Assess The Success Of George Washington’s Presidency Eton College Essay

1517 words - 7 pages

Coming into power in April 1789, it was fundamental that America had a President who could drive them towards greater political stability, by entrenching the constitution, but also, being the first President of the United states, Washington had the burden of proving that the position was greatly needed to ensure control throughout the USA. Within Washington’s Presidency, many different problems came his way, inevitably, mostly as a backlash from the Revolution, but also due to the Confederation. When it comes to assessing the success of Washington’s Presidency itself, it is fundamental to assess Washington’s Economic policy, the extent at which the US reached political stability and his dealings with Foreign relations, as by the end of 1796, there was a far greater level of National security, and the stage was set for a blossoming republic.

Due to mainly, the failure of the Articles of Confederation, many different Economic problems arose that Washington was faced with, which meant that political action was fundamental in ensuring Economic stability. One of the biggest issues that Washington was faced with, was the extortionate debt that the country had racked up over the recent years. This certainly wasn’t helped by the fact there was a poor money collection system, which led to continuous inflation. In order to resolve this, Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton, a forerunner of liberal capitalist economics, as the secretary of the treasury. This was a wise move to make on Washington’s part as Hamilton was a reliable, and ambitious character had enough drive to set about changing the country into an Economically stable Republic. Hamilton’s first, and arguably most important report was on the issue of public credit in January 1790, where he discovered there was a foreign debt of around $56million, acquired by the government of the Confederation, but also a war debt of the states totalling some $21million. This was a pivotal point in US economic History, therefore a merit of Washington’s Presidency, as it was believed the national debt would solidify the Union. This also led to Congress asserting a national taxing power, therefore instilling respect for the federal government’s authority. The foreign debt calculation had no backlash at face value, therefore it can be seen as a massive success. However, unfortunately, this cannot be said for the war debt of the states, which was bitterly attacked, especially by the southern states. However, Hamilton still managed to turn a negative into a positive, as he settled the protests by coming to a compromise, whereby he made generous allowances to states who had already paid most their war debt, and also pleasing them by recognising a permanent national capital in the south. Furthermore, Hamilton was a fundamental player in the founding of the National Bank, as National debt was still at worryingly high levels. This facilitated the collection of taxes, something the US had been deprived of in...

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