The Battle of Saratoga
British General John Burgoyne attacked southward from Canada along the Hudson Valley in New York, hoping to link up with General Howe in New York City, thereby cutting the colonies in half. Burgoyne was defeated by American General Horatio Gates on October 17, 1777, at the Battle of Saratoga, surrendering the entire British Army of the North
Not a battle, but rather was the site where the Contenintal Army Camped during the winter of 1777-'78, after its defeats at the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown. The Continental Army suffered further casualties at Valley Forge due to cold and disease. Washington chose the site because it allowed him to defend the Continental Congress if necessary, which was then meeting in York, Pennsylvania.
Social Impact of the Revolutionary War
The Rev. War saw the emergence of the first anti-slavery groups, and many of the northern states abolished slavery after the war. Women gained a small status increase for their efforts in the war, but they were primarily valued as mothers of future patriots.
Articles of Confederation (Powers, Weaknesses, Successes)
They delegated most of the powers (the power to tax, to regulate trade, and to draft troops) to the individual states, but left the federal government power over war, foreign policy, and issuing money. The Articles' weakness was that they gave the federal government so little power that it couldn't keep the country united. The Articles' only major success was that they settled western land claims with the Northwest Ordinance. They were abandoned for the Constitution.
The document which established the present federal government of the United States and outlined its powers. It can be changed through amendments.
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
One of the three branches of government, the legislature makes the laws, There are two parts to the legislature: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Combined the Virginia and New Jersey plans to create what is called "The Great Compromise".
Constitution: The Amendment Process
An amendment to the Constitution may be proposed if 2/3 of the members of Congress or 2/3 of state legislatures vote for it. The amendment may then be added to the Constitution by a 3/4 vote of state legislatures, or special state conventions elected for that purpose.
Constitution: Supremacy Clause
Article VI of the Constitution, which declares the Constitution, all federal laws passed pursuant to its provisions, and all federal treaties, to be the "supreme law of the land," which may override any state laws or state constitutional provisions to the contrary.
The Constitution had to be ratified (approved) by at least 9 of the 13 colonies in order to be put into effect.
Constitution: Separation of Power
The powers of the government are decided between three branches: the execute, the legislative, and the judiciary.
Constitution: Checks and Balances
Each of the three branches of government "checks" (i.e. blocks) the power of the other two, so no one branch can become too powerful. The president (executive) can veto laws passed by Congress (legislative), and also chooses the judges in the Supreme Court (judiciary). Congress can overturn a presidential veto if 2/3 of the members vote to do so. The Supreme Court can declare laws passed by Congress and the president unconstitutional, and hence invalid.
New State Constitutions during the Revolutionary War and After
The first set of constitutions drafted by the individual states placed most of the government's power in the legislature, and almost none in the executive in order to promote democracy and avoid tyranny. However, without the strong leadership of the executive, the state legislatures argued among themselves and couldn't get anything done. After the Constitution was written, the states abandoned these old constitutions and wrote new ones that better balanced the power between the legislative and the executive.
1787 - A major success of the Articles of Confederation. Set up the framework of a government for the Northwest territory. The ordinance provide that the Territory would be divided into 3 to 5 states, outlawed slavery in the territory, and set 60,000 as the minimum population for statehood.
Winter of 1786-'87 under the Articles of Confederation. Poor, indebted landowners in Massachusetts blocked access to courts and prevented the government from arresting or repossessing the property in those of debt. The federal government was too weak to help Boston remove the rebels, a sign that the Articles of Confederation weren't working effectively.
Philadelphia Convention for the Constitution (Constitutional Convention)
Beginning on May 25, 1787, the convention recommended by the Annapolis Convention was held in Philadelphia. All of the states except Rhode Island sent delegates, and George Washington served as president of the convention. The convention lasted 16 weeks, and on September 17, 1787, produced the present Constitution of the United States, which was drafted largely by James Madison.
Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws
He believed that the government's power should be divided into separate branches, that the government should be close to the people, and that the laws should reflect the will of the people
The Great Compromise
At the Constitutional Convention, larger states wanted to follow the Virginia Plan, which based each state's representation on state population. Smaller states wanted to follow the New Jersey Plan, which gave every state an equal number of representatives. The convention compromised by creating the House and the Senate, using both of the two separate plans.
Charles Austin Beard wrote in 1913 that the Constitution was written not to ensure a democratic government for the people, but to protect the economic interests of its writers (most of the men at the Constitutional Congress were very rich), and specifically to benefit wealthy financial speculators who had purchased Revolutionary War government bonds through the creation of a strong national government that could insure the bonds repayment. Beard's thesis has met with much criticism.
Designed to pay off the US's war debts and stabilize the economy, he believed that the United States should become a leading international commercial power. His programs included the creation of the National Bank, the establishment of the US's credit rate, increased tariffs, and an excise tax on whiskey. Also, he insisted that that federal government assume debts incurred by the states during the war. Much of this is found in the Federalist Papers.
Implied Powers, Elastic Clause, and Necessary and Proper Clause
Section 8 of Article I contains a long list of powers specifically granted to Congress, and ends with the statement that Congress shall also have the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers." These unspecified powers are known as Congress' "implied" powers. There has long been a debate as to how much power this clause grants to Congress, which is sometimes referred to as the "elastic" clause because it can be "stretched" to include almost any other power that Congress might try to assert.
Loose/Strict interpretation of the Constitution
Loose interpretation allows the government to do anything which the Constitution does not specifically forbid it from doing. Strict interpretation forbids the government from doing anything except what the Constitution specifically empowers it to do.
1794 - Farmers in Pennsylvania rebelled against Hamilton's excise tax on whiskey, and several federal officers were killed in riots caused by their attempts to serve arrest warrants on the offenders. In October, 1794, the army, led by Washington, put down the rebellion. The incident showed that the new government under the Constitution could react swiftly and effectively to such a problem, in contrast to the inability of the government under the Articles of Confederation to deal with Shay's Rebellion.
Alien and Sedition Acts
These consist of four laws passed by the Federalist Congress and signed by President Adams in 1798: The Naturalization Act, the Alien Act, The Alien Enemy Act, and the Sedition Act
Increased the waiting period for an immigrant to become a citizen from 5 to 14 years
Empowered the president to arrest and deport dangerous aliens
Alien Enemy Act
Allowed for the arrest and deportation of citizens of countries at war with the US
Made it illegal to publish defamatory statements about the federal government or its officials
The Second Great Awakening
A series of religious revivals starting in 1801, based on Methodism and Baptism. Stressed a religious philosophy of salvation through good deeds and tolerance for all Protestant sects. The revival attracted women, Blacks, and Native Americans.
The XYZ Affair
1798 - A commission had been sent to France in 1797 to discuss the disputes that had risen out of the US's refusal to honor the French. American Adams sent delegates to meet with the French foreign minister Talleyrand only in exchange for a very large bribe. The Americans did not pay the bribe, and in 1709, Adams made the incident public, substituting the letters "X, Y, and Z" for the names of the three French agents in his report to Congress.
Washington's Farewell Address
He warned against the dangers of political parties and foreign alliances.
1803 - The US purchased the land from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains from Napoleon for $15 million. Jefferson was interested in the territory because it would give the US the Mississippi River and new Orleans (both of which were valuable for trade and shipping) and also room to expand. Napoleon wanted to sell because he needed money for his European campaigns and because rebellion against the French in Haiti had soured him on the idea of New World colonies. The Constitution did not give the federal government the power to buy land, so Jefferson used loose construction to justify the purchase.
1803 - Led a slave rebellion which took control of Haiti, the most important island of France's Caribbean possessions. The rebellion led Napoleon to feel that New World colonies were more trouble than they were worth, and encouraged him to sell Louisiana to the US.
British seamen often deserted to join the American merchant marines. The British would board American vessels in order to retrieve the deserters, and often seized any sailor who could not prove he was an American citizen and not British.
1807 - The American ship Chesapeake refused to allow the British on the Leopard to board to look for deserters. In response, the Leopard fired on the Chesapeake. As a result of the incident, the US expelled all British ships from its waters until Britain issued an apology.
Embargo of 1807
This act issued by Jefferson forbade American trading ships from leaving the US. It was meant to force Britain and France to change their policies toward neutral vessels by depriving them of American trade. It was difficult to enforce because it was opposed by merchants and everyone else whose livelihood depended upon national trade. It also hurt the national economy, so it was replaced by the Non-Intercourse Act.
1809 - Replaced the Embargo of 1807. Unlike the Embargo, which forbade American race with all foreign nations, this act only forbade trade with France and Britain. It did not succeed in changing British or French policy toward neutral ships, so it was replaced by Macon's Bill No. 2.
Western settlers who advocated war with Britain because they hoped to acquire Britain's northwest posts (and also Florida or even Canada) and because they felt the British were aiding the Indians and encouraging them to attack the Americans on the frontier. In Congress, the War Hawks were Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun.
Causes of the War of 1812
British impressment, British seizure of neutral American trading ships, and the reasons given by the War Hawks (British were inciting the Indians on the frontier to attack the Americans, and the war would allow the US to seize the northwest ports, Florida, and possibly Canada).
Results of the War of 1812
Increased nationalism and economic independence. The US's success in the War of 1812 gave Americans a feeling of national pride. The War of 1812 had cut off America's access to British manufactured goods and forced the US to develop the means to produce those goods on their own.
Second Bank of the US
As a Republican, Jefferson opposed the National Bank. The Second Bank of the US was established in 1816 and was given more authority than the First Bank of the US. Bank loans were used to finance the American industrial revolution in the period after the War of 1812.
The Era of Good Feelings
A name for President Monroe's two terms, a period of strong nationalism, economic growth, and territorial expansion. Since the Federalist party dissolved after the War of 1812, there was only one political party and no partisan conflicts.
Chief Justice Marshall
A Federalist whose decisions on the US Supreme Court promoted federal power over state power and established the judiciary as a branch of government equal to the legislative and executive. In Marbury v. Madison, he established the Supreme Court's power of judicial review, which allows the Supreme Court to declare laws unconstitutional.
Admitted Missouri as a slave state at the same time admitted Maine as a free state. Declared that all territory north of 36 30 latitude would become free states, and all territory south of that latitude would become slave states.
The charge made by Jacksonians in 1825 that Clay had supported John Quincy Adams in the House presidential vote in return for the office of Secretary of State. Clay knew he would not win, so he traded his votes for an office.
Age of the Common Man
Jackson's presidency was called the Age of the Common Man. He felt the government should be run by common people - a democracy based on self-sufficient middle class with ideas formed by liberal education and a free press. All white men could now vote, and the increased voting rights allowed Jackson to be elected.
Maysville Road Veto
1830 - The Maysville Road Bill proposed building a road in Kentucky (Clay's state) at federal expense. Jackson vetoed it because he didn't like Clay, and Martin Van Buren pointed out that New York and Pennsylvania paid for their transportation improvements with state money. Applied strict interpretation of the Constitution by saying that the federal government could not pay for internal improvements.
Tariff of Abominations
The North wanted tariffs that protected new industries, but the agricultural Southern states depended on cheap imports of manufactured goods and only wanted the tariffs for revenue. The South strongly opposed protective tariffs like the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832, and protested by asserting that enforcement of the tariffs could be prohibited by individual states, and by refusing to collect tariff duties.
When faced with the protective Tariff of 1828, John Calhoun presented a theory in the South Carolina Exposition and Protest (1828) that federal tariffs could be declared null and void by individual states and that they could refuse to in force them. South Carolina called a convention in 1832, after the revised Tariff of 1828 became the Tariff of 1832, and passed an ordinance forbidding collection of tariff duties in the state. This was protested by Jackson.
1863 - The Specie Circular, issued by President Jackson in 1863, was meant to stop land speculation caused by states printing money without proper specie (gold or silver) backing it. The Circular required that the purchase of public lands be paid for in specie. It stopped the land speculation and the sale of public lands went down sharply. The panic of 1837 followed.
A philosophy pioneered by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 1830's and '40's in which each person has direct communication with God and Nature, and there is no need for organized churches. It incorporated ideas that the mind goes beyond matter, intuition is valuable, that each soul is part of the Great Spirit, and each person is part of a reality where only the invisible is truly real. Promoted individualism, self-reliance, and freedom from social constraints, and emphasized emotions.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Leaves of Grass (1855) was his first volume of poetry. He broke away from the traditional forms and content of New England poetry by describing the life of working Americans and using words like "I recon", "duds", and "folks". He loved people and expressed the new democracy of a nation finding itself. He had radical ideas and abolitionist views. Leaves of Grass was considered immoral. Patriotic.
Merman Melville, Moby Dick
Wrote Moby Dick (1851) about Captain Ahab, who seeks revenge on the white whale that crippled him but ends up losing his life, his ship, and his crew. Wasn't popular at the time but now is highly regarded. Melville rejected the optimism of the transcendentalists and felt that man faced a tragic destiny.
Hudson River School of Art
In about 1825, a group of American painters, led by Thomas Cole, used their talents to do landscapes, which were not highly regarded. They painted many scenes of New York's Hudson River. Mystical overtones.
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
De Tocqueville came from France to America in 1831. He observed democracy in government and society. His book (written in two parts in 1835 and 1840) discusses the advantages of democracy and consequences of the majority's unlimited power. Was the first to raise topics of American practicality over theory, the industrial aristocracy, and the conflict between the masses and individuals.
An experiment in Utopian socialism, it lasted for six years (1841-1847) in New Roxbury, Massachusetts.
1848 - Site of the first modern women's rights convention. At the gathering, Elizabeth Cady Staton read a Declaration of Sentiment listing the many discriminations against women, and adopted eleven resolutions, one of which called for women's suffrage.