(1787) Document which established the organization, function and
powers of the government and is considered the "Supreme Law of the Land."
It followed the Articles of Confederation and was drafted at the Constitutional
Convention in 1787. The government created reflected the influence of British,
Roman, Greek, and colonial state governments, as well as many ideas from the
Clause of the Constitution which stated that the laws made in
pursuance of the Constitution under the authority of the United States shall
preside over others and shall be the supreme law of the US as stated in Article
VI of the Constitution.
Checks and Balances
limits the powers of each of the 3 branches, the Executive,
Judicial, and Legislative so one will not become too powerful. This is important
because the Americans wanted to prevent the absolute rule of a king. This
principle is based on Montesquieu's Enlightenment ideas.
Separation of Powers
basic principle of the Constitution that divides the
government into three branches; the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Each
branch holds certain responsibilities and checks the powers of the other branches;
works in conjunction with Montesqueiu's ideas on separation of powers.
Land Ordinance of 1787
passed under the Articles of Confederation, this law set up
a government in the region north of the Ohio River. If a territory reached a
population of 60,000 or more they could apply for statehood. It prohibited
enslavement of anyone born into the territory. This was the most significant
accomplishment of the Articles of Confederation and was carried over into the
drafting of the Constitution.
(1787) created the Northwest Territory, enabling the US to
expand to the Great Lakes area. The states created included Illinois, Indiana,
Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Another success of the Articles of
Confederation because it further defined the steps required for admission of a state
into the Union.
(1786) An armed revolt in Massachusetts, led by Daniel Shays and
fellow farmers in protest against economic policies and foreclosures of farms for
failure to pay taxes passed by the Massachusetts state government. Contributed to
the fall of the Articles of Confederation because the event highlighted the
weaknesses of the central government.
(1786) convention called to discuss a uniform regulation of
commerce, it served as a precursor to the Constitutional Convention in
Philadelphia in 1787. The main achievement was the decision to summon a new
meeting for the purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation to make the
Union more powerful, as highlighted by the events in Shays' Rebellion.
an assembly of 55 delegates from every state but Rhode
Island, which met in Philadelphia in 1787 initally to amend the Articles of
Confederation, but instead they developed a new system of government.. On
August 6, 1787, Congress accepted the first draft of the Constitution. It is
significant to American History because it would develop a successful system of
government, which is still in effect today.
A compromise made at the Constitutional Convention, which
combined the New Jersey Plan and the Virginia Plan. It allowed for a bicameral
legislature, which contained the House of Representatives and the Senate. The
House of Representatives bases representation on a states population as totaled in
the census, and in the Senate each state gets equal representation( 2 per state).
Contained a series of compromises between the North
and the South at the Constitutional Convention. It was necessary due to the
differences in the northern manufacturing states and the southern agricultural states.
It contained the 3/5 Compromise, allowing 3 of every 5 slaves to count towards a
state's population total for representation in the House and for taxation totals. The
Commerce Compromise allowed a tax on imports, not exports, while agreeing to
stop the slave trade in 1808,and it also required states to return runaway slaves.
Those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution. They
supported a Bill of Rights and argued that the proposed Constitution gave excessive
power to the federal government. It was led by George Clinton, George Mason,
Patrick Henry, Elbridge Gerry.
Those who supported the ratification of the Constitution. They believed
in a strong central government, public credit, the promotion of commerce and
industry. Members of this faction drafted the Federalist Papers to promote the
reasons why the Constitution should be ratified. They were led by Hamilton,
Madison, and Jay.
The branch of government containing to the courts. It has the authority to
interpret and apply the law. It is also responsible for protecting individuals against arbitrary acts of either the Legislative or Executive branches of government, as well
as having the power of judicial review.
Judiciary Act of 1789
The establishment of the first federal court system by
Congress. It stated that the Judicial branch should be composed of one Supreme
Court and many inferior courts such as district and circuit courts. It established
that there will be six members of the Supreme Court, there will be thirteen
district courts, the Supreme Court can settle disputes between states, and the idea
that a decision by the Supreme Court is final. This was the first law declared
unconstitutional in the case of Marbury v. Madison.
Secreatry of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton created a plan
for the U.S. economy . Some of his beliefs were that the U.S. government
should encourage manufacturing, assume responsibility for the country's debts,
standardize and control the currency system through a national bank, and,
maintain friendly ties with Britain in order to keep peace. Disputes over the
constitutionality of part of the program led to the formation of the first political
parties in the United States.
Tariff of 1789
- A tariff designed to raise revenues for the new United States
government by placing a tariff on the importation of foreign goods and
encouraging domestic production in such industries as glass and pottery by
taxing the importation of those products from foreign sources.
An internal tax meant specifically for transactions within the United
States. Federal excises in the U.S. are levied primarily on alcoholic beverages,
tobacco, and motor fuel. It raised revenue for the United States government.
This tax, which was part of Hamilton's financial plan, sparked the Whiskey
Article I, Section VIII of the Constitution. It states that Congress
shall have the power to make laws that are "necessary and proper". It created
much debate and is the basis for much of the loose constructionist's ideology
utilized in the creation of the National Bank and the Louisiana Purchase.
The idea that a flexible view of the power of the Constitution
should be held. Federalists, such as Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, held
this idea. They believed that a rigid interpretation that prevents the natural
growth of the democratic institutions. Alexander Hamilton used this idea to
establish a National Bank.
The idea that that the federal government has no rights or
powers not expressly written in the Constitution. This idea was mainly held by
Democratic-Republicans such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. They
used this belief to argue the unconstitutionality of creations such as Alexander
Hamilton's National Bank.
A rebellion in 1794 by the people of western Pennsylvania in
reaction to the Excise Tax on distilled liquors passed in 1791. Farmers
considered the tax to be a burden and in violation of their rights. President
George Washington called in the militia to end the rebellion. This event flaunted
the power of the federal government and proved that a rebellion about taxation
will not be tolerated and that the Executive branch had the power to enforce
One of the first two political parties in American history, it formed
opposite the Democratic - Republican Party. The party dominated the federal
government until its defeat in the presidential election of 1800. The support of
this party came from the commercial northeast and they advocated for a strong
central government where most power assigned to the federal government,
supported manufacturing and loose interpretation of the Constitution.
One of the first two political parties in American history,
it formed opposite the Federalists. They advocated for an agrarian society, a
weak national government, with most power assigned to the states, and strict
interpretation of the Constitution.
Alien and Sedition Acts
In 1798 when the relations between the United States and
the French were tentative, the Federalist Party secured passage of acts in
Congress directed against subversive activities of foreigners in the United States
(Alien Act). This legislation brought out controversial restrictions on freedom of
speech and of the press because of the attempts to silence critics of the
government (Sedition Act).
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
In 1798 legislatures of Kentucky and Virginia
adopted resolutions opposing the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Democratic-
Republicans viewed these acts as a denial of individual liberty. Thomas
Jefferson drafted the resolutions adopted in Kentucky, and James Madison had
authored the set adopted in Virginia. Together these resolutions announce the
Doctrine of Nullification.
Doctrine of Nullification
A doctrine expounded by the advocates of extreme
states' rights in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.. It held that states have
the right to declare null and void any federal law that they deem unconstitutional.
The doctrine was based on the theory that the Union is a voluntary compact of
states and that the federal government has no right to exercise powers not
specifically assigned to it by the U.S. Constitution.