Unit 4: Jeffersonian Era & War of 1812

General Timelines

Timeline #1: pre-War of 1812

Timeline #2: War of 1812

General Map

Map # 1: North America

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Course Content

Developments in Jefferson's Presidency:


Jefferson's Developments as President

Achievements by Jefferson

  • Jefferson's overall vision for America was an agrarian society instead of an industrial cities w/ big cities

  • Jefferson was a very smart & shrewd politician

    • Easily won reelection in 1804 against Charles C Pinckney, increased Republican majorities in Congress

  • Jefferson cut national debts by half

    • Removed internal taxes, only imposed taxes on westward land & imports​

  • Jefferson reduced navy size, which cut gov spending

    • Believed a navy would undermine his agrarian vision for America

    • Established West Point in 1802 as a reduced navy would require a large army

  • Won a conflict with North African states, causing him to pay less in tariffs

    • All ships passing through Mediterranean had to pay tariffs to North African Kingdoms

    • Jefferson built up his navy for war against Tripoli (one of the kingdoms) and won, so he didn't have to pay that tax ever again

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Marbury v Madison & Federalist Majority in Court

  • Jefferson sought to maintain a Republican majority in the Supreme Court

    • Sought to repeal Adams's "midnight appointments"

  • Marbury v Madison court case challenged Congress's policies, establishing Judicial Review

    • John Adams appointed Marbury as justice, but his commission letter was delivered when Adams left office

    • James Madison (Jefferson's secretary of state) protested Marbury's appointment as it was late

    • Court got involved, John Marshall (chief justice) said that the appointment was invalid

      • This was known as Judicial Review, the idea that Court can nullify unconstitutional acts passed by Congress & executive branches

  • Through Judicial Review, John Marshall established the concept of the Supreme Court's relationship to executive & legislative branches 

  • Later, Jefferson sought to impeach justice Samuel Chase, a far-right Federalist in court

    • Congress impeached him, but less than 2/3 of Senate voted in favor, so the case was closed

    • Set the precedent that impeachments can only be used in case of crimes, not for routine purposes

  • Jefferson had to deal with a Federalist majority in Court, which supported extreme policies that he hated


Rise of American Culture


  • Education was limited and mostly for white males

    • Religious education was common in south

    • Secular education was common in north

    • Mostly were private schools, only rich could afford

    • Poor people went to inferior schools

  • Everyone else (not white males) had limited opportunities

    • Women often went to primary schools but not universities as they didn't need a job

      • Believed they needed to learn to teach republican values to their kids

    • Indians received little education

      • Some missionary schools opened for Indians

      • Whites sought to "civilize" the Indians

    • Slaves & free blacks had barely any education

      • If slaves went to school, they'd learn about their terrible condition & learn to rebel

      • Free blacks in the north sometimes went to segregated inferior schools

  • Universities were rare, really expensive

  • Medical knowledge was almost nonexistant

    • UPenn opened first medical school, taught people about germs & anatomy using cadavers​

    • Benjamin Rush believed that bleeding & purging would cure people (it failed)

    • Number of midwives decreased


Culture & Religion

  • Americans sought to develop their own culture distinct from Britain

    • Sought to promote patriotic education in schools

    • Noah Webster created an American Dictionary w/ different spellings from Britain

      • honour became honor, etc.

  • American authors sought to create literature that represented American culture & style

    • Many wrote novels, much different from the British idea of poetry

  • As republican ideals of liberty spread, people started to separate from religion

    • Church attendance was significantly decreased

    • John Murray founded the Universalist church in 1779, rejected the idea of predestination

      • Believed anyone can use reason and faith to achieve salvation

      • Unitarian church was very similar to this

    • People believed in rational religion instead of formal church gatherings

    • This decline in religion caused 2nd Great Awakening


Westward Expansion & Exploration

Louisiana Purchase

  • Since 1800, Napoleon (French emperor) sought to regain land in the New World

    • Regained Louisiana Territory from Spain in Secret Treaty, Treaty of San Ildefonso (1800)

    • French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) declared independence, Napoleon sought to regain it

  • Jefferson found out about French regain of Louisiana

    • Pinckney's Treaty w/ Spain authorized Americans to use Port of New Orleans

    • Now under French control, that wasn't the case

    • American merchants complained that they lost their rights to Port of New Orleans

      • If Jefferson ignores them, he'd lose popularity

      • If Jefferson questions French authority there, he'd risk having a war with France

  • Jefferson's final idea was just to buy the Port of New Orleans so American merchants could dock there

    • Sent Robert R. Livingston to France to sign peace settlement to end Quasi War in 1800

    • Sent James Monroe to France to assist him & petition to purchase Port of New Orleans

    • Napoleon offered the entire Louisiana Territory for $15 million, which they agreed to

      • Napoleon had already failed his ambitions in the New World, so he sold it to raise revenue (1803)

  • Louisiana territory was organized into districts that could petition statehood at a certain population

    • Just like Northwest Territory​


Lewis & Clark's Expedition

  • Jefferson sought to expand westward to Pacific Ocean

    • Hired Meriwether Lewis & William Clark to lead a westward expedition

  • In Spring 1804, Lewis & Clark ​(along w/ some others) traveled westward from St. Louis

    • Shoshone Indian woman Sacajawea helped guide them across the Rocky Mtns

    • Reached Pacific Coast in 1805, returned to St. Louis in 1806 w/ lots of geographical knowledge

  • Jefferson also dispatched Zebulon Pike to explore the upper Mississippi Valley

    • Pike started in 1805, reached Colorado in 1806 & discovered a tall mountain (now called Pikes Peak)

    • Returned & told that the land to the west is uninhabitable & like a desert


Burr Conspiracy

  • Many Federalists in New England hated westward expansion

    • A group known as "Essex Junto" sought to secede from the US

    • Needed support from NY & NJ as their economies are more powerful & can help the new nation

      • Alexander Hamilton, leading Federalist of NY, refused the proposal​

  • The Federalists had one last chance to make their case

    • Aaron Burr (Jefferson's first VP) was running against Hamilton for New York governor

    • If Burr was elected, Burr would secede from the union w/ the New England Federalists

  • Burr lost the election & challenged Hamilton to a duel​

    • Hamilton didn't want to be a coward, so he agreed to it

    • Burr beat Hamilton in the duel, causing Hamilton to die the next day

  • Burr fled to the west to escape prosecution for murder

    • Allied w/ James Wilkinson, governor of Louisiana Territory, to create a state in Southwest US, separate from the US

  • Jefferson hated Burr's goal but believed everything he sought to do

    • Burr led a group of armed men into Ohio River

    • Wilkinson told Jefferson that Burr would attack New Orleans

    • Jefferson had Burr jailed & sent to trial

    • Burr was acquitted as there was no evidence that he'd actually attack New Orleans

      • This is known as Burr Conspiracy

War of 1812:


Causes of the War of 1812

Conflict at Sea

  • During French Revolution, Napoleon led France through a war w/ rest of Europe

    • Britain defeated France at Battle of Trafalgar (1805)

      • France issued Continental System, a law preventing Britain from trading w/ continental Europe

      • Britain responded & issued "Orders in Council," blockading France from trade w/ continental Europe & Britain

    • US couldn't remain neutral in France-Britain conflict

      • Britain would attack US for trading w/ France

      • France would attack US for trading w/ Britain

  • Britain later instituted the policy of "impressment," harming the US

    • British would force American sailors to serve in the British navy

      • This idea was called "impressment"

    • Many of these impressed sailors would defect back onto American ships when they get the chance

    • Britain thus reserved the right to search any American ship for defected British soldiers

    • In 1807, James Barron commanded Chesapeake ship of the US

      • British ship Leopard arrived, forced Barron to let them search his ship

      • Barron refused, so British opened fire, so Barron surrendered

      • British dragged 4 men off Barron's ship

      • Known as the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair (1807)

    • James Monroe was sent as diplomat to Britain

      • Britain compensated the US for the incident


US's Trade Embargo

  • Congress enacted The Embargo Act of 1807

    • Prevented US ships from trading in any foreign port

    • Many people evaded this law, especially Federalists

    • This idea of placing an embargo was called "peaceable coercion"​

  • In 1809, as the Embargo of 1807 was hurting the economy, Congress enacted Non-Intercourse Act

    • Allowed US ships to travel anywhere except Britain & France

  • In 1810, Congress signed Macon's Bill No. 2, allowing trade w/ France & Britain if they repeal their restrictions on American shipping

    • France agreed to it

    • Britain agreed much later, and the US sought war with Britain until they'd repeal their restrictions

      • This is the main cause of War of 1812


The Indian Opposition to the US

  • William Henry Harrison was congressional delegate from NW territory & promoted westward expansion

    • Passed Harrison Land Law of 1800, making it easier for whites to acquire land in the west​

    • Jefferson supported Harrison & extracted many treaties from the Indians for land in the Midwest

    • Jefferson offered the Indians to assimilate into white society or move west of the Mississippi River

  • British supplied the Indians in the west w/ arms

    • After Chesapeake-Leopard Incident (1807), anti-British feeling spread throughout US​

    • British thought the US would invade Canada, so the British mobilized resources in Canada

    • Britain also supplied arms to the Indians in the US against the Americans (to help the British)

    • Allowed the Indians to somewhat resist white encroachment in the west

  • 2 Indians emerged as leaders, unifying the Indians​

    • Tenskwatawa ("the prophet") was a religious leader, promoting an anti-white feeling among the Indians​

      • Unified the Indians through his religious ideas

      • His home base (Prophetstown) became a sacred place

    • Tecumseh unified the Indians militarily & formed armies to attack white settlements

      • Once, William Henry Harrison burned down Prophetstown in Battle of Tippecanoe (1811)

      • Still, Tecumseh continued to mobilize his army and raid white settlements

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Desire to Conquer Florida & Start of War

  • Americans had long desired to take over Florida

    • Many Indians in Florida launched raids into Georgia​

    • Many slaves in Georgia escaped to Florida

    • Florida's location was ideal

  • In 1810, Americans took over a Spanish Fort at Baton Rouge (present-day Louisiana)

    • James Madison (current president) agreed with them to annex the strip of land from Louisiana to Florida

    • Believed war with Britain was a pretext to annex that land

  • Because of all of these causes (mostly British threats to American shipping), Americans sought war w/ Britain

    • In 1810 elections, many elected representatives supported war

      • Henry Clay became Speaker of the House & promoted a vision for war

      • John Calhoun was head of Committee of Foreign Affairs & also supported war

        • Clay & Calhoun had important roles later in American History

    • Eventually, in June 1812, James Madison approved war w/ Britain, starting the War of 1812

  • In addition to annexing Florida, US wanted to annex Canada

Battles in the War of 1812

American Battles with the Indians

  • In first phase of the war, Britain was preoccupied with Napoleonic Wars in Europe

    • Thus, war was mostly between US and the Indians 

    • Many Indians were brought to Canada by the British, and the British in Canada supplied them w/ weapons

In Jul 1812, Gen. William Hull invaded Canada through Detroit. He failed & retreated back to Detroit in Aug 1812

In Apr 1813, Gen. Zebulon Pike burned city of York (present-day Toronto). US won, but Pike was killed

In Sept 1813, Com. Oliver Hazard Perry defeated British navy at Battle of Lake Erie (Put-in Bay)

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In Mar 1814, Andrew Jackson defeated Creek Indians in Florida (Tecumseh's allies). He seized control of some parts of Florida (Battle of Horseshoe Bend)

In Oct 1813, Gen. William Henry Harrison led army via Thames River in Canada. Killed Tecumseh at Battle of Thames

American Battles with the British

In Apr 1814, Napoleon is defeated in France, exiles in Elba. Thus, Britain can focus more on this war instead of Napoleonic Wars

In Aug 1814, British troops defeat an American militia at Bladensburg (near Washington DC)

The same day as Battle of Bladensburg, British troops advance to Washington DC, burn many buildings including White House

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In Jan 1815, US defeats British at Battle of New Orleans & kills British Commander Edward Pakenham. This ended the war

In Sept 1814, British attack Fort McHenry (Baltimore). US clogs the harbor w/ sunken ships, so British attack from a distance. US wins

Americans successfully defended British force at Battle of Plattsburgh (Sept 1814)

Fun Fact: Creation of the Star Spangled Banner

During the Battle of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key (American lawyer) was aboard one of the British ships. From the ship, he saw that the fort was very destroyed, but the flag was still waving. He wrote a poem about the flag called "Star Spangled Banner" on the back of an envelope. This later became the national anthem in 1931. 

End of the War of 1812

Hartford Convention

  • During War of 1812, Federalists in New England opposed the war effort

    • Hated the Republican government of the US

    • Celebrated British victories

    • New England (which was majority Federalist) sought to secede from the Union

  • In Dec 1814, Federalist delegates from New England met at Hartford (Hartford Convention)

    • Discussed grievances to the Republican gov​

    • Unfortunately, the Federalists who supported secession were outnumbered by a more moderate majority that opposed secession

    • Made a list of 7 Constitutional amendments to protect New England from influence from the rest of the US

  • However, after Victory at New Orleans (Jan 1815), many started to despise the Federalists (mostly b/c they supported the British)

    • Plans for secession were canceled

    • Largely caused Federalist party to disappear


Peace Settlement

  • Treaty of Ghent (1814) restored pre-war boundaries & agreements

    • US would give up demands to annex Canada​

    • US would give the Northwest land to the Indians

      • This was not actually implemented

    • Discussed & approved in Dec 1814, officially ratified in Feb 1815

  • A treaty in 1815 allowed the US to trade freely w/ Britain without any restrictions

  • Rush-Bagot Treaty (1817) told US & Britain to disarm themselves near US-Canada border at Great Lakes

Important Terms & People