• The First and Second Continental Congresses pressured Parliament to respect colonists' rights and eventually declared independence.
• The Declaration of Independence emphasized the importance of basic rights and declared the colonists' separation from England.
• The Articles of Confederation was a compact that established a national Congress but left the individual states with most of the powers of government.
• After a long period of ratification, the Articles of Confederation were adopted, but they proved to be seriously flawed.
Copy the chart below, and use it to help you summarize the chapter:
Reviewing Key Terms
On a separate piece of paper, write the term that makes each sentence correct.
1. A (direct democracy, legislature) made the laws in each colony.
2. The English monarch granted each colony a (charter, compact).
3. (Natural rights, Separation of powers) ensured that no branch of the government would become too strong.
4. The states hesitated to agree to the Articles of Confederation because they feared the (direct democracy, tyranny) of a central government.
5. The Declaration of Independence stressed the importance of an individual's (compact, natural rights).
6. The (charter, republic) of ancient Rome provided one model of government for the Americans.
7. In a (direct democracy, republic), the people make the laws themselves.
8. The success of the Mayflower (Charter, Compact) reminded the Americans that they needed an agreement to make laws for the welfare of the entire nation.
Comprehension and Critical Thinking
a. Describe Did colonial citizens in America enjoy greater or fewer rights than citizens of other countries at the time?
b. Analyze Information Why did citizens believe in a number of individual freedoms, such as freedom of religion and freedom of the press?
c. Determine Relevance What is the connection between good citizenship and freedom?
a. Recall Why did King John sign the Magna Carta?
b. Draw Conclusions Why did English citizens eventually become dissatisfied with the Magna Carta?
c. Identify Cause and Effect How did the signing of the Magna Carta lead to the passage of the English Bill of Rights?
a. Describe What did the Declaration of Independence say about natural rights?
b. Analyze Primary Sources Why did Jefferson state that men were entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"
c. Identify Bias How could Congress agree to sign a document stating that "all men are created equal" and not immediately outlaw the enslavement of Africans?
12. Skills On March 5, 1770, citizens of Boston clashed with English soldiers. Paul Revere published this image of the event (at right). a. How does this image portray the English army? b. What did the artist want people to think about the clash between England and the colonies?
13. Writing You are a newspaper publisher in Philadelphia in 1776. Write an editorial dated July 5, 1776, in which you support or oppose the Declaration of Independence.
14. Active Citizen Read the first section of a newspaper. Find a government policy with which you disagree. With a small group of classmates, form a plan to protest this policy.
15. Math Practice By 1790, the United States was made up of 16 states. Find out the population of each of the states in 1790. Decide which state should have the most votes in national government, based on its population, and which state should have the least votes.
16. Civics and Economics You are a member of Congress who supports changes to the Articles of Confederation. Write a speech describing the economic issues facing the states—such as debt, taxes, and trade—that Congress should pass laws to solve.
17. Analyze Visuals Study the map above of the 13 colonies. Explain why the Congress chose to meet in Philadelphia.
Standardized Test Prep
Sometimes a standardized test will ask you to analyze a primary source. Below is an excerpt from a letter John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776. Read the excerpt and answer the questions.
Tip When there is an unfamiliar word in a primary source, examine the entire sentence or passage to figure out the meaning.
"Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States.... ' You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impell'd Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man."
Choose the letter that best completes the statement.
Tip Go back to the excerpt and reread the sentence in which the word dissent appears.
1. Adams uses the word 4 dissenting to explain that no colony _____ the resolution.
C agreed with
D disagreed with
The correct answer is D. Because Adams states that the resolution was passed, it must be because none of the colonies disagreed with it.
2. Adams says that the purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to
A make the colonies come together.
B show that no colony dissented from the resolution.
C explain why the colonies decided to break away from England.
D prove that England's king was a tyrant.
The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence has four parts: the Preamble, the Declaration of Natural Rights, the List of Grievances, and the Resolution of Independence. The Preamble states why the Declaration was written. The document will explain to the world the reasons that the colonists feel impelled, or forced, to separate from Great Britain.
The Declaration of Natural Rights lists the basic rights to which all people are entitled. These rights are unalienable: they cannot be taken away. The purpose of government is to protect these natural rights. When a government does not protect the rights of the people, the people must change the government or create a new one. The colonists feel that the king's repeated usurpations, or unjust uses of power, are a form of despotism, or tyranny, that has denied them their basic rights.
In Congress, July 4, 1776
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
The List of Grievances details the colonists' complaints against the British government and King George III in particular. The colonists have no say in determining the laws that govern them and they feel King George's actions show little or no concern for the well-being of the people.
The colonists refuse to relinquish, or give up, the right to representation, which they feel is inestimable, or priceless.
The king has refused to allow new legislators to be elected. As a result, the colonies have not been able to protect themselves against foreign enemies and convulsions, or riots, within the colonies.
The king has tried to stop foreigners from coming to the colonies by refusing to pass naturalization laws. Laws for naturalization of foreigners are laws that set up the process for foreigners to become legal citizens.
The king alone has decided a judge's tenure, or term. This grievance later would result in Article 3, Section 1 of the Constitution, which states that federal judges hold office for life.
Forced by the king, the colonists have been quartering, or lodging, troops in their homes. This grievance found its way into the Constitution in the Third Amendment.
The king has taken away the rights of the people in a nearby province (Canada). The colonists feared he could do the same to the colonies he so wished.
The king has hired foreign mercenaries, or soldiers, to bring death and destruction to the colonists. The head of a civilized country should never act with the cruelty and perfidy, or dishonesty, that the king has.
The colonists have tried repeatedly to petition the king to redress, or correct, these wrongs. Each time, they have been ignored by the king or punished by new laws. Because of the way he treats his subjects, the king is not fit to rule a free people.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The colonists have appealed to the British people. They have asked their fellow British subjects to support them. However, like the king, the British people have ignored the colonists' requests.
The Resolution of Independence boldly asserts that the colonies are now "free and independent states." The colonists have proven the rectitude, or justness, of their cause. The Declaration concludes by stating that these new states have the power to wage war, establish alliances, and trade with other countries.
John Hancock, President from Massachusetts Georgia