Alexander Hamilton

HamiltonHamiltonianA. Hamilton
The Federalists planned to deal with this by having all their Electors vote for John Adams, then Vice President, and all but a few for Thomas Pinckney of South Carolina. Adams resented Hamilton's influence with Washington and considered him overambitious and scandalous in his private life; Hamilton compared Adams unfavorably with Washington and thought him too emotionally unstable to be President. Hamilton took the election as an opportunity: he urged all the northern electors to vote for Adams and Pinckney, lest Jefferson get in; but he cooperated with Edward Rutledge to have South Carolina's electors vote for Jefferson and Pinckney.

Historical rankings of presidents of the United States

rankedpolls of historians and political scientistsrank
Bush (95%). 4) George Washington (94%). 5) Abraham Lincoln (88%). 6) John F. Kennedy (83%). 7) Richard Nixon (82%). 8) Jimmy Carter (79%). 9) Thomas Jefferson (72%). 10) Ronald Reagan (66%). 11) Gerald Ford (62%). 12) Franklin D. Roosevelt or Theodore Roosevelt (60%). 13) John Adams or John Quincy Adams (56%). 14) Dwight D. Eisenhower (54%). 15) Harry S. Truman (50%). 16) Andrew Jackson (47%). 17) Herbert Hoover (42%). 18) Andrew Johnson or Lyndon B. Johnson (41%). 19) William Howard Taft (39%). 20) James Madison (38%). 21) Ulysses S. Grant (38%). 22) James Monroe (30%). 23) Woodrow Wilson (29%). 24) Calvin Coolidge (22%). 25) James A. Garfield (19%). 26) James K. Polk (17%). 27) Warren G.

Federalist Party

The party controlled the federal government until 1801, when it was overwhelmed by the Democratic-Republican opposition led by Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist Party came into being between 1792 and 1794 as a national coalition of bankers and businessmen in support of Alexander Hamilton's fiscal policies. These supporters developed into the organized Federalist Party, which was committed to a fiscally sound and nationalistic government. The only Federalist President was John Adams. George Washington was broadly sympathetic to the Federalist program, but he remained officially non-partisan during his entire presidency.

United States Declaration of Independence

Declaration of IndependenceAmerican Declaration of IndependenceU.S. Declaration of Independence
The source copy used for this printing has been lost and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson's hand. Jefferson's original draft is preserved at the Library of Congress, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Jefferson's notes of changes made by Congress. The best-known version of the Declaration is a signed copy that is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and which is popularly regarded as the official document. This engrossed copy (finalized, calligraphic copy) was ordered by Congress on July 19 and signed primarily on August 2. The sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry.

Alien and Sedition Acts

Sedition ActSedition Act of 1798Alien Enemies Act
While government authorities prepared lists of aliens for deportation, many aliens fled the country during the debate over the Alien and Sedition Acts, and Adams never signed a deportation order. The Virginia and Kentucky state legislatures also passed the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions denouncing the federal legislation, secretly authored by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. While the eventual resolutions followed Madison in advocating "interposition", Jefferson's initial draft would have nullified the Acts and even threatened secession. Jefferson's biographer Dumas Malone argued that this might have gotten Jefferson impeached for treason, had his actions become known at the time.

Democratic-Republican Party

The Democratic-Republican Party originated as a faction in Congress that opposed the centralizing policies of Alexander Hamilton, who served as Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington. The Democratic-Republicans and the opposing Federalist Party each became more cohesive during Washington's second term, partly as a result of the debate over the Jay Treaty. Though he was defeated by Federalist John Adams in the 1796 presidential election, Jefferson and his Democratic-Republican allies came into power following the 1800 elections.

James Madison

MadisonPresident MadisonPresident James Madison
In the 1792 United States presidential election, both major parties supported Washington's successful bid for re-election, but the Democratic-Republicans sought to unseat Vice President John Adams. Because the Constitution's rules essentially precluded Jefferson from challenging Adams, the party backed New York Governor George Clinton for the vice presidency, but Adams won re-election by a comfortable electoral vote margin. With Jefferson out of office after 1793, Madison became the de facto leader of the Democratic-Republican Party. When Britain and France went to war in 1793, the U.S. was caught in the middle.

Second Continental Congress

Continental CongressCongressSecond
Notable new arrivals included Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and John Hancock of Massachusetts. Within two weeks, Randolph was summoned back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses; Hancock succeeded him as president, and Thomas Jefferson replaced him in the Virginia delegation. The number of participating colonies also grew, as Georgia endorsed the Congress in July 1775 and adopted the continental ban on trade with Britain. The First Continental Congress had sent entreaties to King George III to stop the Coercive Acts; they had also created the Continental Association to establish a coordinated protest of those acts, putting a boycott on British goods.

Robert R. Livingston (chancellor)

Robert R. LivingstonRobert LivingstonChancellor Livingston
He was a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence, along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Roger Sherman. Livingston administered the Oath of Office to George Washington when he assumed the presidency in 1789. Livingston was the eldest son of Judge Robert Livingston (1718–1775) and Margaret ( Beekman) Livingston, uniting two wealthy Hudson River valley families. He had nine brothers and sisters, all of whom wed and made their homes on the Hudson River near the family seat at Clermont Manor. Among his siblings was his younger brother, Edward Livingston (1764-1836), who also served as U.S.

Jay Treaty

Jay's TreatyJay Treaty of 1794treaty
At the national level American politics was divided between the factions of Jefferson and Madison, which favored the French, and the Federalists led by Hamilton, who saw Britain as a natural ally and thus sought to normalize relations with Britain, especially in the area of trade. Washington sided with Hamilton. Hamilton devised a framework for negotiations, and President George Washington sent Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Jay to London to negotiate a comprehensive treaty. The American government had several outstanding issues: Both sides achieved many objectives.

George Clinton (vice president)

George ClintonGovernor George ClintonClinton
Federalists rallied around the candidacy of John Adams, and Adams finished second in the electoral vote behind George Washington, making Adams vice president. Clinton received just three electoral votes, partly because the New York legislature deadlocked and was unable to appoint a slate of electors. In the 1792 presidential election, he was chosen by the nascent Democratic-Republican Party as their candidate for vice president. While the Republicans joined in the general acclamation of Washington for a second term as president, they objected to the allegedly "monarchical" attitude of Vice President Adams.

Patrick Henry

American patriotPatrick Henry, Junrthat revolutionary patriot
In this, he found common cause with John Adams and Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, but not all were of that opinion. According to Tate, Henry "turned out not to be an especially influential member of the body". The Congress decided on a petition to the King; Henry prepared two drafts but neither proved satisfactory. When Congress on October 26 approved a draft prepared by John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, who had consulted with Henry and also Richard Henry Lee, Henry had already departed for home, and Lee signed on his behalf. The petition was rejected in London.

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

Marquis de LafayetteLafayetteGeneral Lafayette
Thomas Jefferson Letter, 30 November 1813 From the Collections at the Library of Congress. "Lafayette Triumphant: His 1824–1825 Tour and Reception in the United States". Thomas Jefferson Letter, 30 November 1813 From the Collections at the Library of Congress.

John Marshall

Chief Justice MarshallMarshallChief Justice John Marshall
The Life of George Washington, Vol. 4 (of 5). The Life of George Washington, Vol. 5 (of 5). The John Marshall Foundation, Richmond, Virginia. John Marshall Papers, 1755–1835 at The College of William & Mary. National Park Service, "The Great Chief Justice" at Home, Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan. Research Collections: Marshall, John at the Federal Judicial Center. Virginia Historical Society Video Biography of John Marshall. National Park Service, "The Great Chief Justice" at Home, Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson plan. Research Collections: Marshall, John at the Federal Judicial Center. Virginia Historical Society Video Biography of John Marshall.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Charles C. PinckneyCharles PinckneyPinckney
Though Alexander Hamilton schemed to elect Pinckney president under the electoral rules then in place, both Pinckney and incumbent Federalist President John Adams were defeated by the Democratic-Republican candidates. Seeing little hope of defeating popular incumbent President Thomas Jefferson, the Federalists chose Pinckney as their presidential nominee for the 1804 election. Neither Pinckney nor the party pursued an active campaign, and Jefferson won in a landslide. The Federalists nominated Pinckney again in 1808, in the hope that Pinckney's military experience and Jefferson's economic policies would give the party a chance of winning.

French Revolution

RevolutionRevolutionary FranceRevolutionary
In 1793, as war broke out in Europe, the Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson favoured France and pointed to the 1778 treaty that was still in effect. George Washington and his unanimous cabinet, including Jefferson, decided that the treaty did not bind the United States to enter the war. Washington proclaimed neutrality instead. Under President John Adams, a Federalist, an undeclared naval war took place with France from 1798 until 1799, often called the "Quasi War". Jefferson became president in 1801, but was hostile to Napoleon as a dictator and emperor.

Articles of Confederation

Articles of Confederation and Perpetual UnionConfederationArticles
The resulting paralysis embarrassed and frustrated many American nationalists, including George Washington. Many of the most prominent national leaders, such as Washington, John Adams, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin, retired from public life, served as foreign delegates, or held office in state governments; and for the general public, local government and self-rule seemed quite satisfactory. This served to exacerbate Congress's impotence. Inherent weaknesses in the confederation's frame of government also frustrated the ability of the government to conduct foreign policy.

Benjamin Franklin

Ben FranklinFranklinFranklin, Benjamin
Benjamin Franklin is a prominent figure in American history comparable to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, and as such he has been honored on U.S. postage stamps many times. The image of Franklin, the first Postmaster General of the United States, occurs on the face of U.S. postage more than any other notable American save that of George Washington. Franklin appeared on the first U.S. postage stamp (displayed above) issued in 1847. From 1908 through 1923, the U.S.

President of the United States

PresidentU.S. PresidentUnited States President
My Fellow Americans: The Most Important Speeches of America's presidents, from George Washington to George W. Bush. Sourcebooks Trade. 2003.

List of delegates to the Continental Congress

Delegate to the Continental CongressDelegateContinental Congress Delegate
Garraty, John A.; Carnes, Mark C., gen. eds. (1999, 2002 supplement). American National Biography. 24 volumes. New York, New York: Oxford University Press (for the American Council of Learned Societies). . Official website. Garraty, John A.; Carnes, Mark C., gen. eds. (1999, 2002 supplement). American National Biography. 24 volumes. New York, New York: Oxford University Press (for the American Council of Learned Societies). . Official website.


Quasi WarQuasi-War with Franceundeclared war
In President John Adams's annual message to Congress at the close of 1797, he reported on France's refusal to negotiate a settlement and spoke of the need "to place our country in a suitable posture of defense". Adams offered Washington a commission as lieutenant general on July 4, 1798, and as commander-in-chief of the armies raised for service in that conflict. In April 1798, President Adams informed Congress of the "XYZ Affair", in which French agents demanded a large bribe before engaging in substantive negotiations with United States diplomats. Meanwhile, French privateers inflicted substantial losses on U.S. shipping.

John Jay

Chief Justice John JayJayfirst Chief Justice of the United States
Jefferson and Madison, fearing that a commercial alliance with aristocratic Britain might undercut republicanism, led the opposition. However, Washington put his prestige behind the treaty, and Hamilton and the Federalists mobilized public opinion. The Senate ratified the treaty by a 20–10 vote, exactly by the two-thirds majority required. Democratic-Republicans were incensed at what they perceived as a betrayal of American interests, and Jay was denounced by protesters with such graffiti as "Damn John Jay! Damn everyone who won't damn John Jay!! Damn everyone that won't put lights in his windows and sit up all night damning John Jay!!!" One newspaper editor wrote, "John Jay, ah!

Compromise of 1790

bargaincompromisesecret conversations
Good credit allowed Jefferson's Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin, to borrow in Europe to finance the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, as well as to borrow to finance the War of 1812. The compromise is dramatized in the musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda in the song "The Room Where It Happens", which tells the story from the perspective of Aaron Burr. Alexander Hamilton – United States Secretary of the Treasury. James Madison – Congressman. Thomas Jefferson – United States Secretary of State. George Washington – President of the United States. First Report on the Public Credit. Residence Act. Brock, W.R. 1957.


English deism was an important influence on the thinking of Thomas Jefferson and the principles of religious freedom asserted in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Other "Founding Fathers" who were influenced to various degrees by deism were Ethan Allen, Benjamin Franklin, Cornelius Harnett, Gouverneur Morris, Hugh Williamson, James Madison, and possibly Alexander Hamilton. In the United States, where the Culture Wars still rage, there is a great deal of controversy over whether the Founding Fathers were Christians, deists, or something in between. Particularly heated is the debate over the beliefs of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.

Edmund Randolph

Edmund Jennings RandolphMr. RandolphEdmund J. Randolph
He was the second Secretary of State, and the first United States Attorney General during George Washington's presidency. Randolph was born on August 10, 1753 to the influential Randolph family in Williamsburg in the Colony of Virginia. He was educated at the College of William and Mary. After graduation he began reading law with his father John Randolph and uncle, Peyton Randolph. In 1775, with the start of the American Revolution, Randolph's father remained a Loyalist and returned to Britain; Edmund Randolph remained in America where he joined the Continental Army as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington.