JAMES MONROE won the presidential election of 1816. He
assumed the presidency at a time when many Americans felt
STRONG PRIDE and DEVOTION TO THEIR NATION. The
country was prospering, and political rivalry had seemed to fade
away. A Boston newspaper described the time as an “ERA OF
During this time, Speaker of the House HENRY CLAY proposed a
NATIONALIST PROGRAM to improve the nation. It was known
as the AMERICAN SYSTEM and aimed to IMPROVE EACH
REGION’S ECONOMY AND STRENGHTHEN THE NATIONAL
GOVERNMENT. It included three main aspects: INTERNAL
IMPROVEMENTS such as ROADS, BRIDGES, and CANALS;
CREATION OF A NEW NATONAL BANK to create a more
orderly money supply and help American businesses to grow; and
HIGHER TAXES on imported items to help American merchants
sell more goods.
The Supreme Court helped to increase the power of the
national government with three notable decisions
during the early 1800s.
In the case of FLETCHER V. PECK the Court ruled that
ACTS OF STATE GOVERNMENT COULD BE
DECLARED VOID if they violated provisions of the
In MCCULLOUGH V. MARYLAND, the Court declared
that the federal government could choose ANY
METHOD that was “NECESSARY AND PROPER” to
exercise the power the Constitution had given it.
In GIBBONS V. OGDEN, the Court decided that ONLY
CONGRESS HAD THE POWER TO MAKE LAWS
GOVERNING INTERSTATE COMMERCE, or trade
Despite growing feelings of nationalism, SECTIONALISM also grew
during the early 1800s. SECTIONALISM is a rivalry based on the
SPECIAL INTERESTS OF DIFFERENT AREAS.
When Congress passed HIGHER TARIFFS in 1818 and 1824, some parts
of the country protested. SOUTHERNERS now had to buy their goods
from NORTHERN merchants, who charged more than the BRITISH did.
Southerners argued that the tariffs benefited Northerners at their expense.
SECTIONAL FIGHTING also erupted in 1819, when the MISSOURI
TERRITORY asked to become a state. NORTHERNERS wanted Missouri
admitted as a FREE STATE, and SOUTHERNERS insisted that it become
a SLAVE STATE.
Legislators devised the MISSOURI COMPROMISE to settle the dispute.
Under the compromise, MISSOURI was admitted as a SLAVE STATE and
MAINE was admitted as a FREE STATE. This kept an even BALANCE
OF POWER in the Senate---12 SLAVE STATES and 12 FREE STATES.
The MISSOURI COMPROMISE also settled the question of slavery in the
rest of the Louisiana Territory---it would be PROHIBITED north of the
SECTIONAL DIFFERENCES played a role in the presidential election of
1824. All four candidates were Republicans, yet all came from different
sections of the country.
No candidate won a majority. As a result, the HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES decided the election. HENRY CLAY, the Speaker of
the House, helped secure enough votes to make JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
Upon becoming President, Adams made Clay his secretary of state.
Critics accused the two men of a “CORRUPT BARGAIN” in which
Adams promised Clay the position in return for his help in the election.
NO PROOF OF AN ARRANGEMENT EVER EMERGED.
The ELECTON OF 1824 ENDED the ERA OF GOOD FEELINGS. The
controversy over the election SPLIT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY into
DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICANS and NATIONAL REPUBLICANS.
DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICANS, who soon became known as
DEMOCRATS, FAVORED STATES’ RIGHTS. Their support came mostly
from the SOUTH and WEST. NATIONAL REPUBLICANS favored a
STRONG FEDERAL GOVERNMENT; they found support in the