The Constitution

  • Jun 15, 1215

    Magna Carta is Sealed

    The Magna Carta (or "Great Charter") is a precursor to the English and the American Bill of Rights. It represents the end of absolute rule by English monarchs.
  • Pilgrims sail from Britain

    The Pilgrims, a separatist group seeking religious freedom in the new world, set sail from England, headed towards America, after spending a time in the Netherlands where laws about religion were less strict.
  • The Pilgrims Land at Plymouth

    The pilgrims land at Plymouth rock and begin a new society, a precursor to the self governance ideals of the later colonists.
  • The Mayflower Compact is Signed

    The Mayflower Compact, a document establishing the first government in what is now the United States, was signed by every adult male aboard the Mayflower. It bound every Pilgrim on the Mayflower to abide by the rules of the town.
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    King Philip's War

    This was probably the first significant war that American colonists fought, independent of the British. It led to a spirit of American separation from Britain.
  • English Bill of Rights

    English Bill of Rights is passed it reinforces the spirit of the Magna Carta hundreds of years afterwords: parliament is separate from the monarchs of England, parliament has certain rights, the people have certain rights, etc. This is another precursor to the American Bill of Rights (the first amendments to the U.S Constitution).
  • Benjamin Franklin is Born

    Benjamin Franklin played a key role in the American Revolutionary war and rebellion against Britain. He was the oldest delegate to attend the constitutional convention, from Pennsylvania.
  • Samuel Adams

    Samuel Adams, an important revolutionary, was born on this day. He was a founder of the Sons of Liberty, and a continental congress member (a representative from Massachusetts). He also ratified the Constitution, and he was a governor of Massachusetts.
  • John Adams is Born

    John Adams, the second U.S. president, a patriot and the first U.S. vice president. He was a key figure in the burgeoning United States government in the late eighteenth century.
  • King George is Born

    King George III fought ruled Britain at the time of England's defeat at the hands of American Colonists. He was responsible for oppressive laws that sparked the outrage which led to rebellion.
  • Thomas Jefferson is Born

    Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, was born on this day.
  • James Madison is Born

    James Madison, who drafted the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights, was born in Virginia on this day.
  • Alexander Hamilton is Born

    Alexander Hamilton is born in the West Indies. The exact date is unknown, but this day is the day he gave. Alexander Hamilton played an important role in the revolutionary war, and he wrote the Federalist papers.
  • Stamp Act

    The Stamp Act of 1765 taxed all paper in Britain's North American colonies. The colonies rebelled against taxation imposed by Britain, and forced many tax collectors to resign or give up. This fueled American revolutionary fervor.
  • Townshend Acts Imposed

    The Townshend Acts were a series of tariffs imposed on certain imports in the colonies. These taxes sparked outrage amongst the colonists, as with the Stamp Acts and other ore zealous tax measures.
  • Tea Act

    The Tea Act gave the East India Company exclusive rights to sell tea in the new world. The company had experienced economic hardship, and because of its political importance, Britain decided to grant the company monopoly power in the Americas. Colonists were not happy.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty dressed up as indigenous Americans and gutted an English merchant ship of it's tea shipment. This escalated tensions between colonists and the government of England.
  • First Continental Congress Convenes

    First Continental Congress, made of delegates of 12 states, meets in the fall of 1774 to address the Coercive Acts.
  • Second Continental Congress Convenes

    The Second Continental Congress convenes the spring of 1775 to manage the colonial war effort, eventually creating the declaration of independence.
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    U.S. War of Independence

    The U.S. War of Independence was the war for independence from Britain.
  • Battles of Lexington and Concord

    These battles were the first shots of the American Revolutionary War, in which British soldiers clashed with local militiamen in the towns of Lexington and Concord. The war for independence lasted over a decade and took thousands of American lives, dividing families and friends over the question of independence from Britain.
  • The Declaration of Independence is Signed

    The declaration of independence outlined the grievances of the American colonists. It provided a philosophical foundation for the war about to be fought. It outlined the rights of the American people, which the United States Constitution sought to address and protect.
  • Articles of Confederation Come Into Effect

    The Articles of Confederation come into effect, ratified by thirteen states. The central government of the United States is weak, which leads to problems down the road.
  • Federalist Papers Begin

    The Federalist papers were an important collection of essays promoting the new constitution. They were written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. They lay out the philosophical framework of the new constitution, as was decided by the constitutional convention.
  • Shays' Rebellion

    Daniel Shays spurred an armed rebellion against the United States government, in protest of perceived economic injustice. This caused the founders of America to perceive the federal government's weaknesses.
  • American Constitution Signed by Nine States

    The American Constitution is ratified by nine of thirteen states. This is the number required for the new government to proceed, making the American Constitution official.
  • Bill of Rights Officially Becomes Part of the U.S. Constitution

    Few provisions in the U.S. constitution are as controversial as the first few amendments to it. These amendments secure free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to privacy, the right to avoid unwarranted search and seizure, the right to free assembly... Thanks to the efforts of James Madison, the Bill of Rights became part of the United States Constitution in December of 1791