“I do not look upon these United States as a
finished product. We are still in the making.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
A NEW WORLD
1215 – Magna Carta is signed.
1607 – First permanent English settlement at Jamestown,
1620 – Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.
1754 – 1763 – French and Indian War
1775 – “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” The American
Revolution begins at Lexington and Concord.
1776 – 1783 – American Revolution with Great Britain
CREATING A NEW NATION
1783 – Treaty of Paris is
signed ending the
The 13 Colonies are now
states in a new country
called the United States.
Founding Fathers use ideas
from other nations and
governments, and political
philosophers to create a
new government for a new
Signed by King John of England.
Established the power of the
monarch is not absolute.
No one is above the law – not
even the king.
Trial by Jury
Due Process of Law
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Primary author was Thomas
Adopted by the Continental Congress
on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia.
Announced that the 13 American
colonies, then at war with Great
Britain, were now independent
states, and thus no longer a part of
the British Empire.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal, that they Justified the independence of the
are endowed by their Creator with certain Colonies by listing grievances against
unalienable Rights, that among these are King George III, and by asserting
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” certain natural rights, including a
right of revolution.
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION
Used by the Colonies during
Main focus was to fight and
win war against England.
Considered a very weak
form of government.
Eventually replaced by the
Primary author was James Madison.
Adopted at the Constitutional
Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.
Supreme Law of the United States.
Framework for the organization of
the US government.
Ratified in 1788 despite protests
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a from Anti-Federalist because it
more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic lacked a Bill of Rights.
Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote
the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty
to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish
this Constitution for the United States of America.”
THE BILL OF RIGHTS
The main opposition during ratification by
Anti-Federalists was the original Constitution
did not contain a Bill of Rights.
Primary author was James Madison.
The Bill of Rights insures the protection of
citizens’ rights from the federal government
Later the 14th Amendment will protect these
same rights of citizens from the States.
The Bill of Rights guarantees the freedom of
Added in 1791, the Bill of belief and expression, security of the person,
fair and equal treatment before the law, basic
Rights are the first 10
rights of citizens, and acknowledges the
Amendments to the powers of the states.
Executive Order issued by
President Abraham Lincoln on
January 1, 1863, by authority of
his executive powers of war.
Only freed enslaved people in the
10 rebellion states; did not free
those in the slave states that had
stayed in the Union (MO, KY, ME,
Proclamation made abolition a
central goal of the war.
Slavery was finally abolished in
1865 with the ratification of the
CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964
Outlawed major forms of
discrimination against blacks
and women, including racial
Ended unequal application
of voter registration
requirements, and racial
President Lyndon Johnson segregation in schools, at
shakes hands with Martin the workplace, and by
Luther King, Jr. after signing facilities that served the
the Civil Rights Act into law. general public.
The Founding Fathers wanted to crate a democratic, federal, representative
government where true power rests with the people.
democracy – form of government where supreme authority rests with the
federalism – a government in which power is divided between a national
government and several regional or state governments.
popular sovereignty – the people are the source of any and all governmental
power, and the government can exist only with the consent of the governed.
representative government – system of government in which public policies
are made by officials selected by the voters and held accountable in periodic
THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT
LEGISLATIVE BRANCH EXECUTIVE BRANCH JUDICIAL BRANCH
Makes laws and Execute, enforce, and Interprets laws, determine
frame public policies. administer laws. the meaning of laws, and
settles disputes that arise in
Responsible for making federal laws.
Also referred to as Congress.
Composed of the House of Representatives (2 year
term) and the Senate (6 year term).
Responsible for enforcing laws.
The President, elected to a 4 year term, is the head of the
The maximum time one person can be president is 2 terms or
10 years (22nd Amendment).
Responsible for interpreting laws and determining the
constitutionality of laws.
Includes all federal judges and courthouses.
Highest court in the United States is the Supreme Court
with 9 Justices including a Chief Justice. All federal judges
serve for life.