HIS 516: US Constitution

  • First Continental Congress Convenes

    First Continental Congress Convenes
    56 Colonial representatives met to discuss a response to the Coercive Acts. They sent the "Declaration and Resolves" to the king, stating they were entitled to life, liberty, and property and by emigrating, they did not give up those rights. The foundation of English liberty was a right to participate in the legislative council, as established by the "Bill of Rights" in 1688. They had a right to gather, discuss grievances, and petition the king. A standing army in peacetime was illegal.
  • Second Continental Congress Convenes

    Second Continental Congress Convenes
    Colonial representatives met again in Pennsylvania to discuss the lack of improvement in conditions. In response to events at Lexington & Concord, created a Continental Army under George Washington. They sent the "Olive Branch Petition" to the king, requesting a negotiation of tax and trade policies. This was refused and the delegates declared wanted for treason. The Continental Congress assumed governmental powers and began drafting the Articles of Confederation.
  • The Declaration of Independence Signed

    The Declaration of Independence Signed
    The Declaration of Independence was a document written to explain to the world why the American Colonies were justified in overthrowing King George III and establishing a new government. In addition, the document explained the founding principles of the new United States of America: governments are created to protect the rights of life, liberty, and happiness and if the government doesn’t protect these rights, people have the responsibility to change it or get rid of it.
  • Articles of Confederation Ratified

    Articles of Confederation Ratified
    The Articles of Confederation became official with the ratification by all thirteen colonies, establishing a central government that could borrow and create money, settle arguments between states, deal with Native Americans, make treaties, and ask states for money and soldiers. States could refuse to send money or soldiers and each state had one vote. A unanimous vote (13/13) was needed to amend the Articles of Confederation. There was no executive or judicial branch.
  • Shays Rebellion Starts

    Shays Rebellion Starts
    Daniel Shays was a Massachusetts farmer who could not pay the taxes on his land and was in danger of having his land confiscated in lieu of payment. Having fought with the Continental Army, Shays was owed pay by the Confederation Congress, but they had no power to tax in order to raise the funds to pay the veterans. Along with other farmers, Shays shut down local courts and marched on the federal arsenal. This event pointed out the major weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.
  • Constitutional Convention Convenes

    Constitutional Convention Convenes
    The Constitutional Convention was convened in response to the many diplomatic and economic problems facing the new country: inflation caused by almost worthless paper money, war-damaged harvests (mainly in southern states), high import fees put on American goods in European countries slowed trade, England refused to sign the Treaty of Paris, and the Confederation Congress could not pay its debts. They met to determine whether to amend or replace the Articles of Confederation.
  • Northwest Ordinance

    Northwest Ordinance
    One of the major successes under the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 laid out rules for new territories to become a state, outlawed slavery in these territories, and created a way for the Confederation Congress to raise money through the sale of these lands.
  • Connecticut Compromise Reached

    Connecticut Compromise Reached
    In the course of trying to create a new constitution, a large sticking point was the formation of the legislative branch. Virginia proposed bicameral legislation with representation based on state population. New Jersey, however, proposed unicameral legislation with states having equal voting power. The Connecticut Compromise combined both: bicameral legislature with a House of Representatives with the number of delegates based on state population and a Senate with equal voting power.
  • The U.S. Constitution Signed

    The U.S. Constitution Signed
    39 out of 42 representatives present signed their names to the Constitution. The three people who abstained did so because they felt the Constitution needed a Bill of Rights to protect people's freedoms and guard against tyranny. The process of ratification became a literary battle between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.
  • 1st Anti-Federalist Paper Published

    1st Anti-Federalist Paper Published
    Starting just a few days after the Constitution was signed, the Anti-Federalist faction began publishing papers against the ratification of the Constitution. Unlike the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist papers had no unifying element and were published under various pseudonyms, including Cato, Brutus, Centinel, and Federal Farmer. The influence of these writers led to the inclusion of a Bill of Rights as the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution passed in 1791.
  • 1st Federalist Paper Published

    1st Federalist Paper Published
    Between October 1787 and May 1788, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison published a series of 85 essays in support of ratifying the Constitution.
  • US Constitution Ratified

    US Constitution Ratified
    The U.S. Constitution is officially ratified, becoming the Supreme Law of the Land.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson
    This case was the result of a black man refusing to sit in a "Black's Only" train car. The Supreme Court decision resulted in the concept of "Separate but Equal." Because of Plessy v. Ferguson, segregation was institutionalized.
  • Brown v. Board of Education

    Brown v. Board of Education
    This Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education declared that segregation in education violated the protections of the 14th Amendment, and was therefore unconstitutional. Desegregation of schools followed.
  • Little Rock Nine

    Little Rock Nine
    The desegregation of a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas became headline news when the governor sent in the National Guard to prevent the nine black students who enrolled from entering, purportedly for their own protection.
  • Civil Rights Act

    Civil Rights Act
    This law outlaws discrimination based on color, race, sex, religion, and nationality by an institution which receives federal funding. As schools receive federal funding, they are subject to this law. They must provide an appropriate education to all students regardless of any distinctive characteristic.
  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act

    Elementary and Secondary Education Act
    This law was passed to ensure quality education throughout the nation. It mandated funds be provided for professional development, instructional materials, and educational programs.
  • Education for All Handicapped Children Act

    Education for All Handicapped Children Act
    The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) of 1975 established that any public schools receiving federal funding must provide equal and appropriate education for children with disabilities. This law was the precursor to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act

    Americans with Disabilities Act
    This law outlaws discrimination based on mental or physical disabilities for employment, public services, transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications. As education is a public service, schools must provide free and appropriate education to students with exceptionalities.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
    This law provides protections for students with disabilities and gives parents the right to be involved in school and education decisions regarding students with disabilities.
  • No Child Left Behind Act

    No Child Left Behind Act
    This law replaced the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and incorporates the Cordell Teacher Liability Protection Act which shields teachers from lawsuits so long as they are operating within the scope of their duties and responsibilities, in accordance with state and federal laws, and did not cause harm through reckless misconduct.
  • Assistive Technology Act

    Assistive Technology Act
    The Assistive Technology Act of 2004, originally established in 1998, gives money to states to fund Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) in order to provide helpful technology to people with disabilities.
  • Every Student Succeeds Act

    Every Student Succeeds Act
    This law was enacted to ensure that every child receives an appropriate and quality education. It replaced No Child Left Behind, and left decisions on standardized testing up to the states. Students must be tested on reading, math, and science. It requires more school transparency for parents and the community.