About This Chapter
The Making of a New Nation
After the Revolutionary War, it was time to start building a new independent nation. In these lessons, you'll learn how the political foundation of the United States was put in place. Through studying different historical events, you'll see everything our country went through between gaining its independence in 1776 and the turn of the century in 1800.
After the war, state constitutions were created. In these lessons, you'll learn the process and precedents involved in creating those constitutions. The lessons will also cover the similarities and differences between constitutions. And the end of the war not only meant constitutions for each state, but also for the country as a whole. See how the country was ruled under the Articles of Confederation and the effects that produced, such as the Northwest Ordinance.
You'll go on to discover the problems with the Articles of Confederation, including limitations of the government it established. You'll also see the issues that came up as a result, like an economic crisis and Shay's Rebellion. The lessons will begin to cover the U.S. Constitution and how it was created. Discover the issues held by those sitting in at the Constitutional Convention, and see how compromises were made to come to the final draft.
When the Constitution was finally written, it was time to ratify it and put in place the new U.S. government. Lessons will take a look at the arguments for and against this new government and show the beginning of political parties.
You'll then dig into the actual Constitution. Take a look at the way it's structured and absorb its contents, including the amendments, in the video lessons. You'll get to engage in an in-depth study of the Bill of Rights, learning about its context and content.
Now that the Constitution had been put into place and the new government was in power, the country was ready for a leader. Learn more about George Washington and how he got the government up and running. Find out more about some of the early issues in the country, including Alexander Hamilton's economic plan, Thomas Jefferson's objections to it, and the development of the Federalists and Republicans.
Internal conflicts threatened the stability of the political system, as you will learn. Issues like the French Revolution and frontier problems like the Whiskey Rebellion and the Battle of Fallen Timbers are explained in the video lessons. Treaties, including the Jay Treaty and the Treaty of San Lorenzo, were there to help smooth things over, which you'll also learn about.
Finally, the lessons will wrap up with President John Adams. Learn about his accomplishments and the issues he faced. Also see key points of his presidency, such as the XYZ Affair, the Alien and Sedition Acts and the midnight appointments. Thanks for watching!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
6. Primary Source: Excerpt from Federalist Paper #10
Some of the most important philosophical ideas that influenced the development of American government came from the Federalist Papers, written by Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. Learn the context and significance of Federalist Paper #10, then read an excerpt of it.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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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Other chapters within the History 103: US History I course
- First Contacts (28,000 BCE-1821 CE)
- Settling North America (1497-1732)
- The Road to Revolution (1700-1774)
- The American Revolution (1775-1783)
- The Virginia Dynasty (1801-1825)
- Jacksonian Democracy (1825 -- 1850)
- Life in Antebellum America (1807-1861)
- Manifest Destiny (1806-1855)
- Sectional Crisis (1850-1861)
- American Civil War (1861-1865)
- Reconstruction (1865-1877)
- Studying for History 103