French and Indian War
  • Most of the North American fighting ended on September 8, 1760 (when the Marquis de Vaudreuil surrendered Montreal — and effectively all of Canada — to Britain)
  • The war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763

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Treaty of Paris
  • Great Britain acquired French Canada and Spanish Florida
  • France ceded to Spain its huge western territory-Louisiana, and claims west of the Mississippi River
  • Great Britain extended control of North America
  • France power virtually ended

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This cartoon was Initially created for the French and Indian War, but was later adopted for the American Revolution.

Immediate Effects of the War
  • Great Britain had unchallenged supremacy in North America
  • Great Britain established itself as the dominant naval power
  • The Spanish, and Native American alliance, led to a fundamental change in the relationship between the colonies and the British government
  • British thought colonists were poorly trained, disorderly, unable and unwilling to defend the new frontiers of the British Empire
  • Colonists were proud of military record and gained confidence that they could provide for their own defense, not impressed by British styles of warfare
  • Many Americans no longer felt the need for the presence of regular British soldiers in their towns and cities.
  • An undercurrent of anger had long been a part of the colonial character, but following the war this feeling surfaced. Many men who had served honorably in the conflict deeply resented the British officers' condescending attitudes and refused to forget the many insults they had suffered in silence.

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British Actions and Worsening Relations (Acts)
  • -"No taxation without representation": colonists felt that they were not consulted about new taxes and they were not represented in the British Parliament.
    • Virtual Representation: men who lived in London were representatives of the American colonists. The idea was rejected by the colonists, who thought that men in London did not know about the needs of the colonists.
  • Writs of Assistance: allowed for open-ended search warrants and helped to increase the enforcement of the Navigation Acts (restricted the use of foriegn shipping in trade between England and its colonies).
    • John Otis argued that this was a violation of the colonists constitutional rights
  • 1764: the Sugar Act imposed a 3 cent tax on all sugar goods, while the Currency Act prohibited American colonists from distributing any form of currency.
  • 1765 Stamp Act: Tax on all paper goods including newspapers, playing cards and official documents. This was the first direct tax imposed on the colonists.
    • The Sons of Liberty were formed as a reaction to this. This was a group that threatened violence on anyone that sold the taxed goods.
  • 1773 Tea Act: allowed the East India company to ship to the American colonies without having to pay any taxes. This put a damper on the sales of American based tea.
  • The sons of liberty rebelled against the Tea Act with the Boston Tea Party, in which they dumped a large supply of East Indian Company Tea. The British retaliated by shutting down the port of Boston.
  • The Boston Massacre (1770): American colonists harassed British soldiers by throwing snowballs at them. The British soldiers retaliated by opening fire upon the colonists, killing 5 people.

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Causes of American Revolution

-The "Intolerable Acts", as they were termed by the colonists, were directed at punishing the people of Boston and MA, and bringing dissidents under control, included four acts
  • The first was the Massachusetts Government Act, which altered the Massachusetts charter and restricted town meetings.
  • The second act was the Administration of Justice Act, which ordered that all British soldiers to be tried were to be arraigned in Britain, not the colonies.
  • The third act referred to was the Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston until the British had been compensated for the tea lost in the Boston Tea Party (the British never received such a payment).
  • The fourth act was the Quartering Act of 1774, which compelled the residents of Boston to house British regulars sent in to control the vicinity.
-First Continental Congress was formed largely in response to the Intolerable Acts in September 1774external image 1770.0020.jpg
  • The harsh and punitive nature of these new British acts led all colonies except Georgia to send a delegate to Philadelphia
  • The delegates consisted of: Radicals-Patrick Henry (VA), Samuel Adams and John Adams (MA), Moderates-George Washington (VA), John Dickinson (PA), Conservatives-John Jay (NY), Joseph Galloway (PA)
  • The Congress formed the Suffolk Resolves, this document rejected the Intolerable Acts, called for their immediate repeal, urged colonists to make military preparations and apply economic sanctions (boycotting British goods)
  • They proclaimed the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, this petitioned the king to make right grievances and restore colonial rights
  • The Congress created The Association, an alliance of committees that were committed to enforce the economic sanctions of the Suffolk Resolve
-In Worcester, Massachusetts in 1774, the colonists refused to allow British magistrates in the local courthouses, and this action was followed by similar actions throughout the colony. The colonists effectively hindered the governing ability of the British in the entire colony of Massachusetts, with the exception of the heavily garrisoned city of Boston, In early 1775, King George III declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion and sent additional troops
-On April 18, 1775, British General Thomas Gage sent large force to seize colonial military supplies in Concord, Minuteman warned by Paul Revere and William Dawes prepared at Lexington, the Americans were forced to retreat, British entered Concord destroyed some supplies, but in return were ambushed by the militia
  • The actual British order of April 19, 1775 to seize and destroy the American's guns and supplies, for that day, reads as follows:
"Having received Intelligence, that a Quantity of Ammunition, Provision, Artillery, Tents and small Arms, have been collected at Concord, for the Avowed Purpose of raising and supporting a Rebellion against His Majesty, you will March with the Corps of Grenadiers and Light Infantry, put under your Command, with utmost expedition and Secrecy to Concord, where you will seize and destroy all Artillery, Ammunition, Provisions, Tents, Small Arms, and all Military Stores whatever ..."
-The Second Continental Congress met in May 1775
  • The second Congress established the Declaration of the Causes and Necessities for Taking Up Arms, called on colonies to provide troops, named George Washington commander in chief, Benedict Arnold sent to invade Quebec, American navy and marine corps organized
  • In July 1775, the Congress sent Olive Branch Petition sent to King George III, it pledged loyalty and asked to king to intercede, but the King rejected and accepted Parliament’s Prohibitory Act, which declared colonies in state of rebellion
  • July 4, 1776, the Congress signed the Declaration of Independence which listed grievances against king and expressed the basic principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

Declaration of Independence

  • The Declaration of Independence was written mainly by Thomas Jefferson.
  • The essence of its text stated that the 13 original colonies were independent from England.
  • It attempted to explain why the colonies had decided to sever its ties from Great Britain.
  • The American Revolutionary War started right after the Declaration of Independence was sent to the king of England.


A Timeline of the making of the Declaration of Independence

June 7
Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, receives Richard Henry Lee's resolution urging Congress to declare independence.
June 11
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston appointed to a committee to draft a declaration of independence. American army retreats to Lake Champlain from Canada.
June 12-27
Jefferson, at the request of the committee, drafts a declaration, of which only a fragment exists. Jefferson's clean, or "fair" copy, the "original Rough draught," is reviewed by the committee. Both documents are in the manuscript collections of the Library of Congress.
June 28
A fair copy of the committee draft of the Declaration of Independence is read in Congress.
July 1-4
Congress debates and revises the Declaration of Independence.
July 2
Congress declares independence as the British fleet and army arrive at New York.
July 4
Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence in the morning of a bright, sunny, but cool Philadelphia day. John Dunlap prints the Declaration of Independence. These prints are now called "Dunlap Broadsides." Twenty-four copies are known to exist, two of which are in the Library of Congress. One of these was Washington's personal copy.
July 5
John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, dispatches the first of Dunlap's broadsides of the Declaration of Independence to the legislatures of New Jersey and Delaware.
July 6
Pennsylvania Evening Post of July 6 prints the first newspaper rendition of the Declaration of Independence.
July 8
The first public reading of the Declaration is in Philadelphia.
July 9
Washington orders that the Declaration of Independence be read before the American army in New York
July 19
Congress orders the Declaration of Independence engrossed (officially inscribed) and signed by members.
August 2
Delegates begin to sign engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence. A large British reinforcement arrives at New York after being repelled at Charleston, S.C.
January 18
Congress, now sitting in Baltimore, Maryland, orders that signed copies of the Declaration of Independence printed by Mary Katherine Goddard of Baltimore be sent to the states.

The War

-Fighting consisted of two groups:
  • Patriots, consisted of many New Englanders, served in local militias for short time, also 5,000 African Americans fought in both mixed racial forces and all African American unitsexternal image RevolutionaryWar2.JPG
  • Loyalists (also known as Tories), consisted of almost 60,000 American Tories who fought and died with British, they tended to be wealthier and more conservative than the patriots, also Native Americans helped the British by promising to limit westward settlement
-The war started with though times for the patriots, in the years 1775-1777 they barely escaped complete disaster, the British had occupied New York, Philadelphia and other major ports leading to a 95% decline in trade, Patriots camped at cold Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78
-The turning point came in October 1777 with the Battle of Saratoga, American generals Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold were able to defeat British General John Burgoyne in upstate NY
-News of this victory victory convinced France to join in war against Britain, and by 1779 Holland and Spain had entered the war against the British
-Victory came in 1781, when Washington’s army forced the surrender of General Charles Cornwallis in the last major battle fought near Yorktown, VA
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Effects of American Revolution

  • Most Americans enjoyed the newfound identity and pride that stemmed from liberty, justice, and prosperity which came to define the United States.
  • The Patriots (Nationalists) harassed and otherwise discriminated against loyalists; especially by retaining confiscated property.
  • A great deal of the Loyalists (Individuals Still loyal to Britain) fled the United States after the revolution took place. They often chose other colonies of Great Britain as their destination points.
  • For Indians, the formation of the United States only increased the flow of white settlers onto their lands and led to more clashes.
  • Many African Americans hoped that the revolution and the Declaration of Independence would bring their freedom and an end to slavery.

  • The republican form of government, with all its powers grounded in the consent of the people, was practiced nowhere else in 1776.
  • The United States served as a role model for the rest of the world. It demonstrated that a successful revolution could be carried out against even the most formidable of imperialist nations, and also displayed that a republic could be successful.
  • Later revolutions in France, Hispaniola, and throughout Latin America drew inspiration from the American Revolution.
  • As a result of the American Revolution, slavery actually existed longer in the United States; Britain had outlawed slavery in 1833.
  • In the immediate aftermath of the American revolution, the economic standing of the nation was in poor shape.
  • As a result of the inefficiency of the Articles of Confederation, the requisition system of raising money was breaking down; certain states refused to pay taxes.
  • The Interest of the public debt was on a steady increase.
  • The entire nation's credit was draining quickly, as new funds could not be collected faster than they were being spent.
  • Some states went as far as to levy taxes on goods that came from other states which hurt trade and therefore the economy of the country as a whole.
  • Other states resorted to printing out worthless paper currency that only added to the economic troubles of the United States.
  • Once the Articles of Confederation were replaced by the Constitution, The Federal Government gained enough power to effectively collect funds and regulate commerce throughout the nation, which accounted for a swift improvement in the economic position of the United States.


Treaty of Paris (1783)
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The American flag is hoisted over the Battery, New York City on Evacuation Day, 25 November 1783, as the last British troops depart New York.

  • Britain would recognize the existence of the United States
  • The Mississippi River would be the western boundary of the United States
  • Americans would have fishing rights off the coast of Canada
  • Americans would pay debts owed to British merchants and honor loyalist claims for property confiscated during the war
  • United States will prevent future confiscations of the property of Loyalists
  • Prisoners of war on both sides are to be released and all property left by British army in the United States unmolested (including slaves).
  • Great Britain and the United States were each to be given perpetual access to the Mississippi River.
  • Territories captured by Americans subsequent to treaty will be returned without compensation.

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Britain’s treaty with other nations involved:

On September 3, Britain also signed separate agreements with France, Spain, and the Netherlands, which had been negotiated earlier.

  • Spain received the colonies of East and West Florida.
  • Spain also reclaimed the island of Minorca.

  • Largely enforced earlier treaties, guaranteeing fishing rights off Newfoundland.

  • Received Sumatra from Britain

Britain received the Bahama Islands and St. Kitts.

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Articles of Confederation

-The Articles of Confederation-adopted in 1777, ratified in March 1781, was a model of a loose confederation and a stepping stone to the US Constitution
  • Structure-consisted of a congress (9/13 states must vote to pass important laws)
  • Powers-wage war, make treaties, send diplomatic representatives, borrow money, Could NOT regulate commerce or collect taxes
-Accomplishments: led the nation to victory in the war, the Land Ordinance of 1785-public policy for westward lands, Northwest Ordinance (between Great Lakes and Ohio River) of 1787-set rules for creating new states (limited self-government and prohibited slavery)
  • The financial issues struggled to payback war debts, circulated worthless paper money, had no taxing power
  • In foreign affairs, they gained little respect of other nations that could neither pay its debts nor take united action (GB, Spain expanded interest in western lands)
  • Domestically, the Shays’ Rebellion (1786), Captain Daniel Shays led other farmers in an uprising against high state taxes, imprisonment for debt and lack of paper money, the state militia had to called in to break up the rebellion in January of 1787
-The Annapolis Convention (1786)-Five states sent delegates, convinced of need for convention in Philadelphia to revise the Articles

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Development of Constitution

Problems with Articles of Confederation:

The Articles of Confederation: America’s first Constitution, written by the Continental Congress and adopted by the states, had the following weaknesses:

-Each state, regardless of size, had only one vote.
-Congress could make laws, but there was no executive to enforce them.
-Amendments could be adopted only by unanimous vote.
-There was no national court to settle arguments between states.
-Congress could not regulate commerce between states, collect taxes or force states to contribute to government needs.
-Congress could only ask states for troops, but could not raise an army.

  • The resolution calling the Convention specified its purpose was to propose amendments to the Articles, but the Convention decided to propose a rewritten Constitution.

Fact- Only twelve states went to the Convention, with Rhode Island refusing to send a representative.

The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. It was adopted in its original form on September 17, 1787 by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Compromises reached in Forming the Constitution

  1. The Great Compromise: Resolved the conflict between large and small states by provided equal representation in the Senate and representation based on population in the House of Representatives.
  2. Three-Fifths Compromise- Resolved the conflict between slave and free states by counting five salves as three people in determining each state’s representation in the House of Representatives.
  3. Commerce Compromise- Resolved the conflict between agricultural and manufacturing states by permitting Congress to tax goods entering but not leaving the country.
  4. Indirect Vote for President- Resolved the conflict between aristocrats and democrats by having the president elected by Electoral College.

Combination of New Jersey and Virginia Plans
New Jersey Plan- (William Patterson)
  • A plan that would have given one vote per state for equal representation under one legislative body.

Virginia Plan- (Edmund Randolph)
  • The Virginia Plan proposed instead a legislative branch consisting of two chambers (bicameral legislature), in each of which the states would be represented in proportion to their “Quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants.
  • It called for a national government of three branches—legislative, executive, and judicial.

They used both to create three branches. The legislative branch consisted of two parts, Senate and the House of Representatives. Each state had two representatives for senate while the House of Representatives was based on population.

Ratification-September 17, 1787 submitted constitution to states for ratification (needed 9/13)
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Branches of Government
  • Legislative:
    • The House of Representatives and the Senate make laws according to the power granted in Article I section 8. These powers include making laws concerning items such as, money, commerce, courts, war etc.
    • The Congress may override a presidential veto of passed legislation by a two-thirds vote.
  • Executive:
    • The President, who heads the executive branch, enforces the laws, conducts foreign policy and negotiates treaties.
    • President is Commander-in-Chief of the army, and makes appointments of judges and members of executive branch.
  • Judicial:
    • Supreme Court, and such lesser federal courts as Congress establishes, determine the constitutionality of laws and the interpretation of the Constitution.

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  • Supported the Constitution
  • Supported Strong central government because they thought it was needed to maintain order and preserve the Union.
    • Federalists- George Washington, Ben Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton
– § Federalists Papers-written for New York newspaper by Madison, Hamilton, John Jay- 85 essays presented reasons for believing in Constitution
  • Oppononents of Constitution
  • Supporter of states rights because strong central government would destroy the work of the Revolution, and restrict states’ rights
    • Anti- Federalists-George Mason, Patrick Henry, James Winthrop, John Hancock, George Clinton

May of 1790- all 13 states ratified the Constitution (with promise of Bill of Rights)

Some Practice Questions**
1. Which of the following had the LEAST significance in providing experience and concepts that were used by the colonists in their arguments and fight for independence?
(A) French and Indian War
(B) New England town meetings
(C) Use of the Power of the Purse by the Virginia House of Burgesses
(D) The Albany Plan
(E) Development by the colonists of crops for export

American Revolution

2. All of the following played a role at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 EXCEPT
(A) George Washington
(B) Alexander Hamilton
(C) Thomas Jefferson
(D) Benjamin Franklin
(E) James Madison

3. The Federalist Papers were written by
(A) Hamilton, Jefferson, Jay
(B) Hamilton, Madison, Washington
(C) Hamilton, Madison, Jay
(D) Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams
(E) Madison, Jefferson, Adams

4. Which of the following was NOT a reaction of the American colonists to the Stamp ACT?
(A) The Stamp Act Congress
(B) Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions
(C) Instructions of the town of Braintree on the Stamp Act
(D) Nonimportation measures
(E) Declaratory Act

5. Which of the following was not a reason for the calling of the federal Constitutional Convention?
(A) Northwest Ordinance
(B) Shays’ Rebellion
(C) Annapolis Convention
(D) Near-bankruptcy of the Confederation government
(E) Lack of executive leadership in the confederation

6. Thomas Jefferson’s philosophical position during the period prior to 1789 could best be described as
(A) Aristocratic and internationalist
(B) Monarchical and agrarian
(C) Democratic and mercantilist
(D) Democratic and agrarian
(E) Socialistic and internationalist

7. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution primarily to
(A) Curtail state power
(B) Protect the states from the power of the federal government
(C) Protect individual liberties from the power of state and local government
(D) Protect Individual Liberties from the power of state and local government
(E) Protect the states from the power of the church

Questions 8 and 9 refer to the following quotation:
“…The power of Parliament is uncontrollable, buy by themselves, and we must obey. They only can repeal their own Acts. There would be an end of all government, if one or a number of subjects or subordinate provinces should take upon them so far to judge of the justice of an Act of Parliament, as to refuse obedience to it. If there was nothing else to restrain such a step, prudence ought to do it…Reasons may be given, why an Act ought to be repeal’d, and yet obedience must be yielded to it till that repeal takes place.

8. The argument presented in the above quotation is based on the assumption that
(A) Government is a blessing for mankind
(B) The state of nature is one of conflict and war
(C) Parliament Derives its power from the consent of the governed
(D) The people are at the complete mercy of the ruling authority
(E) Laws should be obeyed until they are changed or modified by legal means

9. The above statement is most likely to have been made by a(n)
(A) English gentleman in 1775
(B) Frontier settler in 1763
(C) Boston merchant in 1773
(D) Moderate colonist in 1765
(E) Virginia planter in 1776

1. E
2. C
3. C
4. E
5. A
6. D
7. C
8. E
9. D