George Washington (1st President, 1789-1797)


The men who created the new American government knew how bold an experiment they were undertaking. Never before in history had men tried to enforce effective government over so wide a geographic area while deliberately limiting its power and making it responsible to popular control. The Founding Fathers placed their faith in the federation, a unique blend of national, state, and local government. But would the federation of the new Constitution work?

In 1789 many conditions favoured the success of the venture. The United states were at peace, and its economy was prosperous. Although the Continental Congress and the Confederation had been weak, they had given many Americans experience in making political decisions for a nation. Men who had provided leadership to the American states and the Confederation government in the years since 1775 filled the top positions in the new federal government. Many minor federal office-holders, too had experienced under the Confederation. The first President George Washington enjoyed enormous prestige. Most important, American citizens had long ruled themselves and believed firmly in representatives government based on a philosophy of natural rights.

Yet serious problems lay ahead. In every state, for example, a minority of men still spoke out in opposition to the Constitution and had stoutly supported its ratification, important differences of opinion remained about the meaning of that document. At Philadelphia, these differences had been compromised or overlooked for the sake of getting a Constitution which the delegates could support. But the theory now had to be turned into practice. Some men could certainly join the opposition when decisions went against them.

1. Majority Rule and Minority Rights

Supporters of the Constitution hoped that opposition to it could be reduced by winning decisive votes of approval in each of the ratifying conventions called by the states. The support of New York was particularly important because of its bustling port and its key location between New England and the Middle Atlantic States. Yet Alexander Hamilton of New York, who had joined in the task of drafting the new Constitution, feared that his state might reject it. He called upon two of the nation’s most experienced political thinkers, John Jay, author of New York’s State Constitution of 1777, and James Madison, the leading figure at the Philadelphia Convention, to help him sells the Constitution to the people of New York. These three men wrote a series of letters which were published in New York Journals to explain the Constitution’s purpose and meaning.

New York might have ratified the Constitution even if the letters had not been written. Nevertheless, their value as a commentary on American government was recognized immediately. They were published together in a volume called “The Federalist”, generally considered the most important discussion of political ideas that has ever been written in America.

Not only did “The Federalist” give explanations of the Constitution which lawmakers, judges, and lawyers still study, but they also contained broad, philosophical discussions of problems that any government must solve. One of the problems examined in “The Federalist” is as real to us today as it was to the “Founding Fathers”. How can minority rights be protected in a society whose government is based on majority rule?

The great political thinkers, the Englishman John Locke (16321704) and the Frenchman Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), had each believed in the philosophy of natural rights. Each had also believed that man formed governments by agreement, under a “social contract”, in order to protect their natural rights. Yet the two men had different ideas about what should be done with persons whose opinions and interests conflicted with those of the majority. The men who wrote the Constitution were familiar with the ideas of both Locke and Rousseau.

Locke believed that when individual men entered a social contract they reserved for themselves certain basic rights. No just government, even or representing the will of the majority, could violate these rights. Should a government do so, the people could over-throw it and establish a new one. While Locke’s argument implied protection of minority rights, it carried with it the potential dangers of disunity and instability.

According to Rousseau, men who entered the social contract agreed to conform to the “general will” of the society, that is a kind of ideal consensus of what was best. Because Rousseau believed that all men were by nature good, he thought that the “general will” could be trusted to protect the rights of all members, of society. But once the “general will” was decided, all had to abide by it. Rousseau did not acknowledge the existence of minorities whose opinions justly differed from the majority, so a government based on his idea could not be expected to tolerate, let alone protect, minority views.

The important question then became whether a government could guarantee a minority the right to political action and still maintain an orderly society. James Madison believed that the Constitution offered an answer to that question.

2. Interpreting the powers of Government

Early in Washington’s first term, disputes arose over questions which the Constitution had left vague or unanswered. Some involved the form and the style of government. (Should Washington be referred to as “His Highness the President of the United States and Protector of their liberties”? The answer was “no”). Some involved questions of authority. (Since the President needed the Consent of the Senate to appoint department heads such as the Secretary of State, could he remove them without its consent? The answer was “yes”). As might have been expected, however, the hottest debates about interpreting the Constitution grew out of attempts to define how much power the new government had.

At first, the administration was inclined to take a liberal view of its powers, or as it came to be termed, to adopt a “broad Constitution” of the Constitution”. James Madison, who had had more to do with writing the Constitution and putting it into effect than anybody else, took this view. But Madison and others soon realized that the government could use broad powes to favour some groups at the expense of others.

In 1790, for example, Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton proposed that the government approve the organization of a national bank by private citizens and advance part of the money to start it. Hamilton saw that a bank could provide credit for business expansion and act as a financial agent for the government. The Constitution, however, said nothing about the government’s right to create such a bank. Madison and his close friend Thomas Jefferson, who had become Secretary of State, recognized that a government bank would benefit Commercial interests along the northern seaboard more than it would help farmers and planters of the backcountry and the South. Both these men owned an extensive plantation in Virginia. They began moving towards a narrower view of governmental power, a strict constructions of the Constitution, by denying that the government had the power to charter a bank.

Congress despite Madison’s efforts, passed Hamilton’s bank bill. In enacting this bill, Congress and the President obviously interpreted the Constitution; they believed they had the power to create a bank. But did they have the final voice in such a matter? The members of the Constitutional Convention had not taken a position on this question. Some of them had suggested that the Supreme Court ought to sit with the President as a “Council of Revisions to examine laws passed by Congress. Some had thought that challenges to the Constitutionality of laws would naturally come before the Supreme Court for decision. Some also had doubted whether the judges could set themselves above legislators. The issue of the bank raised all these questions.

George Washington’s Administration

It will be no exaggeration to state that time and distance were probably the greatest assets of the United States. The nation had time for its people and leaders to learn how to govern. The country also was far enough away from Europe so that it did not become a battleground in Europe’s many wars. The nation had other assets, of course, but most of its resources were untapped or undeveloped. In 1789, when George Washington became President, there were fewer than 4 million people in the thirteen states. Most people ate regularly and well, but they were far from being rich. With a new government in control, Americans hoped the nation would enter a period of stability and prosperity.

Early Life

Washington was the son of Augustine Washington, a moderately wealthy planter, and his second wife, Mary Ball. He was born on the family’s Virginia estate (new known as Wakefield) on Feb. 22, 1732. His father died in 1743. George’s half-brother Lawrence then became head of the family. George displayed an early talent for mathematics, and at the age of 15 began earning small fees by surveying. In 1748 he assisted George Fairfax in making an extensive survey of Thomas Lord Fairfax’s lands in the wilderness country west of Virginia’s the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In 1751-52 he accompanied Lawrence, who was suffering from Tuberculosis, to Barbados. The George survived a case of smallpox, becoming immune to the disease that was to plague his troops during the Revolutionary War. Lawrence died soon after returning to his Mount Vernon home. George inherited a part of his estate. At 20 he obtained a commission as major in the militia.

Washington first gained public notice in 1753 when he was entrusted with a dangerous mission before the French and Indian war, he volunteered to deliver a message from Virginia Government. Robert Dinwiddle to the French in Ohio country, warning them to leave the British-claimed territory. His two-and-a-half-month journey took him across hundreds of miles of untapped and unmapped wilderness to the shore of Lake Erie. When he returned he was commissioned, Lieutenant Colonel.

Washington was then sent back to the frontier in command of a militia unit. In May 1754 he fought the first skirmish of the French and Indian War. He built Fort Necessity near present-day Uniontown, Pennsylvania, but was forced to surrender it to the French on July 4, 1754.

A year later, an aide-de-camp to British General Edward Braddock in the disastrous expedition against Fort Duquesne, Washington established his reputation as a military leader by rallying the survivors for an orderly retreat. In 1758, commanding colonial forces supporting British regulars, he distinguished himself anew in the final capture of the French fort.

Washington, not yet 27, retired to private life when peace returned. A tall, well-built man, he was amiable, just and immensely vital. In 1759 he married. Mrs. Martha Custis, a wealthy widow with two children. He then settled down to the life of a Virginia gentleman on his plantation, Mount Vernon.

Washington was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses (175974), where he became a leader in opposing British Colonial policy. He served in 1774-75 as a delegate to the Continental Congress. As Commander of the Continental Army, he displayed the unique qualities of his martial powers up to the period when British General Cornwallis surrendered on Oct. 19, 1781, which virtually put an end to the Revolutionary War. In 1783 Washington retired from the Army and returned to Mount Vernon.

First President of the U.S.A.

After the new government was organized, Washington was unanimously chosen as the first President. He took office on April 30, 1789, in New York City. : Washington’s own views were Federalist. But in staffing his administration he was above partisanship. It was mainly his capacity for conciliation that kept the American Revolution free of terrorism, purges and arbitrary seizures of power that have marked other revolutions.

He brought both Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, leader of opposing faction, into his Cabinet. Washington’s poise, prestige, and dignity made the new government of the United States respected at home and abroad.

While President Washington traveled extensively throughout the Country. Factions developed into political parties, and the strain put upon Washington as Conciliator led to his refusal to accept a third term.

In public life, Washington combined modesty with self-assurance. In his first inaugural address, he acknowledged “deficiencies” in natural endowments and administrative experience. Characteristically, he set about overcoming them by study, as he had fitted himself for managing his plantations by studying agriculture.

Many precedents were set during his terms of office. The “advise and consent” role of the Senate evolved into the right of that body to approve or disapprove the President’s actions but never to give him formal advice beforehand.

Chief among the vigorously debated issues of his administration were taxation and banking policies the assumption of state debts, and the jurisdiction of federal courts. During his second administration, he was severely criticized by the Jeffersonians, especially for Jay’s Treaty with England. In the war between England and France Washington proclaimed neutrality and urged it as basic U.S. Policy.

In his Farewell Address, he warned against “entangling alliances.” Washington died on Dec. 14, 1799. Over 178 years later on March 13, 1978, in accord with a resolution of Congress, the U.S. Army promoted Washington to General of the Armies of the United States to preserve his seniority.

As Commander of the Continental forces during the Revolutionary War and as the Frist President of the United States, George Washington became “Father of his country. In the eight years of his Presidency, the nation’s basic institutions were established. Washington’s personal qualities were remarkable.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “his integrity was the purest his justice the most flexible, I have ever known. He was true, in every sense of the word, a wise, a good and a great man.”

His Cabinet and Administration

President Washington and the members of the first Congress knew that their actions would set precedents for the future. Therefore, they were careful as they applied the basic ideas of the Constitution to existing situations. Gradually, the outlines of the new government began to fill in his Presidential period from 1789-1797.

1. Congress in Session

Ist, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.

2. Vice-President

John Adams, 1789-97.

3. Secretary of the Treasury

Alexander Hamilton, 1789-95
Oliver Wolcott, 1795-97

4. Secretary of State

Thomas Jefferson, 1789-93
Edmund Randolph, 1794-95
Timothy Pickering, 1795-97

5. Secretary of War

Henry Knox, 1789-95
Timothy Pickering, 1795-96
James McHenry, 1796-97

6. Attorney General

Edmund Randolph, 1789-94
William Bradford, 1794-95
Charles Lee, 1795-97

7. Postmaster General

Samuel Osgood, 1789-91
Timothy Pickering, 1791-95
Joseph Habersham, 1795-97

The Machinery of Government

The first Congress soon found that the Constitution did not clearly provide for executive departments. It referred to them vaguely but said nothing about how many or what kinds they should be. Assuming that it had the freedom to act, Congress quickly created three executive departments state, treasury, and war. It also set up the offices of the attorney general and the postmaster general. The persons heading these departments and the major executive offices soon came to be regarded as the President’s Cabinet or group of Chief advisers. The judicial system, too, required action by Congress before it could work. The Constitution said: “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

In September, Congress passed the “Judiciary Act of 1789”. It created a Supreme Court of six members three circuit courts and thirteen district Courts. This law also outlined which kinds of cases to be heard in each kind of court. It gave the state courts original jurisdiction in Cases involving the Constitution, the laws, and the treaties of the United States. This meant that the courts of the state were at the base of the federal judicial system. In effect, this act distributed the nation’s judicial power between the Central Government and the states.

The Constitution did not say that a case could be appealed from a state court to a federal court. Federalists in Congress assumed that this right was implied in the Constitution. In the Judiciary Act, therefore, they established the principle of judicial review of state legislation.

The Bill of Rights

During the struggle over ratification, the Federalists had realized that the greatest weakness in the Constitution was the lack of a bill of rights. The delegates had not been opposed to such a bill. They had thought it unnecessary because the national government would have only the powers listed. In several states, however, including Virginia and New York, the outcome of the fight for ratifications had hinged on including a bill of rights. Federalists won some people to their side by promising amendments to the Constitution that would clearly protect the personal liberties of free citizens.

In the state ratifying conventions, dozens of amendments were proposed to protect individual rights. Under the leadership of James Madison, Congress went through the proposals and reduced them to twelve amendments. In September 1789, they were submitted to the states. Three fourth of the states ratified ten of the amendments but rejected two of them. In December 1791, the ten amendments became part of the Constitution.

Since the Bill of Rights (as these amendments came to be known or called) limited the central government and not the states, it added strength to the federal features of the Constitution. The first eight amendments listed individual rights, such as freedom of religion, speech and press, and the right to trial by jury. The Ninth Amendment stated that the listing of rights in the Constitution was not complete or exclusive. The Tenth Amendment said:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People.”

The lingering distrust between the nationalists and the supports of states’ rights could be seen in the debate over the Tenth Amendment. Some supporters of states’ rights wanted to place the word “expressly” before the word “delegated”. They felt that this would more clearly shift the emphasis of the constitution away from nationalism. Their efforts failed, but the Tenth Amendment still marked a retreat from the strong nationalism of the Philadelphia Convention.

Strengthening the Foundations of Federal Government

Washington at first tried to organize a non-partisan administration, But party politics soon developed. Washington appointed Federalists to most of the government posts, and these people formed the core of the first national political party.

Role of Alexander Hamilton

Many of the basic ideas of Washington’s government came from Alexander Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury. He was young, brilliant and thirsty for power. He had definite views on politics, economics and foreign affairs, and he also had plans for putting his ideas into practice. Hamilton, though born poor in the British West Indies, had developed aristocratic tastes and ideas. Through his marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler, a member of the wealthy New York family, he had finally joined the aristocracy of wealth that he had long admired. He believed that the common people were ignorant and incapable of governing. He admired the British aristocracy, based on a hereditary nobility. He insisted that the British system of government was the best in the world. He wanted to entrust political power to men of intelligence, education and wealth. Men of property, he reasoned, would have a selfish interest in the government. Since their property would need government protection, they would support and defend the Constitution.

Hamilton’s philosophy and Program

Economic Plans

With Washington’s support, Hamilton developed a program designed to gain the respect of foreign nations for the new government. Hamilton’s programme was designed to strengthen the nation’s economy, political system and foreign policy.

In January 1790, Hamilton presented his plan to the House of Representatives. He pointed out that the United States would have to be fair to its creditors if it were to be able to borrow in the future. Its credit would depend on law faithfully it paid its existing debts. He recommended that the national debt to be “funded” at face value. This meant that the government should take in its various certificates of indebtedness and replace them with government bonds bearing one dependable rate of interest. The money for this funding would come from import duties and excise taxes on goods produced within the country.

Hamilton also recommended that the government assume, or take over the payment of debts that the states had acquired during the Revolutionary War. Hamilton hoped to strengthen the national government by making the state governments financially dependent upon it. Also, he wanted holders of either state or national bonds to become strong supporters of the national governments.

Establishing Credit

Most members of Congress liked the idea of funding public debt to improve the nation’s credit. They felt that the foreign debt should be paid in full. But many objected to replacing domestic loan certificates, many of them worthless with new bonds promising to pay the same amount in sound new dollars. Hamilton and his friends argued that the foreign and domestic debts could not be divided. They insisted that national honor required payment of the entire public debt at face value. When the debate subsided, Congress passed the funding bill that Hamilton had proposed. Unfortunately, some speculators knew beforehand of the plans to fund the debts. They were able to buy outstanding certificates at low prices from people who thought they had become worthless. The speculators made huge profits.

Hamilton’s proposal to assume the states’ debts met stiffer opposition. States with large or unpaid debts liked the idea of having the national government take over their payments. States that had repaid most of its debts opposed the plan. They did not want to pay federal taxes to help states that had not taken care of their own debts. Virginia, which had repaid most of its debts, led the opposition. The struggle increased the distrust between northern and southern states. To avoid a sectional split, Hamilton asked Thomas Jefferson, the secretary of state, to persuade fellow Virginians to accept a political deal. In exchange for votes from the south in favor of assumption, Hamilton offered northern votes in Congress for locating the national capital on the Potomac River. The Virginians were eager to have the capital on the South, and so Jefferson agreed to the deal. Hamilton’s assumption bill passed in July 1790.

A National Bank

Another feature of Hamilton’s program was the Bank of the United States, modeled after the Bank of England. Private individuals would own four-fifths of its stock and the national government would own one-fifth. The bank would operate under a charter from the Central government and would be given all of the government’s banking business. The bank would be able to issue bank-notes that would circulate as paper money. At the time there were few banks in the nation, and most of them were unstable. Hamilton argued that a national bank was needed to provide banknotes that had a set value. He said that the bank would give the government a safe place to deposit federal funds, increase government income by paying for its charter, and stabilize the price of government bonds by purchasing them at proper times.

Hamilton had three basic reasons for wanting the bank. First, the bank would benefit the merchants and bankers who would control it, and it would be another tie between the wealthy class and the national government. Second, by allowing the government to engage in the banking business, Congress would broaden the power of the central government. Third, this enlarging of national powers would weaken the power of the states.

Nothing in the constitution specifically authorized Congress to create a bank. The only basis could be found in the “elastic” clause (Art. 1, sec. 8), which allowed Congress to enact such laws as were “necessary and proper” for carrying out the powers of government. When the bank bill reached Congress, James Medison and others fought against it on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and that it would benefit only the wealthy. Nonetheless, Congress passed the bill, and it went to the President. Hamilton argued for the bank He pointed out that the government had the power to coin money and collect taxes. He said a bank was “necessary and proper” to execute these powers. Jefferson opposed the bank. Washington accepted Hamilton’s advice and, in February 1791, signed the bank bill. The Bank of the United States began operating under a charter that, ran for twenty years.


The main source of income of the new government was the sale of public lands. To pay for funding and assumption, the national government needed still more money. Hamilton favored two kinds of taxes to raise more money; a tariff on imports and an excise tax on distilled liquors, such as Whiskey. It was hoped to encourage American industry through the tariff. The tariff would raise the price of foreign manufactured goods. Hamilton believed that if these prices went high enough, Americans would buy goods made in the United States rather than imports. In 1789, a tariff was raised which were rather lower than those requested by Hamilton. Nonetheless, it produced some of the revenue the government required.

In December 1791, Hamilton explained his ideas for the encouragement and protection of industry. In his report on Manufactures, he pointed out that America’s new industries suffered from a shortage of inexperienced labor and in the capital. Without the government’s help, they could not be expected to compete with the established industries of Europe.

Hamilton urged Congress to set up protective tariffs and establish bounties for new industries. He asked Congress to give bonuses for improvements in goods, reward investors, and allow needed raw materials to enter the country duty-free. Congress would not accept all of Hamilton’s proposals but in May 1792, it passed a tariff act that included some of his recommendations.

Whiskey Rebellion

In March 1791, Congress had passed the tax on distilled liquors. Hamilton, had intended this tax to have a political as well as an economic impact. He wanted to use it to assert the direct power of the national government over individuals. Such powers has previously belonged only to the states. Almost from the day the tax was passed, it aroused opposition. The farmers in the back country of Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina had difficulty moving their crops to market, and so they commonly made part of their crops into Whiskey. They then transported this Whiskey over mountain trails to country, towns, where they sold it or bartered it for supplies. To many farmers, Monongahela rye whiskey was as good as money. The excise tax went as high as 25 percent of the price, and it hit the western distillers hardest.

In 1794, farmers in four Countries of western Pennsylvania refused to pay the tax. They attacked on the tax collectors started the “Whiskey Rebellion”. Hamilton viewed the uprising as a chance to test the power and strength of the national government.

Under the Constitution, Congress had the power to use the militia, “to execute, the laws of the Union” and to “suppress insurrections.” Congress, therefore, authorized the President to call out state militia to end the uprising. In the first test of the federal law no one knew if the states would remain loyal to the Union and respond to the President’s request.

Four states, including Pennsylvania, provided troops. An army of some 13,000 men, headed by Hamilton and accompanied part of the way by the President, marched on Pennsylvania’s western countries. Al the approach of this force opposition vanished. The troops captured a few rebel leaders, whom Washington later pardoned. The federal government thus established its authority, strength, and credulity, but it gave rise to critics who condemned the use of such great force to stop a few farmers. These critics turned to political action to oppose the government and Hamilton’s policies.

The Rise of Organized Opposition


Several years before the outbreak of the Whiskey Rebellion, people inside and outside the government began grouping into two national parties. Those who followed the leadership of Hamilton and Washington became known as “Federalists”. Their opponents led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were called Republicans. Hamilton and Jefferson differed over how the United States should develop. Their ideas were reflected in their parties. Comparative differences as follow:

  1. “Federalists” was the party of Alexander Hamilton, John Adams and John Marshall. Whereas the “Democratic-Republicans” was the party of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
  2. Federalists were led by merchants, bankers and lawyers, living primarily in New England. Whereas the Democratic-Republican was led by planters, farmers and wage-earners, living mainly in the South and Southeast.
  3. The Federalists favored a strong central government; whereas the Democratic-Republicans favored strong state governments.
  4. The Federalists interpreted constitution loosely; whereas the Democratic-Republicans interpreted the Constitution strictly.
  5. The Federalists believed in government by the aristocracy and distrusted common man; whereas the Democratic-Republicans favored rule by the educated masses.
  6. The Federalists passed Alien and Sedition Acts, whereas the Democratic-Republic supported individual libterties, passed Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.
  7. The Federalists had been Pro-England, While the Democratic-Republican were Pro-France.
  8. The Federalists favored Hamilton’s financial policies; for a protective tariff, for Nation Bank, for manufacturing interests and for the assumption of state debts; whereas the Democratic-Republican opposed Hamilton’s financial policies against the protective tariff, for state banks, for agrarian interests, and against the assumption of state debts.

While Hamilton dreamed of the United States that was an industrial giant, Jefferson hoped the country would remain a nation of small farmers. The Hamiltonians thought the government should encourage business and industry by granting special privileges. The Jeffersonians were opposed to this idea.

Most of the Hamiltonians were merchants, bankers and manufactures from the New England states and coastal areas and wealthy farmers and southern plantation owners. Jeffersonians were mostly craft workers, frontier settlers, or owners of small farms in the South and West.

Jefferson favored a more democratic form of government than the British system that Hamilton admired. He thought that most men were capable of self-government, and he wanted to lower the voting qualifications so that more men could vote.

As members of the Republican party, the Jeffersonians pushed for a strict interpretation of the Constitution, with most of the power residing in the states and little given to the central government. They opposed Hamilton’s efforts to broaden the powers of the national government. The Republicans also were more concerned with civil liberties, such as freedom of speech and press. The Hamiltonians, as. Federalists sponsored laws to restrict these freedoms.

Although Federalists and Republicans differed over many issues, they divided with greatest bitterness over foreign policy. Federalists believed that the nation would be best served if the government tied itself closely to Britain. Republican generally favored a policy of close political and economic cooperation with France.

The French Revolution, which had started in 1789, strengthened party feelings in the United States. At first most Americans were in sympathy with the revolt in France, and many even praised it. Then, in April 1793, the revolutionaries beheaded King Louis XVI and declared war on Britain, the Netherlands and Spain. Republicans rejoiced because France had become a republic and was fighting Britain, America’s old enemy. They celebrated French victories and wore the tri-colored cockade, a hat symbolic of the French republic. The Federalists were horrified by the violence in the French Revolution. They defended Britain and denounced France.

Views on Diplomacy

It is intended to make a study of “Federalist Diplomacy.” As a secretary of state, it was Thomas Jefferson’s job to plan the governments’ foreign policy. Hamilton feared that Jefferson and James Madison would drive the country to war against Britain. Determined to prevent this, the secretary of the treasury interfered with the conduct of foreign affairs. He tried to get Washington to follow his, not Jefferson’s ideas in dealing with France and Britain. At times he negotiated privately with the British. As a result, Jefferson decided, in 1792, to resign. He said he could not stand Hamilton’s tampering with Foreign affairs. Hamilton also spoke about leaving. Washington asked both of them to stay so that the government could remain unified. Both Jefferson and Hamilton agreed to stay in the President’s Cabinet.

As the end of his term approached in 1792, Washington made plans to retire. Fearing that party differences might break up the union unless Washington served a second term as President, both Hamilton and Jefferson begged him to reconsider. Jefferson told Washington, “North and South will hang together if they have you to hang on.”

Others also pleaded with Washington, and no one would run against him. He easily won re-election. Although Republicans made a party contest out of the balloting for Vice-President, John Adams also was re-elected.

A Policy of Neutrality

In his second term, Washington devoted much of his time to foreign relations. One of his first decision in the new term concerned American policy in the war between France and Britain. He turned to his Cabinet members for advice. All the – advisors agreed that the President should adopt a policy of neutrality. Washington made this the official policy in a proclamation that be issued on April 22, 1793. It said that the United States was at peace with both France and Britain, and it warned Americans not to act hostilely toward either country. The overthrow of the French monarchy raised other policy questions.

Washington asked his advisers if the American treaties with France were still in effect and if he should receive a minister from the French republic. Again Hamilton and Jefferson differed. Hamilton wanted to suspend the treaties and refuse to recognize the republican government of France. He wanted to use the French Revolution as an excuse to end the alliance with France.

Jefferson argued that the treaties were still legally binding and that the President should recognize the French republic. This time Washington followed Jefferson’s advice. The new French ministers was a rash young man is known as “Citizen” Edmond C. Genet (the French revolutionaries used “Citizen” in place of “mister”). As soon as he arrived in the United States, Genet meddled in American politics. He appealed directly to the people, rather than to the heads of the government. He insulted Washington and enraged the Federalists. He did not ask for military aid under the terms of the French alliance, but he did demand assistance that would have violated. American neutrality. His disregard for American neutrality became intolerable, and Washington demanded that the French government recall him. Genet’s misconduct also forced the government to clarify its neutrality policy. The Neutrality Act of 1794, which prohibited foreign warships from being fitted out in United States ports, was the result.

Jay’s Treaty

Meanwhile, the United States was brought to the verge of war with Britain. During the European war, France had opened ports in its Caribbean Colonies to American shipping. These ports had previously been closed to foreigners. France opened them because it needed supplies. The British were destroying most French shipping, and only neutral ships could get through.

The profits were good, and Americans, quickly built up a flourishing trade in these ports. Since this trade helped France, the British decided to stop it. Beginning in June 1793, Britain issued three executive orders which said that Britain would not allow in time of war a trade that was prohibited during peace. In enforcing this policy, British naval officers seized United States ships and Cargoes and imprisoned the seaman.

Newspapers in the United States played up these captures. AntiBritish feelings became so strong that it was difficult to follow Washington’s policy of neutrality. The difficulty increased when word reached the capital of British actions in the Northwest.

The trouble stemmed from Washington’s efforts to Conquer the Indians in the region. American military expeditions in 1790 and 1791 failed, in part because British officials had provided the Indians with supplies. The British had also promised the tribes that they could recover lands settled by Americans at the time of the Revolutionary War. This promise enraged Americans.

Americans had other grievances. British troops still held the northwest posts on American soil and the British government still refused to make a commercial treaty. Together these grievances brought on a crisis between the United States and Britain.

Many Americans started preparing for war much to the alarm of Hamilton and other Federalists. To head off a war, in April 1794, Hamiltonians persuaded the President to send john jay, the chief justice of the United States, on a special mission to London. Jay was able to get a commercial treaty, which he signed in November 1794. When details of the treaty reached the United States, Republicans called it a sellout to Britain. The treaty granted few of the things that jay had been told to get from Britain, such as payment for the Caribbean captures and generous trade privileges.

Republicans tried and failed to defeat Jay’s Treaty in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, they attempted to without the funds necessary to carry out the provisions of the treaty.

Although the treaty had shortcomings, it kept the peace at a time when war with Britain might have split the Union. Because of it, the British finally left the northwest posts. In addition, the willingness of Britain to make a treaty with its former colonies was at least a small victory for American diplomacy.

Though few Americans realized it at the time, jay’s Treaty had a great influence on the defeat of the Indian tribes in the Ohio country. During the Treaty negotiations, Britain told its troops in the northwest posts to prepare to evacuate. When the Miami, Shawnee, Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa fought American troops in the Battle of alarm of Hamilton and other Federalists. To head off a war, in April 1794, Hamiltonians persuaded the President to send John Jay, the Chief Justice of the United States, on a special mission to London. Jay was able to get a commercial treaty, which he signed in November 1794. When details of the treaty reached the United States, Republicans called it a sellout to Britain. The treaty granted few of the things that jay had been told to get from Britain, such as payment for the Caribbean captures and generous trade privileges.

Republicans tried and failed to defeat jay’s Treaty in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, they attempted to without the funds necessary to carry out the provisions of the treaty.

Although the treaty had shortcomings, it kept the peace at a time when war with Britain might have spilled the Union. Because of it, the British finally left the northwest posts. In addition, the willingness of Britain to make a treaty with its former colonies was at least a small victory for American diplomacy.

Though few Americans realized it at the time, jay’s Treaty had a great influence on the defeat of the Indian tribes in the Obis country. During the Treaty negotiations, Britain told its troops in the northwest posts to prepare to evacuate. When the Mianic, Shawnee, Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa fought American troops in the Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 1794), their British allies gave them no help. The Americans soldiers burned the cornfields, killed the fruit trees, and destroyed the villages. The following June the defeated tribes signed the – Treaty of Greenville.

In it, they gave up their rights to most of Ohio, part of Indian and scattered sites, including those that became Detriot, Vincennes, and Chicago.

Agreement with Spain

While jay was negotiating in London, Spain broke with Britain and became an ally of France. Because Jay’s mission seemed to draw the United States closer to Britain, Spain feared an attack by AngloAmerican forces on its Northern American colonies. Spain also thought that American pioneers might invade Louisiana and Florida. Its ministers decided to purchase American goodwill.

In 1794, Spain asked the United States to negotiate its grievances. Washington sent Thomas Pinckney, the minister in London, to Madrid. In October 1795, he and the Spaniards signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo (Pinckney’s Treaty.). So pleased were American leaders with the agreement that the Senate approved it unanimously.

The treaty gave the United States unrestricted navigation of the Mississippi River and the right to deposit goods in warehouses at New Orleans for reloading on ocean-going vessels. It also set the boundary of West Florida at the 31st parallel. Spain promised that it would not promote Indian attacks against Americans, and the United States promised to keep Indians in its territory from striking at Spanish lands. The new national government had made important diplomate gains. It had done so, in part, because Spain and Britain were preoccupied with their policies in Europe. The Jay and Pinckney treaties freed American social from the British and the Spanish for the first time since independence.

France’s interference

When the French learned of Jay’s Treaty from going into effect. The French made a distinction between the American people and their Federalist government. They portrayed Washington’s administration as a slave to British policy while most Americans favored French friendship. The French ministers to the United States publicly supported Republicans in elections, put pressure on senators to defeat the treaty, and tried to get the American people to oppose that agreement.

This interference in American politics enraged Washington. It made him determined to support the British treaty The tensions over foreign policy also prompted Washington to announce his decision to retire. For some time, he had been tired and disappointed with abusive politics. However, the French meddling convinced Washington that his nation needed a warning. He decided to give it in the form of a farewell statement, which he issued through the newspapers in September 1796.

Washington’s Farewell Address came to be one of the most influential statements on foreign policy ever made by an American. The President began by announcing that he would not be a candidate for a third term. He warned against “foreign influence,” stressed faithfulness to existing agreements, and said “it is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” He defended his own policies and denounced French meddling. Federalists praised the Farewell Address; Republican called it political propaganda, and the French disliked it. The French minister threw his weight into the presidential campaign on the side of Thomas Jefferson the Republican candidate. He said that only a victory by Jefferson would end the possibility of war with France. The French minister’s interference did Jefferson more harm than good. Jobin Adams won the nations first contested the presidential election in 1796. Though Jefferson gained the vice-presidency, Federalists retained control of the Government. It seemed likely that there would be no basic change in American politics.

The Role of Political Opposition

For a few years, President Washington’s Administration mot no organized opposition. Jefferson, Madison, and others disliked Alexander Hamilton’s use of federal power to strengthen the Commercial interest of the American economy. But to oppose Washington directly seemed a little like treason. He was re-elected unanimously in 1792.

During Washington’s second term, however, his fellow Virginians took the lead in organizing a network of political groups. Members of these groups disagreed with many of the policies proposed by Hamilton and adopted by Washingon. They called themselves“ Republicans“, leaving to the Administrations’ supporters the name of “Federalists”.

Many circumstances, besides opposition to the Administration’s pro-business policies, contributed to the Republican opposition. Political fights at the state and local level turned some powerful leaders, such as George Clinton of New York, into opponents of the Federations. The court break of war in 1793, between the French revolutionary government and Great Britain, created dissension between sympathizers with Britain such as Hamilton, and sympathizers with France such as Jefferson. Federalists also blamed Republican societies, which were influenced by the democratic aims of the French Revolution, for a revolt, in 1794, of western Pennsylvania farmers against a highly unpopular commercial treaty with Great Britain. President Washington used his influence to get the Senate to ratify the treaty over-vigorous Republican objections.

While the Republican organization was much too lose and informal to resemble a modern political party, it nearly won the Presidency for Jefferson in 1796. John Adams defeated Jefferson by the narrow electoral margin of seventy-one to sixty-eight. Under the existing rules, each elector voted for two men without specifying which one was to be President. Jefferson, with the second-highest vote, became VicePresident.

After a brief “honeymoon” between Adams and the Republicans, an even more bitter political fight broke out. Each side had the support of newspapers which vied with one another in denouncing both the leaders and the policies of the opposition. The war between Britain and France entered a more active phase in 1798. American foreign affairs became a violent partisan issue. Both Federalists and Republicans hurled charges of disloyalty to American interests at each other. It became uncertain whether the antagonists could continue to work with each other within a constitutional framework.

The Federalists absorb their opponents

Most of the strong feelings aroused by the battles over ratification of the constitution died down quickly. Some of the men who had vigorously opposed the constitution were elected to the First Congress. They may have been attracted to Congress by the prospect of sharing in a new kind of power or by a desire to guard with the sharp eye’s the rights of their states against the new central government. In any case, they devoted their abilities to the Common task of making the federal system succeed. By mid-1790 when all thirteen states had ratified the constitution, outward opposition to the new system of government had virtually disappeared. The proposal of a Bill of Rights by Congress ad much to still the fears of the suspicious. The reputations and talents of the men who took office in George Washington’s first Administration quieted these fears further.

Washington’s qualities of leadership during the years of the Revolution and the Confederation had influenced his colleagues to make the office of President strong. Washington did not disappoint his supporters as he helped shape the Presidency. His conduct in office won for the new government what it needed mast, the confidence of its citizens. While Washington’s immense dignity and reserved air kept his subordinates somewhat in awe of him, his rock-like integrity and sound Judgment commanded their deep respect. John Adams, who as VicePresident added prestige to the Administration, Commented after observing Washington in action for a few months:

“No man, I believe, has influence with the President. He seeks information from all quarters, and Judges more independently them any man I ever knew.”

Thomas Jefferson disagreed with many of Washington’s policies. Yet in 1914 he recalled of the first President:

“Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known.”

Washington tried hard to get men of high abilities to serve in appointive offices. He also set the precedent of awarding some offices to men from all sections of the nation. This policy was one important way to promote national Unity. He selected, trusted former subordinates for two executive positions by appointing Alexander Hamilton of New York as Secretary of the Treasury and Henry Knox of Massachusetts as Secretary of War. He drew up the largest state, Virginia, for its politically powerful governor, Edmund Randolph, and for its most distinguished political thinker and diplomat, Thomas Jefferson. Randolph became Attorney General and Jefferson became secretary of State. The six Supreme Court justices were drawn from all parts of the country. John Jay of New York became the first Chief justice. Of the largest states, only Pennsylvania did not contribute a high-ranking federal office.

The rise of organized Opposition

The men who designed the Constitution were realists. They expected that those who took part in the government would find many reasons to disagree with each other. The delegates to the Philadelphia Convention had built a system of checks and balances into the new government to make it difficult for a distinct interest group to gain control of the whole government. Madison had argued in The Federalist”, that federalism gave protection against the evils of factions. But the authors of the Constitution had not expected that such interest groups would grow into organizations operating openly and peacefully to gain leadership and control in the government. In the 1790s political parties were not yet a recognized part of the political process, but the beginnings of the American party system date from this period.

The Republicans (later called Democratic-Republicans) informally organized their opposition to the Federalists as early as 1791, When Hamilton pressed his financial program. on Congress. The Republicans grew in strength by battling the foreign policies of Washington and Adams, which to the Republicans seemed pro-British and anti-French. But not until 1796, with Washington’s retirement from office, did they make a concerted effort to win the Presidency and control of Congress. They failed in both; John Adams became President, and the Federalists maintained their majority in Congress.

The Republicans wanted to gain control of the existing government through regular elections. They promised to administer the government according to the constitution but they frightened a good many Federalists who believed that their opponents were real revolutionaries. Federalists had done a good job of representing people with commercial, financial and urban interests. Too many of these men, Jefferson’s followers seemed to be enemies of property. Even more frightening to the Federalist was the timing of the Republican challenge. The Republicans became a recognizable group at every time that the revolutionary government in France, which had executed King Louis XVI and had gone to war with Britain, Austria and Prussia, reached its most radical and violent stage. Many Republicans, like their leader, Thomas Jefferson, sympathized with the French revolutionaries, who had cast off monarchy in favor of the republican government. But conservative men shuddered as they imagined Republicans seizing property and setting up guillotines in the public squares of Philadelphia. Savage criticism of Federalist leaders — even of revered Washington — in Republican newspapers convinced Federalists that liberty of the press was leading to a breakdown of public order.

Events abroad influenced the tone of polite warfare at home. The American political battle subsided when the French revolutionary government fell into the hands of a more conservative group in 1795, and the European war abated temporarily. Jefferson, in fact, greeted the election of Adams in 1796 cheerfully. His own election as Vice-President suggested that the two discordant groups could be brought together. Hamilton and the most conservative Federalists, however, opposed such a reconciliation The renewal of the war in Europe aggravated FederalistRepublican differences, Both Britain and France confiscated neutral American ships. Federalists and Republican accused each other of being in league with a foreign enemy to betray American interests.

The Federalists with a clear majority in Congress, took steps to repress what to them booked clearly like subversion. In 1798 they passed, and President Adams signed the so-called Alien and Sedition Acts. One of the acts gave the President power to deport any alien he thought was dangerous to the nation. Another provided heavy fines and jail terms for persons who criticized federal officials in “false scandalous, and malicious“ terms. This language was broad enough so that Federalist judges sent several Republican editors and one Republican Congressman to jail.

To these challenges, the Republicans responded first with protests. In late 1798, the Kentucky and Virginia state legislatures adopted resolutions (written by Jefferson and Madison respectively) calling the Alien and Sedition laws illegal and declaring that the states had the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional. While these challenges to federal authority set a precedent for later states – rights causes, they drew little support from other states in 1798 and 1799.

A more effective Republican answer to the Federalists came in their vigorous effort to create a party organization at the local level throughout the nation in order to win the election of 1800. This attempt was successful. Jefferson and Aaron Burr of New York received 73 electoral votes each, while Federalists Adams and Charles Pinckney of South Carolina won 65 and 64 respectively. The time in electoral votes between Jefferson and Burr gave states with Federalist electors a chance to decide the outcome. In the end, Hamilton who considered Jefferson less dangerous than Burr, as he pointed out in his letter to James A. Beyard, persuaded Federalists to throw the election to Jefferson. The twelfth amendment to the Constitution ratified in 1804, prevented the candidates of the same party from being tied in the vote for President. Now that the Republicans were in power, what actions would they take against their political enemies? Jefferson gave a conciliatory response in his inaugural address in 1801:

“We are all republicans, we are all federalists”.

Nor did he oust Federalists from appointive offices in large numbers, although he required their loyalty to the new Administration. After the vindictiveness of the 1790s, a calmer spirit prevailed in the nation. A challenge had been met; the leadership of a nation had been changed peacefully. Political opposition within a constitutional framework would be tolerated and eventually praised rather than driven underground and punished.

A Brief Survey of The Inhabitants, 1790

The population grew rapidly in the years before the 1790 census. It is estimated that the British colonies gained 1 million people between 1760 and 1775, primarily because of high birth and the influx of immigrants.

The colonists were encouraged to marry and to marry early. Since considerable labor was needed to make a farm productive, a big family was considered a necessity. Families of ten or twelve children were Common and those of twenty or twenty-five were not unusual. The country had a high death rate among infants and young children, however. Even in well-settled areas, as many as one-third of the children died before the age of five. Life was hard for adults as well as for children. Many marriages ended early with the death of one partner. Second marriages were often entered into shortly after the funeral, for marriage was in many ways an economic necessity, Third and fourth marriages were not uncommon.

During the Revolutionary War, population growth slowed. This was partly due to fatalities of war (approximately 100,000), the departure of many Loyalists, and a lower birth rate. Some of these losses were offset by continued immigration and by British and German troops who decided to stay after the war.

As peace was restored the population began to grow rapidly again. Most Americans favored unlimited immigration, and political leaders encouraged it. Also, the slave trade increased.

By 1790, the United States was still a nation with a young population. For example, the median age of white males was 16.

At the time of the first census in 1790, western New York and Pennsylvania were considered the most promising areas in which to settle. Both had fertile, reasonably priced land to offer and both were less crowded than many of the New England and southern states. A large · number of Americans were moving west in 1790. By that year, the non-Indian population of the territory of Tennessee, for example, had grown to approximately 70,000.

National Origins and Religions, 1790

English 48.7% African 20%; Scotch-Irish 7.8% German 7.0%; Scotch 6.6%; Dutch 2.7%; other 7.2%.

Religious denominations in order of strength

A. Anglican (Episcopal) ; B. Baptist; C. Congregational; D. Dutch Reformed; F. French Huguenot; G. German Reformed. J. Jewish; L. Lutheran. M, Methodist; P. Presbyterian; Q. Quaker; R. Roman Catholic

American Constitution at Working Preamble

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, 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.

We citizens of the United States adopt this constitution because we want to

  1. Form a better union of our states than we had under the Articles of Confederation.
  2. Give fair treatment to everybody.
  3. Secure peace in all our states.
  4. Defend yourselves and our country against any enemies.
  5. Enjoy good living conditions.
  6. Possess liberty for ourselves and for future generations of Americans.

1. Article Legislative Branch Congress


Sec. I All legislative powers herçin granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate, and House of Representatives.


Laws for the United States are made by Congress. Congress is made up of two houses” a Senate’ and House of Representative.

2. Composition of the House


Sec 2, Para 1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.


Representatives have two-years terms and are elected by the voters of each state. Citizens who are allowed to vote for state representatives are also qualified to vote for a representative in the national House of Representatives. This section recognizes the right of each state to make laws about voting. Several amendments have extended voting rights.

3. Qualifications of Representatives


Sec. 2 Para 2. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.


A representative must be at least twenty-five years old, a United States citizen for at least seven years, and a resident of the state from which he or she has been elected. The Constitution does not require a representative to live in the district that he or she serves, but custom does.

4. Basis of Representative


Sec. 2, Para 3. Representatives (and direct taxes) shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, (which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons). The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner, as they shall by law direct. The number of representatives shall not exceed 1 for every 30,000 but each state shall have at least 1 representative ; land until such enumeration shall be made, the state of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose 3, Massachusetts, 8; Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, 1 ; Connecticut, 5 ; New York, 6 ; New Jersey, 4; Pennsylvania, 8 ; Delaware, one ; Maryland, 6 ; Virginia, 10 ; North Carolina, five ; South Carolina, 5; and Georgia.


This paragraph is part of the Great Compromise made at the Constitutional Convention. It provided that the number of representatives a state has and the amount of direct taxes the state, pays would be based on the number of people in the state. Each slave was to be counted as three-fifths of a free person; untaxed Indians were not to be counted at all. Since the abolition of slavery and property qualifications for voting; all Americans are counted in the same way. Provisions for direct taxes were changed by the Sixteenth Amendment. Besides requiring a census every ten years, this section requires Congress to decide how the count shall be made and the number of representatives from each state, except that the number of people may not be fewer than 30,000 for each representative. Each state has at least one representative even if its population is less than 30,000. Congress later set the total number of representatives at 435. By 1970, each member of the House represented about 465,000 persons.

5. Filling Vacancies


Sec. 2 Para 4, When vacancies happen in the representation from any state, the exclusive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.


If a state does not have its full number of representatives, the governor of the state is supposed to call an election to fill any vacancy. 7. Organizing the House-Impeachment.


Sec. 2, Para. 5. The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.


The House of Representatives selects its speaker (presiding officer) and other officers. The speaker has always been a member of the House. The House of Representatives alone has the power to impeach, to sit as a grand jury and decide whether or not high executives and judicial officers shall be tried for misbehavior in office.

6. Composition of the Senate


Sec. 3, Para I. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof for six years and each senator shall have one vote.


The Senate is made up of two senators from each state. Up until 1913, senators were chosen by the state legislatures; the seventeenth Amendment changed this provision. Each senator is elected for a six-year term and has one vote in the Senate.

7. Choosing Senators


Sec. 3, Para 2. [Immediately after they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one third may be chosen every second year; and] if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, (during the recess of the legislature of any state), the executive thereof may make temporary appointment (until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies).


The terms of senators in the first Congress were arranged so that one-third of the senators would be elected every two years. When a vacancy appears, the governor of the state arranges to hold an election, but if state laws permit, the governor may appoint a temporary senator.

8. Qualification of Senators


Sec. 3, Para. 3. No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.


A senator must be at least thirty years old, a United States citizen for at least nine years, and a resident of the state that he or she represents.

9. Officers of the Senate


Sec. 3, Para 4. The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have no vote, unless they are equally divided.

Sec. 3, Para 5. The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a president pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice-President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.


The Vice President presides at Senate meetings but votes only when there is a tie.
The Senate chooses its other officers and may select a presiding officer to serve when the Vice-President is absent.

10. Impeachment Trials


Sec. 3, Para. 6 _The senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on an oath or affirmation. When the president of the United States is tried, the Chief justice shall preside. And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.

Sec. 3, Para. 7 – Judgment in case of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial judgment and punishment, according to law.


The Senate is given the power to try officials who are impeached by the House of Representatives. The Senators must take on oath to try the case fairly. If the President is tried, the Chief justice presides over the senate at the trial, but in other cases, the Vice-President Presides. To convict an official, two-thirds of the senators present must vote guilty.

The penalty for the convicted official shall not be more than the loss of office and of the right ever to hold another United States government office. But he or she may still be tried in the regular courts for any crimes that caused the loss of office and be punished if found guilty by drug crimes attorney in Boston area.

11. Congressional Elections


Sec. 4, Para 1. The times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing senators.


The States may make laws about when, where and how elections for senators and representatives are held. But Congress may change the state laws. Congress, for example, has fixed the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even-numbered years as the date for the election of senators and representatives. Representatives must be elected from districts by secret ballot. Senators are now elected at the same voting places as other officials.

12. Meetings of Congress


Sec. 4, Para 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, (and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December unless they shall by law appoint a different day).


Congress must meet at least once a year. The date of the regular meeting is now fixed by the Twentieth Amendment at January 3.

13. Qualifications – Quorum


Sec. 5, Para. 1. Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business ; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and maybe authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each house may provide.


The House of Representatives and the Senate each may decide if its own members are entitled to be in Congress. Both have kept out members who met the qualifications of the Constitution but who were thought by more than half the House or Senate to be undesirable persons. Neither House or Senate can hold meetings for business unless more than half the members are present, but the absence of a quorum often is not noticed. The Senate and the House of Representatives can each make rules and fix penalties for not attending meetings.

14. Rules


Sec. 5, Para 2. — Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.


The House and the Senate may each make its own rules of conducting its business and may punish its own members for not following these rules. In either the House or the Senate, two-thirds of the members present must agree if they wish to expel a member. In practice, it has been easier to keep a member out of Congress than to put one out.

15. Journal


Sec. 5, Para 3. – Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the years and ways of the members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.


The House of Representatives and the Senate must each keep a record of what is done at its meetings. Not only are proceeding recorded, but most of what is said and much that is not said is printed unless the members decide to keep some matters secret. If one-fifth of the member’s present wish, the record must show how each member voted on any question.

16. Adjournment


Sec. 5, Para, 4. — Neither house during the session of Congress, shall without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.


While Congress is meeting, neither the House nor the Senate shall let three days pass without holding a meeting, unless the other agrees. Both must meet in the same city.

17. Congressional Privileges


Sec. 6, Para, 1. The senators and representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place.


Senators and representatives shall be paid out of the United States treasury according to the law that fixes their salaries (now $42,500 a year).

Members of Congress, attending meetings of Congress, or going to and from meetings, shall not be arrested except for treason, serious crime, or breaking the peace. This protects them from interference in doing their duty. They cannot be held from interference in doing their duty. They cannot be held responsible for anything they say in their meetings, no matter how criminal it may be, except by the house to which they belong.

18. Congressional Restrictions


Sec. 6, Para 2. No senator or representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the employments whereof shall have been increased during such time and no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either house during his continuance in office.


Senators and representatives cannot hold other United States government office while they are members of Congress. During the time for which they have been elected, they cannot take any government position, that has been created during that time nor any position for which the salary has been increased during that time.

19. Origin Of Money Bills


Sec. 7, Para. 1 – All bills raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.


Only members of the House of Representatives may propose bills that levy taxes. But the Senate may amend such bills and always does. In fact, the Senate often substitutes an entirely different bill.

20. Overriding a President’s Veto


Sec. 7, Para 2. Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the United States, if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two-thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall become a law. But in all such cases, the votes of both houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.


A bill that has passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate shall be sent to the President. If the President signs, it, the bill becomes law. If the President does do not approve the bill, he or she sends it back, without signing it, the house that first passed it. The President has to give reasons for not approving it, and these reasons must be put in the record of proceedings. The members of that house must vote on the bill again. If two-thirds of the members present agree to pass the bill, it is sent, together with the President’s objections, to the other house. If two-third of that house favor the bill, it becomes a law without the president’s approval. The records of Congress must show how each member voted.

The President has ten days, not counting Sundays, after receiving a bill to consider it. If he or she keeps it longer, it becomes a law without being signed. But if Congress has adjourned, the unsigned bill does not become a law. (This is called the “Pocket” veto.)


Sec. 7, Para, 3. Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of United States ; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.


This clause prevents Congress from making laws without the consent of the President. If either the House of Representatives or the Senate takes action that needs a mutual agreement, the matter must be sent to the president for approval. If the President agrees, it takes effect. If the President does not agree, both houses must pass the measure again by a two-thirds vote before it takes effect.

22. Powers of Congress – Taxing


Sec. 8, Para 1. –The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties imports, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.


Congress has the power to get money by taxing. Such income can be used

  1. to pay debts of the national government
  2. to defend the country
  3. to provide services for the good of all the people

All national taxes in the form of import duties or excise taxes must be the same in all parts of the country.

23. Borrowing Money


Sec. 8, Para. 2–To borrow money on the credit of the United States.


Congress has the power to borrow money for the government to use. These in no constitutional limit to the amount.

24. Regulating Commerce


Sec. 8, Para 3.–To regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.


Congress has the power to make laws to control trade, transportation, communication and related transactions with other countries, among the states and with the Indian tribes.

25. Naturalization Bankruptcies


Sec. 8, Para 4.–To establish a uniform rule of naturalization and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.


Congress has the power to say how people born in other countries can become citizens of the United States. Congress has the power to set up a national bankruptcy law.

26. Money – Weights and Measures


Sec. 8, Para 5.–To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.


Congress has the power to coin money and say how much it is worth and to put a value on foreign money. Combined with the power to borrow money this power enables Congress to issue paper money and make it legal in payment of all debts. Congress has the power to define weights and measurements so that they will be the same throughout the nation.

27. Punishing Counterfeits


Sec. 8. Para 6. — To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coins of the United States.


Congress has the power to make laws to punish persons who make imitation government bonds, stamps, or money.

28. Postal Services


Sec. 8, Para 7. – To establish post offices and post roads.


Congress has the power to provide post offices and roads.

29. Copyrights and Patents


Sec. 8, Para 8. – To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.


Congress has the power to keep science, inventors, writers and artists may receive patent and copyrights on their work.

30. Lower Courts


Sec. 8, Para 9 .– To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court.


Congress has the power to set up national courts that are lower in authority than the Supreme Court of the United States.

31. Piracy – International Law


Sec. 8, Para 10 – To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offense against the law of nations.


Congress has the power to make laws about crimes committed on the seas and oceans. Congress also has the power to make laws to punish those who break laws that are recognized by all nations (international law.

32. Declaring War


Sec. 8, Para 11. – To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.


Congress has the power to declare war, to permit persons to capture or destroy ships and goods of enemy nations without being guilty of piracy (this power given up in 1856) and to make rules about seizing enemy property on land or sea.

33. Military Forces


Sec. 8, Para 12. — to raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer-term than two years.

Sec. 8, Para. 13 – To provide and maintain a navy. Sec. 8, Para. – 14 – To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.


Congress has the power to raise armed forces, and supply them by any means and to any extent necessary. But Congress may not provide money for the army for more than two years at a time. No time limit was put on appropriations for the navy because the navy was not considered as dangerous to liberty as a permanent army. Congress also has the power to make rules for the organization and control of the armed services.

34. The Militia


Sec. 8, Para. 15. — To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.

Sec. 8, Para 16. — To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.


Congress has the power to call out able-bodied Americans organized as militia to:

  1. enforce the national laws,
  2. put down the rebellion,
  3. drive out invading enemies.

Congress has the power to provide ways and means for states to have civilian soldiers and to make rules for using these soldiers for the whole country. But the states have the right to select the officers of the militia and to see that the militia is trained according to rules made by Congress. The organized militia is the national guard.

35. The Federal District


Sec. 8, Para 17. — to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and the exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings.


Congress has the power to make all laws for the District of Columbia, which includes the national capital (Washington, D.C.). Congress governs all places bought from the states for use as forts, arsenals, navy yards, and public buildings.

36. The Elastic Clause


Sec. 8, Pàra 18 — And to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.


This paragraph — the “clastic clause” — is basic to a broad interpretation of the Constitution. It gives Congress power to make any laws that may be needed to carry out the specific powers granted in the first seventeen paragraphs of section 8 and in the rest of the constitution. It does not, however, give Congress the power to do whatever it chooses. Congress must act within the framework of the specified powers.

37. Slave Trade


Sec. 9, Para. 1 – The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but i inn ur duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.


Congress could not prohibit the bringing in of slaves before 1808. It could, however, levy a tax as high as $ 10 on each one brought in.

38. Habeas Corpus


Sec. 9, Para. 2. – The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public Safety may require it.


Only when the country is in danger from rebellion or invasion can Congress stop the courts from issuing paper called “writs of habeas corpus.” A writ of habeas corpus forces a jailer or other person to bring a prisoner into court so that the prisoner can have a judge decide if he or she is being held lawfully.

39. Bill of Attainder — Ex Post Facto


Sec. 9, Para 3 — No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.


Congress cannot pass a law convicting or punishing a particular person. Congress cannot pass a law that makes unlawful something that was not illegal at the time it was done.

40. Direct Taxes


Sec. 9, Para 4. — No capitation, (for other direct,) tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.


Congress cannot levy “head” taxes or poll taxes unless all persons (men, women, and children in the United States are taxed the same. Other direct taxes (except on incomes, according to the Sixteenth Amendment) also must be based on population instead of value, size, or any other factor.

41. Prohibition of Export Duties


Sec. 9, Para 5. — No tax shall be laid on articles exported from any state.


Congress cannot tax goods or products for being sent out of any state.

42. Equal Treatment to All States


Sec. 9, Para 6. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or Revenue to the ports of one state over those of aħother nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.


Congress cannot make any laws that favor one state or one city more than another in matters of trade or commerce. Ships from any state may enter the ports of any other state without paying charges.

43. Care of Public Money


Sec. 9, Para. 7. No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by-laws and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.


Government money can be spent only if Congress passes a bill for that purpose. An account of money taken in and spent must be made public.

44. Titles of Nobility


Sec. 9, Para 8. No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state.


The United States government cannot give a noble title (such as count, duchess Earl) to anyone. No one in the service of the United States can accept a title, a present, or position from another country without the permission of Congress. This prevents foreign governments from corrupting our officials.

45. Prohibitions on the States


Sec. 10, Para. 1 — No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque, and reprisals; coin money; imit biils of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex-post-facto law, or law impairing. the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.


States cannot make treaties with foreign countries. States cannot give private citizens permission to fight other countries. States cannot coin their own money or issue paper money. States cannot pass laws that allow materials other than gold and silver to be used as money. States cannot pass laws declaring a particular person guilty of a stated offense and describing the punishment. States cannot pass laws that would punish a person for something that was not against the law when it was done. States cannot pass laws that accuse people from carrying out lawful agreements. States cannot give titles of nobility.


Sec. 10, Para 2. No State shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imports, laid by any state on imports and exports, shall be the use of the treasury of the United States ; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress.


Sec. 10. Para. 3. No state shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.


States cannot tax goods entering or leaving a state unless. Congress agrees. But states may charge an inspection fee if necessary. Any profit from state import or export taxes approved by Congress must go into the United States treasury, and these state tax laws may be changed by Congress. Unless Congress provides otherwise, states may not tax ships, or keep troops (except civilian soldiers – militia) or warships in time of peace. States cannot make alliances with other states or with foreign countries unless Congress agrees. States cannot go to war without the consent of Congress unless they have been invaded or are in such great danger that delay would be disastrous.

Article 2 – Executive Branch

1. Presidency


Sec. 1. Para 1. The Executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and together with the Vice-President, chosen for the same term, be elected as follows.


The leaders and manager of the national government is the President, who has a four-year term of office. The Vice-President is elected to the same term of office.

2. Electoral College


Sec. 1, Para 2. Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct a number of electors, equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be) entitled in the Congress ; but no senator or representative or persons holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed as elector.


The president is elected by electors chosen by each state in the way the state legislature decides. Each state chosen as many electors as it has representatives and senators. No senator or representative in Congress or anyone holding a national government position may be an elector.

3. Original Election Method


Sec. 1, Para 3. The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the Persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify and transmit sealed to the seat of government of United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if there be more than one who have such a majority and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President ; and if no person has a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said house shall in like manner choose the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representative from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the President, the Person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice-President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice-President.


This paragraph was changed by the Twelfth Amendment. See that amendment to find out how electors now choose the President and Vice President.

4. Date of Elections


Sec. 1, Para. 4 The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.


Congress has the power to set the day for choosing the electors and the day when the electors vote. The date set for choosing electors, Election Day, is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in every fourth year. The President is not actually elected until the electors cast their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.

5. Qualification for President


Sec. 1, Para 5. No person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President ; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty – five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.


To be President, a person must have been born in the United States or been born of a parent who were citizens of the United States at the time of the birth. Such a person must be at least thirty-five years old and must have lived in the United States at least fourteen years. (Foreign-born persons who were citizens at the time the constitution was adopted were also eligible to be President.)

6. Succession to the Presidency


Sec. 1, Para 6. (In case of the removal of the President from office, of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the VicePresident, and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death resignation or inability, both of the President and Vice-President declaring what officer shall then act as President and such office shall then act as President declaring what officer shall act as President, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.


This part has been changed by the Twenty-fifth Amendment.

7. Salary


Sec. 1, Para. 7. The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor disminished during the period for which he shall bave been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.


The President is paid a salary, which cannot be raised or lowered during the term of office. While in office, the President cannot receive any other salary from the national government or from any state. The salary is now $ 200,000 a year.

8. Oath of Office


Before he enters or the execution of his office, be shall take the following oath or affirmation. I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.


Before taking the office of President, the persons elected must promise to faithfully carry on the duties of the job and make sure that the Constitution is obeyed.

9. Military and Civil Powers


Sec. 2 Para. 1. The President shall be Commander-isiChief of the army, and navy of the United States, and of the militia of several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United State, except in cases of impeachment.


The President is the head of the country’s armed forces, including the state militia when it is called into national service. The President may ask for reports from the cabinet officers and other important leaders charged with executing the laws. The President may pardon or postpone the sentences of those convicted in the national courts but cannot interfere in cases of impeachment.

10. Treaty and Appointment Powers


Sec. 2, Para 2. He shall have power by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and Consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law, but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.


Sec. 2, Para 3. The President shall have Power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.


The President has the power to make treaties with other countries, but the Senate must approve the treaties by a two-thirds vote of those present. The President has the power to appoint persons to represent the United States in other countries, but the Senate must approve the choices by a simple majority vote. The President also has the power to appoint with the senate’s approval, the justices of the Supreme court and other government officials, unless the Constitution provides a different way.

Congress may pass laws giving the President, the Courts or heads of government departments the right to select people for certain government positions.

The president may appoint persons to fill vacancies that appear in the executing department when the Senate is not meeting. These appointments hold good until the end of the next meeting of the Senate.

11. Other Presidential Powers


Sec, 3.-. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient ; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper ; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers ; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.


The President informs Congress about the nation’s conditions (this is the state of the Union message the President gives at the beginning of each session of Congress). The President recommends the necessary laws and advises Congress about desirable changes in the government in emergencies the President calls meetings of the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both.

If the two houses of Congress disagree about ending their meetings, the President may end them. (This has not yet happened).

The President deals with representatives of other countries. It is the President’s duty to see that the laws of the country are followed.

The President must sign the papers that show the right of officers to hold their positions.

12. Impeachment


Sec, 4. The President, Vice-President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.


The President, Vice-President and other officers of the national government (except Congressmen and military officers) can be removed from office after being accused by the House of Representatives and then convicted by the Senate of treason (aiding the nation’s enemies), of taking bribes or committing other serious crimes.

Article 3. Judicial Branch

1. Courts and Judges


Sec. 1. The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.


The power to judge is given to the Supreme Court and to whatever lower courts Congress sets up. Judges of all national Courts hold office for life or until they are proved guilty of wrongful acts. They are paid a salary that cannot be lowered while they hold office.

2. Power of National Courts


Sec. 2, Para 1. The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority – to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls ; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction ; to controversies between two or more states ; – (between a state and citizens of another state between citizens of different states, between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.


The national courts settle disputes that have to do with the Constitution, with laws of the United States, with treaties, and with laws about ships and shipping. These Courts also settle disputes in which representatives of foreign countries, the national government or two or more state governments are interested.

National Courts may also settle disputes between people of different states, disputes in which people of the same state claim lands in other states, and disputes between a state or citizens of a state and a foreign country or citizens or a foreign country. The Eleventh Amendment took away the power of national courts to settle disputes between a state and citizens of another state.

3. Original and Appellate Jurisdiction


Sec. 2, Para 2. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such Exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.


If the representative of a foreign country is in the dispute, or if a state is in the dispute, the trial is heard directly by the Supreme Court. All other disputes are tried in a lower national court first. Decisions in such cases may be appealed to the Supreme Court. Congress has the power to make further rules about these cases.

4. Trial by jury


Sec. 2, Para 3. The trials of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.


With the exception of an impeached official, anyone accused of a crime against the national government has a right to a trial by jury. The trial is held in the state where the crime was committed. If the crime was not done in any state (for example, a crime done at sea), the trial is held in a place Congress has chosen by law.

5. Treason


Sec. 3. Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have the power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.


Treason is defined as carrying on war against the United States. No one can be punished for treason unless he or she confesses in court or unless at least two witnesses testify that the accused person committed a treasonable act.

Congress has the power to set the punishment for treason. Congress cannot punish the family of a person guilty of treason for his or her crime.

Article 4 __ The States

1. Full Faith and Credit


Sec. 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.


All states must accept as legal and binding the law, records, and court decisions of other states. Congress has the power to make laws that say how these laws, records, and decisions must be presented for acceptance.

2. Privileges and immunities


Sec. 2, Para 1. The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.


Sec. 2, Para. 2. A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.


Sec. 2 Para 3. No. person held to service of labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labour, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due.


A citizen from another state has the same rights as the citizens of the state where he or she happen to be.

Anyone accused of crime who is found in another state shall be sent back for trial, if the governor of the state where the crime was committed requests it. But there is no legal way to force a governor to return such a person.

Slaves did not became free by escaping to a free state, but had to be sent back to their owners.

3. New States


Sec. 3, Para 1. New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union ; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state ; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.


Congress has the right to add new states to the United States. No way is provided for a state to leave the Union.

No state can be divided to make another state without the consent of the original state and Congress. Two such states have been formed from existing states Maine from Massachusetts in 1820; and West Virginia from Virginia in 1863. The law admitting Taxes to the Union provided that it could later be divided into five states.

A new state cannot be made from parts of two or more states without the agreement of the legislature of the states and of Congress. None has been formed this way.

4. Territories


Sec. 3, Para 2. The Congress shall have power to dispose and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.


Congress has the power to make rules about all government lands and property. The government of territories before they become states is determined by Congress.

5. Guarantees to the States


Sec. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on the application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened against domestic violence.


The national govern.aent must make sure that every state has a government in which the people rule and that each state is protected from invasion. Help must be sent to a state to put down riots if the state legislature asks it, or if the governor asks when the legislature is not meeting. The President can also send troops into a state without the request of the state officials if necessary to enforce national law and maintain peace.

Article 5 – Amending Procedures


The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress ; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clause in the ninth section of the first Article ; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the senate.


The Constitution provides two ways of suggesting amendments to the constitution. One way is for two-thirds of the Senate and two-thirds of the House of Representatives to suggest amendments. The other way is for the legislatures of two-thirds of the states to ask Congress to call a meeting of specially elected persons to suggest amendments. Amendments proposed in either of these ways must then be ratified. They become a part of the Constitution, if legislatures of three-fourths of the states agree, or if three-fourths of the states have special meetings that agree to the amendments. Congress may decide which of these two ways of ratifying amendments is to be used.

No amendment could be made before 1808 that would stop the slave trade or allow direct taxes without distributing the burden according to the population of the states. No amendment can take away a state’s right to have the same number of senators as other states ; unless the particular state agrees to this change.

Article 6 — National Supremacy


All debts contracted and engagement entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United State under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made or which shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United State and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution, but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.


Promises the repay borrowed money and agreement made by Congress before the adoption of the Constitution shall be binding on the United States as they were before this Constitution was put into effect.

This Constitution, the laws made by Congress as permitted under this Constitution, and treaties made by the United States shall be the highest law of the United States. Judges must follow this law even if state laws Contradict it. This is the “supremacy clause.”

All national government and state government officials must promise to follow this Constitution.

Officials and employees of the national government cannot be required to take any kind of religious test in order to hold office.

Article 7 – Ratification


The ratification of the Convention of nine states shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same. Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth. In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names.


When nine states have held meetings and agreed to this constitution, the government under the Constitution shall begin in the states that have agreed to it this method of changing the form of government differed from the existing Articles of Confederation, which required the consent of all thirteen states. Within a year, nine states had ratified the new Constitution.

The states represented in the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, agreed to the Constitution as a Plan of government to be proposed. Rhode Island had refused to take part in the convention, The other twelve states selected sixty-five men to go to the Convention; and fifty-five of them attended meetings. Forty-two were present the day the Constitution was signed, but only thirty-nine signed it.

Amendments to the Constitution

Amendment 1 (1791)

Religious and Political Freedom, Speech, Press, Assembly and Petition


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Congress cannot pass law that makes any religion the official religion of the country, nor can it make laws that prevent people from following their own religion ; or laws that prevent people from speaking and printing what they wish (if it is not slanderous or seditious) ; or laws that prevent people from meeting peaceably so that they may ask the government to right any wrong.

Amendment 2 (1791)

Right to Bear Arms


A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.


Because people have a right to protect themselves with armed citizens (militia), Congress cannot pass any laws that prevent people from keeping and carrying firearms for military purposes. Congress can and has restricted the possession of sawn-off shotguns and concealed weapons for private purposes.

Amendment 3 (1791)

Quartering of Soldiers


No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


In peace-time, citizens cannot be forced to give either room or soldiers in their homes. In wartime, this may be done if Congress passes a law providing for it.

Amendment 4 (1791)

Search and Seizure


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


A person’s house cannot be searched and his or her property or paper taken except in ways that are according to law. Courts cannot issue search warrants unless convinced there is good reason for doing so. Whoever asks for a search warrant must give the reasons and explain exactly where the search is to be made and what is to be taken. This amendment was intended to prevent the use of “writs of assistance”, which were general warrants used by the British chiefly to catch, smugglers.

Amendment 5 (1791)

Life, Liberty and Property


No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise, infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


No only can be tried in a national court for a serious crime unless a grand jury makes an accusation. But this rule does not cover members of the armed forces in times of war or public danger.

No one who has been found innocent of committing a crime can be tried again for the same offense. But if the offence is a crime under state law, the person can be tried again in a state Court. Or if the offence hurts someone, the person can be made to pay for the damages.

No one can be forced to say anything in a national court that would help convict himself or herself of a crime. (This provision was intended to prevent the use of torture in extracting confessions).

The government cannot take a person’s life, freedom or property except in the exact ways laid down by law. The Fourteenth Amendment applies this rule to the states, too.

The government cannot take a person’s property without paying a fair price for it and then only if it is to be used for the benefit of everybody.

Amendment 6 (1791)

Rights of the Accused


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by. an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.


A person accused of committing a crime must be given prompt trial in public. Guilt or innocence must be decided by a jury chosen from the state and the district where the crime was committed. The accused must be told what he or she is being tried for. The accused must be present when witnesses sneak in Court. The accused can have witnesses called to testify for him or her. The accused can have a lawyer to defend him or her. The amendment applies only to national courts, but the states follow nearly the same rules.

Amendment 7 (1791)

Rights of the Accused


In suits at common law, where the value in controversy “shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise, re-examined by any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.


In disputes over property worth more than twenty dollars, either party to the dispute can insist on having a jury trial, or both can agree not to have a jury. After a jury’s decision, no question of fact can be brought up again in a higher court unless before a jury.

Amendment 8 (1791)

Bail And Punishment


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fine imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


People who are accused of crimes may be allowed out of jail on bail while they are awaiting trial. Bill is the sum of money or property that the accused person gives the court to hold as a guarantee that he or she will show up for the trial. The Eighth Amendment forbids the courts to require an unusually large bail.

Courts cannot fine persons too much for the crime done or punish convicts in cruel or unusual ways (such as branding with a hot iron). On June 29, 1972, in the case of “Funan V. Georgia”, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment.

Amendment 9 (1791)

All Other Rights


The amendment in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


The mention of certain rights in the Constitution does not mean that these are the only right that people have or does not make other rights less important. (These untamed rights probably meant those like “pursuit of happiness” — rights so vague that they cannot be legally defined.)

Amendment 10 (1791)

Rights of the States and the People


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


All powers not given by the Constitution to the national government, and all powers not denied to the states by the Constitution are kept by the states or by the people of the states. This guarantees states’ rights but not state supremacy.

This amendment and the other sine ratified in 1791 are called to Bill of Rights.

Amendment 11 (1798)

Suits Against a State


The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.


Citizens of other states or of foreign countries cannot sue a state in the national courts.

Amendment 12 (1804)

Election of Executive


The electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves ; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President and of all persons voted for as VicePresident, and of the number of votes for each, which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate ; The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted. The persons having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest number not exceeding, three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representations from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a number or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall develop upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President). The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the VicePresident, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President ; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of the President shall be eligible to that of the Vice-President of the United States.


In the election of 1800, it became apparent that the provisions for electing a President needed to be made clearer. This amendment was passed so that the Vice-President would no longer be the person who came in second in the Presidential election but would be elected on his or her. Under the amendment’s provisions, the electors in their own states and cast separate ballots, for President and VicePresident. At least one of the candidates they vote for must live in another state. After the vote, the electors make a list of the persons voted for as President and another list of the persons voted for as VicePresident. On each list they write the total votes cast for each persons and then sign their names, seal the lists, and send them to the President of the Senate in Washington.

In a meeting of all members of Congress, the President of the Senate opens the lists from all the states, and the votes are counted. The persons having the most votes for President is President, provided the number of votes received is more than half of the total number of all electors. (Now 270 or more). If no person has such a majority, the House of Representatives selects the President from the candidates who have the highest number of electoral votes, but no more than the three highest can be considered. Each state has one vote, no matter how many representatives it has. Two-thirds of the states must be represented when this vote is cast. The candidate who receives a majority of the votes of the states iş President.

The person who receives the most electoral votes for VicePresident becomes Vice-President, but he or she must get more than half the electoral votes. If no person has more than half, the Senate chooses a Vice-President from the two highest on the list of the Candidates. Two-thirds of all the senators must be present when the vote is taken. To be elected Vice-President, the Candidate must receive the votes of more than half (51 or more) of all the senators.

A person who does not have the qualifications for President of the United States cannot be Vice-President. (This addition corrected an oversight in the original constitution).

Amendment 13 (1865)

Abolition of Slavery


Sec. 1 Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Sec. 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Slavery is not allowed in the United States or in any land under its control. No one may be forced to work unless a court has given that punishment for committing a crime. Congress has the power to make laws that will put this amendment into effect.

Amendment 14 (1868)

Civil Rights in the States


Sec. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Sec. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and VicePresident of the United States, representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

Sec. 3. No person shall be a senator or representative in Congress, or elector of President or Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as any office of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may be a vote of two-thirds of each house remove such disability.

Sec. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Sec. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


The Fourteenth Amendment did several things. It gave citizenship to former slaves provided ways to protect their rights, punished confederate officers and canceled Confederate debts.

The first section defines a citizen as someone born or naturalized in the United States who is subject to the country’s laws. Such a person if a citizen of the state in which he or she resides as well as of the United States. By defining state citizenship, the amendment removed the means for state to set up their own citizenship requirements that would keep blacks from being state citizens. The section also extended some of the protections of the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments). Thus it says that state cannot make or enforce laws that prevent any citizen from enjoying his or her rights. State cannot take anyone’s life, liberty, or property except in ways that the courts say are legal and proper. Anyone living in any state is entitled to that state’s protection and the benefit of its laws.

The second section canceled the “three-fifths clause (Article 1, Section 2, Para. 3) by providing all people, except untaxed Indians, are counted in order to determine how many representatives in Congress would be decreased if it kept male citizens, who were twenty-one and over and who had not committed crimes, from voting. This provision was intended to force states to allow black men to vote; it has never been enforced.

The third section barred certain Confederate leaders from voting and holding office. Congress worded the amendment so that only those confederate leaders who had previously held national or state office were affected. This included most of the top leaders of the Confederacy. Congress removed this barrier on June 6, 1898.

The fourth section barred the states or the national government from paying any part of the Confederate debt. At the same time, it provided that the payment of the Union debt would not be questioned.

Congress was given the power to make laws that would put this amendment into effect.

Amendment 15 (1870)

Black Suffrage


Sec. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, colour, or previous condition of servitude.

Sec. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Neither the United States nor any state has the right to keep citizens from voting because of their race or colour or because they were once slaves. Congress has the power to make laws that will put this amendment into effect.

Amendment 16 (1913)

Income Tax


The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.


Congress has the power to levy and collect income taxes from the people. In levying such a tax, Congress does not have to apportion it among the states or divide the taxes according to the population. The provision “from whatever source derived” has been used to prosecute top criminals for income-tax evasion when no other crimes could be proved.

Amendment 17 (1913)

Direct Election of Senators


The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies. Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any senator before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.


The Senate is made up of two senators from each state, elected by the people of the state (not by the state legislature) for a six-year term. Each senator has one vote. Citizens entitled to vote for representatives in the state legislatures may vote for senators.

The governor of a state calls an election to fill a vacancy among that state’s senators. But the state legislature may allow the governor to appoint someone to fill the Senate vacancy until the election is held.

This amendment did not affect any election that had been held or the term of office of any senator in the Senate at the time the amendment was adopted.

Amendment 18 (1919)

National Prohibition


Sec. 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes in hereby prohibited.

Sec. 2. The Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.


One year after this amendment was ratified, it became illegal to make, sell or carry in the United States and its territories intoxicating liquors for drinking purposes. It became illegal to send such liquors out of the country and its territories or to bring such liquors into them. This amendment was declared in force on January 29, 1919.

Congress passed the Volstead Act to make this amendment effective. It defined the percentage of alcohol in intoxicating liquors and provided penalties for violations. The states and the national government were to share enforcement duties.

This amendment would not have become a part of the Constitution unless ratified by the legislatures of the states within seven years. The need for ratification within seven years was written into this and later amendments so that the government would not have many partially ratified amendments on the books.

Amendment 19 (1920)

Women’s Suffrage


The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Neither the United States nor any state has the right to keep a citizen from voting because she is a woman. Congress has the power to make laws that will make this amendment effective.

Amendment 20 (1933)

The “Lame-Duck” Amendment


Sec.1 The terms of the President and Vice-President shall end at noon on the twentieth day of January and the terms of senators and representatives at noon on the third day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified, and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Sec. 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the third day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Sec. 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President-elect shall have died, the Vice-President-elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President-elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice-President-elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified ; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President-elect nor a VicePresident-elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice-President shall have qualified.

Sec. 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death if any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice-President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Sec. 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the fifteenth day of October following the ratification of this article.

Sec. 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission.


This amendment shortened the “lame-duck” period the time between election and inauguration. The terms of office of President and Vice-President end at noon, January 20 (instead of March 4). The terms of office of senators and representatives end at noon, January 3, of the same years they would have ended if this amendment had not been made.

Congress must meet at least once a year. The meeting must begin at noon, January 3, unless another date is selected by law. The former date was the first Monday in December; this meant that new members of the Congress would not normally meet until thirteen months after the election.

If the person elected “President” dies before inauguration day, the person elected Vice-President becomes President. If a President has not been chosen by January 3, or if the person chosen is not qualified to be President, then the person elected Vice-President acts as President until a President has qualified. Congress may pass a law to determine who shall act as President if neither the person elected President nor the one elected Vice-President qualifies for the position. Congress may decide how this person shall be chosen.

Congress has the power to make a law that tells the House of Representatives what to do in case it must select a President and one of the candidates has died. Congress has also the power to make a law that tells the Senate what to do in case it must select a Vice-President and one of the candidates has died. (See Amendment 12.)

Sections 1 and 2 of this amendment became law on October 15 after three-fourths of the states had agreed to this amendment. This amendment was declared to be ratified on Fabruary 6, 1933.

Amendment 21 (1933)

Repeal of Prohibition


Sec. 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Sec. 2 The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Sec. 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by Convention in the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the state by the Congress.


This amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment. The national government could no longer prohibit the manufacture, sales, or transportation of intoxicating liquor. But if a state forbids bringing liquor for drinking purposes across its boundaries for use in that state, such carrying of liquor is a crime against the United States as well as against the state.

Congress required this amendment to be ratified by assemblies specially elected for that purpose. It is the only amendment adopted in this way. It was ratified on December 5, 1933.

Amendment 22 (1951)

Presidential Term of Onice


Sec. 1 No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from the holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Sec. 2. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress.


No person can have more than two terms as President. Holding the office of President, or acting as President, for more than two years will be considered as one full term. This article did not apply Harry Truman, who was President at the time this amendment was proposed by Congress and ratified by the states.

Amendment 23 (1961)

Voting in The District of Columbia


Sec. 1. The district constituting the seat of government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct.

A number of electors of President and Vice-President equal to the whole number of senators and representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a state, but in no event more than the least populous state ; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the states, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice-President to be electors appointed by a state, and they shall meet in the district and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Sec. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


This amendment gave the District of Columbia the right to take part in the election of the President and Vice-President of the United States. Congress enacted legislation that provided for the direct election of electors by residents of the district. The number of electors was limited to no more than the number of electors from the state with the smallest population. In this way, the district was given three votes in the electoral college.

This amendment did not provide for representation in Congress or for a system of home-rule municipal government for the district.

Amendment 24 (1964)

Abolition of Poll taxes


Sec. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice-President, for electors for President or Vice-President, or for senator or representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Sec. 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


This amendment prohibits any national or state law making the payment of a poll tax or any other tax a requirement for voting in a primary or general election of national officers, namely President, Vice-President, electors of these senators and representatives in Congress.

Amendment 25 (1967)

Presidential Disability And Succession


Sec. 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or his death or resignation, the Vice-President shall become President.

Sec. 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the VicePresident, the President shall nominate a Vice-President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both houses of Congress.

Sec. 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the VicePresident as Acting President.

Sec. 4. Whenever the Vice-President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office the Vice-President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting-President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice-President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro Tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President ; otherwise the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.


This amendment fills two gaps in the original Constitution:

  1. It provides for filling the office of Vice-President in case of a vacancy in that office; the President is allowed to appoint a Vice-President, subject to confirmation by a vote of Congress.
  2. It determines the existence and duration of the inability of the President to fulfill the powers and duties of the office.

It provides that the President is to notify Congress if he or she is unable to perform official duties. Thereupon the Vice-President takes over and serves as Acting President. If a disabled President is unable or unwilling to notify Congress of his or her incapacity, the Vice-President, with approval of a majority of the cabinet, makes such a declaration and becomes Acting President.

When the President recovers from a disability, he or she may so notify Congress and resume the powers and duties of office.

If the President’s recovery appears doubtful, then the VicePresident with approval of a majority of the cabinet (or of some other body designated by Congress) may challenge the President’s declaration. The issue then goes to Congress. If two-thirds or more of each house votes against the President, the Vice-President continues to serve as Acting President; otherwise, the President resumes office.

Amendment 26 (1971)

Eighteen-Year-Old Vote


Sec. 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Sec. 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


This amendment was hurriedly passed and ratified after the Supreme Court had held that eighteen-years olds could not be barred from voting for national officers. The amendment extended the Court’s ruling to all elections. Had this amendment not been passed, polling of places would have had to have had separate ballots and voting lists for persons between eighteen and twenty-one and for that twenty-one and the older.

The New Government (1783-1815) – U.S.A

The New Government — New Nation
And The New Republic (1783-1815)


After the revolutionary war, Americans set up a government that reflected their political ideology. The purpose of a government, they felt, was to protect the rights of individuals. Since a government with unlimited power could threaten a man’s life, liberty or property, its powers had to be carefully established by a constitution.

The Americans also drew upon their experiences in the colonial government. Individual colonies treasured their charters, by which king and Parliament had granted them important powers. In all the colonies, executive, legislative and judicial departments had been established. Those qualifying as voters chose the members of the lower house of the legislature; the king usually appointed the governor, and either the king or the governor appointed the members of the upper house and the principal judges.

The events of the years following 1763 made a profound impressiòn on Americans. They acquired a deep suspicion of a remote, central government that passed laws and issued decrees that seemed to violate natural rights and to disturb customary ways of doing things. Since most colonies had been tied more closely to England than to each other they were unaccustomed to working together, but the clashes with Britain began to forge the bonds of inter-colonial cooperation. The Stamp Act Congress, the non-importation agreements and the Committees of Correspondence, which arose in response to the imperial crisis, prepared the way for the Continental Congress and the Articles of confederation, · which set up a national government.

1. Impact of the American Revolution

The American Revolution was not an isolated event. Just as the fighting of the Revolutionary War involved the major European powers the consequences of the war were felt on both sides of the Atlantic. Between 1783 and 1815, the most important European developments began in France. There during the 1780s, people became more and more dissatisfied with the government and society both of which were controlled by the Bourbon royal family and wealthy landlords: This discontent led to the French Revolution. It began in 1789 when a representative assembly, the Estates-General, put limitations on the king’s power and set up a constitutional monarchy. After this relatively mild beginning, the revolution became radical. In 1792 its leaders deposed the king and proclaimed France a republic. In the reign of terror that followed, the king, the queen and hundreds of other men and women were put to death. Finally, in 1799, the revolutionary experiment ended, a young soldier Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of French affairs. He made himself dictator and later in 1804 emperor of France. Then he tried to make himself master of all Europe. From 1791 on, France was continually involved in wars. It’s chief enemy was Britain. At first, Britain fought to prevent the spread of French revolutionary ideas. Later it tried to stop Napoleon’s drive to dominate the European continent and the British Isles. At last, in 1815, Britain and its allies ended Napoleon’s threat by defeating the French in the Battle of Waterloo. The American Revolution had had a great impact on France. In helping American revolutionaries, the French government had spent so much money that it found itself practically bankrupt. It was this financial crisis that led the government to call the Estates-General, the first step in the French Revolution. Important leaders of the revolution were inspired by the principles of the American Declaration of Independence. The French i8 1789, adopted their own Declaration of the Rights of Man, which included similar ideas. “Men are born and remain equal in rights,” the French Declaration’ said “The aim of every political association is the protection of the natural and imprescriptible rights of men.

2. A Good Way of Looking

American and French revolutions would be as parts of a broad movement that affected people in many countries. In the 1780s, for instance, encouraged by the example of Britain’s North American colonies, colonists rebelled, unsuccessfully, in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. One reason for their failure was that — unlike the North Americans, who received help from France – – the isolated Latin Americans, fought without aid. But the democratic ideals of the time continued to spark colonial revolts. These ideals were summed up in the slogan of the French Revolution — liberty, equality and brotherhood. It is good to know the benefits of stock trading and a little more about the economy.

3. Philosophy of Revolution

Not all the supporters of democracy proposed, as yet, that the right to vote be given to every person. Women, for example, were not usually thought to have the same rights as men. But democrats all felt that no group of people, simply because they were born into the ruling class, should be allowed to govern the rest of the human race. The democrats. believed that the people should form a real community, a society in which all had an interest in the welfare of and an opportunity for their own advancement. Originally, the word” fraternity” implied the idea of community, but soon it came to mean something else. During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, the French government emphasized the need for all the people to be loyal to the nation. “Fraternite” began to signify this kind of loyalty, that is nationalism.

4. Rise of Nationalism

Of course, nations had existed before, and the people of each of them had been expected to obey the monarch. The new type of nationalism, however, aroused and involved the people in a way that the old-fashioned patriotism never had. Europan monarchs, for example, had fought their wars with small bands of hired professional troops. By contrast, the American states and the Continental Congress relied upon citizen-soldiers in the revolutionary war. The French revolutionary leaders went even further. They passed a law in 1793 known as the “Leave en Masse”. It declared that every French man, woman, and the child was “in permanent requisition for service of the armies.” This, the first national draft in modern history, proved highly effective. Henceforth, all French people owed their highest loyalty to the nation and were required, if called upon, to die for it. The new kind of nationalism spread to other countries, especially to some of those Napoleon Conquered. Leaders in those countries passed conscription laws had aroused a national spirit in order to drive out the French invaders and regain national independence. Fraternity, in the form of nationalism, became a unifying force in a number of countries besides France.

The ideas of liberty and egality or equality led to divisions within countries, including France. Advocates of these ideas – called “democrats” — was opposed by members of the old order, who were known as “aristocrats”.

The French Revolution and the European wars accompanying and following to provide a background for Latin American history of that period. In these years the black people of Haiti overthrew the French regime on their island and set up a republic. In other parts of Latin America, the Spanish American colonics refused to recognize the French regime that scized control of Spain in 1808. Led by Simon Bolivar and jose de San Martin, the colonists started their own revolutionary wars, which would take some twenty years to complete.

In the United States in this period, the major developments were the adoption of the constitution, the strengthening of the national government, the rise of political parties, the beginning of neutrality, the purchase of the Louisiana territory and the fighting of two wars. These events developed in response, wholly or parily, to events in Europe, and all of them reflected the spirit of the times.

The influence of nationalism can be seen in several developments in the United States. The constitution of 1787, replacing the Articles of Confederation, created a stronger central government. This was further strengthened, during the 1790s, by the economic policies of Alexander Hamilton. Even though wars with France and Britain produced serious divisions within the United States, they, too, stimulated nationalism.

Differences of opinion over Foreign policy, as well as over Hamilton’s economic program, helped create two national political parties. The leaders of the emerging parties agreed, at first, that the United States should stay out of the wars raging in Europe. Hence the government adopted a policy of neutrality in 1793. And President George Washington, in his Farewell Address of 1796, argued that the United States should not get involved in European quarrels, the policy failed to work perfectly, but neutrality was, on the whole, fairly well maintained. It proved advantageous to the American people, for, during most of the 1. period from 1783 to 1815, they prospered.

5. Commerce and Slave Trade

American ships roamed the seas, opening United States Commerce to the World. Much of their trade was carried on in the Western Hemisphere, primarily with the French Spanish and British colonies in the West Indies. The start of the China trade in 1784 brought American merchants in touch with the Spanish and Portuguese colonies along the coast of South America with the Spanish colony of California and with Russian America. Some Americans continued to take part in the slave trade, selling black human beings from the Guinea coast of Africa to planters in the West Indies. The United States also fought a brief war with the Barbary pirates of North Africa, who were attacking ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.

6. Prosperity & Expansion

The conflicts among the European nations provided opportunities for the United States to grow and prosper. The country enlarged not only its commerce but also its territory. For years after 1783, Britain occupied United States soil in the Ohio country, and Spain disputed the American claim to territory in the Floridas. Because of the war in Europe, Britain in 1794 and spain in 1795 made treaties with the United States and recognized American claims to sovereignty over territory as far west as the Mississippi River. Again, because of the requirements of war in Europe, France in 1803 sold to the United States the vast territory known as Louisiana. This action doubled the area of the country and prepared the way for its growth as a great Continental Power.

Colonies drifting to loose Association

Americans, three million strong, settled into peace in 1783. Most people’s daily lives as citizens of state did not differ greatly from their lives as subjects of King George III. The state governments had for two years been working together under the Articles of Confederation. Yet some serious problems existed.

Many difficulties tested the strength of the national unity forged by the Revolutions. States found it hard to reconcile the conflicting interests of merchants and farmers, city and country, and seacoast and frontier. A few states had trouble in their direct dealings with other states. Other challenges were national in scope. The United States needed security and respect, and its citizens wanted a fair chance to engage in international trade. Governing and settling the vast western lands won by the United States in the Treaty of Paris, and transferred to the federal government by several states, offered another problem. Above all, the government had to convince its citizens that it was worth supporting.

  1. In the Second Continental Congress, Americans had created a central government. But this body was designed only to meet an emergency. It had no legal basis. Therefore, in june 1776, Congress appointed a Committee to draft a constitution.
  2. State Constitution: While the Continental Congress worked on a government for the nation, people in the thirteen colonies started remodeling their governments. The new state governments resembled the old colonial governments, and all were based on written constitutions. In some cases, temporary state legislatures, busy with wartime problems, drew up constitutions and put them into effect. In other states, the constitutions were written by special conventions that submitted – their work to the voters. These constitutions went into effect only after the voters had approved them.

Since the state constitutions grew out of a common heritage, they were alike in many ways. All tried to protect personal liberties, by listing them in the declaration of rights. In addition, all attempted to protect citizens from unjust rule by the executive. Each state had an elected governor with clearly limited powers. The writers of the state constitution deliberately planned for a weak executive branch. Although Americans of the Confederation era spoke of separating and balancing powers among the legislative executive and judicial bodies, in fact, they gave the legislature the greatest power. The legislatures almost all composed of two houses were elected by the eligible voters. The new state governments were generally conservative. They did not establish a complete democracy. All states had property qualifications for voting and higher ones for holding office. None granted every free white male citizen the right to vote on terms more governors them in the colonial period. In some states, many people could easily meet the property qualifications.

Few states allowed free blacks to vote and none permitted slaves to do so. Although Indians were not specifically barred from voting, few could meet the property or citizenship requirements. Women were not given the vote except in New Jersy, and the legislators there soon revoked the right. Even if a state constitution did not limit the right to vote or hold office, state and local laws sometimes did. For instance, although the constitutions did not include religious qualifications, the laws in some states forbade Catholics, Jews, or non-believers in Christianity from holding office. Despite their limitations, the new state governments started the American people on the road to local self-government.

1. The Confederation

The Articles of Confederation were drawn up in 1776 by a committee led by John Dickson of Pennsylvania. They were amended by the second Continental Congress and finally, in November 1777, were sent to the states for approval. The Articles set up a loose form of government that did not limit the sovereignty or basic independence of the states. The authors of the Articles deliberately created a weak government which they called a firm league of friendship. They were not ratified by all thirteen states until 1781, at which time the Articles became the official basis for government. The new confederation would have a Congress composed of delegates appointed by the states. Congress would maintain an army, conduct foreign relations, make treaties, declare war, and handle Indian affairs. Each state delegation, regardless of the state’s size, would have one vote. In larger issues, such as those affecting war and peace, it could act only if nine of the thirteen states approved.

Under the Articles, the states retained all powers except those expressly delegated to the central government. Congress had no power” to tax. To obtain funds, Congress had to ask the states for them. The states were supposed to contribute in proportion to the value of their improved lands. Congress would have a president but he would not be a true executive officer. He would mainly preside over meetings of Congress. The Articles did not provide for national courts, except for those to deal with specific disputes between states. Each state was obliged to know the laws and judicial decisions of every other state. This loose union of states, the Articles said was to be perpetual. It would be almost impossible to change this constitution, for any amendment required the approval of all the states.

The second Continental Congress insisted on Ratification of the Articles as written. Within a few months most of the states accepted them. The other states refused to ratify unless the Articles were changed.

The source of difficulty was a clause that said, “No state shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United States”. This clause would protect the claims of seven states to the lands between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.

Maryland, one of the six states without western lands, refused to accept the Articles unless the clause was removed. With the support of other “landless“ states Maryland argued that the western lands should belong to all Americans rather than to individual states. All the states had fought for this territory, therefore, all should profit from it. Despite the arguments, the need for the union during the war was so great that by February 1779 all the states but Maryland had ratified the Articles. Maryland’s refusal meant the Articles could not go into effect. In October 1780, New York and Virginia, which had the largest land claims, accepted a congressional resolution that satisfied the landless states. The resolution said that the western lands should be sold for the benefit of the whole nation and that the territory should be formed into states. Several months later, the landed states, led by Virginia, surrendered most of their western claims. On March 1, 1781, Maryland ratified the Articles, and the nation’s first constitution went into effect.

2. A New Social Order

As discussed in the last paragraph of the previous chapter, there was virtually a home revolution. So important were the social changes in the American Revolution that some historians have talked about two revolutions. One gained freedom from Britain, and the other changed the social system at home. Before the Revolution, the upper class in the colonies had consisted of a landholding gentry, many of whom had inherited their wealth. During and after the Revolution, many other Americans for the first time fell free of the restrictions, that had limited their social standing for life. These people wanted to keep their newly found personal freedom and were willing to experiment with a new social order where advancement was open to all at least to all white males regardless of birth.

3. Abolishing Aristocracy

In colonial times, the use and ownership of land often determined a man’s political rights and his place in society. For example his right to vote and to hold office usually depended upon the amount of property he owned. Americans who wanted to build a social democracy, therefore, worked to change the property the laws to discourage large inherited holdings of land. The reformers also attacked other symbols of the old order, such as hereditary titles and honors. Many of the state constitutions prohibited the new governments and their officials from creating granting or accepting titles of nobility. The Articles of confederation also forbade officials to accept such titles from foreign governments.

4. Loyalist Losses

Historians have estimated that one-fourth to one-third of the people stayed loyal to Britain during the Revolution. Although most aristocrats were loyalists, most Loyalists were not aristocrats. In wealth, education, and social standing they differed little from the average patriot: From the British point of view, the Loyalists had been faithful subjects and valuable allies. Fifty thousand of them had fought with the British armies, and others had given food, supplies, and information to the British. The Patriots, however, thought of the Loyalists as traitors who had turned against friends and neighbors. During the Revolution, the patriots had dealt harshly with Loyalists. In 1777, the Continental Congress urged the states to seize and sell Loyalists property to help pay for the war. All the states eagerly took Loyalist land and other forms of wealth. Eighty, thousand Loyalists left the country to avoid persecution by angry patriots.

After the war, British authorities tried to help the Loyalists. The peace Treaty of 1783 required congress to ask the states to settle the Loyalists claims. congress did so but the states ignored the request. Many Patriots had become landowners by buying Loyalist property partly because of the influence of these new landowners in state legislatures, the Loyalists were unable to recover their property. No payment was made to them, and some Americans even suggested that Loyalists should not be allowed to return to the United States. Nonetheless, some loyalists did return. Like those who had remained in the country throughout the Revolution, they gradually accepted independence. They too began to profit from the changes it brought.

5. Slavery

The Revolution also affected black slaves. Although many Americans were opposed to any change in the institution of slavery, some Patriots attacked both the slave trade and slavery. The African slave trade had started in the 1440’s. Explorers brought Africans from the Guinea coast the long coastline from present-day Mauritania to Namibia (South-West Africa) — to work in the fields of Portugal. When the Spanish and Portuguese began settling in South America in 1502, they brought slaves to the New World. Most of these slaves were purchased from African slave traders on the Guinea coast and taken to the West Indies. Those who survived the crossing were kept in the islands for a while to get used to the climate, diseases, and work methods in the New world. Of the 5 million Africans who survived the Atlantic crossing before 1800, probably only one-tenth were taken to the North American mainland.

The slave trade had been the subject of debate in colonial assemblies for many years. Some legislatures had abolished the trade, only to have their laws vetoed in England. In general, those who profited from the trade, whether in England or the colonies, wanted to see it continue. After independence, states began prohibiting the trade. Within ten years every state but Georgia and South Carolina had outlawed it. The traffic in human beings continued illegally for many years, but the laws did limit it. The Campaign against slavery itself was far more difficult. In the North, where slaves were few, defenders of slavery were scarce. Vermont abolished slavery in 1777, Pennsylvania in 1780, and Massachusetts in 1783. During the Confederation period, slavery lost ground everywhere in the North.

In the South, the situation was different. Though many important southerners were opposed to slavery, most southern whites considered tit profitable and necessary. For example, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson spoke out against slavery but owned many slaves themselves. James Madison said that slave labor allowed him free time to carry on his public career. Some southern states, such as Virginia and Maryland, permitted “manumission”, or the freeing of a slave by his or her master. In addition, the codes governing slave life were eased in some ways.

Both northerners and southerners worried about the Consequences of freeing the slaves. A year after slavery was outlawed in Massachusetts, some whites agitated to keep blacks blackout of Boston. They claimed that if Negro workers were allowed in the city, they would compete for the jobs of lower-class whites. This agitation did not keep free blacks out of Boston, but it reduced the number living there.

6. Church – State

Religious discrimination was common in the colonies. Every colony allowed freedom of worship, but this freedom mainly benefitted Protestants rather than Catholics or Jews. In most colonies, there had been established churches – churches supported by taxes paid by all the people, regardless of their religious beliefs. In New England, except Rhode Island, the established church was congregational. In the South, Patriots favored freedom of religion and believed that worship should be a private matter. To them, religious freedom also included a person’s right to deny support to any church. Others went even further, saying that they had the right to be non-believers if they so chose. They wanted to separate church and state. Many Americans wanted this separation because they saw it as an important step toward social democracy. Soon after the Revolution, a number of states ended public support for religious groups. In some places, however, the last ties were not cut until years later.

In December 1785, the Virginia legislature passed a noteworthy law, the Statute of Religious Liberty.

It said that “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever”, and that all people were free to think as they desired in matters of religion.

7. Public Education

Schools at all levels suffered in one way or another during the Revolutionary War. Some were abandoned, others lost students and financial support, and many were swept clean of teachers with Loyalist leanings. Some Patriot leaders worked to establish a system of Public education open to both the rich and the poor. Beginning in 1779, Thomas Jefferson urged the state of Virginia to set up a public school system. He proposed elementary education for white girls and boys, secondary schooling for some white boys, and liberal university education for the most gifted white boys, especially those who gave promise of becoming leaders in society. The bill failed, however, to pass the legislature.

In constitutions, laws and legislative resolutions, the states supported the concept of expanding the education system at public expense. The number of private colleges increased, and a few public schools were set up; some actually opened their doors in the 1780s. Unfortunately, states did not get beyond the talking or planning, stage Americans of the confederation era did not have the many or the will to build public schools.

The Challenge of Independence

The Western country, Planning and orderly Growth Perhaps the most appealing opportunity for Americans lay in the west, where millions of acres of fertile land stretched from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River. Even during the war, frontiers-men by the tens of thousands had flooded over the mountains into the Kentucky and Tennessee country, where British influence among the Indian tribes was weak. Although Virginia and North Carolina still held title to those western lands, the frontiersmen had gone beyond the practical limits of eastern control. They began to agitate from new state governments west of mountains. With the end of the war, the lands north of the Ohio River lay open to settlement. States with claims to this territory had ceded their claims to the federal government in order to get the “landless” states to accept the Articles of Confederation. Speculators began lobbying to get Congress to sell them large tracts of land cheaply. Meanwhile, frontiermen bagan moving into the Ohio country, illegally “Squatting“ wherever they found good land.

1. Resolution of 1780

If the process of settlement was to be directed by the government and if the public lands were to provide a source of national income some kind of land policy had to be worked out. The Continental Congress had promised in 1780 to create new states from the lands ceded to the national government. The new states were to enjoy the same rights as the older ones. Congress’s western lands’ resolution of October 1780, established a policy that affected the nation’s growth for the next hundred years. In the past, most countries had treated settlements beyond national boundaries as colonies. Americans of the confederation era, many of whom were crossing the mountains to settle in the west, rejected the colonial idea. They decided that their rapidly growing settlements should be governed not as colonies, but as territories that would some day become states equal to all other states.

2. Survey and Sale of Land

When the Revolutionary war began only a few thousand colonists lived west of the Appalachian Mountains. During and after the war, settlers swarmed into the area. By 1790, some 120,000 were living there, To profit from this rapid western settlement, the central government had to set up a system for selling the land and crcating new states. A committee headed by Thomas jefferson worked out the Land Ordinance of 1785, which provided for the survey and sale of western lands. This ordinance divided the Northwest(the arca northwest of the Ohio River and east of Mississippi River) into six-mile-square. Four sections were to be set aside for the federal government and one for the support of Public schools. The other sections were to be sold for not less than a dollar an acre in public auctions at land offices in the Northwest.

The Ordinance was designed to bring money to the national government rather than to make settlements easy. It did not permit the sale of less than one section (640 acres). A person, therefore, would have to have at least $640 in order to buy directly from the government land offices. Few pioneers could bring together that much money. Thus the terms favored speculators, who often formed private companies to buy government lands. Several land companies wanted even greater advantages than they had under the Ordinance of 1785. They tried to get Congress to suspend the ordinance. Because the government wanted money immediately, Congress gave in to the speculators. The most successful speculative group was the “Ohio Company formed in Boston in 1786, Congress agreed to sell a vast tract of land to the Ohio Company at bargain prices. Although congress reserved some sections for educational and other purposes, 1.5 million acres went to the Ohio company for less than nine cents an acre. Once the members of the Ohio Company owned the land, they wanted to be sure that they could use it for profit. Without government support, this would be difficult.

3. Tribal Rights and Claims

Even though Congress had set up a system for surveying and selling the land, it still did not own the land. The states, to be sure had given up their colonial claims to western lands. The indian tribes had not, however, given up their rights to most of the lands between the Appalachian Mountains and Mississippi River. Before. Iand could be sold the Indian title to it had to be “extinguished”. Congress would follow the British practice of requiring formal, written treaties to transfer the land. Many indian tribes were forced to cede their land to the United States Government. Some, however, voluntarily gave up their territory because their hunting grounds no longer provided enough game for the tribe. Some of the Cherokee in Georgia, for instance, gave up their lands before 1830 and moved west. Many more tribes ceased to rely on hunting and became farming communities. These tribes rarely agreed willingly to give up their land, and they ceded it only when forced. Not until 1848 was the last land east of the Mississippi ceded.

A common way to extinguish the Indian titlo-to tribal lands was this American pioneer would settle in areas that were closed to them by treaty and by law. When the tribes tried to remove them by force the pioneers would fight back. Often the United States Army was called in to put down the “indian uprising”. With better weapons and greater numbers behind them, the pioneers invariably won. The losing indians would then make a treaty giving up the section of land in question. Some treaties were made with indians who did not truly represent their tribes. In most tribes, there were a few people who were willing to sell tribal lands for their own personal gain. The men who were called ” chiefs” by the government were not always the true Icaders of their tribes. Moreover, the Central government’s role was limited. The Articles of Confederation gave Congress control over relations with those indians” not members of any state”. A number of states exceeded their powers by signing treaties or waging war with indians who lived bcyond their borders. Congress was powerless to stop them.

4. The Northwest Ordinance

Many of these mass sales fell through within the next few years. But the land companies pressured Congress into changing the system of government in the Northwest so that they could exert more influence upon the territorial governments than they could under Jefferson’s democratic scheme. Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 which served in the future as a model for American territorial organization. It created the Northwest Territory, which could be divided into three to five new territories. It provided a system of limited self-government under which statehood could be reached in three stages. In the first stage, Congress would choose officials who would govern the entire Northwest Territory. They would put into effect those laws from the thirteen states that they thought suitable. In the second stage, when the Northwest Territory had a population of five thousand free adult males, the eligible voters could elect a legislature that would share power with appointed officials. The legislature could, at this stage send a non-voting delegate to Congress. Neither the legislature nor the territorial officials could interfere with the personal freedoms of the people, which were protected by a bill of rights. However, not all would have the right to vote. No women were allowed to vote, and only those men who owned at least fifty acres of land could vote.

The law called for dividing the Territory into no fewer than three and no more than five states. When any part of the Territory had a free population of 60,000 or more, it became a territory. In this, the third stage, it could write a constitution and apply for statehood. Congress would then admit it to the Union as a state on an equal footing with the original thirteen states.

The Northwest Ordinance prohibited slavery in the entire Territory. This provision had the effect of keeping slavery south of the Ohio River. Some of the local communities also prohibited free blacks from settling within their boundaries, although this was not part of the Northwest Ordinance. The proceeds from the sale of one square mile in each township went to support public schools. Like most other land laws enacted after 1763, the Ordinance of 1787 required fair treatment of the Indian tribes in the area. Indians often lived or hunted on land the government offered for settlement. As the settlers advanced, they killed the Indians or forced them to retreat westward. Sometimes, the federal government managed to acquire the land peacefully through treaty or purchase. When the Indians resisted Chinese attempts to dislodge them, small-scale wars often followed. The Indians found that their days on the land were clearly numbered under the pressure of the land-hungry easterners. Now they were to face a flood of settlers crossing the Appalachians and taking their land.

Foreign Relations and Foreign Trade

Firstly, we should take into consideration the nature of foreign affairs. The British gave up the territory south of the Great Lakes in the treaty that followed the Revolutionary war. Yet they violated that treaty by maintaining military posts at Detroit, in northern Michigan, and in northern New York. They kept these posts for several reasons:

  1. to retain their trade with the Indians
  2. to put pressure on the United State to fulfill such unpleasant obligations in the treaty as paying loyalists for confiscating property
  3. allowing British creditors to collect debts from Americans
  4. to be able to exert influence in case the settlers in areas that did not state, decided to break away from the United States.

The possibility of settlers breaking away presented a real threat to the new nation. Under the Articles of Confederation, only Congress was to carry on relations with foreign governments. It could send and receive ambassadors, and negotiate treaties and alliances. However, it lacked effective power in foreign relations, for it could not make the states comply with the treaties it .made. Foreign nations were aware of the weakness of showed little respect for it. They interfered in American politics and tried to manipulate the new government.

1. The tussle with Britain

The Confederation government’s most serious diplomatic problems were with Britain. British leaders demanded harsh treatment of the former colonies. The British government prohibited trade with Americans in the British West Indies. It also required that most products going to its ports be carried in English ships. These actions particularly hurt New England towns where shipbuilding and trade were important. Many Americans were unhappy with Britain’s treatment. The ‘states would not, however, follow a common policy towards Britain, and the Confederation government had no way to force the British leaders to change their policies.

In 1785, Confederation government sent John Adams to London to negotiate a Commercial treaty with Britain. The British would make no treaty, and they refused to send a minister to the United States. Adams also tried to deal with violations of the peace treat of 1783. Both the United States and Britain were guilty of some violations. The British, for instance, had carried away American property and slaves. The Americans, in turn, refused to repay million of dollars that had been loaned to them before the Revolution. The Confederation Congress tried to uphold the repayment provision of the treaty, but some of the states passed laws forbidding state Courts to help collect the debts. Congress had no power to force the states to honor the treaty. It was equally helpless in trying to carry out the treaty provisions dealing with Loyalists. The unpaid debts and mistreatment of Loyalists gave the British an excuse to keep military and trading posts in the Northwest. In the peace treaty, Britain had promised to give up these posts. Some Englishmen believed that their government had been foolishly generous by granting the Northwest to the United States. Others argued that the treaty violated Britain’s obligations to its Indian allies in the territory, British commanders feared an Indian uprising if the area were to come under American control. The British government, therefore, told its officials in North America not to deliver the posts to the Americans. The presence of British soldiers on United States soil angered many Americans. Many westerners were convinced that British Agents from the posts supplied indians with arms and supported raids on pioneers settlements. Yet the Confederation government would not make Britain honor the treaty.

2. Disagreements with Spain

Relations with spain were about as bad as those with Britain. There were three major issues:

  1. use of the Mississippi River
  2. the southern boundary
  3. trade policy

Each of these issues affected a different section of the country. Westerners depended on using the Mississippi River to get their produce to eastern markets. Since Spain owned Louisiana and the Floridas, it controlled the last two hundred miles of the Mississippi. In 1784, it closed the river to Americans. Westerners demanded that Congress force Spain to reopen the river.

At the same times, a disagreement arose about the southern boundary. The peace treaty with Britain had set the boundary between the United States, and West Florida at the 31st parallel. The Spaniards argued rightly that they were not bound by the Anglo-American peace treaty. They established military posts far north of the 31st ‘parallel and also armed the Indians in that area.

In Congress, delegates from the Northeast represented trading interests and were not greatly .concerned about the problems of western settlers. What they wanted most was a commercial treaty that would allow Americans to trade in Spanish ports.

Spain sent a special representative to the United States to negotiate the issues. The resultant treaty was not ratified by Congress. It aroused strong disagreement between the sections and even threatened to break up the loose Confederation.

3. Discontentment on Confederation

In the foregoing paragraph, we have examined the failures in foreign policy, stressed the basic need for a stronger national government. Many Americans saw that thcy could have an effective forcign policy only if the Confederation government had more power. At the same time, internal problems also led to criticism of the government. The following are the various factors which led to the dismantling of the Articles of Confederation and framing a federal constitution with a strong central executive organ and wielding unique democratic values and national integration.

4. Financial Failures

When the United States became independent, the people did not become as prosperous as they had expected. Instead they faced years of financial troubles. There was some economic growth, but from 1783 to 1787, the United States suffered from an economic depression. This struck New England especially hard. In financing the war, Congress had run up a large public debt. It had also tried to pay some of the war costs by issuing paper money that was not backed by gold or other forms of wealth. The states also issued uncounted sums of paper money. This paper currency fell rapidly in value, becoming worthless. At the end of the war, most states refused to accept the paper money in payment of taxes. In effect, because they now refused to redeem it, Congress and the states had used paper money as though it were a tax to finance the war.

After the war, Congress tried to raise money to pay its remaining debts at home and abroad by asking the states for it. Between 1781 and 1786 the payments sent by the states to the national treasury usually could not even pay the government’s running expenses, let alone its debts. The states, too, had come out of the war with large debts. They tried to pay wartimes debts by raising taxes. Most states directly taxed land, and buildings. Some states had import duties, and others had excise taxes. The taxes, especially import duties, led to conflict and misunderstanding. Some states treated the boats, barges and ships of other states as if they were foreign. In some cases, one state might refuse to trade with another state. As the depression grew worse, seven states issued more paper money. As before, this money fell in value. Nonetheless, some states legislatures made this money legal tender (that is, they passed laws, requiring that it be accepted for debts). In Rhode Island, merchants and creditors nevertheless refused to accept payment in Paper money. Creditors found the situation intolerable. They wanted to strengthen the power of the national government in financial matters.

Even before all of the states had adopted the Articles of Confederation, Congress had struggled with its lack of financial power. It tried to amend the Articles to increase its taxing powers. Various states blocked ratification, and the Congress Continued to limp along with little power. The failure to amend the Articles of Confederation pointed up one of their major defects the need for unanimous consent by the states for any amendment.

5. Shays’s Rebellion

While the amendments were under consideration, farmers who could not pay their taxes or their private debts saw the courts take their property and sell it. The situation was particularly bad in New England. Farmers there believed that their welfare was being sacrificed to add to the wealth of creditors in Boston and other towns. In several areas, mobs of poor farmers rioted in protest. In western Massachusetts, Danial Shays, a former captain in the Continental Army, led farmers in a revolt known as “Shay’s Rebellion.” In 1786, he organized and trained his followers, many of them war veterans armed only with sticks and pitchforks. He announced a program that demanded cheap paper money, tax relief, a “moratorium” (legal delay) on payment of debts, and the abolition of imprisonment for debts. Shays’s followers used forcë or threats of violence to prevent the collection of debts. They invaded country courts and broke up sheriffs’ sales of seized property.

The creditors asked Congress to help put down the revolt, but Congress had no money to pay troops. Neither did the state. Finally, wealthy Boston merchants agreed to provide funds, and they got the governor to call out the state militia. In January 1787, these troops attacked the rebels and killed 3, wounded, and captured about 150, including Daniel Shays. Although Massachusetts had crushed the rebellion, people with property continued to fear for their safety. The rebels were tried and sentenced to death but were later pardoned. The state gave in to the farmers’ demands by granting tax relief and allowing postponement of debt payments. More important, Shays’s Rebellion Convinced many people in various parts of the country that only a strong national government could keep mobs from gaining control of state governments. These people decided to try to change the Articles.

6. Special Convention

The movement for change in the first constitution grew out of an effort by several states to cooperate on problems they could not handle alone. Representatives from Maryland and Virginia met at Mount Vernon in 1785 to try to settle a quarrel over the use of the Potomac River, which formed a boundary between the two states. After agreeing on uses of the Potomac, they decided to discuss other interstate problems; they invited all the states to a Conference at Annapolis, Maryland, in September 1786. Only five states sent delegates to the Annapolis Conference. With such small representation, the meeting was not able to do anything about inter-state problems. It did prepare a report asking the Confederation Congress to call a special convention of delegates from all the states to discuss amendments to the constitution. The convention would meet in Philadelphia on May 14,1787 and would report its results to the Congress. Congress was slow to back the convention. In February 1787, it invited all the states to Philadelphia, explaining that the sole purpose of the convention was to revise the Articles. All but Rhode Island responded favorably and chose delegates.

Active Preparation Started for National or Central Government

Some Americans were satisfied with the existing state of affairs and doubted the need for the convention. Also, a large number of Americans distrusted the Convention delegates. They were afraid that the delegates would establish a strong central government controlled by an aristocracy.

1. The Delegates

The states legislatures or governors appointed seventy-four delegates to the convention at Philadelphia. Of these, nineteen failed to appear. Those who did attend made up an outstanding group of Americans. The delegates came from twelve states and from practically every geographic or political division within the states. Social and economic groups did not receive broad representation. All of the delegates were white men, mostly Protestants of English descent. None came from the poor, the debtors, or the working class: They were mostly lawyers, merchants, and plantation owners. Many were leaders in their own states. Forty-two of them had served in the Continental Congress. Nearly all had held some important public position or had served to the state legislatures. Many had read widely and knew much about history, law, and politics. About half of them had graduated from college – a remarkable achievement in the 1780s.

2. Nationalists in Command

Poor weather and bad roads made travel difficult; especially for delegates from New England. By May 25, the delegations from seven states had arrived, and the necessary quorum was finally present. The sessions were called to order at Philadephia’s State House known to later generations as Independence Hall where independence had been declared. The South had the largest representation at the convention. Southern delegates were also most regular in attendance and most influential in debate. Fourteen of them worked throughout the convention and signed the constitution. New England’s representation was smaller, and only six New England signed the Constitution. A few others from the area refused to sign it.

Delegates who favored a strong central government called nationalists – held private meetings before the sessions opened to plan how to replace the Articles. Therefore, when the convention opened; the nationalists took command. At the start, the nationalists arranged to elect George Washington as presiding officer. To encourage free debate, the delegates moved to keep, the convention’s proceedings secret. To prevent the intrusion of public pressure, they closed the doors and stationed armed guards outside and inside the hall.”

3. Important Decisions

Committees did most of the work at the convention, and debate most often revolved around Committee reports. In the committees and in the convention, about a dozen men made the key decisions.

James Madison, who combined leadership, youth, hard work, intelligence and learning, was in this group. During the convention, he made notes on the proceedings. These notes were published more than fifty years after the convention.

Benjamin Franklin, who was famous as a statesman and scientist, was also at the meeting. Although Franklin was too old to be as active as Madison, he gave dignity to the convention.
The most important delegate was George Washington, who was a national hero. His participation helped the results of the convention. Washington seldom spoke or took part in the proceedings, but he was almost always present. Like Franklin, he took a moderate position on most issues.

4. Randolph’s Plan

On May 29, when the convention, at last, met for its main business, Governor Edmund Randolph of Virginia spoke to the group. He noted the defect of the Articles of Confederation and then proposed fifteen resolutions to correct them.

His first resolution went directly to the core of the issue. He proposed that the delegates forget their instructions to revise the Articles and, instead, drew up a new constitution. The delegates at first reacted to this idea. with silence. Then heated debate broke out.

The nationalists realized that public sentiment was against them. They . also knew that they might not get another chance to write a new resolution.

They would have to plan a national government that was so much better than the existing one that the voters would be willing to adopt it.

Washington urged the delegates to do what they believed to be right, even if their plans should turn out to be unacceptable to the voters.

“If to please the people”,

Washington said,

“We offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.”

Many of the delegates apparently took his advice. Randolph’s resolution to set up a new government passed. It was after the adoption of this resolution that the gathering became a constitutional convention. The delegates themselves, not the people or their elected representatives, made the decision to draw up a new constitution. In this, they went beyond their instructions.

Laying Foundation of Government

The delegates now faced the problem of working out a plan of government that they themselves could accept. They had to devise a government that would not favour large states over small states or one section over another.

1. Two Plans

The Virginia plan was proposed by the nationalists. It would set up a strong, unified central government that would operate directly upon the people rather than upon the states. It would have its own officers and agencies to carry out its laws and duties. The source of government power would be a national legislature. There also would be an executive officer and a system of national courts. Under the Virginia Plan, the states with the largest free population would control the national legislature. The legislature would set the limits of its own power as well as the power of the states. The large states, therefore, favored the plan. Delegates from the small states feared that the Virginia plan would destroy their independence. They wanted all the states to be represented equally in the national legislature. Such representation would prevent the large states from controlling national affairs and would at least suggest that the states were independent. The small states delegates wanted the states to control the central government. These ideas were the basis of the New Jersey plan.

With some changes, the New Jersey plan would keep the main features of the Articles of Confederation. It would strengthen the Congress by allowing it to regulate commerce among the states and raise money with taxes. It would also make acts of Congress and all treaties the supreme law of the land, regardless of laws within the states.

Virginia, and New Jersey plans offered the convention two choices a strong, centralized union or a loose association of states tied more firmly than before. Both plans would keep republican government – rule through elected representatives. In both plans, the legislature would have the greatest power.

2. Compromise

Faced with these choices, the delegates debated. When neither side would give in, the Convention deadlocked. This alarmed Benjamin Franklin. If the convention failed, he warned,” mankind may hereafter the despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.” Franklin’s comments influenced the delegates, and they worked to settle their differences.

Representatives from Connecticut presented the plan that brought the two sides together. They suggested that there be a two-house institute. The Lower house the House of Representatives would be elected by the eligible voters. States would be assigned representatives according to population. The Upper House, or Senate, would be chosen by the legislatures of the states. Each state, regardless of population or wealth, would have two senators. This plan, the “Great Compromise,” was adopted by the convention.

The delegates now turned to sectional differences. Northerners wanted slaves to be included in the population when figuring a state’s share in the payment of direct taxes. But they did not want the slaves counted toward representation in the House. They also wanted Congress to have the power to set up tariffs and regulate trade. Southerners, who owned most of the slaves, wanted the slaves counted toward representation, but not for direct taxation. Also, southerners feared that if Congress had power over tariffs and trade, it might put export taxes on their crops, stop the slave trade, and make commercial treaties that injured the South.

By Compromise, it was decided that three-fifths of the slaves would be counted for purposes of representation and direct taxation. Congress was allowed to regulate commerce but not to levy export taxes. Congress was prohibited for twenty years from ending the foreign slave trade. The new constitution gave the president the powers to make treaties, but two-thirds of the Senate, rather than a simple majority, had to approve them. Acting as a group, the states in one section would be able to vote a commercial treaty that they did not favour.

3. New Powers

As more compromises were reached, the constitution took shape. The kingpin clause in the new constitution was basic to holding the union together. It said that the constitution and the laws and treaties made under it would be the “Supreme Law of the Land.” The new constitution granted certain specific powers to the central government. Among these was exclusive control over foreign relations. In addition, Congress was given the power to levy taxes, regulate commerce, fully control money, and pass laws “necessary and proper” to carry out its responsibilities. The constitution took from the states some of the powers that could best be exercised by the national government. At the same time, certain powers were to be shared by the national and state governments. The new constitution did not recognize the claim of any state to independence. It was a plan for a nation, not a loose association of states.

4. Provisions for Change

The delegates wrote a brief, general document one that did not attempt to spell out all the powers of government. They left it to Congress, the President, and the courts to add to what they had written and to interpret what was not entirely clear. The delegates provided two ways of proposing amendments and two ways of satisfying them. These provisions made amendment difficult but not impossible. The amending process was important in the development of democracy.

For example, the right of black Americans, women and young people to vote has been granted in amendments to the constitution. Since the process of amendment is difficult, Americans often have had to take advantage of the broad wording of the Constitution to bring about change. Particularly when they have thought it unlikely that an amendment might be adopted. American have changed the constitution by having the courts interpret it. Within the design of the original constitution, the people of the United States have taken a republican government with limited democratic features and made it into a government that is basically democratic.

5. Checks and Balances

The delegates created a government with checks and balances. Each branch – legislature, executive and judicial – would have specific powers. At the same time, each branch would have enough power to stop abuses of power by the other branches. When power was used properly, the whole government would be in balance and would work in an orderly way. As a result of their experiences under British rule, the delegates feared the abuse of power by the executive. At the same time, they thought of democracy as mob rule that would lead to control by dictators.

Several features of the new government showed the influence of these beliefs. For example, the constitution gave the voters a direct part only in the election of representatives to the House. The state legislatures, not the voters themselves, would choose the senators.

The delegates made the selection of the executive — the President even more indirect. The President was to be chosen by electors who had been appointed by the State legislatures or by the voters. The powers given to the President were limited. Still, despite the controls on the presidency, it became a position of considerable power.

The courts were also to be removed from control by the voters. With the consent of the Senate, the President would appoint judges to the national courts. They would hold for life.

Practically all of the delegates wanted to Supreme National Court, but they disagreed on its powers. Some wanted to give the Supreme Court a veto over laws it considered unconstitutional; others did not. When the Constitution was completed, it did not specifically give the Court such a veto.

After all of the compromises had been agreed up, a Committee polished the language. When this final draft, went to the convention, only forty-two delegates were still present. Few were fully satisfied with the package of compromises, but only three delegates refused to approve it. On September 17, 1787, thirty-nine delegates signed the Constitution.

Tussles and Struggles over Ratification

Three delegates to the Philadelphia convention immediately brought the new constitution, to the Confederation Congress. Ten days after the convention had ended, Congress, sent the Constitution to the states.

Since the people of Rhode Island were opposed to a stronger union, the state refused to call a ratifying convention. In the other states the legislatures held elections for delegates to the ratifying conventions. These elections were contests for or against the Constitution, for the delegates were chosen on the basis of their attitudes towards the new document.

In the elections, the voters sometimes split into groups over local issues. Most of the time, though they voted on the basis of economic, class or sectional interests. Most merchants, plantation owners, lawyers, doctors and people with property and education were nationalists. They called themselves “Federalist” and supported the new constitution. Owner of small farms, frontiermen, debtors and the uneducated and the poor were generally “Antifederalists”. They opposed the new plan.

1. Federalists

Federalists had many advantages in the ratification battle. They had a i positive program that they believed could overcome difficulties facing the nation. They had better organization and greater resources than did the Antifederalists. Most of the newspapers and many highly respected citizens favored the Federalists position on ratification.

Even the method of electing delegates to the state convention favored the Federalists. Delegates were to be elected in the same way as representatives to the state legislatures. This meant that people from the coastal areas would be over-represented. The property, qualifications for voting also assured Federalists of heavy representation.

Despite these advantages, the Federalists knew that public opinion was not on their side. To overcome this, they began a campaign of persuasion in newspapers and pamphlets. The Federalists admitted that the Constitution had flaws, but they also argued that it was the best plan of government that the nation’s finest minds could produce.

For ten months, Federalists pleaded for support for ratification. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay published a series of essays that examined the Constitution and explained the Federalists point of view. These essays were later published as a book called “The Federalists.” “The Federalists” was not an objective view of the Constitution. The authors were careful to point out, however, that the Constitution was federal as well as national. They tried to show that the powers of the government would be shared between the states and the Central government. They insisted that the Central government had to be strong enough to ensure survival as a nation. The Federalists argued for a government that would have independent powers to tax and to act directly on the people.

2. Anti Federalists

Nearly all the Anti-Federalists believed that the Constitution would give too much power to the central government. Critics said that the Constitution would cripple good government, destroy state sovereignty, and take away the rights of the people. Anti-Federalists argued, for example, that the “necessary and proper” clause would allow the central government to take away the powers of the states. They also insisted that the government’s independent powers of taxation could drain the states of their sources of revenues.

Of all the Anti-Federalists arguments, the strongest was the statement that the proposed Constitution had discussed including such a bill. They had decided it was unnecessary because of the state constitutions in some way guaranteed personal liberties to free citizens. The Anti-federalists pointed out, however, that the central government would have the sovereignty of its own and would operate directly on the people. Without a bill of rights to restrain it, that government might someday take away basic human freedoms.

The Anti-federalists also wrote in defense of their ideas. The “Letters of a Federal Farmer”, published in October 1787, was one of the most influential Anti-federalist works. Its author, Richard Henry Lee, presented most of the standard Anti-federalist arguments. They reflected the common fear of the Anti-federalists that the new government would be controlled by the rich upper classes. Lee’s essays were moderate in tone and won a wide audience.

The Anti-federalists had strong arguments, great concern about democracy, and probably, majority sentiment on their side. However, they were not as effective as the Federalists in swaying public opinion. At a time when the nation needed a positive program, their stand was defensive and negative.

3. Process of Ratification

Several states acted promptly. Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey ratified the Constitution on December 1787, Georgia and Connecticut in January 1788, and Maryland in April 1788. South Carolina became the. second large state to approve in May 1788.

Elsewhere, Federalists and Anti-federalists fought close battles. In Massachusetts, after a hard struggle, the Federalists won. In February 1788, that state voted for ratification. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state of ratifying, making official the adoption of the Constitution. Nonetheless, the nation’s fate was still in doubt. Four states, where about 40 percent of all Americans lived, still had not ratified it. Without two of those states, Virginia and New York, it seemed unlikely that the new Union could succeed.

Virginia at the time had the largest population and the greatest influence in the Union. The Anti-federalists fought and lost their best battle in Virginia. On June 25, 1788, that state became the tenth to ratify.

On the Fourth of July, many people celebrated the ratification with parades and bonfires. In Providence, Rhode Island, however, mobs of farmers attacked the merrymakers in New York, rioting broke out between Federalists and Anti-federalists.

New York was a key state. The Anti-federalists had a large majority in the ratifying Convention. Yet New York City threatened to secede if the state did not ratify the Constitution. Finally, on July 26, New York’s convention approved the Constitution by a narrow margin.

The Constitution had needed the backing of these major states before it could really go into effect. North Carolina and Rhode Island continued to be Anti-federalists stronghold. North Carolina did not give approval until November 1789, nor Rhode until May 1790.

5. Launching of New Government

How that the Constitution had been ratified, people turned their attention to the election of members of the new Congress. As critics of the Constitution had foreseen, the first Congress included new Anti-federalists. When the first Congress assembled almost a month late many friends of the Constitution were among its members.

The Presidency too, was entrusted to a friend of the Constitution. In accordance with the Constitution, the electors voted for two persons. The one with the largest vote, if a majority, was to be president. The one with the next largest vote was to be vice-President. As expected, George Washington was a unanimous choice. John Adams of Massachusetts came in second.

At noon on April 30, 1789, Washington rode alone in a four-horse carriage to Federal Hall in New York City. There on a balcony, the state’s highest judge administered the oath of office. Afterward, he cried,

“Long live George Washington President of the United States!”

The crowd below shouted the same words, and the cannon roared.

The American Revolution (From 1763 to 1783 period)


The future of Great Britain and its American colonies looked bright in 1763. The Treaty of Paris signed in that year ended the French and Indian War. Britain now governed all of North America east of Mississippi River, as well as large part of India and some previously disputed islands in the West Indies.

The war had created some tensions between the colonists and the mother country, however. To the indignation of English patriots, many colonial merchants had continued to trade with the French West Indies. Moreover, the colonists had paid only a small part of the cost of the far-flung war. Finally, British Commanders had frequently belittled colonial soldiers for their lack of discipline and military competence. But the colonists’ loyalty to the mother country had stood the test of war. Throughout America, colonists celebrated the British victory and praised both king and mother country. The colonists now hoped to expand their thriving trade. With the French gone from the interior of the continent and hostilities with the Indians diminished settlers began to move across the Appalachian Mountains into the Ohio River Valley and the Kentucky wilderness. In increasing numbers, immigrants arrived to swell the growing population of the colonies.

Both the costs of war and the responsibilities of victory brought new problems to Great Britain. Between 1754 end 1763, Britain’s national debt had doubled and the expenses of administering the empire had steadily increased, with additional possessions in North America, the West Indies, and India. Britain faced the task of reorganizing its increasingly complex colonial system. It wanted better control of territories but it also wanted the colonists to pay for the costs of administration.

Less than twenty years after the American colonies celebrated the British victory over France, they celebrated their own victory over Great Britain in the American Revolution.

Until 1763, the American colonies had enjoyed a large measure of autonomy under the British rule. Great Britain, occupied with its own problems, had controlled the colonies only loosely for a century and a half. Customs officers failed to enforce laws intended to regulate trade and colonial merchants smuggled goods into the country without paying duties. Colonial legislatures paid the salaries of the governors and therefore, exercised considerable influences ever the king’s official representatives. The American colonists had become accustomed to controlling their own affairs.

When the French and Indian war ended, however, Great Britain decided to tighten its control over its large and prosperous empire in North America. The British Government announced a number of measures in rapid succession. The new program began with a thorough reform of the customs service. Britain appointed additional customs officer and instructed them to pay strict attention to their duties or face dismissal. In order to enforce the trade laws, the government directed customs officials to keep accurate accounts of all imports and exports, of revenue collected, and of illegal trade. The governors and army and navy officers were ordered to support and protect customs officials as they carried out their responsibilities to help ease its financial burdens, Parliament needed additional revenue. In addition to enforcing old regulations, Parliament decided to pass and enforce new laws. In 1764, the Sugar Act lowered the tariff on molasses but provided machinery to collect duties. Merchants accused of smuggling were to be tried by judges in Vice-Admiralty courts instead of juries of their peers in civil courts. Colonial merchants complained that the duties would hurt their businesses; colonial lawyers argued that the system of enforcement violated the citizen’s right to a trial by jury.

These changes in taxation and administrative policies touched off a vigorous debate among American colonists about the controls exercised by Great Britain. This debate was carried on in pamphlets and newspapers, and in the colonial legislatures for the next twelve years.

The American Revolution was the first great movement by which a colonial people broke away from an empire. In many ways, it was a model for the revolutions that were to come. It was led not by the poorest and most miserable of the colonists, but by some of the ablest, best-educated and most successful people in the colonies.

Causes of the American Revolution

In order to locate the causes of the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence, it is appropriate to examine the various British policies which became the foundations of conflicts in political, legal and constitutional fields.

New British policies toward Colonies

George II was twenty-two when in 1760 he became king or monarch of England. His mother had advised him “George, be a king”. For nearly half a century his great grandfather George I and then his grandfather George II had set upon the throne without exercising real power. Both of them had been more German than English-During their reigns, the Whig party had governed Britain and the empire through Parliament and the Cabinet. The new king followed his mother’s advice. Although he did not abolish the system of parliamentary government, he tried to control it. Disputes often arose between the king and Parliament, and the treatment of the colonies became inconsistent.

1. Undesired Legislation

After the French and Indian War, the British government began its new colonial policy.

2. Royal Proclamation 1763

The first big change came in the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which was a response to Pontiac’s Rebellion. That same year. Indians under the Ottawa chief Pontiac had attacked settlers along the frontier, from Detriot to Pennsylvania. The king’s proclamation forbade settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. By keeping colonists out of the Indian country, the king intended to prevent further troubles with the Indians. To the colonists, however, the proclamation seemed an attempt to deprive them to western lands.

3. Several acts of parliament

These were also passed to control the colonists. The Sugar Act of 1764 was designed to stop illegal trade and to raise money. It was applied toward molasses, which was used in making rum. Previously, a duty of sixpence a gallon was supposed to be collected on any molasses brought from the French West Indies to the colonies. Colonial merchants seldom paid the duty, for they usually gave the British customs officials a bribe, averaging about a penny a gallon. At this rate, molasses from the French West Indies was cheaper than the duty-free molasses that came from the British West Indies.

The sugar Act reduced the duty on imported molasses from six to three pennies, but it also provided the strict enforcement of the law. Ships of the royal navy were now to be stationed permanently in North American Waters to watch for smugglers. When caught, lawbreakers were to be tried in the navy’s court, by judges appointed and paid by the British government. In the past, juries in the local courts usually had sympathized with smugglers. With good reason, colonial merchants feared the destruction of their profitable trade with the French West Indies.

The Currency Act of 1764 prohibited the colonies from issuing paper money. Its purpose was to keep colonial debtors from trying to pay their English creditors in paper currency, which was worth less than silver. Its effect would be to discourage business in the colonies since they were always short of coin and needed paper money to carry on business.

Under the terms of the “Quartering Act” of 1765 any colony in which British troops were stationed, was required to provide living quarters and certain supplies for the soldiers. This law was intended to make the colonists support the troops that were sent among them. The colonists, however, could see no reason for the presence of the army. Troops had not been kept in North America before 1754, when there was danger from the French and their indian allies. Why should troops be eliminated?

Preliminary reactions of the colonists

Suspicious colonists thought that the new policy deprived them of their rights to be taxed only by their own elected representatives and to be tried only by a jury of their equals. The colonists also feared that the new policy would end the prosperity. When a business depression came, they blamed it on the sugar Act and the Currency Act.

At first, the colonists only grumbled about the laws and evaded them as best they could. After the passage of an even more unpopular law, however, they resorted to strong words and violent deeds.

The Stamp Act

The stamp Act of 1765 put a tax on legal documents and on newspapers, almanacs and other items. Each of these had to bear a stamp to show that the tax had been paid. The law was designed to raise money to defend the colonies. It was not intended to provoke those colonial leaders — the lawyers and publishers — who could best arouse their fellow colonists. Yet this was the effect of the law. Members of the colonial legislatures soon assembled to discuss the Stamp Act. The Virginia House of Burgesses adopted resolutions that said that the General Assembly had the “sole exclusive Right and Power to lay Taxes on the people of the colony The Massachusetts assembly proposed that all of the colonies send delegates to a congress, or convention, to agree upon joint action.

Nine colonies sent representatives to the Stamp Act Congress, which met in New York in September 1765. It drew up resolutions granting “all due subordination” to Parliament but denying its right to tax the colonies. The Congress asked the king and Parliament to repeal both the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act. Congress also called upon the people to back up these demands by refusing to buy British goods.

Merchants in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston refused to import from Britain. Mobs in these and other places took more forceful steps. They attacked stamp collectors and made the resign before they succeeded in selling any stamps. Groups are known as SONS of Liberty, with Samuel Adams of Massachusetts and Patrick Henry of Virginia among the leaders, were formed to organize the resistance to the law.

Arguments by Colonists

After the French and Indian War, the British decided they could no longer afford to neglect their American colonies. The government issued a series of laws and decrees aimed at establishing more effective control over them. Sugar Act placed new duties on sugar, coffee, wine, and certain other imported products id reduced the tax for molasses, while it provided ways to collect all units more effectively.

There were only scattered protests to these first measures But some colonists, such as James Otis, addressed themselves to the basic question of colonial rights within the British Empire. The New York Assembly, in protesting the sugar Act, advanced the argument – no taxation without representation — which the colonies followed in future financial crises with Great Britain, Colonial resistance to Stamp Act took a number of forms. Colonial leaders organized a voluntary boycott of business and legal activities requiring the use of stamps to show that the tax had been paid. Trade came to a halt, and courts of justice closed said virtually all legal papers needed stamps.

Politicians, such as Samuel

Adams of Boston, organized bands of patriots, drawn largely from the ranks of workingmen, who called themselves” Sons of Liberty” They pressured reluctant businessmen to support the boycott and forced Stamp Act officials to resign by their use of threats and violence. Even more significant than this sporadic violence was a meeting in New York of delegates from nine colonies. This Stamp Act Congress was the first really effective act of political cooperation among so many colonies. It adopted a series of resolutions protesting the new tax law and other new policies, such as the trials of accused smugglers by Vice-Admiralty courts. British businessmen hurt by the colonial boycott pressured Parliament into repealing the Stamp Act in 1766. At the same time, Parliament reaffirmed its right to pass laws for the colonies.

Moreover, the colonists argued that the law violated the English constitution. One of the rights guaranteed by the constitution, they said, was “That no man can justly take the Property of another without his consent.” By taxing the colonists, the British government was taking some of their property. The colonists could consent to this only through their elected representatives. Since the colonists elected no representative to Parliament, its members had no rights to tax them. Of course, the British politicians did not support the argument of the colonists they thought that they were virtually” represented by members from other places, who looked out for the interest of the parts of the empire as well as the whole. The idea of “virtual” representation made no sense to most Americans. They were used to actual representation by men elected from the localities that they were supposed to represent.

Declaratory Act

In 1766 with business starting to feel the effects of the colonists’ refusal to buy British goods, Parliament decided to repeal the Stamp Act. First, however, it passed the Declaratory Act, which said that Parliament had full power to make laws “to bind the colonies and people of America. in all cases whatever”.

Townshend Duties

The British authorities in London assumed incorrectly that the Americans objected to “internal” taxes like the Stamp Act but would be willing to accept “external “taxes. Accordingly, in 1767 Parliament imposed the so-called Townshend duties on colonial imports of lead, paint, paper, glass, and tea. Like the stamp duties, these were intended to raise revenue. Unlike the stamp taxes, they were to be collected before the goods entered the colonies. In that sense, they were external. The Townshend duties caused no such uproar as the Stamp Act, but they seemed equally unconstitutional to the colonists. As they seemed that Parliament could levy external duties, but only to regulate trade, not to raise revenue. Once again, merchants agreed to import no goods from Britain and the sons of Liberty threatened violence to all who failed to cooperate.

British Reactions

Soon the British government further angered the colonists. The colonist’s assemblies had not fully obeyed the “Quartering Act” and Parliament singled out the New York assembly for punishment. In 1767, it refused to recognize any of the assembly’s actions until full support should be provided for the British troops quartered in the colony by punishing only one of them, Parliament had hoped to divide the American colonies but the others quickly expressed their sympathy with New York.

British Customs Commissioners

That same year the government appointed a special board of British Customs Commissioners. It was to be located in Boston instead of London to assure the collection of duties and better to deal with smuggling. The Commissioners soon made themselves unpopular, ordering sudden raids and seizing ships on technicalities. Evey seizure meant money for the Commissioners since they received one-third of the values of the cargo. To protect the Commissioners, troops were sent to Boston. The local Sons of Liberty under Samuel Adams, made life miserable for the soldiers, standing guard in front of the customs house. On March 5, 1770, a jeering crowd led by Crispus Attucks, a black seaman, threw rocks and snowballs at the ten men on duty, as crowds often had done before. This time the soldiers started firing. Several in the crowd, including Attucks, were killed, in what Americans afterward called the Boston Massacre. Already, merchants in Britain were demanding repeal of the Townshend duties because they were hurting business. In 1770, parliament repealed all the duties except the one on tea. Parliament hoped that this one would raise some money as well as remind the colonists of the powers that had been claimed in the Declaratory Act.

Period of Colonial Cooperation

From about 1770 to 1773, good feelings prevailed between the colonies and Britain. True, there were occasional incidents, as in 1772, when Rhode Islanders burned a British Patrol ship after it had run aground near Providence. Also, the more radical colonial leaders, such as Samuel Adams, continued to insist on the colonists’ rights and to denounce Parliament’s tyranny. Most people, however, were content to enjoy the prosperity that came with the reopening of trade. Now that the colonies were less troubled by Britain, they began to give more attention to their complaints against each other. Connecticut, for example, claimed land in northeastern Pennsylvania. While resisting Connecticut’s claim, Pennsylvania quarreled with Virginia over some territory in the Ohio Valley.

The most serious trouble took place in North Carolina. Settlers in the Carolina foothills objected to the actions of their own colonial assembly. They charged that the assembly was run by eastern planters who passed unfair taxes and denied the rights of local self-government, In a brief, small-scale civil War in 1771, militiamen from the east defeated the westerners in the Battle of Alamance. This left the westerners so bitter that many of them continued to oppose the easterners even after the struggle with Britain had been renewed. On the whole, however, the renewal of the dispute with the British brought about closer cooperation and greater unity among the colonies than had ever before existed.

The Tea Act

The East India Company was a great Corporation that controlled the government as well as the commerce of Britain’s possessions in India. In 1773, it found itself in serious financial trouble, and Parliament passed the Tea Act to help it. This law allowed the company to sell tea directly to retailers in North America, paying only the Townshend tea tax In the past, the company had paid various taxes in Britain and had sold its tea only to British merchants. They, in turn, sold it to American merchants who then distributed it among retailers in the colonies. Under the new law. with the merchants’ profits and most of the taxes removed, the company would be able to undersell all competitors. The colonists, who had a reputation as great tea drinkers, we’re expected to swallow the Townshend tax along with the cheap tea.

The reaction in North America surprised the British authorities. American tea dealers, of course, protested against the unfair competition from a giant corporation. Tea drinker also resented the new law, for they considered it a trick to make them accept taxation by Parliament. The colonists vowed to use none of the company’s tea.

When its tea ships arrived in colonial parts, angry crowds made them either turn back or leave their cargo, unsold, in the warehouse. Women formed anti-tea leagues, some of which later became the “Daughters of Liberty.” In Boston harbor, the fallowers of Samuel Adams, disguised as Indians, boarded the ships and threw the tea into the harbor.

Intolerable Acts

As punishment for the “Boston Tea Party,” British government struck at the Bostonians with four laws that became known as the “Intolerable Acts” (1774). One closed the port of Boston to all shipping except military supplies and shipments of food and fuel cleared by customs officials.

Another decreased the power of the Massachusetts assembly and restricted right of the people to hold town meetings. A third limited the power of the colony’s courts. It provided that customs officers and royal officials, when accused of murder while carrying out their duties, could be tried in Britain. The other authorized the quartering of troops among the people as well as in the barracks that the colony had provided.

Quebec Act of 1774

Still another British measure that Americans saw as a threat to their interests was the Quebec Act 1774. It set up a civil government and draw boundaries for the province of Quebec, which had been ruled by a military government since 1763. The new Quebec government was to have no elected assembly; it was to include certain features of French law, and it was to favor the Catholic Church. The boundaries were to include the area west of the Appalachian Mountains and north of the Ohio River. Britain intended to provide for Quebec an orderly government that would be acceptable to the French settlers of the province. The British colonists, however, looked upon it as another attempt to halt representative government in North America and the discourage people from taking up land in the west. By singling Massachusetts out for punishment through the Intolerable Acts Parliament had hoped to isolate it from the other colonies. After the passage of these laws and then the Quebec Act, however, the other colonies came to the support of Massachusetts. They stiffened their resistance to British authority, and they were soon to be better united than before.

The First Continental Congress

Revolutions do not just happen. They must be led and organized. In the colonies, people like Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams, extreme opponents of British Policy, were the early leaders of what was to become the American Revolution. At first, the colonial assemblies were centers of resistance. Then delegates from nine of the assemblies met in the Stamp Act Congress. A number of people enrolled in local groups like the Sons of Liberty. Still later committees of correspondence were formed. Local Committees of correspondence had appeared in 1772. Samuel Adams had persuaded the towns of Massachusetts to appoint correspondents to keep in touch with each other and agree upon united action. These committees, drawing up statements of rights and grievances, kept alive the anti-British feeling in New England.

Inter-Colonial Relations

Inter-colonial committees of correspondence began in 1773. Patrick Henry and other Virginians set up a committee for their colony and suggested that the other colonies do the same. Thereafter, the colonies had a network of committees through which to coordinate their plans. After the passage of the intolerable ACts and the Quebec Act, these committees arranged for an inter-colonial congress to be held.

Deliberations of the Continental Congress

The Continental Congress, with delegates from all the colonies but Georgia, met in Philadelphia for the first time in September 1774. From the start the delegates were divided. Moderates were willing to let Parliament regulate colonial trade so long as it did not try to rais revenue by taxation. The more extreme members, however, had moved beyond that position. They wised to deny Parliament any power of legislating for the colonies.

  1. On behalf of the moderates, Joseph Galloway of Pennsylvania proposed a plan to reform the empire. His plan was something like the one that Benjamin Franklin had presented at Albany twenty years earlier. A council, to represents all the colonies, was to have a veto over acts of parliament but Parliament was to have a veto over the actions of the colonial council. This plan was defeated by one vote.
  2. Moderates and extremists agreed on a statement of grievances, to be sent in a petition to the king. It denied that parliament had any authority over the colonies but said that the colonists would nevertheless abide by Parliament’s acts if they were confined to legitimate regulations of trade. The statement assured the king of the American’s allegiance to his majesty and their affection for their fellow-subjects in Britain. Responding to the demands of the extremists, the majority approved a set of resolutions that a convention in Suffolk country, Massachusetts, had passed. The Suffolk Resolves calls upon the people to prepare military defenses against a possible attack by the British troops in Boston. The majority also decided that all trade with Britain should be stopped. They agreed on non-importation, non-exportation, and nonconsumption of any goods to or from Britain. To see that the agreement was enforced they formed the continental Association with members in each colony.
  3. Finally, when the delegates adjourned, they agreed to meet again the following spring. Thus they viewed the Continental Congress as a containing body, not a temporary organization.

British Reaction

“The New England Governments are in state of Rebellion,” George III exclaimed in November 1794. “Blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independent.” , Not only New England but also the middle and southern colonies at the continental Congress, had defined the mother country and had declared what amounted to economic war.

The British policymakers faced a dilemma, if they gave in to the demands of the Continental Congress, they would have recognized the colonies as practically independent. On the other hand, if they rejected the petition from the colonists, they would probably have to fight a fullscale war.

During the winter of 1774/75, Parliament debated over the treatment of the colonies. Some members favored giving in to them. Others insisted that if the colonics were to be kept subordinate the empire, Samuel Adams and others of his kind would have to be taught a lesson. Twice before, Parliament had backed down in quarrels with the colonies. It had repealed the Stamp Act and with one exception, the Townshend duties. This time, it did not back down, It refused to repeal the Intolerable Acts. Instead, Parliament passed the Conciliatory Proposition. These suggested that the colonies avoid parliamentary taxation by taxing themselves “for.contributing their proportion to the common defense.” The proportions did not say how much the proportion” of each colony would be, Presumably; this would be left for Parliament to decide.

The conciliatory Prepositions did not suit the discontented colonists. They could see little difference between being taxed by Parliament and being forced to tax themselves at parliament’s request. The proposition said nothing about the Intolerable Acts and the other laws that troubled the colonists. In any case, the British offer came too late. By the time it was received in North America, the first shots of the Revolutionary War had fired.

Meaning of the American Revolution

The American Revolution grew largely out of changes in Britain’s colonial purposes and methods. The American colonists seemed in 1763 to have been content with their status. If Great Britain had not attempted to tighten the loosely knit empire and to make more money out of it, the break between Britain and the colonies would probably not have come when it did or as it did.

Once the rupture occurred, however, changes came fast in American’s attitudes towards Great Britain and towards their own society. The fears, hopes, dreams, and material pressures generated by war produced some significant changes in American life.

Nevertheless, America after the war years looked remarkably like colonial America. The American Revolution stands as one of the few modern revolutions in which the main fabric of social relationships was not savagely torn. The conservative nature of the American Revolution must be attributed largely to two circumstances.

The first is that the colonists began fighting in an effort to preserve what they already, had rather than to attain a new order.

The second is that the war hardly damaged agriculture, the basis of the American economy. Time and again throughout history, a war undertaken for one purpose has been carried on for other, quite different purposes. this was true of the Revolutionary War. In the beginning, the aim of the colonists was only to uphold their idea of the British Empire. After the first year of fighting, however, the aim was changed to independence. By 1775 many Americans looked upon the British Empire as a kind us federation of peoples. Each group had its own legislative body, and all group were, tied together by loyalty to the monarch. For the colonists to assert their complete independence, they had only to announce that they were breaking the connection with the British crown. This they did with the Declaration of Independence in 1776. They were not unanimous, however, in making the final break. All along, some Americans had been unwilling to resist the powers of Parliame ft. Al the end these people could not bring themselves to give up their loyalty to the king. Revolutions are usually carried out by a determined minority, and apparently the American Revolution was no exception. It was the first great movement by which a colonial people broke away from an empire.

In many ways, it was a model for the revolutions that were to come. It was led not be the poorest and most miserable of the colonists, but by some of the most above, best-educated, and most successful people in the colonies.

The Lull and the Storm

The colonists felt threatened by the soldiers, and they saw the Quartering Act as another form of taxation. Occasional brawls culminated in the Boston Massacre in 1700 in which the British soldiers shot five members of the unarmed mob. Similar brawls between soldiers and colonists occurred in New York and contributed to the growing antagonism and fear between the colonists and the British.

In the spring of 1770, British-colonial relations took a marked turn for the better. The redcoats in Boston withdrew to the fort in the harbor to prevent further incidents. A new Parliamentary ministry took office and its leader Lord Frederick North, had all of the Townshend duties repealed except that on tea. North allowed to Quartering Act to expire and also promised that no new taxes would be imposed on the colonies. There was rejoicing in the colonies, and for more than two years, there sumed to be a real reconciliation.

Then a series of episodes produced serious conflicts that finally led to independence. The first occurred in June 1772, when a group of Rhode Islanders raided and burned the “Gaspee” a customs vessel. The British decision to try the offenders in England, assuming they could be identified, alarmed the colonists who saw this as yet another blow to the British decided that the crown, rather than the Massachusetts Assembly, would pay the salaries of the governor and judges in that colony, produced new protest organizations. The colonists organized Committees of Correspondence to keep each other informed about local conflicts between colonial and British authority and to circulate propaganda against British rule.

In 1773, the tea crisis speeded up the final break with Great Britain. The colonies saw the British East India Company’s monopoly on the sale of tea as another example of colonial exploitation for British profits. Up and down the Atlantic coast they prevented the sale of tea, and in Boston, the center of colonial protest, a band of citizens destroyed the cargo of tea ship.

Parliament responded angrily in 1774 with the Coercive Acts, labeled the Intolerable Acts by the colonists. At the same time, Parliament passed the Quebec Act, which was not intended as a colonial punishment, by which the colonist interpreted as one.

With the Intolerable Acts, Parliament demonstrated that it intended to enforce British prestige and authority regardless of the cost to trade and remaining colonial goodwill. Many colonists interpreted parliament’s actions as part of a conspiracy to deprive them of all their rights. Other spokesmen argued that the colonies owed no allegiance to Parliament. All the colonies united firmly in support of Massachusetts. The committees of Correspondence organized a Congress which met in Philadelphia in September 1774, to deal with the mounting crisis. The fifty-five delegates from twelve colonies (Georgia was nor represented) voted to support Massachusetts, to denounce Parliament’s legislation for the colonies since 1763, and to form a Continental Association to enforce a thorough boycott of trade with Britain.

By the time the delegates to the Second Continental Congress convened in May 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord had been fought. The Continental Congress explained in the “causes and Necessities of Taking up arms,” why they had used military force. They tried fruitlessly to get Britain to restore the relationship that existed prior to 1763. Instead of backing down, Britain began dispatching more troops to the colonies to put down the rebellion.

By the spring of 1776, it became clear to most members of the congress that reconciliation between the colonies and Great Britain was impossible without a virtual surrender of the colonial position. In all thirteen colonies, the Americans had ousted the royal official.

Disillusionment with the king, who had stoutly supported Parliament, was strengthened by Thomas Paine’s bitter attack in “Common sense” on monarchy in general and on George III in particular. Hundreds of thousands of copies of this pamphlet, which argued for complete independence from Great Britain, circulated among the colonists in 1776. The Continental Congress responded to the events of the year by adopting the Declaration of Independence.

Early Battles

During the winter of 1774/75 New. Englanders began to prepare for a possible attack from the British troops in Boston. “Minutemen,” ready to fight on a minute’s notice, drilled in militia company. Guns and gunpowder were collected and stored for emergency use. On April 18, 1775, a force of 700 British soldiers left Boston to March the eighteen miles to concord. They intended to seize the arms and ammunition that had been collected there. When the redcoats Lexington, on the way to Concord, colonial militiamen were waiting for them on the village green. A British officer ordered the militiamen to disperse when suddenly shots rang out. Who fired the first shot, nobody knows, but some militiamen were killed and others were wounded. The British moved on to concord and found that the Americans had removed most of the power supply. After burning what was left and fighting off an American attack, the British started to March back to Boston. All along the way, they faced the gunfire of Americans hidden behind trees, rocks and stone fences. Before the day was over the British had suffered 273 casualties (killed, wounded or missing), about three times as many as the Americans.

Battle of Banker Hill

In the weeks that followed, militiamen came from all over New English to fight the British in Boston. In the Battle of Bunker, Hill, which was fought on Breed’s Hill on June 17, 1775, the British attempted to break the siege. After two unsuccessful attacks, the British advanced a third time. The Americans, their ammunition almost gone, were forced off the hill in bitter hand-to-hand fighting.

For the British, this victory was both costly and incomplete. Their losses were 226 killed and 828 wounded, compared with the American’s 100 killed, 267 wounded, and 30 captured. The siege had not been broken. Both sides now realized that they had a hard and bloody war on their hands.

The War and its strategy

There is no simple explanation for the Americans’ victory in the War for Independence. Their military success owed much to the facts that they fought on home ground, that they received considerable help from France and Spain, and that their commander, George Washington realized that time was on the American side if he could avoid an early defeat. Washington also received loyal support from the continental Congress, although it was unable to supply his armies adequately.

The unity of the revolutionaries suffered because many Americans remained loyal to Britain. During the war, however, a large number of loyalists fled Canada or to Great Britain. Those remaining in America could not oppose the war effectively unless they lived in the few places continuously occupied by the British. The British encountered serious difficulties in bringing their superior strength to bear on the distant rebellion. The war against the colonies was unpopular with many merchants, some members of Parliament, and even some generals. Besides lacking the manpower needed to suppress the revolt – they hired thirty thousand mercenary soldiers from Germany – the British found navy in bad shape. With a limited number of troops, the British could not effectively occupy a country that contained vast stretches of farmland and forest. Their strategy for putting down the rebellion was to capture key cities, blockade the coasts, divide the colonies and beat the Revolutionary armies where they found them. The British campaign began inauspiciously in June 1775, when the American militiamen besieging Boston dealt the British regulars a savage blow at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Americans killed and wounded more than a thousand men.

The Declaration of Independence

In May 1775, the Second Continental Congress had met in Philadelphia, with delegates again from twelve colonies. This congress did not confine itself to adopting resolutions. It also acted as a central governing body for the colonics. With in the colonies, the assemblies took charge of the government. They defied the governors and other royal officials, who sooner or later stopped trying to re-establish British authority. Even though the congress and assemblies were acting as independent governments, most Americans still hesitated to declare independence. In July 1775, the Congress sent another petition to King George III and issued the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms.” This blamed the troubles on the king’s ministers rather than on the king himself. In choosing resistance, the Americans said they had no “ambitious designs of separating from Great Britain and establishing independent states.” Nevertheless, just one year later, the congress adopted a much different declaration. This one concluded that “these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.” What accounted for the change in war aims?

  1. First, the American received no satisfaction from the British government. The king did not even answer their petition. Instead, he proclaimed that the colonies were in rebellion. Parliament voted to send 25,000 additional troops to North America and passed a law prohibiting trade with the colonies.
  2. Second, the Americans desperately needed foreign aid in order to win even a limited war — one waged only to correct grievances within the empire. To get the aid they needed, they would have to act as independent people, with full power to make treaties and alliances with foreign countries. Thus, fighting the war caused a change in war aims.
  3. Third, the Americans found that they had to make terrible sacrifices in order to carry on the struggle. The costs would be out of proportion to the benefits unless some grand objective were sought.
  4. Fourth, a powerful pamphlet,” Common Sense,” helped many Americans make up their minds. It was first published in January 1776 by Thomas Paine, an Englishman who had come to North America less than two years earlier. He argued that it was common sense for this great continent to cut itself loose from a small island that was no more fit to govern it than a satellite was to rule the sun.

Draft of the Declaration of Independence

After much debate, the Congress appointed a committee in June 1776 to draft the Declaration of Independence. The group, which included Benjamin Franklin and John Adarns, left most of the writing to one member, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Jefferson based the declaration on the ideas of John Locke, an English Philosopher. According to Locke, People had originally created a government in order to protect their rights to created government in order to protect their rights to life, liberty and property; whenever the existing government failed to do its job, the people could abolish it and create a new one. Jefferson changed the emphasis of Locke’s theory of stressing human rights rather than property rights. He wrote:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, Liberty i and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

He also listed the ways in which King George II had stepped on the rights of the colonists, thus giving them grounds to abolish British rule and set up independent governments. In his original draft; Jefferson had included the institution of slavery as one of the grievances against George III. But pressure from other southern colonists caused him to remove this statement from the final draft. On July 2, 1776, the congress passed a resolution dissolving” all political connections between the colonies and Britain. On July 4, 1776, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence written by Jefferson to emphasize this resolution. Henceforth, the United Colonies were known as the United States.

In Philadelphia and elsewhere in the new nation cannon were fired H. and church bells were rung to celebrate the news on independence. Not all the people rejoiced, however. A large minority remained loyal to the king. They called themselves. loyalists, but the Patriots called them Tories.

Directing of the War

The Second Continental Congress directed the American war effort — the raising of supplies, money and soldiers and the planning of military campaigns. Yet the congress had’ no power to impose taxes or to draft soldiers; it could only make requests to the ..states and leave the taxing and drafting to them.

1. Military Supplies

From the beginning there was a shortage of war materials in America. There were many gunsmiths but not enough to make the needed guns. Some states offered bounties to encourage to the making of arms and ammunition. The Congress set up a government arsenal for manufacturing them at Springfield Massachusetts. American troops occasionally captured equipment from the British. For most of its military supplies, however, the United States had to rely on imports, especially from France.

There were many gunsmiths but not enough to make the needed guns. Some states offered bounties to encourage the making of arms and ammunition. The Congress set up a government arsenal for manufacturing them at Springfield Massachusetts. American troops occasionally captured equipment from the British. For most of its military supplies, however, the United States had to rely on imports, especially from France.

2. The Act of Borrowing

Even when materials were available, it was hard for Americans to find the means to pay for them, Cash was scarce, and the states disliked taxing their people. As a result, thc Congress often got supplies directly from farmers or manufacturers and paid for them with certificates of indebtedness — promises to pay later — or with paper money. This currency was issued in such large quantities that it became practically worthless. To meet the costs of war, Congress had to borrow more and more from foreign countries.

3. Sources of Support

Support for the Revolution came from several sources. Many non-English immigrants supported the Patriots rather than the loyalists. Since they had come from other countries, they did not feel as bound to England as those whose roots were there. Moreover, the colonial aristocracy was primarily English. For some, fighting England was also a way to fight the aristocracy.

4. Role of the Blacks

There were blacks in every major battle from Lexington on. George Washington, as commander-in-Chief of the American forces, at first reluctant to let blacks fight. Thus many slaves fought on the side of the British, who promised them freedom. Some did gain freedom in this way but others were sent to the West Indies and kept in slavery. However, continued British recruitment of blacks persuaded Washington to Change American policy, and many blacks finally supported or fought on the patriot side. They hoped that the independent United States would abolish the slave trade, and slavery, and upgrade the social standing of blacks.

5. Role of the Women

Some women fought in the war, and others acted as spies. Most women aided the war effort by carrying the burden of two jobs. They filled the vacuum created by the absence of men on farms and in family businesses as well as doing their usual work. Women supplied large quantities’ of food and clothing for the army. Throughout the colonies, they raised money for the war effort, and at least one group attacked hoarders.

6. Role of the Indians

The Indians were split by the war. Most tribes, however, fought against the colonists. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 which limited the colonists to the east side of the Appalachians, had helped win them to the side of England in the Conflict.

7. General Conditions

Mạny Tories helped and even fought alongside the British. The Patriots themselves generally disliked regular military service, though they were willing enough to oppose the enemy whenever troops approached their homes. Fortunately, the United States was to receive military and naval support from abroad.

8. Drafting Policy

To encourage men to enlist the states offered bounties, usually in the form of land. Several states resorted to the draft. The men served in militia units that remained under state control. In addition, Congress raised a regular force of volunteers, the Continental Army. In June 1775, it appointed George Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the army and of all the state militia

9. Commanding Ability

George Washing, in the capacity of Commander-in-Chief, displayed excellent abilities and military shrewdness. Washington was forty-three then, had early favored independence. He had gained military independence. He had gained military experience in the French and Indian War, and he had qualities of character that made him a natural leader. During the Revolutionary War, he did not have a free hand in planning strategy for the Congress often interfered with his plans. Nevertheless, more than any other person, he was responsible for keeping the patriot American in the field and leading them to victory.

Military achievements & Victories

1. Colonial Disadvantages

In waging war, the United States was less than a third the size of Britains, and many of the Americans opposed the war effort. The economic resources of the Americans were even smaller in proportion to those of the British. The governments in the United States were newly organized, and control was divided. The United States had no navy except what it could hastily put together, while Britain was the strongest sea power in the world. Yet the Americans had the advantage of fighting on their own soil. The British had to carry the war to them, at a distance of three thousand miles and more. Moreover, the people of Britain were divided and most of them showed little enthusiasm for the war the British were reluctant to join the army, and the government had to hire mercenaries from Germany. A total of 30,000 mercenaries, more than half of whom were Hessians, fought in the colonies.

2. Turning Point at Saratoga

During the first year of the fighting, the Patriots took the initiative on several fronts. When the British forces sailed away from Boston in March 1776, they abandoned their last foothold on American soil. Before long, however, they reappeared. That summer, hundreds of ships and an army of 32,000 soldiers — the largest war-making expedition that Britain had ever sent abroad-arrived in New York Harbour. Henceforth, the Patriots were to be on the defensive. The commander of the newly arrived British army, General William Howe, offered the American rebels, a choice of surrendering with a royal pardon or facing what he thought was an unbeatable force. Certainly, Washington’s army was no match for Howe’s army in numbers, training or equipment. Nevertheless, Commissioners from Congress rejected Howse’s offer. When Howe’s troops landed, they routed Washington and his soldiers from Long Island and Manhattan Island. Slowly and Stubbornly, the Americans retreated through New York and New Jersey across the Delaware River, and into Pennsylvania. On Christmas-night, 1776 Washington daringly re-crossed Delaware and surprised and scattered the Hessians at Trenton. Later he drove off the redcoats at Princeton. By the year’s end, though the Patriots had given up a great deal of ground, Howe was a long way from the grand triumph that he had been anticipating.

The next year, Howe captured the American capital, Philadelphia. Washington set up a winter camp at Vally Forge, nearby, and the Congress took refuge in York, Pennsylvania. Although Howe held both New York and Philadelphia, the two largest cities in the United States, he controlled only a small part of the country, as a whole. He had won additional battles but as was as far as ever from a decisive victory. Another British general, however, was about to suffer a major defeat.

General John Burgoyne, with an army of British regulars, Canadians, German mercenaries and Indian allies, had invaded the United States from the province of Quebec. Burgoyne easily took Fort Ticonderoga. Then he began to run into trouble. At Bennington, New Hampshire militiamen caught of his detachments and cut it into pieces.

In other engagements, he lost more and more troops. Finally, on October 17, 1777, he was surrounded at Saratoga, New York and had no choice but to surrender all that was left of his army, about 5000 soldiers.

The Victory ai Saratoga was a great turning point in the war. It led to an alliance between the United States and France.

3. Help from France

From the beginning of the controversy between the colonies and Britain, the French government had closely watched events in North America. The French remembered their defeat by Britain in 1763 and they were eager to avenge it. They assumed that Britain would be weakened if it should lose a part of its empire. Thus they were glad to help the Americans break away.

Te Revolutionary leaders knew well the French point of view. Even before the Declaration of Independence the Congress had appointed a secret committee to seek foreign aid, and it had sent an agent to France. The French and Spanish kings were willing to furnish supplies but insisted on doing so secretly, in order to keep the British. from learning about it. The French set up a fake trading company that sent millions of dollars worth of munitions to the Americans. After the Declaration of Independence, the Americans hoped for French recognition of the United States government and additional aid. Benjamin Franklin was sent to France to seek a treaty for these purposes. He received an enthusiastic welcome from the French people, but the government was cautious. It gave new grants and loans to the United States but delayed making a treaty. The French leaders wanted to see whether the Americans actually had a chance of winning the war. Then came the news of the victory at Saratoga. In London, the news caused Parliament to make another peace offer. It granted most of the American demands, including the end of parliamentary taxation and the repeal of the Intolerable Acts. In Paris, the French leaders saw that they must act promptly. If the Americans and British were to reconcile, France would lose the chance to disrupt the empire. In 1778 American representatives signed a treaty of alliance with France. Soon France was at war with Britain.

The French alliance brought needed naval support to the Americans. The Congress controlled only a few warships, though it commissioned hundreds of privately owned vessels to prey on British commerce. The French navy was no match for the British navy as a whole, yet a French fleet was to gain a temporary and local advantage in American waters.

4. Yorktown

After the defeat at Saratoga, the British adopted a cautious war plan. Sir Henry Clinton, who replaced General Howe in the Sping of 1778, abandoned Philadelphia and marched his troops back to New York, Washingon followed with his army and remained nearby to keep an eye on Clinton. Soon Clinton invaded the Southern states. He assumed that Loyalists were numerous in the South and that they would welcome and help the British. Approaching from the sea, the British took Savannah and later Charleston. A number of Loyalists joined the invaders, whom Clinton had left under the command of Lord Cornwallis. The combined forces fought far into the backcountry. The farther they went, however, the more resistance they met from Patriot militiamen. At King’s Mountain, South Carolina, in 1780 the patriots killed wounded or captured a force of more than a thousand Loyalists.

To deal with Cornwallis and his followers, Washington sent General Nathanael Greene to the Carolinas. Greene, a blacksmith from Rhode Island, was probably the finest American officers other than Washington himself. At first, Greene used hit-and-run tactics and avoided a pitched battle. Finally, when he thought his army was ready, he took up a position at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolinas. Cornwallis attacked on March 15, 1781. Though he drove Green from the field., he lost so many troops he decided to abandon his effort to conquer and hold the Carolinas. After this battle, Greene and Cornwallis moved in opposite directions. Greene headed South to try to retake Charleston and Savannah. Cornwallis left for Virginia, hoping to Conquer it, but he soon retreated to the relative safety of the seacoast. At Yorktown, Virginia, he began building a fort while waiting for the British navy to reinforce his troops.

Washington, still watching Clinton’s army in New York City, learned that a French fleet under Admiral de Grasse was sailing for the Chesapeake Bay. After conferring with the French army commander, General de Rochambeau, Washington decided to try and trap Cornwallis at Yorktown. Washington and Rochambeau marched many of their troops to the head of Chesapeake Bay and then transported them by ship to the James River. This army of more than 15000 nearly half of whom was French, hemmed in Cornwallis on the land side. De Grasse’s fleet larger than any the British could send to the scene in time, prevented escape by sea. Cornwallis and his 7,000 soldiers were helpless as the much larger French and American forces began to close in. On October 17, 1781, he surrendered.

Chronology of War Events

Phase I (1775-1776)

  1. April 19, 1775 — Battles of Lexington and Concord. British victories. The British sent troops to seize rebel military supplies at Concord. A small force of minutemen met them at Lexington. Fighting began, and the minutemen retreated. The British went on the Concord and destroyed the supplies. On the return march to Boston, the British suffered heavy casualties.
  2. May 10 and 12, 1775. The capture of Forts Ticonderoga and Crown Point. American victories. The capture of these strategic forts in New York gave the patriots artillery and other supplies needed or the siege of Boston.
  3. June 17, 1775 – Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill). British victory. The British tried to dislodge patriot troops from a hill overlooking Boston. The Patriot withdrew, but the British suffered heavy casualties.
  4. September 12- December 31, 1775- _Invasion of Quebec. British victory. The patriots hoped to get Quebec to join the rebellious thirteen colonies and prevent the British from using the city as a base. The Patriot assault on Quebec failed.
  5. February 27, 1776 – Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge. American victory. The British planned to join forces with loyalists in the South, but the Patriots defeated the Loyalists.
  6. March 17, 1776 – Siege of Boston. American victory. The Patriots forced the British to evacuate the Port of Boston.
  7. June 28, 1776 Battle of Charleston. American victory. Unable to Unite with the Loyalists, the British tried but failed to set up a Southern base at Charleston.
  8. August 27, 1776 — Battle of Long Island. British victory. The British and the Patriots fought to occupy New York City. The Americans retreated through New Jersey.
  9. December 26, 1776 – Battle of Trenton. American victory, The Patriots needed a spectacular win to raise morale. They surprised and captured the British garrison.

Phase II

  1. (1777-1779) i January 3, 1777 – Battle of Princeton. American Victory. The Patriots defeated the British and cleared most of New Jersey.
  2. July 5, 1777 — Fort Ticonderoga. British Victory. The British, on their way from Quebec to Albany, recaptured the fort.
  3. August 6, 1777 – Battle of Oriskany. American Victory — A second British force, heading for Albany, besieged Fort Stanwix. On the way to help the fort, Patriots fought off an attack.
  4. August 16, 1777 — Battle of Bennington. American victory. The British went to Bennington for supplies but had to leave without them.
  5. September 11, 1777 – Battle of Brandywine. British-victory. The Patriots merely slowed the British on their way to Philadelphia.
  6. October 4, 1777 – Battle of Germantown. British victory. The British defeat at Saratoga. New York, ended the invasion from Quebec.
  7. October 17, 1777 – Battle of Saratoga. American victory, The British defeat at Saratoga New York, ended the invasion from Quebec.
  8. June 18, 1778 – Evacuation of Philadelphia The British, hearing reports of a French fleet, left for New York City.
  9. June 28, 1778 — Battle of Monmouth. A draw. The patriots attacked the British. After some success, the Patriots were forced on the defensive, but the British withdrew.
  10. July 4, 1778 – Capture of Kaskaskia. American victory. To stop raids in the West, the Patriots sent troops to several posts, including Kaskaskia and Vincennes.
  11. December 29, 1778 – Battle of Savannah. British Victory. The British defeated a force of local militia and occupied the city.
  12. February 23, 1779 — Battle of Vincennes. American victory. After recapturing Vincennes, the British were forced to surrender it.

Phase III (1780-1781)

  1. May 12, 1780 – Siege of Charleston. British victory. The patriots were besieged and finally forced to surrender.
  2. August 16, 1780 – Battle of Camden. British victory. the Patriots tried to go on the offensive but were routed by the British.
  3. October 7, 1780 — Battle of King’s Mountain. American victory. The tide turned in the South as the Patriots defeated the Loyalists.
  4. January 17, 1781 — Battle of Cowpens. American victory. The British attacked the southern Patriots but suffered heavy casualties.
  5. March 15, 1781 – Battle of Guilford Courthouse. British victory The Patriots were defeated, but the British suffered heavy losses and finally withdrew.
  6. May 21 — October 9, 1781 — Yorktown campaign. American victory. The Patriots (George Washington) and the French (Cmte de. Rochambeau) planned a joint attack against the British in New York. But when Comte de Grasse notified Washington that he was bringing the French fleet from the West Indies (August 13) to the Chesapeake Bay. Washington decided to head south. The French and Patriot troops pretended to be preparing an attack on Staten island but sneaked through New Jersey.

De Grasse set up a naval blockade off Yorktown (August 30) and landed his troops. The Patriots (Marquis de Lafayette) were blockading the British (Lord Cornwallis) from the land side. The British fleet (Admiral Thomas Graves) appeared, and action followed. The British fleet withdrew to New York for repairs (September 10).

De Grasse sent ships up the Chesapeake Bay to bring Washington’s and Rochambeau’s troops to Yorktown (September 14-24). The combined forces besieged Cornwallis, who was forced to surrender (October 19) when the British fleet failed to return in time.

Text of Declaration of Independence

(In Congress, July 4, 1776) It is most appropriate to have an examination and study of the text of the Declaration of Independence which is not only revolutionary as well as historical.

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established shall not be changed for light and transient causes, and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for ‘their future security. such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this let facts be submitted to a candid world.

  1. He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  2. He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend them.
  3. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right is inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  4. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual uncomfortable and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  5. He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  6. He has refused for a long time after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within.
  7. He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states, for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
  8. He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws’ for establishing judiciary powers.
  9. He has made judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  10. He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
  11. He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legisläture.
  12. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the civil power.
  13. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation.
    • For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.
    • For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states.
    • For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world.
    • For imposing taxes on us without our consent.
    • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury.
    • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses.
    • For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies.
    • For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments.
  14. For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  15. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
  16. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and destroyed the lives of our people.
  17. He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
  18. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the. executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
  19. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of this oppression we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered by only repeated injuries. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full powers to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliance, establish commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Peace Negotiations

British Parliament already frustrated and dismayed at the course of the war, decided that the victory at Yorktown signaled the end of the war. Peace sentiment swelled in Britain and Lord North’s ministry fell. Negotiations with an American peace mission in Paris followed.

At that peace conference, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay won a remarkable diplomatic victory with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Great Britain recognized both American independence and American title to the land east of the Mississippi River between the Great Lakes and Florida. Florida went to Spain. The British hoped to lure Americans away from a close attachment to the French by making such a generous settlement.

Despite its victory at Yorktown, the United States had not yet definitely won the war in 1781. Other British forces remained on United States soil and continued to occupy important seaports. The British soon recovered complete control of American waters. Britain was far from beaten, and it could have gone on fighting had it wished to do so.

King George III wanted to continue the war, but other government leaders were ready to consider peace. The war had become more and more unpopular with the British people. Besides, it had driven the former colonies into an alliance with Britain’s rival, France. By letting the colonies go and granting them generous terms, perhaps Britain could draw them — as independent states — back to friendly relations with the mother country.

Peacemaking, however, was no long-r a simple matter of negotiations between the British and the Americans. The American Revolution had broadened into a general war. Not only the United States and France but also Spain and the Netherlands were fighting against Britain.

The trouble with France

In 1779, the Congress had appointed john Adams to represent the United State at a peace conference, if and when one could meet. Adams was bound by 1778 treaty of alliance with France, which stated that neither of the two countries would “conclude either truce or peace with Great Britain without the formal consent of the other first obtained.” He had instructions from the Congress to enter into no negotiations unless Britain first recognized the United States as “sovereign, free and independent.” He also was told to insist upon boundaries that would give the United States the territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.

After arriving in France, Adams argued with the French leaders. They wanted to control American policy, and they wanted to control American policy, and they found that they could not control Adams. Through the French minister in the United States, they used their influence in Congress to get a new peace delegation with a new set of instructions. Adams left France for the capital of the Netherlands, where he was to serve as the American minister. The Congress appointed a commission that included Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and john jay, the – American minister to Spain. It was directed to demand the negotiation of independence, but it no longer had to insist upon particular boundaries. Instead, it was to proceed “as circumstances may direct”. Moreover, the commission was to keep in close touch with the French government and follow its advice.

In the spring of 1782, while Adams and jay were elsewhere, the British government sent a man to Paris to talk informally with Franklin. To the British agent, Franklin suggested “necessary “and “desirable” terms. His necessary terms included both independence and the Mississippi boundary. He thought it desirable for Britain to cede its remaining possessions in North America to the United States as a means of bringing about true “reconciliation”. When Jay arrived from Spain he objected to continuing the Conversations with the British. The communications from the British government were addressed not to official representatives of an independent nation, the United States, but to “persons” from “colonies of plantations”. Franklin agreed to end the conversations. Franklin had kept the French government informed of what was going on, but Jay was becoming suspicious of both France and Spain. His experience in Spain had been less than reassuring. The Spanish government had refused to officially receive him as the minister from the United States let alone negotiate a treaty with him.

True, Spain had gone to war, but not for American independence. It had hoped to recover some possessions that had been lost in earlier wars with Britain. Though Spain had no alliance with the United States, it had one with France. In 1779 the two powers had agreed to make no separate peace. Thus France was bound to Spain, while the United States was bound to France.

Jay feared that France might try to get concessions for Spain from Britain. The three powers might agree to divide the territory from the Appalachians to the Mississippi between Britain and Spain. When Jay learned that a secret mission was leaving Paris for London, he thought his suspicions were confirmed. Franklin was much less worried than Jay. Actually, though Jay was mistaken about details, he was correct in thinking that the French government was considering separate negotiations with Britain. Such negotiations would have violated the terms of the American alliance and would have lessened the bargaining power of the United States.

Treaty with Britain

On his own initiative, Jay suggested to Britain that separate negotiations be opened between the British and the Americans. When Adams returned to Paris from the Netherlands, he approved what Jay had done and Franklin was willing to go along with the idea. The British hoped this was a chance to break up the alliance between France and the United States. Even though the British had not yet recognized them as representatives of a sovereign nation, the three Americans soon began secret negotiations with British representatives in France. The Americans no longer told the French government what they were doing. Before the end of 1782, a preliminary treaty had been drawn up between the United States and Britain. The American diplomats had, of course, disregarded their instructions from the congress, but technically they had not violated the terms of the alliance with France. According to those terms, the United States was to make no peace without France. The preliminary treaty did not in itself provide for peace. By its own words, the preliminary: treaty was not to take effect until a final treaty, with the approval of France, had been made.

When the French foreign minister protested to Franklin about the American action, Franklin admitted that they had perhaps seemed disrespectful, but he assured him that they held the French king and his government in high respect. After this playing upon French fears of losing its American ally, Franklin coolly asked for a new loan for the United States from the French government.

Despite his protest, the French foreign minister was probably as much pleased as annoyed by the Americans’ separate negotiations. He was getting tired of Spain’s stalling, and he now had an excuse to hold the final negotiations whether Spain got what it wanted or not. He was eager to keep the friendship of the United States and France promptly granted the new loan that Franklin had requested.

Spain as well as France, at last, agreed to a general settlement. On September 3, 1783, in Paris, Britain and the United States signed a final treaty. The terms of the Treaty of Paris were essentially the same as those of the preliminary treaty. Britain recognized the independence of the United States. Though it did not cede its remaining possessions in North America, it did agree to boundaries that gave the United States all the territory southward from present-day Canada to present-day Florida and from the Atlantic ocean to Mississippi River.

From the Indian point of view, the treaty was grossly unfair, Even though many tribes had allied themselves with the English, the British government made no provision for them in the treaty. Much of the territory that Britain handed over to the American negotiators were actually in Indian hands. Some tribes, particularly members of the Nations, refused to stop their fighting until the United States recognized their land claims.

From the American point of view, the treaty had certain defects. Some of its boundary descriptions were vague, and it contained unpopular articles concerning debts owed to British creditors and the return of Loyalists property. Worst of all, the treaty made no provision for American trade with the British Empire. For the time being, however, the American people had good cause to rejoice. Before the end of 1783 the British force sailed away from New York city. George Washington rode into the city at the head of a column of soldiers. The United States government was now in control.

Treaty at Home

Revolution against Britain meant the rejection of established authority and implied that way was open to all kinds of changes within American society. But relatively few changes occurred, revealing the satisfaction of most Americans with their institutions.

State governments were established under new constitutions, beginning in 1776, but they resembled the colonial governments they replaced. Under the new constitutions, the representative assemblies held most political power. A voter in most states elected their governors, whose power was reduced. Pennsylvania carried this distrust of executive authority to an extreme by having a committee of its legislature act in place of a governor.

In most of the colonies, the right to vote had depended on the possession of some property. During the war, nearly all property qualifications for voting and office-holding were either lowered or dropped.

The new states guarded their powers jealously. They conceded some authority to the new government of the United States formed under the Articles of Confederation in 1781, but they retained, all authority relating to local government. The central government, which itself lacked an effective executive office, directed the army and conducted foreign relations. But it could not regulate commerce, nor did it have the authority to tax citizens directly. It had the right to request money from the states, but could not enforce its requests.

Since many Americans owned farms and business, there was little reason for the revolutionaries to overturn existing economic relationships. Merchants and other creditors suffered from the disruption of commerce during the war, which farmers and debtors benefited from the demand for foodstuffs, and the creation of a vast supply of paper money by the revolutionary government to pay its debts. Much property owned by Loyalists were confiscated. In most cases, it went to property holders rather than to landless men.

Democratic ideas, stimulated by the war, affected social relationships to some extent. Perhaps the most striking examples were the decisions of several northern states to abolish slavery. Some southern states simplified the process of freeing slaves. The number of freed slaves increased substantially. Most states prohibited the slave trade during the revolution. Americans emerged from their war of independence, therefore, with a working national political system and society and economy, which were not deeply divided by antagonisms.

Growth of English Colonies – U.S.A. History

1. Introduction

In 1600 more than a century after the first voyage of Columbus, the indians of eastern North America still knew little of Europeans. They lived undisturbed by the Spaniards in Florida, the scattered French traders in Canada, and the occasional European fishermen who visited the North Atlantic Coast during the warmer season. A century later, the indians had retreated from most of the Atlantic coastal area.

At first the Spanish and the French seemed to pose the greatest threats to these indian tribes. The Spanish controlled large parts of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indies. The French explored the area around the Great Lakes and established trading posts deep within the interior. The English had no foothold in America. John Cabot’s voyage of discovery in 1497 gave them a claim to part of the New World, but their few fable attempts at Colonization after that failed. By about 1600, however, the English were ready to expand. Victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588, followed by a peace treaty with Spain in 1604, freed aggressive English merchants to undertake new Commercial ventures. A few trading companies decided to establish colonies as a way of making money. Unemployment and religious persecution provided incentives for potential settlers to uproot themselves from accustomed ways. As a result, emigrants by ten of thousands sailed from England, Scotland, and Ireland. By 1700, more than 200,000 persons dwelt in twenty English colonics in the New World. Two of these colonies, Massachusettes and Virginia, had more than 50,000 inhabitants each.

In England, many landowners were making their farms into sheep pastures, because more money could be made from wool than from grain. The farm tenants were forced from the land, and many roamed around in gangs begging and stealing.

While most people were poor and in many cases growing poorer, the wool growers, dealers and manufacturers prospered. Great merchants exported woolen and other goods to foreign nations. Some of the merchants formed companies to share the expenses, risks and profits in large trading ventures. Often the company shareholders made fantastic profits from a single voyage.

The merchants adopted a theory of trade that eventually came to be known as “mercantilism”. They claimed that a country was strongest and most prosperous when exports were greater in value than imports. According to this theory, the government should encourage sales to foreign nations and discourage purchases from them. The idea of starting colonies in North America fitted well into the mercantilist theory.

Colonies would become places to send the poor and the unemployed, to sell manufactured goods, and to get raw materials that would otherwise have to be bought from foreign lands. The colonial trade would increase business for shipowners and raise tax money for the government.

Colonies would also be places of refuge for religious and political minorities. Not all the English people were satisfied with the established Church, the Church of England. Roman Catholics objected to it, as did many Protestants. The Puritans wished to simplify the services to purify them by making them less like the Catholic. The Quakers and other groups wanted complete independence of worship. According to the laws, however, everyone was required to follow the practices of the established church and to pay taxes to support it.

During the seventeenth century, there was a continual struggle between the Parliament and the monarch. Under James I the government persecuted the Puritans and other Protestant dissenters. These groups got control of Parliament and in the 1640s fought a civil war, executed Charles I, and set up a dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell. In 1660, the monarchy was restored, with Charles II on the throne. Finally, in the Glorious Revolution (1688-1689), Parliament deposed James II, who had become a Roman Catholic. Parliament then brought in James’s daughter Mary and her husband William, both Protestants, as rulers.

During this troubled period, first one group and then another looked to North America as a place to find safety. At the same time, the people in power looked to North America for lands with which to reward their friends and followers. Thus religious, political and economic conditions in England promoted an interest in colonies in the New World.

2. The Problem of Survival

English colonists in the New World faced two immediate problems. First, they had to feed and house themselves until they could grow crops and build permanent dwellings. Second, they had to get along peacefully with the indians while persuading them to sell or give away their claims to land. If persuasion failed, war usually followed. Neither problem was easy to solve.

Most of the promoters who organized expeditions knew very little about the American environment, and what they thought they knew often proved to be inaccurate. Their ships were small and sailed slowly. Into these vessels promoters crowded food and water for the voyage, the ship’s crew, the settlers, all the equipment for the new colony, including any animals the colonists wanted to bring along, and supplies to sustain the colonists until crops ripened. Epidemics swept through ships, and colonists sometimes starved once ashore. Then there were the indians. When the settlers and the indians came in contact, it was not altogether certain what social processes would result. The two groups might begin to “amalgamate” by inter-marrying. Or they might “assimilate”; one group might adopt the culture of the other, or each group might take in some of the other’s ways of life. They might also “accommodate to each other’s presence, by living separate lives in separate cultures. Or one group might expel or “exterminate” the other. When the settlers landed, no one knew which one or combination of these four possibilities was most likely to occur.

In December 1606, the London company, a group of wealthy merchants and other influential men, sent off an expedition in three small ships to establish a settlement on or near the Chesapeake Bay. Onboard were about a hundred men and four boys destined to remain in America. They had agreed to work for seven years for the company to try to locate valuable minerals to seek a route to the south Seas (Pacific Ocean) which were thought to be near Virginia, and to find the best places to settle. The Company gave command of the expedition to a council which elected one of its members, Edward Wingfield president.

3. Legal Nature of New lands

According to English law, the monarch was the owner and ruler of all new lands that English people discovered or settled, the Government did not, however, start colonizing projects. These were left to individuals, partnerships, or companies. The promoters of colonies generally had patriotic or religious goals as well as profits in mind. They expected to sell or rent land to settlers and engage in colonial trade. First, they had to get from the monarch a grant of land and a charter allowing them to start a colony and govern the colonists. Next, the promoters had to bring together ships, supplies, and people and send them to North America. This was an expensive business. There was a good deal of quarreling and confusion about the promotion of colonies. Kings and queens awarded land grants and colonial charters one after another. Sometimes the boundaries overlapped, and sometimes the people receiving the land gave parts of it to others. Sometimes charters, after having been awarded, were changed or revoked. Nevertheless, companies and “proprietors” either individual or groups, established lasting colonies. Grants made to two groups of merchants led to the beginnings of Virginia and Massachusetts. Grants to various proprietors resulted in the founding of Maryland, the Carolinas, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. Settlers moving out from Massachusetts formed Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, all of which eventually managed to separate charters. A group of trustees acting in the name of a charity set up the last of the mainland colonies, Georgia.

In the period from 1607 to 1633, thirteen English colonies were set up on the North American continent. (Still, others appeared on islands in and near the Caribbean Sea). The promoters did not make the money they had hoped, and colonization proved more or less failure as a business enterprise. Still, it was a success in the making of new colonies.

4. Governance of a New Colony

In the early summer of 1630, twenty-three years after the founding of Jamestown, an expedition of nearly a thousand men, women and children landed in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Bay Colony soon became the largest English settlement on the American mainland. Within ten years, it contained fourteen thousand persons, nearly twice as many as Virginia.

Unlike the founders of Jamestown, the founders of Massachusetts Bay planned carefully to settle and supply their colony. Competent and experienced leaders such as John Winthrop, who had been a lawyer, a landowner, and a justice of the peace in England, helped direct the colony. The Indians threatened the Massachusetts settlers less than they had the Virginia colonists because the Indian population in eastern Massachusetts had been diminished by an outbreak of smallpox. A strong sense of, purpose, lacking among the original settlers at Jamestown, inspired the Puritans, who organized and led the Massachusetts colony. They left England in large numbers in order to establish the kinds of churches they wanted and to make new homes for themselves. Their vision of building a “Holy Commonwealth” in America helped them overcome great difficulties in the early years.

When the Puritans arrived in Massachusetts in 1630, the Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company, the trading Company that planned the expedition provided the only formal government for the colony. A dozen or so men, who had invested much of the money needed to finance the venture, held all power to make decisions for the company. A small group could run a commercial company very well, but could it direct effectively the affairs of hundreds and thousands of people who quickly scattered over a wide area as they cleared land for farms and built towns?

5. The New Societies

By the end of the seventeenth century, the English colonies in the New World flourished. The settlers now far out-numbered the combined French and Spanish population of the continent. They had developed agriculture, fishing, and trade of great value to themselves and to the mother country.

Successful growth brought perplexing problems. In New England, the expansion of commerce encouraged merchants to amass wealth. Some of the sailors, dock workers, and drifters attracted by the busy waterfront disrupted the orderly life of the growing towns. Religious leaders warned that material success threatened the simplicity and religious dedication of the Puritan colonies. The fact that fewer and fewer of the children and grandchildren of the original settlers joined churches showed that Puritans were losing their spiritual Unity. As merchants grew rich and began to imitate the ways of English gentlemen, they began to compete with the clergy for the top rung of the status ladder.

In Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas, tobacco cultivation on a large scale began to make a few men rich and many quite prosperous. The demand for workers to toil for long hours in the hot tobacco fields brought thousands of men and women into the South as indentured servants. An indentured servant had to work for a master for several years in exchange for passage to the colònies. Some signed their indentures, or contracts, voluntarily; others were sent to the colonies as punishment for crimes or debt. In either case, when the indenture was up, they joined the ranks of free farmers and often took servants of their own.

When the supply of these servants ran short, however plantation owners turned to a new source of labour West Africa. These Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and English traders brought prisoners taken in tribal wars or raids and shipped them to the New World as labourers. In the early seventeenth century, the English colonists treated some of these African workers as indentured servants freeing them after a number of years. But eventually, the desire for a permanent, stable labour supply — more profitable than the use of indentured servants — together with prejudice against black newcomers worked to place all the arriving Africans and their descendants in permanent slavery. Out of all these groups — new immigrants, Americans born on this continent, indentured servants, and slaves a new social structure emerged. Because North and South were different in so many ways, the societies that developed in the two areas took different shapes. Neither duplicated the social structure of the mother country exactly.

6. Growth and Change in England’s Colonies

During the seventeenth century, English settlers spread out over a widening strip of the Atlantic coast of North America. By 1700 the English-controlled area held the fastest-growing and strongest European Colonies in the New World wherein the settlers struggled to survive, created new governments, and dealt with social changes. These efforts, together with military and commercial achievements, contributed to the growth and strength of English America.

In the early seventeenth century, England, France and the Netherlands challenged Spain’s leadership in the race to dominate the New World.

In 1608, the year after Jamestown was settled, Samuel de Champlain established a French trading post at Quebec. Between 1610 and 1613, French traders and missionaries founded outposts in the region they called Acadia (the coasts of present-day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Maine). A party of Englishmen from Virginia raided and burnt down the Acadian villages in 1613 – a grim beginning to a century and a half of French — English Conflict over the northern coasts of North America. The. French had little difficulty in gaining Control over the St. Lawrence Valley and the area north of the Great Lakes.

The Dutch operated further South. Their West India Company sent out parties in 1622 which established trading posts on the site of Albany New York and on the Delaware River South of Philadelphia. In 1626, the company founded New Amsterdam later to become New York city When the Swedes, in 1638, opened rival trading posts on the Delaware River, the Dutch protested and eventually captured by Swedish settlements. Yet New Netherlands remained small, solitary, and weak, and fell into English hands as the result of English-Dutch war in the

International Conflicts broke out in the islands of the West Indies. The English occupied some of the islands, including Bermuda, and ousted the Spanish from jamaica in 1655. The French, Dutch and Danes took over other islands. Spain retained the rich islands of Hispaniola (Haiti and Santo Domingo) and Cuba. She expanded her settlements in Florida and what is now the American southwest.

The English success in obtaining so much of North America depended partly on seapower. In the seventeenth century, England’s navy and merchant marine (including colonial men and ships) became the world’s most powerful. English ships usually dominated the Atlantic, protected settlements, and made expansion possible. Manpower and geographical position also held to make the English colonies strong and secure. Their inhabitants — thousands of English and a scattering of Irish, Scots, Dutch, Germans, Africans, Spanish and Portuguese jews, and French Protestants, made up the largest source of military manpower in the New World. Once these settlers took control of the country inland from the coast, they could not be dislodged unless an enemy could muster greater strength. Only the Indians could occasionally do this.

The early arrivals from England were impressed by the almost unbroken forest they found in North America. With the animals and birds it sheltered, this forest furnished plenty of food, fuel, and building material. The English colonist often tried to bury the land they wanted from the indian tribes. Since their ideas of land ownership differed, the Indians and the English did not really agree on the terms. Many of the Indians signed treaties thinking they would still be able to use the land that they had sold to the colonists. When the colonists tried to force the Indians off the newly purchased hand, the war resulted. During the colonial period, there was continual war between one tribe or another and the colonists. The Europeans had better weapons than the Indians, and they usually won the battles. Also, the tribes rarely united to fight the colonists, for many of them were traditional enemies. Slowly, as tribes were defeated and as more colonists arrived from Europe and Africa, the colonial population moved inland.

7. Strata of Colonies

Distinctness of regions and differences in physical environment assisted in the formation of three classifications of states. Differences in the physical environment from north to south contributed to the development of three fairly distinct regions, each with it own form of economic life.

  1. In New England, the farms were small and fairly self-sufficient. Ship-building, fishing, and shipping became important industries.
  2. In the middle or “bread” colonies (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware), farms were larger and more productive. Much grain Flour, and meat were sold to other colonies and to overseas markets.
  3. In the South, there were large plantations, as well as modest-sized farms, where tobacco, rice and indigo were produced for export.

8. Colonial population growth

In order to meet the growing need of the workers, there were thousands of eager persons in the old World, to get a new start in life in the colonies. It gave rise to a system of “indentured” servitude. Men and women signed contracts, called indentures, to work as servants for a period of four to seven years. The contracts were sold to land holders who needed workers, and thus money was provided to pay for the ocean passage.

The Landholder had to care for the servants during their terms of service. Al the end of their terms they were free, and if they could make enough money, they 100 might obtain land and servants. Most indentured servants went to the middle colonies. At first’ many also went to the South. In 1619, however, a Dutch ship docked at Jamestown and left twenty negroes there. For a time these and other blacks who were brought in were held in temporary servitude like white servants, but gradually more and more Negrocs began to be kept as permanent slaves.

Indentured servants continued to arrive in the colonies, some even after the Revolutionary War, but after 1700, slaves rapidly replaced indentured servants on the tobacco plantations. In the rice fields of South Carolina and Georgia, Negro slavery was the rule from the start. In New England and the middle colonies, some black slaves were used as household servants or as farmhands, but they were much less numerous than in the South.

During the eighteenth century, many colonists came from France, Germany, and Ireland. Those from France were chiefly Huguenots, Protestants who had been denied freedom of worship at home. Those from Germany were Catholics and Protestants who had suffered from French invasions of their nation. Those from Ireland were Presbyterians whose ancestors had come from Scotland. When they disagreed with economic and religious policies, these so-called Scotch-Irish began to leave Ireland by the thousands.

The colonial population grew fast, partly because of heavy immigration and partly because of a high birth rate. By 1775, the total population was more than three million. Better than 60 percent of the people were either immigrants or descendants of immigrants from England and Wales. There were more than 500,000 Africans in the colonies, 90 percent of them slaves. The rest of the people came from various European nations.

9. Original 13 British Colonies

British possessions in North America in 1763, stood as per the description of the establishment of American Colonies.

1. Virginia

First settlement on 1607 at Jameson its type or status being Corporate in 1606 and royal in 1624 and 1775; its founder proprietor being “London Company”; the reasons for settlement had been trade, Profit, gold besides conversion of Indians.

2. New Hampshire

The first settlement at Rye in 1623; its type or status was proprietary in 1622 and royal in 1679. The founders or. proprietor of New Hampshire and Maine had been John Mason and Ferdinando Gorges, and annexed by Massachuscties in 1641-1820; its reasons of settlement had been the escape of religious persecution in Massachusetts.

3. Massachusetts

First settlement at Plymouth in 1620; its status or type was corporate in 1629 and royal in 1691; the founders were the Pilgrims in 1620; the reasons of its settlement had been religious freedom for separatists or puritans besides economic opportunity. To be more definite and clear the founders of Plymouth were the Pilgrims, and Puritans (Winthrop) of Massachusetts.

4. Maryland

First settlement was made at St. Mary’s in 1634 and founded by George Calvert and Lord Baltimore; its status or type had been proprietary in 1632, then royal in 1691 and again proprietary in 1715. The reasons for settlement were “trade and profits, and refuge for Catholics.

5. Rhode island

The first settlement was made at Providence in 1636 -1644 and its founders were Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson; its status or type was corporate in 1644 and self-governing in 1775; among the reasons for settlement had been the achievement of complete religious freedom.

6. Connecticut

The first settlement was raised at “House of Hope” in 1633 and its founders were Thomas Hooker as well as the Massachusetts colonists; its status and type were Corporate or self-governing; the reasons for settlement were “Escape religious persecution as well as economic opportunity.

7. North Carolina

The first settlement was raised at Albemarle in 1650 or 1653 and the site is also named as Alenarle Bound; its founders were the Virginians, its status or type of colony was proprietary in 1663 and royal in 1729 and was separated from South Carolina in 1629. The reasons for its settlement are stated to be trade and profit.

8. South Carolina

The first settlement was raised-at Albemarle Bound in 1670 and there were eight proprietors; the type and status of this colony was proprietary in 1663 and royal in 1729; the reassons for its settlement were trade and profit.

9. Delaware

First settlement raised at Fort Christina in 1638; the type of colony was proprietary since 1664; its founders were Swedish; and the reasons for its settlement were trade and profit.

10. New Jersey

First settlement raised at Fore Nassau in 1623; its type or status of colony was proprietary in 1664 and royal in 1702; its founders were George Carteret and john Berkeley; the reasons of its settlement had been the trade and profit.

11. New York

The first settlement raised at Fort Orange or Fort Amsterdam in 1624; its type or status of colony proprietary in 1664 and royal in 1685; formerly New York was called New Netherland and its founders were the Dutch who first named it New Netherland in 1624 and Duke of York who named it New York in 1664; the reasons of its settlement were the trade and profit.

12. Pennsylvania

The first settlement was raised at Gothenberg at 1643 and its founder was William Penn; its type or status of the colony was proprietary in 1681, royal in 1629 and corporate in 1694; the reasons for settlement were religious freedom for Quakers and economic prosperity.

13. Georgia

The first settlement was raised at Savannah in 1733 and its type or status was proprietary in 1732 and royal in 1763; its founder was james Oglethorpe and the reasons for its settlement had been the refuge for debtors, economic opportunity as well as buff state against Spain.

10. Self – Government in the colonies

Settlers in the English colonies lived under governments that were remarkable for the amount of power and participation which the inhabitants enjoyed. This near independence from the mother country came partly from the failure of the English government to exercise much control over colonization.

Trading companies found three of the early English Colonies in North Americas — Virginia, Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. The Virginia Company of London suffered heavy losses, as seen in George Percy’s account of the Jamestown settlement. In 1619, the company gave the colony more political responsibility, when its ordered that a representative assembly be created. The assembly, known as the House of Burgesses, was the first of many legislative bodies in the colonies.

In 1624, Virginia became a royal colony and something of a model for later royal colonies. The king appointed the governor who named a council to advise him. Governors almost always picked the wealthiest and most influential planters to serve on the council, which became, in effect, an upper house of the legislature. But money to run the government. came from the taxes voted by the Burgesses, who could influence the governor’s action by threatening to withhold his salary and expenses or by voting him a bonus for his personal use. A pattern of uneasy Cooperation and frequent conflict resulted. Often squabbles between the governor and legislators ended with the governor dismissing the legislators (as he had the right to do) and maintaining his position out of his own pocket and such other funds as he could scrape up. This pattern became common in all the royal counties.

Governments with even greater independence grew in New England. The Pilgrims had been attracted to the New World by an offer from the Virginia company to give them local self-government. In turn, the merchants who owned the company hoped to profit from their labor. However, because of stormy weather, the Pilgrims landed not in Virginia, but in New England, where they had been given neither the right to settle nor the right to establish a government. So they took matters into their own hands. Before they landed, the adult males signed the Mayflower Compact, an agreement which set up a “civil body politic” and pledged the signers to frame and obey “just and equal laws”. The simple government the Pilgrims soon set up, consisted of no more than a governor and an assistant. Later, as Plymouth grew to include several towns, the colonists created a representative assembly. They remained virtually independent of English control in local matters until 1691, when England ordered Plymouth combined with the colony of Massachusetts Bay.

The people who came to Massachusetts Bay in 1630 also came under the authority of a private company, controlled by the Puritans. They had a royal charter which gave them authority over most of Massachusetts But instead of leaving the charter and the company. headquarters in England, as had the Virginia and Plymouth colonists, the Puritans took the charter to Massachusetts and used it as a constitution for local government there. These Puritans still considered themselves Englishmen, loyal to the king, but they were well content that England was far away and exercised little control over them. When they suspected in 1634 that the king intended to take away their charter and install his own governor, they fortified Boston harbor against a possible royal invasion. During the English Civil wars (1642-1646,1648), Massachusetts Bay and the other American Colonies became even more independent.

When Charles 11 recovered the throne in 1660, however, royal officials, set about recovering their authority over the colonies. The English Government revoked the Massachusetts charter in 1684 and created a Dominion of New England to govern all the colonies north of Pensylvania. The English Revolution of 1688 touched off successful uprisings in the colonies against the royal governors and brought an end to the unwieldy Dominion of New England. But the new ruler of England, William the Orange and his wife Mary Stuart, agreed that England should have more power over the colonies. What was more important, so did parliament, which, from then on, was the main seat of power in England. A new Charter, in 1691, made Massachusetts Bay a royal province, and the king named the governor.

To obtain a royal grant of land, however, a man had to be a wealthy or influential person who happened to be in the king’s favour. While these “Proprietors” as they were called, often wanted to establish semifeudal governments and systems of landholding, in every case they ended up granting the settler representative assemblies and giving them more control over the land they occupied. It was easier to attract settlers who knew they could influence the setting of the rate of taxation on their own property. Moreover, by the late seventeenth century, English settlers had begun to take representative government for granted. Eventually, however, many of the proprietary rights returned to the king.

Connecticut and Rhode Island had been established by migrants from Massachusetts Bay. They were the only two English Colonies that retained the virtual independence they had gained before 1660. Both elected their own governors throughout the colonial era, with the exception of the three years under the Dominion of New England. One reason for the English government’s liberal attitude toward them was its desire to limit the expansion of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

A man living in one of the English colonies in America in the late 1600s had more chance of taking part in its political life, as a voter or officeholder than a man anywhere else in the world. This did not mean that the colonies were “democratic “in the sense that every adult could vote; women, servants, slaves, and most men with either or no property could not vote. It did mean as we have seen in the case of Massachusetts, that the wealthier men, who ran the colonial governments, had to keep in mind the interests of the electorate.

In the English colonies, political dissent flourished on a moderate scale. Discontent, however, seldom led to actual rebellion. Episodes such as Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia in 1676, in which planters who wanted to repress the Indians, found themselves in revolt against a governor who refused to let them make war, or Leisler’s Rebellion in New York, which was linked to the English Revolution of 1688, were infrequent.

The colonies’ political contacts beyond their borders were nearly always with London rather than with each other. Since the colonies were independent of each other they found it hard to cooperate. In 1643 Massachusetts Bay, Plymoth, Connecticut and New Haven formed the New England Confederation to coordinate their policies toward the Dutch the indians, and the rival parties in revolutionary England. Massachusetts Bay, much the largest of the four, was suspected with some reason, by its neighbours of wanting to dominate the policy of the confederation. Consequently, the alliance served as little more than a discussion group until its end in 1673.

11. Social and Intellectual Life

  1. It is an interesting account to study the bonds of society that was in an embryonic state. Immigration and the American environment brought certain changes in the kind of life European people lived in the colonies. I. Most of the social and intellectual habits of the colonists came from England. From England came the language, the system of weights and measures, and the money calculations in pounds, shillings, and pence. With the language came folklore, literary and scientific knowledge and ideas of education and law. Most colonists read the King James version of the Bible, that first published in 1611. Their religious ideas came largely, but not entirely, from English interpretations of the Christian faith. The colonists also brought from England their ideas of the proper relation of person to person in society. Few people believed in complete social equality. Most of them took for granted distinct social classes with an upper class of landholding gentry and a tilted aristocracy of nobility at the top. In the colonics, however, social classes developed along somewhat different lines than in
  2. In England and rest of Europe, wealth and hereditary titles have created vast differences between the upper classes and the common people. The upper classes in Europe did not have to labour with their hands, but in America gentlemen often had to work hard to gei a successful start or to survive. The availability of land – free or at low prices — enabled relatively poor families to own farms and improve their position. At the same time, wealthy men found it harder to keep labourers or tenants working on huge estates than they did in Europe. Independent farming reduced sharply the social distance between the lower and upper classes and promoted social mobility.
  3. The shortage of labour, which lasted through the colonial era, and the cheapness of land benefited one group particularly. Because it was so hard to earn a living in England, many servants renewed their agreements which legally obliged them to obey their masters. Now they had an alternative; thousands of them perhaps a majority of people who came to the Southern and middle colonies — came as indentured servants and chose freedom. Periods of service for adults lasted usually from four to seven years, or for children until they lI became twenty-one. But masters competing for servants reduced the length of service. Because ex-servants could acquire land easily, they were reluctant to sign up for another term, even when offered increased privileges and rewards.
  4. Social mobility was, however, largely limited to Europeans. The same condition shortage of labor – that offered the opportunity to European laborers, denied the opportunity to Negroes once the lifetime and hereditary slavery laws, such as those passed in Virginia, were enacted. The profit of farming especially in the south with its longer a growing season were greater with rigid lifetime slavery for Africans and their children saw like a necessary system for controlling “dangerous” black strangers. By the last years of the seventeenth century, slave traders brought thousands of Africans by force, under terrible conditions in crowded ships, to the plantations of Virginia, Maryland, and the number of indentured servants declined sharply in those colonies.
  5. Colonial society largely excluded the Indians, who were forced westward. Occasional pacts and agreements between them and the new settlers were usually broken by hostilities — sometimes provoked by one side, sometimes the other.

By the end of the seventeenth century, other changes were also slowing down the democratizing effects of life in America. The growth of commerce in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, or Charleston made the rich richer. A new elite group consisting of the wealthy and colonial officials grew up. Many royal officials were able men, but many of them – especially royal governors. thought of England as home, considered themselves members of the English aristocracy (as sometimes they were) and treated the colonies as places to make money out of their positions and to create a high toned social life for the colonial elite.

12. Social Distinctions

Though some aristocrats were promoters of colonies, few of them settled in North America as colonists. Some of the gentries became settlers, but the great majority of the European colonists were originally of the middle or lower classes. The African immigrants were originally of many classes for most of them had come as slaves after being taken prisoner in battle. In North America, those colonists who became great landholders or wealthy merchants formed a kind of aristocracy. Beneath them in the social order was a large middle class, much larger than that in England. It was made up of merchants, shopkeepers, craftsmen, and farm owners. Lower yet was a class that included indentured servants, other from laborers, and unskilled town workers. Though free blacks were found in the upper and middle classes, the majority of the blacks, who were slaves, were at the very bottom of the social order. The colonists were quite aware of belonging to one class or another. The differences were clearly marked by clothing and personal appearances. Farm people were plain homemade clothes and shoes, while the wealthy dressed in fancy clothes, buckle shoes, and powucru Wiss. and powdered wigs.

Nevertheless, except for the slaves, people in the colonies had more chances to improve their economic and social standing than did people in England or other European nations at that time. Social mobility movement up and down in society was characteristic of the colonies. A person who gained wealth was likely to be accepted as social equal by those who were already rich. His or her children and grandchildren tended to think of themselves as born aristocrats.

Women were more respected and had somewhat greater freedom in the colonies than in England. However, they had far less freedom than did colonial men. Single women were supposed to obey their fathers or brothers and married women their husband. Nor did women have the same chances as men to improve their social and economic standing. A woman’s place in society depended on that of her father or husband. Unless she was a widow a women usually could not own property or sign contracts. Divorces were rarely granted. Because it was believed that woman’s place was in the home. Women had few opportunities to work outside the family farm or business, except as servants, governess or scamstresses. A widow however, often carried on her husband’s work, and so there were female planters, merchants, printers and shipowners.

Children, whether free or slave, had definite places in society, depending on their ages and the family’s social standing. Relatively few spent much time in school. Some boys ‘were apprenticed to master craftsmen and in this way learned skilled trades. It was most important to be able to do the farm work well, and this was usually learned at parents side not in a classroom. The children might churn butter, pound grain, home the garden, feed the poultry and carry water or lunches to the field workers. At harvest time, like everyone else, they helped gather the crops.

Among the slaves, the greatest social distractions were based on jobs on skin color. The greatest prestige on large plantations was to be a house servant. Some supervised the work of other slaves, and many slaves were craftsmen. Light-skinned slaves were often given special treatment. They were more likely to be sent to school or to be trained as house servants than darker slaves. Most slave men worked in the field. Slave women worked in the fields most of the time and also did the housework and home manufacturers. They were used as wet nurses. Since slaves were regarded as property, they had no legal rights. They could not legally marry, and slaves families were often broken up by the sales of family members. Because slaves could not move upward in society, many chose to move “outward” by excepting, joining Indian tribes, or plotting rebellions.

12. Intellectual Trends

By the 1750s the language spoken in the thirteen colonies was becoming the “American dialect”. The people had added to and changed English, the mother tongue of most of the colonists. Words from many languages, such as “squash” from Indian tongue, “prairie” from French and “boss” from Dutch, were part of the dialect. New words, such as “snowplow “and “bull-frog”, had been formed by combining old ones. The language also retained a number of expressions such as “Catercorner” and “fall” (for autumn), that were going out of use in England.

Many English people thought the Americans were barbarians. Actually they took great pains to keep learning alive. Massachusetts in 1647 required each town to make sure that boys and girls were taught to read and write so that they might read the Bible. Every town of a hundred or more families was supposed to have a Latin grammar school (high school) for boys. In other colonies, many children learned to read and write in private or church schools or at home from tutors or parents. Slave children were rarely sent to school and few were thought to read and write. Some colonial schools set up separate classrooms for Indian children, but this was not typical.

Girls education consisted mainly of houses keeping, some reading and writing and needlework. Upper – class girls were trained to be charming, and so studied French, dancing, painting, and music. Further education for women was strictly opposed. It was thought to be against God’s will for women to study and dangerous for their health because their brains were supposedly weak.

13. Educational Institutions

By 1763, there were three thousand male college graduates in America. Six colonial colleges were opened: Harvard, William, and Mary, Yale, the College of New Jersey Princeton), King’s College (Columbia) and the College of Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania). All but the last two had been founded primarily to train ministers.

Books and Magazines were mostly imported from England, but some books were published in the colonies, especially in and near Boston. Weekly newspapers appeared in all the colonies except New Jersey and Delaware, which were well enough supplied from New York City and Philadelphia. After 1750, several monthly magazines were printed in the colonies, though none had a very long career. Yearly allowance contained a variety of reading matter in addition to weather data. The most famous of these was “poor Richard’s Almanack”, published by Benjamin Franklin. It was full of popular sayings that stressed Purities virtues.

14. Religious Trends

The import of traditional and prevalent religions in North America assumed a new pattern. In each European nation there was a state church, usually Catholic or Protestant, and the people were required to follow its practices and contribute to its support, whether they agreed with it or not. In the colonies, by contrast, there were a number of religious groups, none of them completely dominant over the others. It is a confessed fact that the Church of England was the established church in several colonies, and the people had to pay taxes to support it. In fact, however, the Church of England kept its privileges position only in Virginia Maryland, and parts of a few other colonies. Even in those places other denominations eventually were allowed to worship as they pleased.

The Puritan or Congregational, Chaurch had been established in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. In the early years, other religious groups were not allowed to set up churches of their own. By the end of the colonial period, however, their policy had been changed.

To visitors from Europe, the number of religious groups in the colonies seemed unbelievable. Actually this variety was not surprising, given the number of nationalities found in the colonies. Many of the religious groups got their start with members of state churches from the old country. The Anglicans, Congregationalists bastes, Quakers and Baptists represented the variety of belief among English Protestants. The Presbyterians were often from Scotland, the Lutherans and Moravians from Germany or the Scandinavian countries, and the Dutch Reformed from the Netherlands.

The great majority of the people were protestants, but there were some Catholics and Jews. Most of the Catholics were English, Irish, or German. Many of them settled in Maryland, which was founded by a Catholic proprietor, Lord Baltimore, to provide a haven for Catholics. The first Jews in the colonies had come from Spain and the Netherlands by way of Brazil. Most of them settled in New Amsterdam (later New York) and Rhode island, where the laws allowed them a certain measure of freedom to practise their beliefs. By 1720, the majority of the Jews were from 1720, the majority of the Jews were from Germany.

Many of the Protestants were Calvinists. Their beliefs were based on the teachings of John Calvin, a French theologian. He had taught that, from birth, each soul is predestined for either salvation or damnation. He had also insisted upon hard work and strict morality. Such Calvinists or Puritan attitudes dominated the lives of most New Englanders in the early days. As life gradually became easier, however, many Puritans and other Protestants began to take religion less and less seriously.

This trend was reversed by the Great Awakening, a series of revivals during the 1730s and 1740’s. The revivalists tried to turn people back to the strict Puritan faith of their ancestors. The Great Awakening spread throughout the colonies but as most effective in the backcountry of the South. On the whole, it failed to revive old-fashioned Calvinist doctrines, but it was important in spreading other denominations. Thousands became members of Baptist and “New Light Presbyterian churches. Long after the revivals ended, they were having some effect in encouraging denominationalism. In the Colonies, more than anywhere else at the time, there came to be a tolerant attitude toward religious differences. Tolerance seldom extended to Catholics and Jews, but more and more Protestants let each other worship as they pleased.

15. Commerce and Trade

In contrast to the weakness of political ties the commerce which sprang up during the 1600’s linked the colonies strongly with each other as well as with England. Ships laden with the products of farm and forest sailed from the colonies in increasing numbers for Europe, to return with the manufactured goods and the people so needed in America.

Before the Colonial period ended, Americans were making more than half of the manufactured goods they needed. However, they had to import heavy machinery, fine tools and fancy furniture and cloth from Britain. The colonists had to find ways to pay for these imports. Gold and silver coins were scarce, and Britain refused to let the colonies mini money. In their own dealings, the people often resorted to barter. They also made payments with beaver skins, warehouse certificates for tobacco in storage, or paper currency. None of these circulated as money outside the colonies. The colonists had to sell goods abroad in order to get foreign money or credit with which to pay for the imports they wanted.

In selling abroad, the colonists were limited by British law. They could send their tobacco, furs, timber, naval supplies and certain other listed items only to Britain. They could not, however, export any fish flour, wheat or meat to the British Isles or British West Indies, for these would compete with similar products from Britain. A large direct trade in the listed items arose between the colonists and Britain. To dispose of the other products, colonial merchants looked to other markets. In France, Dutch and Spanish islands of the Caribbean the products were exchanged for coins and for sugar, molasses, and other West Indian products. Some of this was taken to Britain and used, along with foreign money, to help pay for goods that the mainland colonies imported from Britain.

Another pattern of indirect of “triangular” trade developed with Southern Europe. Colonial ships with cargoes of fish and other products would go to Southern Europe. They exchanged their cargoes for wine and money, took these to Britain, and then returned home with British manufactured goods.

16. Products

Tobacco soon became the most valuable of colonial exports. By the 1620s the Virginians produced large quantities and sold it at good prices. During the century, tobacco dominated the colony economy to such an extent that it was used as a kind of money. Tobacco culture, on a large scale, soon spread north into Maryland, and later, on a smaller scale, South into the Carolinas.

Europeans eagerly purchased American furs timber and fish. The trading posts that dotted the North Atlantic coast from the late 1500’s attracted Indians with furs and skins to trade for implements ornaments, cloth and more dangerous goods — firearms and alcoholic drinks. As the settlers cleared the forests, fur-bearing animals dwindled in number, and the trading first moved inland, one jump ahead of the farmers. in England, where timber was becoming scarce because of the growth of population and manufactures, American oak, hickory, pine and other woods were especially welcome. European and Colonial fishermen pulled rich harvests from the shallow Atlantic waters off New England and Newfoundland. They often dried and salted their catches on the rocky shore to preserve them for the long voyage to Europe.

The settlers grew most of their own food and imported most of their manufactured goods from England. Most colonial manufactures, such as linen or wool cloth or simple wooden or iron tools, were used or sold near the places where they were made. Ship-builders, however, found it cheaper to build ships near a supply of good timber. American – built ships soon carried much of the transatlantic trade and also carried goods between England and other European countries.

Inter-colonial commerce grew more strongly than did trade with England, but it assumed increasing importance in the late 1600s as the seaport towns of Boston, Newport, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston demanded more supplies from the “back country to feed and clothe their growing populations. Where rich agricultural regions began to concentrate on a single staple crop, such as tobacco in Virginia or sugar in West India, other seagoing such as New England or Pennsylvania, with more diversified products, found a ready market for grain lumber, fish, cattle, or horses.

The Slave trade often took a triangular form. Colonial ships took rum and other supplies from New England to the Guinea coast of Africa. From Africa the ships transported slaves to the West Indies, and from there returned to the home ports with sugar, molasses on cash. The “middle passage”, from Africa to the West Indias was gruesome. Many of the captives, chained together and closely packed in the holds of the ships, died of disease and were thrown overboard. Still others fought their captors or committed suicides rather than become slaves. On some voyages, only a third of the captives survived the crossing. The survivors were fattened up and trained in the West Indies. Most of them stayed in the islands, but about 10 percent were shipped to the North American mainland, to be sold to tobacco and rice planters.

Until 1651, the colonists shipped their produce where they wanted and sold it as they wanted. Most of it went to England or stayed within the colonies themselves. But a growing share of the lucrative tobacco crop found its way to market in the Netherlands or elsewhere in Continental Europe. Beginning with laws of 1651 and 1660, and later extended by other laws, England required the colonies to ship their tobacco to England for sale or resale there. In turn England prohibited the growing of tobacco in the home country, thus prohibited the growing of tobacco in the home country, thus providing a protected market for the colonial planters. These regulations formed part of a general system of regulations called the Acts of Trade and Navigation. These were supposed to increase English (and colonial) commerce and shipping at the expense of other nations. Under the theory of mercantilism, a nation sought wealth, power self-sufficiency by having a favorable balance of trade.

17. A Nation of Farmers

In the colonies, at least 90 percent of the people made they’re living chiefly by farming. Some also depended on industries, and these, too, were closely related to the natural resources. Farming methods in both the colonics and Europe were crude. The farmers used a hoc, a pick, or a wooden plow drawn by oxen to break the ground. He or she sowed by hand, harvested with a sickle or scythe, and threshed grain by flailing it or having oxen trample it. colonial farmers gave less attention to fertilizing and conserving soil then did European farmers. In North America, land was generally rich and plentiful, but labour was scarce; thus it paid to economize on labour rather than on land. Despite their more careless methods, colonial farmers produced more than thcir European counterparts.

Methods & Technique of farming

  1. In New England the typical farm was so small a family could take care of it. The women grew vegetables, milked cows tended pegs and poultry, helped harvest and did most of the home manufacturing, such as weaving and candle-making. The men cared for orchards cattle and horses and tended the fields, growing hay, and corn. New Englanders were discouraged from growing wheat because of a plant disease, and they came to depend on the middle colonies for wheat.
  2. In the middle colonies, especially Pennsylvania, the typical farm was large and better tilled than in New England. It yielded Crops not only for homes use but also for export. Many Pennsylvanian Germans used the careful farming methods they had learned in Germany. With their large holdings, they needed all the labour they could get. The farm women and girls often toiled in the fields as well as doing their usual work. The farms also used indentured servants women as well as men.
  3. Regional crops: The leading export crop in Virginia, Maryland, the North Carolina was tobacco. Its cultivation quickly wore out the soil, and many growers acquired larger plantations in order to gain reserve supplies of fresh land. The labour was simple and repetitive, the kind that slaves gangs could easily be forced to do.

In South Carolina and Georgia, it was profitable to use slaves. Part of the year they waded in flooded fields along the river bottoms to cultivate rice. In other seasons they tended indigo plants and helped make blue indigo dye.

  1. On farms and plantations, everywhere there was a good deal of manufacturing. Families made their own yarn, cloth, clothes, shoes, candles, and soap as well as bread, butter, cheese and their foodstuff. Some farmers operated sawmills and many fished.
  2. Lumbering ‘fishing’ four tradings ‘iron making and shipbuilding developed into large and specialized industries ‘especially on the middle colonies and New England. These industrics often employed many workers.
  3. In the cities such skilled craftsmen as cobblers carpenter’s candlemaker’s weavers tailors wheelwrights tinsmiths and blacksmiths appeared. Much craftsmen were much like the owners of small businesses. They worked but they also hired journeymen and apprentices to help them. These employees hoped to become master craftsmen with shops of their own.

18. Political Constitutional Legal Aspects

As per the British constitution its government both constitutional and representative. Its constitution was made up of unwritten customs and written document that limited the powers of the monarch and guaranteed certain rights to the people-It was representative as its parliament consist of the House of Holds and the House of Commons. The House of Holds included titled nobles and certain church officials, The Hous of commons was an elective body chosen by the relatively few men who were allowed to vote. Together the two houses were supposed to represent the interests of the nation and the empire Since 1720 ‘parliamentary leaders formed a cabinet with a prime minister at the head. The prime minister rather than the king or queen began to act as the real head of the British government.

As far as colonies are concerned ‘Britain’s main concern was to achieve mercantilist aims. Mercantilism required the colonies to concentrate up producing those goods that the homeland could not produce.

  1. To carry out these aims, Parliament, from 1660 on, passed a series of laws on shipping, trade, manufacturers and money. The shipping laws, or Navigation Acts provided that all goods shipped to or from the colonies must be carried in either colonial or English ships.
  2. The trade laws required that tobacco and other listed items be sent only to Britain and prohibited other products, such as meat, grain and flour from being sent there.
  3. The Hat Act, the Iron Act and other manufacturing laws were intended to prevent the sizes of industries that would compete with those in Britain.
  4. The currency laws prohibited the colonies from issuing paper money.
  5. The English government did increase its authority over some of the individual colonies. Originally, all of them had been either “Corporate” (that is, founded and largely governed by companies) or “Propriсtary” (founded and largely governed by proprietors). Gradually most became “royal” colonies that were supervised directly by the monarch and parliament. After 1752, eight of the thirteen were royal colonies.
  6. In the royal colonies, the British government appointed governors and other officials, and in all the colonies it appointed royal officials, such as Customs Collectors. Many of these people did a poor job of governing. Moreover, there was no single office in Britain in charge of the colonies. Each department administered laws in the colonies as well as in Britain. Because of confusion and inefficiency, it would have been hard to enforce the laws in the colonies even if the British government had consistently wished to do so.
  7. From about 1713 on, the government rarely tried to enforce the laws. The government leaders believed that Britain would be better off if the colonies were not strictly controlled.
  8. The Colonial Charters had given certain powers of government to the companies and the proprietors who founded colonies. They also guaranteed the rights of English people to the colonists. On the basis of the charters, the founders of colonies came to allow some of the male colonists to elect representatives to assist in the colonial government. Most of the people, however, could not vote.
  9. Elected Assemblies in colonies: The first elected assembly appeared in Virginia in 1619. The stock holders of the Virginia Company in England, who had been making laws for the Colony, authorized the election of a general assembly. It came to be however or called the House of Burgesses and met in Jamestown. The next assembly appeared in Massachusetts, in 1630. By then, a majority of the stockholders of the Massachusetts Bay Company lived in the colony. These “freemen” met four times a year as a General Court to instead of going in person.
  10. Similarity of Patter: In all the colonies the same general pattern of government arose. In each, there was a governor and a two-house legislature. In the royal colonies the governor was appointed by the English authorities, in the proprietary colonies, by the proprietors with the approval of the monarch. In the corporate colonies he was chosen by the colonial legislature. The upper house of the legislature usually was the governor’s council, and its members were chosen in the same way as the governor.

The lower house was elected. Less than one-tenth of the people had the right to vote or hold office. Women were not allowed to do so at all. In some colonies, only those men who belonged to the established church could vote or hold office and in all colonies, only men who owned a certain amount of property had these rights. There were many property owners, however, especially in New England. Hence, in the colonies, a greater proportion of the men enjoyed political rights than in England.

  1. In the colonies it early became the rule that a representative must live in the district from which he was elected. In England, a member of Parliament need not live in the town or borough that he represented.
  2. Gradually, each colonial assembly assumed the power to pass certain kinds of laws for its colony. The governor could vote the laws, and the London authorities could reject them. Sometimes, to keep the governor from using his veto an assembly would threaten not to pay him. Sometimes, to get around the London authorities, an assembly passed a rejected law in a slightly different form. As time went on, each colonial legislature came to consider itself as supreme within its colony as Parliament was in England.
  3. Relations among Colonies: No colony was willing to give up any of its powers to England or the other colonies. Even when the thirteen faced common problems, they did not like to cooperate with each other. The greatest problem involved relations with the Indians. There was constant fighting along the edge of European settlement, where colonists were taking over Indian lands or vying for control of the fur trade. Different tribes allied themselves to groups of colonists — British, Spanish; Dutch, and French. When these colonists fought, their Indian
    allies often joined in.
  4. In 1643, people in Massachusetts, Plymouth, New Haven and Connecticut formed the New England Confederation, a kind of military alliance. It proved ineffective when the most worst Indian conflict of colonial times, King Philip War, broke out in 1675. In three years of fighting, King Philip (also known as Metacomet), a leader of the Wampanoag tribe, and his followers tried to regain control of lands in New England.
  5. In later years, as the population increased and settlements spread, people of different colonies came into close contact. Roads were improved and inter-colonial trade grew. The postal service was extended and speeded up. But about 1750, post, riders/carried the mails from Maine to Georgia, Nevertheless, each colony continued to act as though it were quite independent of the rest.
  6. In 1754, at the call of the British government, delegates from seven colonies and representatives of the League of the Iroquois met in Albany, New York. The British government wanted the colonists to discuss ways to improve relations with the Iroquois and to strengthen colonies. As a delegate, Benjamin Franklin proposed what became known as the Albany plan of Union. According to this plan, “one general government” would be set up for the colonies. The monarch would appoint a president general, and the Colonial assemblies would elect a grand council. The Colonies would keep their separate governments but would allow the new general government to direct war-making and relations with the Indians.

The colonial assemblies did not approve of Franklin’s plan and it never went into effect. The English Colonists would not be ready to cooperate in government until after a great war with the French and their Indian allies had been fought and won.

19. International rivalries and Conflicts in Colonies

From the beginning, Britain had to deal with other European nations in North America.

  1. The Dutch after founding New Netherland in the Hudson Valley, remained at odds with New England for half a century. After defeating the Dutch in three wars, the English finally took New Netherland in 1664 and renamed it New York.
  2. The Spanish had the oldest and largest empire in the New World, but most of their holdings including Texas, Mexico, and California were far from Britain’s. Only on the southern frontier, where Spain held Florida, was there an opportunity for conflict. Here, from time to time, the English and Spanish fought.
  3. The most serious threat to British America came from the French. France’s empire in North America was almost as old as Britain’s. The French had started their settlement at Quebec in 1608, a year after the founding of Jamestown. Eventually, French forts, towns, and trading posts were scattered along the St. Lawrence Valley; around the Great Lakes, and down the Mississippi Valley to the Gulf of Mexico.

Vast as it was, the North American Continent was not big enough to accommodate the British and French in Peace, By 1750, they had fought three wars. Yet the French and their Indian allies remained a threat to the British colonies and their Indian allies. This danger was, oddly enough, a help to Britain in its dealings with its colonies.

  1. The trouble and conflict arose between the French and British colonies for several reasons. The French were Catholics and the British mostly Protestants; fanatics on each side search for the future of their religion. The French and the British also compacted for the fur trade of the Indians, and they disputed the ownership of the Ohio country — the territory between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River. This territory was important to the French because it provided the shortest route between their colonies. of New France (Canada) and Louisiana. The British looked to this land as a future home for their growing colonial population.
  2. Still another reason for conflict in America was the British and French struggle for power elsewhere in the world. Whenever France and Britain went to war, their colonies and their Indian allies became involved.
  3. The first three wars between the French and the British Colonies (King William’s War, 1689-1697; Queen Anne’s War 1702-1713; and King George’s War, 1744-1748) began in Europe and spread to North America.
  4. Ohio was the issue of conflict between the French and the Indians and the Britishers. The French fortified the defense by building a line of forts, especially the Fort Duquesne which the Britishers failed to occupy by force in 1754, It ushered in an Indian war. In the following years, there was fighting all over the Ohio country and along the frontier.

In 1755, General Edward Braddock tried to retake Fort Duqucsnc in July 1755 but was killed, and his force defeated. However it was taken in 1758 under the new war policy by the fresh leadership of Prime Minister William Pitt who was given special war power. In 1759, a decisive war was staged by English General James Wolfe, who led the men to the heights above Quebec and surprised a larger French force led by the Marquis de Montcalm. Both lost their lives in the war.

  1. Problems of Peace: Not until 1763 was a peace treaty signed. The French then gave New France and most of their claims east of Mississippi River to Britain. They yielded the rest of their claims on the continent to Spain. Nothing was left of the French empire in North America but a few islands in the West Indies and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and a strong French heritage in the former colonies.
  2. British landowners and merchants who were influential in Parliament objected to paying new taxes. They thought it only fair that the colonists should pay part of the cost of their own defense. Government leaders agreed. They remembered the half-hearted support that many colonists had given to the war, as well as the illegal trade that some had carried on with the enemy.
  3. British leaders now felt that the policy of salutary neglect had been a mistake. They decided that control over the colonies – ought to be tightened up; smuggling stopped and all customs duties collected.

To help enforce the laws and defend the colonies, land and naval forces ought to be stationed there permanently, even in peacetime. To raise more money taxes ought to be imposed directly on the colonists. Such were the lessons that the British leaders learned from the French and Indian war.

  1. Quite different, however, were the lessons that leading colonists learned. From their war experiences, they had gained confidence in themselves as soldiers and had developed a low opinion of British military ability. Now that the French were no longer dangerous neighbors, they felt little need for British protection. Certainly they were in no mood to submit quietly to new taxes or to any new controls.

The past-war problems of the empire were bound to Icad to serious trouble between the mother country and the colonists.

20. Wars in America and Europe – Treaties

  1. In 1689-1697
    • King William’s War in America (English and Iroquois fought French);
    • War of the League of Augsburg in Europe (England joined the Grand Alliance League of Augsburg and Holland) to fight France.
    • Treaty of Ryswick — 1697.
      (Restored the status in the colonies that existed before the war).
  2. In 1702-1713;
    • Queene Anne’s War in American (English colonists fought the French, Spanish and several Indian tribes).
    • War of the Spanish Succession in Europe (England, Holland,
      and the Holy Roman Empire united against France and Spain).
    • Treaty of Utrecht – 1713
      (England received Newfoundland, Acadia (Nova Scotia), and Hudson Bay from France. France kept some small islands in Canada. Spain granted England ascents).
  3. In 1739-1742;
    • War of Jenkins’ Ear in America (Southern Colonists fought Spanish colonists).
    • War of Jenkins Ear in Europe (England declared war on Spain because of abuses of English seamen, provoked by English abuses of asiento) No treaty was finalized.
  4. In 1740-1748:
    • King George’s War in America (English Colonists in North-east fought French and many indian tribes).
    • War of the Austrian Succession in Europe (France joined Spain to fight against England. France had been allied with Prussia).
    • Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle 17480— Restored the status in the colonies that existed before the war.
  5. In 1754-1763,
    • The French and Indian War in America.
      (English colonists and Iroquois fought French and most other indians.)
    • Seven Years’ War (began 1756 in Europe) (Britain and Prussia fought France and Austria. Spain joined France in 1762.).
    • Treaty of Paris, 1763 (France ceded to England most of the land east of the Mississippi. England gained Florida and restored Cuba to Spain).

In the previous, we have attempted to make a detailed study of the following issues of American history.

  1. 1488-1630, Founding of colonies in the American continent in the American continent, and the virtual establishment end evolution of the United States of America.
  2. 1607-1700 in which we have taken a detailed view of the growth of English America.
  3. 1700-1763, in this phase of the American history, we have taken into account of the maturing colonies, with a detailed view of their economic and agricultural development; political, legal and constitutional growth; the process of americanization and merging of disparate racial elements into a single national integration international rivalries and conflicts over the colonies; the social, cultural and intellectual heritage as well as its fusion into a single and particular phase of American history.

Lastly, it seems appropriate to take bird’s eye view of the studies uptil now. Life for most inhabitants of the colonies in the 1700’s grew gradually more orderly, safe and pleasant. Forests yielded to farms and plantations. The number of wild animals dwindled, and Europeans forced the Indians into the backcountry. Growing villages, towns and a few cities offered townsmen and visiting farmers opportunities to trade and see new sights and faces, The bountiful supply of cheap land and demand for colonial products kept unemployment lower and pay. ‘higher than anywhere in Europe, encouraged the raising of large families, and drew a steady stream of immigrants across the Atlantic, On the whole Great Britain provided a stable political system with which the colonists seemed well content. Under these conditions, a prospering colonial population began to look increasingly American rather than European.

During the first half of the eighteenth century, the roots of American culture took firm hold in colonial soil. Anyone who wants to understand the behavior of nineteenth-and-twentieth century Americans should study these eighteenth-century ancestors. Few statistics are available for the period, however, and relatively few first-hand records have come down to us, particularly from the lower classes.

We can, however, learn something about eighteenth-century society from the writings of its leaders. In any society, influential leaders are part of a small group holding a large amount of power, but they often represent the values and aspirations of the men and women who follow them. For this reason, knowledge of the lives of the elite may also help us to learn something about the common man.

By eighteenth-century standards British America was a flourishing place. Its relatively free religious atmosphere and its abundant economic opportunities continued to attract thousands of immigrants. Its growing commerce created fortunes for merchants, in both America and Britain and helped to raise the standard of living of hundreds of thousands of other persons. Its governments, which had a great deal of control, generally had the warm support of the inhabitants. Its physical security became assured in 1763 when France lost virtually all its possessions in America. Thus, except for Indians and Negro slaves, the British colonies deserved the reputation of a land of opportunity,