1776 American History

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1776 American History



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The American Revolution: Documentary (1 of 2)

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Paine developed his disdain for the British government during his thirty-seven years of life prior to immigrating to America. On August 28, , when congress recessed John finally took the opportunity to marry his fiancee Dorothy Quincy, they had two kids but neither one live to be adults. On July 4, , something big happened in John 's life him and Continental Congress were the only two to sign the original version of the Declaration of independence on that day. The reason John said he wrote his name so big was so John Bull could read it without his glasses, John Bull was the general in England at the time. In October of John was forced to resign from Presidency because of health problems. This was an important achievement because Jefferson was personally appointed to Congress to right the Constitution.

This shows Congress had faith in Jefferson to right the document that declared independence from Great Britain. Also, Jefferson wrote the Declaration in only 17 days. The first settlers arrived in, what is now the United States, May 13, Despite the early age, the United States did not officially become an independent country until July 4th, When the first settlers came to North America, the American dream awaited to be achieved. In other words, a person who is hardworking and loyalty is able to achieve anything no matter what race, culture, or religion. Stephen Hopkins Stephen Hopkins is not very well known outside Rhode Island, but he was very popular and influential in his day. As the oldest member of the Continental Congress, he was respected for his knowledge, experience, and political insight.

His parents were William and Ruth Hopkins. Throughout the years there has been many individuals whom have helped shape The United States of America into the independent country it is today. Americans were in desperate need of a leader who would step up for his people and declare independence, Americans were in desperate need of Thomas Jefferson. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a planter while his mother, Jane Randolph, was a stay at home mom. Some would even argue that his role in the Revolutionary War was as significant as George Washington or Benjamin Franklin.

Born on January 12, , in what is now Quincy, Massachusetts, John Hancock was orphaned at a young age and taken in by his uncle, Thomas Hancock. A wealthy businessman and successful merchant, Thomas Hancock groomed John to one day take over his shipping business. By the eve of the revolution many, but not all colonists set their differences aside to achieve one goal, to overcome the tyrannical British become truly independent. Even though the colonists originated from England, many viewed themselves as Americans not English. To be successful in overcoming the British, Benjamin Franklin knew that the colonists had to unite.

In Document A he constructed a political cartoon that. This book is a good book to read if you know absolutely nothing about the American Revolution. Although it only shows the year , it shows you the year that changed America forever. In American history very few years will ever stand out or even leave an imprint in America's history, but there is one year in our past that particularly stands out.

That year was when we gained our independence from England. In the book David McCullough captures the events of the year with remarkable clarity and paints a vivid picture that makes his book, , a significant contribution to the study of 18th century America and the American Revolution. There was no national executive authority. The world was at peace and the economy flourished. Some historians depict a bleak challenging time for the new nation. Despite the hardships as a result of the war, there were still great accomplishments made by the newly created states. In , Connecticut and Rhode Island abolished slavery, making them the 3rd and 4th states in the union to have moved another step away from British law.

In , the Northwest Ordinance was signed into law, then on August 7, , President George Washington signed the Northwest Ordinance of into law after the newly created U. Congress reaffirmed the Ordinance with slight modifications under the Constitution. It forbade slavery and established a government for the Northwest Territory, outlined the process for admitting a new state to the Union, and guaranteed that newly created states would be equal to the original 13 states. The Treaty of Paris left the United States independent and at peace but with an unsettled governmental structure. The Second Continental Congress had drawn up Articles of Confederation on November 15, , to regularize its own status. These described a permanent confederation but granted to the Congress—the only federal institution—little power to finance itself or to ensure that its resolutions were enforced.

There was no president and no judiciary. Although historians generally agree that the Articles were too weak to hold the fast-growing nation together, they do give Congress credit for resolving the conflict between the states over ownership of the western territories. The states voluntarily turned over their lands to national control. The Land Ordinance of and Northwest Ordinance created territorial government, set up protocols for the admission of new states, the division of land into useful units, and set aside land in each township for public use.

This system represented a sharp break from imperial colonization, as in Europe, and provided the basis for the rest of American continental expansion through the 19th Century. By , with the end of the British blockade, the new nation was regaining its prosperity. However, trade opportunities were restricted by the mercantilist policies of the European powers. Before the war, the Americans had shipped food and other products to the British colonies in the Caribbean British West Indies , but now these ports were closed since only British ships could trade there.

France and Spain had similar policies for their empires. The formerly imposed restrictions on imports of New England fish and Chesapeake tobacco. New Orleans was closed by the Spanish, hampering settlement of the West, although it didn't stop frontiersmen from pouring west in great numbers. Simultaneously, American manufacturers faced sharp competition from British products which were suddenly available again. The inability of the Congress to redeem the currency or the public debts incurred during the war, or to facilitate trade and financial links among the states aggravated a gloomy situation. In —87, Shays' Rebellion , an uprising of farmers in western Massachusetts against the state court system, threatened the stability of state government and the Congress was powerless to help.

The Continental Congress did have the power to print paper money; it printed so much that its value plunged until the expression "not worth a continental" was used for some worthless item. Congress could not levy taxes and could only make requisitions upon the states, which did not respond generously. Less than a million and a half dollars came into the treasury between and , although the states had been asked for two million in alone. In , Alexander Hamilton issued a curt statement that the Treasury had received absolutely no taxes from New York for the year. States handled their debts with varying levels of success.

The South for the most part refused to pay its debts off, which was damaging to local banks, but Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia fared well due to their production of cash crops such as cotton and tobacco. South Carolina would have done the same except for a series of crop failures. Maryland suffered from financial chaos and political infighting. New York and Pennsylvania fared well, although the latter also suffered from political quarrels. Massachusetts was in a state of virtual civil war see above and suffered from high taxes and the decline of its economy.

Rhode Island alone among the New England states prospered and mostly because of its notorious harboring of pirates and smugglers. When Adams went to London in as the first representative of the United States, he found it impossible to secure a treaty for unrestricted commerce. Demands were made for favors and there was no assurance that individual states would agree to a treaty. Adams stated it was necessary for the states to confer the power of passing navigation laws to Congress, or that the states themselves pass retaliatory acts against Great Britain. Congress had already requested and failed to get power over navigation laws. Meanwhile, each state acted individually against Great Britain to little effect. When other New England states closed their ports to British shipping, Connecticut hastened to profit by opening its ports.

By Congress was unable to protect manufacturing and shipping. State legislatures were unable or unwilling to resist attacks upon private contracts and public credit. Land speculators expected no rise in values when the government could not defend its borders nor protect its frontier population. The idea of a convention to revise the Articles of Confederation grew in favor. Alexander Hamilton realized while serving as Washington's top aide that a strong central government was necessary to avoid foreign intervention and allay the frustrations due to an ineffectual Congress.

Hamilton led a group of like-minded nationalists, won Washington's endorsement, and convened the Annapolis Convention in to petition Congress to call a constitutional convention to meet in Philadelphia to remedy the long-term crisis. Congress, meeting in New York, called on each state to send delegates to a Constitutional Convention , meeting in Philadelphia. While the stated purpose of the convention was to amend the Articles of Confederation, many delegates, including James Madison and George Washington, wanted to use it to craft a new constitution for the United States. The Convention convened in May and the delegates immediately selected Washington to preside over them. Madison soon proved the driving force behind the Convention, engineering the compromises necessary to create a government that was both strong and acceptable to all of the states.

The Constitution, proposed by the Convention, called for a federal government—limited in scope but independent of and superior to the states—within its assigned role able to tax and equipped with both Executive and Judicial branches as well as a two-house legislature. The upper House—the Senate —would represent the states equally, while the House of Representatives would be elected from districts of approximately equal population. The Constitution itself called for ratification by state conventions specially elected for the purpose, and the Confederation Congress recommended the Constitution to the states, asking that ratification conventions be called. Several of the smaller states, led by Delaware, embraced the Constitution with little reservation.

But in the most populous two states, New York and Virginia, the matter became one of controversy. Virginia had been the first successful British colony in North America, had a large population, and its political leadership had played prominent roles in the Revolution. New York was likewise large and populous; with the best situated and sited port on the coast, the state was essential for the success of the United States. Local New York politics were tightly controlled by a parochial elite led by Governor George Clinton , and local political leaders did not want to share their power with the national politicians.

The New York ratification convention became the focus for a struggle over the wisdom of adopting the Constitution. Those opposed to the new Constitution became known as the Anti-Federalists. They generally were local rather than cosmopolitan in perspective, oriented to plantations and farms rather than commerce or finance, and wanted strong state governments and a weak national government. According to political scientist James Q. Wilson the Anti-Federalists:. A strong national government, they felt, would be distant from the people and would use its powers to annihilate or absorb the functions that properly belonged to the states. Those who advocated the Constitution took the name Federalists and quickly gained supporters throughout the nation.

The most influential Federalists were Alexander Hamilton and James Madison , the anonymous authors of The Federalist Papers , a series of 85 essays published in New York newspapers, under the pen name "Publius". The papers became seminal documents for the new United States and have often been cited by jurists. These were written to sway the closely divided New York legislature. Opponents of the plan for a stronger government, the Anti-Federalists , feared that a government with the power to tax would soon become as despotic and corrupt as Great Britain had been only decades earlier. The Federalists gained a great deal of prestige and advantage from the approval of George Washington, who had chaired the Constitutional Convention.

Thomas Jefferson , serving as Minister to France at the time, had reservations about the proposed Constitution. He resolved to remain neutral in the debate and to accept either outcome. Promises of a Bill of Rights from Madison secured ratification in Virginia, while in New York, the Clintons, who controlled New York politics, found themselves outmaneuvered as Hamilton secured ratification by a 30—27 vote. The old Confederation Congress now set elections to the new Congress as well as the first presidential election.

New York was designated as the national capital; they were inaugurated in April at Federal Hall. Under the leadership of Madison, the first Congress set up all the necessary government agencies and made good on the Federalist pledge of a Bill of Rights. Alexander Hamilton in —92 created a national network of friends of the government that became the Federalist party ; it controlled the national government until However, there continued to be a strong sentiment in favor of states' rights and a limited federal government. This became the platform of a new party, the Republican or Democratic-Republican Party , which assumed the role of opposition to the Federalists.

Jefferson and Madison were its founders and leaders. American foreign policy was dominated by the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars between the United Kingdom and France. The Republicans supported France, encouraging the French Revolution as a force for democracy, while the Washington administration favored continued peace and commerce with Britain, signed the Jay Treaty much to the disgust of Democratic-Republicans, who accused Hamilton and the Federalists of supporting aristocracy and tyranny. John Adams succeeded Washington as President in and continued the policies of his administration.

The Jeffersonian Republicans took control of the Federal government in and the Federalists never returned to power. Only a few thousand Americans had settled west of the Appalachian Mountains prior to Settlement continued, and by 25, Americans had settled in Transappalachia. Though life in these new lands proved hard for many, the western settlement offered the prize of property, an unrealistic aspiration for some in the East.

Washington hoped that this canal would provide a cultural and economic link between the east and west, thus ensuring that the West would not ultimately secede. In , Virginia formally ceded its claims north of the Ohio River, and Congress created a government for the region now known as the Old Northwest with the Land Ordinance of and the Land Ordinance of These laws established the principle that Old Northwest would be governed by a territorial government, under the aegis of Congress, until it reached a certain level of political and economic development. At that point, the former territories would enter the union as states, with rights equal to that of any other state. Under the new arrangement, many of the former elected officials of the territory were instead appointed by Congress.

While the Old Northwest fell under the control of the federal government, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia retained control of the Old Southwest ; each state claimed to extend west to the Mississippi River. In , settlers in western North Carolina sought statehood as the State of Franklin , but their efforts were denied by Congress, which did not want to set a precedent regarding the secession of states. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vermont would all gain statehood between and Spain's closure of the Mississippi River denied access to the sea for the exports of Western farmers, greatly impeding efforts to settle the West. Between and , hundreds of settlers died in low-level conflicts with Native Americans, and these conflicts discouraged further settlement.

These Native Americans sought the creation of an independent Indian barrier state with the support and under protection of the British, posing a major foreign policy challenge to the United States. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Aspect of history. The Siege of Yorktown , the last major battle of the American revolution. Timeline and periods. By group. See also. Historiography List of years in the United States. See also: Colonial history of the United States. Main article: George Washington in the American Revolution. Main article: Confederation Period. Main article: Articles of Confederation. Main article: History of the United States Constitution. For a chronological guide to this subject, see Timeline of drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution.

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