Gallatin was aided by circumstance in achieving his budgetary goals. The army could be cut down without outcry because the British and French signed the Peace of Amiens in 1802, bringing hostilities to a close temporarily, and allowing Jefferson to rest easy, knowing that America would not need to enter the conflict to protect its interests from either or both sides. Jefferson's decision to battle the Barbary pirates with America's remaining military might turned out to be a great success. Defensible under the rubric of free trade, Jefferson's attempts to open the seas for American shipping ingratiated him to many merchants and businessmen who would have formerly counted themselves Federalists, all while preserving the support of the agricultural South, which, freed from heavy taxation along with the rest of the nation, supported Jefferson fully in these early days.

Popular pages: The First Years of the Union (1797-1809)