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Early Republic

Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist XIV

“Publius,” The Federalist XIV [James Madison]

New-York Packet, November 30, 1787

With the draft Constitution having been published for consideration by the residents of each state in 1787 came questions about whether and how the federal government would effectuate its responsibilities given the vast land that the states and territories had already comprised—which James Madison found to be framed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River. Madison, in The Federalist XIV, articulated the reasoning behind the Constitution’s model for government, and at the heart of that reasoning was that this new form of government was not going to be a pure democracy of yore but rather a modern republic: “The true distinction” between a democracy and a republic is “that in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A democracy consequently will be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a large region.” Continue reading “Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist XIV”

Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist IX [Alexander Hamilton]

“Publius,” The Federalist IX [Alexander Hamilton]

Independent Journal (New York), November 21, 1787

Following are excerpts from Alexander Hamilton’s writings in the Federalist Papers:

“When Montesquieu recommends a small extent for republics, the standards he had in view were of dimensions, far short of the limits of almost every one of these States. Continue reading “Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist IX [Alexander Hamilton]”

The Oregon Question

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A Depiction of the Oregon Territory in 1848.

Following the Democrats’ victory in the Election of 1844, President James Polk began negotiating with the British about the Oregon territory, which America had permitted Britain to occupy for several decades. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 715.

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The Whigs’ Manifest Destiny

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William Ellery Channing. By: Henry Cheever Pratt.

The Whigs had their own approach to interpreting manifest destiny, and that approach mainly applied to shaping America’s foreign policy.

Continue reading “The Whigs’ Manifest Destiny”

Manifest Destiny

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The Democratic Review Magazine.

While many Americans would come to embrace manifest destiny, the idea that America would achieve its imperial destiny and dominate the continent, it was not a politician or president who coined the term. Rather, it was coined in 1845 in New York’s Democratic Review magazine. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 702-03.

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Election of 1844: Polk Prevails

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Campaign Banner for James Polk and George Dallas.

Throughout the first  twelve days of November of 1844, the population voted for the next president. Voters had to pick between the Democrat, James Polk, the Whig, Henry Clay, and the Liberty Party’s candidate, James Birney. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 688.

Continue reading “Election of 1844: Polk Prevails”

Election of 1844: Democratic Party Platform

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Robert Walker. By: Mathew Brady.

As part of the Democratic platform for the Election of 1844, the Democrats incorporated their positions on “strict construction, banking, and congressional noninterference with slavery.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 683. However, the Democrats took things one step further.

Continue reading “Election of 1844: Democratic Party Platform”

Election of 1844: The Conventions

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James Knox Polk. By: George P.A. Healy.

The Election of 1844 was one of the most momentous in American history.

Continue reading “Election of 1844: The Conventions”

Constitution Sunday: George Washington to Bushrod Washington

George Washington to Bushrod Washington

Mount Vernon, November 10, 1787

Following are excerpts from George Washington’s letter to Bushrod Washington:

“Dear Bushrod: In due course of Post, your letters of the 19th. and 26th. Ult. came to hand and I thank you for the communications therein; for a continuation in matters of importance, I shall be obliged to you. Continue reading “Constitution Sunday: George Washington to Bushrod Washington”

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