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Economic and political policies often evolve from priory enforced policy. Policies have spawned from controversial court hearings, wartime policy and bills that have been passed under politically turbulent times. During the 1800’s, certain occurrences brought about economic and political issues that have affected the United States since. This paper will discuss some of the major issues raised with respect to four of these occurrences. These are the Louisiana Purchase, the Marbury v. Madison case, and British Orders in Council, impressments, Berlin and Milan Decrees, and Second Bank of the United States, Tariff of 1816, and the National Road.
The Louisiana Purchase refers to the way the current United States government bought the territory of Louisiana from the French in 1803. The region contained land that traversed several states. For example, land from the territory formed part of North and South Dakota. Moreover, a big part of New Mexico is also part of this territory (Kennedy 103). Other states include Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Wyoming, Montana and Colorado. In total, 15 current states in the US were geographically affected by the purchase. In addition to that, two current provinces in Canada were also geographically affected. The provinces are Saskatchewan and Alberta. At the time of the purchase, the Louisiana region contained about 60,000 non-native inhabitants, half of whom were African American slaves.
Following the huge geographical impact of the venture, it is apparent that the purchase caused significant modifications in economic and political policy it the areas directly affected. Economically, when considering the monetary exchanges that happened between the US and France, the United States can be said to have benefitted off the deal (Kennedy 122). The amount paid for the land was 50 million francs, an equivalent of 15 million US dollars. Valued as per the year 2016, the amount was 250 million US dollars. The biggest economic impact of the purchase was the increment in size of the present day United States. This is because it allowed for westward expansion through immigration. The land bought was also invaluable, seeing that it cost the country four cents for every acre. The control of the Mississippi river was another economic benefit since the river has been aiding in transportation of numerous goods across the United States. This helped the country invest in a vast network of waterways that aided transportation of commodities across the country. Prior to the abolition of the institution of slavery and slave trade, the purchased land provided cheap slave labor that drove progress since almost half of the inhabitants of the land were African American slaves. The slaves were instrumental in the production of cotton gin. Other economic victories that came to the country following the purchase were the fact that large scale farming was conceived in this land when people involved in the Gold Rush failed to find sufficient gold (Gaspar 169). The areas acquired are now currently renowned in producing the country’s corn and wheat. Although gold was not in abundance in Idaho, iron and coal were plentiful in Missouri. The acquisition of the land also helped the United States economy by enabling the construction of a railroad network across the country since the region was situated at the middle of the country.
The political issues surrounding the purchase were also significant. Firstly the federalists of New England were in opposition of the purchase. The federalists however allied with the government on the issue. Slave keeping was another political issue the purchase influenced. Since the land was centrally placed between the south which championed for slate trade and the north which advocated for the abolishment of the institution, the opinion of the land acquired was paramount. In 1820, it was agreed that only the state of Missouri in the entire Louisiana territory could practice slavery in a bill termed the Missouri Compromise (Gaspar 169). The incident termed ‘Bleeding Kansas’ was a testimony to the political struggle between proslavery and antislavery advocates in the territory. The incident was an anarchy period that ensued from the struggle. At the heart of the American Civil War, a power struggle was brewing among states in the Louisiana territory. During this time, Arkansas and Louisiana seceded from the alliance. When Missouri tried to secede too, it was seized back by Captain Lyon. However, these were just but a few issues affected by the Louisiana land in the struggle between the confederacy and the Federal Government.
The Marbury v. Madison case was another occurrence that produced political and economic issues that are still felt in present day United States. The case was a first of its kind since it saw the Supreme Court ruling that a Congressional act could be voided if it was found unconstitutional (Astyne and Marshall 40). This was a new frontier in the country’s legal structure since the executive branch of the government was accorded legislative oversight. The review of the case was that President John Adams nominated several federalists to acquire seats in the judiciary. If successful the presidential commissions would see to it that the federalists had power in the judiciary affecting their own agenda rather than enforcing the constitution. However, clerical errors led to the commissions not being sent to their respective destinations until Thomas Jefferson was sworn in. When he realized it, the president ordered Madison, the secretary of the state to prevent the commission’s delivery. Marbury was among the nominees and embittered, he sued Madison citing denial of right to the appointment. The verdict of the case was that Madison had been in the wrong by denying delivery of the nominee list but that individuals were not allowed by the constitution to directly appeal to the Supreme Court and that only other courts had the mandate to file such appeals.
The decision by the court did not however have as much bearing to the country’s economy as it had to its politics. Among these issues was that the judiciary was recognized for its independent nature and that judges and magistrates could not be viewed as standalone individuals but as instruments of the law acting on impartial capacities. Second among the issues was that the court took a firm stand not to get involved in matters of politics, seeing as President Adams acted in favor of the federalists and Jefferson in favor of Democrats (Astyne and Marshall 39). The ruling given by judge Marshall however removed the court’s involvement from the political battle between the parties. Last among the issues is that judicial review of whether laws passed by the legislature were constitutional was enforced. Thusly, the judiciary was recognized as the interpreter of the constitution, a scenario that had not been possible prior to the incident. The judiciary has since interpreted the constitution thereby reaffirming or clarifying it.
The British Orders of Council were decrees made by England in the early 1800’s limiting commercial interactions between countries with British affiliations and France. This was part of an economic warfare tactic that had far reaching impacts on both nations and the United States in terms of commerce and policy. Even though the most immediate issues were economic in nature, military action was often spawned as a result of these decrees both in Europe and in the United States. In Europe for example, the embargos escalated tensions between Britain and France (Colbert 57). Moreover, Britain was involved with political and military altercations with neutral countries. The orders saw neutral parties creating the Second League of Armed Neutrality at around the year 1801. The parties included Russia, Sweden, Prussia, Norway and Denmark. Britain even engaged in war with Denmark over the orders. Another political altercation spawned by the orders in Europe is the Battle of Copenhagen in 1807.
The Orders of Council were an economic warfare instrument employed by Napoleon, the most revered power all over Europe during that time, to snuff out Britain’s emerging power in the continent. During the time, Napoleon used France and Spain as his strongholds. His navies were however defeated by British navies in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 (Colbert 78). In the following year, he made the Berlin Decree forbidding France from doing business with Britain. As a response to this, the British made the orders in council in 1807 blocking French allies’ trade. Britain seized ships that were not checked for French weapons. Napoleon countered this with the Milan Decree that seized all neutral ships with British clearance for trade. These decrees and orders had certain economic impacts as well. For example, the relatively young French maritime trade was stunted by the embargoes. Since Britain had maritime experience, it compensated the Napoleonic embargoes with international trade to the West. Napoleon even fell back on his crackdown on British cargo ships since he desperately required supplies from Britain for his wars. He was eventually defeated in 1815 when the economic warfare ended. In the United States, the political scenario painted by the orders was also turbulent. They were responsible for sparking the War of 1812 with Britain. The tensions that had marked the signing of the Orders between the two nations did not waver even after Britain sent word to the United States that the orders had been lifted. In fact, when word reached the US, America had already declared war on Britain fifty days prior and refused to quell the hostility since it was not sure how Britain would view the war declaration (Stockder 500). Be that as it may, the orders till the day they were repealed had caused upheavals in the economic and political landscape of Europe and the West.
The last major source of economic and political strife in the 1800’s is the establishment of the Second Bank of the United States. The institution was established following a need to stabilize the economic turmoil that had been brought about by the war of 1812. Major economic issues plaguing the federal government during the time were fiscal disorder and unregulated currency (Hammond 37). Since the political climate had cooled down following the end of the war, the era was politically marked by national unity. Thereby, there was national alliance as the entire nation sought to solve the economic quagmire at hand. The economic Reconstructionist agenda was to be implemented using protective tariffs and internal improvements. Such tariffs were meant to protect the country from global market dynamics. An example was the 1816 Tariff that shielded the US from effects of internationally manufactured goods. Internal improvements were meant to make the United States market self-sufficient so as not to rely on outside markets for trade to thrive. A key element in the internal improvement policy was the National Road, the first macadam highway, from Fort Cumberland to present day Pittsburg. The road was pragmatic to the policy since it revolutionized a major trading route (Hammond). The agenda thereby garnered unanimous support from the Republicans in the south of the country and the democrats in the west. The bank was thus in 1816 chartered by President Madison. The bank ran seamlessly for 15 years when it faced political backlash during the presidential elections of 1932. When Andrew Jackson won presidency, his administration denied re-charter to it where it was consequently privatized and later in 1936 liquidated.
The short life of the bank was marred in political as well as economic issues. With regard to these, there had been two issues. First, republicans, even though they had enabled prior chartering of the bank increasingly resented how powerful the bank was becoming in shaping policy. In protest, they attacked the alleged unconstitutionality of the bank. They claimed that the bank was threatening Jeffersonian agrarianism, slave trade and sovereignty of states since its reach spanned the entire nation. Second, from an economics aspect, smaller private banks were becoming increasingly hostile to the centrality of the bank and especially to its economic regulatory effect (Bodenhorn 244). Since such banks thrived even without charters from states, they were against re-chartering of banks in general so as to push out the Second Bank. The two issues were picked up by Andrew Jackson’s presidential campaign in a bid to woo voters and upon winning the presidency spelled doom for the Second Bank.
In the initial stages of the bank’s conception, the recovery of the United States’ commerce following crumbling of the Napoleon era made it a crucial tool in regulating private banks’ issuance of notes which could have brought about credit bubbles and possible financial collapse. Economic factors such as agrarian products demand from Europe had led to increased land sales in the United States to come up with enough supply. The bank was thereby tasked with distribution of credit to farmers in the south and the west. For a while, the strategy was functional but ceased to be when irregular economic climate started affecting the US market as a result of fears of global market collapse (Hammond 71). This climate paved way for the US market panic of 1819 when the Napoleonic world finally crumbled. Following the panic, the bank was criticized since it’s monetary and credit policies were apparently flawed. This was because evidence showed receding property value and mass unemployment. Further scrutiny into the bank even revealed fraud and embezzlement cases. Even with the restructuring of the bank’s administration, policies enforced pushed the country deeper into recession and unemployment. The prevailing hurdles ultimately made the bank a politically contentious topic and democrats backing Jackson for presidency made it such that the bank would be abolished (Bodenhorn 251). With the mass criticism the bank had garnered, Andrew Jackson had a large following that ensured the presidency for him. Within months into his administration, he denied the bank a second charter, which invariably led to its liquidation in 1836.
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