The American Journey © 2007

Chapter 9: The Jefferson Era

Chapter Overviews

In 1800 the Federalist and Republican parties fought a bitter presidential election campaign. A tie vote in the Electoral College left the final decision in the hands of the House of Representatives. Thomas Jefferson finally was chosen as the third president of the United States. As a supporter of states’ rights Jefferson aimed to reduce the national debt, cut taxes, and slash spending. One of the most important acts of Jefferson’s presidency was the purchase of the Louisiana Territory. An expedition to explore the new territory was led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. A Shoshone woman, Sacagawea, served as their guide for part of the trip.

The United States' thriving foreign trade depended on being able to freely sail the world's seas and oceans. When Barbary pirates operating from North Africa threatened that freedom, the United States negotiated a resolution to the crisis. More significant problems arose as Britain and France again went to war against each other. In response to acts that violated America's neutral rights, Congress passed an embargo against Britain. The embargo proved disastrous for Americans and was soon repealed.

James Madison was elected president in 1808. He faced continuing problems with Great Britain and threats from Native Americans in the West. War Hawks in Congress pressed for an increase in military spending. In 1812 the United States declared war against Britain. Important battles were fought at Lake Erie, Detroit, Horseshoe Bend, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. After their defeat at Plattsburgh, British leaders decided that the war was too costly and unnecessary, and American and British representatives signed the Treaty of Ghent in 1814. Before word of peace could reach America, however, General Andrew Jackson led his troops to a decisive victory over the British at New Orleans.

Glencoe Online Learning CenterSocial Studies HomeProduct InfoSite MapContact Us

The McGraw-Hill CompaniesGlencoe