Early American Government

  1. What contradictions and inconsistencies do you see in the American Revolution?
    • 1. Americans had been fighting for a year against the British, but they were still declaring loyalty to the British king.
    • 2. Americans were fighting for liberty, but many were slave owners including many of the leaders.
    • 3. Americans will win the war with the help of the French who had been their traditional enemy.
  2. When the Second Continental Congress met in 1775, what did it do?
    It decided to support the army already in the field around Boston and appointed George Washington as commander in chief of army.
  3. What was the Olive Branch Petition?
    It was a petition asking George III, the British King, to work with Parliament to get them to reach an agreement with the American colonies. It was an attempt to make peace with the king, but he ignored it as he saw Americans now as rebels.
  4. Describe the early fighting in the north.
    At the Battle of Bunker Hill, the British drove Americans off from the high ground around Boston. But Americans were able to take the British fort, Fort Ticonderoga. They used cannon from the fort and brought it over land to Boston and were able to run the British out of the city. They had also tried to invade Canada but that had been unsuccessful,.
  5. What was written in Tom Paine's Common Sense? How did it affect American public opinion?
    In Common Sense, Thomas Paine attacked the British monarchy. He said that America should be an independent republic and this helped to turn public opinion in favor of independence.
  6. State the Resolution of Independence (July 2, 1776). Who came up with this?
    Resolved, 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.Written by Richard Henry Lee.
  7. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? Know at least one famous sentence.
    The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson and modified by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.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.
  8. Who were the Tories?
    Tories were those Americans who wanted to remain loyal to Britain.
  9. What were the weaknesses of the American colonies during the Revolution?
    The British outnumbered the Americans. They had a large experienced army. They had the world's best navy. They could afford to hire German soldiers (Hessians) hwereas American Congress did not have authority to impose taxes to pay for war. It was hard to get Americans to join the army and to stay in the army.
  10. What were American strengths?
    They had a home field advantage and knew the territory. They were fighting in defense of their homes and also were fighting for a cause. The style of fighting of the Americans could be described as guerrilla warfare was suited for the terrain. The Americans had the leadership of George Washington.
  11. Describe the fighting in New York in the spring of 1776.
    British had decided they were going to take NYC to use as headquarters. Washington came to its defense. He had an army of 25,000 men but they were not well trained. The British pushed them out of NY into New Jery, and then eventually into Pennsylvania and they thought Americans were so defeated that there was no point in going after them. Washington's army was reduced to about a third of its original number
  12. What happened on Christmas night, 1776? On Jan 5, 1777?
    Washington led several thousand of his men across the Delaware River back into New Jersey. At Trenton they surprised a group of Hessians who were sleeping off their Christmas celebration and they were able to take them all captive. They went on to another victory at Princeton on January 5th, 1777. 
  13. What was the British plan for cutting off the New England colonies?
    It was the Three Part Plan. General Burgoyne was to come from Canada, General Howe from NYC, and a third British general from the west. They would meet up around Albany and defeat the Americans decisively. The plan failed as General Howe had already left for Philadelphia and the general from the west was defeated earlier on. Burgoyne was left to carry out the plan on his own and was defeated by Americans. 
  14. What happened at the Battle of Saratoga? Why was this significant?
    American troops had gathered and met General Burgoyne's army at Saratoga. Americans defeated Burgoyne and he was forced to surrender 5,800 men. This convinced the French that Americans could defeat British. It would bring the French openly to war on the side of the Americans.
  15. Describe the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge.
    Washington and his army were in winter camp. It was bitter cold. They were suffering from food shortages as well. There were many desertions and probably only Washington's leadership kept what was left of the army together.
  16. What happened when the British attacked Savannah and Charles Town in 1778?
    The British took Savannah and went on to Charles Town and took it and also captured the defending American army of 5,500 men.
  17. Who was Nathaniel Greene? Why was he important?
    Greene was one of Washington's best generals. He was fighting in the south. General Cornwallace ran into him and fought several battles. Greene used hit and run tactics because he knew he couldn't defeat the British army outright. It is said that he never won a battle but helped to win the war. He put so much pressure on General Cornwallace that he decided to move up into Virginia where he was later defeated at Battle of Yorktown on York peninsula.
  18. How were the Americans able to win at Yorktown?
    The British had camped on the York peninsula and were surrounded on three sides of water. At that point the French had control of the seas offshore which prevented a British escape. Washington came down from NY with his men and also French under Lafayette and they were able to defeat them.
  19. What were the terms of the Treaty of Paris? (5)
    1. America was given its independence.2. Established the boundaries of the new nation. West - Mississippi River, South - Florida which went back to Spain, North - Canada.3. British debt to consider. British were free to collect their debts from the Americans.4. Congress would recommend to the stages that the loyalist lands be returned.5. British would pull all of their troops out of America at all convenient speed.
  20. What happened to Florida?
    Florida went back to Spain.
  21. Was the American Revolution really a revolution? Why or why not?
    The American Revolution can be considered not a true revolution as the real rebellion had come earlier. Major changes had already come about and state governments after the revolution are very much the same as the colonial governments had been with governors and representative assemblies and the same people who had held power before revolution would hold power afterwards. Wealth was not redistributed and the economic system remained the same as it seemed to work well for most Americans. 
  22. Since the revolution had been fought on the principles of equality, why were the slaves not freed?
    Too many people were profiting from slavery. There was also a question of property rights. Property was a major right of colonists and slaves were considered property. There was also the element of fear over what the slaved might do if they were freed.
  23. How did emancipation come about in the northern states?
    Gradual emancipation laws. They provided freedom for children of slaves once they reached a certain age. 
  24. How were women affected by the revolution?
    While men were away fighting, women were left in charge of farms and family businesses. They achieved a degree of independence they might not have had before. Once men came back though, women had to go back to their previous roles. There were no changes made in the legal or political status of women.
  25. What is a constitution?
    Written document that is a basic outline of fundamental law. 
  26. The rights mentioned in a state constitution Bill of Rights were based on what?
    They were based on the basic rights of Englishmen.
  27. Describe the structure of the central government created by the articles of confederation?
    One house legislature. There was no separate executive. There was no separate court system. Each state had one vote. For laws to be passed you needed 2/3 majority and to make changes you needed a unanimous decision.
  28. Under the Articles of Confederation what powers were given to the central government? What powers were denied to the new government?
    Central government could make war. They could make treaties. They could ask the states for men and money. They could provide a way for new states to come into the union.The central government could not tax. It could not raise any army. It also could not regulate commerce.
  29. Explain how western land claims delayed the ratification of the Articles of Confederation.
    Many of the states were claiming the western territory while some states had no claims at all. States with no western land claims refused to ratify until western lands were turned over to congress.
  30. What problem did the new American government have with the British in the Northwest?
    British were refusing to leave northwest territory and were encouraging Indians to attack Americans. 
  31. What problems did the American government have with Spain?
    Spain was rebuilding forts. They had signed treaties with the Indians calling on them to attack Americans.
  32. How did Americans contribute to their foreign policy problems?
    Americans were not living up to their part of the peace treaty involving British debts and loyalist lands. So, British could say they also did not have to leave the northwest territory.
  33. What financial problems faced Congress after the war?
    Congress was not able to levy taxes so it did not have the money either to pay off public debt or operating costs.
  34. Describe the American economy after the Revolution.
    America after revolution found that it had lost its favored trading position in British empire. It no longer had guaranteed markets. Also American manufacturers were finding that because they had no tariffs they were having to compete with foreign products. What saved American economy was the fact that most Americans were still farmers and were not dependent on international trade.
  35. What were the terms of the Land Ordinance of 1785?
    Law the provided for surveying Northwest territory. It divided it into 6 mile square townships which were then subdivided into 36 one mile sections. One section would be reserved for education and also one section was minimum unit that could bought. 
  36. What were the terms of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787?
    Northwest Ordinance provided a means for new states to come into the union. A governor was appointed for NW territory. When there were 5,000 adult males in that territory they would be able to form a legislature and when a future state had reached a total population of 60,000 they could apply for admission to the union. They also included a provision there would be no slavery in NW territory or any states to be formed from it.
  37. What was Shays' Rebellion? Why did it happen? How did it affect American public opinion?
    Shays' Rebellion was a rebellion of farmers in western Massachusetts during Articles of Confederation. They were rebelling over taxes and foreclosures. The end result was that Massachusetts backed off on taxes. The federal government had been unable to act. It showed the federal government was weak and a stronger central government was needed.
  38. What was the economic level of most members of the Constitutional Convention?
    They were mostly wealthy.
  39. Why could the meeting of the Constitutional Convention be considered a counter revolution?
    They voted that they would be replacing the Articles of Confederation, so they could be seen as conspiring against the government.
  40. Describe the view of government help by most members of the Constitutional Convention.
    They believed in democracy but not too much democracy. 
  41. How were the ideas of Montesquieu reflected in the American constitution?
    Those ideas were separation of powers and checks and balances. We have three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. Each branch has checks on the others.
  42. How did the Great Compromise solve the problem of the relative power to be granted to large and small states?
    The Great Compromise provided for a two house Congress. The Upper House is Senate and each state would have two senators and equal representation. The lower house would be House of Representatives and representation would be determined by population. 
  43. How did the Three-Fifths Compromise deal with the issues of slavery, taxation, and representation?
    It provided that three fifths of the slaves in each state would be counted.
  44. How was the issue of foreign commerce resolved?
    Commerce Compromise was reached.1. There would be no export tariffs.2. For a treaty to be ratified, a 2/3rd vote of the Senate would be needed.3. Simple majority would apply for all other laws pertaining to commerce, but will apply to other laws as well.
  45. What was the final agreement on the slave trade?
    Congress would not do anything about it for next twenty years.
  46. How did the constitution remedy the flaws of the Articles of Confederation?
    1. New constitution gave national government power to impose taxes, have a strong military, and the power to regulate commerce.2. Shifted power from states to the national government.3,. Provided an independent executive who would carry out laws passed by Congress.4. Provided for an independent judicial system with supreme court at head.5. Made the amendment process easier. Also it's brief.
  47. What was the Elastic Clause?
    Elastic Clause stretched power of federal government saying Congress could pass any laws necessary and proper for carrying out its power. 
  48. What was judicial review?
    Supreme Court reviews laws passed by Congress and determines if those laws are constitutional or not. It is not specifically granted in the constitution but is assumed by the Supreme Court. 
  49. How was the Constitution to be ratified?
    Copies were sent to Congress and to all of the states. They were asked to call for special state conventions. Elections were held in each state to see who would go to ratify or reject the constitution. The constitution would go into effect when nine of the state conventions had approved it. 
  50. Who were the Federalists? Anti-Federalists?
    Federalists were supporters of the constitution and Anti-Federalists were opposed to the constitution. 
  51. What were the objections to the Constitution?
    1. Fear that president could become king.2. States losing power to national government.3. New document did not have Bill of Rights.4. Standing army in peacetime.5. Double taxation as national and state government could both impose taxes.
  52. Why did the new government not go into effect after nine states had ratified?
    Virginia and New York had not ratified the constitution. It was felt the new government could not function without their support. 
  53. What were the Federalist papers? How did they affect public opinion?
    They were a series of articles written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. They explained the provisions of the constitution and put forth the reasons why the constitution was necessary. This helped to sway public opinion in NY in favor of the constitution. 
  54. What was the Bill of Rights? Why was it felt to be necessary?
    The first ten amendments to the Constitution that restricted power of new government and protected basic rights.It was felt it was necessary to protect the basic individual rights.and the constitution had not included one.
  55. Who were Washington's first department heads?
    Secretary of treasury - Alexander Hamilton. First secretary of state - John Jay and then Thomas Jefferson. Secretary of war - Henry Knox.
  56. How did the presidential cabinet emerge?
    Washington's department heads started meeting on regular basis making suggestions to the president.
  57. Describe Hamilton's funding plan. How was this financial plan to be passed by Congress?
    Hamilton proposed issuing new government bonds for old bonds. He leaked info to Congress who were then able to make financial killings off of the exchange of old bonds for new ones.
  58. How did James Madison respond to Hamilton's plan?
    He thought yes the debt should be funded but he thought there should be some way more fair to the original bond holders rather than the speculators that bought them up.
  59. Why was there conflict over Hamilton's proposal that the federal government assume responsibility for payment of state debt?
    Some of the states had already paid off their debts and they did not want tax money going for those states that had been irresponsible.
  60. What arrangement swayed congress to pass Hamilton's program?
    He suggested to southern states that new national capital be established in southern territory. It was built on Potomac River and named Washington D.C. 
  61. What were the functions of the Bank of the United States?
    It could issue bank notes which would serve as currency. It could make short-term loans to government. It would be place for government to keep its money.
  62. Who opposed the bank? And why?
    Madison and Jefferson because they thought it was unconstitutional.
  63. What was the Whiskey Rebellion?
    This came about during Washington's first term. There was an excise tax on production of whiskey. Farmers in western Pennsylvania were opposed to this. They did refuse to pay the tax. Hamilton saw this as opposition to the government and he convinced Washington to send in troops. It pointed out the difference between the new government and old government as the old government could not take action against Shay's Rebellion. It showed the new government is much stronger.
  64. What was going on with the British and the Indians in the NW Territory during Washington's Administration?
    The British still had not left their forts. They were encouraging the Indians to attack Americans.
  65. Describe the differences in the political philosophies of Hamilton and Jefferson. What was Madison's position? Washington's?
    Hamilton believes in strong central government. He wanted a balanced economy which would have meant help for manufacturing and trade. He favored the wealthy. Jefferson favored states rights. He felt America would always be a nation of small farmers. He supported the common man. Hamilton will oppose the Fr. Revolution while Jefferson will continue to support it. Madison came to support Jefferson and Washington came down on side of Hamilton. 
  66. How did political parties evolve out of these differing political opinions?
    Both Hamilton and Jefferson and Madison made their different views known in speeches around the country. They backed newspapers that supported their point of views and established local political clubs. They put forth their beliefs in an organized way.
  67. What were Federalist advantages?
    They had a well thought out program with Hamilton's financial plan. Most clergy men and newspaper editors were Federalists so they could influence public opinion. Wealthy tended to be Federalists. George Washington was generally considered a Federalist and was able to give government jobs to their supporters.
  68. How did the French Revolution affect the development of American political parties?
    Federalists were opposed to French Revolution because of violence. The republicans tended to still support beliefs of French Revolution and further contributed to division between the parties. 
  69. Who was Citizen Genet? How did his activities affect American politics?
    He was sent from France to US to make sure America maintained their treaty with France, but he also had secret instructions to get Americans to attack Spanish in Florida and Louisiana. Washington in affect told him to stop and demanded French government bring him home. At Genet's request he was allowed to stay on in US. Further contributed to tension over the French Revolution between the political parties and especially made George Washington .
  70. Citizen Genet contd.
    ... suspicious of Jefferson and the republicans so that Jefferson finally just resigned from the government.
  71. How did the British respond to American trade with the French West Indies?
    They saw this as treasonous since America had so recently been a British colony, and they now said any ship caught trading with the French or French colonies would be subject to seizure. British navy could stop American ships and capture them.
  72. What were the purposes of John Jay's negotiations with Britain?
    Get them to stop attacking American ships. Get British to pay for the one they had taken. Respect the rights of neutrals. Get the British to leave the NW territory and also get a good commercial treaty as well.
  73. What were the terms of Jay's Treaty? What was the public reaction?
    British did agree to leave Northwest posts. British in Canada could continue to trade with the Indians in the U.S. Nothing was done about payment for captured ships or respect of American neutrality. Most Americans thought this had accomplished nothing.
  74. What were the terms of Pinckney's Treaty?
    Americans would be allowed to use the Mississippi River. They would also be able to use the port of New Orleans. The boundary between Florida and US was finally agreed upon. 
  75. What did Washington warn against in his Farewell Address?
    Warned against permanent foreign alliances and he warned against political party conflict.
  76. Who won the election of 1796 and what was unusual about the election results?
    John Adams won the election for president and Jefferson won the election for vice president. What was strange is the John Adams was a Federalist and Jefferson was a republican. 
  77. What was the XYZ affair? What were its results?
    French had captured several hundred ships and sent representatives and representatives were sent to France to get this to stop. Instead of being allowed to talk to French foreign minister Talleyrand they were met by 3 French agents who demanded bribe of 250,000$. Americans refused and when they wrote up report they referred to them as XYZ. Congress voted for more money for military. Repealed the treaties with France and America ended up fighting an undeclared naval war with France.
  78. What caused the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts?
    Adams and the Federalists were striking out at their republican opponents who tended to be supported by immigrants.
  79. What were the Alien and Sedition Acts? Why did the courts not find them unconstitutional?
    Laws passed by Adams and Federalists striking out at their republican opponents many of whom were immigrants. They increased the residency requirement for citzenship, gave president more power to remove aliens from the country, and also provided punishment for anyone writing or speaking out against the government. Courts did not find this unconstitutional as the judges were Federalists.
  80. What were the Kentucky and Virginia Resolution?
    They were responses to the Alien and Sedition Acts saying they were unconstitutional and proposing the theory of nullification that states could nullify a law passed by Congress if they disagreed with it..
  81. Who were the candidates in the election of 1800? Who won? what was unusual about these election results?
    Republican candidates were Jefferson and Burr as VP. Federalists nominated Adams with Pinckney as VP. Jefferson won. Jefferson and his VP candidate Burr, both got 73 electoral votes. Instead of backing down Burr saw this as an opportunity to be president. It went to House of Representatives and in the end enough Federalists voted for Jefferson to become president.
  82. What did the 12th amendment to the constitution provide for?
    Voting for president and vice president would be done separately in electoral college and there would be separate ballots in electoral college for president and vice president.
  83. What was the significant of the Judiciary Act of 1801?
    Law created a whole new group of federal court judges. Adams started appointing Federalists to those positions. Federalists will continue to dominate the federal court system handing down federalist decisions and federalist interpretations of law because of new positions created by Judiciary Act of 1801 and Adams appointing Federalists to fill those positions.
Card Set
Early American Government
Early American Government