2nd Continental Congress appointed 5 people to prepare document
(Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert
Livingston & Thomas Jefferson)
Why write the declaration at all?
1) Justify actions
2) Convince colonists to fight
People have a right to end a government and replace it.
"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and the nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinion of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation."
Necessary (needed, essential)
Laws of Nature (universal principles not human-made)
Entitle (legal or just claim)
Impel (force or urge)
"We hold these truth to be self-evident: That all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"
Self-evident (plainly obvious)
Unalienable (unable to be taken away)
Rights (moral or legal entitlement)
***The sharp criticism of slavery, with its implied ending, was edited out of the final copy (it was in original and revised draft, but not final...).
Took it out because it wouldn't have been approved by Southern States, who were profiting by slavery, so they caved
The meaning of a debated period.
The period creates the impression self-evident truths ends with the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Without it, what comes next is just as important "-That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,-"
The value of individual rights would be equal to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights.
Here's another thought:
Americans like to think the revolution was fought to win political rights & personal liberties from a tyrannical British government.
But, colonists were not that oppressed.
Americans eligible to vote: 20%
In England: 4&
Before 1776, American men had more political representation than men in England.
Before 1776, no professional police force, no prison systems & comparatively few British soldiers stationed in the colonies.
Point #2: England didn't have a forceful hold colonists
Few schools, no labor unions, no fire departments & no other government agencies to offer protection & services
Point #3: To have social order, politicians had to pay some attention to some general public sentiments.
Some More evidence:
177os: More newspapers & literate colonists than in England.
Prior to 1776, the British did not suppress the free press or the assembly of people, even when they protested.
Ex. Thomas Paine was not arrested for Common Sense ('76) but British soldiers were put on trial for the "Bloody Massacre"('70)
Point #4: Colonists had freedom of speech under British rule.
After 170 years, the colonies had matured & were different from England.
There were serious issues & divisions between 1763 - 1776 and these did eventually trigger a war for independence.
But it might be more accurate to say it was the American Evolution, not revolution.
Precedents for the Presidency
•Neutrality in Foreign Affairs
•2nd term Presidency
•Use of Force to Enforce the Law (Whiskey Rebellion)
•Forming a Cabinet to Offer Advice
•Title of Executive: The President
Created Federal Court System
Organized the Supreme Court
Federal District and Circuit Courts
Established Attorney General position
1st Inaugural Speech
1st Veto of legislation
1st State of the Union Address
Retired from Office after two terms—he considered it his patriotic duty to pass on the office to another while he was still alive
Saw himself as non-partisan and apart from daily political events
The Supreme Court would have a Chief Justice and 5 associate justices. (today 9 total)
Washington appoints John Jay as Chief Justice
➢Federal Judiciary Act of 1789
Created an independent federal court system with the Supreme Court and lower level courts
-Henry Knox (secretary of war)
-Thomas Jefferson (Secretary of State)
-Edmond Randolph (Attorney General)
-Alexander Hamilton (Secretary of the Treasury)
Cabinets are not mandated by the Constitution or federal law
Today, there are 16 positions in the Cabinet
Washington picked his men from different regions of the country
Knox was followed by: Timothy Pickering, James McHenry
Hamilton was followed by: Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
Jefferson was followed by: Edmund Randolph, Timothy Pickering
Randolph was followed by: William Bradford, Charles Lee
Vice President John Adams didn't attend cabinet meetings.
In fact, Adams found his role as vice president to be so tedious that he referred to it as "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived."
The French Revolution (1789-1793) French monarchy is overthrown with the execution of King Louis XVI
Neutrality - the U.S. would not side with any European country in wartime.
best remembered for its warning against "foreign entanglements"
The Whiskey Rebellion (1794) PA farmers refused to pay the tax until the American army enforces it. This upholds the power of the new federal government.
Battle of Fallen Timbers (1794) the American army defeats a confederation of Indians over tension in the Northwest Territory
• Treaty of Greenville (1795) 12 tribes cede much of present-day Ohio and Indiana to the U.S. government
Pinckneys Treaty (1795)
Spain gives the Americans the right to freely travel on the Mississippi River and use the port of New Orleans
Washington never lived in Washington
-By 1789 the US had a huge national debt of $52 million
-the US must pay back debt to gain the respect of other countries
-Alexander Hamilton's financial plan shows his belief in:
-strong central government
-government encouraging business, industry
-pay debt to nations wealthy, gain their support for government
2. Raise government revenues
-impose tariffs (tax) on imports
-raises money for US government
-Encourage growth of US industry
-Encourage people to buy American goods
3. Create a national bank
-safe for government investments
-bank makes loans to businesses
-bank issue money
-Thomas Jefferson and James Madison argued that the National Bank was unconstitutional
-They claimed the Constitution does not allow for a national bank
-Alexander Hamilton had a more flexible interpretation of the Constitution
-Hamilton claims the elastic clause in the constitution, "necessary and proper", gave Congress the power
-Hamilton persuades Washington to approve the National Bank 1791
-because the Articles of Confederation failed
Under Constitution: Powers Delegated to Congress
Declare war: Exclusive authority
Tax collection: Can collect taxes for three purposes: pay debts, provide
defense, provide for the common welfare
Borrow money: Can borrow on the credit of the United States
Trade authority: Can regulate interstate trade
Make money: Exclusive authority to coin/print money
(also authorized to prosecute counterfeiters)
Weights & Measures: Adopts English system (foot-pound-mile)
Postal Service: Establish mail delivery
Patents (20 years) & Copyrights (lifetime): Can protect inventions &
Military controls: Sets the rules & funding of all branches of the military
Elastic and Necessity & Proper Clauses: Can expand the powers of
Congress as it deems fit
Division of the Constitution:
1) Articles-major divisions
2) Sections-divisions of an article
3) Clauses-divisions of a section
Freedom of Religion, Speech and the Press;
Right of Assembly and Petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Right to Bear Arms
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Housing of Soldiers
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Search and Arrest Warrants
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Rights in Criminal Cases
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
1st Amendment allows citizens to express and to be exposed to a wide range of opinions and views even if the ideas are unpopular.
2nd Amendment concerns whether the right to use and buy guns belongs to individuals or only to a militia. Courts generally have held that the right applies to individuals, but they have permitted the government to limit some rights of gun manufacturers, owners and sellers.
3rd Amendment protect citizens' rights to the ownership and use of their property without intrusion by the government, except possibly during war.
4th Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures by government officials. A search can mean everything from a frisking by a police officer to a blood test to a search of an individual's home or car.
5th Amendment is rooted in English common law. It requires that serious federal criminal charges be started by a grand jury who can charge anyone--except members of the military--to provide a fair method for beginning criminal proceedings against those accused.
Right to a Fair Trial
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Rights in Civil Cases
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.
Bails, Fines and Punishments
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Rights Retained by the People
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Powers Retained by the States and the People
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Obstacles to Nationalism: 1790s
• Local Interests (provincialism)
• 1790 Census:
• 3.9 million
• 95% rural
• Varying interests
• States Rights
• Weak, new, "distant" Federal Government
• Slow communication/transportation
• Example: 1790
By horse, it took 4 to 6 days
to travel 220 miles between
Boston - New York.
• Feuds, Violent Political Fights
o Shay's Rebellion, (Massachusetts) 1786-87
Americans fighting Americans over taxes, debt, & economy
(encouraged end to Articles of Confederation)
Note: Daniel Shay fought for the American Revolution
Whiskey Rebellion, Pennsylvania, 1791-94
Americans fighting Americans over a whiskey tax (about 10 cents a gallon)
Note: Washington became the only U.S. president to personally lead troops while in office
Roger Griswold (federalist) fighting Matthew Lyons (anti-federalist) on floor of House Representatives, 1798
Aaron Burr, sitting Vice-President, shoots & kills Alexander Hamilton, former Secretary of Treasury in 1804 over political rivalries.
• No national History
Congress, 66 members
Senate, 26 members
The constitution doesn't include the word "nation"
Ways to Create Nationalism
• Symbols, slogans, songs, rituals
• Improved Transportation/Communication
• Asserting Federal Authority through CourtsMarbury v. Madison (1803) (right to have judicial review) established the Supreme Court as the ultimate arbiter (authority) of federal law.
Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816) rejected the notion state courts and federal courts had separate and independent domains of power (asserted the primacy of federal courts)
• "Americanizing" society (own History [national
memory], Language, Culture, Customs)
Treaty of Paris 1783
Memory of the Revolution: Washington crossing Delaware River, 1776
Moore House where surrender papers were signed
National Park Service restored the house & has operated it since 1934
Only known document to have signatures of the first four presidents:
• Actual Economic & Military Success
• Physical Expansion (as goal & reality) into the western frontier
Western frontier almost entirely unknown to Americans in 1790. Not a single American had seen much into it.
Within 60 years of Washington taking office, the U.S. had quadrupled in size & controlled a vast portion of North America from sea-to-sea.
How did that happen?
And what did it do to Americans?
• Great physical expansion
-Napoleon Bonaparte, leads France, 1799-1815
-crowns himself emperor of France
-wants to control as much of Europe as he could, short time he had large pieces of it, eventually had everyone against him
-poisoned with arsenic
-more interested in Europe than America
$12,000,000 paid by US for 800,000 square miles (512 million acres) = 2.3 cents per 1 acre
Eventually becomes all or part of 16 states
• Large increases in population
• Intensive Indian Removal (esp. after 1825)
• Geographic expansion of slavery
• Rapid use of natural resources
How did (do) Americans see "The West?"
-distinctive geographic qualities: rockies, mount whitney
-vast expanses, didn't see in the east
-artists came out and painted the West
-some saw the west as an Eden, others say it as natural beauty, some saw it as resources, spiritual renewal
-largest trees, tallest trees (Redwoods), oldest trees (4800 years old)
-what to do with trees? Build houses or leave along?