American History I r. M. Tolles Unit 2 – Outline I. The French and Indian War A

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Discussion Question

What ideas did John Adams promote for the country’s new republican government?

II. The War and American Society

A. Although African Americans and women had helped with the Revolutionary War

effort, greater equality and liberty after the war applied mostly to white men.

B. Women played an important role in the Revolutionary War at home and in battle.

Some women ran the family farm during the war. Others traveled with the army to

cook, wash, and nurse the wounded. A few even joined the battlefield. Molly Pitcher

became well known for carrying water to Patroit gunners during the Battle of

Monmouth. After the Revolution, women made some advances. They could more easily

obtain a divorce. They also gained greater access to education.

C. Thousands of enslaved African Americans obtained their freedom during and after the

war. Emancipation became a major issue. Many American leaders felt that enslaving

people conflicted with the new views on liberty and equality. Although free, these

African Americans faced discrimination, segregation, and voting restrictions.

D. In 1816 African American church leaders formed the first independent African

American denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

E. Southern leaders were uninterested in ending slavery because they felt slaves were

needed to sustain their agricultural economy.

F. Virginia was the only southern state to take steps to end slavery. In 1782 the state

passed a law encouraging manumission, or the voluntary freeing of enslaved persons,

especially those who had fought in the Revolution.

G. After the war, Loyalists were often shunned by their friends and occasionally had their

property seized by state governments. Many fled to England, the British West Indies,

or British North America.
Discussion Question

What advances did women make after the war ended?

III. An American Culture Emerges

A. The Revolution created nationalist feelings because all Americans were fighting a common

enemy. This feeling gave rise to many patriotic symbols and American folklore.

B. American painters John Trumbull and Charles Willson Peale depicted heroic

deeds and American leaders of the Revolution in their works. They helped build an

American culture.

C. American leaders thought that an educated public was critical to the success of the

new republic. Many state constitutions provided government-funding for universities.

In 1795 the University of North Carolina became the first state university in the

Discussion Question

How did elementary education in America change after the war?
I. The Achievements of the Confederation Congress (pages 158–159)

A. In November 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation

and Perpetual Union. This was a plan for a loose union of the states under Congress.

B. The Articles of Confederation set up a weak central government. The Confederation

Congress met just once a year. It had the power to declare war, raise armies, and sign

treaties. It, however, did not have the power to impose taxes or regulate trade.

C. The only way the Confederation Congress had to raise money to pay its debts were to

sell its land west of the Appalachian Mountains. Congress arranged this land into

townships to make it easier to divide, sell, and govern the land.

D. The Congress also set up the Northwest Ordinance as a basis for governing much of

this territory. The ordinance created a new territory north of the Ohio River and east of

the Mississippi River, which could become three to five states. When the population of

a territory reached 60,000, it could apply to become a state. The ordinance guaranteed

certain rights to the people living there, and it banned slavery.

E. The Confederation Congress negotiated trade treaties with European countries. By

1790 the trade of the United States was greater than the trade of the American colonies

before the Revolution.
Discussion Question

Why was the Northwest Ordinance set up?

II. The Congress Falters

A. After the Revolutionary War, British merchants flooded American markets with inexpensive

British goods. This drove many American artisans out of business. American

states imposed duties, or taxes, on imported goods. The states did not all impose the

same duties, however, so the British would land their goods at states with the lowest

taxes or restrictions.

B. Because the Confederation Congress could not regulate commerce, the states set up

customs posts on their borders and levied taxes on other states’ goods to raise

money. This weakness of the Confederation threatened the union of the states.

C. The Confederation Congress had other problems with foreign policy. The federal government

had no powers over the states, so it could not force the states to pay their

debts to Britain or to return property to Loyalists, which was part of the Treaty of

Paris. Also, the Congress had no way to raise money to pay these debts.

D. The British retaliated by refusing to evacuate American soil as promised in the treaty.

Since the Congress could not regulate trade, it could not force the British into settlement.

Also, the limited powers of the Confederation Congress prevented it from

working out a diplomatic solution with Spain when Spain stopped Americans from

depositing their goods on Spanish territory at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

E. The end of the Revolutionary War and the slowdown of economic activity with Britain

caused a severe recession in the United States. To pay for the war, many states had

issued bonds as a way to borrow money from wealthy citizens. To pay back the bondholders,

many people urged the state governments to issue paper money. States did

not have the gold and silver to back paper money, but many of them issued it anyway.

The paper money greatly declined in value.

F. Shays’s Rebellion broke out in Massachusetts in 1786. It started when the government

of Massachusetts decided to raise taxes to pay off its debt instead of issuing paper

money. The taxes were worst for farmers, especially those in the western part of the

state. Those who could not pay their taxes and other debts lost their farms. Farmers

rebelled by shutting county courthouses. The rebellion, led by Daniel Shays, included

about 1,200 farmers. They went to a state arsenal to get weapons. A government militia

defended the arsenal against the rebels, killing four farmers.

G. Many Americans began to see the risk of having a weak central government. They

called for a change in government.

Discussion Question

What weaknesses of the Confederation Congress led to a call for change in the United

States government?
I. The Constitutional Convention

A. People who supported a stronger central government were called nationalists. George

Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton were

among the prominent nationalists. Hamilton suggested that a convention of states be

set up to revise the Articles of Confederation. All states, except Rhode Island, sent

delegates to the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia in 1787.

B. Most of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention had experience in government.

George Washington was presiding officer. James Madison kept records of the

debates. The meetings were closed to the public.

C. Edmund Randolph introduced the Virginia Plan. This plan proposed throwing out

the Articles of Confederation and creating a new national government with the power

to make laws binding upon the states and to raise its own money through taxes. It also

called for a national government made up of three branches of government— legislative,

executive, and judicial.

D. The Virginia Plan proposed that the legislature be divided into two houses. Voters

in each state would elect members of the first house. Members of the second house

would be elected by the first house. The Virginia Plan benefited states with large populations

because in both houses, the number of representatives for each state would

reflect the population of that state.

E. The New Jersey Plan was proposed by William Paterson. This plan revised the

Articles of Confederation to make the central government stronger. Congress would

have a single house in which each state would be equally represented. Congress

would have the power to raise taxes and regulate trade.

F. Congress voted to proceed with the Virginia Plan with the purpose of working on a

new constitution for the United States.

Discussion Question

In what ways did the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan differ?

II. A Union Built on Compromise

A. The delegates of the Constitutional Convention were divided geographically. The

small states wanted changes that would protect them against the big states. Northern

and Southern states were divided over the issue of slavery in the new constitution.

B. The convention appointed a special committee to resolve differences between the large

and small states. The committee worked out the Great Compromise. It proposed that

in the House of Representatives, the states would be represented according to the size

of their populations. The Senate would have equal representation. The voters in each

state would elect the House of Representatives. The state legislators would choose the


C. The Three-Fifths Compromise came up with a plan for counting enslaved people in a

state. Every five enslaved people in a state would count as three free persons for determining

both representation and taxes.

D. Southern delegates insisted that the new constitution forbid interference with the slave

trade and limit Congress’s power to regulate trade. Northern delegates wanted a government

with control over foreign imports into the United States. A compromise over

these issues said that the new Congress could not tax exports. It also could not ban the

slave trade until 1808 or impose high taxes on the import of enslaved persons.

E. The Constitution was approved by the Congress. Before it could take effect, however,

at least nine of the thirteen states needed to ratify the Constitution.

Discussion Question

How did the Great Compromise satisfy both large and small states?

III. A Framework for Limited Government

A. The Constitution was based on the principle of popular sovereignty, or rule by the

people. The Constitution created a system of government called federalism. This

divided the government between the federal, or national, government and the state


B. The Constitution provided for a separation of powers among the three branches of

government. The legislative branch makes the laws. It is made up of the two houses

of Congress. The executive branch enforces the laws. It is headed by a president. The

judicial branch interprets federal laws. It is made up of a system of federal courts.

C. The Constitution provides for a system of checks and balances to prevent any one of

the three branches of government from becoming too powerful. The powers of the

President include proposing legislation, appointing judges, putting down rebellions,

and the ability to veto, or reject, legislation.

D. The powers of the legislative branch include the ability to override the veto with a

two-thirds vote in both houses. The Senate approves or rejects presidential appointments.

Congress can impeach, or formally accuse of misconduct, and then remove the

president or any high official in the executive or judicial branch.

E. The judicial branch of government would hear all cases arising under federal laws and

the Constitution.

F. The Constitution has a system for making amendments, or changes to the Constitution.

There is a two-step process for amending the Constitution—proposal and ratification.

New amendments can be proposed by a vote of two-thirds of the members of both

houses of Congress, or two-thirds of the states can call a constitutional convention to

propose new amendments. A proposed amendment must be ratified by three-fourths

of the state legislatures or by conventions in three-fourths of the states.

Discussion Question

How does the Constitution provide for a separation of powers?

I. A Great Debate

A. People who supported the Constitution were called Federalists. Supporters of the

Federalists and the new Constitution included large landowners, merchants and artisans

from large coastal cities, and many farmers who lived near the coast or along

rivers that led to the coast.

B. Opponents to the Constitution were called Antifederalists. Many opponents believed

the new Constitution should include a bill of rights. Many opposed the Constitution

because they thought it endangered the independence of the states. Antifederalists

included some prominent American leaders and western farmers living far from the


C. Factors that worked against the Antifederalists included a negative campaign, they

had nothing to offer in place of the Constitution, the Federalists were better organized

and had the support of most newspapers. A collection of 85 essays written by James

Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay in The Federalist summarized the

Federalists’ arguments for ratification.
Discussion Question

What factors worked against the Antifederalists?

II. The Fight for Ratification

A. The first state conventions took place in December 1787 and January 1788. Delaware,

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut quickly ratified the Constitution.

B. In order to get the Constitution ratified in Massachusetts, Federalists promised to add

a bill of rights to the Constitution once it was ratified and to support an amendment

that would reserve for the states all powers not specifically granted to the federal


C. Many feared that without the support of Virginia and New York, the new federal

government would not succeed. Virginia ratified the Constitution when the Federalists

agreed to add a bill of rights. New York agreed to ratify the Constitution after it

learned that Virginia and New Hampshire had ratified it. New York did not want to

operate independently of all of the surrounding states.

D. By June 1788, all states except Rhode Island and North Carolina had ratified the

Constitution—enough to establish the new government. By 1790 both North Carolina

and Rhode Island had also ratified the Constitution.
Discussion Question

What finally convinced Virginia and New York to ratify the Constitution?

I. Creating a New Government

A. In 1789 Congress created the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the

Department of War, and the Office of the Attorney General.

B. President George Washington chose Thomas Jefferson as secretary of state. Alexander

Hamilton became head of the Treasury Department. General Henry Knox served as

secretary of war, and Edmund Randolph became the first attorney general. This group

of department heads who advised the president became known as the cabinet.

C. The judicial branch as well as the first federal judges were established. John Jay

became the first chief justice of the United States.

D. In 1791, 10 amendments to the Constitution went into effect. These amendments are

known as the Bill of Rights. The first eight amendments offered safeguards for individual

rights against actions of the federal government. The Ninth Amendment states that

people have rights other than the ones listed. The Tenth Amendment states that any

powers not specifically listed to the federal government would be reserved for the

Discussion Question

What were some of the first tasks the new government faced?
II. Financing the Government

A. By the end of 1789, the government needed additional monies to continue to operate.

James Madison and Alexander Hamilton came up with two very different plans to

help the government with its finances.

B. James Madison felt the government should raise money by taxing imports from

other countries. The Tariff of 1789 made all importers pay five percent of the value

of their cargo when they landed in the United States. Shippers were also required

to pay a tax depending on how much their ships carried. This angered many Southern

planters. They began feeling the government did not have their best interests in mind.

C. Alexander Hamilton supported the tariff, but he felt the government also needed the

ability to borrow money.

D. To finance the Revolutionary War, the Confederation Congress had issued bonds, or

paper notes promising to repay money within a certain amount of time with interest.

Hamilton wanted to accept these debts at full value, believing the bond owners would

then have a stake in the success of the government and be willing to lend money in

the future.

E. The opposition, led by Madison, felt that Hamilton’s plan was unfair to farmers and

war veterans who had sold their bonds to speculators—people willing to take a risk

with the hope of future financial gain.

F. Southerners were upset because Northerners owned the bonds while most of the tax

money used to pay off the debt would come from the South. In 1790 Southerners were

convinced to vote for Hamilton’s plan in return for the relocation of the United States

capital to a southern location called the District of Columbia.

G. Hamilton asked Congress to create a national bank so that the government could

manage its debts and interest payments. The bank would also give loans to the government

and individuals and issue paper money. The paper money would in turn

encourage trade and investments and stimulate economic growth.

H. Objections to the bank came from Southerners, who felt only the Northerners could

afford the bank’s stock. Madison felt Congress could not establish a bank because it

was not within the federal government’s enumerated powers, or powers specifically

mentioned in the Constitution.

I. The Bank of the United States was passed after Hamilton argued that the “necessary

and proper” clause in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution created implied powers,

or powers not specifically listed in the Constitution but necessary for the government

to do its job.

J. In 1791 Hamilton’s proposed tax on the manufacture of American whiskey passed in

Congress. Western farmers were outraged by the tax, and in 1794 the Whiskey

Rebellion began. Washington sent in 13,000 troops to stop the rebellion.
Discussion Question

Why was it important to Southerners that the capital be moved to a southern location?

III. The Rise of Political Parties

A. The split in Congress over Hamilton’s financial plan resulted in the formation of two

political parties.

B. The Federalists, led by Hamilton, wanted a strong national government in the hands

of the wealthy. They believed in manufacturing and trade as the basis of wealth and

power. Artisans, merchants, manufacturers, and bankers supported the Federalist

Party. Supporters included urban workers and Eastern farmers.

C. Madison and Jefferson led the Democratic-Republicans. Their party was referred to

as the Republicans and later became the Democrats. Jefferson and the Republicans

believed the strength of the United States came from its independent farmers. His

ideas were referred to as agrarianism, or the belief that owning land enabled people

to become independent. The group supported agriculture over trade and commerce.

They favored the rights of states against the power of the federal government. The

rural South and West tended to support Republicans.
Discussion Question

What caused the split in Congress that led to the formation of political parties?


Notes provided by

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Notes from a Civics Perspective
I. Influences from England’s Early Government

A. The English brought with them a history of limited and representative government.

England was ruled by a monarch—a king or queen, but nobles held much power.

B. The nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. This document upheld rights

of landowners including equal treatment under the law and trial by one’s peers. It

limited the power of the king or queen.

C. Nobles and church officials who advised Henry III developed into a legislature

a lawmaking body—known as Parliament. In a power struggle, Parliament removed

King James II from the throne. This peaceful transfer of power was the Glorious

Revolution. From then on, no ruler would have more power than the legislature.

D. Parliament drew up the English Bill of Rights. It required the monarch to get

Parliament’s consent to impose taxes, raise an army, or create special courts. It guaranteed

free elections, free speech, a fair jury, and no cruel and unusual punishments.

E. In its early days, England had no written laws. People developed rules to live by

which came to have the force of law. Judges made rulings consistent with precedents,

or rulings in earlier cases that were similar. The system of law based on

precedent and custom is known as common law. Our laws are based on English

common law.

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