HST 141                                                                                                                                             Dr. Kerns


The Unfinished Nation Chapter 7, “The Jeffersonian Era”


Chapter 7 Main Themes:


  1. How Americans expressed their burgeoning cultural independence through republican education, literature and religious revivalism.


  1. The impact of industrialism on the United States and its people, particularly with regard to agricultural technology and transportation.


  1. The domestic questions and foreign entanglements of Thomas Jefferson's presidency, including Marbury v. Madison, the Louisiana Purchase, the settling of the west, and the impressment and embargo controversies


  1. The response of the American people and their political system to the nation's physical expansion, and the reaction of Native American groups to this expansion.


  1. The growing conflict between British naval policies and American self-identity that led to the War of 1812, and its ultimate consequences for the young American nation.



A thorough study of Chapter 7 should enable the student to understand:


  • The role of republican education in creating a "virtuous and enlightened citizenry."


  • The American cultural and nationalist aspirations beginning to emerge in the first two decades of the nineteenth century.


  • The effects of the revolutionary experience on American religion, and the changing religious patterns that helped bring on the Second Great Awakening.


  • The growing industrialism of America and the important advances made in technology and transportation during Jefferson's presidency, belying the simple, agrarian republic envisioned by the Jeffersonians.


  • The political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson, and the extent to which he was able to adhere to his philosophy while president.


  • The origins and compromises that led to the creation of Washington DC as America's capital.


  • The Jeffersonian-Federalist struggle over the judiciary--its causes, the main points of conflict, and the importance of the outcome for the future of the nation.


  • President Jefferson's constitutional reservations concerning the Louisiana Purchase, and the significance of his decision to accept the bargain.


  • The reasons for President Jefferson's sponsorship of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the importance of that exploration.


  • The strange story of Aaron Burr, his duel with Alexander Hamilton, and his trial for "conspiracy."


  • The problems caused by Tecumseh's attempts at confederation and by the Spanish presence in Florida as Americans surged westward.


  • The motivations behind Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's strategy of "peaceable coercion," and why it ultimately failed.


  • The international events leading up to the War of 1812, and the domestic forces encouraging the war.


  • The extent of the opposition to the American war effort, and the ways in which the New England Federalists attempted to show their objections.


  • The end of the War of 1812, and the treaties accompanying it.


  • The comparative role of the United States in the "global industrial revolution" that originated in Great Britain.





Camp Meeting:

A staple of the Second Great Awakening, camp meetings were fervent revivals lasting several days and characterized by great outpourings of religious emotion.



Religious philosophy rooted in the Enlightenment. Deists accepted the existence of God, but they considered Him a remote building who, after having created the universe, had withdrawn from direct involvement with the human race and its sins.



An act that prohibits ships from entering or leaving a nation's ports.



The bringing of charges against a governmental official by the House of Representatives. Removal from office cannot come from impeachment alone. A trial must be held in the Senate, and on conviction there, the offender may be removed from his or her post.


Jeffersonian Democracy:

Not actually a democrat, in the classic sense of the word, Jefferson believed that the masses were capable of selecting their own representatives and, if properly educated and informed, would select the best and the wisest to govern. Once these were chosen, however, this "natural aristocracy" should be allowed to govern without interference from those who selected them. Only when they stood again for election would these representatives be called on to explain their actions.


Judicial Review:

The power of a court to review a law, compare it with the Constitution, and rule on whether it does or does not conform to the principles of the Constitution--whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional. Judicial review began in the United States after Justice Marshall’s decision in Marbury v. Madison.



The control of political appointments assumed by the victors in an election--the "spoils" of victory, which the victors hand out as rewards to their followers; hence the practice became known as the "spoils system."