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Ch 4: Development of the U.S. Political System

About This Chapter

Use our video lessons to learn how the U.S. political system was created. Get information on colonial governments, documents that influenced the writers of the U.S. Constitution and how the Constitution was ratified.

Development of the U.S. Political System - Chapter Summary

In this chapter, you will review what led to the development of the U.S. political system, including a look at the government of the 13 colonies and influential early documents such as the Mayflower Compact. Our instructors will show you how state constitutions were written after the American Revolution and help you understand what the Articles of Confederation accomplished.

Another lesson looks at the Constitutional Convention and how the U.S. Constitution was written and ratified. After watching these lessons, you should be ready to:

  • Explain how the colonies were governed under the English
  • Discuss early influences such as the Iroquois Confederation and the Magna Carta
  • Describe the colonies' governments during the American Revolution
  • Examine the Articles of Confederation and its weaknesses
  • Analyze the Constitutional Convention, the Great Compromise that made the Constitution possible and the ratification process
  • Report on the system of government the Constitution describes

These brief lessons are developed and taught by experts in the field who simplify the topics and make them fun to learn. At the end of every video lesson is a short multiple-choice quiz that allows you to assess your knowledge. Video timelines can take you back to key topics in the lesson if you require additional study. The lessons also include written transcripts so you can read along with the instructors.

9 Lessons in Chapter 4: Development of the U.S. Political System
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Systems of Government in the Thirteen Colonies

1. Systems of Government in the Thirteen Colonies

The 13 colonies each had their own systems of government, but all of them worked in similar ways. Explore the various systems of colonial government, and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Influences on the Emergence of Colonial Government

2. Influences on the Emergence of Colonial Government

While the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were revolutionary documents, their ideas were not pulled out of thin air. This lesson shows some of the earlier documents that helped guide those important texts.

Colonial Governments During the Revolutionary War

3. Colonial Governments During the Revolutionary War

In this lesson, you will explore not one, not two, but three different attempts at colonial government by Americans during the Revolutionary War. Discover their impacts and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Influential Documents for the U.S. Constitution

4. Influential Documents for the U.S. Constitution

The U.S. Constitution is a very important document, but the ideas within reflect centuries of innovative ideas about government and society. Explore various documents that influenced the U.S. Constitution.

Creating State Constitutions After the American Revolution

5. Creating State Constitutions After the American Revolution

After the revolution, the states had to figure out what the rule of the people would be like. The early state constitutions and how they were drafted would inform the process and the resulting document that would become the U.S. Constitution.

The Articles of Confederation and the Northwest Ordinance

6. The Articles of Confederation and the Northwest Ordinance

The Articles of Confederation was the new nation's founding document, but the government established under the Articles was too weak. The new central government had no way of raising revenue and no ability to enforce the commitments made by the states. The Northwest Ordinance paved the way for the growth of the new nation.

Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and Shays Rebellion

7. Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and Shays Rebellion

The Articles of Confederation were too weak to create an effective government for the new nation. In this lesson, discover how Shays' Rebellion proved that the national government needed to strengthen.

The Constitutional Convention: The Great Compromise

8. The Constitutional Convention: The Great Compromise

The Constitutional Convention was intended to amend the Articles of Confederation. Instead, those in attendance set out to found a republic (the likes of which had never been seen), which is still going strong well over 200 years later. To accomplish this task, compromises had to be made. The Great Compromise designed the bicameral congress the U.S. has today.

The Ratification of the Constitution and the New U.S. Government

9. The Ratification of the Constitution and the New U.S. Government

The U.S. Constitution may be one of the most important documents in history, but it wasn't a sure thing. A lot of debate took place. There were many people passionate about ratification, and many people passionate about ensuring it didn't get ratified. The divide over the Constitution shows us the root of political parties in the U.S.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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