Thomas Jefferson

The Setting Sun of the Founding Fathers

As the 1800s progressed, the era of the Founding Fathers was coming to an end. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams would outlast most of the Founding Fathers, only to die on the same date: July 4, 1826. The Founding Fathers would leave a profoundly different country than the one they created. Common Americans had created […]

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The Most Sublime Gift of Heaven

In the early 1800s, America underwent a campaign of infrastructure building. The building of new roads, bridges, and canals were done in a spirit of “national grandeur and individual convenience.” Gordon Wood, Empire of Liberty, 730 quoting Charles G. Haines, Considerations on the Great Western Canal (Brooklyn, 1818), 11. In 1806, Samuel Blodgett, an economist and architect, concluded […]

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An Outraged America

In March 1816, Congress passed a Compensation Act, “which raised the pay of congressmen from six dollars per diem to a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year.” Gordon Wood, Empire of Liberty, 718-19. This was the first raise in the pay for congressmen since 1789. Id. at 719. Robert Wright, a Congressman in 1816, and previously […]

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The War of 1812

The War of 1812 is often a forgotten war in modern times. It was a war that tested the Americans’ resolve in staying an independent nation and ultimately a war that brought together Americans in a way that no previous event had. Gordon Wood, Empire of Liberty, 699. It was also a war that brought about […]

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Ubiquitous But Controlled Religion

In the early Republic, religion took on a new role in society. In some segments of American society, religion became fervent. For example, in Cane Ridge, Kentucky in 1801, dozens of ministers of different denominations congregated with approximately 15,000-20,000 in a week-long conversion session. Gordon Wood, Empire of Liberty, 596. Amongst the “heat, the noise, and […]

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Unanticipated Consequences

In 1807, Congress passed the Embargo Act at the behest of President Thomas Jefferson. The Embargo Act “prohibited the departure of all American ships in international trade.” Gordon Wood, Empire of Liberty, 649. Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin doubted the effectiveness of the embargo on preventing the oncoming confrontation with the battling European behemoths of […]

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An Educated Society

Charles Willson Peale was an “artist, politician, scientist, tinker, and showman,” who was one of the leaders in enhancing civic society. Namely, he created a museum, which he said was to promote “the interests of religion and morality by the arrangement and display of the works of nature and art.” Lillian B. Miller, Patrons and Patriotism: […]

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