The administration of President Washington established numerous precedents as it created a government under the provisions of the federal Constitution. Alexander Hamilton helped establish a strong national economic system. Domestic tranquility was assured and efforts were made to gain respect internationally. Basic policy differences between the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans resulted in the emergence of two rival political parties. Conflict with France caused domestic problems for Washington's successor. The appointment of John Marshall as Chief Justice before President John Adams left office assured continuation of Federalist philosophies in Supreme Court decisions.
The "Revolution of 1800" brought the Jeffersonian Republicans to power. Although Republicans favored decentralization and more limited national government power, their actions when in office sometimes contradicted their principles. Despite doubts on constitutionality, Jefferson doubled the territory of the United States by purchasing Louisiana from France. Efforts to avoid involvement in the Napoleonic Wars failed, and a resultant second war with Britain was inconclusive. A postwar surge of nationalism produced a compromise on slavery in the new territories and a protective doctrine for the Western Hemisphere. The death of the Federalist Party produced new political alignments.
The election of Andrew Jackson in 1828 came to symbolize the emergence of a new democratic spirit: an "age of common man." Although the Democrats favored limited national government, Jackson forcefully responded to South Carolina's defiance over the collection of tariffs. The exercise of assertive executive power is best illustrated by Jackson's veto of the rechartering of the national bank and his "war" against that "monopoly." The removal of Indian tribes from the Southeast to lands west of the Mississippi was vigorously pursued. A new Whig Party emerged in opposition to "King Andrew I."