U.S. History AP Class Notes – Coach Parker
Unit 3 – ―Critical Period & Federalist Era‖ (1783-1800)
Articles of Confederation Era (1781-1787)
I. A Revolution of Sentiments
1. The American Revolution was more of an accelerated evolution than a revolution.
2. However, the exodus of some 80,000 Loyalists left a great lack of conservatives.
3. This weakening of the aristocratic ―upper crust‖ let Patriot elites emerge.
4. The fight for separation of church and state resulted in notable gains.
a. The Congregational church continued to be legally established by some New England states, but the
Anglican Church was humbled and reformed as the Protestant Episcopal Church.
5. Slavery was a big, problematic issue, as the Continental Congress of 1774 had called for the abolition of slavery,
and in 1775, the Philadelphia Quakers founded the world’s first antislavery society.
a. This new spirit of ―all men are created equal‖ even inspired a few slave owners to free their slaves.
6. Another issue was women: they still were unequal to men, even though some had served (disguised as men) in the
a. There were some achievements: New Jersey’s 1776 constitution allowed women to vote (for a time).
b. Mothers devoted to their families were developed as an idea of ―republican motherhood‖ and elevated
women to higher statuses as keepers of the nation’s conscience.
II. Constitution Making in the States
1. The Continental Congress of 1776 called upon colonies to draft new constitutions (thus began the formation of the
Articles of the Confederation).
a. Massachusetts contributed one innovation when it called a special convention to draft its constitution
and made it so that the constitution could only be changed through another specially called
b. Many states had written documents that represented a fundamental law.
c. Many had a bill of rights and also required annual election of legislators.
d. All of them deliberately created weak executive and judicial branches (they distrusted power due to
Britain’s abusing it).
e. In most states, the legislative branch was given sweeping powers, though some people, like Thomas
Jefferson, warned that ―173 despots [in legislation] would surely be as oppressive as one.
2. Many states moved westward, like New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia.
III. Economic Crosscurrents
1. After the Revolution, Loyalist land was seized, but people didn’t chop heads off (France…).
2. Goods formerly imported from England were cut off, forcing Americans to make their own.
3. Still, America remained agriculturalist by a lot.
4. While, with Britain, Americans had great trade, and now they didn’t, they could now trade with foreign countries,
and with any nation they wanted to, a privilege they didn’t have before.
5. Yankee shippers like the Empress of China (1784) boldly ventured into far off places.
6. However, inflation was rampant, and taxes were hated; the rich had become poor, and the new rich were viewed
with suspicion; disrespect of private property became shocking.
IV. A Shaky Start Toward Union
1. While the U.S. had to create a new government, the people were far from united.
2. In 1786, after the war, Britain flooded America with cheap goods, greatly hurting American industries.
3. However, the states all did share similar constitutions, had a rich political inheritance form Britain, and America
was blessed with men like Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, and John Adams, great political leaders of
V. Creating a Confederation
1. Even during the war, the states had created their individual currencies and tax barriers.
2. The Articles of the Confederation was finished in 1777, but in was finally completely ratified (that was needed) by
the last state, Maryland, on March 1, 1781.
3. A major dispute was that states like New York and Virginia had huge tracts of land west of the Alleghenies that
they could sell off to pay off their debts while other states could not do so.
a. As a compromise, these lands were ceded to the federal government, which pledged to dispense them
for the common good of the union (states would be made).
b. The Northwest Ordinance later confirmed this.
VI. The Articles of the Confederation: America’s First Constitution
1. The Articles had no executive branch (hence, no single leader), a weak Congress in which each state had only one
vote, required 2/3 majority on any subject of importance, and a fully unanimous vote for amendments.
2. Also, Congress was pitifully weak, and could not regulate commerce or enforce tax collection.
3. Congress could only call up soldiers from the states, which weren’t going to help each other.
a. Example: in 1783, a group of Pennsylvanian soldiers harassed the government in Philadelphia,
demanding back pay. When it pleaded for help from the state, and didn’t receive any, it had to
shamefully move to Princeton College in New Jersey.
4. However, it was a model of what a loose confederation should be, and was a significant stepping-stone towards the
establishment of the U.S. Constitution.
5. Still, the states wielded an alarmingly too great amount of power.
VII. Landmarks in Land Laws
1. The Land Ordinance of 1785 provided the acreage of the Old Northwest should be sold and that the proceeds be
used to pay off the national debt.
a. This vast area would be surveyed before settlement and then divided into townships six miles square,
which would then be divided into 36 square sections with one set aside for public schools.
2. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 made admission into the union a two stage affair:
a. There would be two evolutionary territorial stages, during which the area would be subordinate to the
b. When a territory had 60,000 inhabitants, Congress as a state might admit it.
c. It worked so well to solve a problem that others had plagued many other nations.
VIII. The World’s Ugly Duckling
1. However, Britain still refused to repeal the Navigation Laws, and closed down its trading to the U.S. (proved
useless to U.S. smuggling); it also sought to annex Vermont to Britain with help from the Allen brothers and
continued to hold a chain of trading posts on U.S. soil.
a. One excuse used was that the soldiers had to make sure the U.S. honor its treaty and pay back debts to
2. In 1784, Spain closed the Mississippi River to American commerce.
3. It also claimed a large area near the Gulf of Mexico that was ceded to the U.S. by Britain.
a. At Natchez, on disputed soil, it also held a strategic fort.
4. Both Spain and England, while encouraging Indian tribes to be restless, prevented the U.S. from controlling half of
5. Even France demanded payment of U.S. debts to France.
6. The pirates of the North African states, including the arrogant Dey of Algiers, ravaged U.S. ships in the area and
enslaved Yankee sailors; America was too weak to stop them.
IX. The Horrid Specter of Anarchy
1. States were refusing to pay taxes, and national debt was mounting as foreign credibility was slipping.
2. Boundary disputes erupted into small battles while states taxed goods from other states.
3. Shays’ Rebellion, which flared up in western Massachusetts in 1786, attacked tax collectors, etc… and caused all
sorts of violence.
a. Shays was convicted but later pardoned.
b. The fear of such violence lived on, though, and paranoia existed.
4. People were beginning to doubt republicanism and this Articles of the Confederation.
5. However, many supporters believed that the Articles merely needed to be strengthened.
6. Things began to look brighter, though, as prosperity was beginning to emerge, Congress was beginning to control
commerce, and overseas shipping was regaining its place in the world.
Constitutional Convention (1787)
I. A Convention of ―Demigods‖
a. An Annapolis, Maryland convention was called, but only five states were represented.
b. On May 25, 1787, 55 delegates from 12 states (Rhode Island wasn’t there) met in Philadelphia to ―revise the
i. Among them were people like Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, and Madison.
ii. However, people like Jefferson, John and Sam Adams, Thomas Pain, Hancock, and Patrick Henry were
not there (for various purposes).
II. Patriots in Philadelphia
a. The 55 delegates were all well-off and young, and they hoped to preserve the union, protect the American
democracy from abroad and preserve it at home, and curb the unrestrained democracy rampant in various states
(like rebellions, etc…).
III. Hammering Out a Bundle of Compromises
a. Some people decided to totally scrap the Articles and create a new Constitution.
i. Virginia’s large state plan called for Congressional representation based on state population, while New
Jersey’s small state plan called for equal representation from all states (in terms of numbers, each state
got the same number of reps.)
ii. Afterwards, the ―Great Compromise‖ was worked out so that Congress would have TWO houses, the
House of Representatives, were reps were based on population, and the Senate, where each state got two
i. All tax bills would start in the House.
b. Also, there would be a strong, independent executive branch with a president who would be military commander in
chief and could veto legislation.
c. Another compromise was the election of the president through the Electoral College, rather than by the people
d. Also, slaves would count as 3/5 of a person in census counts.
i. Also, the Constitution enabled a state to shut off slave importation if it wanted after 1807.
IV. Safeguards for Conservatism
a. The delegates at the Convention all believed in a system with checks and balances, and the more conservative
people deliberately erected safeguards against excesses of mobs.
b. Federal chief justices were appointed for life.
c. However, the people still had power, and government was based on the people.
d. By the end of the Convention, on Sept. 17, 1787, only 42 of the original 55 were still there to sign the Constitution
Fight for Ratification (1787-1788)
I. The Clash of Federalists and Antifederalists
a. Knowing that state legislatures were certainly veto the new Constitution, the Founding Fathers sent copies of it out
to state conventions, where it could be debated and voted upon.
i. The people could judge it themselves.
b. The American people were shocked, because they had expected a patched up Articles of the Confederation and had
received a whole new Constitution (the Convention had been VERY well concealed and kept secret).
c. The federalists, who favored the proposed stronger government, were against the antifederalists, who were
i. The antifederalists were mostly the poor farmers, the illiterate, and states’ rights devotees; it was
basically the poorer classes.
ii. The federalists were more respectable and generally embraced the cultured and propertied groups, and
many were former Loyalists.
d. Antifederalists truthfully cried that it was drawn up by aristocratic elements and was therefore antidemocratic.
e. They decried the dropping of annual elections of congressional reps and the erecting of what would become
Washington D.C., and the creation of a standing army.
II. The Great Debate in the States
a. Elections were run to elect people into the state conventions.
b. Four small states quickly ratified the Constitution, and Pennsylvania was the first large state to act.
c. In Massachusetts, a hard fought race between the supporters and detractors (including Samuel Adams, the
―Engineer of Revolution‖ who now resisted change), and Massachusetts finally ratified it after a promise of a bill
of rights to be added later.
i. Had this state not ratified, it would have brought the whole thing down.
d. Three more states ratified, and on June 21, 1788, the Constitution was officially adopted after nine states (all but
Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island) had ratified.
III. The Four Laggard States
a. Virginia, knowing that it could not be an independent state (the Constitution was about to be ratified by the 9th
state, New Hampshire, anyway), so it finally ratified by a vote of 89 to 79.
b. New York was swayed by The Federalist Papers, written by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton,
and finally yielded after realizing that it could prosper apart from the union.
c. North Carolina and Rhode Island finally ratified after intense pressure from the government.
IV. A Conservative Triumph
a. The minority had triumphed again, and the transition had been peaceful.
b. Only about ¼ of the adult white males in the country (mainly those with land) had voted for the ratifying delegates.
c. Conservationism was victorious, as the safeguards had been erected against mob-rule excesses.
d. Revolutionaries against Britain had been upended by revolutionaries against the Articles.
i. It was a type of counterrevolution.
e. Federalists believed that every branch of government effectively represented the people, unlike antifederalists who
believed that only the legislative branch did so.
f. In the United States, conservatives and radicals alike have championed the heritage of democratic revolution.
V. The Bill of Rights
a. Many states had ratified the Constitution on the condition that there would be a Bill of Rights, and many
antifederalists had criticized the Constitution for its lack of a Bill.
b. The necessary number of states adopted it in 1791.
i. Amendment I: Freedom of religion, speech or press, assembly, and petition.
ii. Amendment II: Right to bear arms (for militia).
iii. Amendment III: Soldiers can’t be housed in civilian homes during peacetime.
iv. Amendment IV: No unreasonable searches; all searches require warrants.
v. Amendment V: Right to refuse to speak during a civil trial; Double Jeopardy.
vi. Amendment VI: Right to a speedy and public trial.
vii. Amendment VII: Right to trial by jury when the sum exceeds $20.
viii. Amendment VIII: No excessive bails and/or fines.
ix. Amendment IX: Other rights not enumerated are also in effect.
x. Amendment X: Non-federal powers belong to the state.
c. The Judiciary Act of 1789 created effective federal courts.
d. John Jay became the first chief justice of the United States
Washington Administration (1789-1797)
VI. A New Ship on an Uncertain Sea
a. In 1789, the new U.S. Constitution was launched, and population was doubling every twenty years.
b. America’s population was still 90% rural, with 5% west of the Appalachians.
c. Vermont became the 14th state in 1791, and Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio (states where trans-Appalachian
overflow was concentrated) became states soon after.
d. Visitors looked down upon the crude, rough pioneers, and these western people were restive and dubiously loyal at
e. In the twelve years after American independence, laws had been broken and a constitution had been completely
scrapped and replaced with a new one, something that was not best of government
f. America was also heavily in debt, and paper money was worthless, but meanwhile, restless monarchs watched to
see if the U.S. could succeed in setting up a republic while facing such overwhelming odds.
VII. Washington’s Pro-federalist Regime
a. At 6’2‖, 175 pounds, broad and sloping shoulders, a strongly pointed chin and pockmarks from Smallpox, George
Washington was an imposing figure, which helped in his getting unanimously drafted as president by the Electoral
College in 1789.
b. His long journey from Mt. Vernon to New York (capital at the time) was a triumphant procession filled with
cheering crowds and roaring festivities, and he took his oath of office on April 30, 1789, on a balcony overlooking
c. Washington established a diverse cabinet (which was not necessary, Constitution-wise).
i. Secretary of State: Thomas Jefferson
ii. Secretary of the Treasury: Alexander Hamilton
iii. Secretary of War: Henry Knox
VIII. Hamilton Revives the Corpse of Public Credit
a. Born in the British West Indies, his loyalty to the U.S. was often questioned, even though he claimed he loved his
adopted country more than his native country.
b. He urged the federal government to assume its debts ($54 million) and try to pay them off at face value, PLUS
interest, as well as assume the debts of the states ($21.5 million).
i. Massachusetts had a huge debt, but Virginia didn’t, so there needed some haggling. This was because
Virginia felt it unfair that all debts were to be assumed, instead of just a set amount. Essentially, its rival
states would be at the same level as it even though they had obtained larger debts.
ii. Virginia would have the District of Columbia built on its land (therefore gaining prestige) in return for
letting the government assume all the states’ debts.
c. The ―Funding at Par‖ would gain the support of the rich to the federal government, not the states.
IX. Customs Duties and Excise Taxes.
a. With the national debt at a huge $75 million, Alexander Hamilton was strangely unworried.
b. He used the debt as an asset: the more people the government owed money to, the more people who would care
about what would happen to the U.S.
c. To pay off some of the debt, Hamilton first proposed custom duties, and the first one, imposing a low tariff of
about 8% of the value of dutiable imports, was passed in 1789.
i. Hamilton also wanted to protect America’s infant industries, though since the U.S. was still dominated by
agricultural programs, little was done for that.
d. In 1791, Hamilton secured an excise tax on a few domestic items, notably whiskey (7 cents per gallon).
X. Hamilton Battles Jefferson for a Bank
a. Hamilton proposed for a national treasury, to be a private institution modeled after the Bank of England, to have
the federal government as a major stockholder, to circulate cash to stimulate businesses, to store excess money, and
to print money that was worth something, and was opposed by Jefferson.
b. Hamilton’s Views:
i. What was not forbidden in the Constitution was permitted.
ii. A bank was ―necessary and proper‖ (from Constitution).
iii. He evolved the Elastic Clause.
c. Jefferson’s Views:
i. What was not permitted was forbidden.
ii. A bank should be a state controlled item (9th Amendment).
iii. The Constitution should be interpreted literally and strictly.
d. End result: Hamilton won, and Washington reluctantly signed the bank measure into law; the Bank of the Untied
States was created by Congress in 1791, and was chartered for 20 years.
i. It was located in Philadelphia and was to have a capital of $10 million.
ii. Stock was thrown open to public sale, and surprisingly, a milling crowd oversubscribed in two hours.
XI. Mutinous Moonshiners in Pennsylvania
a. In 1794, in western Pennsylvania, the Whiskey Rebellion flared up when fed up farmers revolted against
Hamilton’s excise tax.
i. Around those parts, liquor and alcohol was often used as money.
b. Washington cautiously sent an army of about 13,000 troops from various states to the revolt, but the soldiers found
nothing upon arrival; the rebels had scattered.
c. Washington’s new presidency now commanded new respect, but antifederalists criticized the government’s use of
a giant to crush a gnat.
XII. The Emergence of Political Parties
a. Hamilton’s policies (national bank, suppression of Whiskey Rebellion, excise tax) had seemed to encroach on
b. As resentment grew, what was once a personal rivalry between Hamilton and Jefferson gradually evolved into two
c. The Founding Fathers had not envisioned various political parties (Whigs and Federalists and Tories, etc… had
existed but they had been groups, not parties).
d. Since 1825, the two-party system has helped strengthen the U.S. government, helping balance power and ensuring
no huge deviation from the norm.
XIII. The Impact of the French Revolution
a. Near the end of Washington’s first term, in 1793, two parties had evolved: the Jeffersonian Democratic-
Republicans and the Hamiltonian Federalists.
b. However, the French Revolution greatly affected America.
c. At first, people were overjoyed, since the first stages of the revolution were not unlike America’s dethroning of
Britain. Only a few ultraconservative Federalists were upset at this ―mobocracy‖ and revolt.
d. When the French declared war on Austria, then threw back the Austrian armies and then proclaimed itself a
republic people sang ―The Marseillaise‖ and other French revolutionary songs, and renamed various streets and
e. After the revolution turned radical and bloody, the Federalists rapidly changed opinions and looked nervously at
the Jeffersonians, who felt that no revolution could be carried out without a little bloodshed.
f. Still, neither group completely approved.
g. America was sucked into the revolution when France declared war on Great Britain and the battle for North
American land began…again.
XIV. Washington’s Neutrality Proclamation
a. With war came the call by the JDR’s (Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans) to enter on the side of France, the
recent friend, against Britain, the recent enemy.
b. However, Washington knew that war could mean disaster and disintegration, since the nation in 1793 was
militarily and economically weak and politically disunited.
c. In 1793, he issued the Neutrality Proclamation, proclaiming the U.S.’s official neutrality and warning Americans
to stay out of the issue and be impartial.
d. JDR’s were incensed, as this controversial statement irked both sides.
e. Soon afterwards, Citizen Edmond Genêt, landed at Charleston, South Carolina, as representative to the U.S.
i. On his trip to Philadelphia, he had been cheered rousingly by Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans,
who supported France, and he came to wrongly believe that Washington’s Neutrality Proclamation didn’t
truly reflect the feelings of Americans.
ii. Also, he equipped privateers to plunder British ships and to invade Spanish Florida and British Canada.
iii. He even went as far as to threaten to appeal over the head of Washington to the sovereign voters, and
afterwards, he was basically kicked out of the USA.
f. Actually, America’s neutrality helped France, since only in that way could France get needed American foodstuffs.
g. The U.S. didn’t have to honor its alliance from the Treaty of 1778 because France didn’t call on it to do so.
XV. Embroilments with Britain
a. Britain still had many posts in the frontier, and supplied the Indians with weapons.
b. The Treaty of Greenville, in 1795, had the Indians cede their vast tract in the Ohio country to Americans after
General ―Mad Anthony‖ Wayne crushed them at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794.
c. Ignoring America’s neutrality, British commanders of the Royal Navy seized about 300 American merchant ships
and impressed scores of seamen into their army.
d. Many JDR’s cried for war with Britain, or at least an embargo, but Washington refused, knowing that such drastic
action would destroy the Hamilton financial system.
XVI. Jay’s Treaty and Washington’s Farewell
a. In a last-ditch attempt to avert war Washington sent John Jay to England to work something out.
b. However, his negotiations were sabotaged by Hamilton, who secretly gave the Brits the details of America’s
c. The results weren’t pretty:
i. Britain would repay the lost money from recent merchant ship seizures, but it said nothing about future
seizures, impressments, and Indians arms supplying.
ii. America would have to pay off its pre-Revolutionary War debts to Britain.
d. Result: the JDR’s from the South were INCENSEND and pissed, as the southern farmers would have to pay while
the northern merchants would be paid.
e. At this time, the Pinckney Treaty of 1795 with Spain gave Americans free navigation of the Mississippi and the
large disputed territory north of Florida.
f. After his second term, Washington stepped down, creating a strong two-term precedent that wasn’t broken until
FDR was prez.
g. His Farewell Address warned against binding, permanent alliances, and talked about other stuff.
h. Washington had set the U.S. on its feet and had made it sturdy.
Adams Administration (1797-1800)
XVII. ―Bonny Johnny‖ Adams Becomes President‖
a. Hamilton was the logical choice to become the next president, but his financial plan had made him very unpopular.
b. John Adams, the ablest statesmen of his day, won, 71 to 68, against Thomas Jefferson, who became vice
c. Adams had a hated rival and opponent in Hamilton, who plotted with Adams’ cabinet against the president, and a
political rival in his vice president.
d. He also had a volatile situation with France that could explode into war.
XVIII. Unofficial Fighting with France
a. France was incensed by Jay’s Treaty, calling it a flagrant violation of the 1778 Franco-American treaty, and
began seizing defenseless American merchant ships.
b. In the XYZ Affair, John Adams sent three envoys (including John Marshall) to France, where they were
approached by three agents, ―X,‖ ―Y,‖ and ―Z,‖ who demanded a load of 32 million florins and a $250,000 bribe
just for talking to Talleyrand.
c. Even though bribes were routine in diplomacy, such a large sum for simply talking weren’t worth it, and there was
no guarantee of an agreement.
i. The envoys returned to America, cheered by incensed Americans as having done the right thing for
d. Irate Americans called for war with France, but Adams, knowing just as Washington did that war could spell
disaster, remained neutral.
e. Thus, an undeclared war mostly confined to the seas raged for two and a half years, where American ships
captured over 80 armed French ships.
XIX. Adams Puts Patriotism Above Party
a. Talleyrand, knowing that war with the U.S. would add another enemy to France, declared that if another envoy was
sent to France, that it would be received with respect.
b. In 1800, the three American envoys were met by Napoleon, who was eager to work with the U.S.
c. The treaty in 1800 signed in Paris ended the 1778 alliance in return for the American paying of the claims of its
shippers as alimony.
d. In keeping the U.S. at peace, John Adams plunged his popularity and lost his chance at a possible second term, but
he did the right thing, keeping the U.S. neutral while it was still weak.
XX. The Federalist Witch Hunt
a. The Federalists scorned the poor people, who in turn were welcomed by the JDR’s.
b. Federalists therefore raised the residence requirements for aliens who wanted to become citizens from five to
fourteen years, a law that violated the traditional American policy of open-door hospitality and speedy
c. Another law let the President deport dangerous aliens during peacetime and jail them during times of war.
d. The Sedition Act provided that anyone who impeded the policies of the government or falsely defamed its
officials, including the president, would be liable to a heavy fine and imprisonment; it was aimed at newspaper
editors and the JDR’s.
i. While obviously unconstitutional, this act was passed by the Federalist majority in Congress and upheld
in the court because of the majority of Federalists there too.
e. It was conveniently written to expire in 1801 to prevent use of it against them.
i. Matthew Lyon was one of those imprisoned when he was sentenced to four months in jail for writing ill
things about President John Adams
f. Furthermore, in the elections of 1798-99, the Federalists won the most sweeping victory of their history.
XXI. The Virginia (Madison) and Kentucky (Jefferson) Resolutions
a. Resentful Jeffersonians would not take this down, and Jefferson feared that the Federalists, having wiped out
freedom of speech and of the press, might wipe out more.
b. He wrote a series of legislation that Kentucky approved in 1798-99, and friend James Madison wrote another series
of legislation (less extreme) that Virginia approved.
i. They stressed the compact theory, which meant that the 13 states, in creating the federal government, had
entered into a contract regarding its jurisdiction, and the individual states were the final judges of the laws
passed in Congress.
ii. Their legislation nullified the Sedition and Alien Laws.
c. Only those two states did so.
d. Federalists, though, argued that the people, not the states, had made the contract, and it was up to the Supreme
Court to nullify legislation, a procedure that it adopted in 1803.
e. While neither Madison nor Jefferson wanted secession, they did want an end to Federalist abuses.
XXII. Federalists versus Democratic-Republicans
a. The Federalists
i. Most were federalists from before the Constitution.
ii. They wanted a strong government ruled by the educated aristocrats, the ―best people.‖
iii. Most were the merchants, manufacturers, and shippers along the Atlantic seaboard.
iv. They were mostly pro-British and recognized that foreign trade was key in the U.S.
b. The Democratic-Republicans
i. Led by Thomas Jefferson, a bad speaker but a great leader and appealer to the common people, they
desired rule by informed classes and a weaker central government that would preserve the sovereignty of
the states, and were mostly pro-French.
ii. Jefferson was rich and even owned slaves, but he sympathized for the common people.
iii. The national debt had to be paid off
iv. They were mostly agrarians, and insisted no special privileges for the upper class.
v. Farming was ennobling: it kept people away from wicked cities, in the sun, and close to God.
vi. He advocated rule of the people, but not all the people, just those who weren’t ignorant.
vii. Slavery could help avoid a class of landless voters by providing the necessary labor.
viii. He championed for free speech, but he was foully abused by editorial pens.
c. Thus, as 1800 rolled around, the disunity of America was making its existence very fragile.
Abigail Adams – the wife of second president John Adams. She attempted to get rights for the "Ladies" from her husband who
at the time was on the committee for designing the Declaration of Independence.
Daniel Shays – radical veteran of the Revolution. He led a rebellion, fittingly named Shays Rebellion. He felt he was fighting
against a tyranny. The rebellion was composed of debtors demanding cheap paper money, lighter taxes, and suspension of
mortgage foreclosures. He was sentenced to death but was later pardoned. The rebellion in 1786 helped lead to the Constitution
and Shay somewhat became one of the Founding Fathers.
Alexander Hamilton – high Political leader-1786- 32 year old New Yorker who saved the convention from complete failure
by engineering the adoption of his report. It called upon Congress to summon a convention to meet in Philadelphia the next
year, not to deal with commerce alone but to bolster the entire fabric of the Articles of Confederation. Congress, because of
Hamilton's influence, issued the call for a convention "for the sole and express purpose of revising" the Articles of
Confederation. (1787) Hamilton was present as an advocate of super-powerful central government. He gave a five hour speech
that did not reach anyone but himself. One of the youngest and most brilliant founding fathers. Hamilton helped whip up
support for the anti-federalists, even though he favored a strong central government. Hamilton joined John Jay and James
Madison in penning a masterly series of articles for the New York newspaper. There essays are the most penetrating
commentary ever written on the Constitution.
James Madison – Nicknamed "the Father of the Constitution"; talented politician sent to the Constitutional Convention in
Philadelphia on May 25, 1787; his notable contributions to the Constitution helped to convince the public to ratify it.
Federation – Thomas Jefferson wanted a tightly knit federation. This involved the yielding by the states of their sovereignty to
a completely new federal government. This would give the states freedom to control their local affairs.
Checks & Balances – "is the principle of government under which separate branches are employed to prevent actions by the
other branches and are induced to share power." The framers of the constitution for the U.S. saw the policy of checks and
balances necessary for the government to run smoothly. Third principle has prevented anyone Branch from taking over the
government and making all the decisions.(Having a dictatorship.)
Sovereignty – defined as supreme political power. When the Continental Congress in 1776 asked the colonies to draft new
constitutions, it was asking them to become new states, whose sovereignty, according to republicanism, would rest on the
peoples authority. Power in the peoples hands is the basis for democracy.
Mobocracy – To be ruled by a mob. An example of people who used this method would be the American colonists. When
England would impose taxes and acts, such as the Stamp Act, the colonists would become angered and protest it by forming
mobs and doing such things as ransacking houses and stealing the money of stamp agents. The Stamp Act was eventually
nullified because all the stamp agents had been forced to resign leaving no one to uphold it. This is an example of Mobocracy.
Consent of the governed – The people of a country have to consent to be governed, otherwise they have the right to over-
throw the government. This theory was coined by John Locke
Republicanism – The theory of Republicanism was that the government was under the authority of the people it governs. The
power in the peoples hand's is the basis for Democracy. The writers of the constitution used the Republicanism theory.
States' rights – The anti-federalists opposed the constitution because they thought it did not give enough power to the states.
They believed that each state deserved certain rights that were not clearly defined in the constitution but were pertinent in
democracy. Since these rights were not included in the original draft of the constitution there was a delay in the ratification
process until the states were granted individual powers in an added clause.
Popular Sovereignty – the idea that people should have the right to rule themselves. This idea had revolutionary consequences
in colonial America.
Anarchy – described as a lack of a strong centralized government. Often resulting in chaos, giving no security to landowners
or upper-class people(wealthy). There is no stability, and what few laws exist are openly defied with no form of punishment.
There are often problems in creating a usable and effective currency (this was a problem in inter-state relations.) In this unit,
Anarchy it is referring to the period of time just prior to the creation of the constitution.
Society of the Cincinnati – Group of Continental Army officers formed a military order in1783. They were criticized for their
Great Compromise – 1787; This compromise was between the large and small states of the colonies. The Great Compromise
resolved that there would be representation by population in the House of Representatives, and equal representation would
exist in the Senate. Each state, regardless of size, would have 2 senators. All tax bills and revenues would originate in the
House. This compromise combined the needs of both large and small states and formed a fair and sensible resolution to their
Articles of Confederation – The first "constitution" governing the Untied States after the Revolution; it was ratified in 1781
and it provided for a "firm league of friendship;" the legislative branch (Congress) had no power to regulate commerce or
forcibly collect taxes and there was no national executive or judicial branch; it was an important stepping-stone towards the
present constitution because without it the states would never have consented to the Constitution.
Electoral College – The Electoral College is a group of electors that are elected by the people to elect the President of the
United States in every election year. This system was born along side the U.S. Constitution. This system is a way of speeding
up Presidential elections and is still in force today. The representatives of each state must reflect the interests of the people
within their respective states during each election. After the people in a state have voted, the votes are tallied. Whichever
candidate has the most votes gets all of that state's votes in the Electoral College. That states votes is determined by its
Land Ordinance of 1785– A red letter law which stated that disputed land the Old Northwest was to be equally divided into
townships and sold for federal income; promoted education and ended confusing legal disagreements over land
Three-Fifths Compromise – where a black slave was counted as three-fifths of a person when they were counting the
population. The southern states wanted them counted as one whole person for more representatives in the House of
Representatives. The northern states did not want them counted at all.
Northwest Ordinance – 1787 – They said that sections of land were similar to colonies for a while, and under the control of
the Federal Government. Once a territory was inhabited by 60,000 then congress would admit it as a state. The original thirteen
colonies were charters. Slavery was prohibited in these Northwest Territories. This plan worked so good it became the model
for other frontier areas.
Anti-Federalists – People against federalists in 1787; disagreed with the Constitution because they believed people's rights
were being taken away without a Bill of Rights; also did not agree with annual elections and the non-existence of God in the
Shay's Rebellion – 1786- Led by Captain Daniel Shays, Revolutionary war veteran. An uprising that flared up in western
Massachusetts. Impoverished backcountry farmers, many of them Revolutionary war veterans, were losing their farms through
mortgage foreclosures and tax delinquencies. They demanded cheap paper money, lighter taxes, and a suspension of mortgage
fore closures. Hundreds of angry agitators attempted to enforce these demands. Massachusetts authorities, supported by
wealthy citizens, raised a small army under General Lincoln. The movement was smashed and Shays was condemned to death
then later pardoned. The outburst struck fear in the hearts of the propertied class. The rebellion exposed the need for a stronger
Federalists – United States political party consisting of the more respectable citizens of the time; Federalists lived along the
eastern seaboard in the 1790's; believed in advocating a strong federal government and fought for the adoption of the United
States Constitution in 1787-1788.
The "large-state plan" – It was the plan purposed by Virginia to set up a bi-cameral congress based on population, giving the
larger states an advantage. It was first written as a framework for the constitution.
Constitution of the United States – The foundation of our country's national government; was drafted in Philadelphia in 1787;
the Constitution establishes a government with direct authority over all citizens, it defines the powers of the national
government, and it establishes protection for the rights of states and of every individual.
The Federalist – was a series of articles written in New York newspapers as a source of propaganda for a stronger central
government. The articles, written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, were a way for the writers to express
their belief that it is better to have a stronger central government. The papers turned out to be a penetrating commentary written
on the Constitution.
Confederation – A confederation is a group of sovereign states, each of which is free to act independently from the others. In
1776, when America gained its independence, a loose confederation was formed among the thirteen colonies. Under this
confederation, states were united by a weak national government, which was lacking constitutional authority. The national
government had some control over issues such as military affairs and foreign policy. The states, however, took the majority of
power into their own hands, such as the power to coin money & raise armies.
Thomas Jefferson Under the executive branch of the new constitution, Thomas Jefferson was the Secretary of State. When
Alexander Hamilton wanted to create a new national bank, Jefferson adamantly spoke against it. He felt it would violate states
rights by causing a huge competitor for the state banks, then causing a federal monopoly. Jefferson's argument was that since
the Constitution did not say Congress could create a bank they should not be given that power. This is the philosophy of strict
construction. Thomas Jefferson's beliefs led to the creation of the political party, Democratic Republicans. They believed in an
extremely weak central government, no special privileges for special classes, especially manufacturers, and did not believe in
letting every white male the ability to vote, only those intelligent enough to make wise decisions.
Alexander Hamilton Great political leader; youngest and brightest of Federalists; "father of the National Debt"; from New
York; became a major general; military genius; Secretary of Treasury; lived from 1755-1804; became Secretary of the Treasury
under George Washington in 1789; established plan for economy that went in to affect in 1790 including a tariff that passed in
1789, the assupmtion of state debts which went into affect in 1790, an excise on different products (including whiskey) in
1791, and a plan for a national bank which was approved in 1791; plan to take care of the national debt--a. fund debt at face
value, b. assumption of state debts, c. creation of National Bank, D. taxes (tariffs and excises)--plan was a success in dealing
with the national debt; founded the Federalist Party.
Henry Knox was the first secretary of war; came to power in 1789; was the first to be entrusted with the infant army and navy
John Jay Chief Justice of the United States; in 1794 George Washington sent him to negotiate a treaty with England; The Jay
Treaty was a failure because it didn't mention British impressment and America had to pay Pre-Revolutionary debts. It did
prevent a war with England and helped in the signing of the Pinckney Treaty with Spain.
Funding at Par an economic plan plan devised in 1790 by Hamilton in order to "bolster the nation's credit" and strengthen the
central govrenment. It was a plan to exchange old bonds for new bonds at face value. This would take on the dents of all the
states and reinforce faith in the government bonds. (168)
Strict Constitution Jefferson and his states' right disciples believed the Constitution should be interpreted "literally" or
"strictly". The reason why was to protect individual rights. Jefferson did not want the Bank of the United States,Hamilton
thought it would not only be proper, but also necessary. Jefferson thought it was up to the states and Hamilton thought it was
up to Congress. The Bank was created by Congress in 1791. Having a strong central government made people fear that theeir
rights would be taken away from them.
Assumption Part of Hamilton's economic theory. Stated that the federal government would assume all the states' debts for the
American Revolution. This angered states such as Virginia who had already paid off their debts.
Implied Powers Implied powers refers to the powers of the government found in the constitution in unwritten forms. Although
some situations, such as the creation of the National Bank, are not specifically referred to in the constitution through the elastic
clause they are not illegal or unconstitutional. After Hamilton was appointed head of treasury in 1789, debates began between
his interpretation of the constitution and Jefferson's views. Eventually this became an issue contributing to the formation of
Agrarian Means having to do with agriculture. The agrarian society were the farmers and plantation owners of the south. This
was the society that jefferson wanted to see become the future of America. He appreicated the many virtous and benefical
Excise Tax a tax on the manufacturing of an item. Helped Hamilton to achieve his theory on a strong central government,
supported by the wealthy manufacturers.This tax mainly targeted poor Western front corn farmers (Whiskey). This was used to
demonstrate the power of the Federal Government, and sparked the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794.
The Cabinet A body of executive department heads that serve as the chief advisors to the President. Formed during the first
years of Washington's Presidency, the original members of the cabinet included the Sec. of State, of the Tres. and of War. The
cabinet is extremly important to the presidency, because these people influence the most powerful man in the nation.
Bill of Rights The first ten amendments of the Constitution, the bill of rights was added in 1791 when it was addopted by the
necessary number of states. It garuntees such civil liberties as freedom of speech, free press, and freedom of religon. Written by
Whiskey Rebellion A small rebellion, that began in Southwestern Pennsylvania in 1794 that was a challenge to the National
Governments unjust use of an excise tax on an "economic medium of exchange". Washington crushed the rebellion with
excessive force, proving the strength of the national governments power in its military, but was condemned for using a "sledge
hammer to crush a gnat."
Amendment Nine The amendment states that the enumeration in the constitution shall not be construed to deny or desparage
others retained by the people. It was written by James Madison in 1791 to stop the possibilty that enumerating such rights
might possibly lead to the assumption that the rights were the only ones protected.
Tenth Amendment The Tenth Amendment is the last Amendment in the Bill of Rights which was created to protect American
citizens natural rights. The Tenth Amendment states that the "powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to
the states and the people." This allows for a strong central government but it does not allow it to become all powerful by still
allowing states and people rights.
Jeffersonian Republicans one of nations first political parties, led by Thomas Jeffrson and stemming from the anti-federalists,
emerged around 1792, gradually became today's Democratic party. The Jeffersonian republicans were pro-French, liberal, and
mostly made up of the middle class. They favored a weak central govt., and strong states's rights.
Judiciary Act of 1789 The Judiciary Act of 1789 organized the Supreme Court, originally with five justices and and a
chief justice, along with several federal district and circuit courts. It also created the attorney general's office. This Act created
the judiciary branch of the U.S. government and thus helped to shape the future of this country.
Citizen Genet 1. He was a represenative of the French Republic who came to America in order to recruit Americans to help
fight in the French Revolution. 2. He landed in Charleston SC around 1793 after the outbreak of war between France and
Britian. 3. The actions of Citizen Genet the new government was exposed as being vaunerable. It also showed how the
government was maturing.
Anthony Wayne A General, nicknamed "Mad Anthony". Beat Northwest Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on August
20, 1794. Left British made arms on the fields of battle. After that the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 led to the Indians ceding
their claims to a vast tract in the Ohio Country.
John Adams A Federalist who was Vice President under Washington in 1789, and later became President by three votes in
1796. Known for his quarrel with France, and was involved in the xyz Affair, Quais War, and the Convention of 1800. Later
though he was also known for his belated push for peace w/ France in 1800. Regarding his personality he was a "respectful
Talleyrand French foreign minister; In 1797, Adams sent a diplomatic commission to France to settle matters about the upset
of the Jay Treaty of 1794. The French thought that America was siding with the English violating the Franco-American Treaty
of 1778. The commission was sent to talk to Talleyrand about the seizing of American ships by the French. Communication
between the commission and Talleyrand existed between three go betweeners (XYZ) because talking to Talleyrand in person
would cost a quarter of a million dollars. Americans soon negotiated and this act subtly started an undeclared war with France.
Compact Theory The Compact theory was popular amoung the English political philosophers in the eighteenth century. In
America, it was supported by Jefferson and Madison. It meant that the thirteen states, by creating the federal government, had
entered into a contract about its jurisdiction. The national government was the agent of the states. This meant that the
individual states were the final judges of the national government's actions. The theory was the basis for the Virginia and
Kentucky Resolutions passed in 1798. The compact theory was used to try to stop the Federalist abuses like the Alien and
Nullification The federalist party had passed the alien and sedition acts to regulate the strong oppions of the republicans. These
laws violated the freedoms of the first amendment granted to the people, and prosecuted them for speaking out. Thomas
Jefferson and James Madison protested the laws by writing the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which asked the states to
declare the laws null. They thought that "nullification was the rightful remedy". Virginia and Kentucky were the only states
that voted for this nullification, which is to make a law invalid.
French Revolution The French Revolution began in 1789 with some nonviolent restrictions on the king, but became more
hostile in 1792 when France declared war on Austria. Seeking help from America, the French pointed to the Franco-American
alliance of 1778. Not wanting to get involved for fear of damage to the trade business, Washington gave the Neutrality
Proclomation, which made America neutral. This led to arguments between Americans and French. After fighting with the
French over such things as the Jay Treaty, the Americans came to peace with France in 1800. The French Revolution was not a
war within a country, but a war that affected the world.
Jay Treaty 1794 a treaty which offered little concessions from Britain to the U.S. and greatly disturbed the Jeffersonians. Jay
was able to get Britain to say they would evacuate the chain of posts on U.S. soil and pay damages for recent seizures of
American ships. The British, however, would not promise to leave American ships alone in the future, and they decided that
the Americans still owed British merchants for pre-Revolutionary war debts. Because of this, many Southerners especially,
were angry and rioted and called John Jay the "Damn'd Archtraitor." (176)
Pinckey Treaty 1795- Gave America what they demanded from the Spanish. Free navigation of the Mississippi, large area of
north Florida. (helped America to have unexpected diplomatic sucess) Jay Treaty- helped prompt the Spanish to deal with the
port of New Oleans.
Convention of 1800 Treaty signed in Paris that ended France's peacetime military alliance with America. Napolean was eager
to sign this treaty so he could focus his attention on conquering Europe and perhaps create a New World empire in Lousiana.
This ended the "quasi-war" between France and America.
Neutrality Proclomation 1793, issued by George Washington, established isolationist policy,proclaimed government's official
neutrality in widening European conflicts also warned American citizens about intervening on either side of conflict
Alien and Sedition Acts 1798; Contains four parts: 1. Raised the residence requirement for American citizenship from 5 to 14
years. 2. Alien Act-gave the President the power in peacetime to order any alien out of the country. 3. Alien Enemies Act-
permitted the President in wartime to jail aliens when he wanted to.-No arrests made under the Alien Act or the Alien Enemies
Act. 4. The Sedition Act-key clause provided fines and jail penalties for anyone guilty of sedition. Was to remain in effect until
the next Presidential inauguration. The Sedition Act's purpose was to silence Republican opposition to Adam's administration.
Many people were fined and jailed under the Sedition Act. Jefferson and Madison believed the acts were violations of the First
Amendment. Expired March 1801.
Battle of Fallen Timber An attack made by American General "Mad Anthony Wayne" against invading Indians from the
northwest. The defeat of the Indians ended the alliance made with the British and Indians.
Farewell Address The Farewell Address was a document by George Washington in 1796, when he retired from office. It
wasn't given orally, but was printed in newspapers. It did not concern foreign affairs; most of it was devoted to domestic
problems. He stressed that we should stay away from permanent alliances with foreign countries; temporary alliances wouldn't
be quite as dangerous, but they should be made only in "extraordinary emergencies". He also spoke against partisan bitterness.
The document was rejected by the jeffersonians, who favored the alliance with France.
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions The Virginia and kentucky Resolutions were put into practice in 1798 by Jefferson and
James Madison. These resolutions were secretly made to get the rights back taken away by the Alien and Sedition Acts. These
laws took away freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. These resolutions also brought about the later
compact theory which gave the states more power than the federal government.
Treaty of Greenville Gave America all of Ohio after General Mad Anthony Wayne battled and defeated the Indians at the
Battle of Fallen Timbers. 1795 Allowed Americans to explore the area with peace of mind that the land belonged to America
and added size and very fertile land to America.
UNIT TOPICS: Articles of Confederation
Drafted in 1796 by John Dickinson, the Articles of Confederation established a single-chamber national Congress elected by
state legislatures, in which each state held only one vote. These Articles notably left out both and executive and judicial
branch, and provided Congress no power to tax or regulate commerce. However, the Articles established states’ rights and
also provided for American independence, uniting all the colonies during the war.
Maryland, cession of western land claims: Maryland waited to agree to the new government until lands north of the Ohio
River were turned over to the United States in 1779. Maryland did not want big states (NY, VA) to grow and dominate the new
nation, instead equalizing the power of the states and opening the union up for expansion.
•STRENGTHS OF THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION: The thirteen states established a permanent government in
1781 in the form of a confederation which included a congress that represented the states and had the power to conduct Indian
and foreign affairs, mediate disputes between states, and establish a standard for weights and measures. The Articles protected
against an oppressive central government, such as a monarchy or oligarchy, by placing power within the fragmented states.
•WEAKNESSES OF THE ARTCILES OF CONFEDERATION: The government established in 1781, was a
confederation; each state was its own powerful entity and had its own tariffs and currencies, making it harder for interstate
commerce to occur. The federal government lacked the power to tax and form a militia without the approval of all the states.
Amending the Articles was a difficult and tedious process, because the amendment would have to be accepted by each state in
order to be passed.
Pennsylvania militia routs Congress, 1783: Eighty soldiers marched from Lancaster to Philadelphia to obtain justice from the
state government and Congress on June 17, 1783. Protesting in front of Independence Hall, which housed Congress and the
state government, the rebels were successful in moving the government away from Philadelphia.
Northwest Posts: After the Revolutionary war, the British did not leave their posts in an effort to preserve both the flourishing
fur trade and the improving relations with the Native Americans. This showed Britain’s unwillingness to give up and the
weakness of the American government, problems which culminated in the War of 1812.
Land Ordinance of 1785: Congress enacted this law to set a uniform procedure for surveying land in 1785. It established that
the settlement of a town would be six square miles and would contain land set aside for schools, setting a precedent for the
public education system in the United States.
Northwest Ordinance, 1787: Congress passed this law to define the steps for the formation and admission of states into the
Union in 1787. It applied to the lands north of the Ohio River which had been established as the Northwest Territory. The
existence of slavery could be determined by popular sovereignty in these territories.
Proposed Jay-Gardoqui Treaty, 1785: John Jay tried to negotiate with Spain for trading rights in New Orleans in 1785, but
returned with a treaty that renounced Spanish claims to southwestern lands and opened Spanish markets to eastern merchants.
In exchange, the U.S. gave up Mississippi trading rights, thus fueling the North-South conflict.
Shays’ Rebellion: A group of Massachusetts farmers led by Daniel Shays protested after taxes were raised to pay for
Revolutionary debts in 1786. The high taxes, combined with the depression that hit after British markets were lost, forced the
farmers to revolt. The result was an increase in tension between the North and South.
Annapolis Convention, 1786: A group of delegates from five states met in Annapolis, Maryland in 1786, in an effort to solve
the problems of interstate commerce. Because there was little representation, the delegates decided that a convention of all
states should be held the year after in order to amend the Articles of Confederation.
1780’s depression: The first major depression of the American states occurred after the Revolutionary War in New England.
The causes included high taxes imposed to finance the war debt, the tightening of credit, and a short growing season that kept
crop yields low. Shays’ rebellion occurred ultimately because of this depression
UNIT TOPICS: The Constitution
After the Revolutionary War, the problems with the Articles of Confederation became increasingly obvious, resulting in the
Philadelphia Convention, whose purpose was to rewrite the Articles. However, instead of submitting the Articles for revision,
the delegates decided to begin again, resulting in the drafting of a new frame of government outlined in the Constitution, a
document that compromised conflicting interests, unifying all the states under a powerful federal government.
•PHILADELPHIA CONVENTION: A congressional convention met in Philadelphia to amend the Articles of Confederation
in 1788. The delegates, which included Madison, Hamilton, and Franklin, believed that there should be checks and balances in
the government to give each branch equal amounts of power. The convention ultimately scrapped the Articles and came up
with the much more effective Constitution, in which various compromises were made to pacify sectional differences.
Delegates: Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin: At the Philadelphia Convention in 1788, George
Washington presided over the convention while he and Franklin helped in mediating heated debates. Hamilton wrote the
"Federalist Papers," along with John Jay, in defense of the Constitution.
Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws: Montesquieu was a French writer whose writings helped bring about the French
Revolution. His book "The Spirit of the Laws," written in 1748, examines types of government and how each evolves through
factors such as location and climate. He believed in separate and balanced branches of government.
Hobbes: Thomas Hobbes wrote Leviathan in 1651, as a commentary on his doctrine of sovereignty. His philosophies
represented a reaction against the chaotic Reformation of the seventeenth century. These ideas generally stated that all men
should submit to absolute supremacy, influencing the idea of sovereignty in the United States.
James Madison, "Father of the Constitution": Madison drafted the Virginia Plan of national government that became the
basis for its bicameral structure in 1788. He also assisted in the writing of the "Federalist Papers" in order to persuade delegates
who were fearful of centralized power.
•GREAT COMPROMISE: Also called the Connecticut compromise, this compromise was introduced by the Connecticut
delegation in 1788, and contained both the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan. It provided for a presidency, a senate with
states represented with two senators each, and a House of Representatives with representation according to population. The
plan resolved the dilemma of using only one of the two self serving documents in the Constitution.
VA Plan, NJ Plan: The Virginia Plan called for an executive branch with two houses of Congress which were both based on
population. The New Jersey Plan, introduced by William Patterson, called for a legislature with equal representation and
increased powers for the national government.
Checks and balances—examples: Examples of checks and balances in the Constitution are the congressional power to
impeach the president and the presidential power to appoint his cabinet. This system helps to keep all three branches of the
government in check and maintain equal amounts of power.
North-South Compromises: There are two main North-South compromises in the Constitution. One dealt with the structure of
Congress, the Great Compromise; the other dealt with slavery and the three-fifths clause. Both aided in easing the problems
that arose because of the imbalance of power between states in the Articles of Confederation.
•Slavery and the constitution: slave trade, three-fifths clause, Fugitive Slave law: Although the word "slavery" was not
used in the Constitution, the idea surfaces in three places in the Constitution: the three-fifths clause, which lessened the power
of the voting south by making the votes of three slaves equal that of five white votes; the Fugitive Slave Law, which captured
and returned runaway slaves who fled into free territories, and lastly Congress’ option to ban the slave trade in Washington D.
C. after 1808.
procedures for amendments: To amend the Constitution, a bill must first be proposed by either two-thirds of both houses or
each state conventions. For the amendment to be ratified, three-fourths have to approve the bill. In order to protect the United
States and its citizens, this process made it difficult to alter the Constitution without valid reason.
Beard thesis, his critics: Beard criticized the Constitution in his "Economic Interpretation of the Constitution" in 1913. Unlike
his opponents, who believed in the Constitution’s democratic purpose, Beard argues that it was written to give them economic
advantages that would stem from the stability of the economy.
Fiske, The Critical Period of American History: John Fiske, an American historian and philosopher, wrote The Critical
Period of American History, 1783-1789 in 1788. In the book, Fiske argues that the Constitution had saved the nation from
imminent interstate conflict.
Antifederalists: Antifederalists were opponents of the Constitution who thought that it failed to balance power between the
national and state governments. Believing that a balance was impossible to reach, the opponents thought that the new
government would ultimately ruin the states.
supporters of the Constitution: The supporters of the Constitution, including Hamilton, Jay, and Madison, who called
themselves the Federalists. These men became important in the ratification process of the Constitution; they persuaded many of
its opponents to ratify it through their speeches, the Federalist Papers, and other propaganda.
opponents of the Constitution: The opponents of the Constitution were called the Antifederalists; they opposed it because it
failed to balance power between the national and state governments. They thought that a balance would be impossible to reach
and that the new government would ultimately ruin the states.
George Mason, Bill of Rights: Mason was a delegate at the Constitutional Convention and helped draft the Constitution.
Troubled by its power and its failure to limit slavery or contain a bill of rights, he would not sign it. Some states refused to
ratify the Constitution until 1791, when a bill of rights was added to the Constitution.
The ratification fights: Critics, such as Sam Adams, were successfully won over by the Federalists in Massachusetts. The
fight in Virginia ended after the addition of the Bill of Rights, defeating Mason and Henry, and affected the decision in New
York, where Hamilton won the fight using the "Federalist Papers."
•The Federalist Papers, Jay, Hamilton, Madison: The Federalist papers were written by Jay, Hamilton, and Madison in 1788,
during the Philadelphia Convention as a response to Antifederalist objections to the Constitution. The eighty-five newspaper
essays offered a glimpse of the framers’ intentions in designing the Constitution, and shaped the American philosophy of the
government. They explained that the Constitution would protect the minority’s rights but would not make them too powerful.
The Federalist, number 10: Madison, in the Federalist number ten, rejected the Antifederalist argument that establishing a
republic in United States would lead to a struggle for power. He also argued that the Constitution would prevent the formation
of national factions and parties.
implied powers, elastic clause, necessary and proper clause: An implied power is one not granted in a job description, yet is
meant to be taken. The elastic clause was included into the Constitution to allow flexibility. Congress was granted the right to
make all laws which they deemed necessary and proper thus expanding their power.
loose, strict interpretation of the Constitution: The strict interpretation of the constitution meant that it was to be followed
exactly to the word, a philosophy adopted by Jefferson. Hamilton believed in a loose interpretation, or that powers implied
within the Constitution should be included in the new government to fit changes over time.
•RESERVED AND DELEGATED POWERS: Delegated powers were specifically enumerated rights granted to Congress
and the President. The delegated powers of Congress included the ability to tax, issue currency, borrow money, declare war
and sustain an army. All powers not stated specifically in the Constitution were reserved to the states as stated in the Tenth
Amendment. These reserved powers were the result of flexibility in the Constitution to adapt over time.
Undemocratic Elements in the Constitution: According to Charles Beard, the Constitution was written to the advantage of
the elite in the United States. The founding fathers did not believe in total democracy, or mob rule, and so used state
legislatures and the electoral college to elect senators and the president, respectively.
Flexibility in the Constitution: The flexibility in the Constitution enabled it to adapt over time; there have only been sixteen
amendments since 1791. Our founding fathers used vague language, and so Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution
changed over time; the Elastic clause and the reserved powers are examples of this ambiguity.
Upper and Lower House: senate was seen as the upper house because there were less delegates, the age requirement was
higher, and the term limits were six years as opposed to two for the House of Representatives. As a result the Senate was seen
as more of an elitist institution while the House was viewed as reflective of the common people.
Electoral College: In order to protect the interests of the elite, land owning class, the framers of the Constitution added the
electoral college as a safeguard against the majority opinion. As a result, electors could elect a presidential candidate without
considering the popular vote and elections could be won without a majority in the popular vote.
UNIT TOPICS: Washington & Hamilton
As the first president of the newly formed United States, George Washington played a largely passive role, suggesting few laws
to Congress, attempting to reassure the public he was above favoritism and sectional interests. Alexander Hamilton, on the
other hand, took advantage of Washington’s reluctance to be involved with domestic issues, and, as secretary of the treasury,
attempted to restore American credit by advocating a perpetual debt.
Post Revolutionary America—West: In the late eighteenth century, masses of people had moved into the trans-Appalachian
frontier to escape post-revolutionary depression, despite the risk of violence presented by Indians and the British in their
Northwest posts. Congress aided the expansion with the Land and Northwest Ordinances
Post Revolutionary America—South: Many of the southern citizens had bought land in the west and watched the price of
land eagerly. Aside from the unstable land speculation, the south had recovered from the war. It had diversified its crops and
exported them at prewar levels.
Post Revolutionary America—North: Plagued by high taxes, overpopulation, and rebellion, the North’s efforts at postwar
recovery was impeded by the depression of the 1780s. Manufacturing and merchant marine industries were also, negatively
affected by independence; the British imposed new embargoes and tariffs on the United States.
•President George Washington: George Washington was elected president in 1788 and again in 1792. Washington’s two
terms set the precedent for being President of the United States. He tended to shy away from the affairs of Congress and also
formed the first Presidential cabinet, appointing two of the ablest men into high positions of responsibility into his cabinet. His
farewell address cautioned the American people to stay out of international affairs, remain isolationist, and to beware of
Washington’s Definition of the Presidency: George Washington set the precedent for being the President of the United
States. He humbly served two terms and appointed the first cabinet. Washington stayed out of Congress’ way and supported
the United States’ isolationist stance in world affairs.
Vice President John Adams: Because he ran second to George Washington in the elections of 1788 and 1792, he became the
nation’s first Vice President, limiting himself to presiding over the senate. Prior to his term as Vice President, he was a
diplomat to European nations such as France, Britain, and the Dutch Republic.
Judiciary Act, 1789: The Congress passed the Judiciary Act in 1789, in an effort to create a federal-court system and replace
the old system, in which the courts varied from state to state. They were burdened with filling in the holes of the judiciary
system left by the Constitution.
Secretary of Treasury Hamilton: Hamilton was appointed in 1789, when the nation’s economy was in shambles. In 1790, he
submitted to Congress a Report of the Public Credit that provided for the payments of all debts assumed during the war. He
wanted a national bank and encouraged manufacturing through financial government protection.
Secretary of State Jefferson: As Secretary of State for Washington’s first term, Thomas Jefferson wanted to establish
reciprocal trade agreements with European nations and deny it to the British. This plan, in 1783, died in Congress, along with
his other plans to try to manipulate the European countries. He resigned after the Citizen Genet scandal.
Secretary of War Knox: Henry Knox was the Secretary of War from 1789-1794, the first one under the United States
Constitution. Prior to this, he fought in major Revolutionary battles, was in command of the West Point fortress in New York,
and was the Secretary of War under the Articles of Confederation.
Attorney General Randolph: Edmund Jennings Randolph was the Attorney General under the Washington Administration
from 1789-1794; before which he was the head of the Virginia delegation at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and
submitted the Virginia Plan.
•Hamilton’s program: ideas, proposals, reasons for it: Alexander Hamilton wrote to Congress a Report on Public Credit
which proposed a way in which the national and foreign debts could be funded and how the federal government would take
charge of the debts left by states from the resolution in 1790. The plans attempted to end wartime debt problems. Hamilton
believed that constant deficit was necessary to stimulate the nation’s economy, and also believed that the U.S. should
immediately repay its foreign debt.
Hamilton’s Legacy: Hamilton’s devices for restoring the credit of the nation led to great monetary gains for merchants,
speculators, and others working in the port cities. The government’s takeover of state debts freed those of New England, New
Jersey, and South Carolina from harsh taxes.
Tariff of 1789: A revenue raising tariff enacted by Congress, it encouraged the people of the U.S. to manufacture earthenware,
glass, and other products in their home in order to avoid importation. With a duty of 8.5%, the tariff succeeded in raising much
needed funds for Congress
Bank of the U.S.: Chartered by the newly formed federal government, the bank was established in Philadelphia in 1791, and
was permitted by the government to issue legal tender bank notes that could be exchanged for gold. The bank successfully
established a national currency, but the charter ended in 1811, for economic and political reasons.
national debt, state debt, foreign debt: National debt accumulated by the US during the Revolutionary war continued to plague
Americans. The states were also in debt after borrowing heavily from the government. Hamilton, in his Report on Public
Credit, wanted to pay off foreign debt immediately and then through tariffs repay the national debt.
excise taxes: A fixed charge on items of consumption, usually used for revenue raising. The first excise tax placed upon the
United States in 1791, by Parliament was one which taxed all domestic distilled spirits. Anger towards this excise tax led
directly to the Whiskey Rebellion.
Report on Manufacturers: Presented to Congress in 1791, by Alexander Hamilton, the report suggested that protective tariffs
on imports from foreign lands would lead Americans to produce more in their homelands, thus building national wealth and
Report on Public Credit: Hamilton submitted his report to Congress in 1790, hoping to seize it as an opportunity to rebuild
the country’s credit base. He reported that the US was 54 million dollars in debt: 12 million to foreigners, and the rest to
Americans. On top of that, he estimated that the states held debts of over 25 million dollars.
location of the capital: logrolling, D.C.: The nation’s capital was originally located in New York, but later was transferred to
Washington D.C.. Originally planned by Charles L’Enfant, the city consisted of beautiful walkways, tree lined streets, and
masterfully architecture buildings.
Indian Decline: The frontier warfare during the post-revolutionary era combined with the continuing penetration of western
ways into Indian culture caused severe reductions in Indian population and territory. An increasing amount of hatred towards
the "redskins" further encouraged the violence towards Indians.
Residence Act: Determined that a ten mile square area for the capital of the United States would be chosen along the Potomac
River along the Virginia-Maryland boarder. The area was to be named the District of Columbia, after Christopher Columbus,
and was selected by George Washington.
Major L’Enfant, Benjamin Banneker: Pierre Charles L’Enfant was the French architect who, in 1791, drew the plans for the
nations capital in Washington D.C., on which the city is now based. Benjamin Banneker was appointed in 1791, by President
Washington to assist L’Enfant in surveying the land where the capital city was to be built.
Whiskey Rebellion: An organized resistance in 1794, to the excise tax on whiskey in which federal revenue officials were
tarred and feathered, riots were conducted, and mobs burned homes of excise inspectors. The federal militia captured many of
the protesters, but most were released.
French Alliance of 1778: Alliance made between France and the United Sates during America’s civil war in 1778. The
alliance was used to convince French citizens living in United States territory to become citizens of American, and therefore to
bear arms or participate in the war.
French Revolution: The revolution was a period consisting of social and political upheaval from 1789-1799. Caused by the
inability of the ruling class and clergy to solve the states problems, the hunger of the workers, the taxation of the poor, and the
American Revolution, it led to the establishment of the First Republic and the end of the monarchy.
Citizen Genet: Sent to the United States by the French in 1793 to find soldiers to attack British ships and conquer the
territories held by the Spanish, Edmund Genet founded the American Foreign Legion despite Washington’s April 22
proclamation of American neutrality.
Neutrality Proclamation: Issued by President George Washington on April 22, 1793, the Neutrality Proclamation stated that
the United States would remain a neutral faction in the war with France against Britain and Spain despite heavy French
pressures to join their forces. Many Americans felt the war to be a violation of their neutrality.
XYZ Affair, Talleyrand: When a commission was sent to France in 1797 in order to negotiate problems between the two
countries, they were told by the French foreign minister Talleyrand that the agents X, Y, Z, three officials who did not take the
process seriously, would only negotiate for a lend of $10 million to the French government.
undeclared naval war with France: Otherwise known as the Quasi-War, the undeclared conflict between the two nations
lasted from 1798 to 1800. In the conflict, the United States managed to capture ninety-three French ships while France
captured just one U.S. ship.
British seizure of American ships: The Privy Council issued a secret order on November 6, 1793, to confiscate any foreign
ships trading with French Caribbean islands. In this decision, they seized over 250 American ships which were conducting
trade with the islands.
Royal Navy: They navy of the British empire, the Royal Navy began to inspect American ships in 1793 for suspected defects
of the British Navy, who they then forcibly placed back into their own navy. These bold actions commonly referred to as
impressment, further strengthened hostilities between the two countries.
"Rule of 1756": The French opened colonial trade to the Dutch, who were a neutral party. British prize courts, in response,
stated that neutrals could not engage in wartime trade with a country if they were not permitted to trade with that country at
times of peace.
Jay’s Treaty: Negotiated between the United States and France in 1794, the treaty evacuated British posts in the West,
appointed a committee to set up the U.S.-French boundary, and named a commission to determine how much the British should
pay for illegally seizing American ships. It did not resolve the British West Indies trade dispute.
Pinckney’s Treaty, right of deposit at New Orleans: Ratified in 1796, the treaty gave westerners the right to access the world
markets duty-free through the Mississippi River. Spain promised to recognize the thirty-first parallel, to end U.S. camps, and to
discourage Indian attacks on western settlers.
Spanish intrigue in the Southwest: Spain attempted, in many cases, to detach the West from the United States, hoping to
further expand their territory into the vast land. Washington’s attempts at a failed alliance with the Creek Indians to expand
into their lands only led to further conflicts between America and Spain.
James Wilkinson: An American soldier who participated in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Wilkinson was the
man who reported Burr’s conspiracy to access Louisiana to President Jefferson. He served as Secretary to the Board of War
and was a brigadier general under Anthony Wayne.
"Mad" Anthony Wayne: Known as Mad Anthony due to his quick temper and his bravery, Wayne was a General during the
American Revolution. He began his service with the Pennsylvania militia. He participated in the battles of Brandywine and
Germantown and distinguished himself in the Battle of Monmouth.
Battle of Fallen Timbers: At the Battle of Fallen Timbers, in 1794, Anthony Wayne defeated a coalition of Native American
tribes as the major general and commander in chief of the troops. The battle took place around present day Toledo and led to
the Treaty of Greenville which opened up the Northwest to American settlers.
Treaty of Greenville, 1795: This treaty, which was drafted in 1795, opened the Northwest Territory to settlement by white
United States citizens. The territory had formerly only been inhabited by Indians, so therefore the treaty between the two races
was an important one. The treaty served to end white-Indian hostilities for sixteen years.
Barbary Pirates: Following the American Revolution, the Barbary pirates began to raid the ships of the United States. The
United States therefore formed treaties with Morocco, Tripoli, and Tunis, as European nations already had, that gave them
immunity from these attacks.
Washington’s Farewell Address: In his realization of the important role that he had take in developing the role of the
president of the United States, Washington’s farewell address asked the citizens of the United States to avoid involvement in
political problems between foreign nations.
UNIT TOPICS: Federalists & Republicans
By the election of 1796, the United States political system had become bipartisan, largely a result of the disagreements over
Hamilton’s programs and foreign policies. The split in the Federalist party became official with Jefferson’s resignation from
Washington’s cabinet in 1793, upon which he formed the Republicans, whose ideology claimed that the Federalists had
become a party geared toward enriching the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
election of 1796: President Adams, Vice-president Jefferson: Jefferson was supported by the Republicans, while Adams
was supported by the Federalists. Adams was victorious in the election, Jefferson was made Vice-president, as a constitutional
law stated that the candidate with the second highest number of electoral votes got that position.
new states: Vt, Ky, Tenn: Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee were all admitted into the United States between 1791 and 1796
by the federal government. Their admission was spurred by the hope that they would then become completely loyal to the
Union, as they had not been before.
•Federalists: The Federalist party was the starting point of the movement to draft and later ratify the new Constitution. It urged
for a stronger national government to take shape after 1781. Its leaders included Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James
Madison, and George Washington rose to power between 1789-1801. Under Hamilton, the Federalists solved the problem of
revolutionary debt, created Jay’s Treaty and also the Alien and Sedition Acts.
•Democratic-Republicans: The first political party in the United States, the Democratic-Republican party was created by
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in opposition to the views of Alexander Hamilton. It arose to power in the 1790s and
opposed the Federalist party, while advocating states rights and an agricultural society. The party expressed sympathy towards
the French Revolution but opposed close ties with the British.
Society of the Cincinnati: A post-war organization of veteran officers from the Continental Army, the Society of the
Cincinnati was feared by many because its charter had the possibility of becoming a hereditary aristocracy, as it gave
membership to descendants.
Democratic Societies: An organization in which the wealthy are on a level of equality with the poor. This is best exemplified
by the Philadelphia Democratic Society, in which Republicans were united by wealth rather then by status, as well as believed
that those with talent and ambition should not forget their dreams.
•Alien and Sedition Acts: In 1798, the Neutralization Act said residence must remain in the United States for five years before
becoming naturalized while the Alien Act allowed the exportation of any alien believed to be a threat to national security. The
Alien Enemies Act allowed the President to export aliens during times of war and the Sedition Act made it a criminal offense
to plot against government. These acts were criticized because they oppressed the people’s First Amendment rights.
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions: Written by Jefferson and Madison in protest to the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Virginia
Resolution stated that states possessed the right to intervene in unconstitutional acts in government, and the Kentucky
Resolution stated that federal government could not extend powers outside of constitutionally granted powers.
Fries Rebellion: Pennsylvanian German farmers, in 1799, rebelled against the government after it released debtors and citizens
who did not pay taxes. This action infuriated the farmers because the money was needed to fund the expansion of the nation’s
army. This rebellion alerted those in power to the general disgruntlement of much of the nation.
doctrine of nullification: A group of Kentucky Resolutions adopted in 1799, the Doctrine of Nullification stated that any
federal laws considered by the people to be "objectionable" may be nullified by the states. The passage of these resolutions
proved the probability of upcoming violent disagreements of how the law should be interpreted.
Convention of 1800: The Federalist party split into two factions during the Convention of 1800, as the party was undecided as
to who their presidential candidate should be. The Federalists wanted to nominate Adams, while the "High Federalists," led by
Alexander Hamilton, denounced his candidacy.
Fugitive Slave Law: Enacted by congress in 1793, the law required judges to give a slave back to its owner or his
representative if caught after running away. This law indicated tightening racial tensions, as well as stripped slaves of the right
to trial by jury or presentation of evidence of freedom.
Gabriel’s Rebellion: Led by Gabriel Prosser in August 1800, the rebellion broke out near Richmond, Virginia when 1,000
slaves marched to the capital. Thirty five slaves were executed by a swift state militia, but whites still feared what many occur
in the future with slave uprisings. The rebellion increased tensions between the North and the South.
Logan Act: Enacted in 1795 by the legislative assembly, the Logan Act allowed city councils the power to establish, as well as
to support and to regulate, a system consisting schools for the general public. This act led to the establishment of school
systems throughout the U.S.
Legal equality for free blacks: These measures first appeared in the 1780s and 1790s, when states dropped restrictions on
freedom of movement, protected the property of blacks, and allowed them to enroll in the state militia. By 1796, all but three
states allowed blacks voting rights.
Alexander McGillivray: The leader of the Creek Indians, who in 1790 signed a peace treaty with the United States that
allowed whites to occupy lands in the Georgia piedmont, but spared the rest of the Creek lands from white settlement. He
received a large bribe for signing the treaty.
Gilbert Stuart: An American painter who is particularly well known for his many portraits of wartime hero and President
George Washington. His three styles of portrait painting: the "Vaughan" half-length, the "Lansdowne" full-length, and the
"Athenaeum" head have often been mimicked.
Charles Wilson Peale: As a portrait painter of the Federalist period, Peale is best known for his fourteen portraits of George
Washington. In 1786, Peale began a museum of parts of nature in Independence Hall, Philadelphia of portraits and helped to
found the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1805.