Essential Questions:Think about these questions before, during, and after the reading. They are very general; there is no specifically correct answer. If you understand their complexity and feel confident in using information from the text and the supplementary reading in answering these questions, you should understand the major themes from this period.
What accounts for the dramatic increase in population in the colonies before 1750?
What circumstances led to the introduction of slavery into the colonies?
How did Britain's "neglect" of the colonies gradually lead to independence?
Assess the validity of the following statement: "1763 is the most significant year in the history of the colonies before the Revolutionary War."
In many revolutions, violence precedes a change of government. In the American history, the ten years between 1765 and 1775 provided the colonists a long period to think through what they were going to do before resorting to armed revolt. Discuss some of the changes in colonial thinking during this ten-year period.
To what extent is the American government a product of the Enlightenment.
How and in what ways was the American Revolution revolutionary?
What did the founders mean by "republic"?
What were the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation? What were the strengths?
Evaluate the following statement: "The Articles of Confederation amply served the desires of most Americans at the time. It was the economic elite who 'hijacked' America's political evolution and turned it into another course by replacing the Articles with the Constitution."
To what extent was fear of "too much democracy" a motive for writing the U. S. Constitution?
Jefferson & Madison are republicans and opposed what they considered a concentration and abuse of power in the hands of the federalists in the Washington and Adams administrations. To what extent did Jefferson's and Madison's terms as President invalidate this position?
To what extent was the role of the Supreme Court mapped out by John Marshall different from the role envisioned for the court by the writers of the Constitution?
Related essay prompts for practice [At the end of this unit you should be able to answer all of the following using specific names, dates, locations, events (i.e. proper nouns), to demonstrate your understanding of the significant concepts listed below.]
To what extent had the colonists developed a sense of their identity and unity as Americans by the eve of the Revolution? Use your knowledge of the period 1750 to 1776 to answer the question.
Analyze the degree to which the Articles of Confederation provided an effective form of government with respect to the following.
To what extent did the American Revolution fundamentally change American society? In your answer, be sure to address the political, social, and economic effects of the Revolution in the period from 1775 to 1800.
Evaluate the relative importance of each of the following in the decline of the Federalists and the ascent to power of the Jeffersonian Republicans: