Ch 3: Foundations of the American Government

About This Chapter

The Foundations of the American Government chapter of this American Revolution Study Guide course is the most efficient way to study the U.S. Constitution and related historical documents. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus it includes lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure you understand essential concepts associated with the foundations of the American government.

Who's It For?

Anyone who needs help learning or mastering American government foundations material will benefit from the lessons in this chapter. There is no faster or easier way to learn about the foundations of the American government. Among those who would benefit are:

  • Students who want to learn a broad topic in a short amount of time
  • Students who are looking for easy ways to identify the most important information on the topic
  • Students who have fallen behind in memorizing events and people associated with the foundations of the American government
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning U.S. history (visual or auditory)
  • Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
  • Students who have limited time to study for an upcoming exam

How It Works:

  • Watch each video in the course to review all key topics.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with a short quiz.
  • Complete your review with the Foundations of the American Government chapter exam.

Why It Works:

  • Study Efficiently: The lessons in this course cover only information you need to know.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Take the Foundations of the American Government chapter exam to make sure you're prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any U.S. history question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students Will Review:

This chapter summarizes the material students need to know about the foundations of the American government for a standard U.S. history course. Topics covered include:

  • State constitutions
  • The Northwest Ordinance
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • Daniel Shays' Rebellion
  • The Great Compromise
  • The Federalist Papers
  • The ratification of the U.S. Constitution
  • Components of the U.S. Constitution
  • The new United States government
  • Federalists and Republicans

11 Lessons in Chapter 3: Foundations of the American Government
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Creating State Constitutions After the American Revolution

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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.

Daniel Shays: Rebellion & Quotes

4. Daniel Shays: Rebellion & Quotes

In the aftermath of the revolution, America had to determine how to govern itself. Many believed there should be no central government, but rather a loose confederation. As the country struggled with these issues, rising revolts such as the Shays' Rebellion exposed how fragile democracy can be.

The Constitutional Convention: The Great Compromise

5. 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 Federalist Papers: History, Writers & Summary

6. The Federalist Papers: History, Writers & Summary

The Federalist Papers were a collection of political essays from the 18th century written by several Founding Fathers of the United States. In this lesson, we'll learn more about the Federalist Papers and why they are still important today.

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

7. 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.

The US Constitution: Preamble, Articles and Amendments

8. The US Constitution: Preamble, Articles and Amendments

The U.S. Constitution is one of the most important documents in history. It establishes the government of the United States, and its first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, assures every U.S. citizen the rights we have all come to hold dear.

The Bill of Rights: The Constitution's First 10 Amendments

9. The Bill of Rights: The Constitution's First 10 Amendments

The Bill of Rights was pivotal in getting the U.S. Constitution ratified. More importantly, the Bill of Rights guarantees the rights of every citizen of the United States in a way that is nearly unequaled.

George Washington and the New United States Government

10. George Washington and the New United States Government

George Washington was the United States' first president. He knew everything he did would set the stage for future presidents of the country. A heavy weight was on his shoulders, and much of what he established in his two terms set the precedent for presidents today.

Hamilton and the Federalists vs. Jefferson and the Republicans

11. Hamilton and the Federalists vs. Jefferson and the Republicans

Although President Washington warned against the nation falling into political factions, the different views of the Constitution held by Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists and Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans set the path for the two-party system that the U.S. has today.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Other Chapters

Other chapters within the American Revolution Study Guide course

Support