Seventh Week: Presidents and Precedents

The Presidents and Precedents unit covers two to three days of class time (suggested) and begins with a discussion of the three primary contributions made by George Washington to the American Presidential tradition, followed by an examination of how our First Party system arose out of the bitter rivalry between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. The unit closes with a look at John Adams and the hard-fought election of 1800.  Time period: 1789 through 1800.

The Presidents and Precedents unit contains three day-long sections:
the Washington section covers the contributions of our first President.
the First Parties section explains the differences between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.
the Election of 1800 looks at the rivalry between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Go to each section's home page to see a further breakdown into daily lesson plans, along with primary source material and other resources.

  • The first Presidents set the tone for their successors. Examine the Washington and Adams administrations and their Executive office precedents.
  • From the Louisiana Purchase to the Barbary Coast and the Embargo Act - Jefferson's two terms as President were momentous in American history. 
  • After the War of 1812, the United States improves its infrastructure with canals and roads, allowing an American Industrial Revolution to take place. 
  • Our first President, George Washington, established many of the customs and practices that have become traditional for all future Presidents.
  • The rivalry between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton led to the creation of the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party.
  • The challenges faced by our second President, John Adams, set the stage for one of the most bitter contests in American history - the Election of 1800.