Sources of Freedom Exercises

This chapter concentrates on the political history of the new nation as it enlarged its boundaries and solidified its independence.

Starting with George Washington’s inauguration, the chapter explains how the founding fathers believed that the preservation of liberty and freedom for the republic relied upon the success of the American experiment in self-government. Contrasting views as to how government should look immediately emerged with the formulation of America’s first political parties. The Federalists supported Alexander Hamilton’s program for economic growth while the Democratic-Republicans supported Thomas Jefferson’s vision for an agrarian republic. These political debates enlarged the public sphere and an excerpt from one political society, the Democratic-Republican Society of Pennsylvania, is highlighted in Voices of Freedom.

The chapter then examines the presidency of John Adams, highlighting the restrictions placed upon liberties through the Alien and Sedition Acts. Further restrictions to freedom are explored when discussing slavery and politics and the attempted slave rebellion led by Gabriel. Thomas Jefferson’s expansion of executive power is demonstrated with the Louisiana Purchase, which allowed for both western expansion and economic freedom and the eventual expansion of the Cotton Kingdom and slavery. British infringements upon American rights at sea jeopardized American freedom. The failures of embargoes against Great Britain and France led to economic crisis at home and a cry for war from the War Hawks. James Madison declared war against Great Britain in 1812 and, although the war ended by establishing the status quo, it did solidify American independence and freedom from Britain for good.

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