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Shay's Rebellion

During the 1780s, many Americans were poor, yet they had to pay high state taxes. People often had to borrow money and go into debt. When they could not repay their debts, state courts took away their farms or sent the people to prison.
In the summer of 1786, poor farmers in Massachusetts protested by refusing to let the courts meet. Armed with pitchforks and guns, they shut down the courthouse and destroyed debt records.
In January 1787, a mob of farmers led by Daniel Shays tried to take over a Massachusetts arsenal, or weapons storehouse.


An agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles.

3/5 Compromise

The delegates finally agreed to count three-fifths of the total number of slaves in each state towards the number of representatives. After this issue was dealt with, some delegates still spoke out against slavery.

Indentured Servant

A worker, typically a laborer or tradesman, under contract to an employer for a fixed period of time, typically three to seven years, in exchange for their transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities.

Preamble to the Constitution

A brief introductory statement of the Constitution's fundamental purposes and guiding principles.

Legislative Branch of Government

The branch of government that makes the laws. Congress.

Executive Branch of Government

The branch of government that has the power to enforce the laws. President.

Judicial Branch of Government

The court system, which is the branch of government that decides whether laws are working fairly. The Court Systems.

Federal Government

A government with strong central powers

Bill of Rights

Ten amendments were added to the Constitution to protect the rights of the people. These amendments became part of the Constitution in 1791.

First Amendment

Gives people freedom of religion or none at all. It says that the government cannot support any religion. It also protects freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to petition the government, and the right to assemble, or gather together.

Second Amendment

Protects people's right to have weapons.

Third Amendment

Says the government cannot make people house soldiers in peacetime.

Fourth Amendment

protects people against unfair searches.

Fifth through Eighth Amendments

Deal with due process of law. This means that people have the right to a fair trial. They have the right to a lawyer and do not have to speak against themselves.

Ninth Amendment

People have other rights not listed in the Constitution.

Tenth Amendment

The government can only do the things listed in the Constitution. This means that all other authority, called the reserved powers ,belongs to the states or to the people.


To approve.

Population Density

The average number of people living in a certain area, usually one square mile or one square kilometer.

Checks and Balances

A system that keeps each branch of government from becoming too powerful or misusing its authority.

Manifest Destiny

The idea that the U.S was meant to stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Oregon Trail

Began in Missouri, at Independence. Most pioneers traveled in covered wagons.

Hardships of the Oregon Trail

1. Drowning
2. Supplies Lost
3. Native Americans


A person who belongs to the Christian religious groups.

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