Chain of Events to the constitution

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    Before this document, the English Monarchy had ultimate power. They were able to tax as much as they wanted, throw anyone in prison without a fair trial, and pretty much treat people like pawns. This doctrine established the values of limited power withing a government. The Magna Carta was also a gateway towards further redemption. This was only the beginning of the idea that government is not an all-powerful force that should control every aspect of life.
  • Virginia house of Burgesses

    Virginia house of Burgesses
    This was the first legislature established in America. It was started only 12 years after the settlement of Jamestown. Many original laws were created here. The house of Burgesses made major contributions to the development of the representative government in the United States. Many leaders of the revolutionary war were members of the house of Burgesses.
  • Mayflower Compact

    Mayflower Compact
    Started a gateway for many colonial plans for self government. This document was drawn up by 41 men representing all of the pilgrim families. They all gathered together to discuss the layout of this compact in a tiny cabin of their ship. They decided guidelines were neccesary for survival in the new land. They also agreed to make their own lands and appoint their own leaders that would benefit everyone.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    A later refinement of the Magna Carta. This bill set clear limits on the ruler's power and abilities. This was a very important document to the later American colonies. It allowed people to petition the government if they were being unjust. Cruel and unusual punishment was outlawed as well.
  • French and Indian War

    French and Indian War
    This war was fought between colonies of British America and New France. The dispute was over the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. Great Britain and France declared war on eachother and started a world-wide conflict. The French were outnumbered so they recieved help from their Indian allies. The war was fought primarily along the frontiers seperating New France from British colonies.
  • Stamp act

    Stamp act
    A forced tax by the British Parliment. Required printed materials be produced on paper made in London. The tax had to be paid in British currency, not in colonial paper money. The British government thought the american colonies should pay for the british military presence. The americans knew they could protect themselves and didnt want them there or to pay a tax.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Protesters disquised themselves as american indians and destroyed an entire supply of tea sent by the east indian company to the Boston harbor.The plan was to boycott tax on tea that had not been carried out by americans. The british government was outraged and instigated the American Revolution. The British violated their taxation without representation rights. This initiated a rebellion.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    A convention of delegates from twelve colonies. It was a response to the punishment of boston for the boston tea party. The congress met to discuss their options to end British rule. They petitioned King George. the only province that wasnt a part was Georgia.
  • Lexington and Concord

    Lexington and Concord
    First military engagements of the revolutionary war. British soldiers were ordered to capture military supplies. The militia knew they were coming and moved the supplies to other locations. They were greatly outnumbered by the British and had to fall back. Eventually, the militia sieged Boston and held their ground there.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    A convention of delegates from the 13 colonies. Began directly after the revolutionary war. They succeded from the first continental congress. Worked towards adopting the declaration of Independence. Through successful stratigy they formed the united states.
  • Declaration of Independance

    Declaration of Independance
    Statement that announced the 13 colonies seperation from the British Empire. They then formed a union called the united states of america. Thomas Jefferson composed the original draft. The document justified independence as a result of grievences against King George III.
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    Served as the first constitution. This was an agreement that established the united states of america as a confederation of sovereign states. This document provided support for congress to direct the revolutionary war. Territorial issues and native american relations were also delt with.
  • Peace Treaty with Great Britain

    Peace Treaty with Great Britain
    Ended the american revolutionary war. Involved representatives of the negotiation were Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and John Adams. The treaty document was sighned in Paris, France. For this reason, it is known as the treaty of Paris. The Dutch Republic, France, and Spain all had seperate agreements.
  • Shay's Rebellion

    Shay's Rebellion
    An armed uprising that took place in Massachusetts. Named after Danial Shays. Brought forth by financial difficulties. Protesters shut down county courts. This was an attempt to stop judicial hearings for tax and debt collection.
  • 3/5 Comprimise

    3/5 Comprimise
    Compromise between southern and northern states. Stated 3/5 of the slave population could be counted for representation. This involved distribution of taxes and the members in the house of representatives. Slaves still could not vote. Instead, they benefited by an increase in representation.
  • Constitutuional Convention

    Constitutuional Convention
    took place to adress problems in governing the united states of america. was originally invented to revise the articles of confederation. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were chiefs among them. Thier plan wasnt to fix the existing government, but create a new one. George Washington was elected to preside over the convention.
  • Commerce/Slave Trade Compromise

    Commerce/Slave Trade Compromise
    Stated that congress couldnt ban slave trade for 20 years. It was done so the constitution would be accepted by pro-slave states. Their economy was over dependent on slavery. Also, if slavery was banned, southern states most likley would not have consented to the constitution. Slave owners didnt want congress to have the ability to tax the export of goods from any state either.
  • Virginia Plan

    Virginia Plan
    Proposal by Virgina delegates for a bicameral legislature. It initialized the idea of population wieghted representation. The constitutional convention all gathered in Philadelphia to revise the articles of confederation. The Virginia delegation immediatly drew up a proposal which James Madison was given chief credit.
  • Connecticut Compromise

    Connecticut Compromise
    Also known as the great comprimise of 1787. This was an agreement that defined the legislative structure that each state would have under the constitution. It retained the bicameral legislature. Each state would have two representatives in the upper house. Along with this was proportional representation in the lower house.
  • New Jersey Plan

    New Jersey Plan
    A proposal for the structure of the U.S. government. The plan was created in response to the Virginia plan. Less populated states didnt want more populated ones to have more control. This plan was rejected by James Madison and Edmund Randolph. The uncameral legislature inherited one vote per state.
  • Rhode Island Ratification

    Rhode Island Ratification
    Rhode Island was the last colony to ratify the constitution. Beforehand, they saw many faults in the constitution and slow to give their approval. They were the most independant state. They had been dodging British rule for longer than any other colony. When it came to the constitution, fears of a removed government trampling on their freedoms grew.
  • Bill of Rights

    Bill of Rights
    also known as the first 10 amendments to the constitution. James Madison originally wrote 12 amendments, 10 of which were passed. It was written after the constitution. The constitution was flawed. In order to revise the mistakes and ensure the saftey and rights of citizens, the bill of rights was created.