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Chapter 6. Securing Independence, Defining Nationhood 1776-1788. Introduction. 1.) What were the different conflicts contained within the American Revolution? 2.) How did the Revolution affect relationships among Americans of different classes, races, and genders?

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chapter 6

Chapter 6

Securing Independence, Defining Nationhood


  • 1.) What were the different conflicts contained within the American Revolution?
  • 2.) How did the Revolution affect relationships among Americans of different classes, races, and genders?
  • 3.) How did the state constitutions and Articles of Confederation reflect older political ideas?
introduction cont
Introduction (cont.)
  • 4.) How did the Constitution’s proponents address Americans’ concerns about concentrated political power?
the prospects of war
The Prospects of War
  • Introduction
    • The Revolution was a war of the American people against the British
    • and a civil war between American supporters of independence and Americans who were opposed to breaking with the mother country
loyalists and other british sympathizers
Loyalists and Other British Sympathizers
  • About 20% of all whites opposed the Revolution
  • Loyalists
    • Allegiance to the crown
    • Aka “Tories”
  • Hated by patriots (revolutionaries)
  • Largest % of loyalists were in NY and NJ
  • Recent British immigrants and French Canadians tended to be loyalists
loyalists and other british sympathizers cont
Loyalists and Other British Sympathizers (cont.)
  • Thousands of southern slaves escaped to the royal army
    • African-Americans in the North were more likely to support the Revolution
  • Indian tribes were divided and many wanted to sit out the conflict
    • Majority sided with the British
the opposing sides
The Opposing Sides
  • Advantages of the British
    • Outnumbered the Americans 11 million to 2.5 million
    • Largest navy
    • One of the best professional armies
  • Disadvantages of the British
    • Difficulty in recruiting soldiers (employed 21,000 loyalists and 30,000 Hessians)
    • Supplying armies 3,000 miles across the ocean
    • Financial strain
    • English domestic support for the War waned
the opposing sides cont
The Opposing Sides (cont.)
  • Americans mobilized their smaller population behind the war more effectively
  • After 1778 they had French and Spanish assistance
    • Mostly veteran European officers
the opposing sides cont9
The Opposing Sides (cont.)
  • American problems:
    • 1/3 of population were slaves or opposed to the Revolution
    • State militias did well in guerrilla raids but lacked training for battles
    • Few experienced officers
    • Raw recruits
  • Americans did not have to conquer redcoats
  • Rebels just had to keep resisting until the British public tired of the struggle
the opposing sides cont10
The Opposing Sides (cont.)
  • George Washington was the logical choice as commander of the American army
  • VA tobacco planter
  • Member of the House of Burgesses
  • Representative at the Continental Congress
  • Former military leader of the colonists
war and peace 1776 1783
War and Peace, 1776-1783
  • Introduction
    • Until mid-1778, fighting remained in the North
      • Each side won important victories
    • American forces prevailed over British troops and their Native American allies to gain control of the trans-Appalachian West
    • The War was finally decided in the South
      • American and French forces won at Yorktown, VA in 1781
    • In the peace treaty, Britain acknowledged American independence
shifting fortunes in the north 1776 1778
Shifting Fortunes in the North, 1776-1778
  • New York
    • 130 British warships carrying 32,000 royal troops landed near NY harbor in summer of 1776
      • Led by General William Howe and Admiral Richard Howe
    • 18,000 American soldiers
      • Led by Washington
    • By end of 1776, British forced Americans to retreat from NY across NJ and the Delaware River into PA
shifting fortunes in the north 1776 1778 cont
Shifting Fortunes in the North, 1776-1778 (cont.)
  • During the winter of 1776-1777, Washington struck back at Trenton and Princeton
  • Recoats pulled back to NY
  • In NJ, the Whigs forced loyalists remaining in the state to pledge allegiance to the Continental Congress
shifting fortunes in the north 1776 1778 cont16
Shifting Fortunes in the North, 1776-1778 (cont.)
  • Americans’ best hope for victory lay in French diplomatic recognition and military alliance
  • Louis XVI held back until he became convinced that the Americans had a chance of winning
    • October 1777
    • Saratoga, NY
    • American forces surrounded British forces and forced 5,800 British troops to surrender
shifting fortunes in the north 1776 1778 cont17
Shifting Fortunes in the North, 1776-1778 (cont.)
  • French were impressed with the victory at Saratoga
  • Feb. 1778, France recognized the United States
  • June 1778, France declared war on England
  • Subsequently, the Spanish and Dutch Republic also declared war on Britain
  • Turning point in the war
    • The formation of this coalition against GB
shifting fortunes in the north 1776 1778 cont18
Shifting Fortunes in the North, 1776-1778 (cont.)
  • Fall of 1777, the British inflicted defeats on Washington’s army at Brandywine Creek and Germantown, PA
  • British occupied Philadelphia
  • Forced Continental Congress to flee
  • Winter of 1777-1778
    • Royal in Philadelphia (comfortable)
    • Washington’s troops at Valley Forge (froze and under supplied and equipped)
shifting fortunes in the north 1776 1778 cont20
Shifting Fortunes in the North, 1776-1778 (cont.)
  • Battle of Monmouth Court House
    • NJ
    • June 1778
    • Continentals defeated British
    • British escaped to NY
      • Protected by British Navy
    • Washington hovered across the Hudson River keeping an eye on them
the war in the west 1776 1782
The War in the West, 1776-1782
  • Although the number of people involved in the frontier battles was small, the skirmishes were deadly
  • British, Americans, and Indians realized that the victor of the West would control the area west of the Appalachian Mountains
the war in the west 1776 1782 cont
The War in the West, 1776-1782 (cont.)
  • The battles began in the South
    • Cherokees attacked from VA to GA
    • By 1777, the frontiersmen had crushed the Cherokees
    • forced the Cherokees to cede much of their land in the Carolinas and TN
the war in the west 1776 1782 cont23
The War in the West, 1776-1782 (cont.)
  • Expeditions led by George Rogers Clark, John Bowman, and Daniel Brodhead inflicted heavy losses on hostile Ohio Indian tribes
  • Ohio Indian tribes would continue to fight until 1780’s
  • Joseph Brant led the Iroquois on deadly raids against the western NY and PA settlers until he was stopped at a battle near Elmira, NY
the war in the west 1776 1782 cont24
The War in the West, 1776-1782 (cont.)
  • By war’s end, the Iroquois population had dropped by a 1/3
  • Not greatly influencing the outcome of the war
  • These battles played a major role in the development of the future American nation
victory in the south 1778 1781
Victory in the South, 1778-1781
  • After 1778, the British shifted their attention to the South
  • 1st victory at Savannah
  • 1780
    • British took Charles Town, SC
    • General Charles Cornwallis led British
    • Nathaniel Greene led Americans
victory in the south 1778 1781 cont
Victory in the South, 1778-1781 (cont.)
  • Cornwallis led English forces into the Carolina backcountry
    • British victories
      • Camden and Guilford Courthouse
    • American victories
      • Kings Mountain and Cowpens
  • British suffered heavy casualties in the Carolina backcountry though
    • Cornwallis decided to head back to VA
victory in the south 1778 1781 cont27
Victory in the South, 1778-1781 (cont.)
  • Cornwallis established a new base on Virginia’s Yorktown Peninsula
  • Battle of Yorktown
    • American and French armies
    • French fleet
    • Cut off and surrounded British
  • October 19, 1781 Cornwallis surrendered
  • The fighting in the Revolutionary War ended
peace at last 1782 1783
Peace at Last, 1782-1783
  • Treaty of Paris
    • John Adams, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin represented America
    • Began in June 1782
    • Signed in Sept. 1783
peace at last 1782 1783 cont
Peace at Last, 1782-1783 (cont.)
  • British recognized American independence
  • British promised to remove all troops from American soil
  • Mississippi River became the western boundary of the new nation
  • New Orleans and the outlet of the river to the Gulf of Mexico as well as East and West Florida went to Spain
peace at last 1782 1783 cont31
Peace at Last, 1782-1783 (cont.)
  • Notably absent from the Treaty was any reference to Native Americans
  • Native Americans refused to acknowledge American sovereignty over their territories
  • The Confederation agreed to compensate loyalists for their property losses and repay British creditors
    • several states later refused to comply
    • In retaliation, the British did not evacuate forts they sill held in the Northwest
peace at last 1782 1783 cont32
Peace at Last, 1782-1783 (cont.)
  • American victory had been costly
    • At least 5% of free males between 16 and 45 died in the war
    • Many loyalists and former slaves fled to Canada, Britain, and the West Indies
  • The War did not address 2 important issues:
    • 1.) what kind of society America was to become
    • 2.) what sort of govt. the new nation would possess
the revolution and social change
The Revolution and Social Change
  • Egalitarianism Among White Males
    • There was no significant redistribution of wealth in American during the Revolution
    • The Declaration of Independence’s bold assertion that “all men are created equal” did promote more egalitarian attitudes
    • The upper class found it prudent to simplify their standards of living and treat common people with more respect
egalitarianism among white males cont
Egalitarianism Among White Males (cont.)
  • Ordinary folks were less likely to defer to their “betters” or automatically leave governing to them
  • Americans began to feel that political leaders should some from the “natural aristocracy”
    • Men who demonstrated virtue
    • accomplishments
    • dedication to the public good
egalitarianism among white males cont35
Egalitarianism Among White Males (cont.)
  • The gains made through the advantage of family retreated before the republican principle of ability
  • The new egalitarianism did not include women, blacks, Indians, and landless white men
white women in wartime
White Women in Wartime
  • During the Revolution, the assumptions about women barely changed
    • Women were dependent on fathers and husbands
    • Had no public role to play
white women in wartime cont
White Women in Wartime (cont.)
  • However, in the midst of war
    • women took on added responsibilities
    • served visibly in support of the fighting men
    • Raised $$$ for the troops
    • Some even served incognito
  • The gains and rights they deserved for this and other social responsibilities would be up for discussion in the new republic
  • Abigail Adams would led fight for change
a revolution for black americans
A Revolution for Black Americans
  • In 1776, blacks accounted for 20% of U.S. population
    • Almost all of them were enslaved
    • Majority in the South
  • 5,000 blacks served in the Continental Army
  • The Declaration of Independence’s words about equality made the Whigs uneasy about slavery
  • The Quakers had taken the lead in attacking slavery
a revolution for black americans cont
A Revolution for Black Americans (cont.)
  • Between 1777 and 1810
    • All northern states instituted gradual emancipation
    • No southern states outlawed bondage
  • Several southern states did make the voluntary freeing of slaves easier
    • By 1790, about 5% of VA and MD blacks had been freed
a revolution for black americans cont41
A Revolution for Black Americans (cont.)
  • Most free blacks remained poor laborers, domestics, or tenant farmers
  • Some blacks and whites began to advocate the idea that freed slaves might be better off being returned to their homelands in Africa (Prince Hall)
  • Most states granted freedmen certain civil rights
    • Blacks continued to be treated as 2nd class citizens
native americans and the revolution
Native Americans and the Revolution
  • Native Americans suffered the worst of any group during the War
  • For many whites the republic’s promise of equal opportunity meant moving west to obtain their own land
    • Moving into Indian territory
  • The tribes of the Ohio Valley were especially vulnerable
    • Between 1754 and 1783, war and uprooting had reduced the Native American population east of the Mississippi by nearly 50%
native americans and the revolution cont
Native Americans and the Revolution (cont.)
  • Many Indians still living east of the River adapted some features of white culture, combined it with native customs, and created new lifestyles
  • But they insisted on their right to control their own communities and lives
forging new governments
Forging New Governments
  • From Colonies to States
    • Certain beliefs inherited from the colonial era stood in the way of a thorough democratization of politics
    • Most Whigs believed that voting and office holding must be tied to property ownership
      • They frowned on political parties as strife-causing factions
      • They did not see the need for apportioning seats in a legislature on the basis of population
from colonies to states cont
From Colonies to States (cont.)
  • Whigs were wary of unchecked executive authority
  • Inclined to augment the role of elected legislatures
  • Interested in framing government institutions that would balance the interests of different classes to prevent any one group from gaining absolute power
from colonies to states cont46
From Colonies to States (cont.)
  • The 1st state constitutions reflected both the radical and traditional features of Whig thought
  • Except for PA’s, they did not provide for election districts that were equal in population
  • 9 of the 13 state reduced property qualifications for voting
    • But none abolished them entirely
  • By 1784, all state constitutions included a bill of rights
from colonies to states cont47
From Colonies to States (cont.)
  • The state constitutions provided for frequent elections and stripped the governors of most of their powers
  • In 1780’s, many states revised their constitutions to strengthen the executive branch and increase the political power of wealthy elites
from colonies to states cont48
From Colonies to States (cont.)
  • Most of the states also enacted social reforms
  • For Example
    • In VA, Thomas Jefferson framed legislation abolishing primogeniture (the right of the 1st child to inherit their parents property)
    • Abolishing entails (to restrict inheritance of property in a will)
    • the established churches
    • guaranteeing religious freedom
formalizing a confederation 1776 1781
Formalizing a Confederation, 1776-1781
  • In 1777, the Continental Congress drafted a constitution called the Articles of Confederation
  • 4 years passed before the states ratified the Articles of Confederation
    • Disputes over states’ claims to western land and their representation in Congress
formalizing a confederation 1776 1781 cont
Formalizing a Confederation, 1776-1781 (cont.)
  • There was a unicameral congress in which each state had 1 vote
  • No national court system
  • No executive branch
  • Financial, diplomatic, and military affairs were managed by congressional committees
  • The congress could request funds from states but could not tax the people directly or regulate interstate and foreign commerce
formalizing a confederation 1776 1781 cont51
Formalizing a Confederation, 1776-1781 (cont.)
  • The Articles affirmed the new nation’s attachment to decentralized power when it reserved to each state full “sovereignty, freedom, and independence”
  • This left the national government severely limited in important respects
finance trade and the economy 1781 1786
Finance, Trade, and the Economy, 1781-1786
  • The confederation proved too weak to meet its greatest challenge (putting the country’s finances on a sound basis)
  • Unable to tax the people or force the states to contribute funds
    • the congress could not pay off it Revolutionary War debt
    • Or meet its operating expenses
finance trade and the economy 1781 1786 cont
Finance, Trade, and the Economy, 1781-1786 (cont.)
  • Nor could the government under the Articles win diplomatic concessions from the British, who badly hurt New England shippers and merchants by shutting them out of the West Indian trade and imposing steep customs fees on goods entering England
finance trade and the economy 1781 1786 cont54
Finance, Trade, and the Economy, 1781-1786 (cont.)
  • Declining exports depressed the economies of both New England and the South
  • Its paper currency, the Continental, depreciated by 98%
the confederation and the west 1785 1787
The Confederation and the West, 1785-1787
  • The confederation also had to decide on the future of the trans-Appalachian west
    • speculators and settles wanted to acquire these lands immediately
    • Native Americans determined to keep their homes
the confederation and the west 1785 1787 cont
The Confederation and the West, 1785-1787 (cont.)
  • The Confederation responded by forcing Indian leaders to sign treaties ceding western lands,
  • the tribes, disputed the legitimacy of these American appointed Indian leaders
    • repudiated the treaties
the confederation and the west 1785 1787 cont57
The Confederation and the West, 1785-1787 (cont.)
  • Congress passed the Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787
    • Set a successful pattern for surveying, selling, and administering western lands
    • Provided the way for territories to become states with the same powers and privileges as the original 13 states
    • Northwest Ordinance for the 1st time banned slavery from a territory
the confederation and the west 1785 1787 cont58
The Confederation and the West, 1785-1787 (cont.)
  • The British and Spanish governments made life difficult for western settlers.
  • British
    • refused to evacuate 7 forts in the Ohio Valley
    • Supplied Indians in the region with arms and ammunition.
the confederation and the west 1785 1787 cont59
The Confederation and the West, 1785-1787 (cont.)
  • Spanish
    • Sided with the Indians against American frontier families
    • closed off New Orleans to western farmers who wanted to ship their produce down the Mississippi and out to eastern cities and Europe through New Orleans
the confederation and the west 1785 1787 cont60
The Confederation and the West, 1785-1787 (cont.)
  • Map of forts
  • Some westerns saw independent negotiations with Spain as the best resolution
  • Many westerns predicted a new independent western country would break away from the weak confederation
toward a new constitution 1786 1788
Toward a New Constitution, 1786-1788
  • Shays’ Rebellion, 1786-1787
    • 1786
    • Massachusetts
    • Led by Daniel Shay
    • Farmers and debtors vs. the MA govt.
    • State militia defeated Shays’ followers
  • Results:
    • Some Americans feared that the govt. was unable to protect even domestic law and order
    • Producers wanted a stronger govt. to regulate interstate and foreign commerce
shays rebellion 1786 1787 cont
Shays’ Rebellion, 1786-1787 (cont.)
    • Merchants and shippers desired a govt. that could secure foreign trade opportunities for them
    • Westerns hoped for better protection from the Indians
  • 1786
    • Meeting in Annapolis
    • Originally meant to promote interstate commerce
    • Instead called for a general convention of all the states to amend the Articles and create a more effective national govt.
the philadelphia convention
The Philadelphia Convention
  • Spring and summer of 1787
  • 55 delegates from every state besides RI
    • The majority were wealthy, had legal training, and shared a nationalist rather than a local perspective
  • Sessions were closed to the press and the public
  • Decided to abandon the Articles and write a new constitution
the philadelphia convention cont
The Philadelphia Convention (cont.)
  • The convention worked from a draft written by James Madison
  • “Virginia Plan”
the philadelphia convention cont65
The Philadelphia Convention (cont.)
  • “Virginia Plan”
    • A national govt.
      • Broad powers to tax, legislate, and use military force against the states
    • 2 house congress
      • Representation in both chambers based on population
the philadelphia convention cont66
The Philadelphia Convention (cont.)
  • Small states worried that they would always be outvoted
  • Objected to the VA Plan
  • Created the “New Jersey Plan”
the philadelphia convention cont67
The Philadelphia Convention (cont.)
  • “New Jersey Plan”
    • Unicameral congress
    • Each state, regardless of population, had an equal voice
the philadelphia convention cont68
The Philadelphia Convention (cont.)
  • The convention finally agreed to a compromise
  • 2-chamber legislature
    • Representation in the House based on population
    • Representation in the Senate based on the principle of equality for each state
the philadelphia convention cont69
The Philadelphia Convention (cont.)
  • The Constitution was finished in September 1787
  • Federal govt. powers:
    • Levy and collect taxes
    • Conduct diplomacy
    • Protect domestic order
    • Authority to coin $$$$
    • Regulate interstate and foreign commerce
the philadelphia convention cont70
The Philadelphia Convention (cont.)
  • The Constitution carefully balanced state and federal power, the interests of one social group against another, and the authority of one branch of the national govt. vs. another
  • Federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances
the philadelphia convention cont72
The Philadelphia Convention (cont.)
  • Many features of the Constitution were NOT democratic:
    • Recognized and in some ways protected slavery (3/5’s clause)
    • Allowed direct election only of members of the House of Rep.
  • Democratic features:
    • It acknowledge the people as the “ultimate source of political legitimacy”
    • Amendment process (allowed democratization of the govt. in years ahead)
the philadelphia convention cont73
The Philadelphia Convention (cont.)
  • The delegates provided for ratification of the Constitution by special state conventions composed of delegated elected by the people
  • Needed 9 conventions to approve the new Constitution
the struggle over ratification 1787 1788
The Struggle over Ratification, 1787-1788
  • During 1787 and 1788, the country divided into Federalists and Antifederalists
  • Federalists supported the Constitution
  • Antifederalists did NOT support it
    • feared that the Constitution concentrated too much centralized power in the hands of a national elite
    • that individuals’ freedoms would be trampled because the document contained no bill of rights
the struggle over ratification cont
The Struggle over Ratification (cont.)
  • Antifederalists lacked the leadership stature of prominent Federalists like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin
  • Federalists promised to provide a bill of rights
  • Federalist victory
the struggle over ratification cont76
The Struggle over Ratification (cont.)
  • The Federalist Papers
    • A series of articles
    • an effort to win New Yorkers over to the Constitution
      • Written by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison
    • Valuable commentary on the Constitution and insight into the political philosophy of the Founding Fathers
federalist papers
Federalist Papers
  • The final triumph of the nationalism born of the War of Independence came in late 1789 and early 1790, when the last 2 reluctant states (NC and RI) ratified the Constitution and joined the new nation
  • The Constitution did not create a democratic govt. for the U.S.A.; but it did establish the “legal and institutional framework within which Americans could struggle to attain democracy”