What major challenges did President Washington face when he took office? 

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President Washington faced several changes when he took office and while he was President. One challenge he faced was in dealing with other countries. Spain and Great Britain were interfering with our trade. These countries also were encouraging the Native Americans to attack us. Great Britain, which was supposed to leave the forts in the West, failed to do so. President Washington knew we weren’t in a position to go to war against either country. Despite calls by some Americans to go to war, President Washington used diplomacy to negotiate treaties with Spain and Great Britain to resolve the issues we had with them. Jay’s Treaty was signed with Great Britain while Pinckney’s Treaty was signed with Spain.

President Washington also faced issues at home. Our country had significant debt that needed to be repaid. We also had a weak financial system since both the state governments and the federal government printed money during the days when the Articles of Confederation was our plan of government. The government under that plan was not able to tax the people. Working with his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, a debt plan was developed to repay our debts.

There were issues with keeping order at home. Under the plan of government created by the Articles of Confederation, the federal government had difficulty maintaining order at home. Shays Rebellion was a good example of this. President Washington made it clear the federal government would respond forcefully when disorder occurred. This was seen in his response to the Whiskey Rebellion. The federal government moved in and restored order.

President Washington faced several changes when he took office and during his two terms as President.

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