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Articles of Confederation

The nation's first constitution.

John Adams

Sent by Congress to Britain to discuss trade policy.

Shay's Rebellion

Rebellion by Massachusetts farmers against the government.

James Madison

A Virginia planter who later became the fourth president of the United States.

Alexander Hamilton

A New York lawyer and strong federalist. He was later Washington's Secretary of the Treasury.

Virginia Plan

Called for a two-house legislature, a chief executive chosen by the legislature, and a court system.

New Jersey Plan

Called for a one-house legislature and a weak executive branch.

Great Compromise

Agreement to establish three separate branches of government and a two-house legislature.

Three-Fifths Compromise

An agreement to count each enslaved person as three-fifths of a free person for taxation and representation.

John Locke

An English philosopher who believed that all people have natural rights.

Baron de Montesquieu

French writer who declared that the powers of government should be separated and balanced against each other.

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