Chapter 5: The Era of Thomas Jefferson

Section 1 - Jefferson Takes Office

Key Points: After a bitter campaign, Thomas Jefferson used his inaugural address to try to bring opposing sides together.


  • Aaron Burr tied electoral votes
  • House of Representatives got to vote
  • It was deadlocked for 6 days
  • Made the 12th constitutional amendment to change how president and vice president are elected

Key Point: Jefferson's Innauguration


  • 1st president to be inaugurated to Washington D.C., the country's new capital
  • His inauguration speech tried to bring the divided country together
  • He also ended the custom of people bowing to the president. Instead, they just shook his hand.

Key Point: Jefferson Charts a New Course. As president, Jefferson's main goal was to limit the power of the federal government over the states and citizens.


  • He thought that the government should not be involved in the economy and should not interfere with it.
  • He took steps to do that by reducing the number of people in the government. He fired all the tax collectors and the number of U.S. diplomats. He also shrunk the army from 4,000 to 2,500. The sedition act was another goal (for more on the Sedition act, go to chapter 4) and all people imprisoned by it were now free.

Download: Chapter 5 - Section 1 (Powerpoint)

Section 2 - The Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark

Key Points: The Nation looks west.

Details: U.S leaders worried that France or Spain might close the port of New Orleans to get the goods of Western Farmers

  • More than 1 million settlers lived between the Appalacian Mountains and the Mississippi in which most were farmers.
  • 1795 - Made the Pinckney Treaty: Spain said we could use the Mississippi and go to New Orleans.
  • It was deadlocked for 6 days
  • In 1801 Spain was sneaking around and was going to give New Orleans to the French

Key Point: The Louisiana Purchase

Details: The Louisiana Purchase gave the United States a vast area with untold wealth.

  • 1802 - The Spanish said you can't use New Orleans any more
  • Sent Monroe & Livingston to try and buy New Orleans
  • The French had just lost Haiti as a colony which made it hard to keep New Orleans
  • France was about to go to war with England and needed lots of money
  • Napoleon Bonaparte sold us New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory!
  • Total: $15 Million. Cost us about 4 cents an acre!
  • Doubled the size of the country

Key Point: Jefferson's Dilemma


  • Didn't say in the constitution that the president can buy land, and Jefferson loves the constitution.

Key Point: Lewis and Clark are chosen for a secret expedition

Details: Lewis and Clark brought back valueable information on the area's people, plants, and animals.

  • Both were army captains.
  • Goals were to collect samples and take notes on geography, plants, animals and natural features
  • Also make contact with Native Americans.
  • Find a path from the Mississippi to the Pacific.

Key Point: Into the unknown


  • 40 people, one slave, one dog
  • Took the Missouri River West
  • Decide to camp in winter 1804 and meet French Canadian and his wife Sacagawea
  • In April they head out again and climb the Rockies and reach the continental divide.
  • Meet Sacagawea's brother and he gives them horses
  • Reach the Pacific in November after riding the rapids
  • Zebulon Pike leaves and explores the southern part of the Louisiana Territory
  • Climbs the Rockies and gets stuck in the snow
  • Turns around and gets captured by the Spanish in New Mexico

Download: Chapter 5 - Section 2 (Powerpoint)

Section 3 - A Time of Conflict

Key Points: Defeating the Barbary States (Little Countries)

Details: Threats to American shipping led the United States to capture Tripoli, stronghold of the Barbary Pirates.

  • The Barbary states are the on the North African Coast
  • The pirates started stealing our ships.
  • The Europeans paid tributes, or bribes, to get the pirates to leave them alone
  • Jefferson paid tributes for a while but then sent military patrols out instead
  • Off Tripoli, the pirates took our ship Philadelphia.
  • Stephen Decatur burned the ship instead of letting the pirates have it
  • Later we sent marines there to capture their capital.
  • Jefferson paid tributes for a while but then sent military patrols out instead
  • Jefferson paid tributes for a while but then sent military patrols out instead

Key Point: American Neutrality is Challenged

Details: Britain and France interfered with American shipping, increasing tensions between the U.S. and the 2 European Nations.

  • All about trade with Britain and France
  • They both keep stealing our ships hoping it will hurt the other country
  • 1803 to 1807 - Both coutries stole a total of 1,500 American ships
  • Britain turns to impressment again!

Key Point: Jefferson's Embargo

Details: The Embargo Act hurt us more than it hurt Britain and France

  • An embargo forbids foreign trade
  • He thought they, France and England, would stop seizing our ships
  • But instead we just made less money and lost our jobs.
  • In New England, they started smuggling to make money
  • Finally repealed the Embargo Act and made law that we'd trade with every one except them

Key Point: Tecumseh & the Prophet

Details: Native Americans led by Tecumseh resisted white settlement but suffered a severe setback at the Battle of Tipecanoe.

  • Settlers moved west.
  • It brought diseases to the Native Americans
  • They cleared the land for farms and the animals left

Key Point: New leaders for the Native Americans


  • 2 Shawnee brothers Tecumseh and the Prophet told their people to resist the settlers
  • Organized the tribes into a league to restore the Indian lands
  • William Henry Harrison was the governor of Indiana and he fought with 1,000 soldiers on the Tippecanoe river
  • Marked a high point of Indian resistance.

Download: Chapter 5 - Section 3 (Powerpoint)

Section 4 - The War of 1812

Key Points: The Move Toward War

Details: Led by the war hawks, Congress declared war on Britain on the June of 1812.

  • James Madison is 4th President
  • Mad at Britain for 2 reasons: 1) Armed the Native Americans in the Northwest Territory and 2) Continued IMPRESSMENT of soldiers
  • Needed more pride/nationalism
  • War hawks wanted war with Britain
  • New Englanders wanted trade again so they didn't want war
  • In June 1812, congress declared war on Britain

Key Point: Early days of the War

Details: During the first year of war, the United States struggled to rebuild the American millitary strength weakened by Jefferson's spending cuts.

  • England didn't want to stop giving N.A guns because they wanted to protect Canada from invasion
  • We weren't prepared for war though (Jefferson had just cut military)
  • British set up a blockade
  • USS Constitution vs. Guerriere (Old Ironsides)

Key Point: The War in the West and South

Details: Native Americans suffered severe setbacks from the fighting in the South and West during 1814.

  • Fighting for the Great Lakes and the Mississippi
  • Invasion of Canada:
  • Thought they would like us helping them
  • Hull invaded but then retreated because he wasn't sure of himself
  • British captured 2000 soldiers. Serious defeat!
  • 3 hour battle on Lake Erie: We won!
  • William Henry Harrison chased the British and Native Americans & beat them at Battle of Thames.
  • Tecumseh died
  • Native Americans suffered many defeats
  • Andrew Jackson led Battle at Horseshoe bend
  • Native Americans had to give up millions of acres of land

Download: Chapter 5 - Section 4 (Powerpoint)

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