An Indentured Servant Writes Home (1623)



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An Indentured Servant Writes Home (1623)

By 1618 the struggling Jamestown colony of the London Company had discovered a cash crop. Tobacco grew well in Virginia and found a ready market back home. To encourage the production of tobacco the Company offered a liberal headright system to new settlers. Persons who relocated to Virginia received 50 acres of land for each "head" transported, and this included their indentured servants as well as themselves. In return for free passage to Virginia, indentured servants contracted to serve their master for seven years. Only at the end of the seven years were they free to pursue their own fortunes in the New World. Even in the 1620s conditions were harsh and dangerous in Virginia, and the death rate from disease and malnutrition was very high In 1623 indentured servant Richard Frethorne wrote his mother and father complaining of the bitter hardships he was enduring in Jamestown. Frethorne's woeful letter survives in the records of the London Company, but nothing more is known of the young man or of what ultimately happened to him. The chances are high that be too perished in 1623. As you read this excerpt, consider what Richard Frethorne was trying to accomplish with his letter home.

Loving and kind father and mother my most humble duty remembered to you hoping to God for your good health. This is to let you understand that I your Child am in a most heavy case by reason of the nature of the country. It Causeth much sickness, such as the scurvy and the bloody flux, and diverse other diseases, which maketh the body poor, and weak. And when we are sick there is nothing to comfort us; for since I came out of the ship, I have nothing to eat but peas. As for deer or venison I never saw any since I came into this land. There is indeed some game fowl, but we are not allowed to hunt. Instead we must work hard both early, and late for a mess of gruel, and a mouthful of bread, and beef. People cry out day, and night.

I have nothing to comfort me, nor there is anything to be gotten here but sickness, and death. I have nothing at all, no not a shirt to my back and but one pair of shoes and one cap. My Cloak was stolen by one of my own fellows, and to his dying hour would not tell me what he did with it. Some of my fellows saw him have butter and beef, which my cloak, I fear, paid for. But I am not half a quarter so strong as I was in England, and all is for want of victuals, for I do say unto you, that I have eaten more in a single day at home than I have here in a week.

Good father do not forget me, but have mercy and pity my miserable case. I know if you did but see me you would weep. For God's sake pity me, I pray you to remember my love to all my friends, and kindred. I hope all my Brothers and Sisters are in good health. The answer to this letter will mean life or death to me, therefore good father send as soon as you can.

  1. What seems to have been the main purpose of Frethorne's letter home?

  2. Of the many hardships of life in Virginia, what do you think bothered him the most?

  3. What does Richard Frethorne's account suggest about the methods by which indentured servants were recruited to go to Virginia?

Compare and Contrast the letter above to the modern immigrant letters. Answer the following questions:

Immigrant Experience

  1. What were some of the everyday concerns of Konstanty and Antoni

  2. Identify the changes in the relationship between Konstanty and his parents

  3. What does the correspondence reveal?


Towards Independence: Years of Decision 1763-1776

Summary:

Rights of the Colonies Asserted and Proved (1764)

  1. Otis Argued that Parliament’s Legislative Power was “supreme” and “uncontroulable” and therefore that the colonists were obligated to patiently submit regardless of how burdensome it proved to be; however, he also claimed that Parliament could not tax the colonists without their consent. How do you explain this apparent contradiction?

    1. Overview: The French and Indian War in North America and the Seven Years War in Europe increased the British National Debt by 75%. To pay off this debt, the British decide to heavily tax their North American colonies, suddenly. A series of acts are imposed on everyday commodities utilized by the colonies ranging from sugar to paper. The Molasses Act of 1733 was outdated. American merchants simply created their own molasses brands in order to escape this tax. Parliament became wise to the actions of the merchants. With the Sugar Act of 1764, the British clamped down on the basic material needed in the production of molasses: sugar. The colonists, concerned firstly with the economic impacts of such a tax, began to voice political objections based on the constitutionality of such an act. James Otis, Jr., a Harvard lawyer, voiced questions against this act, however, urged colonists to remain subservient.

    2. The Natural Rights Argument: During the 1500s CE, a social movement defending the “inalienable natural rights” of men, was led by the writings of Thomas Hobbs and John Locke, who engendered this concept of a set of necessary rights given to men, such as shelter, food, and protection, agreed with what Otis, Jr. said in his opening statement: “Let no man think I am about to commence advocate for despotism (monarchy), because I affirm government is founded on the necessity of our natures; and that an original supreme Sovereign, absolute and uncontrollable, earthly power must exist in and preside over every society; from whose final decisions there can be no good appeal but directly to Heaven.”

    3. What Otis was saying is society is in a constant tug-of-war between the demands of the people and the regulations implemented by the government, which supported the assertions of Hobbs and Locke two centuries before. Society cannot function without an “earthly” governing presence. Government provided stability. The contradiction within Otis‘ statement would not have been as blatant had the American Revolution failed. It would take merely 6 years before anything of major consequence would shift the AR onto an entirely new stage.

  2. Was the Parliament ‘absolute and arbitrary’? The government has a “divine right” to rule there for it is neither absolute nor arbitrary. By arbitrary, Otis meant the Parliament cannot implement taxes without reason and on a personal whim.

  3. How does Otis convince both sides of his viewpoint? He stated that the representatives that rise to prominence within the government were once common people themselves and only King George the III, in all of his divine wisdom can negotiate the balance between the governing body and the people.


Boston Massacre (1770)

  1. Did the Bostonians have legitimate reasons for being unhappy that the British soldiers were being stationed in their city according to Captain Preston?

    1. Overview: By 1770, the presence of British troops in the American Colonies escalated the friction between citizens and the laws that they were being forced to follow. The troops played the role of enforcers ensuring the King’s laws were followed. The colonists faced unemployment as the soldiers, their “protectors”, were allowed to take part-time jobs in the city of Boston, Massachusetts.

    2. Preston generally admitted that the British presence was a nuisance, but he defended his perspective fiercely.

  2. Was the Boston Massacre a Massacre?? No. Clearly a 12-man squad of soldiers was not nearly enough to control the mob of 100 or so colonists. The “firing incident” was claimed to have been staged by the colonists themselves, as a voice from behind the squad shouted, “Damn your bloods, why don’t you fire!”

  3. Is Preston believable? Perhaps Preston was innocent. He did receive an injury while trying to settle his troops. He was a soldier after all. At the end of the day, an officer gives and receives orders. One cannot easily ascertain Preston’s innocence when history tells us that the American colonists viewed the British army as an occupying force and the British people living in Great Britain were generally indifferent to the whole affair.


Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom (1786)

  1. Religious Freedom Guaranteed?

    1. Overview: During his reign, King Henry VIII (1509-1525) removed Great Britain from the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church, consolidating religious and political authority into his responsibilities. The Anglican or Church of England was born. In a monarchical system of government, the political authority is legitimized when the prevailing church acknowledges the reigning monarch’s right to rule. Henry VIII’s reason for leaving the Catholic Church was more personal than political. He wanted to divorce his wife. After American Independence was obtained centuries later, the question of separation of church and state was asked because the political leaders, especially Thomas Jefferson, wanted to distance the newly formed United States from anything British.

    2. The Virginia Statute guaranteed religious freedom because it became a law.

  2. What comparisons can be drawn to the Declaration of Independence?

    1. The Virginia Statute promoted the natural rights of each citizen to follow his/her beliefs. We draw commonalities in the inclusion of natural rights, which were championed in the D of I.

  3. Why did Thomas Jefferson believe the church would undermine the state government?

    1. One could base Jefferson’s theory of a church undermining a state government in his opening statement, “Whereas God hath created the mind free”. Jefferson, a deist, one who believes in God without following the codes of an organized church, stated in the First Statement that a government acting in the Name of God, is actually acting on God’s behalf, and is acting as God Himself, contradicting the belief to many of the contemporary religions of Jefferson’s time that man is beneath God. Acting as God to enforce a system of laws would usurp the free-will of man to think and act for himself and therefore also take away the natural rights of the common man.


Vices of the Political System of the United States (1787)

  1. According to the conventional wisdom of the eighteenth century, the fate of a republic was dependent on the “virtue” of its people. Did Madison share this belief?

    1. Overview: James Madison busied himself trying to become an expert on the history of republican societies. His resume was vast as a delegate on the Confederation Congress and a member of the Virginia State Legislature. In his “Vices of the Political System of the United States”, Madison highlights certain weaknesses in the American economic system under the Articles of Confederation. Madison would become arguably the most significant American Forefather as he would draft the American Constitution.

    2. The conventional wisdom of the eighteenth century culture was contingent on a traditional viewpoint leftover from the vestiges of a monarchical society based on the absolute rulership of a king or emperor. In a monarchical society, people are expected to behave in a certain way, following their monarch’s laws without question. A king’s or queen’s word was absolute, challenging it meant certain death. Virtue means “behavior that displays high moral standards” (Apple Dictionary).

    3. In 11.2, Line 9, Madison discussed a society’s virtues. He began with the question, “Whenever therefore an apparent interest or common passion unites a majority what is to restrain them from unjust violations of the rights and interests of the minority, or of individuals? Three motives only: 1. a prudent (well-judged) to their own good as involved in the general and permanent good of the community. This consideration although of decisive weight in itself, is found by experience to be too often unheeded (heard or noticed but disregarded). It is often forgotten by nations, as well as individuals, that honesty is often the best policy.” In this statement, Madison’s sentiment on virtue became clear to me. As members of a society, the people who suffer the most scrutiny are the least honest and least virtuous. Today’s examples of politicians, such as President Clinton, whose words and body language conveyed two separate messages about his affair with Monica Lewinsky

  2. Did the Constitutional Convention take note of what Madison’s Philosophy stated? If so, in what ways?

    1. The Constitutional Convention took note of Madison. Although stacked up against the likes of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the young Madison took it upon himself to learn what was necessary about the republican form of government. He was also famous for chronicling every event that occurred within the confines of the Continental Congress. His journals are primary sources today of the meetings that formed our government. With the formation of the Constitution, it is clear that Madison’s words were noted.

  3. Compare this to the Federalist 10 Paper Madison wrote.


Federalist 10 (1787)

  1. According to Madison, what causes factions to develop?

    1. Overview: The Federalist Papers, which number in the hundreds or so in total, either criticize, warn, or respond to criticisms circulating in American society. Primarily authored by James Madison, these documents form the basis for how our government operates today. Alexander Hamilton and John Jay also authored several of the famous essays. The American political scene ten years after the Declaration of Independence was drafted had been split between two key factions: the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. “The Federalists emerged in the 1790s as a coalition of individuals who supported a strong national government, diplomatic ties with Great Britain, and the political leadership of men of property and experience. The term “Federalist” originally applied to those who supported the ratification of the Federal Constitution. By the mid-1790s, “Federalist” defined a group aligned with the administration of President George Washington.” (Although Washington supported most Federalist policies, he steadfastly avoided partisan activity.) (Federal Judicial Center). The Anti-Federalists, who would soon be referred to as the Republicans, maintained opposite views on everything that the Federalists wanted. “The Republicans of the 1790s coalesced around the broad issues of limiting federal power, defending state authority, and expanding popular participation in politics. Republicans also opposed any sort of alliance with Great Britain, which they believed would always attempt to keep the United States in a kind of colonial dependence” (Federal Judicial Center). John Adams was one of the more prominent Federalists, while Thomas Jefferson was a staunch Republican (This Republican Party is in no way related to the modern day Republican Party. This Republican Party would be reformed into the Democratic-Republican Party under the Presidency of Andrew Jackson. The “Republican” part of the party’s name would eventually be dropped and would not re-emerge as its own party again until Abraham Lincoln runs for President under the Republican banner. It is really Lincoln who shifted the ideals of the “Republican mantra” to suit the needs of his generation, which, like Jefferson’s generation, dealt with one chief American issue: slavery.)

    2. Before we begin to interpret Madison’s view of factionalism, we must first review American history up to the year 1787. During the American Revolution, each colony had their own agenda it seemed. According to historical accounts from both the British and American sides of the Revolution, the community of American Historians generally agree that the colonists began to openly disagree with the British Parliament around the year 1764, when the Sugar Act was implemented. Boston, Massachusetts, during Colonial Times, was one of the largest trading ports in the North American colonies of the British Empire, rivaled only by New York and several Canadian cities. Mainstream American History accepts the belief that Boston merchants carried the burden of British oppression characterized by each of the Parliament’s “unjustified Acts”, and so for the sake of this class, we will accept this claim, but not without understanding that the fact of the matter is that all 13 Colonies felt the burden of the unfair British taxes, yet the loudest voices came out of Boston, where revolutionary fervor reached a fever pitch. It took the coming together of ideals of men like John Adams, a Massachusetts resident, a farmer-lawyer, and a Federalist, and men like Thomas Jefferson, a Virginian, a scientist, a plantation owner, a slave owner, and a Republican, to agree on a logical approach to independence. For 12 years, from 1764-1776, factions existed in American politics. To Madison, passion for a perspective or viewpoint causes factions to develop in America.

    3. According to Madison, why are factions dangerous?

      1. Factions diminish the strength of the central republic governing structure. States rise to prominence over the central government, in a society of factions, which makes the government susceptible to outside influences. “There are again two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.” Madison continued stating that there are two methods of “removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence, the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.” Factionalism begets anarchy says Madison. “So strong is this propensity of mankind into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient enough to kindle their unfriendly passions, and excite their most violent conflicts. He goes on to say that factionalism is caused by the separation between men with property and men without property. The government, which is expected to evolve into a democracy, does so because of factions. “The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States: a religious sect, may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it, must secure the national councils against any danger from that source: a rage for paper money for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union, than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district than an entire State.” He concludes by stating that a Republican form of government will reduce factionalism in favor of a single party rule which will promote the centralized form of government that the Federalists sought.

  1. Given his assessment of how factions develop, can Madison be called an economic determinist? Why or why not?

    1. I do not think that Madison wanted the capitalistic society we today take for granted. The fact that he stated how social classes perpetuated is the clue to his thinking. Howard Zinn, in A People’s History of the United States, used evidence from the Constitution’s Historian, Charles Beard, to state that the general make-up of representatives in the Great Convention, the group that formed the Constitution and used Madison’s instructions to accomplish it, were primarily wealthy landowners who had law degrees. This set a tone for that time period, and to some degree today’s America, that the wealthy have a greater hand in determining government policy than the middle class that works for them and the poor that work for the middle class. The mindset of the fraternity that Madison was a part of, which consisted of Thomas Jefferson (his friend and mentor), John Adams, and George Washington, landowners themselves, would have been aligned with Madison’s personal views.


Federalist 54 (1787)

  1. Did the fictional "Southern brethren” speak for Madison? In no other number of The Federalist did Madison resort to this method of argumentation; what might explain his use of it here?

    1. Overview: In 1787, the year in which the Constitution was drafted, the atmosphere for the coming American Civil War was being set. On July 16, 1787, Madison and his fellow team of “architects” were forming the structure of the United States Senate. The simpler issue of age limits for Senators had been set at 30 several weeks before this date. The larger, more complex issue of representation was yet to be settled. This is the general description of the issue at hand: “Delegates from the large states believed that because their states contributed proportionally more to the nation’s financial and defensive resources, they should enjoy proportionally greater representation in the Senate as well as in the House.  Small-state delegates demanded, with comparable intensity, that all states be equally represented in both houses.  When Sherman proposed the compromise, Benjamin Franklin agreed that each state should have an equal vote in the Senate in all matters—except those involving money.” (senate.gov). Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman is credited with proposing the alternative of a "bicameral," or two-chambered Congress, made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Each state, suggested Sherman, would send an equal number of representatives to the Senate, and one representative to the House for each 30,000 residents of the state (Longley). This compromise is sometimes referred to as the Connecticut Compromise, as its author, Roger Sherman, was from Connecticut. This distinction helps to separate it from the Great Compromise of 1850, which concerned representation again and heightened secessionist feelings in the south.

    2. The Southern Brethren were a voice that Madison used to project his own views while at the same time appeal to his fellow southern delegates. Yes, the fictional Southern Brethren portray Madison’s sentiment.

  2. How did Madison advocate for southern interests counter the objection that other forms of "property" were not being counted for interpretation?

    1. “This question may be placed in another light. It is agreed on all sides, that numbers are the best scale of wealth and taxation, as they are the only proper scale of representation. Would the convention have been impartial or consistent, if they had rejected the slaves from the list of inhabitants, when the shares of representation were to be calculated, and inserted them on the lists when the tariff of contribution was to be adjusted? Could it be reasonably expected that the Southern States would concur in a system, which considered their slaves to some degree as men, when burdens were to be imposed, but refused to consider them in the same light, when advantages were to be conferred? Might not some surprised be expressed, that those who reproach the Southern States with the barbarous policy of considering as property a part of their human brethren, should themselves contend that the government to which all the states are to be parties, ought to consider this unfortunate race more completely in the unnatural light of property, than the very laws of which they complain?” This demonstrated that the delegates were wrestling with the issue of calling African slaves human beings. By calling a slave 2/5 of a man, the dispute was settled for the time being...

  3. How did Madison justify the 3/5 Compromise?

    1. “Let the compromising expedient of the Constitution be mutually adopted, which regards them as inhabitants, but as debased by servitude below the equal level of free inhabitants; which regards the slave as two fifths of the man.” He justified the argument by stating that the Constitution created compromises among people, not property. “Government is instituted no less for property, than of the persons, of individuals.”

  4. What was the “fictional southerner’s” response to the charge of inconsistency in the interpretation of the matter that no slave-holding state could count slaves in its determination of the amount of seats that it could hold in the Legislature? “A State possesses no such influence over the other states,” no matter how populous or wealthy it is.

  5. Was this a states’ rights argument? No but it does defend southern interests and would perpetuate divisions that would lead to the Civil War.


Jefferson’s Inaugural (1801)

  1. According to Jefferson, why might some observers have misread the presidential election of 1800? Do you agree with his observations? Why or why not?

    1. Overview: George Washington was sworn in as President in 1789 and truly set the tone of the office, running it as a seasoned commanding general should. Surrounding Washington was the greatest Presidential Cabinet ever assembled in the history of the United States Government. His Vice President was John Adams. His Secretary of War was Henry Knox. His Treasurer was Alexander Hamilton. Among these great names, a key figure would make his mark in the American political scene was Thomas Jefferson, Washington’s Secretary of State. In spite of his quiet demeanor, soft speaking voice, Thomas Jefferson was an intelligent and determined leader, that in today’s history classrooms, is more known for his authorship of the Declaration of Independence. His interest and expertise in European affairs made him a perfect Secretary of State and indispensable to Washington as Washington’s job was to create a strong image of the United States for the world. Jefferson would eventually show his true colors. He was the architect of a new political party, the Republican Party, similar in name only to today’s modern Republican Party, but it had a philosophy similar to today’s Democratic Party. Jefferson’s personal life was filled with scandal. As a widower, he took one of his female slaves into his bed and allegedly had a child with her. But his professional and political life was nearly flawless. His candidacy for President as Washington retired from public life created the Electoral College to regulate the Popular Vote for Presidential Candidates. His closest friend and chief political rival, John Adams, had been running against Jefferson to succeed Washington as President. What happened in this scenario set the tone for today’s election process. Before the Electoral College was developed, Presidents were selected purely on Popular Vote. It only took two elections before this policy was adjusted and amended in the Constitution because John Adams a Federalist Party member won the Presidency, and Thomas Jefferson a Republican, won the Vice-Presidency. This was the first and only time in our history when a President and Vice-President were of two rival political parties and it defined American Politics. Surprisingly, it did not create problems. Their friendship allowed the two men to have excellent synergy while in their respective offices. In addition to that, they had one common goal to accomplish: lead the country toward a brighter future. In the abstract of Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Address of 1801, it was mentioned that Jefferson’s Presidency was “arranged” by Alexander Hamilton to control Jefferson’s extremist nature.

    2. Hamilton, a Federalist like John Adams, believed that supporting Jefferson’s Presidency would turn Jefferson into a more moderate politician. Evidence of the moderate Thomas Jefferson is stated in this quote at the end of the second paragraph of his speech: “But every difference of opinion is not a difference in principle. We have been called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion my be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it”. Again, the lack of the presence of the Electoral College was present in Jefferson’s Presidential Run. As the Federalist Party was disintegrating, the abstract states, ironically, the Republican Party, as it was during Jefferson’s time, was also experiencing some confusion. The responsibility of doing the nominating of candidates fell to the House of Representatives. This prompted Alexander Hamilton, a Revolutionary War leader who recognized Jefferson’s experience and will as a fellow Continental Congressman, to sponsor Jefferson over Aaron Burr, who Hamilton viewed as a scoundrel and a hardliner when it came to party policy. Because of their experiences as Revolutionary War politicians, Hamilton understood that Jefferson would put the United States‘ interests before Jefferson’s own interests or before the Republican Party’s interests, in other words.

  1. According to Jefferson, what is the "sacred principle" of American constitutional government?

    1. “All too will bear in mind this sacred principle, that through the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be the rightful must be reasonable, that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

  1. Did the members of the Federalist Party have good reason to applaud Jefferson for his proclamation of that sacred principle? Why or why not?

    1. In addition to the information presented in the abstract which chronicled Jefferson’s rise to the Presidency with the sponsorship of Alexander Hamilton, a Federalist, the Federalist Party most likely did applaud Jefferson for the following statement: “But every difference of opinion is not a difference in principle. We have been called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion my be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it”. This statement is important in that it sets a tone for all Presidents who would follow Jefferson, Presidents that would need to take a moderate stance on political views. If a President takes too firm of a stance on an issue or on a party guideline, he or she will lose public confidence. Jefferson’s Presidency could be arguably the standard to which the office was meant to be, an office of balance.

  1. According to Jefferson what are "the essential principles of our Government"? Would Alexander Hamilton generally agree or disagree with Jefferson's assertions? Why or why not?

    1. “I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political, peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people--a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture and commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of the person under habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reform. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which leads to peace, liberty, and safety.”

    2. List below goes to PowerPoint.

      1. Justice should be without biases (any favoritism). The United States should not be connected to any alliances. Open and honest friendship with anyone.

      2. State governments should support the Federal government and not go against national ideals or goals.

      3. The Federal Government needs to guard the Constitution and support its ideals against both domestic and foreign threats.

      4. The majority should not rule in the republic.

      5. A militia (National Guard) to defend against foreign incursions until the main forces arrive.

      6. To provide a productive economy for the public’s profit.

      7. The honest payment of debts will preserve the public’s faith.

      8. An agricultural-based and trade-based economy will fuel the nation.

      9. Fair and reasonable court system.

      10. Freedom of religion.

      11. Freedom of the press.

      12. Freedom of the individual under habeas corpus (the right of a criminal to have access to a fair and just trial).

Marbury vs. Madison (1803)



  1. How did the Supreme Court decide on the facts of the case? According to Marshall, did Marbury have a right to the commission?

    1. Overview: The case of Marbury vs. Madison (1803) placed Chief Justice John Marshall, one of President Adams’ “Midnight Appointments”, in an embarrassing position. (When a President leaves office, he or she does so at 12 AM the morning of when the new one takes office. This explains the “Midnight Appointments” of John Adams.) John Adams, the President that was transitioning out of office when Thomas Jefferson was transitioning in, took advantage of this changeover period by appointing a number of Federalists into key government positions. This, Adams thought, would counterweigh the Republican Party ideals of Thomas Jefferson. William Marbury, a Federalist that was appointed to one of Adams‘ positions, petitioned the Supreme Court for a trial to override the commissions that Jefferson ordered to hold up the appointments until he could figure out how to undo what Adams had done, requested a writ of mandamus (Latin for: We Order) directing the new Secretary of State, James Madison, to give Marbury his commission. John Marshall was placed in a predicament. On one hand if Marshall were to refuse the mandamus, he would be labeled a coward in not standing up to President Jefferson, and the Supreme Court would lose its legitimacy in the three-branch government structure. If Marshall were to accept the writ, then the Court would come into conflict with the Executive Branch. Jefferson had a personal dislike for John Marshall. He would probably tell Madison to ignore the order and in the prevailing state of public opinion, nothing could be done about it. This would be an even more significant blow to the Judiciary Branch. Marshall’s educational background and experience in law was not as developed as Adams’ or Jefferson’s, but his resourcefulness would be on display. By right, William Marbury should have had his appointment. The Court could not legally require Madison to give it to him. Marbury’s request for a writ of mandamus was based on the Judiciary Act of 1789 (the Congress repealed the Judiciary Act’s 1801 amendment as its first act when Adams left office.) Since the Judiciary Act was ambiguous in how writs of mandamus could be requested, Marshall could rightfully declare Marbury’s request unconstitutional because the Supreme Court could not perform such a request under the current Constitution. Like a master chess player, Marshall sacrificed the pawn, Marbury, to establish the power of the Supreme Court to invalidate Federal laws that were unconstitutional.

    2. In the wake of the Marbury vs. Madison case, Jefferson became more determined to strike at the Federalist-dominated courts, the more. He decided to press for judges more along party lines to be dismissed. He went after Samuel Chase, a tenured Chief Justice in the Supreme Court since 1796 when Washington appointed him to that opinion. Zealous followers of Jefferson tried to deem Chase’s actions during the Sedition Acts high-handed and unconstitutional, however, Chase’s defense lawyers basically threw out their cases in discussed at the one-sided ruling. It eventually drove Jefferson himself to accept Chase’s acquittal with poise.

    3. “It is therefore decidedly the opinion of the court that when a commission has been signed by the President, the appointment is made, and that the commission is complete, when the seal of the United States has been affixed to it by the Secretary of State.”

    4. “That having this legal title to the office, he has a consequent right to the commission; a refusal to deliver which, is a plain violation of that right, for which the laws of his country afford him a remedy.”

2. The Court did not issue a writ of mandamus, but it also rejected Jefferson position. How could it do both? How was Marshall able to enhance the power of the Supreme Court while refusing to issue a writ in this case? Refer to 1a and 1b.

  1. Given the fact that Marshall was himself a midnight appointment and that his failure to deliver all of the judicial commissions was the basis of Marbury suit in the first place, was he caught in a conflict of interest? Explain.

    1. Personally, John Marshall was caught in a conflict of interest, but like a just, fair, and ethical politician would do, he put his office before himself and followed the Constitution, the laws of our nation.


McClulloch vs. Maryland (1819)

1.What were the main points raised by the Marshall Court in declaring the Bank of the United States to be constitutional? Did they differ from Hamilton’s 1791 arguments?

a. “The important case of McCulloch vs Maryland (1819) involved another incident in which an individual state tried to assume authority and challenge the Constitution. Congress formed the 2nd Bank of the United States in 1816. This “national bank” had branches that competed with state-chartered banks. To enhance the competitiveness of Maryland’s banks, Maryland’s legislature imposed a tax on notes issued by the Baltimore branch of the Second Bank. The Second Bank refused to pay claiming that the tax infringed on national powers and was therefore unconstitutional. The state’s lawyers then invoked Jefferson’s argument: Congress lacked constitutional authority to charter a national bank. Even if a national bank was legitimate, lawyers argued, Maryland could tax activities within this state. John Marshall, in his long tenure as a Supreme Court Justice, and nationalist-minded Republicans on the Court firmly rejected both arguments. The Second Bank was constitutional because it was “necessary and proper,” given the nature of how the Federal Government regulates national currency and credit. Like Alexander Hamilton, Marshall was a loose constructionist: If the goal of a law is “within the scope of the Constitution, all means which are appropriate” to secure that goal are also constitutional.

2. How did the Court interpret the "necessary and proper" clause of the Constitution? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Court's definition of "necessary''? The Second Bank was constitutional because it was “necessary and proper,” given the nature of how the Federal Government regulates national currency and credit. Like Alexander Hamilton, Marshall was a loose constructionist: If the goal of a law is “within the scope of the Constitution, all means which are appropriate” to secure that goal are also constitutional.

3. The McCulloch decision ranks among the most important issued by the Marshall Court. How did it define federal and state powers? How did it define the Tenth Amendment? How might states' rights advocates have responded to the McCulloch decision? States reserve the right to tax within their borders. “The government of the United States, then, though limited in its powers, is supreme, and its laws, when made in pursuance of the constitution, form the supreme law of the land, ‘anything in the constitution or laws of any State, to the contrary, not withstanding.’” Among the enumerated powers, we do not find that of establishing a bank or creating a corporation. But there is no phrase in the instrument which, like the articles of confederation, excludes incidental or implied powers; and which requires that everything granted shall be expressly and intimately described. Even the 10th Amendment, which was framed for the purpose of quieting the excessive jealousies which had been excited, omits the word “expressly”, and declares only that the powers “not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people”; thus leaving the question, whether the particular power will become a subject of contest, has been delegated to the one government, or prohibited to the other, to depend on a fair construction of the whole instrument. The States might have been concerned with how they execute taxation. “If the States may tax one instrument, employed by the government in the execution of its powers, they may tax any and every other instrument (industries or services provided to consumers).” Conclusively, the Constitution is ranked above all other laws.
The Monroe Doctrine (1823)

The Monroe Doctrine was expressed during President Monroe's seventh annual message to Congress, December 2, 1823:

. . . At the proposal of the Russian Imperial Government, made through the minister of the Emperor residing here, a full power and instructions have been transmitted to the minister of the United States at St. Petersburg to arrange by amicable negotiation the respective rights and interests of the two nations on the northwest coast of this continent. A similar proposal has been made by His Imperial Majesty to the Government of Great Britain, which has likewise been acceded to. The Government of the United States has been desirous by this friendly proceeding of manifesting the great value which they have invariably attached to the friendship of the Emperor and their solicitude to cultivate the best understanding with his Government. In the discussions to which this interest has given rise and in the arrangements by which they may terminate the occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers. . .

It was stated at the commencement of the last session that a great effort was then making in Spain and Portugal to improve the condition of the people of those countries, and that it appeared to be conducted with extraordinary moderation. It need scarcely be remarked that the results have been so far very different from what was then anticipated. Of events in that quarter of the globe, with which we have so much intercourse and from which we derive our origin, we have always been anxious and interested spectators. The citizens of the United States cherish sentiments the most friendly in favor of the liberty and happiness of their fellow-men on that side of the Atlantic. In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Governments; and to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintain it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. In the war between those new Governments and Spain we declared our neutrality at the time of their recognition, and to this we have adhered, and shall continue to adhere, provided no change shall occur which, in the judgement of the competent authorities of this Government, shall make a corresponding change on the part of the United States indispensable to their security.

The late events in Spain and Portugal show that Europe is still unsettled. Of this important fact no stronger proof can be adduced than that the allied powers should have thought it proper, on any principle satisfactory to themselves, to have interposed by force in the internal concerns of Spain. To what extent such interposition may be carried, on the same principle, is a question in which all independent powers whose governments differ from theirs are interested, even those most remote, and surely none of them more so than the United States. Our policy in regard to Europe, which was adopted at an early stage of the wars which have so long agitated that quarter of the globe, nevertheless remains the same, which is, not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers; to consider the government de facto as the legitimate government for us; to cultivate friendly relations with it, and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy, meeting in all instances the just claims of every power, submitting to injuries from none. But in regard to those continents circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different.

It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness; nor can anyone believe that our southern brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interposition in any form with indifference. If we look to the comparative strength and resources of Spain and those new Governments, and their distance from each other, it must be obvious that she can never subdue them. It is still the true policy of the United States to leave the parties to themselves, in hope that other powers will pursue the same course. . . .









  1. Identify and describe the issue with which the United States became involved. (150 Words)

    1. As the United States was expanding, it came into conflict several times with its old nemesis, Great Britain, and a rising world power, Russia. The issue at stake, the reason for the Monroe Doctrine’s creation, was to prevent future colonization by European powers of the Americas. At the basic level, the Monroe Doctrine was meant to also legitimize the United States’ nationhood in the eyes of its European counterparts. The Doctrine also attempted to keep the United States out of European conflicts like the Seven Years War (1756-1763) and caused the American colonists, at the time, to fight alongside the British to preserve their livelihoods. Little did the colonists know that such an event would escalate into the American Revolution caused by the British debt that was incurred during the Seven Years War.

  2. What was Monroe's government trying to assert?

    1. American independence, the inevitability that the United States would eventually dominate the region, and if the European Powers were to continue their colonization efforts in the Americas, it would derail the peaceful society being built in the United States.

  3. What modern issue for the United States does the parameters set by the second paragraph foreshadow? Could be two events, as in the two World Wars.

  4. What was the goal of the United States according to the Monroe Doctrine? To keep the European powers out of the Americas in order to avoid conflict with them.

  5. Is American foreign policy still an issue today? Why or why not? (250 Words)

    1. Clearly, it is evident in this document that the Monroe Doctrine laid the foundation for our current foreign policy. The continuation of conflicts of interests of the European Powers have forced the United States out of an isolationist mentality and into a prominent global role, a role in which it has been well-suited for since 1945, the ending of the Second World War. Today, it seems that China is beginning its run at the Number 1 spot in global rankings, but its society may not be the idealistic example that American society has been. In other words, people of the world may not take to a communist society as well as a democratic society. The United States has three key issues that the Monroe Doctrine cannot deal with. The first issue is military spending. The United States Government spends as much as 80% of its total budget on its military. Although its military technology is far more advanced than China’s military technology, the fact that America has the most sophisticated weapons, vehicles, and troop training is not the main expense of the military budget. To prevent a “Third World War”, the United States installed military bases in several of the nations it has an alliance with in Europe, Asia, and Africa. These bases provide the “comforts of home” to troops stationed on these bases such as free-housing, high-quality public schools, and discounted grocery and utility stores. Several economists and political scientists theorized that by just reducing between 25-50% of its military expenditures, America would still rank #1 in military spending, but the government’s budget could be focused into key areas such as education, repairing the banking system, and healthcare and health research. The second issue is Middle Eastern affairs. The removal of Saddam Hussein created a political vacuum in Iraq. Several groups are vying for paramount leadership in this oil-rich region. The problem with trying to impose a democratic system on a Middle Eastern culture is that traditionally, Middle Eastern politics have been based upon “Hammurabi’s Code”, the list of rules where we get the famous phrase, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. Now the United States has shifted its focus to purging the virus caused by Al-Qaeda’s terrorists and crushing the Taliban’s Muslim Extremist tendencies. With the demise of Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 Attacks, the United States has actually created a hydra by destabilizing the structure of Al-Qaeda. And finally, the third issue in our foreign policy is how to deal with China. Is the United States going to enter another Cold War scenario in which it becomes inspired again? Or is China simply a different kind of a nation from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that its economic prowess is far too great? The solution for the United States in the matter of China is to involve its Pacific Allies such as Japan and others in Southeast Asia in offsetting the size of China’s military. The solution is still unclear.



A. Jackson on Indian Removal (1829)

  1. Jackson contended that the federal government's Indian policy to date (1829) had been counterproductive to its stated goals. What information did Jackson provide to support his position? Was his reasoning sound?

    1. Overview: Georgia and Alabama were new states that were having an “Indian Problem” within their borders. Andrew Jackson, a hero of the War of 1812, had a personal vendetta against the Native Americans. His father-in-law was killed by Indians and several tribes plagued his wife and the settlers in Tennessee. He fought as a young officer toward the latter stages of the American Revolution, was shaped to a certain extent by Washington’s example of leadership, obtained a law degree, and entered the political realm fairly early in his life. What Jackson’s main concern in this Indian Removal document had to be was the fact that certain tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, and the Creek) were not meshing with white settlers in Delaware as well as certain tribes were in the Southern regains. Jackson went beyond his own historical image as “the Indian oppressor” by stating that he thought it was the US Government’s job to preserve the once proud culture of each Native American tribe. Jackson thought that by moving west, the tribes he mentioned could start anew.

2. What did Elias Boudinot argue, and how did his position concerning federal Indian policy compare with Jackson's? Elias Boudinot, a Native American obviously by his perspective in his article, was disenchanted with the United States Government. To him it seemed that the USG was going back on its word, that Jackson was taking away promises made by Jackson’s Presidential predecessors: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. In fact, it seems that Elias Boudinot believed the words of the 4 Presidents to be fake. Elias Boudinot stated that it would have been much easier for the Cherokee to bear the disappointment had they been told decades before during Washington’s Presidency because their lifestyle had not yet been assimilated into the white culture.

  1. Do you think Jackson truly believed that he was helping the Indians? Or was Jackson's rhetoric merely a cynical cover for yet another white seizure of Indian lands? Explain.

    1. Settlement of Indian lands was inevitable. As populations of the Eastern States overflowed, lands to the west had to be opened up in order to enhance the production of farmland for the growing national population. Jackson was a cynical President, especially toward the Native Americans. These events would culminate in the Trail of Tears, where the Cherokee and several other tribes were forced west at gunpoint.

Cherokee vs. Georgia (1831)



  1. What was the traditional way for the Federal Government to treat the Native American Tribes?

    1. As foreign nations.

  2. What is in Georgia’s defense?

    1. Nothing. To the Marshall Court, the Cherokee grounds were perfectly legal. To President Jackson, where the Cherokees stood in the matter, was a different story altogether.

  3. Identify the essential question this case is dealing with then state its answer.

    1. “Do the Cherokees constitute a foreign state in the sense of the Constitution? The answer is simply, yes. Their defense lawyers showed that the Cherokee were conclusively not a State of the Union and therefore, by the definition of the Constitution a foreign state and had been treated as such.

  4. How does the State of Georgia appeal to the Supreme Court?

    1. It was not the State of Georgia that was making the appeal. It was the Cherokee. This is evident in this statement: “They look to our government for protection; rely upon its kindness and its power, appeal to it for relief to their wants; and address the President as their great father. They and their country are considered by foreign nations, as well as by ourselves, as being so completely under the sovereignty and dominion of the United States, that any attempt to acquire lands, or to form a political connection with them, would be considered by all as an invasion of our territory, and an act of hostility. These considerations go far to support the opinion that the framers of our Constitution had not the Indian tribes in view when they opened the courts of the Union to controversies between a State and the citizens thereof, and foreign states.”


Manifest Destiny (1845)

  1. Explain what John L. O'Sullivan meant by the term Manifest Destiny. By what right did O'Sullivan believe that the United States must annex Texas? Do you agree with his argument?

    1. Create your own destiny through venturing West. To protect the United States’ citizens residing in a Mexican Territory. Yes, it supports the ideals of the original Revolutionaries in their quest to break oppression.

2. According to O'Sullivan, who was responsible for Texas's declaration of independence? Mexico’s oppression.

3. Why did O'Sullivan believe that California would "fall" next? For what reasons did he argue that California-would inevitably declare its independence from Mexico? Why did O'Sullivan consider Mexico's title of sovereignty over California to be "artificial"? California was geographically too far away from Mexico’s central government. California was a territory of boundless growth potential; to protect its right to grow economically, it would need to become independent, just as the United States had done. California’s development is of its own accord, with little influence from Mexico.

Confederate Constitution (1860)



  1. The committee that drafted the Confederate Constitution used the US Constitution as a model. Is this surprising? An excerpt from the Confederate Constitutional Congress stated: With the people of South Carolina we believe that the Federal Constitution "presents a complete scheme of confederation, capable of being speedily put into operation;" that its provisions and true import are familiar to the people of the South, "many of whom are believed to cherish a degree of veneration for it," and that all "would feel safe under it when in their own hands for interpretation and administration, especially as the portions that have been by perversion made potent for mischief and oppression, in the hands of adverse and inimical interests, have received a settled construction by the South; that a speedy confederation by the South is desirable in the highest degree,which it is supposed must be temporary at first (if accomplished as soon as it should be), and no better basis than the Constitution of the United States is likely to be suggested or adopted." This convention, in the resolutions accompanying the ordinance dissolving the Union have already responded to the invitation of the people of South Carolina to Inter them in convention for the purpose indicated in their resolutions, and have named Montgomery, in this State, and the 4th day of February, as the appropriate place and time at which to meet. In fixing the time and place this convention hut concurred in the suggestions of the honorable gentleman representing the people of South Carolina before this body. We are aware that several of our sister States, which have indicated a disposition to secede from the Union, and have called conventions of their people, may not be able to meet us at so early a day, but the great importance to the States which have already seceded, and which are likely to secede by that date, of having a common government to manage their Federal and foreign affairs in the emergency now pressing upon them outweighed, in the opinion of the committee, the consideration which suggested delay. The committee more readily come to this conclusion, as the convention which will meet on the 4th of February will at first be engaged in the formation of a provisional government, leaving the more important question of a permanent government to be considered of at a later day, by which time it is hoped and believed that all the Southern States will be in a condition to send deputies to the convention and participate in its councils. It was thought also that the preposition to form the provisional government upon the basis of the Federal Constitution, so much revered by all the Southern States, will meet with the approval of all those who may secede. The committee are also of opinion that the election of the deputies to meet the people of our sister States in convention should be made by this convention. To submit the election to the people would involve a dangerous delay and it would be impracticable to secure an election by the people before the 4th of February next. Basically, the utilization of the United States’ Constitution allowed the Confederacy to form more rapidly, in more unison, than if they were to draft a completely new Constitution for their uses.

  2. What are some of the more notable differences between the US Constitution and the Confederate Constitution and the Confederate Constitution? Why are these differences significant? What do they reveal? President was elected to 6-year terms in Confederacy as opposed to 4-years in the United States. Members of the House were were elected to two-year terms and Senate to six-year terms, with Senators being divided into three classes to ensure only one-third of the Senate would stand for election every two years. Like the United States, the number of representatives would be based on state population and each state would have two Senators. The Bill of Rights, which are amendments to the United States Constitution, are incorporated in full to the text of the Confederate Constitution. The main difference is that the Confederate Constitution protects slavery and limits the power of the federal government to very specific actions. (Yahoo! Blog). The Confederacy, the Southern States, wanted more control delegated to the individual states than in the United States. The slavery issue, as was stated, was the significant difference in that the economic lifestyle based on the use of human labor, was protected and promoted in the South.

  3. Some of the more radical secessionists were disappointed by this Constitution. Why? How is slavery dealt with under this Constitution? What is the significance in the inclusion of a “necessary and proper” clause, and is this surprising? Was it possible for a non-slaveholding state to join the Confederacy under the terms of this Constitution? It did not differ all that much from the US Constitution. Slavery is protected in the Confederacy. The “necessary and proper” clause made it clear to what degree a right or a protective measure from the government could extend. It clarifies the specific role of Congress in both Constitutions.

  4. There are no provisions for secession or nullification in this Constitution. Why not? Prevent another secession.

Lincoln’s First and Second Inaugural Address (1861, 1865)



  1. What was Lincoln saying about the treatment of African Americans in the United States?

    1. The 2nd Inaugural Address stated that _____

  2. In this speech, did Lincoln view the Civil War and slavery as a tragedy, a sin or a crime?

  3. Which do you think Lincoln was emphasizing in his speech, the extraordinary radical statement about race relations in America or the “with malice toward none” passage?
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