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Madalyn Martin

on 17 December 2013

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The Beginning of the American Revolution.
There had always been problems in the England government. No one was ever fully satisfied with the laws and taxes. The colonists were getting more and more irritated each day. Some major events that upset the people were.....
Sugar Act
This act was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain on April 5, 1764. This was an attempt to reduce smuggling in the British colonies in North America. The British placed a tax on sugar, wine, and other important things. They did this because they wanted more money; the British wanted this money to help provide some extra security for the colonies. The British also hoped that the act would force colonists to sell their goods to Britain as opposed to selling to other countries.
Proclamation of 1763
This new law was a result from the French and Indian War. To avoid conflicts with Native Americans, the British government issued the Proclamation of 1763, which banned all settlement west of the Appalachians. This ban established a Proclamation Line, which the colonists were not to cross. The Proclamation line extended from the Atlantic coast at Quebec to the newly established border of West Florida. However, the British could not fully enforce this law and colonists continued to move west onto Native American lands.
Townshend Act
The Townshend Acts were indirect taxes, or duties levied on imported materials as they came into the colonies from Britain. They were originated by Charles Townshend and passed by the English Parliament shortly after the repeal of the Stamp Act. They were designed to collect revenue from the colonists in America.
Stamp Act
The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1765. The new tax was imposed on all American colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used. Legal documents, licenses, newspapers, and even playing cards were taxed. The money collected by the Stamp Act was used to help pay the costs of defending and protecting the England.
Declaratory Acts
The Declaratory Act was a declaration by the British Parliament that accompanied the repeal of the Stamp Act. Parliament repealed the Stamp Act because boycotts were hurting British trade. The declaration stated that the British Parliament’s taxing authority was the same in America as in Great Britain.
Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre was the killing of five colonists by British regulars on March 5, 1770. On this day a fist-fight broke out over jobs. That evening a mob gathered in front of the Customs House and taunted the guards. When Crispus Attucks and several dockhands appeared at the scene, an armed clash erupted, leaving 5 dead in the snow.
Crispus Attucks- an African American sailor
Mr. Samuel Gray- a white rope-maker
Mr. James Caldwell- a white 17 year old boy
Mr. Samuel Maverick- a white 17 year old boy
Patrick Carr- an Irrish immagrant

The Intolerable Acts
The Intolerable Acts were the series of acts the British Parliament passed in 1774. The Parliment and King were absolutley tired of all the boycotts and disruptions that the angry colonists were causing. The acts stripped Massachusetts of self-government and historic rights. This upset the colonists even more! These laws were basically punishments put on the colonies by King George III. He was extremly mad about the colonists dumping tons of tea into the harbor at the Boston Tea Party.
The Colonists Fight Back
The Colonists were finally standing up for themselves. They couldn’t deal with the horrible way Britain was treating them anymore! They were becoming more independent.
First Contenental Congress
Commities of Correspondance
Boston Tea Party
Minuitemen at Lexington and Concord
Second Contintental Congress
Olive Branch Petition
Common Sense
Loyalist and Patriots
Declaration of Indepence
The Committees of Correspondence were one of the groups set up by American colonists to exchange information about British threats to their liberties. They were set up by the assemblies of Massachusetts and Virginia to communicate to other colonies about threats to the American liberties. By 1774, these committees were being formed everywhere and nearly all of the colonies were linked to the communications.
The Boston Tea Party was the dumping of 18,000 pounds of tea into the Boston Harbor by colonists in 1773 to protest the Tea Act. It all started when the British East India Company, which held an official monopoly on tea imports, was nearly bankrupt. In order to save this essential company, the North came up with the Tea Act, which granted the company the right to sell tea to the colonies free of the taxes that colonial tea sellers had to pay. Because of this, colonial merchants were cut out of the tea trade! The Boston Tea Party was simply a protest to these taxes on tea.
In May of 1775, colonial leaders convened a second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to debate their next move. There were endless debates at the Second Continental Congress. John Adams of Massachusetts thought that each colony should set up its own government and he wanted Congress to declare the colonies independence! John Adams also argued with John Dickinson of Pennsylvania about Congress considering the militiamen surrounding Boston to be the Continental Army and naming a general to lead them.

These debates continued on until June, but one issue still remained: colonial militiamen were based around Boston. The Congress finally agreed to recognize them as the Continental Army and appointed their commander as 43-year-old veteran of the French and Indian War, George Washington. The Congress and also authorized the printing of paper money to pay the troops and organized a committee to deal with the foreign nation.
The Second Continental Congress was preparing the colonies for war while still hoping for peace. On July 8, 1775, the Congress sent the king the Olive Branch Petition in a last attempt for reconciliation. This document was written by the colonists to urge a return to “the former harmony” between Britain and the colonies. King George was infuriated by the petition. He issued a proclamation stating that the colonies were in rebellion and he urged Parliament to order a naval blockade of the American coast.
It was called the Olive Branch Petition because an olive branch symbolizes peace and this was a peace petition.
Common Sense was a 50-page pamphlet written by Thomas Paine to attack King George III. Paine explained that his own revolt against the king begun with Lexington and Concord. He made clear to everyone that the time had come for the colonists to become an independent republic. He stated that independence would allow America to trade freely with other nations for weapons needed to win against the British. Paine also said that independence would give Americans the chance to create a better society-one that was free from tyranny, with equal social and economic opportunities for ALL! Common Sense sold nearly 500,000 copies. In 1776, George Washington wrote, “I find Common Sense is working a powerful change in the minds of many men.”
Congress appointed Virginia lawyer, Thomas Jefferson, to express the committee’s thoughts on independence for the colonies. Jefferson’s brilliant Declaration on Independence drew on the concepts of the English philosopher John Locke, who said the people should have “natural rights” to life, liberty, and property. Jefferson described these rights as “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Also based on Locke’s idea’s, Jefferson declared that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed”-that is, from the people. The American colonies declared their independence from Britain, listing in the Declaration the several different ways in which the British king had violated the “unalienable rights” of the Americans. The Declaration says that “all men are created equal.” On July 2, 1776, the delegates voted unanimously that the American colonies were free, and on July 4, 1776, they adopted the Declaration of Independence.
Americans now faced the difficult choice of a revolution or loyalty the crown. The issue split up communities, friends, and even families throughout the colonies. Loyalist rejected independence and remained loyal to the Crown, Patriots supported independence.
Many changed sides as the war progressed.
Some were judges, councilors, or governers.
Some remained loyal because they thought that the British were going to win the war and they wanted to avoid being punished as rebels.
Others were Loyalists because they thought that the crown would protect their rights more effectively than the new colonial governments would.
Many fled the country at the start of the revolution.
Older and wealthier.
Some were active in the Church of England.
LEADERS: King George III, John Burgoyne, Joseph Brant, and Benedict Arnold.
Made up nearly half of the population.
Most were people who saw economic opportunity in an independent America.
Some were farmers, artisans, merchants landowners, and elected officials.
German colonists in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia also joined the Patriots.
Most were highly educated and wealthy.
They believed British taxes were not "legal."
They wanted a say in the Parliament.
LEADERS: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Ethan Allen.
The First Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from twelve colonies that met on September 5, 1774, at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Congress was attended by 56 members appointed by the legislatures. The Congress came together so they could plan out their future, including a boycott of British trade; rights and grievances; and petitioned King George III for redress of those grievances.
Carpenters' Hall
Many colonists said the “shots were heard around the world.” This battle began the recolution. This was also the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. Minutemen are civilian soldiers that are ready to fight at a minutes notice. .After the First Continental Congress, colonist in many eastern New England towns stepped up military preparations. Minutemen began to quietly stockpile firearms and gunpowder.
Britians General Gage soon learned of these activities and came up with a plan to fight back. He was going to send out groups of British soldiers into Boston. Their destinations were Lexington, where they would capture Colonial leaders Sam Adams and John Hancock, then Concord, where they would steal gunpowder. But Gage’s plan failed and the colonists won.

The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence is the document that was written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, in which the delegates of the Continental Congress declared the colonies’ independence from Britian.
General Information
The Declaration states that “all men are created equal.”(it was only talking about white land-owning men.) When this phrase was written, it expressed the common belief that free citizens were political equals. It did not mean that everyone had the same abilites or should have the same amount of money.It was not talking about women, Native Americans, or African-American slaves. However, Jefferson’s words presented ideals that would later help these groups challenge traditional attitudes. In his first draft, Jefferson included a passage about the cruelty of slave trade. However, South Carolina and Georgia, the two colonies most dependent on slavery, disagreed.Jefferson eventually dropped the offending passgae in order to gain the votes of those two states.
On July 2, 1776, the delegates voted unanimously that the American colonies were free, and on July 4, 1776, they adopted the Declaration of Independence. While delegates created a formal copy of the Declaration, the document was read to a crowd in front of the Pennsylvania State House—now called Independence Hall. A rush of pride and anxiety ran through the Patriots—the supporters of independence—when they heard the closing vow: “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.”
Basic Ideas
Declaration of Independence drew on the concepts of the English philosopher John Locke, who maintained that people enjoy “natural rights” to life, liberty, and property. Jefferson described these rights as “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” In keeping with Locke’s ideas, Jefferson then declared that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed”—that is, from the people. This right of consent gave the people the right “to alter or to abolish” any government that threatened their unalienable rights and to install a government that would uphold these principles. On the basis of this reasoning, the American colonies declared their independence from Britain, listing in the Declaration the numerous ways in which the British king had violated the “unalienable rights” of the Americans.
The American Revolution
Lexington and Concord
This was also the first military engagements of the American Revolution. About 700 British soldiers were given secret orders to capture and destroy military supplies that were stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. When some of the colonist’s spies heard of the plan they went straight to the Patriots to warn them. The Patriots moved their supplies to other locations and prepared themselves for the British. The first shots were fired just as the sun was rising at Lexington.
Bunker Hill
On June 17, 1775, early in the Revolutionary War (1775-83), the British defeated the Americans at the Battle of Bunker Hill in Massachusetts. Despite their loss, the inexperienced colonial army caused significant casualties against the enemy, and the battle provided them with an important confidence boost. Although commonly referred to as the Battle of Bunker Hill, most of the fighting occurred on nearby Breed’s Hill.

Valley Forge
The battle at Valley Forge was outside of Philadelphia, which served as the site of the Continental Army’s camp during the winter of 1777-1778. The British troops stayed in warm homes while the under clothed and underfed Patriots huddled in makeshift huts in the freezing, snow-covered Pennsylvania woods. The ordeal at Valley Forge marked a low point for General Washington’s troops, but even as this was going on, the Americans’ hopes of winning began to improve.
The battle at Saratoga was the turning point in the Revolutionary War. General Burgoyne of Britain's plan was to lead an army Canada to Albany, where he would meet Howe’s troops as they arrived from New York City. According to Burgoyne’s plan, the two generals would then join forces to isolate New England from the rest of the colonies. Burgoyne led 4,000 redcoats, 3,000 mercenaries, and 1,000 Mohawk under his command.
The Continental Congress had appointed General Horatio Gates to command the Northern Department of the Continental Army. Gates gathered militiamen and soldiers from all over New York and New England. Burgoyne lost several hundred men every time his forces met up with the Americans.
Burgoyne didn’t realize that Howe was preoccupied with conquering and occupying Philadelphia and wasn’t coming to meet him, so when he arrived in Saratoga he had an unpleasant surprise. Massed American troops finally surrounded Burgoyne at Saratoga, where he surrendered his battered army to General Gates on October 17, 1777. The surrender at Saratoga dramatically changed Britain’s war strategy. From that time on, the British generally kept their troops along the coast, close to the big guns and supply bases of the British flee.
Military Stregnths and Weaknesses
Battles of the Revolution
The British had previously retreated from Boston in March 1776, moving the war to the Middle states. As part of a grand plan to stop the rebellion by isolating New England, the British decided to seize New York City. Two brothers, General William Howe and Admiral Richard Howe, joined forces on Staten Island and sailed into New York harbor in the summer of 1776 with the largest British expeditionary force ever assembled—32,000 soldiers, including thousands of German mercenaries, or soldiers who fight solely for money. The Americans called these troops Hessians, because many of them came from the German region of Hesse. Washington rallied 23,000 men to New York’s defense, but he was vastly outnumbered. Most of his troops were untrained recruits with poor equipment. The battle for New York ended in late August with an American retreat following heavy losses. Michael Graham, a Continental Army volunteer, described the chaotic withdrawal on August 27, 1776.
Fighting in the Middle States
Help of the French
Still upset from their defeat by the British in the French and Indian War, the French had secretly sent weapons to the Patriots since early 1776.,When the colonists won at Saratoga the French realized that they weren’t as weak as they thought. France now agreed to support the Revolution. The French recognized American independence and signed an alliance, or treaty of cooperation, with the Americans in February 1778. According to the terms, France agreed not to make peace with Britain unless Britain also recognized American independence.
Life During the Revolution
A lot of kids learned to read from the New England Primer which had a rhyme for each letter of the alphabet.
Most people only had two or three sets of clothing and they only bathed a few times a year.
Medicine was very primitive during these times. Doctors still believed that cutting people to let their bad blood out would help them to get better!
People were always working, even the kids. It was considered a sin to be lazy.
Some common jobs or trades during the American Revolution included blacksmith, farmer, shoemaker, tailor, cooper (barrel maker), wheelwright, milliner (fabric maker), and printer.

Inflation is an increase in prices or decline in purchasing power caused by an increase in the supply of money. In the revolutionary war, there wasn't enough gold to pay the American troops, so the temporary government printed paper money which would be the currency of the new American nation. However, so much of this paper money was printed that it became almost worthless.
1781 British Losses
Treaty of Paris
Impact of American Society
European Alliances
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War. The treaty document was signed in Paris, France, at the Hotel d'York, by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay, and David Hartley. It confirmed U.S. independence and set the boundaries of the new nation. The United States now stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from Canada to the Florida border. Some provisions of the treaty promised future trouble. The British made no attempt to protect the land interests of their Native American allies, and the treaty did not specify when the British would evacuate their American forts. On the other side, the Americans agreed that British creditors could collect debts owed them by Americans and promised to allow Loyalists to sue in state courts for recovery of their losses.
The Debate of Republicanism
Colonies Becoming States
The “Republic”
State Constitutions
The Continental Congress Debates over Power
Articles of Confederation
Land Ordinance of 1785
Northwest Ordinance of 1787
Problems of the Confederation
Drafting the New Constition
Shays’s Rebellion
The Constitutional Convention
The Great Conflicts that Lead to Compromise
Key Conflicts in the Constitutional Convention
Creating a New Government
Checks and Balances
The Electoral College Elects the President
Ratifying the Constitution
Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
“The Federalist”
The Bill of Rights Leads to Ratification
The Constitution
Profiteering is a term for making inacceptable or socially destructive profits, especially in times of economic stress and widespread shortages. During the American Revolution speculators profited from fluctuations in paper currency.
Thousands of African American slaves escaped to freedom,som to the cities, where they passed as free people, some even joined Native American tribes. About 5,000 African Americans served as British soldiers because they thought Great Britain might abolish slavery in the colonies.
In February 1778, during the horrifying winter at Valley Forge, American troops began an amazing transformation. Friedrich von Steuben, a Prussian captain, offered his services to General Washington and he transformed the “regular soldiers” and made them invincible. With the help of such European military leaders, the Continental Army was becoming a more effective fighting force.
Marquis de Lafayette, a brave 20-year-old French aristocrat, offered his assistance to Washington and his army. The young Lafayette joined Washington’s staff and shared the misery of Valley Forge, urged for French reinforcements in France in 1779, and led a command in Virginia in the last years of the war.
Marquis de Lafayette
Friedrich von Stueben
Charles Cornwallis led several successful early campaigns during the American Revolution, securing British victories at New York, Brandywine and Camden. In 1781, as second in command to General Henry Clinton, he moved his forces to Virginia, where he was defeated at the Battle of Yorktown. This American victory and Cornwallis' surrender of his troops to George Washington was the final major conflict of the American Revolution.
Cornwallis and his British soldiers met up with Nathanael Greene’s troops in January 1781 at Cowpens, South Carolina. The British expected the outnumbered Americans to give up, but the Continental Army fought back and forced the redcoats to surrender!
Cornwallis was very angry by the defeat so he attacked Greene two months later at Guilford Court House, North Carolina. Cornwallis won the battle, but the victory cost him nearly a fourth of his troops—93 were killed, over 400 were wounded, and 26 were missing. Greene had weakened the British army.
Cornwallis planned to fortify Yorktown, take Virginia, and then move north to join Clinton’s forces. When news of this plans reached him, the Marquis de Lafayette suggested that the American and French armies join forces with the two French fleets and attack the British forces at Yorktown.
Following Lafayette’s plan, the Americans and the French closed in on Cornwallis. A French naval force defeated a British fleet and then blocked the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, preventing a British rescue by sea. Meanwhile, about 17,000 French and American troops surrounded the British on the Yorktown peninsula and bombed them day and night. The blockade of Yorktown lasted about three weeks. On October 17, 1781, with his troops outnumbered by more than two to one and exhausted from constant gunfire, Cornwallis surrendered.
On October 19, Washington, the French generals, and their troops assembled to accept the British surrender. After General Charles O’Hara, representing Cornwallis, handed over his sword, the British troops laid down their arms.
During the war, class distinctions between rich and poor had begun to blur as the wealthy wore homespun clothing and military leaders showed respect for all of their men. These changes inspired a rise of egalitarianism, a belief in the equality of all people, which raised a new attitude: the idea that ability, effort, and virtue, not wealth or family, defined one’s worth. Most African Americans were still enslaved, and even those who were free usually faced discrimination and poverty. During both the French and Indian War and the Revolution, many Native American communities had either been destroyed or displaced, and the Native American population east of the Mississippi had declined by 50 percent.
Creating a new government for the Americans posed a huge challenge. The relationship between the new states and the national government was difficult to define. The debate over the nature of the new government of the United States would consume the political energies of the new nation.
Each state had its own governor, council, and colonial assembly. This new system of self-governing colonies encouraged people to think of the colony as the primary political unit. Because of this most people’s alliances was to the colony that they lived in. The Revolutionary War gave the colonies a common goal, but as the colonies became states, they remained reluctant to come together under a strong central government. America had to develop a system of government that made everyone happy.
Eighteenth-century Americans believed that a democracy, or government directly by the people, placed too much power in the hands of the uneducated people. They favored a republic—a government in which citizens rule through their elected representatives. However, republicanism, the idea that governments should be based on the consent of the people, meant different things to different Americans.
Many state constitutions shared certain similarities. They limited the powers of government leaders. They were all the same because they guaranteed specific rights for citizens, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. The state constitutions emphasized liberty rather than equality and reflected a fear of centralized authority. They all differed in the rights to vote.
While the states developed their individual constitutions, the Continental Congress tried to make one for the states as a whole. However, there were many disagreements over the role of the national government. The delegates had to answer three basic questions: Representation by population or by state? Can Supreme Power be divided? Who gets the western lands?
The Articles of Confederation were two levels of government that shared fundamental powers. State governments were supreme in some matters, while the national government was supreme in other matters. The delegates called this new form of government a confederation, or alliance. The Articles of Confederation gave the new national government power to declare war, make peace, and sign treaties. It could borrow money, set standards for coins and for weights and measures, establish a postal service, and deal with Native American peoples.
In order to settle the problem of governing the western lands, the Confederation Congress passed the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The Land Ordinance of 1785 established a plan for surveying and selling the federally owned lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established a procedure for the admission of new states to the Union. It also set requirements for the admission of new states, which, however, seemed to overlook Native American land claims. The Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 became the Confederation’s greatest achievements. These laws established a blueprint for future growth of the nation.
The most serious problem was that the country under the Confederation lacked national unity. Each state functioned independently by pursuing its own interests rather than those of the nation as a whole. The most serious economic problem was the huge debt that the Congress had amassed during the Revolutionary War. Another Problem caused by the debt from the Revolution was the struggle between creditors and debtors. After the war, wealthy people who had lent money to the states favored high taxes so that the states would be able to pay them back. However, high taxes sent many farmers into debt. The lack of support from states for national concerns caused foreign-relations problems for the Congress.
Shay’s Rebellion was an uprising of debt-ridden Massachusetts farmers protesting increased state taxes in 1787. It caused panic and dismay throughout the nation. Every state had debt-ridden farmers. Everyone was worried that the rebellion would spread.
This monument marks the spot of the final battle of Shays' Rebellion, in Sheffield, Massachusetts.
One of the nation’s biggest problems was trade between the states, which led to fights over the taxes that states imposed on one another’s goods and disagreements over navigation rights. In September 1786, leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton called a meeting of state delegates to discuss issues of interstate trade. Only five states sent representatives to the convention. The delegates planned another meeting for the following year to deal with trade and other problems.
In May 1787, delegates from all the states except Rhode Island gathered at the Pennsylvania State House. Most of the 55 delegates were lawyers, merchants, or planters. Most were rich, well educated men in their thirties and forties.
Most of the delegates recognized the need to strengthen the central government. Within the first five days of the meeting, they gave up the idea of revising the Articles of Confederation and decided to form a new government.
Representation based on population made people wonder if slaves should be counted as people. Southern delegates, whose states had many slaves, wanted slaves included in the population count that determined the number of representatives in the House. Northern delegates, whose states had few slaves, disagreed. Not counting Southern slaves would give the Northern states more representatives than the Southern states in the House of Representatives. The delegates eventually agreed to the Three-Fifths Compromise, which called for three-fifths of a state’s slaves to be counted as population. The Three-Fifths Compromise settled the political issue but not the economic issue of slavery.
One big issue the delegates faced was giving fair representation to both large and small states. Large states supported Madison’s Virginia Plan, which proposed a two-house, legislature, with membership based on each state’s population. Small states supported William Paterson’s New Jersey Plan, which proposed a single-housed congress in which each state had an equal vote. After many arguments, Roger Sherman, a political leader from Connecticut, came up with the Great Compromise, which offered a two-house Congress to satisfy both small and big states! Each state had equal representation in the Senate.
They divided power between the states and the national government and separated the national government’s power into three branches.The new system of government was a form of federalism. Federalism is a political system in which a national government and constituent units, such as state governments, share power.The powers granted to the national government by the Constitution are known as delegated powers, or enumerated powers.
Both levels of government share such important powers as the right to tax, to borrow money, and to pay debts. They also share the power to establish courts. The delegates limited the authority of the government. First, they created three branches of government—a legislative branch to make laws, an executive branch to carry out laws, and a judicial branch to interpret the law. The delegates also established a system of checks and balances to prevent one branch from dominating the others. Checks and balances are the provisions in the U.S. Constitution that prevent any branch of the U.S. government from dominating the other two branches.
The procedure for electing the president was based on two major concerns. Because there were no national political parties and because travel and communication were limited, there was a fear that the popular vote would be divided among many regional candidates. Also, many citizens in the upper classes distrusted and feared the decisions made by the lower classes. They did not trust the common people to vote wisely. The delegates came up with a new system of electing the president. Instead of voters choosing the president directly, each state would choose a number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives the state had in Congress. The group of electors chosen by the states, known as the electoral college, would cast ballots for the candidates
This is the number of votes per state in the electorial colloge.
Supporters of the Constitution called themselves Federalists, because they favored the new Constitution’s balance of power between the states and the national government.The people who disagreed with them were called Antifederalists because they opposed having such a strong central government and they were agianst the Constitution.The Federalists insisted that the division of powers and the system of checks and balances would protect Americans from the tyranny of centralized authority. Antifederalist believed that power by a strong central government would be abused. They feared that the government would serve the interests of the wealthy people and ignore the rights of the majority. Antifederalists also doubted that a single government could manage the affairs of a large country. Their leading argument centered on the Constitution’s lack of protection for individual rights.
The Federalist were a series of 85 essays defending the Constitution. They appeared in New York newspapers between 1787 and 1788. They were published under the pseudonym Publius, but were written by Federalist leaders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. The Federalist provided an analysis and an explanation of Constitutional provisions, such as the separation of powers and the limits on the power of majorities, that remain important today.
The U.S. Constitution no guarantee that the government would protect the rights of the people or of the states. Some supporters of the Constitution, such as Thomas Jefferson, viewed the Constitution’s lack of a bill of rights as a serious setback to ratification.
In September 1789, Congress submitted 12 amendments to the state legislatures for ratification. By December 1791, the required three-fourths of the states had ratified ten of the amendments, which became known as the Bill of Rights.
1. Religious and political freedom
2. Right to bear arms
3. Freedom from quartering troops
4. Freedom against unreasonable search and seizure
5. Rights of accused persons
6. Right to a speedy, public trial
7.Right to a trial by jury
8. Limits on fines and punishments
9. Rights of the people
10. Powers of states and the people
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The Preamble
Modern Translation
We the people of the United States want to form a better country, create a fair and just legal system, have peace inside the country, defend our country from other countries, help everyone live a better life, and make sure these things last during our lifetimes and our children's. Therefore, we make and authorize this plan of government for the United States of America.
The Articles
The Articles of the Constitution talk about the duties of the three main parts of government: the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch. The articles also talk about the separate powers of the Federal and State government, and how to change the Constitution.
Article 1: Legislative Branch
The U.S. Congress makes the laws for the United States. Congress has two parts, called "Houses," the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Article 2: Executive Branch
The President, Vice-President, Cabinet, and Departments under the Cabinet Secretaries carry out the laws made by Congress.
Article 3: Judicial Branch
The Supreme Court decides court cases according to US Constitution. The courts under the Supreme Court decide criminal and civil court cases according to the correct federal, state, and local laws.
Article 4: States' powers
States have the power to make and carry out their own laws. State laws that are related to the people and problems of their area. States respect other states laws and work together with other states to fix regional problems.
Article 5: Amendments
The Constitution can be changed. New amendments can be added to the US Constitution with the approval by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress and three-fourth vote by the states.
Article 6: Federal powers
The Constitution and federal laws are higher than state and local laws. All laws must agree with the US Constitution.
Article 7: Ratification
The Constitution was presented to George Washington and the men at the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, Representatives from twelve out of the thirteen original states signed the Constitution. From September 1787 to July 1788, the states meet, talked about, and finally voted to approve the Constitution.
Bill of Rights
Washington Heads the New Government
Trouble with Foreign Affairs
Jefferson Alters the Nation’s Course
The War of 1812
Embargo Act of 1807
Tecumseh’s Confederacy
British Burn the White House
Battle of New Orleans led by Andrew Jackson
Treaty of Ghent
Election of 1800
Jefferson’s Presidency
John Marshall and the Supreme Court
Marbury vs. Madison and Judicial Review
Lewis and Clark / Sacajawea
The Louisiana Purchase
U.S. Reaction to the French Revolution / Neutrality
Pinckney’s Treaty
Treaty of Greenville
Jay’s Treaty
Adams Provokes Criticism
The XYZ Affair
Alien and Sedition Acts
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions and Nullification
Judiciary Act
The “Cabinet”
Hamilton and Jefferson Debate
The Bank of the United States
The District of Columbia
The First Political Parties
The Whiskey Rebellion
The Judiciary Act of 1789 is a law that established the federal court system and the number of Supreme Court justices and that provided for the appeal of certain state court decisions. In one of the most important provisions of the law, Section 25 of the Judiciary Act, it allows state court decisions to be appealed to a federal court when constitutional issues were raised.
The Cabinet is group of department heads who serve as the president’s chief advisers. George Washington started this tradition.
The first three executive departments created by Congress were:
The Department of State- to deal with foreign affair, led by Thomas Jefferson.
The Department of War- to handle military matters, led by Henry Knox
The Department of Treasury- to manage finances, led by Alexander Hamilton.
Edmund Randolph was attorney general, the chief lawyer of the federal government.
The Bank of the United States was funded by the federal government and private investors and was established by Congress in 1791 and a second one in 1816.
Hamilton believed a national bank was necessary to steady and improve the nation's credit, and to advance handling of the financial business of the United States government under the newly enacted Constitution.
When proposed to the Congress in 1790, Hamilton's Bank faced resistance from opponents of increased federal power. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison strongly disagreed with Hamilton’s plan. They claimed that the bank was unconstitutional and that it benefited merchants and investors at the expense of the majority of the population.
The First Bank building is now a National Historic Landmark located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania within Independence National Historical Park.
To win support for his debt plan from Southern states, Hamilton offered a suggestion: What if the nation’s capital were moved from New York City to a new city in the South, on the banks of the Potomac River? This idea pleased Southerners, particularly Virginians such as Madison and Jefferson, who believed that a Southern site for the capital would make the government more responsive to their interests. With this idea, the people of Virginia agreed to back the debt plan. In 1790, the debt bill passed Congress, along with authorization for the construction of a new national capital in the District of Columbia, located between Maryland and Virginia.
Whiskey was the main source of cash for frontier farmers, so the excise tax that was put on the whiskey made them furious. In 1794, farmers in western Pennsylvania refused to pay the tax. They beat up federal marshals in Pittsburgh, and they even threatened to secede from the Union. Hamilton saw the Whiskey Rebellion as an opportunity for the federal government to show that it could enforce the law along the western frontier. The Whiskey Rebellion was a milestone in the consolidation of federal power in domestic affairs.
American History Honors
By: Madalyn Martin
President Washington tried to ignore the arguments between Hamilton and Jefferson. He wanted to encourage them to work together despite their differences. However, these differences were so great that the two men continued their fued over government policy. Their conflict divided the cabinet and fueled a growing division in national politics. Two political parties were formed; the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.
Most Americans supported the French Revolution because, like the American Revolution, it was inspired by the ideal of republican rule. The French wanted to become like America and create their own government. The alliance between France and the United States, created by the Treaty of 1778,was an additional bond between the two nations. Whether or not the United States should support the French Revolution was one of the most important foreign policy questions that the nation faced.
America was divided over this Revolution. Because of their alliance with the U.S., the French expected the Americans to help them. Democratic-Republicans, such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, wanted to honor the 1778 treaty and support France. Federalists, such as Alexander Hamilton, wanted to help the British. President Washington was stuck in the middle.
On April 22, 1793, Washington issued a declaration of neutrality, a statement that the United States would support neither side in the conflict. Hamilton and Jefferson came to agree; entering a war was not in the new nation’s interest.
The United States wanted to secure land claims west of the Appalachian mountains and to gain shipping rights on the Mississippi River. The Americans had to come up with an agreement with Spain, which still held Florida and the Louisiana Territory, a vast area of land west of the Mississippi River. Spain, unlike Britain, signed a treaty with France. Spain then feared British retaliation and assumed that a joint British-American action might be launched against the Louisiana Territory. Quickly, Spain agreed to meet with U.S. minister to Great Britain Thomas Pinckney, and on October 27, 1795, both sides signed a treaty. Pinckney’s Treaty of 1795 included practically every concession that the Americans wanted.
The Miami Confederacy signed the Treaty of Greenville, agreeing to give up most of the land in Ohio in exchange for $20,000 worth of goods and an annual payment of nearly $10,000. This settlement continued a pattern in which settlers and the government paid the Native Americans much less for their land than it was worth.
During the Battle of Fallen Timbers, John Jay, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, was in London to negotiate a treaty with Britain. One of the undecided issues was which nation would control territories west of the Appalachian Mountains. When the news of Wayne’s victory at Fallen Timbers reached Britain, they agreed to leave their posts in the Northwest Territory and a treaty was signed on November 19, 1794. The treaty managed to pass the Senate, but many Americans, especially western settlers, were angry at its terms, which allowed the British to continue their fur trade on the American side of the U.S.-Canadian border.
John Jay
In the election of 1796, John Adams received 71 electoral votes, while Thomas Jefferson received 68. Because the Constitution stated that the runner-up should become vice-president, the country found itself a Federalist president and a Democratic-Republican vice-president.
The first crisis that President Adams faced was war with France. The French government refused to receive the new American ambassador and began to seize American ships bound for Britain. Adams sent a three-man delegation consisting of Charles Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry to Paris to negotiate a solution.
The American delegation had planned to meet with the French foreign minister, Talleyrand. The Directory chose three low-level officials. In President Adam’s report to Congress he called them “X, Y, and Z”. These officials demanded a $250,000 bribe as payment for seeing Talleyrand. This later became known as the XYZ Affair. Many Americans were extremely upset when they heard about this. There was Anti-French feeling in all of the American homes. In 1798, Congress created a navy department and authorized American ships to seize French vessels. Twelve hundred men marched to the president’s residence to volunteer for war.
In 1798, Federalists pushed four measures through Congress that became known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. Three of these measures, the Alien Acts, raised the residence requirement for American citizenship from 5 years to 14 years and allowed the president to deport or jail any alien considered undesirable. The fourth measure, the Sedition Act, set fines and jail terms for anyone trying to hold back the operation of the government or expressing “false, scandalous, and malicious statements” against the government. Under the terms of this act, the federal government prosecuted and jailed many Democratic-Republicans. Because of this they were very upset and many said that the new laws were a violation to the First Amendment.

Two of the Democratic-Republican leaders, Jefferson and James Madison, thought that the Alien and Sedition Acts were a serious misuse of power on the part of the federal government. They decided to organize opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts by appealing to the states. Madison came up with a set of resolutions that were adopted by the Virginia legislature and Jefferson wrote resolutions that were approved in Kentucky. The Kentucky Resolutions in particular stressed the principle of nullification. Virginia and Kentucky viewed the Alien and Sedition Acts as unconstitutional violations of First Amendment citizens’ rights. Virginia and Kentucky claimed the right to declare null and void federal laws going beyond powers granted by the Constitution to the Federal government.
The Election of 1800 was between Thomas Jefferson, Democratic-Republican, and John Adams, Federalist. Jefferson beat Adams by 8 electoral votes. However, Jefferson’s running mate, Aaron Burr, received the same number of votes as Jefferson in the Electoral College. The House of Representatives was then called upon to choose between Burr and Jefferson. After a lot of debating, Jefferson finally took the position of president and Burr as vice-president.
Jefferson tried to simplify the national government during his presidency. He believed that a simple government best suited the needs of a republic. He walked to his own inauguration instead of riding in a carriage. Jefferson tried shrinking the government and cut cost wherever possible. He reduced the size of the army, halted a planned explosion of the navy, and lowered expenses for government social functions. Jefferson strongly favored free trade rather than government-controlled trade and tariffs. He believed that free trade would benefit the U.S. because the raw materials and food that Americans were producing were in short supply in Europe.
Adams had appointed John Marshall, a staunch Federalist, as chief justice of the Supreme Court. Marshall served on the Court for more than 30 years, handing down decisions that would strengthen the power of the Supreme Court and the federal government. Right before leaving office as president, Adams had pushed through Congress the Judiciary Act of 1801, which increased the number of federal judges by 16. In an attempt to control future federal judicial decisions, Adams filled most of these positions with Federalists. These judges were called midnight judges because Adams signed their appointments late on the last day of his administration.
William Marbury was one of the midnight judges who had never received his official papers. Madison was Jefferson’s secretary of state, whose duty was to deliver the papers. The Judiciary Act of 1789 required the Supreme Court to order that the papers be delivered and Marbury sued to enforce this provision. Chief Justice Marshall decided that this provision of the act was unconstitutional because the Constitution did not allow the Supreme Court to issue such orders. This was later recognized as judicial review, which is the ability of the Supreme Court to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional.
Lewis was appointed to lead the expedition that he called Corps of Discovery from St. Louis to the specific coast. William Clark was second in command. The Lewis and Clark expedition took more than two years. The main goals were to make friends with the Native Americans and discover new plant and animal life. Sacagawea was a Native American women who served as an interpreter and guide in the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The Louisiana Purchase is territory in the western United States that was purchased from France in 1803 for $15 million. It extends from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. President Jefferson was unsure of this purchase at first because he was afraid that it was considered unconstitutional, but this turned out to be one of his greatest accomplishments.
Impressment is the forcible seizure of men for military service. The British were doing this to the United States ships because they wanted the American soliders in the British Navy. Another reason was the Chesapeake incident. In June 1807, the commander of a British warship demanded the right to board and search the U.S. naval frigate Chesapeake for British deserters. When the U.S. captain refused, the British opened fire, killing 3 Americans and wounding 18. Impressment was one of the causes that began the War of 1812.
Jefferson was tired of the American soldiers getting caught of the British ships, so he convinced Congress to declare an embargo, a ban on exporting products to other countries. He believed that the Embargo Act of 1807 would hurt Britain and force them to honor American neutrality. The embargo backfired and hurt America more than Britain, and in 1809 Congress lifted the ban on foreign trade—except with France and Britain.
Tecumseh, the Shawnee chief, believed that the only way for Native Americans to protect their homeland against intruding white settlers was to form a confederacy. Tecumseh and his brother, “the Prophet”, started a movement within the Shawnee tribe to cast off all traces of white civilization, including Christianity. They were upset with the Americans so they rejected American society. They warned the people that the Great Spirit was angry with everyone who had abandoned their traditional practices and beliefs. They wanted the tribes to return to their beliefs and they urged them to drive away any invaders. Tecumseh tried to get Britain to assist them in their war with the Americans.
In 1814, The Britsh were raiding and burning down towns along the Atlantic coast. They pushed the unprepared American soldiers aside and entered Washington, D.C. The British burned down the Capitol, the White House, and other public buildings for pay back for the U.S. victory at the Battle of York. On August 24, Madison and other federal officials had to leave from their own capital.
At the Battle of New Orleans, General Andrew Jackson and his troops defeated Native Americans of the Creek tribe at the battle of Horseshoe Bend in March of 1814. The Creeks had earlier been victorious at the battle of Fort Mims in which all but 36 of the fort’s 553 inhabitants were killed. Jackson’s victory at Horseshoe Bend destroyed the military power of Native Americans in the south. Ironically, Jackson’s greatest victory came after the war was over.
The Treaty of Ghent, signed on Christmas Eve 1814, declared an end to the War of 1812. Although it did not address the issues of impressment or neutral shipping rights, Americans were eager for peace and welcomed the treaty. Within a few years, the United States and Great Britain were able to reach agreement on many of the issues left undecided at Ghent. In 1815, a commercial treaty reopened trade between the two countries. In 1817, the Rush-Bagot agreement limited the number of warships on the Great Lakes. In 1818, a British-American commission set the northern boundary of the Louisiana Territory at the 49th parallel as far west as the Rocky Mountains. The two nations then agreed to a ten year joint occupation of the Oregon Territory.
Thomas Jefferson
Aaron Burr
John Adams
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