The Early Republic

  • Articles of Confederation put into effect

    After the United States became its own country, the Continental Congress had to establish a national government. They came up with the Articles of Confederation, which gave the states virtually the power to govern themselves; they made up their own laws and rules to live by. Because this didn't really unite the country like it should have, it was not a very successful government. The federal government had almost no control over the individual states. This was the first United States government.
  • The Land Ordinance of 1785

    The Land Ordinance of 1785 concerned itself with the Old Northwest. This area was northwest of the Ohio River Valley, east of the Mississippi River, and south of the Great Lakes. This area was set aside to be sold and settled. The selling of this land was used to help pay off the national debt. Part of this land was also set aside for education, which shows the growing significance of education in the United States. This settled land later became states.
  • Shays Rebellion

    In western Massachusetts, many backcountry farmers were angry about taxes. Led by Captain Daniel Shays, the farmers demanded to lighten the taxes. After Shays men took up arms, the Massachusetts authorities raised a small army that fought the rebellion. The rebellion was stopped, but Shays Rebellion had shown that the United States was not able to establish a pwerful military or enforce taxes under the Articles of Confederation.
  • Ratification of the Constitution

    After the failure of the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress decided a new government plan had to be established. They began the Constitution. It called for a stronger federal government than the Articles of Confederation and the division of powers of government with checks and balances. The result was a legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch. The Constitution was put to the states, and all thirteen states ratified the Constitution as our national government.
  • Washington elected President

    After establishing the Constitution, the United States had to elect a leader of the executive branch, a President. The Continental Congress elected Washington unanimously, making him the only President to date that was unanimously elected. Washington then set the precedent for other Presidents by establishing a Presidential Cabinet, and by only staying in office for a maximum of two terms. As President, Washington looked to get the country out of debt and establish itself as a nation.
  • The Judiciary Act of 1789

    This act enacted by Congress basically established the structure of the judiciary system. It organized the Supreme Court, which was the most powerful court in the United System. It all established federal district and circuit courts. Federal district courts were courts for each federal district, or state. The circuit courts were spread throughout each district.
  • Bill of Rights adopted

    As part of an agreement between the national government and the states when the states ratified the Constitution, the national government had to create the Bill of Rights. These were the basic rights of American citizens. Many of these rights were established to compensate for the former Acts the British had placed on the colonists. These included the rights of free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to not quarter troops during peace times, and many others.
  • The Bank of the United States

    After Washington was elected, he needed a way to get the country out of debt. Alexander Hamilton's economical plan called for a national bank. This was a major cause of debate in Congress because it had to do with interpreting the Constitution loosely or strictly. The Bank of the United States was signed into law by Washington, which helped get the United States out of debt but sparked strong debate in Congress.
  • Federalist and Republican parties formed

    Because of different political views, the Federalist and Republican parties were formed in Congress, which shaped the government of the United States in different ways. The federalist party supported strong national government, were in the north, supported the national bank, and supported a loose interpretation of the Constitution. The Republicans supported strong state government, were in the south, didn't support the national bank, and supported a strict interpretation of the Constitution.
  • Washington's Neutrality Proclamation

    During the French Revolution, the French asked the United States to honor their alliance made in the American Revolution and help their cause after the British began attacking the French. The Federalist political party didn't want to help France, while the Republican party did. Washington solved this matter by claiming to be neutral in the war. He did this because he did not believe the United States was strong enough to concern itself in foreign affairs.
  • Louis XVI beheaded: French Revolution

    When Louis XVI was beheaded during the French Revolution by the revolting peasants, the French Revolution was at a critical moment in the war. During this time, the French asked for American aid in the war. This was another issue that federalists and antifederalists couldn't agree on. The French Revolution was based on many principles that the Americans had established in the American Revolution. This war was also the first call to arms for America.
  • Washington's Neutrality Proclamation

    In response to the French's request for aid in the war, Washington proclaimed that the United States would be neutral in the war between France and Britain. He did this because he believed that the young United States wasn't powerful enough to concern itself with foreign affairs. This proclamation by Washington was very controversial, especially since Washington did not consult Congress on this decision.
  • Whiskey Rebellion

    In response to the Whiskey tax the United States placed on its citizens, some southwerstern Pennsylvanians revolted. Unlike in the Articles of Confederation and Shays Rebellion, Washington was able to summon up a large army from several states, which stopped the rebellion. This developed respect for the federal government and its strength. It was also an example of how successful the government under the Constitution was in comparison the Articles of Confederation.
  • Battle of Fallen Timbers

    As part of the peace treaty between the United States and Britain, the British were supposed to vacate the United States. However, they retained forts in the Ohio River Valley. The United States sent troops to remove the British put were met by the Miami Indians, who were in alliance with the British. They defeated the United States, but the United States returned with a new army that defeated the Miamis in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. This led to the removal of the Miamis from this land.
  • Alien and Sedition Acts

    The Alien and Sedition Acts were put in place by John Adams to strengthen the federalist party. The Alien Acts allowed the President to remove anyone from the country he deemed dangerous, and it extended the time it took for immigrants to become citizens. The Sedition Act prevented anyone from speaking badly about the government. These acts were later deemed unconstitutional and repealed, but they were another part of the "fight" between federalists and republicans.
  • Jefferson defeats Adams for presidency

    In the election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams. A lot of the reason John Adams was not elected for a second term was because of the Alien and Sedition Acts he had put in place. Thomas Jefferson had narrowly beaten him, but the victory marked the end of federalist power in the United States. The election of Jefferson was thought of as a revival in democratic principles.
  • Marbury v. Madison

    Marbury v. Madison was the most important court case in United States history. Marbury was supposed to become a Supreme Court judge as a result of Adams "midnight judges", but the new secretary of state, James Madison, refused to appoint him. The result was a court case, and after being dismissed, Marbury asked for an appeal and based his argument on the Judiciary Act of 1789. The result of the case was judicial review, which is the principle that the Supreme Court deems consitutionality.
  • Louisiana Purchase

    Thomas Jefferson wanted to increase the size of the United States. He sought after the port city of New Orleans, which had recently been owned by the Spanish but had been overtaken by the French. James Monroe was sent to negotiate an agreement for the land. Napolean, leader of France, needed money, so he offered the whole Louisiana territory to Monroe. Monroe accepted the deal for fifteen million. The purchase doubled the size of the United States.
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    Lewis and Clark Expedition

    After buying the Louisiana territory, Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore the new land. They discovered many new plants and animals in the territory, including large herds of buffalo. They also discovered many other Native American tribes in the area, which would cause the United States trouble as they continued to settle lands westward.
  • United States declares war on Britain

    In 1812, James Madison asked Congress to declare war on Britain. This was done because British ships had continually impressed American ships, seizing goods and men as their own. The British were bullying the United States, and this led to the War of 1812. This war is considered the 2nd war for independence. It was the fight for legitimacy in the world for the United States.
  • Treaty of Ghent

    On Christmas Eve in 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the War of 1812. The war had ended in a draw. All land was returned to its rightful owner. The war was the same as the American Revolution in that the Americans didn't have to win, they just couldn't lose. The Americans didn't win or lose, so the war ended in pretty much a draw. The United States gained legitimacy in the world for its stand against Great Britain, however.