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Some became prominent American leaders, such as Samuel Seabury. Approximately 46, Loyalists relocated to Canada; others moved to Britain 7, , Florida, or the West Indies 9, The exiles represented approximately two percent of the total population of the colonies. A minority of uncertain size tried to stay neutral in the war. Most kept a low profile, but the Quakers were the most important group to speak out for neutrality, especially in Pennsylvania.
The Quakers continued to do business with the British even after the war began, and they were accused of being supporters of British rule, "contrivers and authors of seditious publications" critical of the revolutionary cause. Women contributed to the American Revolution in many ways and were involved on both sides.
Formal politics did not include women, but ordinary domestic behaviors became charged with political significance as Patriot women confronted a war which permeated all aspects of political, civil, and domestic life. They participated by boycotting British goods, spying on the British, following armies as they marched, washing, cooking, and tending for soldiers, delivering secret messages, and even fighting disguised as men in a few cases, such as Deborah Samson. Mercy Otis Warren held meetings in her house and cleverly attacked Loyalists with her creative plays and histories.
They maintained their families during their husbands' absences and sometimes after their deaths. American women were integral to the success of the boycott of British goods,  as the boycotted items were largely household items such as tea and cloth. Women had to return to knitting goods, and to spinning and weaving their own cloth—skills that had fallen into disuse.
Legal divorce, usually rare, was granted to Patriot women whose husbands supported the King. In early , France set up a major program of aid to the Americans, and the Spanish secretly added funds. Each country spent one million "livres tournaises" to buy munitions. A dummy corporation run by Pierre Beaumarchais concealed their activities. Spain did not officially recognize the U. He led an expedition of colonial troops to force the British out of Florida and to keep open a vital conduit for supplies.
Most American Indians rejected pleas that they remain neutral and instead supported the British Crown. The great majority of the , Indians east of the Mississippi distrusted the Colonists and supported the British cause, hoping to forestall continued colonial expansion into their territories. Most Indians did not participate directly in the war, except for warriors and bands associated with four of the Iroquois tribes in New York and Pennsylvania which allied with the British.
The British did have other allies, especially in the upper Midwest. They provided Indians with funding and weapons to attack American outposts. Some Indians tried to remain neutral, seeing little value in joining what they perceived to be a European conflict, and fearing reprisals from whichever side they opposed. In , Cherokee war parties attacked American Colonists all along the southern frontier of the uplands throughout the Washington District, North Carolina now Tennessee and the Kentucky wilderness area.
The Chickamauga Cherokee under Dragging Canoe allied themselves closely with the British, and fought on for an additional decade after the Treaty of Paris was signed. Joseph Brant of the powerful Mohawk tribe in New York was the most prominent Indian leader against the Patriot forces. In and , he led Iroquois warriors and white Loyalists in multiple attacks on small frontier settlements in New York and Pennsylvania, killing many settlers and destroying villages, crops, and stores. In , the Americans forced the hostile Indians out of upstate New York when Washington sent an army under John Sullivan which destroyed 40 empty Iroquois villages in central and western New York.
The Battle of Newtown proved decisive, as the Patriots had an advantage of three-to-one, and it ended significant resistance; there was little combat otherwise. Sullivan systematically burned the empty villages and destroyed about , bushels of corn that composed the winter food supply. Facing starvation and homeless for the winter, the Iroquois fled to Canada.
The British resettled them in Ontario, providing land grants as compensation for some of their losses. At the peace conference following the war, the British ceded lands which they did not really control, and they did not consult their Indian allies. They transferred control to the United States of all the land east of the Mississippi and north of Florida.
Calloway concludes:. Burned villages and crops, murdered chiefs, divided councils and civil wars, migrations, towns and forts choked with refugees, economic disruption, breaking of ancient traditions, losses in battle and to disease and hunger, betrayal to their enemies, all made the American Revolution one of the darkest periods in American Indian history. The British did not give up their forts until in the eastern Midwest, stretching from Ohio to Wisconsin; they kept alive the dream of forming a satellite Indian nation there, which they called a Neutral Indian Zone.
That goal was one of the causes of the War of Free blacks in the North and South fought on both sides of the Revolution, but most fought for the Patriots. Gary Nash reports that there were about 9, black Patriots, counting the Continental Army and Navy, state militia units, privateers, wagoneers in the Army, servants to officers, and spies. Many black slaves sided with the Loyalists. Tens of thousands in the South used the turmoil of war to escape, and the southern plantation economies of South Carolina and Georgia were disrupted in particular. During the Revolution, the British tried to turn slavery against the Americans.
But England greatly feared the effects of any such move on its own West Indies , where Americans had already aroused alarm over a possible threat to incite slave insurrections. The British elites also understood that an all-out attack on one form of property could easily lead to an assault on all boundaries of privilege and social order, as envisioned by radical religious sects in Britain's seventeenth-century civil wars.
Davis underscores the British dilemma: "Britain, when confronted by the rebellious American colonists, hoped to exploit their fear of slave revolts while also reassuring the large number of slave-holding Loyalists and wealthy Caribbean planters and merchants that their slave property would be secure". American advocates of independence were commonly lampooned in Great Britain for what was termed their hypocritical calls for freedom, at the same time that many of their leaders were planters who held hundreds of slaves.
Samuel Johnson snapped, "how is it we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of the Negroes? She came to public attention when her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral appeared in The effects of the war were more dramatic in the South.
In Virginia, royal governor Lord Dunmore recruited black men into the British forces with the promise of freedom, protection for their families, and land grants. Tens of thousands of slaves escaped to British lines throughout the South, causing dramatic losses to slaveholders and disrupting cultivation and harvesting of crops.
For instance, South Carolina was estimated to have lost about 25, slaves to flight, migration, or death—amounting to one third of its slave population. From to , the black proportion of the population mostly slaves in South Carolina dropped from British forces gave transportation to 10, slaves when they evacuated Savannah and Charleston , carrying through on their promise. Others sailed with the British to England or were resettled as freedmen in the West Indies of the Caribbean.
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But slaves who were carried to the Caribbean under control of Loyalist masters generally remained slaves until British abolition in its colonies in More than 1, of the Black Loyalists of Nova Scotia later resettled in the British colony of Sierra Leone, where they became leaders of the Krio ethnic group of Freetown and the later national government. Many of their descendants still live in Sierra Leone, as well as other African countries. Britain wanted to develop the frontier of Upper Canada on a British colonial model.
Interpretations vary concerning the effect of the Revolution. Contemporaries of the period referred to it as "the revolution",   although the war is sometimes known as the "American War of Independence" outside the United States, particularly in the United Kingdom. Historians such as Bernard Bailyn , Gordon Wood , and Edmund Morgan view the American Revolution as a unique and radical event that produced deep changes and had a profound effect on world affairs, such as an increasing belief in the principles of the Enlightenment. These were demonstrated by a leadership and government that espoused protection of natural rights, and a system of laws chosen by the people.
After the Revolution, genuinely democratic politics became possible in the former colonies. Concepts of liberty, individual rights, equality among men and hostility toward corruption became incorporated as core values of liberal republicanism. The greatest challenge to the old order in Europe was the challenge to inherited political power and the democratic idea that government rests on the consent of the governed.
The example of the first successful revolution against a European empire, and the first successful establishment of a republican form of democratically elected government, provided a model for many other colonial peoples who realized that they too could break away and become self-governing nations with directly elected representative government. The Dutch Republic, also at war with Britain, was the next country to sign a treaty with the United States, on October 8, Many British and Irish Whigs spoke in favor of the American cause.
In Ireland, there was a profound impact; the Protestants who controlled Ireland were demanding more and more self-rule. Under the leadership of Henry Grattan , the so-called " Patriots " forced the reversal of mercantilist prohibitions against trade with other British colonies. The King and his cabinet in London could not risk another rebellion on the American model, and made a series of concessions to the Patriot faction in Dublin.
Armed Protestant volunteer units were set up to protect against an invasion from France. As in America, so too in Ireland the King no longer had a monopoly of lethal force. The Revolution, along with the Dutch Revolt end of the 16th century and the 17th century English Civil War , was among the examples of overthrowing an old regime for many Europeans who later were active during the era of the French Revolution, such as the Marquis de Lafayette. States such as New Jersey and New York adopted gradual emancipation, which kept some people as slaves for more than two decades longer.
The democratic ideals of the Revolution inspired changes in the roles of women. The concept of republican motherhood was inspired by this period and reflects the importance of Republicanism as the dominant American ideology. It assumed that a successful republic rested upon the virtue of its citizens.
Women were considered to have the essential role of instilling their children with values conducive to a healthy republic. During this period, the wife's relationship with her husband also became more liberal, as love and affection instead of obedience and subservience began to characterize the ideal marital relationship. In addition, many women contributed to the war effort through fundraising and running family businesses in the absence of husbands.
The traditional constraints gave way to more liberal conditions for women. Patriarchy faded as an ideal; young people had more freedom to choose their spouses and more often used birth control to regulate the size of their families. Society emphasized the role of mothers in child rearing, especially the patriotic goal of raising republican children rather than those locked into aristocratic value systems. There was more permissiveness in child-rearing. Patriot women married to Loyalists who left the state could get a divorce and obtain control of the ex-husband's property.
But, some women earned livelihoods as midwives and in other roles in the community, which were not originally recognized as significant by men. Abigail Adams expressed to her husband, the president, the desire of women to have a place in the new republic: "I desire you would remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.
Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. The Revolution sparked a discussion on the rights of woman and an environment favorable to women's participation in politics. Briefly the possibilities for women's rights were highly favorable, but a backlash led to a greater rigidity that excluded women from politics.
For more than thirty years, however, the New Jersey State Constitution gave the vote to "all inhabitants" who had a certain level of wealth, including unmarried women and blacks not married women because they could not own property separately from their husbands , until in , when that state legislature passed a bill interpreting the constitution to mean universal white male suffrage , excluding paupers.
In the first two decades after the American Revolution, state legislatures and individuals took actions to free numerous slaves, in part based on revolutionary ideals. Northern states passed new constitutions that contained language about equal rights or specifically abolished slavery; some states, such as New York and New Jersey, where slavery was more widespread, passed laws by the end of the 18th century to abolish slavery by a gradual method; in New York, the last slaves were freed in While no southern state abolished slavery, for a period individual owners could free their slaves by personal decision, often providing for manumission in wills but sometimes filing deeds or court papers to free individuals.
Numerous slaveholders who freed their slaves cited revolutionary ideals in their documents; others freed slaves as a reward for service. Records also suggest that some slaveholders were freeing their own mixed-race children, born into slavery to slave mothers.
The American Revolution has a central place in the American memory  as the story of the nation's founding. It is covered in the schools, memorialized by a national holiday , and commemorated in innumerable monuments. George Washington's estate at Mount Vernon was one of the first national pilgrimages for tourists and attracted 10, visitors a year by the s. The Revolution became a matter of contention in the s in the debates leading to the American Civil War —65 , as spokesmen of both the Northern United States and the Southern United States claimed that their region was the true custodian of the legacy of Today, more than battlefields and historic sites of the American Revolution are protected and maintained by the government.
The National Park Service alone owns and maintains more than 50 battlefield parks and sites related to the Revolution. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about political and social developments, and the origin and aftermath of the war. For military actions, see American Revolutionary War. For other uses, see American Revolution disambiguation. Revolt in which the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain.
John Trumbull 's Declaration of Independence , showing the Committee of Five presenting its plan for independence to Congress on June 28, Revolutionary War. Declaration of Independence. United States Constitution. A New Republic. Atlantic Revolutions Bicentennial. See also: Thirteen Colonies. Further information: No taxation without representation and Virtual representation.
Main articles: Townshend Acts and Tea Act. Main articles: Quebec Act and Intolerable Acts. Main article: American Revolutionary War. Main article: Prisoners of war in the American Revolutionary War. Main article: Siege of Yorktown. Main article: Treaty of Paris Further information: United States public debt and Alexander Hamilton. Main article: Liberalism in the United States. See also: Social Contract and Natural Rights.
Age of Enlightenment List of liberal theorists contributions to liberal theory. Schools of thought. Regional variants. Related topics. Bias in academia Bias in the media. Main article: Republicanism in the United States. Central concepts. Types of republics. Important thinkers. By country. Communitarianism Democracy Liberalism Monarchism. See also: List of clergy in the American Revolution.
Main article: Patriot American Revolution. Further information: Sons of Liberty. Main article: Loyalist American Revolution.
Disaffection: The First Continental Congress and American Identity
Main article: Women in the American Revolution. Further information: Diplomacy in the American Revolutionary War. Main article: Native Americans in the United States. Further information: Western theater of the American Revolutionary War. Main article: African Americans in the Revolutionary War. Further information: Atlantic Revolutions. The Results of a Survey on Forty Propositions". The Journal of Economic History. Cambridge University Press. Journal of Economic History.
Economic History Review. The Glorious Revolution in America. New York: Frederick Ungar. Boston: Little, Brown. The Founding of New England. Boston: The Atlantic Monthly Press. Garraty; Mark C. Carnes A Short History of the American Nation 8th ed. Archived from the original on Origins of the American Revolution. Boston: Little, Brown and company. A popular history of France, from the earliest times. Political Science Quarterly : 86— University of Oklahoma Press. Stark P. The English Atlantic in an Age of Revolution: — A dictionary of American history.
Retrieved 24 May Revolutionary War and Beyond. Retrieved Miller, Origins of the American Revolution p. Henretta, ed. Documents for America's History, Volume 1: To Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Simon and Schuster. History of American Political Thought. Lexington Books. Alexander Cengage Learning. Harvard University Press, London. Self-Government and the Declaration of Independence. Cornell Law Review, Volume 97 Issue 4.
May Miller, Triumph of Freedom, — p. Ellis Random House. Martin I. Union the Americans who fought the Second War of Independence. Dull A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution. Yale up. A Companion to the American West. Nettels, The Emergence of a National Economy, — pp. Perkins, American public finance and financial services, — pp. Mays Historical Dictionary of Revolutionary America. Scarecrow Press. Companion to the American Revolution, pp. Morris, The Forging of the Union: — pp. Ellis, His Excellency: George Washington p.
Ferguson, The American Enlightenment, — Schultz; et al. Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics. Volume: 2 p. Colonial America. New York: Macmillan. The Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary America. Da Capo Press. Nelson, The American Tory p. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Calhoon, "Loyalism and neutrality" in Jack P. Greene; J. Pole A Companion to the American Revolution. Breen, in The Journal of Military History 76 1 pp. Brown, "The Founding Fathers of and A collective view. A Companion to the American Revolution at p. A Companion to the American Revolution pp.
Canada's Digital Collections. Cheng University of Georgia Press. Tiro, "A 'Civil' War? Rethinking Iroquois Participation in the American Revolution. In Halpenny, Francess G ed. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. V — online ed. University of Toronto Press. Northwest Ohio Quarterly. However Philip Ranlet estimates that only 20, adult white Loyalists went to Canada. He posits that a distant government was simply replaced with a local one. Greene, The American Revolution pp. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Voting Rights". Retrieved 2 July Olson, and Jennifer L. Morgan Kerber, et al. Abigail Adams. Accessed Jan. Accessed May 30, Town Topics, Nov. Bailyn, Bernard The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Becker, Carl New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company. Berkin, Carol New York: Vintage Books. Boorstin, Daniel J. The Genius of American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Brinkley, Douglas American Heritage Magazine. Perspectives in American History. Calhoon, Robert M. In Greene, Jack P. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. Canny, Nicholas Oxford University Press. Retrieved 22 July Center for History and New Media Chapter 3: Enlightenment and human rights". Fairfax, Virginia: George Mason University.
Archived from the original on 15 November Chisick, Harvey Historical Dictionary of the Enlightenment. Crow, Jeffrey J. The Southern Experience in the American Revolution. Ferguson, Robert A. The William and Mary Quarterly. Fifth Virginia Convention Archived from the original on 6 September Greene, Jack P.
The American Historical Review. Griffin, Martin Ignatius Joseph Commodore John Barry: "the father of the American navy". Philadelphia: self-published. Hamilton, Alexander Syrett, Harold C. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. New York: Columbia University Press. Higginbotham, Don Boston: Northeastern University Press. Hull, N. Journal of American History. Jensen, Merrill Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company. New York: Random House Inc. Kerber, Linda K. Klos, Stanley L.
President Who? Forgotten Founders. Pittsburgh: Evisum, Inc. Labaree, Leonard Woods Phelps lectureship on early American history. Lee, Richard Henry Mackesy, Piers The War for America: — Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. Maier, Pauline American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. New York: Alfred A. New York: W. Norton and Company, Inc. Shalhope, Robert E. Shy, John Stephens, Otis H. Warren, Charles Wood, Gordon S.
The Radicalism of the American Revolution. The American Revolution: A History. New York: Modern Library. Wraight, Christopher D. London: Continuum Books. Origins of the American Revolution : writings. American resolves, declarations, petitions, essays and pamphlets prior to the Declaration of Independence July Suffolk Resolves September British law and the American Revolution.
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Royal Proclamations , Acts of Parliament , and other legal issues relating to the American Revolution. Townshend Acts Historical documents of the United States. George Washington. John Langdon Nicholas Gilman. Nathaniel Gorham Rufus King. William Samuel Johnson Roger Sherman. Alexander Hamilton.
George Read Gunning Bedford Jr. James McHenry Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Daniel Carroll. John Blair James Madison. William Few Abraham Baldwin. William Jackson. Thomas Jefferson. John Hancock Massachusetts. Stephen Hopkins William Ellery. Francis Lightfoot Lee Carter Braxton. Edward Rutledge Thomas Heyward Jr. Enlightenment political thought profoundly influenced Adams and other revolutionary leaders seeking to create viable republican governments. Responding to a request for advice on proper government from North Carolina, Adams wrote Thoughts on Government , which influenced many state legislatures.
He also proposed that each state remain sovereign, as its own republic. The state constitutions of the new United States illustrate different approaches to addressing the question of how much democracy would prevail in the thirteen republics. Some states embraced democratic practices, while others adopted far more aristocratic and republican ones. The Pennsylvania constitution and the New Hampshire constitution both provide examples of democratic tendencies. In Pennsylvania, the requirement to own property in order to vote was eliminated, and if a man was twenty-one or older, had paid taxes, and had lived in the same location for one year, he could vote Figure 7.
This opened voting to most free white male citizens of Pennsylvania. The New Hampshire constitution allowed every small town and village to send representatives to the state government, making the lower house of the legislature a model of democratic government. Conservative Whigs, who distrusted the idea of majority rule, recoiled from the abolition of property qualifications for voting and office holding in Pennsylvania. Instead, Pennsylvania had a one-house—a unicameral —legislature. The Maryland and South Carolina constitutions provide examples of efforts to limit the power of a democratic majority.
This latter qualification excluded over 90 percent of the white males in Maryland from political office. The South Carolina constitution also sought to protect the interests of the wealthy. John Adams wrote much of the Massachusetts constitution, which reflected his fear of too much democracy. It therefore created two legislative chambers, an upper and lower house, and a strong governor with broad veto powers. To vote, he had to be worth at least sixty pounds. To further keep democracy in check, judges were appointed, not elected.
One final limit was the establishment of the state capitol in the commercial center of Boston, which made it difficult for farmers from the western part of the state to attend legislative sessions. Most revolutionaries pledged their greatest loyalty to their individual states. Recalling the experience of British reform efforts imposed in the s and s, they feared a strong national government and took some time to adopt the Articles of Confederation , the first national constitution.
In June , the Continental Congress prepared to announce independence and began to think about the creation of a new government to replace royal authority. Reaching agreement on the Articles of Confederation proved difficult as members of the Continental Congress argued over western land claims. Connecticut, for example, used its colonial charter to assert its claim to western lands in Pennsylvania and the Ohio Territory Figure 7. Members of the Continental Congress also debated what type of representation would be best and tried to figure out how to pay the expenses of the new government.
Congress readied the Articles in but did not officially approve them until Figure 7. The delay of four years illustrates the difficulty of getting the thirteen states to agree on a plan of national government. Citizens viewed their respective states as sovereign republics and guarded their prerogatives against other states. The Articles of Confederation authorized a unicameral legislature, a continuation of the earlier Continental Congress. The people could not vote directly for members of the national Congress; rather, state legislatures decided who would represent the state.
In practice, the national Congress was composed of state delegations. There was no president or executive office of any kind, and there was no national judiciary or Supreme Court for the United States. Passage of any law under the Articles of Confederation proved difficult. It took the consensus of nine states for any measure to pass, and amending the Articles required the consent of all the states, also extremely difficult to achieve. Further, any acts put forward by the Congress were non-binding; states had the option to enforce them or not. This meant that while the Congress had power over Indian affairs and foreign policy, individual states could choose whether or not to comply.
The Congress did not have the power to tax citizens of the United States, a fact that would soon have serious consequences for the republic. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress had sent requisitions for funds to the individual former colonies now revolutionary states. These states already had an enormous financial burden because they had to pay for militias as well as supply them. In the end, the states failed to provide even half the funding requested by the Congress during the war, which led to a national debt in the tens of millions by By the s, some members of the Congress were greatly concerned about the financial health of the republic, and they argued that the national government needed greater power, especially the power to tax.
This required amending the Articles of Confederation with the consent of all the states. Those who called for a stronger federal government were known as nationalists. Two New Yorkers, Gouverneur Morris and James Duane, also joined the effort to address the debt and the weakness of the Confederation government. These men proposed a 5 percent tax on imports coming into the United States, a measure that would have yielded enough revenue to clear the debt. However, their proposal failed to achieve unanimous support from the states when Rhode Island rejected it.
Plans for a national bank also failed to win unanimous support. Without revenue, the Congress could not pay back American creditors who had lent it money. Like thousands of other soldiers, Martin had fought valiantly against the British and helped secure independence, but had not been paid for his service.
In the s and beyond, men like Martin would soon express their profound dissatisfaction with their treatment. Their anger found expression in armed uprisings and political divisions. Establishing workable foreign and commercial policies under the Articles of Confederation also proved difficult. Each state could decide for itself whether to comply with treaties between the Congress and foreign countries, and there were no means of enforcement. Both Great Britain and Spain understood the weakness of the Confederation Congress, and they refused to make commercial agreements with the United States because they doubted they would be enforced.
Without stable commercial policies, American exporters found it difficult to do business, and British goods flooded U. The Confederation Congress under the Articles did achieve success through a series of directives called land ordinances, which established rules for the settlement of western lands in the public domain and the admission of new states to the republic. The ordinances were designed to prepare the land for sale to citizens and raise revenue to boost the failing economy of the republic.
In the land ordinances, the Confederation Congress created the Mississippi and Southwest Territories and stipulated that slavery would be permitted there. The system of dividing the vast domains of the United States stands as a towering achievement of the era, a blueprint for American western expansion. The Ordinance of , written by Thomas Jefferson and the first of what were later called the Northwest Ordinances, directed that new states would be formed from a huge area of land below the Great Lakes, and these new states would have equal standing with the original states.
The Ordinance of called for the division of this land into rectangular plots in order to prepare for the government sale of land. Surveyors would divide the land into townships of six square miles, and the townships would be subdivided into thirty-six plots of acres each, which could be further subdivided.
The price of an acre of land was set at a minimum of one dollar, and the land was to be sold at public auction under the direction of the Confederation. The Ordinance of officially turned the land into an incorporated territory called the Northwest Territory and prohibited slavery north of the Ohio River Figure 7. The map of the Northwest Territory shows how the public domain was to be divided by the national government for sale.
Townships of thirty-six square miles were to be surveyed. Each had land set aside for schools and other civic purposes. Smaller parcels could then be made: a acre section could be divided into quarter-sections of acres, and then again into sixteen sections of 40 acres. The geometric grid pattern established by the ordinance is still evident today on the American landscape. Indeed, much of the western United States, when viewed from an airplane, is composed of an orderly grid system.
The land ordinances proved to be the great triumph of the Confederation Congress. The Congress would appoint a governor for the territories, and when the population in the territory reached five thousand free adult settlers, those citizens could create their own legislature and begin the process of moving toward statehood. When the population reached sixty thousand, the territory could become a new state. Each state had issued large amounts of paper money and, in the aftermath of the Revolution, widespread internal devaluation of that currency occurred as many lost confidence in the value of state paper money and the Continental dollar.
A period of extreme inflation set in. Meanwhile, demobilized soldiers, many of whom had spent their formative years fighting rather than learning a peacetime trade, searched desperately for work. The economic crisis came to a head in and in western Massachusetts, where farmers were in a difficult position: they faced high taxes and debts, which they found nearly impossible to pay with the worthless state and Continental paper money.
For several years after the peace in , these indebted citizens had petitioned the state legislature for redress. Many were veterans of the Revolutionary War who had returned to their farms and families after the fighting ended and now faced losing their homes. Their petitions to the state legislature raised economic and political issues for citizens of the new state. How could people pay their debts and state taxes when paper money proved unstable? Why was the state government located in Boston, the center of the merchant elite?
Why did the Massachusetts constitution cater to the interests of the wealthy? To the indebted farmers, the situation in the s seemed hauntingly familiar; the revolutionaries had routed the British, but a new form of seemingly corrupt and self-serving government had replaced them. The farmers wanted their debts forgiven, and they demanded that the constitution be revised to address citizens beyond the wealthy elite who could serve in the legislature.
Many of the rebels were veterans of the war for independence, including Captain Daniel Shays from Pelham Figure 7. The Massachusetts legislature responded to the closing of the courthouses with a flurry of legislation, much of it designed to punish the rebels.
The government offered the rebels clemency if they took an oath of allegiance. Otherwise, local officials were empowered to use deadly force against them without fear of prosecution. Rebels would lose their property, and if any militiamen refused to defend the state, they would be executed. Despite these measures, the rebellion continued. To address the uprising, Governor James Bowdoin raised a private army of forty-four hundred men, funded by wealthy Boston merchants, without the approval of the legislature. A force loyal to the state defeated them there, although the rebellion continued into February.
The other twelve states had faced similar economic and political difficulties, and continuing problems seemed to indicate that on a national level, a democratic impulse was driving the population. Eight states responded to the invitation. But the resulting Annapolis Convention failed to provide any solutions because only five states sent delegates. These delegates did, however, agree to a plan put forward by Alexander Hamilton for a second convention to meet in May in Philadelphia.
In February , in the wake of the uprising in western Massachusetts, the Confederation Congress authorized the Philadelphia convention. This time, all the states except Rhode Island sent delegates to Philadelphia to confront the problems of the day. The stated purpose of the Philadelphia Convention in was to amend the Articles of Confederation. Very quickly, however, the attendees decided to create a new framework for a national government.
That framework became the United States Constitution, and the Philadelphia convention became known as the Constitutional Convention of Fifty-five men met in Philadelphia in secret; historians know of the proceedings only because James Madison kept careful notes of what transpired. Two delegates from New York, Robert Yates and John Lansing, left the convention when it became clear that the Articles were being put aside and a new plan of national government was being drafted.
They did not believe the delegates had the authority to create a strong national government. One issue that the delegates in Philadelphia addressed was the way in which representatives to the new national government would be chosen. Would individual citizens be able to elect representatives? Would representatives be chosen by state legislatures?
How much representation was appropriate for each state? James Madison put forward a proposition known as the Virginia Plan , which called for a strong national government that could overturn state laws Figure 7. The plan featured a bicameral or two-house legislature, with an upper and a lower house. The people of the states would elect the members of the lower house, whose numbers would be determined by the population of the state.
State legislatures would send delegates to the upper house. This proportional representation gave the more populous states, like Virginia, more political power.
The Virginia Plan also called for an executive branch and a judicial branch, both of which were absent under the Articles of Confederation. The lower and upper house together were to appoint members to the executive and judicial branches. Under this plan, Virginia, the most populous state, would dominate national political power and ensure its interests, including slavery, would be safe. He also addressed the economic problems of the day by calling for the Congress to have the power to regulate commerce, to raise revenue though taxes on imports and through postage, and to enforce Congressional requisitions from the states.
Roger Sherman from Connecticut offered a compromise to break the deadlock over the thorny question of representation. His Connecticut Compromise , also known as the Great Compromise, outlined a different bicameral legislature in which the upper house, the Senate, would have equal representation for all states; each state would be represented by two senators chosen by the state legislatures.
Only the lower house, the House of Representatives, would have proportional representation. This, in turn, would augment the number of representatives accorded to those states in the lower house. Slaveholders argued that slavery imposed great burdens upon them and that, because they carried this liability, they deserved special consideration; slaves needed to be counted for purposes of representation.
The issue of counting or not counting slaves for purposes of representation connected directly to the question of taxation. Beginning in , the Second Continental Congress asked states to pay for war by collecting taxes and sending the tax money to the Congress. States routinely fell far short of delivering the money requested by Congress under the plan. In April , the Confederation Congress amended the earlier system of requisition by having slaves count as three-fifths of the white population. In this way, slaveholders gained a significant tax break. The delegates in Philadelphia adopted this same three-fifths formula in the summer of Under the three-fifths compromise in the Constitution, each slave would be counted as three-fifths of a white person.
Significantly, no direct federal income tax was immediately imposed. The Sixteenth Amendment, ratified in , put in place a federal income tax. Northerners agreed to the three-fifths compromise because the Northwest Ordinance of , passed by the Confederation Congress, banned slavery in the future states of the northwest.
Northern delegates felt this ban balanced political power between states with slaves and those without. To allay these fears, the Constitution blunted democratic tendencies that appeared to undermine the republic. Thus, to avoid giving the people too much direct power, the delegates made certain that senators were chosen by the state legislatures, not elected directly by the people direct elections of senators came with the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in As an additional safeguard, the delegates created the Electoral College, the mechanism for choosing the president.
Under this plan, each state has a certain number of electors, which is its number of senators two plus its number of representatives in the House of Representatives. Critics, then as now, argue that this process prevents the direct election of the president. The draft constitution was finished in September The delegates decided that in order for the new national government to be implemented, each state must first hold a special ratifying convention.
When nine of the thirteen had approved the plan, the constitution would go into effect. When the American public learned of the new constitution, opinions were deeply divided, but most people were opposed. To salvage their work in Philadelphia, the architects of the new national government began a campaign to sway public opinion in favor of their blueprint for a strong central government. In the fierce debate that erupted, the two sides articulated contrasting visions of the American republic and of democracy.
Supporters of the Constitution, known as Federalists , made the case that a centralized republic provided the best solution for the future. Those who opposed it, known as Anti-Federalists , argued that the Constitution would consolidate all power in a national government, robbing the states of the power to make their own decisions. To them, the Constitution appeared to mimic the old corrupt and centralized British regime, under which a far-off government made the laws.
Anti-Federalists argued that wealthy aristocrats would run the new national government, and that the elite would not represent ordinary citizens; the rich would monopolize power and use the new government to formulate policies that benefited their class—a development that would also undermine local state elites. They also argued that the Constitution did not contain a bill of rights. When one Anti-Federalist delegate named Melancton Smith took issue with the scheme of representation as being too limited and not reflective of the people, Alexander Hamilton responded:.
These were first published in New York and subsequently republished elsewhere in the United States. Read the full text of Federalist No. How would different members of the new United States view his arguments? Including all the state ratifying conventions around the country, a total of fewer than two thousand men voted on whether to adopt the new plan of government. In the end, the Constitution only narrowly won approval Figure 7.
In New York, the vote was thirty in favor to twenty-seven opposed. In Massachusetts, the vote to approve was to , and some claim supporters of the Constitution resorted to bribes in order to ensure approval. Virginia ratified by a vote of eighty-nine to seventy-nine, and Rhode Island by thirty-four to thirty-two. The opposition to the Constitution reflected the fears that a new national government, much like the British monarchy, created too much centralized power and, as a result, deprived citizens in the various states of the ability to make their own decisions.
Electoral College the mechanism by which electors, based on the number of representatives from each state, choose the president. The guiding principle of republicanism was that the people themselves would appoint or select the leaders who would represent them. The debate over how much democracy majority rule to incorporate in the governing of the new United States raised questions about who was best qualified to participate in government and have the right to vote. Revolutionary leaders argued that property holders had the greatest stake in society and favored a republic that would limit political rights to property holders.
In this way, republicanism exhibited a bias toward the elite. George Washington served as a role model for the new republic, embodying the exceptional talent and public virtue prized in its political and social philosophy. After the Revolution, the balance of power between women and men and between whites, blacks, and Indians remained largely unchanged. Yet revolutionary principles, including the call for universal equality in the Declaration of Independence, inspired and emboldened many. Abigail Adams and others pressed for greater rights for women, while the Pennsylvania Abolition Society and New York Manumission Society worked toward the abolition of slavery.
Nonetheless, for blacks, women, and native peoples, the revolutionary ideals of equality fell far short of reality. In the new republic, full citizenship—including the right to vote—did not extend to nonwhites or to women. The late s and s witnessed one of the most creative political eras as each state drafted its own constitution. The Articles of Confederation, a weak national league among the states, reflected the dominant view that power should be located in the states and not in a national government. However, neither the state governments nor the Confederation government could solve the enormous economic problems resulting from the long and costly Revolutionary War.
Although the stated purpose of the convention was to modify the Articles of Confederation, their mission shifted to the building of a new, strong federal government. Federalists like James Madison and Alexander Hamilton led the charge for a new United States Constitution, the document that endures as the oldest written constitution in the world, a testament to the work done in by the delegates in Philadelphia.
Click here to see answer. Which of the following figures did not actively challenge the status of women in the early American republic? Describe the state constitutions that were more democratic and those that were less so. What effect would these different constitutions have upon those states? Who could participate in government, whether by voting or by holding public office?
Whose interests were represented, and whose were compromised?
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In what ways does the United States Constitution manifest the principles of both republican and democratic forms of government? In what ways does it deviate from those principles? How does this compare to the type of democracy that represents the modern United States? Describe popular attitudes toward African Americans, women, and Indians in the wake of the Revolution.
In what ways did the established social and political order depend upon keeping members of these groups in their circumscribed roles? If those roles were to change, how would American society and politics have had to adjust? How did the process of creating and ratifying the Constitution, and the language of the Constitution itself, confirm the positions of African Americans, women, and Indians in the new republic?
How did these roles compare to the stated goals of the republic?
Would this response have confirmed or negated the grievances of the participants in the uprising? Citizenship within a republic meant accepting certain rights and responsibilities as well as cultivating virtuous behavior. This philosophy was based on the notion that the success or failure of the republic depended upon the virtue or corruption of its citizens. Although he owned hundreds of slaves in his lifetime and fathered several children with his slave Sally Hemings, Jefferson opposed slavery.
He argued that the institution should be abolished and slaves returned to Africa, believing that blacks and whites could not live together in a free society without the result of a race war. A group of farmers in western Massachusetts, including Daniel Shays, rebelled against the Massachusetts government, which they saw as unresponsive to their needs. Southern slaveholders wanted slaves to count for the purposes of representation, while people from northern states feared that counting slaves would give the southern states too much power.
Their fears were valid; the three-fifths rule, which stated that each slave counted as three-fifths of a white person for purposes of representation, gave the southern states the balance of political power. Skip to main content back to top hat. Book a 1-on-1 Walkthrough. Content Index. CH4: Rule Britannia! The English Empire, — CH7: Creating Republican Governments. CH6: America's War for Independence, CH9: Industrial Transformation in the North, — CH Jacksonian Democracy, — CH Troubled Times: the Tumultuous s.
CH The Civil War, — CH16 The Era of Reconstruction, — Westward Expansion, CH Politics in the Gilded Age, CH Americans and the Great War, The Great Depression, CH Contesting Futures: America in the s. Chapter Outline. By the end of this section, you will be able to. Compare and contrast monarchy and republican government Describe the tenets of republicanism. In the s, Benjamin Franklin carefully defined thirteen virtues to help guide his countrymen in maintaining a virtuous republic.
His choice of thirteen is telling since he wrote for the citizens of the thirteen new American republics.