• 1808

    James Madison is elected president

  • 1809

    Tecumseh unites Native Americans in Mississippi basin

    Congress repeals Embargo Act Congress passes Non-Intercourse Act
  • 1810

    Congress passes Macon’s Bill No. 2

  • 1811

    William Henry Harrison defeats pan-Indian alliance at Battle of Tippecanoe

  • 1812

    Madison is reelected

    War of 1812 begins
  • 1814

    New Englanders meet at Hartford Convention

    Treaty of Ghent ends war
  • 1815

    Andrew Jackson defeats British forces at Battle of New Orleans

    • Key People

    • James Madison

      Fourth U.S. president; promoted southern and western agriculture and led the United States in the War of 1812

    • Tecumseh

      Head of Native American Northwest Confederacy; his forces were defeated at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811

    • William Henry Harrison

      Former Indiana governor and army general; defeated the Northwest Confederacy at Tippecanoe

    • Andrew Jackson

      Tennessee military hero of the Battle of New Orleans and Creek War

    The Election of 1808

    The depression stemming from Jefferson’s Embargo Act weakened the Democratic-Republicans in the election of 1808. Although James Madison was still able to defeat Federalist candidate Charles Pinckney easily for the presidency, the Democratic-Republicans lost seats in Congress. As Jefferson’s chosen successor, Madison continued to carry out his fellow Virginian’s policies throughout both of his presidential terms.

    The Non-Intercourse Act

    Congress’s first order of business in 1809 was to repeal the hated and ineffective Embargo Act, which had prevented U.S. ships from sailing to foreign ports. Congress replaced this act with the Non-Intercourse Act, which banned trade only with Britain and France until both agreed to respect American sovereignty and shipping rights.

    Macon’s Bill No. 2

    The following year, Congress, in a further attempt to revive the faltering U.S. economy, passed Macon’s Bill No. 2, which restored U.S. trade relations with Britain and France but promised to reinstate the Non-Intercourse Act if either nation violated U.S. shipping rights.

    Tecumseh and the Northwest Confederacy

    Madison’s term was fraught with troubled Native American relations, as white settlers began to pour into the Louisiana Purchase and steal native lands, ignoring the Indian Intercourse Acts of the 1790s. When Congress seemed unwilling to do anything about the situation, two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (also commonly called the Prophet), tried to unite all of the tribes in the Mississippi Valley region against the settlers. Preaching a return to traditional ways of life, Tecumseh and The Prophet were highly successful and created the Northwest Confederacy that included the Shawnee, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek tribes, among others.

    The Battle of Tippecanoe

    Congress, fearing a Native American uprising, ordered the governor of the Indiana Territory, William Henry Harrison, to disband the Northwest Confederacy. Indeed, Harrison soundly defeated the Confederacy at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

    The War Hawks

    By the 1810s, many of the older and more experienced representatives and senators in Congress had been replaced by young and passionate new faces. It was these hotheaded “War Hawks,” primarily from southern and western states, who had ordered Harrison to take military action against the Northwest Confederacy. As frontiersmen-politicians, the War Hawks were strongly expansionist, and the Confederacy offered the perfect excuse to drive Native Americans even further west.

    Popular pages: The Constitution (1781–1815)