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American History 1--HIST 2111 (OER): Chapter 6: A New Nation

American Yawp Chapter Summary

On July 4, 1788, Philadelphians turned out for a “grand federal procession” in honor of the new national constitution. Workers in various trades and professions demonstrated. Blacksmiths carted around a working forge, on which they symbolically beat swords into farm tools. Potters proudly carried a sign paraphrasing from the Bible, “The potter hath power over his clay,” linking God’s power with an artisan’s work and a citizen’s control over the country. Christian clergymen meanwhile marched arm-in-arm with Jewish rabbis. The grand procession represented what many Americans hoped the United States would become: a diverse but cohesive, prosperous nation.1

Over the next few years, Americans would celebrate more of these patriotic holidays. In April 1789, for example, thousands gathered in New York to see George Washington take the presidential oath of office. That November, Washington called his fellow citizens to celebrate with a day of thanksgiving, particularly for “the peaceable and rational manner” in which the government had been established.2 Read more about The New Nation.

Things to Consider

Questions to be thinking about as you move through the content of this chapter

  1. What sort of government did the Articles of Confederation create? What were some of the main problems of the Articles of Confederation? How did Shay’s Rebellion illustrate the need to change the Articles of Confederation?
  2. What were some of the main debates that took place during the Constitutional Convention? How were these debates resolved? What sorts of compromises were reached at the Constitutional Convention?
  3. Why did the Anti-Federalists oppose the Constitution? What were some of their fears? How did the addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution help assuage their fears?
  4. How did the Constitution address the rights of women and slavery?
  5. Compare and contrast Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson’s views on government.
  6. What issues did George Washington deal with as president?
  7. Describe the crisis with France that John Adams faced as president. How did the Adams administration deal with this crisis? Why were Adams’ actions so controversial?
  8. What were the Alien and Sedition Acts? What were the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions? What did Thomas Jefferson’s support for these resolutions say about his views of government?
  9. Describe the process of the “disestablishment” of churches that began during the American Revolution and continued into the early Republic. How did the First Amendment of the United States Constitution deal with religious liberty and the relationship between church and state?
  10. Describe the election of 1800. Why was it such a heated election? What were the results?
  11. What was the result of Marbury v. Madison? Why is this case considered one of the most important cases in the history of the Supreme Court?

Learning Objectives and Assessment

Course Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to understand the larger historical & intellectual contexts of the American Constitution & Bill of Rights, including Enlightenment ideas & English common law.
  • Students will be able to identify issues pertaining to governmental systems & the evolution of American liberty from the Articles of Confederation to the end of the Age of Jackson.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will demonstrate their ability to read, analyze, and comprehend college level written texts.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of current and historical political systems.
  • Students will be able to recognize differing perspectives and points of view.
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