Unit 3- The Early Nation

Yawp Chapters 6 & 7

Chapter 6: A New Nation

On July 4, 1788, Philadelphians turned out for a “grand federal procession” in honor of the new national constitution. Workers in various trades and professions demonstrated. Blacksmiths carted around a working forge, on which they symbolically beat swords into farm tools. Potters proudly carried a sign paraphrasing from the Bible, “The potter hath power over his clay,” linking God’s power with an artisan’s work and a citizen’s control over the country. Christian clergymen meanwhile marched arm-in-arm with Jewish rabbis. The grand procession represented what many Americans hoped the United States would become: a diverse but cohesive, prosperous nation.1

Over the next few years, Americans would celebrate more of these patriotic holidays. In April 1789, for example, thousands gathered in New York to see George Washington take the presidential oath of office. That November, Washington called his fellow citizens to celebrate with a day of thanksgiving, particularly for “the peaceable and rational manner” in which the government had been established.2 Read more about The New Nation.

Questions to be thinking about as you move through the content of this chapter

  1. What sort of government did the Articles of Confederation create? What were some of the main problems of the Articles of Confederation? How did Shay’s Rebellion illustrate the need to change the Articles of Confederation?
  2. What were some of the main debates that took place during the Constitutional Convention? How were these debates resolved? What sorts of compromises were reached at the Constitutional Convention?
  3. Why did the Anti-Federalists oppose the Constitution? What were some of their fears? How did the addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution help assuage their fears?
  4. How did the Constitution address the rights of women and slavery?
  5. Compare and contrast Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson’s views on government.
  6. What issues did George Washington deal with as president?
  7. Describe the crisis with France that John Adams faced as president. How did the Adams administration deal with this crisis? Why were Adams’ actions so controversial?
  8. What were the Alien and Sedition Acts? What were the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions? What did Thomas Jefferson’s support for these resolutions say about his views of government?
  9. Describe the process of the “disestablishment” of churches that began during the American Revolution and continued into the early Republic. How did the First Amendment of the United States Constitution deal with religious liberty and the relationship between church and state?
  10. Describe the election of 1800. Why was it such a heated election? What were the results?
  11. What was the result of Marbury v. Madison? Why is this case considered one of the most important cases in the history of the Supreme Court?

Chapter 7: The Early Republic

Thomas Jefferson’s electoral victory over John Adams—and the larger victory of the Republicans over the Federalists—was but one of many changes in the early republic. Some, like Jefferson’s victory, were accomplished peacefully, and others violently, but in some form all Americans were involved. The wealthy and the powerful, middling and poor whites, Native Americans, free and enslaved African Americans, influential and poor women: all demanded a voice in the new nation that Thomas Paine called an “asylum” for liberty.1 They would all, in their own way, lay claim to the ideals of freedom and equality heralded, if not fully realized, by the Revolution. Read all Chapter 7 from the American Yawp.

Questions to be thinking about as you move through the content of this chapter

  1. How did the Haitian slave revolt influence the United States?
  2. How was the American understanding of race changing between 1790 and 1820? What role did science play in this process?
  3. Describe the idea of “Republican Motherhood.” What does it say about the place of women in American society between 1790 and 1820?
  4. In what ways was the United States becoming more democratic between 1790 and 1820? What peoples still remained unequal in this period?
  5. What sorts of policies did Thomas Jefferson pursue as president? What was his approach to issues such as taxes, government spending, western land and relations with other countries?
  6. What ideas did Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa advocate? How successful were they in their goals for Native Americans?
  7. What were the main causes of the War of 1812? Describe the fighting in this war.
  8. What were the results of the War of 1812? How did the War of 1812 impact American identity?
  9. Why were the Federalist unsuccessful as a political party after 1800? What role did the War of 1812 and the Hartford Convention play in the decline and eventual collapse of the Federalist Party?
  10. Describe the Monroe Doctrine. How did it represent a major change in American foreign policy?