Greatest accomplishments from 1789-1821
George Washington became the first president of the United States of America in 1789. From 1789-1812, America’s government worked hard to rebuild the state’s financial structure. One of the greatest accomplishments during this period was legislation of crucial laws that helped to shape the country’s governance. The legislature included the senate and the House of Representatives. The laws at this time were passed by majority vote in both houses after which they were signed by the head of state (Henretta, Edwards & Self, 2011).
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Between 1789 and 1812, America was ruled by three presidents namely, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. George Washington is remembered for his role in averting foreign conflicts. In 1793, he declared the country neutral to foreign relations and this helped America avoid international conflicts.
He supported all policies aimed at building a strong central regime and settled the nation’s debt. He also executed an efficient tax system, and created a bank where the American citizens could save their money. John Adams (1797-1801) became the president of America at a time when the war between France and Britain was at its worst.
His major accomplishment was thus keeping the nation out of war and improving the relationship between the two nations. In his attempt to end the conflict, he sent three of his officials to France so that they could negotiate with the country’s foreign minister. The France minister, however, refused to negotiate with the officials and Adam sent another group of officials to maintain peace between the two nations.
Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), is remembered for his financial ingenuity in helping reduce the country’s debt by a third. He made several changes in the governance of the country, which included reducing the Army and Navy expenditure, as well as restructured the financial plan of the country. He was also instrumental in fighting off the barbarian pirates who were threatening the nation’s trading activities in the Mediterranean region (Henretta, Edwards & Self, 2011).
It was during Jefferson’s presidential term that the Supreme Court made one of historic ruling. In 1803, in the case of Marbury vs. Madison, the court for the first time invalidated a law and declared it unconstitutional. This process was referred to as judicial review, and it helped define the checks and balances of the government. The present federal judicial system, which is the nation’s most powerful branch in the Supreme Court, was molded during this period (Warren, 1999).
The war of 1812 was an achievement to the United States and involved the nation fighting against Britain and India. The United States was the winner of the war and as a result, it is referred to as “a Second War for American Independence” (Warren, 1999).It served as a crossroad in the growth of the Independent United states and post-war developments that led to a sovereign American Society.
Washington’s Farewell Address
What was Followed
In his farewell address, George Washington warned against secession and asked the people of the United States to unite and see themselves first as Americans and not members of a region, city, or state. This was followed during the reign of John Adams as a president and helped to make the country strong.
He also warned against use of force in amendment of the constitution. His vision of having the constitution amended through the checks and balances and separation of powers was followed during the rule of Thomas Jefferson. He envisioned that the constitution would be amended without the use of force and this was followed with an example of the case of Marbury vs. Madison when the Supreme Court ruled that a law was unconstitutional. (Hargrove, 2000).
What was not followed
In his farewell address, George Washington warned against various things, which were later violated by presidents that followed. In his address, he warned against slavery and said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Hargrove, 2000). Thomas Jefferson during his presidential term violated this by advocating and supporting the use of slaves in the country.
George Washington also warned against use of excessive presidential authority, but this has been abused by various presidents who use their powers to invade and subjugate other countries. The best example is George W. Bush who during his term used his powers as a president to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.
Hargrove, J. (2000). Washington’s Farewell Address. Carthage: Teaching & Learning.
Henretta, A., Edwards, R., & Self, O. (2011). America’s History. New York: Bedford Martins.
Warren, C. (1999).The Supreme Court in United States. Washington: Beard Books.