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Unit 3: A New Nation. Goals of this Unit:. To understand that the American Revolution was not a radical transformation like the French or Russian revolutions, but did produce political innovations and some social change in the direction of greater equality and democracy over time.

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Unit 3: A New Nation

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Unit 3 a new nation

Unit 3: A New Nation

Goals of this unit

Goals of this Unit:

  • To understand that the American Revolution was not a radical transformation like the French or Russian revolutions, but did produce political innovations and some social change in the direction of greater equality and democracy over time.

  • To be able to explain why the Articles of Confederation failed, and the compromises made between the states to create the new federal Constitution.

  • To understand how the Constitution designed a stronger central government than the Articles of Confederation did, but still promised to add amendments to protect individual liberty and states' rights.

Goals of this unit1

Goals of this Unit:

  • To recognize how the first administration under the Constitution overcame various difficulties and firmly established the political and economic foundations of the new federal government. 

  • To be able to explain how the differing views of government, economy, foreign policy and the overall vision for America's future led to the formation of political parties and ultimately, the two-party election system that still exists today.

Building a government

Building a Government


To understand how and why the 13 colonies designed their first attempt at government (the Articles of Confederation) the way they did, and what unexpected results came from this.

In your groups

In your groups…

  • What challenges will America have to face after becoming an independent nation?

  • Come up with at least 3 and explain.

Declare independence now what

Declare Independence: Now What?

  • Revolution more of a progression:

    • Separation of Church and State

      • Anglican Church becomes “Episcopal Church”

      • Life went on as usual

  • Push for Equality:

    • Loyalists keep quiet and/or flee

      • Less conservatives

    • Slavery still present

      • Anti-slavery movement gains strength

      • First Continental Congress called for abolition

      • 1775 – Quakers create abolition society

      • Some slave owners began freeing slaves

    • Women’s rights issues start

      • NJ – permitted women to vote for short time

      • “Republican motherhood” – idea that women raised the children and therefore had great power and responsibility

Early state constitutions

Early State Constitutions

  • 1776 – Continental Congress has each colony write own constitution

    • (Colony → State)

    • Mass. holds “Constitutional Convention”

      • meeting → written → ratified → permanent

      • paves way for other states

Characteristics of state constitutions

Characteristics of State Constitutions:

  • Written: only changed through formal process

  • Fundamental law: more general, than specific

  • Bill of rights: guaranteed liberties

  • Annual elections of legislators: accountability

  • Establishes executive and judicial branches

    • Legislative branch often held all the power

  • State capitals develop

New country new problems

New Country, New Problems


To identify the problems the United States will have to face during it’s infancy stage and the solutions to these issues.

Articles of confederation

Articles of Confederation

  • States choose a “confederation” as new federal government

    • Loose union of states

    • A federal gov’t and state governments both exist

      • State governments retain most aspects of sovereign rule

      • Minted individual money, set up own taxes

  • 1777 - Articles of Confederation would be proposed as first American government

    • But needed to be ratified…

Articles of confederation1

Articles of Confederation

  • Created a weak government on purpose

    • Designed to avoid strong, central, gov’t

      • No executive branch

      • Congress weak:

        • Members annually elected

        • 2/3 votes to resolve issues

        • Unanimous vote for amendments

        • Couldn’t assemble a military, enforce taxes, regulate commerce  states print own money, form own tax laws

    • Significance?

      • Was so weak, it eventually showed states the need for a new form of government

New country new problems1

New Country, New Problems

  • Post-war unity was shaky

    • Some colonies desired self-rule

  • British smuggle in good, undercut American products

    • Young American industries couldn’t compete with low prices

  • Advantages:

    • The 13 colonies similar politically

    • Good leadership (GW, Jefferson, Adams, etc)

Economy at a crossroads

Economy at a Crossroads

  • Trade with England stops:

    • Helps and Hurts…

      • Hurts short term: loss of top trading partner

      • Helps long term: forces American industry

    • Industry starts, but Americans still 90% farmer

    • Trading freedom:

      • Open to trade with whomever

        • Baltic region and China

  • Economic troubles:

    • War profiteers hurt “economic morale”

    • Large war debt causes inflation

Making compromises

Making Compromises


To understand how the 13 states were able to put aside their differences and make a series of compromises that would result in a new strong, central government (The Constitution).

Unit 3 a new nation

  • Initial problem: Western lands: who owned them?

  • Compromise: No states own the land – the federal gov’t does

  • All 13 states ratify in 1781

    • Significance?

      • Uniting colonies diplomatically

Land issues

Land Issues

  • How will the Ohio Valley be divided up?

    • Land Ordinance of 1785

      • Divided land into square mile sections

      • Townships 36 square miles (6x6)

      • Each section numbered

        • Could sub-divide and sell

        • Section #16 in township designated for a school

      • Significance?

        • Blueprint for new towns

        • Encourages western settlement

        • Crucial for the future of public education

Land issues1

Land Issues

  • How will new states be made once people move out there?

    • Northwest Ordinance of 1787

      • Territories could be made states in this process:

        • Stage 1. land just a territory owned by the U.S.

        • Stage 2. Population reaches 60,000 – could write state constitution and send to Congress in hopes of approval

        • Stage 3. If Congress approves  STATEHOOD!

      • Significance?

        • Encourages westward expansion

International issues


No trade…

Leads to smuggling

Plans to reclaim Vermont

Kept many trade posts along frontier

Keeps good relations with Indians


Block mouth of Mississippi River

Western residents needed river for trade

Claimed uninhabited parts of Florida

Riled up Indians against Americans

International Issues

  • France:

    • “Pay up” – France wants debts paid

  • North African Pirates:

  • –Dey of Algiers – robbed weak American ships

  • –Couldn’t afford “bully money”

Weakness of the articles

Weakness of the Articles

  • States had too much independence:

    • Fought over boundaries, taxed other states, printed own money

  • Shays’Rebellion (1786)

    • Daniel Shay mad about farmland mortgages

    • Shay and his followers attempt take-over in Massachusetts

    • Wealthy citizens fund makeshift army

    • Rebellion quelled after a couple skirmishes

    • Significance?

      • Made people fear uprisings – urge for stronger federal government

  • Articles of Confederation: Problems very apparent

  • Strengthen them or scrap them?

  • Can republicanism work?

Making compromises1

Making Compromises


To understand how the 13 states were able to put aside their differences and make a series of compromises that would result in a new strong, central government (The Constitution).

Constitutional convention

Constitutional Convention

  • Philadelphia (May 1787)

    • 55 delegates from 12 states

      • “Demigods”: GW, Franklin, Hamilton, Madison

      • Absent Revolutionaries: Jefferson, Adams, Paine

      • Absent Patriots: Hancock, Henry, Sam Adams

        • Still very against strong government

    • Goal: revise the Articles

Constitutional convention1

Constitutional Convention

  • Issues:

    • Threats of other nations

    • U.S. can’t maintain order

    • States’“runaway democracy”

  • Solution:

    • Strengthen federal government

    • Articles of Confederation “secretly” thrown out

Unit 3 a new nation

The Preamble

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic 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.”

  • How does the language of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution reflect historical events and the goals the Founders had for the future?

  • What does the Preamble mean?



  • Representation?

    • Virginia Plan (Large States Plan)

      • Representation based on population

    • New Jersey Plan (Small States Plan)

      • States should have an equal vote in Congress

    • Great Compromise:

      • Bicameral house (2 houses)

        • House of Representatives based on population

          • Taxation bills begin in H.O.R.

          • Elected by the common people

        • Senate has 2 senators from each state

          • Votes on treaties, presidential appointees

          • Elected by state legislators



  • Significance of Great Compromise?

    • Compromise of biggest issues paved way for the rest…

  • Slaves counted in state population?

    • Southern states want slaves counted

    • Northern states disagree with counting slaves

      • Bigger population = more power in congress

  • Compromise?

    • The Three-Fifths Compromise:

      • 3/5 of slave population counted towards population

  • Slave importation to be outlawed by 1807

    • Insignificant: Slavery already self-sufficient



  • Executive Branch?

    • Agree on elected president

      • Commander-in-chief of military

      • Power to veto legislation

    • President elected by Electoral College

      • Group of official presidential voters

      • Common people deemed “too ignorant”

  • Judicial Branch:

    • Federal chief justices appointed for life

      • Allows stability

Checks and balances

Checks and Balances

  • System set up to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful

Constitutional convention2

Constitutional Convention

  • September 1787

    • 42 of 55 delegates signed it

  • Still needs to be ratified by all states

  • State conventions created to vote on Constitution

    • Unlike state legislations, state conventions would be less biased

    • The debate would split the country into two groups…

A country split

A Country Split…



Did not want ratification of Constitution

Believed it gives too much power to to national government

Usually less-educated, farmers, from frontier, wanted states’ rights

Felt Constitution was written by and for the aristocracy

Lacked bill of rights

Federal government could form army

No more annual elections

  • Wanted ratification of Constitution

    • Stronger central government

    • Usually richer, some former Loyalists, from more coastal areas, property owners




The great debate

The Great Debate

  • Convention delegates elected by people

  • 75% of states need to ratify to activate Constitution

  • 5 states ratify right away:

    • Delaware, Penn, NJ, Georgia, Conn.

  • Massachusetts split

    • Ratify only after promise of Bill of Rights

      • Mass a “tipping point”

  • Maryland, SC, NH ratify

  • 9 of 13 ratify: Constitution now active (June 1788)

Warm up

Warm Up

  • Why did Massachusetts and other states demand a Bill of Rights to be added to the Constitution in order to ratify it?

Bill of rights

Bill of Rights

  • Written by James Madison

    • Needed 2/3 of Congress and 3/4 of the states to approve

  • Bill of Rights:

    • First ten amendments to the Constitution

      • Amendment 1: Freedom of religion, speech, press, right to peaceful assemble and petition

      • Amendment 2: Right to bear arms


      • Amendment 9: Protection of rights not listed (“People’s Rights Amendment”)

      • Amendment 10: Any power not established in the Constitution is left to the states (“State’s Rights Amendment”)

The great debate1

The Great Debate

  • Virginia, NY, NC, RI still holding out

  • Once NH ratified (9/13) the constitution was in effect

    • Dilemma: Join or break off?

  • Virginia: Joins shortly after NH

  • NY: pushed by TheFederalist Papers written by

    • Alexander Hamilton

    • James Madison

    • John Jay

  • NC then RI pressured into ratification (May 1790)

U s 1789

U.S. 1789…

  • Biggest problem?

    • The economy

      • Minimal revenue, debt growing fast

    • Population growth…

      • Blessing in disguise?

      • New states: Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee

  • President Washington

U s 17891

U.S. 1789…

  • Biggest problem?

    • The economy

      • Minimal revenue, debt growing fast

    • Population growth…

      • Blessing in disguise?

      • New states: Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee

  • President Washington

    • GW’s Cabinet:

      • Secretary of State: Thomas Jefferson

      • Secretary of the Treasury: Alexander Hamilton

      • Secretary of War: Henry Knox

    • Signs “Judiciary Act of 1789”

      • Establishes Supreme Court and Federal Court System

      • John Jay first Chief Justice

New government in place

New Government in Place

  • Patriots of the American Revolution vs. “Demigods” of the Constitutional Convention

    • What had changed through this constitution process?

    • Who held most the power before? Who now?

    • Did the delegates do a good job of setting up structure and limitation of their power?

Two party system develops

Two Party System Develops


To examine the new strength of the understand how and why a two-party system developed early on in the United States political scene, and what the results and effects of this were.

Hamilton s plan

Hamilton’s Plan

  • Hamilton faced biggest issue:

  • Economy

    • 4 part plan to financial stability:

      • Paying all debts in full

        2. An import tariff

        3. A whiskey tax

        4. A National Bank

1 paying debts

1. Paying Debts

  • “Funding at Par”

    • Needed to pay of all debts to both the American people and international debts in full…

      • Respect and credit

  • “Assumption”

    • Federal government assumes all state debt…

      • Creates unity through a common goal

      • Compromise leads to creation of Washington D.C.

2 import tax 3 whiskey tax

2. Import Tax & 3. Whiskey Tax

  • How to pay off debt:

  • Tax imports

    • Hamilton predicted American industry soon booming (more trade = more revenue from import tariffs)

  • Whiskey tax

    • Excise tax on whiskey

    • Growing and widespread product, not a necessity

4 national bank

4. National Bank

  • Hamilton says National Bank would stabilize economy

    • Would store government money

    • Lend money to businesses

    • Print money

Unit 3 a new nation

Effects of and the backlash against Hamilton’s plan…

National bank debate


Strict interpreter of the Constitution

If it is not written in Const. it is illegal


10th Amendment

Bank system should be left to states


Loose interpreter of Constitution

If it is not prohibited by Const. then it is acceptable

“Elastic Clause”

Congress has power to do whatever is “necessary and proper” to carry out its duties

Commerce and taxes are a duty of Congress

National Bank Debate:

Hamilton wins: Bank of U.S. established in 1791

Political parties form

Political Parties Form

  • Unintentionally creates 2 party system

    • Hamiltonians vs. Jeffersonians


    • Federalists vs. Anti-federalists (Democratic-Republicans)


    • Conservatives vs. Liberals

  • Pros and cons of 2 party system?

    • Cons:

      • disrupts unity, slows down gov’t process

    • Pros:

      • gives people choice

  • Whiskey tax resistance

    Whiskey Tax Resistance

    • Whiskey-makers of frontier upset

    • “Taxation without representation”

      • Tenn. and Kentucky not states yet

    • 1794 – Whiskey Rebellion

      • Few hundred whiskey-makers rise up in western Pennsylvania

      • Washington crushes rebellion with 15,000 soldiers

    • Significance?

      • Comparison with Shay’s Rebellion…

        • New gov’t was strong.

    Young nation tested

    Young Nation Tested


    To understand how political divisions and foreign affairs would challenge America as a nation, and to identify how political leaders responded to these issues.

    French revolution 1789 1799

    French Revolution (1789-1799)

    • American Revolution helps inspire French Revolution

      • But F.R. was anarchy and less diplomatic

        • Mobs, massacres, beheadings

        • American view:

          • Conservatives disgusted

          • Liberals think worth the violence if this leads to democracy

    • 1792 – Becomes international issue and war ensues

      • England vs. France

      • Who does America support?

    Who does america support




    Franco-American alliance of 1778

    Repay the favor

    Hamiltonian Federalists:


    Alliance with Britain would help American economy more

    Who Does America Support?

    Up to Washington…

    Neutrality proclamation of 1793

    Neutrality Proclamation of 1793

    • Washington declares neutrality

      • America too young and unstable to involve itself in massive war

      • American policy: act only in self-interest

      • France felt betrayed, Dem-Reps upset

        • Edmond Genet – French ambassador tries and fails to incite American protest of decision

        • Significance?

    Two party system strengthens


    Led by Hamilton

    Wealthy classes, coastal regions

    Envision “industrial America of big cities”


    Good for economy

    Supported strong central government

    Educated elite should run gov’t


    Led by Jefferson

    Mostly farmers, rural areas

    Envision “agricultural America of small towns”


    Repay the favor

    Supported state/people’s rights

    Uneducated men can run gov’t

    Two Party System Strengthens

    Problems with britain indians

    Problems with Britain & Indians

    • Rising tension with Indians & British trading posts

    • Battle of Fallen Timbers (1794)

      • English supplying Indians with guns

      • Indians forced to sign treaty surrendering Ohio Valley

    • British Navy stealing from U.S. ships in Caribbean

      • “impressment”

    International treaties

    International Treaties

    • Jay’s Treaty (1794)

      • Washington sends Jay to negotiate problems with English

      • Jay’s treaty:

        • U.S. pays off all pre-war debts to England

        • British would leave American frontier trading posts

        • England pays for damages of past impressments

        • War avoided

    • Pinckney Treaty (1795)

      • Spain scared of American-British relations

      • Spain gives Americans use of Mississippi River

      • Gives Florida to the U.S.

    • France furious over neutrality and Jay’s treaty

    New president

    New President

    • 1796 – Washington steps down after 2 terms

      • Farewell Address: “avoid political parties” and “permanent alliances”

    Election of 1796

    Election of 1796

    Thomas Jefferson

    (Democratic-Republican Party)

    John Adams(Federalist Party)


    71Electoral College68

    36,000 Popular Vote 31,000

    Young nation tested1

    Young Nation Tested


    To understand how political divisions and foreign affairs would challenge America as a nation, and to identify how political leaders responded to these issues.

    New president1

    New President

    • 1796 – Washington steps down after 2 terms

      • Farewell Address: “avoid political parties” and “permanent alliances”

    • John Adams (Federalist) beats Jefferson (Dem-Reps) in close election

      • Hamilton too controversial

    • Adams now 2nd President

    War with france

    War with France?

    • French impressment leads to unofficial war

    • Adams sends delegates to France to smooth tensions

    • 1798 – XYZ Affair

      • Three French spies secretly approach delegates

      • Secret offer made to American delegates:

        • Demanded Adams apologize, a loan, and a bribe

      • American delegates refuse, leave talks

      • Fighting in Caribbean continues – “Quasi War”

    Adams legacy

    Adams’ Legacy

    • American public & Federalist party demanding war

    • Adams refuses

      • Splits federalist party

        • Adam’s Federalists vs.

          Hamilton’s “High Federalists”

      • Sends new delegates to negotiate with Napoleon

      • Convention of 1800:

        • Franco-American Alliance over

        • Impressement damages must be paid to French shippers

      • Adams scorned for decision

        • Right move?

    Alien and sedition acts

    Alien and Sedition Acts

    • Federalists pass two acts while in office to strengthen party’s power:

    • Alien act:

      • Restricts immigration and citizenship

        • Residency 5 years → 14 years

        • Power to deport

        • Why?

          • Immigrants likely to support Dem-Reps

    • Sedition Act:

      • Any public criticism against government is punishable

        • Why?

          • Silences criticisms against the Federalist party

    Virginia and kentucky resolutions

    Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

    • James Madison and Jefferson react:

    • Felt gov’t had abused power

    • Resolutions cited the “compact theory”

      • AKA “state’s rights theory” or “nullification theory”

      • 13 states entered a contract (“compact”) to form federal gov’t → federal laws must be approved by states

      • Resolutions give states power to deem a federal law unconstitutional and void

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