims of the Indian Nations to the land north of the Wabash River—though the death of Tecumseh prevented the rise of an imagined Native Confederacy.

While Madison resumed the presidency following ratification of the Peace of Geneva, his power and reputation were ruined, leaving him without friends or allies in the final years of his administration. As the elections of 1816 approach, numerous ambitious men seek to claim the mantle for their own and restore the honor and glory of the United States.
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2018, 05:59:55 pm »

The Election of 1816
DeWitt Clinton and John C. Calhoun (Republican) 125 electors, 51.7% votes
Rufus King and John E. Howard (Federalist) 19 electors, 31.0% votes
James Monroe and Henry Dearborn (Republican) 25 electors, 10.3% votes
John Randolph and Morgan Lewis (Republican) 2 electors, 6.9% votes
The Republican party entered the final twelvemonth of Madison's presidency ill-prepared for a referendum on their tenure in government, for the disastrous War of 1812 had not only corroded the party's credibility in the eyes of Americans, but worsened internal rivalries that saw the party split three ways ahead of the 1816 election. While a stalwart few of Madison's remaining allies rallied behind the candidacy of James Monroe as heir to the Virginian dynasty of presidents, both DeWitt Clinton and John Randolph amassed large followings within the Republican Congressional caucus and seemed destined for a battle royal to determine the future of the party. That Randolph suffered a crippling stroke in the spring of 1816 seemed a miracle for Clinton, who was therefore able to consolidate most of the Republican organization outside of Virginia behind him; yet the governor had also to contend with the renewed threat from the right, as the Federalist party found new life in the fallout from 1814. While Rufus King fell far short of Clinton in the popular and electoral vote, carrying just three states for a total of nineteen electors, support for the Federalists far exceeded the party's performance in 1808, and Federalists candidates for the House of Representatives won noteworthy victories in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and Clinton's own state of New York. In spite of all this, Clinton managed an impressive victory in the electoral college with 125 electors to 46 for his various rivals, and won by a convincing majority of twenty points in the popular vote, installing him in the Executive Mansion with a sizable mandate to match his ambition.
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2018, 12:14:42 pm »

The Clinton Administration
1817 – 1821


Peace, prosperity, and conquest were to be the fruits of the first Clinton presidency.

Past losses vindicated in the glow of his electoral triumph, DeWitt Clinton assumed the presidency at a moment unique in the short history of the United States —for while his predecessors had governed in days when the failure of the Union was a possibility, now disunion was a fact tempered by martial humiliation, and with grave auguries for the future of the young republic. The loss of New England at once deprived the Union of the use of her ports, which even still remained the commercial center of the continent, and as that region had been of all the states the most supportive of protective and centralizing measures, excised from Congress the interests most likely to support the response now proposed by the newcome president.

As fate would have it, Clinton's four years at the helm of government saw the remarkable success of his legislative program, in spite of the protests of Constitutional Republicans, who continued to oppose his efforts to encourage manufacturing and centralize the nation's financial system. A coalition of National Republicans and moderate Federalists, led by the illustrious Henry Clay as Speaker of the House of Representatives, in 1818 secured passage of a new internal improvement scheme financed by federal revenues, the hallmark of which was to be a canal joining Lake Erie to the Hudson River, and followed it in 1819 with legislation rechartering the Bank of the United States. While the loss of European trade to New England continued to gnaw the nation's coffers, these measures did something to repair the damage wrought by the Panic of 1815.

Yet the most dramatic moment of Clinton's presidency occurred not in the capital, nor even in the United States, but in Spanish Florida. After Andrew Jackson's belated victory at New Orleans ended their hopes of adding that port to the jewels of the empire, Britain left the Gulf of Mexico, with the exception of a small force at Prospect Bluff in Spanish West Florida composed largely of Creek and Seminole Indians and fugitive slaves. In 1818, acting on orders from Vice President Calhoun and with Clinton's consent, Jackson ordered Colonel Duncan Clinch to take the fort at Prospect Bluff; the following year, responding to the alleged massacre of American settlers by the Seminole, he launched a general invasion of Spanish Florida. Ignoring Spanish protests, Jackson took Pensacola in May 1819. Lacking the means to retaliate, and with Britain having judged Florida of insufficient importance to justify war, Spain reluctantly agreed to cede Florida to the United States with the Florida Purchase Treaty.

While Federalists and Constitutional Republicans rebuked Jackson for risking war with Britain and Spain for the sake of personal glory, the general emerged from the ordeal a national hero, and the victories of Prospect Bluff and Pensacola did much to restore patriotism and national spirit lost after the disasters of 1814. The resultant goodwill toward Clinton and his administration ended his first term on a note of optimism as the president prepared, once more, to head to the polls.
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2018, 07:45:25 pm »

The Election of 1820
DeWitt Clinton and John C. Calhoun (Republican) 208 electors, 57.7% votes
John Sergeant and Daniel Rodney (Federalist) 4 electors, 23.1% votes
Nathaniel Macon and John Tyler (Constitutional Republican) 23 electors, 19.2% votes

Now firmly in command of his party, and with his public reputation seemingly unassailable after a long string of victories, culminating in the dramatic annexation of Florida, DeWitt Clinton could accept the nomination of the Republican caucus to a second term as president in reasonable certainty that his reelection was assured. Indeed, a modest but sustained economic recovery and the patriotic outpouring that followed General Jackson's success at Pensacola yielded a handsome popular majority for the administration and a still larger margin in the electoral college, with Clinton's 208 electoral votes taking the title for the most votes won by any candidate for president since the republic's inception. There were ill omens for the future of the Republican party in the auguries of Clinton's reelection, however: a dissident Constitutional ticket led by North Carolina's Nathaniel Macon, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, took nearly twenty percent of the popular vote and the electoral votes of North Carolina and Georgia, while performing well in Virginia and the new states of the south and west. Had Macon's name headed the anti-administration ticket in Pennsylvania, there was speculation he could have carried the state as well: but instead the fusion electors were pledged to John Sergeant's Federalist ticket, who generally failed to inspire anything like the enthusiastic outpouring for Rufus King just four years previously.

Whispers of a coming Republican split notwithstanding, Clinton began his second term with much of the old confidence that had presaged his first, as the country prepared once more to look west.
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2018, 09:13:44 pm »

The Second Clinton Administration
1821 – 1825


War, rebellion, and financial panic mark the advent of the 1820s in America.

If DeWitt Clinton took any pride in the triumphs of his first administration, if he garnered anything of hubris from the popular adulation it inspired, what that followed was to prove that pride, indeed, cometh before the fall. While Clinton's second term was not without its successes at home and abroad, the moths and years to come would be dark and complicated for the ambitious chieftain of American Nationalism, and the consequences, both personal and political, would reverberate throughout the fabric of American life.

The twelvemonth that succeeded his second inauguration brought with it a startling success that was to be, in retrospect, the greatest achievement of the second Clinton Administration. In the spring of 1821, tensions in western Vermont between farmers and the New England Confederation exploded in response to the Quincy Acts raising the tax on maple sugar and maple syrup (among other products common to Vermont and western Massachusetts). Enraged Vermonters expelled and, in some cases, tarred and feathered confederate tax collectors and burned the customs house in Burlington, inaugurating what would become known as the Green Mountain Rebellion. In a moment of inspired diplomacy, Clinton dispatched a force of several hundred U.S. regulars and New York militia under General Winfield Scott to go to the aid of the rebels, the most radical among whom had begun to call for secession from the New England Confederation and restoration of Vermont's previous ties with the Union. On July 4, Scott's army and scores of rebel militia raised a seventeen-star flag over Montpellier. Furious, but facing the reality of fighting a sustained campaign in mountainous terrain against an enemy native to the soil, the Confederation snarled and protested the "illegal annexation" of Vermont, but ultimately declined to reclaim the state by force.

The United States enjoyed some military success on the frontier as well, where General William H. Harrison waged a bloody but effective campaign against the Miami north of the Wabash that secured the territory south of Detroit for the Americans. A separate campaign conducted in two parts in the summer of 1823 and 1824 expelled the tribes living south of the Illinois River. These victories cleared the way for federal legislation reorganizing the Illinois Territory (abolished after the War of 1812) as well as for a resolution by the Indiana General Assembly laying claim to the territory between Detroit and the Wabash that Congress, for the moment, declined either to refute or condemn.

Yet while Clinton succeeded in expanding American dominion over the continent, his efforts to continue the domestic program begun in his first term were frustrated by divisions between Nationalists and Constitutionalists within the Republican caucus, requiring him to seek support from Federalist congressmen to pass his agenda, and by a financial panic in 1823 that led to renewed cries for the repeal of the National Bank. Clinton's expansionist policy, furthermore, had the predictable result of soiling relations with Britain, who while consumed with affairs in Europe had little inclination for war, but whose naval and mercantile dominance over the Atlantic was a thorn in Clinton's side as he sought to cultivate trade and commerce with Europe.

As the end of his presidency neared, the wearied president was perhaps grateful to yield to precedent and allow another to assume the burden of the executive magistracy.
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2018, 10:04:41 pm »

The Election of 1824
Henry Clay and Nathan Sanford (Independent nomination) 126 electors, 47.4% votes
John C. Calhoun and William H. Harrison (Republican) 53 electors, 26.3% votes
Andrew Jackson and Louis McLane (Federalist–Independent nomination) 20 electors, 10.3% votes
William H. Crawford and Albert Gallatin (Constitutional Republican) 11 electors, 6.9% votes

In the childhood of the republic, John Adams, then serving as the inaugural vice president of the Union, had written of the strange duality of his station : "in this I am nothing, but I may be everything." Like Tantalus in the garden, so near the fruit and yet practically so far, the vice presidency was for any vital and ambitious statesman exquisite torture; a singular exception to the prohibition against 'cruel and unusual punishment.' For eight years, John C. Calhoun had held more power than any vice president to come before him, only at the climax of his ascent to be denied the last reward by the very thing which had carried him so near it.

Calhoun's influence as vice president was unprecedented and resented by many, who took his ambition as a lack of deference, and his evident desire to command as inappropriate of an officer whose only purpose insofar as the Constitution was concerned was to remain available in the event the president should die. In the eight years of the Clinton Administration, he played a prominent role in advancing the president's agenda in Congress and on the world stage; and while his successes strengthened his position within the Republican party, they also won him enemies among those whose toes he trod upon in pursuit of glory. Calhoun developed a reputation as a shameless pursuer of power, one whose vanity had given birth to imperial designs; and as the election of 1824 approached, a coalition of Republicans began to coalesce in hopes of denying him the object he sought most of all: the presidency.

All this played directly into the hands of the equally ambitious Henry Clay, who had spent the last four years building a network of support across the West and Mid-Atlantic, and who now emerged as Calhoun's chief rival. Universal male suffrage had transformed the geography of American politics, replacing an electorate of landed gentry and well-to-do merchants with a teaming mass of democratic enthusiasm. In the eleven states where electors were chosen by popular vote, Clay rode a wave of popular enthusiasm that swamped the traditional party organizations backing Calhoun, and backed by a coalition of farmers, immigrants, and unskilled laborers, quickly established himself as the frontrunner in Pennsylvania and much of the West, while also drawing support from National Republicans and former Federalists on the strength of his past advocacy for Clinton's legislative program. Even so, Clay might well have fallen short of an electoral majority (thus throwing the election to the House of Representatives) were it not for two factors which swung the election decidedly in his favor, and ended Calhoun's hopes of gaining the presidency in 1824.

The first was the misfortune of William H. Crawford, who in the summer of 1824 suffered a debilitating stroke. While his surrogates continued to campaign for his election, news of Crawford's ill health effectively removed him from serious contention; Constitutional Republicans, despising Calhoun and reluctant to support an unknown quantity in Jackson (who campaigned with the endorsement of the Federalist caucus), threw their support to Clay, establishing him as the main anti-Calhoun candidate and placing Pennsylvania and North Carolina squarely in his column.

The second was the support of Martin Van Buren, a rising star in New York politics, whose tireless efforts on behalf of Clay in the New York state legislature delivered an embarrassing defeat to the Clinton machine, delivering 26 of the state's 36 electors to Clay. The result would prove decisive: when the final tally was read before a joint session of Congress, Clay received 126 electoral votes to 84 for his several opponents, surpassing by ten votes the simple majority needed to claim the presidency. He had carried ten of the seventeen states and forty of the fifty-nine electoral votes west of the Appalachian Mountains, earning his largest majorities in the states along the Ohio River.

The reign of the caucus was broken; and on March 4, 1825, Clay, the hero of the common man, lovingly christened the 'Mill Boy of the Slashes,' was inaugurated the sixth president of the United States.
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2018, 12:26:50 pm »

The Clay Administration
1825 – 1829


An expanding economy and precarious peace combine for four happy years in the reign of 'Prince Hal.'

The election of Henry Clay marked a watershed in the history of American politics, driving the final nail in the coffin of the old party system and inaugurating what some would call the "Era of the Common Man" ruled by the passions and wisdom of the newly enfranchised democracy. For his own part, Clay represented the rise of a new generation of American statesmen, as the age of Jefferson, Madison, and Clinton gave way to the conquest of youth, for whom the trials and triumphs of the Revolution were a distant memory, and who had come of age in the pain and humiliation of the 1810s.

The four years that Clay held the presidency were marked by expansion and general prosperity, for the want and struggle that followed the Panic of 1823 gave way to energy and abundance in the reign of Prince Hal. The invention of the cotton gin, the vast expansion of roads and canals over the previous decade, and new commercial agreements with the republics of Latin America that secured a new market for American manufactures combined to produce an explosion in the textile industry that was felt from New York to Charleston. As New York came to rival Boston as a center for trade and commerce in the Americas, the United States quickly came to rival New England in her importance to British commercial interests, allowing Clay to negotiate the Frelinghuysen Treaty in 1827, under which Britain recognized American claims to the territory south of Detroit.

This increase in domestic manufacturing likewise allowed Clay to pass the first significant increase to the tariff since the Hamiltonian era. Intended to finance internal improvements in the West by taxing manufactures and luxury goods imported from New England. While loathed in Georgia and the Carolinas, from whence John C. Calhoun issued a blistering condemnation of "King Harry I," the measure was popular in the Middle Atlantic and much of the West, and had the added benefit of currying favor with unskilled laborers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

All this was nearly exploded in the fall of 1827, when a skirmish between New York merchantmen and Connecticut militia off the coast of Greenwich threatened to plunge the Union into war. While a swift and diplomatic response by Secretary of State Frelinghuysen averted the crisis and allowed cooler heads in New England to rule the day (with Representative John Quincy Adams, the son of the former U.S. president and leader of the opposition party in the General Court of New England, delivering an impassioned appeal for peace), the incident nearly broke already strained relations between the United States and her former constituents and served as a pointed reminder of the fragile situation along the country's northern border.

Having kept the peace, if however precariously, Clay turned to the next item on his agenda: reelection.
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 06:21:25 pm »

The Election of 1828
Henry Clay and Martin Van Buren (Radical Republican) 192 electors, 73.9% votes
John C. Calhoun and Richard Rush (National Republican) 22 electors, 26.1% votes

The Roman poet Juvenal wrote his people had surrendered their wits and their liberty for the bread and circuses of emperors; and in the spring of 1828, John C. Calhoun had similar words for his sometime friend and rival who now occupied the Executive Mansion. "Never despair!" he wrote his allies in the South Carolina legislature. "The people come to know Mr. Clay for what he is." Believing himself to have been cheated of what was rightfully his —the presidency — in the election of 1824, the former vice president resolved now to "unmask" the president and restore "the doctrine of National Republicanism" to its rightful supremacy, and return the "dastard demagogue from Kentucky" to the swamp from which he rose.

Yet Calhoun and his National Republicans dramatically underestimated Clay's popularity, and with the country prosperous and the continent at peace, few were inclined to remove the man whose arrival in office had heralded such good fortune —especially when his rival's program bore so much similarity to his own. Indeed, throughout the campaign Calhoun's surrogates struggled to distinguish their candidate from the man they lambasted as a tyrant and a radical, or to explain how policies for which Calhoun had contended as vice president were in Clay's administration uncommon evils causing the ruin of the country.

Instead, Calhoun's challenge came to be seen as a last, desperate stand by the old elites against the rise of democracy and the common man. Clay's surrogates encouraged and exploited this interpretation of the Carolinian's candidacy. Calhoun, it was said, was a Federalist in Republican clothing; a dangerous warmonger whose lust for power was exceeded only by the despite he bore for the yeoman farmer and the hearty frontiersman whose fortunes had found new heights under Clay's administration. As the campaign grew more personal, Calhoun's protests grew increasingly obstinate and futile; few found them convincing. When the votes were tallied, Clay had won the largest victory by a sitting president in a contested election since the founding of the republic, surpassing even Jefferson's margin over Charles C. Pinckney in 1804. Calhoun carried only Delaware and his native South Carolina, while Clay swept the rest of the country, winning even states like Virginia and Louisiana where the success of the National ticket was anticipated.

So the two giants, one vanquished, one vindicated, looked toward the advent of the second Clay Administration.
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2018, 02:49:02 pm »

The Second Clay Administration
1829 – 1833


Border conflicts and territorial disputes define Clay's second term in office.

Like DeWitt Clinton before him, Henry Clay rode the success of his first administration to a triumphant finish in his campaign for reelection —only to find new difficulty and frustration in the four years that followed. While at home prosperity remained the rule of the day, and an early diplomatic victory achieved the peaceful settlement of the New York–Connecticut border dispute and eased tensions with Confederate New England —for now —Clay's second tenure in the Executive Mansion was dominated by two crises which would come to define in the eyes of many the strengths and limitations of his leadership.

The first of these was a growing conflict in the northern reaches of Georgia and Alabama between white settlers and the 'Five Civilized Tribes' of the Southeast, so named for their adoption of Christianity and Anglo-European social customs. While a policy begun by Presidents Washington and Jefferson and continued under President Clinton had sought to respect the claims of the "civilized" tribes to their traditional lands, with the eventual hope of integrating them into white society, in the late 1820s rising demands that these areas be opened to white settlement led to the proposition of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which narrowly passed Congress with the united support of Southern and Western members. Clay vetoed the Act, considering it a violation of federal commitments established in treaties with the Five Civilized Tribes —whereupon the legislatures of Georgia and Alabama passed resolutions repudiating these treaties, and demanding the Indians either voluntarily sell their lands or be forcibly evicted. Led by John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, the Five Civilized Tribes took their case to the Supreme Court and won, with Chief Justice John Marshall personally delivering the decision in their favor.

Clay, who had written to Ross during the proceedings and privately supported the Cherokee case, declared the matter settled. He had underestimated the determination of the would-be settlers, who commenced a campaign of terror against the Cherokee and other Indian nations in the lower Southeast with the implicit sanction of Georgia's governor, who refused to prosecute those accused of massacring Native men, women, and children in the spring and summer of 1832. Fearing the "wholesale extermination" of American Indians in the Southeast was imminent absent federal intervention, Clay abruptly reversed his position in July 1832, announcing he would in fact seek to achieve the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes to beyond the Mississippi "in accordance with the obligations of the United States previously established by treaty, and the Constitution of the Union."

The second was a confrontation between American settlers and members of the Potawatomi Indians along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, which resulted in the deaths of three Americans and a dozen Potawatomi in the fall of 1831. The United States had recognized the Michigan peninsula as part of British North America in 1827, and the terms of the treaty ratified that year required American settlers in Michigan either to remove south or accept British rule. In defiance of this, nearly 3,000 Americans arrived on the peninsula, and in 1830 erected Fort Hendricks directly opposite Fort Dearborn on the east bank of Lake Michigan. The refusal of the settlers to recognize either British dominion or Indian claims to the land north of Detroit contributed to an ongoing border dispute between the State of Indiana and the British Province of Lower Canada; after the 1831 "Massacre on the Galien," the British lieutenant governor —seeking to prevent the outbreak of war —ordered two regiments of infantry to forcibly evict the settlers at Fort Hendricks, who had come to number nearly a hundred. The incident led to a marked deterioration of U.S.–British relations and of Clay's popularity in the West, as the president condemned first the British, then the settlers, and ultimately failed to present a coherent response to the emergency.

In spite of these setbacks, Clay remained determined to consolidate his party and see his vision for the country to its final destination. With dissension rising within the Radical camp, and his enemies readying for the kill, Clay defied all expectations, and throwing caution to the wind, the president did the unthinkable: and rallied his forces against a campaign for an unprecedented third term.
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2018, 01:12:12 pm »

The Election of 1832
David Crockett and James F. Randolph (Radical Republican) 226 electors, 75.0% votes
Richard Rush and Gabriel Moore (National Republican) 18 electors, 25.0% votes

If the presidency of Henry Clay had been the death knell of the first party system, the nomination of and election of Davy Crockett was the final nail in its coffin and the morning call of a new epoch in American politics. None at the outset of the campaign saw either as a distinct possibility. As the call for delegates to a national convention went up within the Radical Republican party, the friends of Vice President Martin Van Buren set upon Crockett, an uncontroversial Western Congressman, as the ideal stalking horse to embarrass Clay —then hot in pursuit of an unprecedented third term —and clear the way for their own man.

But Crockett's candidacy had taken on a life of its own, and after trouncing Clay on the first ballot, went on to extinguish Van Buren's hopes on the second. At this point, Van Buren's surrogates approached Clay's delegates with the last, desperate hope of toppling Crockett on the third ballot; but Clay, furious with his vice president's treachery, decided he would rather Crockett have the nomination than see it fall to Van Buren, and threw his support to the Tennesseean on the condition than James F. Randolph, a New Jersey Congressman close to the administration, be nominated for vice president.

At this news, the National Republicans rejoiced, for certain were they that Crockett—all but anonymous in Washington City, with less than half a decade spent in Congress and no record to speak of—would make for quick work at the hands of their candidate, the distinguished and statesmanlike Richard Rush. This estimation proved well-near reversed of the actual result of the balloting; for rather than cripple his candidacy, Crockett's spare record and short service in government allowed him to be all things to all men, while Rush was hurt by more than a decade's exposure for his positions—particularly his opposition to slavery—that damaged his chances with various constituencies, especially in the South. In the end, despite all odds, Crockett had won a historic victory: with more than two hundred electors and three quarters of the popular vote, the largest for any candidate to that point.

It was, wrote one ecstatic admirer of the president-elect, "the greatest revolution in this country, at least, since the election of Jefferson —possibly in our history."
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2018, 06:52:26 pm »

The Crockett Administration
1833 – 1837


The 'King of the Wild Frontier' fights mediocrity —and an unwanted war.

The first eighteen months of the presidency of Davy Crockett passed with so little incident, that were it not for the dramatic events of the Autumn of 1834, his administration might well have been recorded as among the most inconsequential in the history of the American republic. Lacking the bold vision and insatiable ambition of his immediate predecessors, Crockett proved a faithful steward of the National initiatives begun by Clinton and Clay, but seemed content to allow them to stand as they were, neither wishing to disturb nor add to their functions. No grand design came from the White House to spur the members of the House and Senate to action, nor was there any perceptible change to the daily administration of the country's laws, such as they were. What few notions Crockett did have of reforming the National systems died quietly in committee, for the Radical Republicans in Congress had begun to divide into 'Democrats' loyal to the president, and 'Liberals' who looked to Martin Van Buren —newly returned to the Senate —as the leader of their party. By far his greatest achievement was the decision to enforce the Supreme Court's ruling in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia —but while Crockett's deft deployment of carrots (the promise of fertile land in the Arkansas Territory) and sticks (the threat of force if Georgia did not respect the rights of the Five Civilized Tribes) proved effective, it had the adjoining result of pushing Georgia and Alabama further into the pocket of the National Republicans.

Two small victories won in the first year of his presidency would prove later to have profound implications for Crockett and for the country. The first, was the election of John Quincy Adams as president of the New England Confederation one year after Crockett's own inauguration. A former U.S. Senator and son of the second president of the Union, Adams had opposed New England's secession in 1814 and after was the strongest voice for reconciliation in the General Court of the Confederacy. His ascension marked a turning point in relations between New England and her estranged sisters to the south, for Adams was inclined to view Britain as the greater threat to the independence of his country, and had long contended for the amity of American republicans and a united front against the old colonial powers.

The second, was the apparent victory of federal forces in the Black Hawk War of 1832–33, which pitted the United States against a confederation of Indian nations led by the Sauk war chief Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak (known as Black Hawk to the white settlers). While federal troops fighting alongside companies of Illinois and Missouri militia defeated the Black Hawk's confederacy in the Battle of Prophetstown, where Black Hawk himself was killed, evidence that Britain had encouraged the rebellion —and continued to support Indian raids along the Michigan frontier —by September 1834 had pushed the Union to the brink of war.
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2018, 10:48:45 pm »

The Michigan War
1834 – 1836


After two years, the war for the Great Lakes ends in a draw

Driven as they claimed by "a long train of unremittent insults to the sovereign station of these States," and more pointedly by hopes to reclaim the Michigan Territory, Congress voted overwhelmingly for war with Britain in the Fall of 1834 —a majority whose size masked real divisions within the government as to the proper strategy to slay the British Lion that, in the early stages of the conflict, did not appear to impede American prospects of victory. Having anticipated the onset of war some months before President Crockett bowed to the inevitable, General Scott had taken it upon himself to strengthen the U.S. garrison at Fort Dearborn and forts in the Illinois Valley. These forces were responsible for a series of minor victories in the first months of the war, when the advantage of numbers combined with swift mobilization allowed the Americans to overwhelm several small British garrisons in Lower Michigan, and drove what Indians who had survived Black Hawk's defeat the previous year beyond the Mississippi.

Afterward, some would speculate that the Americans might have taken Detroit had they continued their offensive into the Winter; but instead the U.S. forces under General William O. Butler went into  Winter quarters at Fort Washington, allowing the British commander at Detroit to strengthen his position as reinforcements made they way south from Toronto. When at last Butler did move against Detroit, his army depleted by hunger and disease during the cold months, the result was an unequivocal British victory, leaving Butler no alternative but to retreat to Fort Dearborn.

Ironically, it was the friendship of New England that may have saved the United States from a reprise from the horrors of 1814; for the refusal of President Adams to allow British warships to anchor in Confederate waters, and his insistence that a blockade of American ports would cause New England to join the war against Britain, effectively ended British designs to expand the war to the Atlantic seaboard. Instead, British forces at Detroit mounted a counteroffensive against Fort Dearborn, where the Federal army had reformed under General Zachary Taylor. The arrival of further reinforcements from Canada, along with wagons loaded with provisions and heavy artillery, however, doomed the expedition to the same fate as Butler's at Detroit; facing a more able opponent in Taylor with intimate knowledge of the terrain, the British campaign broke apart in the Illinois wilderness. With Winter once more approaching, the regulars withdrew to Detroit, leaving the front lines essentially unchanged from two years previously.

While some minor skirmishes continued into the early months of 1836, Taylor's success at Fort Dearborn was sufficient in its resemblance of victory to allow President Crockett to reasonably claim the vindication of American honor and begin negotiations for an amicable peace. The Treaty of Madrid, ratified by the Senate in December 1836, effectively reaffirmed the pre-war territorial status quo in North America, leaving to Britain the Michigan Territory and settling the disputed St. Croix River border.

Having satisfied few and settled little, the 'quiet little war' on the Great Lakes came to an anti-climactic end.
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2018, 09:48:32 pm »

The Election of 1836
William H. Harrison and Samuel L. Southard (National) 110 electors, 37.5% votes
Martin Van Buren and John Tipton (Liberal) 95 electors, 31.3% votes
Thomas H. Benton and Richard M. Johnson (Democratic) 42 electors, 31.3% votes

Confidence in the outgoing administration was at a low ebb as voting began in the fall of 1836, and the splintering of the Radical Republican party between pro- and anti-Crockett camps ensured that the president's allies would face heady winds in their attempt to hold the Executive Mansion. In the West, where Crockett remained popular despite an ambiguous record in office, Secretary of State Thomas Hart Benton seemed certain to triumph; but elsewhere, the outcome of the contest was uncertain. Their cause was further endangered by the nomination of William Henry Harrison by the National party, whose exploits in the Northwest Indian Wars of the 1810s had earned him the trust and respect of those on the north bank of the Ohio. Yet even Harrison could not escape the anti-democratic stain of his party, and in the hard-fought battles for the three largest states on the eastern seaboard —New York, Pennsylvania, and his native Virginia —the victory fell not to him, but the Liberal ticket headed by Martin Van Buren, who though he carried only these states garnered thence nearly a hundred electoral votes —enough to throw the election to the House of Representatives. There, frayed tensions between Liberals and Democrats allowed Harrison to claim a narrow victory with twelve votes to six for Benton and two for Van Buren —having carried Virginia and Louisiana along with all ten states he had won in the general election. In the Senate, it was a different story; the exclusion of Richard M. Johnson led the Democratic senators to unite with their Liberal colleagues in support of John Tipton against the National candidate, Samuel Southard, who lacked the popularity and reputation of his running mate, and failed by a vote of 27 to 11.
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« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2018, 11:24:45 am »

The Harrison Administration
1837 – 1841


Economic disaster mars Harrison's tenure in office

The recipient of the smallest plurality of the popular vote for a successful candidate for president in the short history of the Union, William Henry Harrison entered the Executive Mansion on the fourth of March 1837 with little in the way of a mandate to pursue his vision for the country's future. Though possessed with considerable personal popularity, particularly in the states of the Northwest where his victory over Tecumseh in 1811 and against the Miami Indians in 1822 had made him the most revered general since Washington, Harrison could not translate this affection to support in Congress, where Liberals and Democrats together outnumbered the small National caucus by nearly two to one. While an unlikely partnership with Henry Clay, newly returned to the Senate from his native Kentucky, allowed Harrison to claim a moderately successful first year in office —the most significant achievement of this being the Tariff of 1837, the first explicitly protectionist tariff since the Hamilton era —, the honeymoon came to an abrupt end in the spring of 1838 when the nation's markets collapsed in what came to be known as the Panic of 1838.

Whether the Panic was the result of Harrison's economic policies, of souring relations with New England that followed the departure of John Quincy Adams, or merely a natural reaction to the years of prosperity under Clinton and Clay, the president took the blame; and the Congressional elections of 1838–39 delivered a piercing indictment of the administration. On the stump and in Congress, the Tariff and Harrison's combative attitude toward Britain were blamed for the crisis, rendering the chief executive effectively a lame duck for the final two years of his presidency. Efforts to respond to the Panic by strengthening the National Bank died in the House by the votes of Liberal and Democratic members, and for the first time since 1819 there was serious talk of dissolving the Bank altogether. Harrison's inability to negotiate a treaty with Britain either for the purchase of the Oregon Territory, or affirming the right of American citizens to settle in Michigan, further compounded the perception of failure that dogged Harrison's public image in the final years of his term.

Beleaguered and suspected, Harrison nevertheless would refuse to concede; and as the start of a new decade approached, commenced preparations for what was sure to be a long and hard fight for reelection.
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