Events Leading Up to the US Constitution

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta Signing

    Magna Carta Signing
    The "great charter" of the English liberties signed by King John, the Magna Carta takes power from the King and delegates some of that power to the first English Parliament. The beginning of the transition in England from a monarchy to a democracy.
  • Petition of Rights Signing

    Petition of Rights Signing
    The Petition of Rights, signed by King Charles I, further inhibited the Kings power and gave it to the Parliament. Prohibited imposing taxes without Parliament's consent, the quartering of soldiers in homes, the use of military law during peaceful times, and it introduced the writ of habeus corpus.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights
    The document that preceded the American Bill of Rights, the English Bill of Rights outlined the God-given rights and liberties of the English people. These rights should, under no circumstances, be infringed by the government of by anyone else.
  • French and Indian War

    French and Indian War
    Also known as the Seven Years' War, the war was a fight between France and Great Britain over the Ohio Valley. The Brits eventually won, giving them sole power over the new world and deeming all the colonies under British rule.
  • Sugar Act

    Sugar Act
    Parliament passed new version of Sugar and Molasses Act, requiring colonists pay six pence per gallon of imported mollases. This aggravated the colonists as they felt this was unfair.
  • Stamp Act

    Stamp Act
    Parliament passed the Stamp Act requiring the colonists to pay a tax on all paper they used. Newspapers, legal documents, and even playing cards were all were taxed through the Stamp Act. This was so unreasonable to the colonists, it further upset them, leading them closer to revolution.
  • Declaratory Act

    Declaratory Act
    Parliament repealed Stamp Act, put put in the Declaratory Act, which furthered Parliament's control over the colonists. It made any laws passed in Britain fully binding in America, as well. This added fear to the colonists of the tyranny in Britain being imposed on the colonies.
  • Townshend Acts

    Townshend Acts
    Parliament was determined to collect taxes from the colonists, so they introduced the Townshend Acts. Basically a tax on everything the colonists could import, the Townshend Acts infuriated the colonists, which later resulted in the Boston Tea Party. They put a tax on the importation of glass, paint, paper, tea, and lead.
  • Boston Massacre

    Boston Massacre
    The murder of five colonists by British troops. A result of the tension in the colonies between them and Britain because of the tsoldiers that had been sent to the colonies on and a half years earlier. This lead to a serious uprising of the colonists in anger towards the British government.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Boston Tea Party
    Samuel Adams and a group of other angry patriots boarded 3 ships in Boston and dumped over 300 crates of tea into harbor. This was a political protest of taxes and Britain, and it brought the colonists and the British closer to war. The Boston Tea Party resulted in the Intolerable Acts.
  • Intolerable Acts

    Intolerable Acts
    The Intolerable Acts were put in place in response to the Boston Tea Party as punishment for the rebellious actiions. They were specifically designed to punish Massachusetts. The colonists veiwed these Acts as an unjust and tyrannical exercise of power over the colonists by the British government.
  • First Continental Congress

    First Continental Congress
    A meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies in Philedelphia, Pennsylvania. The first organized talk of seperation and the discussions of the violations of England on the colonists' rights, they eventually decided against seperation for the mean time.
  • Battle of Lexington and Concord

    Battle of Lexington and Concord
    "The shot heard round the world" started this battle and the Revolutionary War. This battle marked the beginning of the violent struggle of the colonists the gain their independence from England.
  • Second Continental Congress

    Second Continental Congress
    A follow-up meeting of delegates from all 13 colonies to raise an army, organize strategy, and make treaties for the seperation of the American Colonies from England. The delegates there became the temporary government.
  • Battle of Bunker Hill

    Battle of Bunker Hill
    The Battle of Bunker Hill was a race to get to Bunker Hill first. The British ultimately won the battle, but the losses they suffered were much heavier than the loses suffered by the Americans. This battle communicated that the colonists were not going to give up.
  • Declaration of Independence

    Declaration of Independence
    The agreement of all 13 colonies to secede from the British Empire. Signed on July 4,1776 and sent to King George III, the Declaration of Independence was the document that started the Revolutionary War.
  • Battle of Saratoga

    Battle of Saratoga
    The turning point in the Revolutionary War, and an increduble victory for the colonists. Not only did they win the battle with British General Burgoyne surrendering more than 5,000 soldiers, but the French and Spanish came to the colonists' aid in providing soldiers and other supplies.
  • Articles of Confederation Ratified

  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    Ratified by all 13 states, the Articles of Confederation outlined a "country" made up of multiple individual parts. The central government had close to no power to prevent tyranny, but this caused other major problems among the states. The Articles of Confederation was the first governing document of the US and the precurser to the American Constitution.
  • End of Revolutionary War

  • Shays' Rebellion

    Shays' Rebellion
    An uprising of the poor farmers lead by Daniel Shays in western Massachusetts against the rich to prevent their land from being forclosed and taken away. Shays' Rebellion outlined the need for a stronger central government and instilled fear in the rich.
  • Philedelphia Convention

    Philedelphia Convention
    Also known as the Constitutional Convention, delegates from the states got together to fix (replace) the Articles of Confederation. The Philedelphia Convention brought the states together into a country and created the government the US still uses today
  • Constitutional Convention

    Constitutional Convention
    The meeting of delegates from 12 of the 13 states to discuss the problems, and possible solutions for those problems, with the Articles of Confederation. The Convention included much debate and many compromises, but eventually led to the writing of the US Constitution. Rhode Island refused to send delegates.
  • Pennsylvania Ratifies Constitution

    Pennsylvania Ratifies Constitution
    46 votes for, 23 against
  • Delaware Ratifies Constitution

    Delaware Ratifies Constitution
    30 votes for, 0 against
    The first state to ratify the Constitution
  • New Jersey Ratifies Constitution

    New Jersey Ratifies Constitution
    38 votes for, 0 against
  • Georgia Ratifies Constitution

    Georgia Ratifies Constitution
    26 votes for, 0 against
  • Connecticut Ratifies Constitution

    Connecticut Ratifies Constitution
    128 votes for, 20 against
  • Massachusetts Ratifies Constitution

    Massachusetts Ratifies Constitution
    187 votes for, 168 against
  • Maryland Ratifies Constitution

    Maryland Ratifies Constitution
    63 votes for, 11 against
  • South Carolina Ratifies Constitution

    South Carolina Ratifies Constitution
    149 votes 4, 73 against
  • New Hampshire Ratifies Constitution

    New Hampshire Ratifies Constitution
    57 votes for, 47 against
    The ninth state to ratify the Constitution. Technically, the Constitution can be put in place after this event, but realistically, the Federalists still need Virginia and New York, the two most populous states, to ratify the Constitution.
  • Virginia Ratifies Constitution

    Virginia Ratifies Constitution
    89 votes for, 79 against
    The first of the two necessary states to ratify the Constitution
  • New York Ratifies Constitution

    New York Ratifies Constitution
    30 votes for, 27 against
    The second of the two necessary states to ratify the Constitution. After New York ratifies, the Constitution can really be put in place.
  • North Carolina Ratifies Constitution

    North Carolina Ratifies Constitution
    194 votes for, 77 against
    The 12th and second-to-last state to ratify the Constitution, North Carolina ratifies after the fact.
  • Rhode Island Ratifies Constitution

    Rhode Island Ratifies Constitution
    34 votes for, 32 against
    The 13th and final state to ratify the Constitution, Rhode Island ratifies after the fact.