Ch 13: U.S. History to 1800

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons, and learn about civilizations, events and major figures in the U.S prior to 1800. These lessons are just a portion of what's available through our courses on U.S. history.

U.S. History to 1800 - Chapter Summary

Our video lessons take you back to some of the historical events that took place in the U.S. before 1800. You'll see what the U.S. was like before colonization, when Native Americans were the primary residents of North America. You'll learn about the settling of Jamestown and the 13 colonies, then study the American Revolution, the Constitution and the first president of the United States. As you progress through this chapter, professional instructors will discuss political parties common to this time period and what role the U.S. took in the French Revolution. Other topics covered in this chapter include the following:

  • Rise of the slave trade: black history in colonial America
  • The French and Indian War: causes, effects and summary
  • The Boston Massacre: colonists and the Declaratory and Townshend acts
  • The Boston Tea Party, intolerable acts and the First Continental Congress
  • The Declaration of Independence: text, signers and legacy
  • The Articles of Confederation and the Northwest Ordinance
  • Hamilton and the Federalists vs. Jefferson and the Republicans

The brief video lessons in this U.S. history chapter are easy to follow, and each video is tagged so you can quickly jump to the main points. Additionally, each lesson is accompanied by a written transcript, many of which link to other articles where you can study more in-depth. The lessons also feature short, multiple-choice quizzes so you can test your knowledge of the presented materials.

18 Lessons in Chapter 13: U.S. History to 1800
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Native American History: Origins of Early People in the Americas

1. Native American History: Origins of Early People in the Americas

Because the first humans and civilizations got their start in Africa and the Middle East, historians and anthropologists have had to figure out how Native Americans got to the Americas. In this lesson we look at the three prevailing theories of the earliest migration to the New World.

Pre-Columbian Civilization: North American Indians Before Europeans

2. Pre-Columbian Civilization: North American Indians Before Europeans

Watch this video for an overview of the cultural groups of Native Americans as they lived at the time of first contact with Europeans. Some of these groupings, like the tribes of the plains, changed so much due to the addition of European influences, such as horses, that there is only conjecture as to how exactly they lived before European contact.

The Settlement of Jamestown Colony

3. The Settlement of Jamestown Colony

In 1607, the London Company settled the colony of Jamestown. The settlers overcame many odds to become the first permanent, English settlement in North America. In this lesson, learn about the failures and successes of Jamestown before it was taken over by the Crown.

Rise of Slave Trade: Black History in Colonial America

4. Rise of Slave Trade: Black History in Colonial America

In this lesson, you'll learn a little about the slave trade, the growth and characteristics of slavery in the colonial period - including laws regulating the institution and the population of free blacks in the English colonies.

The 13 Colonies: Life in Early America

5. The 13 Colonies: Life in Early America

What was it like to live in America during the colonial period? Just like today, it depended where you were. Learn about the factors that categorized all of the American colonies, as well as the differences between the northern, middle and southern colonies.

The 13 Colonies: Developing Economy & Overseas Trade

6. The 13 Colonies: Developing Economy & Overseas Trade

England's intention had always been for the colonies to make them rich. The plan worked, but it became more difficult for England to make sure things stayed that way. And even with regulation, the colonies prospered, too.

The French and Indian War: Causes, Effects & Summary

7. The French and Indian War: Causes, Effects & Summary

In the mid-1700s, the Seven Years' War involved all of the world's major colonial powers on five continents. The biggest fight was between France and Great Britain, and the victor would come away with control of North America.

Boston Massacre: Colonists and the Declaratory and Townshend Acts

8. Boston Massacre: Colonists and the Declaratory and Townshend Acts

After overturning the hated Stamp Act, Parliament asserted its right to tax the colonists without representation by passing the Declaratory Act. When the Townshend Acts imposed import duties, the colonists went into action again. An escalating cycle of violence ended with the Boston Massacre, resulting in the cancellation of all duties except the one on tea.

The Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts & First Continental Congress

9. The Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts & First Continental Congress

Three years of calm followed the Boston Massacre and the repeal of most Townshend duties. But no sooner had Parliament passed a new tax on tea than the colonies were in an uproar again about taxation without representation. What followed were the Boston Tea Party and the fateful last steps leading to war.

Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill: The American Revolution Begins

10. Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill: The American Revolution Begins

Following the Boston Tea Party, Massachusetts was placed under the command of the British army. Rumors of a rebellion led to an attempted raid on the militia's arsenal. The events that followed at Lexington and Concord touched off the American Revolution.

The Declaration of Independence: Text, Signers and Legacy

11. The Declaration of Independence: Text, Signers and Legacy

After 12 years of tension and fighting, the colonists and their leaders were ready to declare themselves a new country, independent of Great Britain. This lesson examines the motives, the text, and the legacy of America's Declaration of Independence.

American Revolution: Social and Economic Impact

12. American Revolution: Social and Economic Impact

Learn about the impact of the Revolutionary War throughout the world, especially on various segments of American society. We'll look at political, social, and economic impacts.

The Articles of Confederation and the Northwest Ordinance

13. 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.

The Constitutional Convention: The Great Compromise

14. 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

15. 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.

George Washington and the New United States Government

16. 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

17. 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

18. 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.

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