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Unit 4: Fighting for Independence and A New Country
Transcript of Unit 4: Fighting for Independence and A New Country
A New Country
“Here comes a bowl of beef soup full of dead leaves and dirt. There comes a soldier. His bare feet are seen through his worn-out shoes—his legs nearly naked from the tattered remains of an only pair of stockings—his Breeches are not sufficient to cover his nakedness—his Shirt hanging in Strings—his hair disheveled—his face meager.”
“To see men without Clothes to cover their nakedness, without Blankets to lay on, without Shoes, by which their Marches might be traced by the blood of their feet, and almost as often without Provision…is a mark of patience and obedience which in my opinion can scarcely be pinned.”
Symbol to the World
Treaty of Paris
Friedrich von Steuben
, a Prussian captain
: Taught the colonial soldiers to stand at attention, executive field maneuvers, fire and reload quickly, and wield bayonets.
Marquis de Lafayette
led volunteer army from France
Due to their influence the raw Continental Army was becoming an effective fighting force.
In the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, Congress provided a procedure for dividing the land into territories.
Also set requirements for the admission of new states, which however, seemed to overlook Native American land claims.
There were three basic stages for becoming a state:
Congress would appoint a territorial governor and judges.
When a territory had 5,000 voting residents (usually white male property owners), the settlers could write a temporary constitution and elect their own government.
When the total population of a territory reached 60,000 free inhabitants, the settlers could write a state constitution, which had to be approved by Congress before it granted statehood.
The Land Ordinance of 1785 and
the Northwest Ordinance of 1787
became the Confederation’s greatest achievements.
Although the states were equal as political entities, they were unequal in size, wealth, and population.
These differences posed a serious dilemma. Should delegates to a new government represent people or states?
For the time being, the members of the Continental Congress saw themselves as representing independent states.
As a result, they made the decision that each state would have one vote regardless of population.
Congress proposed a new type of government in a set of laws called the Articles of Confederation—one in which two levels of government 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.
Need for Cooperation
Daniel Shays was ANGRY.
Revolutionary War veteran (Bunker Hill and Saratoga)
Returned to his farm in western Massachusetts.
Faced debtors' prison -- heavy debt
Shays was the victim of too much taxation (his story).
Summer and fall 1786: Farmers like Shays demanding the
courts be closed so they would not lose their farms to creditors.
Mob action -- Shays led an army of 1200 farmers to close the courts. State officials called out the militia; four were killed and the rest scattered. Clearly, though, something was wrong.
British capture all major colonial cities
Poorly trained/prepared Americans lose early
Washington's army in retreat & many desert
Colonists: Morale is low -- supplies are few
A few victories helped keep morale up
Dec 1776: Trenton
Washington surprises Hessians
Takes 900 Prisoners
Jan 1777: Princeton
Washington takes 300 more British soldiers
Victories re-energize colonial troops & civilians to war effort
Washington's BOLD move
Christmas 1776: 2,400 men row across the Delaware River
8am: Marched 9 miles (in snow) to Trenton
Americans kill 30, 918 captives, and 6 cannons
Oct 1777: Large British force defeated at Saratoga
British try to take Hudson River area & cut off New England
British had too many supplies . . . Took too long & food ran short
British keep to coastlines
Helped colonists get French help in war
French: Send money. weapons, troops, & warships
10,000 enter winter camp,
over 2,000 die (elements)
Winter 1777-78: Camp site for Washington's army
British: Occupy cities
Farmers selling goods to British (paid in gold)
Congress struggles to get supplies
Merchants raising prices (make money)
Lack of central government
Problem: No power to tax
Congress had no money -- could not tax, printed worthless paper money
Shortage of goods
All going toward war
Women took over work of men
Farms, shops, businesses
Some women helped the military effort
(even fighters in disguise)
Every home was touched, and women helped out incredibly.
EVERY life was touched
Paper money worthless, more they print worse it was
Split the colonies
Cornwallis goes south
Path north through Carolinas
Colonists weaken British, but they continue north
Guilford Courthouse: Costly British victory
NC battle that killed 1/4 British troops
British need rest
Retreat to Yorktown
Surrounded by French and Americans
Oct 1781: Cornwallis surrenders
French warships block Chesapeake Bay
British suffer for 3 weeks
Officially ended American Revolution
Recognized US independence
Set boundaries to Mississippi
From Canada to Florida
Problems for future:
Natives not included
Do British leave western forts?
Some slaves freed in North
Belief in greater cause
Sets precedent for future
13 Individual Colonies
13 Different Governments
Self-governing . . . Colony IS primary unit
Revolutionary War = common goal
VERY loose association
of the 13 states -- confederate style government, totally unwritten
Nervous about creating a strong central government.
Every state wrote its own constitution
All had three branches
Guaranteed certain rights
Freedom of speech, religion, press
Liberty rather than equality
Democracy = too much power for the uneducated masses
Republic = Rule through elected representatives
Strength of British military
Weakness of the colonial militias
Land destroyed; money was low (war debt)
Afraid British would retaliate
Many men dies, supplies low
Need a method of cooperation
No strong national government
Limited control given to central government
Not able to control 13 states
Articles of Confederation signed in 1781 -- FIRST formal constitution for the United States
1 House Legislature:
1 Vote per state:
Larger states want more representation
To pass laws: 9 of 13
Controls the military:
Could raise an army & declare war
Power to make treaties
Land Ordinance 1785
Lands past the Appalachians declared new territories
Banned slavery in NW areas and set up process of adding additional states.
Northwest Ordinance 1787
Could NOT enforce laws
Could NOT tax
No executive branch
No court system
Could NOT regulate trade
Asked states for funds; all were poor
No real "leader"
Within US and with other nations
Paper money worthless; people and government broke
Occurred when Massachusetts farmers revolted over high state taxes;
caused people to realize the weakness of the government.
Inability to pass laws
Lack a strong executive
Need to revise
Articles of Confederation
1. What are at least three problems the colonists have to overcome in order to win the war?
2. Why were port cities so important during the war?
It is said that the colonists didn't have to "win" the war, but they couldn't lose. They just had to fight long enough for the British to give up and go home.
Did the colonists "win" or did the British give up?
4. Why did the territory of the new country stop at latitude 31 and not follow the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico?
5. Why did the colonists create such a "small" government upon claiming independence?
6. What were the problems of the Articles of Confederation AND why were those problems important?
Your Questions . . .