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Farewell to New England
There have been several discussions within the U. S. of A. Were they a collection of republics with some common institutions (a Congress, a President, a tariff union, etc.) or were there one country composed by sovereign states.
This difference soon evolved into the creation of two political parties: the Federalist Party supporting a stronger Federal Government, and the Republican Party, supporting more autonomy to the States.
The Federalists blamed the Republicans for the War against Spain, which was probably not true. The Republicans controlled the congress, when Philadelphia declared war, and war was promoted because one state: Georgia, used too many State Rights to declare War on Spain.
During his last days as president, Adams attempted to pass some acts trying to limit the freedoms of the States, among others complete obedience of State militias to the Federal army in event of war with a foreign power, prohibition to declare war by the States, a central bank and the creation of a Federal Navy.
However discussions were delayed in the congress, President Jefferson vetoed most of the laws, except for the prohibition of individual states to declare war to foreign powers or to each other.
American merchant sailors had been demanding the protection of the Federal government, as well as from their home states, but the Federal ships developed after the Naval Act of 1796 were coasty and inefficient. Two of the four frigates were severely damaged by the war.
From Norfolk to Boston, in each important port, there was unsatisfaction against Jefferson, who seemed more interested in expanding the U. S. of A. into Transylvania, Florida, the North West, and even Louisiana and Oregon, than in protecting the rights of American sailors abroad.
Jefferson was not quite in his desire to expand the U. S. of A. to the West. However, he disagreed on how to expand. Most polititians, particularly the Republican ones, an a great deal of the people wanted each state to grow westwards. In this point, Jefferson was more alike the Federalist that envision a colonization by the formation of new states, by firstly establishing Federal institutions.
Transylvania was desired by Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, but the United States had recognized that Transylvania was a British possession. Most of Transylvanians, however, were Americans, and treaties could be broken.
Virginians also claimed the Northwestern territories, up to the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, but these territories were disputed by the Pennsylvanians and the New Yorkians, as well as the Iroquois under a British protectorate.
The fact was that peoples from the U. S. of A. were moving westwards to Transylvania, and the North West, and even to Louisiana and Iroquoia, and very little could do the Federal government to provide them protections against the Indians, the British authorities or even from each others.
Several states began to increase their militias. And several states even began to create their own navies.
Blue waters navies, and militias that acted outside state borders were prohibited by the same laws that prohibited the States to declare war by themselves. However the laws did not prohibit state sponsored privateering nor the right of merchant ships to carry guns or other methods to protect themselves against pirates or aggression by hostile foreign governments.
Similarly, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York began to create de facto militias that regularly operated in the Northwestern territory and Iroquoia. Well trained, well armed, but supposedly without any obligation to their states, these paramilitary forces acted as protection of interests of wealthy people and occasionally to common American citizens in the Northwest.
Jefferson attempted to create the state of Ohio, but failed several times.
In November 1804, the Federalist party took home most coastal cities, including Norfolk, Philadelphia, and New York, as well as the whole states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Votes in the states of New York and Pennsylvania were heavely divided and Jefferson lost to Rufus King.
King attempted to bring reforms to further limit the liberties of the states, but by doing it, King alienated the New England cities that had becoming to rely more and more on their unofficial navies.
Then the chaos began.
In 1805, Virginian and Pennsylvian settlers in the North West began a shooting war that soon brought the State sponsored paramilitaries.
The Federal government and other states opposed at first, but soon the clashes moved into organized territory of Virginia and Pennsylvania.
New York paramilitaries were also involved and New York governor asked to support to all levels of New York peoples. This was understood by the privateers from New York as a carte blanche to attack Virginia.
President King reacted by a complete ban of privateering, and manage to pass a law making privateers equal to pirates. But with no Federal Navy, privateers could only be prosecuted in land. Also, as most New England merchant ships were armed by guns and other weapons, the Federal officers just began to imprison almost any sailor they could, severely hindering commerce in New England.
Virginia closed the limits with Pennsylvania and begun to raise tariffs.
In July 1806, after several meetings, the governors of Massachussets, Connecticut and New York declared war to the U. S. of A.