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Ch 4: The Making of a Nation after the American Revolution

About This Chapter

Watch online history video lessons and learn about the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and more. These easy-to-follow lessons are just a portion of our online study guide and video collection.

The Making of a Nation after the American Revolution - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Watch this chapter's video lessons and explore how delegates to the Constitutional Convention attempted to strengthen a new government shaky on its feet. Instructors can help you discover attendees' plans to scrap the Articles of Confederation and draft a new document that would also ensure the basic rights of American citizens. You can also watch as this restructured federal government's newfound ability to raise revenue and enforce the law of the land is put to the test. By the end of this chapter, you should be familiar with the following:

  • Initial forms of American central government
  • Components of the U.S. Constitution
  • Outcomes of early American foreign relations
  • Federal responses to domestic conflicts
  • Origins of the two-party political system

Video Objective
Creating State Constitutions After the American Revolution Illustrates how the idea of popular sovereignty was carried out in state constitutions of Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Massachusetts.
The Articles of Confederation and the Northwest Ordinance Explains the form of central government created by the Articles of Confederation. Describes the processes for admitting new states as outlined by the Northwest Ordinance.
Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and Shays' Rebellion Explores the consequences of a weak central government unable to raise revenue or enforce laws.
The Constitutional Convention: The Great Compromise Discusses the goals of the Constitutional Convention and the political compromise resulting in a bicameral congress.
The Ratification of the Constitution and the New U.S. Government Follows the processes involved in ratifying the Constitution and summarizes the debate between federalists and anti-federalists.
The U.S. Constitution: Preamble, Articles and Amendments Outlines the contents of the Preamble, the seven original articles and the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights: The Constitution's First 10 Amendments Describes rights granted by the first constitutional amendments, including the freedom of religion and speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and the right to due process.
George Washington and the New United States Government Explains Congress' roles in deciding the number of Supreme Court justices and establishing war, state and treasury departments. Outlines Hamilton's plan to pay back foreign debt.
Hamilton and the Federalists vs. Jefferson and the Republicans Points out the origins of the two-party political system in the U.S. Follows the debate between Federalists and Republicans over such issues as the role of central government, the economy and the national bank.
The French Revolution, Jay Treaty and Treaty of San Lorenzo Explains American neutrality during the French Revolution and the outcomes of treaties with Britain and Spain.
The Whiskey Rebellion and Battle of Fallen Timbers Illustrates the new government's reaction to domestic conflicts over excise taxes and border disputes with Native Americans.
President John Adams: From Alien and Sedition Acts to XYZ Affair Outlines Adams' successful attempts to avert war with France and the effect of the Alien and Sedition Acts on his legacy.

12 Lessons in Chapter 4: The Making of a Nation after the American Revolution
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.

The Constitutional Convention: The Great Compromise

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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.

The French Revolution, Jay Treaty and Treaty of San Lorenzo

10. The French Revolution, Jay Treaty and Treaty of San Lorenzo

In the U.S., early foreign affairs were of incredible importance. For the young nation to survive, they had to exist in a world with tense relations. Should the new nation get involved in foreign wars? How do they negotiate with foreign powers? This lesson looks at the early foreign relations of the United States.

The Whiskey Rebellion and Battle of Fallen Timbers

11. The Whiskey Rebellion and Battle of Fallen Timbers

In the early days of the U.S., President Washington and the new government were tested by foreign and domestic issues. How these issues were dealt with would establish the young nation's position. Domestically, the Whiskey Rebellion and the Battle of Fallen Timbers demonstrated how rebellion and territorial issues would be decided.

President John Adams: From Alien and Sedition Acts to XYZ Affair

12. President John Adams: From Alien and Sedition Acts to XYZ Affair

John Adams was an important founder of the United States. In many ways, he was the voice of the Revolution. As president, he had some proud shining moments and one major blight on his legacy.

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