Ap us history exam review questions and outlines

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  1. Early colonial dissent (see Documents Bank: “Colonization of Americas”) Taylor Hess (2006)

[Question]: How did the approaches to governance of New England, Pennsylvania and Virginia differ and why did they lead to colonial dissent?
Use the documents and your knowledge of the period (1600-1700) to construct your essay.
Thesis: Due to the subtle differences of the approaches to governance of the original colonies, dissent among colonies was cultivated and cultural differences were magnified to an extent that led to disputes among colonists.

  • Virginia

    • Virginia was led by the House of Burgesses which was an elected body with direct representation from the different counties.

    • It was first settled by the Virginia Company in order to find precious medals and open new trade routes.

    • Church of England was the norm, however practiced freedom of protestant religion.

      • New England

    • New England was settled by puritans seeking freedom from oppression

    • The government was dominated by weekly local town meetings that almost all of free white males attended.

    • All of the colonies but Rhode Island was strictly Puritan.

      • Pennsylvania

    • Pennsylvania was settled by William Penn as a personal proprietorship for his family.

    • The government was run by appointed magistrates.

    • Pennsylvania was a haven for persecuted religions. The population was compiled with Welsh, Irish, Dutch, and German settlers, Catholics were also allowed in the colony.

  1. Jinny Ahn (2009)

[Question:] How and to what extent did the different in political and religious practices of New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern colonies lead to colonial dissent in the 1600s?

[Thesis:] The colonists of Puritan New England gradually drifted away from a strict religious society to one of more toleration and secularity, following the model of the Mid-Atlantic and Southern colonies, because of changing times.


New England:

Highly religious-no separation of church and state

-Puritan only-no religious toleration

-John Winthrop

-“Old Deluder Satan”

-Roger White and Rhode Island

-Religious toleration/freedom

-separation of church and state)

-Anne Hutchinson

-witch hunts (Salem Witch Hunt)

Participate in town meetings


Religiously tolerant

-Maryland-Catholic safe haven

-William Penn and Pennsylvania

Council /governor/General Assembly system


Not very concerned with religion-more focused on economic aspect

If religious, mostly follow Church of England

House of Burgesses

  1. Early colonial dissent (see Documents Bank: “Colonization of Americas”) Brad Hahn (2010)

The Americas provided the colonists with extensive land, separation from the king, and religious freedom, which led to change in their social, political, and economic tendencies breeding a sentiment of dissent that in later years would be a the basis of the revolution

Asses the validity of the statement using the documents and your knowledge of the period, 1600-1700, to construct your essay.
Thesis: Salutary Neglect and the vast space of the Americas provided colonists with religious opportunity, a democratic system of government, and unique economic opportunity, which planted the seeds of societal divisions between the colonists and English.


  • Salutary Neglect- Not as much of a written term as much as a de facto policy. The distance was so great that the King counted on his governors and other leaders in the colonies to control their people, which gave the people much more room to operate socially, religiously, politically and economically.

  • Headright System- This system was the result of the extensive land the Americas provided the Europeans with. Each person who paid their own way across was given 50 acres (on average) and an additional 50 acres for every immigrant for whom they paid to come to the colonies.

  • Religious divisions- Unlike England the Americas provided extensive land much of which was unpopulated. At any time someone who disagreed with the way their town or city was being run could leave and develop their own society. In England conformity, especially religiously, was a must because their was nowhere else to go; but now, people like Anne Hutchinson (Women’s Role in Religion) and Roger Williams (Religious Freedom along with separation of Church and State) could go off and develop their own religious beliefs in their own towns.

  • House of Burgesses- Was an elected house of legislation established in 1619 which gave the colonists the type of political freedom they had not experienced in England and gave them the experience of running a government which would provide invaluable experience in running a nation and would eventually be vital to the revolution.

  • Indentured Servants- While on the surface servitude would appear to limit freedoms in ways that would be similar to England it actually allowed poorer Europeans who sought to immigrate to the Americas to do so. People who were avoiding persecution for religious or political reasons, or younger people who simply saw more potential in the colonies could inexpensively move ot the colonies and after seven years of servitude could gain their own land and start their own businesses.

  1. “Between the Wars: French and Indian and Revolution” (see Documents Bank: “Road to the Revolution”) Jon Trumbull (2006)

Question: How and why did Colonial views towards Britain change between the French and Indian War and the Revolution?
Thesis: Colonial views toward Britain changed between the French and Indian War and the Revolution from respectful detachment to utter dissent because Colonists no longer enjoyed the near-autonomous rule that salutary neglect had granted them.

  • James Otis (1764): “We all think ourselves happy under Great Britain. We love, esteem, and reverence our mother country, and adore our King. And could the choice of independency be offered the colonies or subjection to Great Britain upon any terms above absolute slavery, I am convinced they would accept the latter.”

  • Sons of Liberty (ca. 1765): Violent resistance  Burned effigies (Andrew Oliver – future Distributor of Stamps for Massachusetts) and land held by officials of the crown.

  • Stamp Act Congress (1765):  Declaration of Rights and Grievances (increased colonial unity vs. Great Britain)

  • Paul Revere – Engraving of the Boston Massacre (ca. 1770) – Exaggerated description of “massacre”

  • Boston Tea Party (1773): Respect  Dissent, leads to the Coercive (Intolerable) Acts

2. Tory Baena (2009)
[Question]: How and why did changing British policies towards the colonies trigger increased colonial unity following the French and Indian War?
Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1754-1776 to construct your essay.
Thesis: Britain’s French and Indian War debt prompted the end of salutary neglect with an onslaught of tax and duty acts, fusing the disparate colonies into a united opposition front and ultimately triggering revolution.
A. Britain’s policies

-1764 Sugar Act decreased tax rates but raised enforcement levels, Currency Act made sterling the only official currency; 1765 Stamp Act=first direct tax, Quartering Act allowed British soldiers to stay in colonists’ homes

-Townshend Acts of 1767, included Duty Act on trade goods

-created vice admiralty courts to try smugglers, tightened customs

-Tea Act of 1773: gave British East India Company monopoly on tea sold in colonies

-provoked Boston Tea Party

-Intolerable (Coercive) Acts included:

-Boston Port Bill, which closed Boston ports

-Justice Acts, allowing someone indicted for a crime to be tried outside his/her

own colony

-Massachusetts Government Act, replacing an elected council with appointed vice

admiralty courts

-another Quartering Act
B. Colonial Response/Increased Unity

-Sons of Liberty—held meetings to protest British acts, made an effort to include ordinary

colonists, + Daughters of Liberty—spun own clothes/consumed local tea as form of

-non-importation policy: led to repeal of Stamp Act in 1766, collapsed with Duty Act but

reinstated with 1st Continental Congress via the Continental Association
2.Between the Wars: French and Indian and Revolution” (see Documents Bank: “Road to the Revolution”) Dave Gallagher (2010)


Colonists expressed their dissent with British colonial control through physical action, organized by ideological movements, because the end of Salutary Neglect and virtual representation of the colonies made England seem tyrannical.

Doc A- Stamp Act Congress Resolves 1765

-virtual representation taxation without representation

-end of salutary neglect
Doc B- Dickenson’s Letter from a PA farmer 1767

-taxation for revenue not regulation

Doc C- To Farmers and Traders of PA 1770

-non-importation of goods from Britainhurts GB merchants repeal Stamp act

-boycott of British goods sons of liberty/ daughters of liberty no tea
Doc D- Boston Massacre Engraving 1770

-along with gaspee incidentticked off GB tea act of 1773

-shows “propaganda-like” viewpoint.. GB provoking us- even though drunk col.
Doc E- Unite or Die cartoon 1770s

-ideological side of organizing and unifying very explicit

-spin off Ben Franklin’s “join or die” cartoon of 1750s
Doc F- Boston Tea Party 1773

-lead to Intolerable (Coercive Acts)

Doc G- Thomas Paine Common Sense 1776

-encourages colonists to break free from GB

-accuses king of tyranny virtual representation
Doc H- Declaration of Independence 1776

-culmination of all the resistance taking matters into own hands

Other evidence

-7 Years War caused the change from Salutary Neglect to increased colonial involvement upset colonists virtual rep

-Sugar Act 1764
-Stamp Act 1765 DIRECT tax.. in your face.. upset colonists
-Quartering Act 1765 GB can use colonists homes for their troops upset women
-Townshend Acts 1767 duty (indirect taxes)  non-importation policy
-Gaspee Incident 1772 GB customs ship looted and burned by colonists

  1. Changing interpretations of the Constitution (see Documents Bank: “Early American Republic”) Tinni Maitra (2006)


How and why did politicians’ interpretations of the constitution change throughout the Federal and Jeffersonian Eras?

Use the documents and your knowledge of the period <1790-1825> to construct your essay.

Although the Jeffersonians believed in strict interpretations of the constitution, once in power, the Jeffersonians employed Federalist ideas of broad constructionism because foreign policy necessitated a pragmatic response.


  • Hamilton’s Financial Plan

    • Fund national debt at par

    • Assumption of state debts

    • Tariffs on imported goods

    • Excise tax

    • National bank

  • Jay’s Treaty → dealt with unresolved issues of Treaty of Paris, invoked executive privilege

  • Alien and Sedition Acts (power to deport aliens, violated freedom of speech) → Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (argued for nullification)

  • Louisiana Purchase – justified purchase of land by saying that it was to protect the country, actually employed Federalist means for Jeffersonian ends

  • Embargo Act of 1807 – forbade exports from US

  • Non – Intercourse Act, Macon’s Bill #2 – reopened trade with Britain and France if they promised not to interfere

  • Clay’s American System

    • Rechartered 2nd bank of US

    • Protective tariff to increase domestic manufacturing

    • National Road

3. Changing interpretations of the Constitution—Fran Nassau, 2007
Thesis: The Federalists and Jeffersonians established the partisan politics of America due to opposing interpretations of loose versus strict construction and states versus national power.


  1. Hamilton’s Financial Plan- Hamilton’s Report on the National Bank- if the end was constitutional and the means was not unconstitutional then the means was constitutional (Norton 199)

    1. Fund National debt at par

    2. National Bank

    3. Assumption of state debt

    4. Excise/Whiskey Tax

  2. Jay’s Treaty/Executive Privilege

    1. Democratic Republicans face off against Federalists

    2. Washington withholds all documents pertinent to the London negotiations establishing executive privilege

  3. Alien and Sedition Acts

    1. Federalists attempted to defeat the Federalists by decreasing immigrants’ effects on politics and outlawing conspiracies.

    2. Sedition Act’s indictments hurt Federalist reputation and bring about VA and KY resolutions.

  4. VA and KY resolutions

    1. Written by Jefferson and Madison and introduced to state legislatures in the fall of 1798.

    2. Pronounced the Alien and Sedition Acts unconstitutional because states had the right to judge the constitutionality of the federal governments actions because the constitution was created by a compact among the states

  5. Marbury v. Madison

    1. Established Judicial Review

    2. Marbury was a midnight appointee but Madison refused to certify his appointment, so Marbury sued for a writ of mandamus

    3. Marshall ruled that the Supreme court could not issue a writ of mandamus but is able to decide whether or not a legislative act contradicts the constitution

3. Changing interpretations of the Constitution: Ellie Barton—2008
The Democrat-Republicans were pragmatic in their interpretation of Constitutional Federal Power during the Quasi War with France and the War of 1812. Assess the validity of this statement.
Thesis: Democrat-Republicans pragmatically used extended Federal power during international conflict to create an independent nation that could support Jeffersonian-agrarianism, but did not approve similar Federalist usage.


1) The Quasi-War with France

-started after the XYZ Affair, consisted of naval hostilities, and was disliked by the Francophile Jeffersonians, ended by the Conference of 1800

-the Quasi-War with France took place during the presidency of Federalist John Quincy Adams and resulted in what Democrat-Republicans considered to be an infringement of civil rights and an overextension of federal power

-The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were written anonymously by Jefferson and Madison in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts > they were created at the Hartford Convention where both Virginia and Kentucky threatened to secede

-overall: strict construction and little Federal power > fear of tyranny
2) The War of 1812

-took place after the Revolution of 1800 and Jefferson allowing the Alien and Sedition Acts to expire

-during Jefferson tenure in office, British challenged US shipping rights (partly due to their paranoia over the Napoleonic Wars) in the Chesapeake Affair

-extension of federal power seen in the Barbary Wars (1801-1805), Non-Importation Act (1806 bans all British goods), the Embargo Act (response to the Chesapeake Affair > hurts business pple), the Non-Intercourse Act (Barbary Wars and British Impressments, trade so long as France and Britain do not interfere with US), and Macon’s Bill (1810, US will trade with whoever stops first > after the failed Erskine Agreement with Britain)

-Jeffersonian War Hawks versus Britain; reasons: impressments of American soldiers, excuse to kick British out of forts in America, and to seize Florida from Spain (ally of Britain)

-Federalists (Blue-Lights) respond with the Hartford Convention > look foolish at the Treaty of Ghent in 1814

3. Changing interpretations of the Constitution (Gigi Constable 2009)

Although states initially had more power from a fear of tyranny, the Constitutional Conference gave the federal government more power through Congress and the judicial branch to protect the citizens from a fear of chaos.

  • Federal Power was initially limited because of fear of tyranny (directly after American Revolution)

  • Articles of Confederation (unanimous state consent, created a weak Congress/judicial branch/executive branch, no power to tax)

  • State Power was initially high to divide up power more equally (fear of tyranny)

  • shown in Doc. A (Shays’s rebellion is against high debts and taxes implemented by states)

  • state constitutions (citizens = free. of press, rights to fair trials, must consent to taxation, prot. against search warrants)

  • Constitutional Conference

  • New Jersey Plan (Doc. B) vs. Virginia Plan

  • debates over if state or nation should have more power

  • result: create a federal government with more power

  • Federal Government = more power because Congress is passing laws in favor of federal government (less fear of tyranny, but still exists!)  used as protection against Native Americans, European wars/countries (impressment  Chesapeake Affair), and Barbary Wars (more fear of chaos)

  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (Congress = power to admit new states)

  • Revenue Act of 1789 (national tax law)

  • Bill of Rights (1791)

  • Ware v. Hilton, 1796 (declared a state law to be unconstitutional)

  • Louisiana Purchase (Doc. H)

  • McCulloch v. Maryland (state vs. national jurisdiction; national won; Congress = allowed to charter banks)

  • States trying to gain back some power (Republicans)

  • Doc. C (Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791)

  • Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (Doc. D) (all power not delegated to federal government = state power)

  • National Judicial Power = strong

  • Judiciary Act of 1801 (Doc. E)

  • Marbury v. Madison, 1803 (Doc. F)  judicial review

3. Changing interpretations of the Constitutionb (Michelle Chung 2009)
How and why did the divergent post-Revolutionary ideologies about the role of government lead from the Articles of Confederation to the conclusive Constitution of 1789?

Thesis: Tyrannical British rule created an independent coalition of states under the Articles of Confederation, but inefficiencies in administration and economic policies necessitated the stronger federal powers included in the Constitution.

- Inflation rose because of an excess of paper currency printed by states; the government lacked the power to enforce a counteractive tax levy.
-Articles Four and Five of the Treaty of Paris promised repayment of American debts to British merchants and allowed loyalists to reclaim land taken during the war, but a lack of effective Congressional enforcement prolonged British presence in America.

-The Northwest Ordinance, an attempt to establish equal rights in new territories, revealed weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation's ability to enforce laws. It also brought up the issue of slavery.

-Shays's Rebellion was a revolt by Massachusetts colonists against high taxes imposed by a tyrannical government; it succeeded in part because there was no federal response to quash it.
-Federalists and Antifederalists struggled to agree on a new Constitution because the former wanted a strong centralized government while the latter wanted to maintain states' rights and individual liberties.
-The Bill of Rights gave residual powers to states and explicitly protected liberties that could be taken by an overly powerful central government despite the checks and balances established in the Constitution.
3. Changing interpretations of the Constitutionb (Andrew Laboz 2010)

How and why did perceptions of the constitution change during the Jeffersonian/Federalist Era?

Thesis: Although the Jeffersonians began with a strict constitutional interpretation, once in office, they adopted Federalist loose constructionism to expand territory and federal power because foreign exigency and a changing society necessitated a pragmatic response.

1. Hamilton’s Financial Plan

- Report on Public Credit (1790)

- assumption of state debts

- National Bank

- Jefferson aggress with Madison that Bank is unconstitutional (not “necessary and proper”)

- Hamilton’s Defense of the Constitutionality of the Bank

- protecting infant industries

- Whiskey tax  Whiskey Rebellion (Pittsburgh 1794)

- repealed by Jeffersonians

2. Virginia and Kentucky Revolution (1798)- Jefferson and Madison advance doctrine of “nullification” by pronouncing the Alien and Sedition Acts unconstitutional through the state constitutions of Virginia and Kentucky

- states had right to judge constitutionality of federal government

3. Marbury v. Madison

- Marbury, issued by Adams in his last hours as a justice, sued for writ of mandamus after Madison and Jefferson refused to acknowledge him.

- ruled in Marbury’s favor but court couldn’t issue writ

- established judicial review- decided constitutionality of legislative acts

4. Louisiana Purchase

- expansion of Jefferson’s agrarian empire

- federalist means for conservative ends
5. Non Importation Act of 1806/Embargo of 1807

- response to British impressment

- NIA- barred British manufactured goods from entering American ports

- Leopard incident

- Embargo- forbade all exports from US to any other country to force Britian and France into respecting US rights

- hurt economy

- against Jefferson laissez-faire idealism

 Non Intercourse Act/Macons Bill #2- reopened trade

  1. Changes in Foreign Policy (see Documents Bank: “Early American Republic”) Will Devon-Sand (2006)

[Question]: How and why did American foreign policy shift towards isolationism after the American Revolution.?
Thesis: American Foreign policy shifted towards isolationism through the guidance of their leaders and treaties to rid foreign powers and fulfill manifest destiny.

  1. Jay’s Treaty- Between United States and Great Britain signed on November 19, 1794. It rid the Brittish of most of their forts they had occupied during the Revolutionary War.

  2. George Washington’s Farewell Address- In his farewell address, he warned the United States of entangling alliances.

  3. Louisiana Purchase- Purchased in 1803- Jefferson purchased from Napoleon. Resulted in loss of French influence in the west of the United States.

  4. Embargo Act of 1807- eliminated American exports so that Brittan would reduce trade restrictions. Failed.

  5. War of 1812- Increased nationalism and made the United States more independent.

  6. Adam-Onis Treaty (1819)-Established boundaries between the United States and Spain. Increased isolationism.

  7. Monroe Doctrine (1823)- outlined that foreign powers can not interven in Western Hemisphere and in return the United States would not interfere in Europe.

4. Changes in Foreign policy in the New Republic—Will Yarbrough, 2007
Question: To what degree did the United States abandon its state of neutrality in foreign policy during the period of 1793-1823?
Thesis: The US abandoned it’s stance of neutrality by creating dialogue with Europe and creating the persona of the “world policeman” because of the desire to increase and maintain US dominance on the world stage.
- Washington’s Farewell Address and the Proclamation of Neutrality (neutrality becomes the United States initial stance on foreign policy)

  • Jays Treaty, marks the first communication between the US and Europe in terms of foreign policy. Sedition Acts (limit foreign influence in the United States)

  • The War of 1812, marks the first war that the United States partakes in due to indifference in issues of foreign policy with a European country (gain power of Britain)

  • The Louisiana Purchase- the US gains land from a European power. Desire to increase the United States power on the world stage

  • The Monroe Doctrine- outlines US foreign policy for the coming age. The United States will interfere with worldly issues in order to preserve its power on the world stage.

4. Changes in Foreign Policy: Chris Lake—2008
Question: Evaluate the validity of following statement: “Foreign policy during from 1787-1823 isolated the United States from Europe.”
Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1787-1823 construct your essay.

Thesis: US foreign policy, including legislation like the Embargo Act, failed to isolate the nation from European affairs or prevent violence against the United States due to the vital nature of America’s trade with the continent.

  • Washington and the First 8 Years

    • Lingering English influences

      • Lake Erie Forts systems remain in place until after the War of 1812 despite the promise of removal during the Treaty of Paris.

      • Jay’s Treaty (1794) attempts to both remove the forts and open commercial trade with England (Document B)

    • Spain

      • Pinckney’s Treaty (1795) opens the Mississippi River to American boats at the permission of the Spanish

    • Citizen Edmond Genêt (1793)

      • French war against monarchies of Britain, Spain and Holland

      • Genêt attempts to recruit Americans for conflict, meets w/ Washington (but he refuses to join conflict—Document A)

    • Farewell Address—Document C

      • Warns of entanglement in European military alliances (economic ties permissible)

  • Quasi-War

    • French capture of US ships on the high seas provokes a pseudo-war between the two nations

      • French diplomatic agents demand a $250,000 bribe before negotiations begin, known as the XYZ Affair

    • Convention of 1800 (or the Treaty of Mortefontaine) ends the Quasi-War and severs the military alliance between the US and France—the 1778 Treaty of Alliance

  • Jefferson Administration

    • Louisiana Purchase (1803)—Document D

      • US acquires the French territory of Louisiana, paying Napoleon $15 million for over 800,000 sq. miles west of the Mississippi

    • French, English blockades during Napoleonic Wars

      • US economy dependent on trade w/ England, France

      • State of war between nations and blockades prevent trade from continuing normally

      • British impressments of American sailors

    • English Troubles

      • Nonimportation Act (1806) bans importation of all British manufactured goods (except cloth, metal items)little effect upon policies

      • Leopard and USS Chesapeake clash off US, damaged Chesapeake returns to American outrage

  • Embargo Act (1808)— Document E

    • Forbids all export trade from US, cripples US economy

    • Repealed by Non-Intercourse Act of 1809

      • Trade w/ all but France, Britain until they obey shipping rights

      • Expires in 1810, replaced w/ Macon’s Bill Number 2

        • Opened trade but allowed for suspension if ship seizing continues

        • British ships control Atlantic, continue impressments of Americans (1811)

  • War of 1812

    • US declares war on England after Democratic Republican “War Hawks” triumph over wary Federalists (Document F, G)

    • England burns Washington DC but Americans win at Baltimore

      • Defeated in New Orleans after the Treaty of Ghent is signed

  • Monroe Doctrine (1823)

    • President Monroe declares that the United States will remain outside of European affairs (Document H)

      • Also proclaims a Greater American independence from European interference and colonization

    • England agrees with treaty only to maintain control of area over European enemies

      • The Royal Navy enforces the doctrine for the US

4. Changes in Foreign Policy: Anthony Collard (2009)
[Question]: How, why, and to what degree, did foreign policy change as a result of involvement with England and France from the traditional neutrality stated in Washington's Neutrality Proclamation?

Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1790-1825 to construct your essay.

Thesis Statement: The United States altered their foreign policy from neutrality to isolationism, strictly believing in non-entangling political alliances, because of British impressments, excessive trade restrictions and tariffs, and refusal to leave Northern forts.

Washington's Neutrality Proclamation, 1793:

  • This proclamation was issued during the ongoing wars between Britain and France.

  • Washington declared that the country would be better off without entangling themselves in European affairs

  • Set a precedent for U.S. isolationism

Jay’s Treaty, 1794:

  • The president of the Continental Congress ( Jay) went to England in an attempt to settle grievance between the US and the UK

  • It was signed but the Democratic-Republican Party thought the Federalist Jay had forfeited American concerns.

  • This treaty was passed because the British practiced impressments, refused to leave Northern forts, and British exports dominated the U.S. market, while American exports were blocked by British trade restrictions and tariffs (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/nr/14318.htm)

  • Only one year after the proclamation, attempts to negotiate with British in order to have no governing forces

Washington's Farewell Address, 1796:

  • This was presented after Washington’s first term

  • Washington urged his countrymen to continue to have commercial relations with other countries but to have as little political ties as possible

  • This continues to follow the Washington Neutrality Proclamation

Alien and Sedition Acts, 1798:

  • Passed during John Adams administration ( Federalists like Washington)

  • “Made it more difficult for immigrants to obtain U.S. citizenship, enacted stricter laws against immigrants that increased the risk of deportation, and limited the rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of the press for U.S. citizens under the guise of preparing the United States for its entry into the Napoleonic Wars against France.” ( ABC-CLIO)

  • This shows a more aggressive approach towards isolationism, and signs of xenophobia

Embargo Act, 1807:

  • Passed during the Jefferson administration

  • halted all trade between the United States and foreign nations in response to both British and French restrictions on neutral trade during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe

  • One of the worst foreign policy failures in the history of the United states

  • Instead of resulting in an increased French and British respect for American neutrality, it lead towards great financial loss, especially for merchants

  • Once more, the United States aggressively tries to show the world its desire for a neutral, and isolationist country

Non-Intercourse Act, 1809:

  • Lifted the Embargo Act of 1807

  • However, it continued to prohibit any U.S. trade with either Great Britain or France.

  • “one of several measures enacted by the U.S. government in the early 19th century in an attempt to preserve U.S. neutrality in the Napoleonic Wars then raging across Europe.” ( ABC-CLIO)

  • Although less aggressive then the Embargo Act, it maintained US neutrality from other countries. Up until the 20th century, the isolationist idea remained strong.

4. Changes in Foreign Policy: Sarah Bernhardt (2010)

1. [Question]: Access the validity of the following sentence: Washington’s focus on neutral foreign relationships was overshadowed by his successors and the War of 1812.

Use the documents and your knowledge of the period 1783-1823 to construct your essay.
THESIS: Washington’s focus on political separation from foreign nations inspired his successors to embrace American neutrality, ultimately through the War of 1812 when American separation was violated.


-Washington’s example of political separation through his Neutrality Proclamation (a preview of his Farewell Address. Therefore, Washington’s foreign policy involves neutrality, seeking separation from foreign powers) and Farewell Address (which highlights two foreign policy principles: to engage in no permanent, entangling alliances and to continue commercial, but not political ties to other countries, thereby proving Washington’s foreign motives: to stay involved commercially, but to distance the United States politically)

-Washington’s emphasis on separation from Britain particularly in the Jay Treaty (brought about the evacuation of British troops from western forts and among others, established two commissions to deal with American debts to the British and captured American ships. So essentially, this treaty, which Washington submitted to the House, furthers Washington’s emphasis on separation from Britain)

- Alien Act, passed by Washington’s immediate successor, Adams (though the primary goal was to keep Republican immigrants out of the country) further distanced the United States from other nations, especially during time of war

-The War of 1812 (caused by Britain’s violation of neutral trading rights, affronts to American independence and honor, impressments, and alliances with Native Americans) was an “active mean” for a “passive end”. Peace of Ghent: after war, US decidedly independent: “The experience strengthened America’s resolve to steer clear of European politics” (Norton)

- Monroe Doctrine reasserts George Washington’s separation from European affairs

  1. Political conflict (see Documents Bank: “Early American Republic”) Sopheya Lambertsen

Use the documents and your knowledge of the period <1776-1815> to construct your essay.
Thesis: Because both factions focused their policies (Federalists- chaos, Republicans- tyranny) on their respective fears, political conflict became characteristic of the period, as is demonstrated in Shay’s Rebellion, the Burr-Hamilton duel, and the Hartford Convention.

  • Southern fear of slaves

    • Because of their desire for States Rights and their fear of northern governments infringing on their rights, Southerners voted Republican.

    • Northern states affirmed Southerners’ fear of their antislavery motives by beginning to abolish slavery.

      • VT- 1777

      • Mass- 1780s

      • PA- 1780

      • NJ- 1804

  • Republican fear of Tyranny

    • Antifederalists, the predecessors to Republicans, supported the weak Articles of the Confederation because it gave the Executive branch very little power, especially to tax.

    • They also supported the New Jersey plan, which updated the Articles, and opposed the Virginia plan, which broadened Congressional power.

    • Thomas Jefferson’s witch hunt of Federalists immediately after he was elected demonstrates his fear of their power, and thus their fear of tyranny, as does his hatred for Chief Justice John Marshall.

  • Federalist Fear of Chaos

    • The National Bank was created in response to currency instability.

    • Shays’s Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion both demonstrated the Federalists’ justifiable fear.

5.Political conflict (see Documents Bank: “Early American Republic”) Kate Ruggiero 2010

[Question]: To what extent were Hamilton’s federalist ideals portrayed in the political arena throughout the early American republic?

Thesis: With fear of chaos, Hamilton’s federal and economic ideals were evident in the creation of the Constitution and National Bank, while facing criticism from Jeffersonians, however ultimately used by Jefferson, exemplified through the Louisiana Purchase.


  1. The Articles of Confederation (Doc A) showed how America society was fearful of tyranny with a weak central government. However, Hamilton and others with federalist ideals wanted to have a stronger central government proposed through the Virginia Plan (Doc B) and Federalist Papers (Doc D).

  2. With the Constitution in place after deliberation and stronger federal power, Hamilton proposed the National Bank (Doc E) to institute strong mercantilist policies like Great Britain.

  3. Jefferson had laissez-faire policy and a strict interpretation of the Constitution, however, once he became President he tended to act more like a Federalist with loose interpretations, exemplified by the Embargo Act and Louisiana Purchase (Doc F).

  4. Anti-federalists did not accept Hamilton and his Federalist as demonstrated with the Anti-Federalist Letter (Doc C). They felt as if Hamilton’s political and economical ideals were too tyrannical and could create problems for new America.

  5. Although Hamilton was able to make an impression on the government with his contributions, it all ended at a duel with Aaron Burr (Doc G). Even though Jefferson used Federalist tendencies in his presidency, the Federalists were looked as full of corruption and bribery (Doc H).

  1. Roots of westward expansion (see Documents Bank: “Early American Republic”) Annie Spofford (2009)

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