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Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
Constitution1
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Constitution1

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  • 1. The Constitution: Historical Context Andrew Martin University of Kentucky
  • 2.  
  • 3. Life in England
    • Economic Conditions
      • Inequality throughout society – many poor farmers
      • Little land, overcrowding
      • Colonization thought to be good way to invest wealth, extract resources for Britain
      • Good for exporting unwanted groups (e.g. criminals, the poor, religious minorities)
  • 4. Life in England
    • Political conditions
      • Sectarian religious violence and upheaval plagued England
      • Fighting between established Anglican church and Puritans
      • Crown/parliament repressed dissent
  • 5. Incentives to Immigrate
    • 1. Economic
      • Gold, silver, other natural resources could be extracted for profit
      • Land – either self-sufficiency or exporting crops
    • 2. Religious
      • Freedom to worship
      • Establish a “city on a hill”
    • 3. Political
      • self-determination
      • self-reliance
  • 6. Governance in New England
    • Most colonies were established through royal charter.
      • Royal governors were appointed and responsible only to the crown.
      • Every colony had an elected assembly.
      • Assemblies had little legal force but were useful to royal governors.
      • Governors wanted good advice, esteem of citizens.
  • 7. Governance in New England
    • Eventually the arrangement became trouble:
      • Supporters of the crown in the colonies tended to be the wealthy and elite, as in Great Britain.
      • Many received special land grants and privileges not open to ordinary citizens.
      • Colonists became increasingly suspicious of power.
      • Colonists could easily avoid royal/colonial control because they could move around freely.
  • 8.  
  • 9. French and Indian War (1754-1763)
    • Britain incurred large war debts
    • English citizens unhappy about taxes; Parliament needed to generate revenue
    • Parliament decided to generate revenue by taxing American colonies
      • Taxed other colonies
      • Break from earlier policy of lower taxation
      • Break from policy of “salutary neglect,” or loose enforcement of trade laws in colonies.
  • 10. French and Indian War (1754-1763)
    • Colonial Taxation:
    • Sugar Act (1774) – Tariffs imposed on molasses and rum, increased customs enforcement
    • Stamp Act (1765) – Direct tax on pamphlets, newspapers, playing cards, dice, marriage licenses, legal documents
  • 11. French and Indian War (1754-1763)
    • Colonial Taxation:
    • Townsend Acts (1767) – Tariffs imposed on lead, paper, paint, glass, and tea
    • Tea Act (1773) – Exempted East India Company from tariffs on tea.
    • Duties on imports and direct taxes hurt both merchants and colonial consumers.
    • Royal Proclamation of 1763: King George also prohibited colonists from moving west of the Appalachian mountains.
  • 12.  
  • 13. Tea Party fallout
    • In 1774, Britain responds by passing harsher laws known as the Coercive Acts, or Intolerable Acts.
      • Closed Boston Harbor
  • 14.  
  • 15. Tea Party fallout
    • In 1774, Britain responds by passing harsher laws known as the Coercive Acts, or Intolerable Acts.
      • Closed Boston Harbor
      • British officers who were arrested stood trial in England instead of in colonial courts.
      • Quartering Act – obligated citizens to house British troops.
      • Quebec Act – Strengthened British-controlled central government in Canada.
  • 16.  
  • 17. First Continental Congress (1774)
    • Formed in response to Coercive Acts.
    • FCC calls for boycott of British goods.
    • But delegates still hope for a peaceful reconciliation with Great Britain.
  • 18. First Continental Congress (1774)
    • Formed in response to Coercive Acts.
    • FCC calls for boycott of British goods.
    • But delegates still hope for a peaceful reconciliation with Great Britain.
  • 19. Lexington and Concord (1775)
    • Mass. Gov. Thomas Gage orders troops to seize growing militia weapons arsenal in Concord.
    • Patriots fired on Redcoats before they reach Concord.
    • Redcoats have to retreat.
      • 95 colonists dead
      • 270 British soldiers dead
  • 20.  
  • 21. Declaration of Independence (1776)
    • Written by Thomas Jefferson, landmark document provides rationale for both self- government and revolution.
    • Lays out tenets of democratic government
      • All people have natural rights.
      • These natural rights come from the creator, and cannot be given or taken away by government.
      • Social Contract Theory
      • Popular sovereignty
      • Revolution is justified when government is tyrannical.
  • 22.  
  • 23. Origins of Jefferson's ideas
    • John Locke (1632-1704)
    • Second Treatise on Government
      • State of nature (the time before government or laws)
      • Complete, unrestricted freedom
      • In such a state, no rights are safe (Hobbes)
      • Therefore, governments were formed to protect natural rights
  • 24. Declaration of Independence (1776)
    • The rest of the document formally lays out grievances with King George III and the British government. Some highlights:
      • No form of representation for colonists
      • Dissolving legislative bodies and making governance difficult for them.
      • Refusal to approve important public law.
      • Lack of an independent judiciary.
      • Using a standing army for intimidation and control.
      • Forced quartering of troops.
      • Lack of government, military accountability.
  • 25.  
  • 26. The Revolutionary War
    • Fought from 1775-1783.
    • The colonists won the war because:
      • Leadership of Gen. George Washington, whose Continental Army won enough high-profile battles to convince his soldiers, other foreign powers the war could be won.
      • Writings and ideas of revolutionary era thinkers (e.g. Thomas Paine).
        • Common Sense
        • “ Crisis” papers
      • Assistance from France.
  • 27. Articles of Confederation (1781)
    • Devised during the first year of the war and but not put into effect in 1781.
    • Written when suspicion of governmental power was at its peak.
    • Authors wanted to create a loose federation of states while retaining state-level autonomy.
  • 28. Articles of Confederation (1781)
    • Provisions included:
    • Unicameral Legislature
    • Each state has one vote in legislature.
    • Delegates are appointed and paid by state legislatures.
    • No official head of the executive department.
    • Congress was given nominal power but in reality was very weak.
  • 29. Articles of Confederation (1781)
    • Had many limitations. Congress could not:
    • Levy taxes. Congress had to request money from states.
    • Regulate commerce.
    • Conduct national, consensus foreign policy.
    • Establish a national commerce system.
    • Force state compliance with federal laws.
    • Establish a draft.
    • Collect money from states for services performed.
  • 30. Articles of Confederation (1781)
    • Ultimately failed because:
    • No way to finance operation of government.
    • No commercial regulation.
    • No ability to establish unified foreign policy.
    • Too difficult to amend.
      • Required unanimous consent to amend document.
    • Did not establish leadership or government accountability.
  • 31. Shays Rebellion (1786)
    • Colonists hit hard by postwar depression.
    • Imported food flooded market and depressed crop prices.
    • Farmers could not pay debts. Banks began foreclosing on land/assets.
    • Massachusetts state legislature did nothing to ease plight of farmers.
  • 32.  
  • 33. Shays Rebellion (1786)
    • Farmer and Patriot militia Capt. Danial Shays led 2,500 farmers in uprising against Massachusetts state legislature.
    • Massachusetts appealed to federal government for help, but none was available.
    • Rebels captured and sentenced to death, but later all were pardoned.

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