If Las Vegas had had a betting line on whether this new country–not yet a nation–would survive its infancy, I suspect at best the odds would have been 50-50. I think that the 1790s was the make-or-break decade for the United States of America. England had not given up hope that we would return to the fold nor had it relinquished its hold on the Northwest Territory. The economy of the country was on the verge of collapse and would require strong, creative leadership to survive. Conflict within the government had led to the evil that most politicians feared the most–political parties. France had visions of a new American empire that almost led to a war that would have been absolutely devastating. The U.S. was experimenting with a new form of democratic government that had never been tried to such a scale. Fortunately, the man who would lead the country for much of the decade believed in this experiment–because “experiment” it most certainly was. And as with all experiments, the variables, anticipated and unanticipated, would be significant. As Bette Davis said in the 1950 movie All About Eve, “Fasten your seat belts Boys; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.” (Actually, this is something of a misquote…)