Unit 2: 1754-1800 The Revolution & New Republic

Unit 2: 1754-1800

The British Are Coming & The Revolutionary Era.

The end of Salutary Neglect,The War for Independence, the Critical Period, the Constitution,and the early Republic, 1754-1800

Unit 2 Textbook Chapters: 

AMSCO Chapters 4-6 / American Pageant Chapters 6-10 Reading Guides (Optional but HIGHLY ENCOURAGED): 

American Pageant chapters 6-10: 
If you do  not have your textbook yet, you may read American Pageant chapters online:

Chapter 6:  The Duel for North America 1608-1763

Chapter 7:  The Road to Revolution 1763-1775

Chapter 8:  America Secedes from the Empire  1775-1783

Chapter 9:  The Confederation and the Constitution  1776-1790

Chapter 10:  Launching the New Ship of State  1789-1800


All videos are approximately 20 minutes each.

Chapter 6:  Toward Revolution and Independence (1750-1783)

Chapter 7:  Origins of the Constitution

Chapter 8:  New Republic (1789-1801)


(alternate recorded lectures!)

ADDITIONAL READINGS (for Formative extra credit!)

For the following 3 readings, complete an Article Review Form for each - be thorough for all 25 pts each!


           (Additional Reading Packet says "Unit 3" but it is actually for Unit 2)

Unit 2 Terms (For Summative extra credit!):


Sites to Remember:

Lecture Point (podcast lecture with outline notes) 

Hippocampus (topical, multimedia reviews)

CrashCourse (YouTube lectures/reviews)

Optional Activity: 

Main Idea: The French  and Indian War was a major turning point in the development of the United States.



Theme: As part of their worldwide rivalry, Great Britain and France engaged in a great struggle for colonial control of North America, culminating in the British victory in the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War) that drove France from the continent.

Theme: Before the Seven Years' War, Britain and its American colonies had already been facing some tensions as can be seen in sporadic British efforts to enforce trade laws and colonial reaction to the peace treaty in 1748. During the Seven Years' War, the relationship between British military regulars and colonial militias added to the tensions. The French defeat in the Seven Years' War created conditions for a growing conflict between Britain and its American colonies. The lack of a threatening European colonial power in North America gave the American colonists a sense of independence that clashed with new British imperial demands such as stationing soldiers in the colonies and the Proclamation of 1763.

French and Indian War 


“The Virginia Companies behaved like men 
and died like soldiers; for I believe out of the 
three companies that were there that day scarce 
thirty were left alive.…The English soldiers 
exposed all those who were inclined to do their
duty to almost certain death; and at length, 
despite every effort to the contrary, [they] 
broke and ran as sheep before the hounds.”

(Letter to Governor Dinwiddie on the Battle of 
Fort Duquense, 1755) 
George Washington (1732–1799)


Introduction to Crucible of War by Fred Anderson

review the French and Indian War:

Ch.6 summary

Like Britain, France entered late into the American colonial scramble, eventually developing an extensive though thinly settled empire economically based on the fur trade. During much of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Britain and France engaged in a bitter power struggle that frequently erupted into worldwide wars. In North America these wars constituted an extended military duel for imperial control of the continent.

The culminating phase of this struggle was inaugurated by young George Washington’s venture into the sharply contested Ohio country. After early reversals in the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War), the British under William Pitt revived their fortunes and won a decisive victory at Quebec, finally forcing the French from North America.

The American colonials, who had played a large part in Britain’s imperial wars with France, emerged with increased confidence in their own abilities. The removal of the French and Spanish threat to British control of North America kindled increasing tensions between the colonists and Britain. The Ottawa chief Pontiac’s unsuccessful uprising in 1763 convinced the British of the need to continue stationing troops in America. But with foreign threats gone, the colonists were unwilling to pay taxes for British protection and increasingly resented Britain’s authority over them.

· Competition among France, Spain, and Great Britain for North American colonies shape North 
American affairs. Affairs in Europe affect the North American colonies.

· France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War results in the collapse of its North American empire. A 
military and political; victory for Britain and its American colonists, the war exposes and aggravates 
long-standing tensions between the mother country and its colonies and between colonists and 

· Britain, Spain, and France all vied for control of the territories west of the Appalachian Mountains. 
It was not until the French defeat in the Seven Years’ War that Britain was able to lay claim to much 
of this territory. The French and their Indian allies were not so quick to abandon their forts and 
trading posts, however.

· American colonists participated in the war, led by such luminaries as George Washington and 
Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s plan for the Albany Congress laid the foundation for future colonial 
cooperation when tensions between Britain and its American colonies erupted into a full-scale war. 
Note that there was not widespread colonial support for the war with France.

The Treaty of Paris at the end of the French and Indian War (Seven Years War) led to a shift in European dominance in North America. How did Britain's position change? What advantages did they gain?

Trade and Navigation Acts- Reading Comprehension

1. Parliament enacted England’s first Navigation Act in 1651 to undercut the Dutch Republic’s economic preponderance. Dutch shippers and merchants then controlled oceanic trade and probably owned three-quarters of Northern Europe’s commercial vessels; few Englishmen could compete with the well-financed and experienced Dutch traders. By the Navigation Acts, Parliament sought to exclude the Dutch from English trade and thereby to force the England to build up its own merchant marine. Immediately after the Stuart restoration in 1660, Parliament reiterated these rule and also began protecting English manufacturers from foreign competition. By 1750 a long series of Navigation Acts were in force, affecting eh economy in four major ways.

2. First, the laws limited all imperial trade to British ships, defined as those with British ownership and whose crews were three-quarters British.(Because Parliament wanted only to exclude the Dutch, not to discriminate against Americans, it classified all colonists, even blacks, as British.)When Parliament began to strictly enforce this requirement in the late seventeenth century, American colonists and some elements of the English business community alike objected, because the Dutch offered better prices, credit, and merchandise. After 1700, however, when Britain’s merchant marine became equal to its Dutch competitors, this cause for complaint evaporated.

3. This new shipping restriction not only contributed to Great Britain’s rise as Europe’s foremost shipping nation but also laid the foundations for an American merchant marine. By the 1750s one-third of all imperial vessels were American-owned. The swift growth of this merchant marine diversified the colonial economy and made it more self-sufficient. The expansion of colonial shipping in turn hastened urbanization by creating a need for centralized docks, warehouses, and repair shops in America. By 1770 Philadelphia was the British Empire’s second largest port, after London, and New York City was not far behind. Shipbuilding emerged as a major colonial industry in these years, and by 1770 one-third of the “British” merchant marine was actually American-built.

4. The second major way in which the Navigation Acts affected the colonies lay in their barring the export of certain “enumerated goods” to foreign nations unless these items first passed through England or Scotland. The mainland’s chief “controlled” items were tobacco, rice, furs, indigo (a Carolina plant that produced a blue dye), and naval stores (masts, hemp, tar, and turpentine). Parliament never restricted grain, livestock, fish, lumber, or rum, which altogether made up 60 percent of colonial exports. Further, American exporters of tobacco and rice- chief commodities affected by enumeration- had their burdens reduced by two significant concessions. First, Parliament gave Americans a monopoly over the British market by excluding foreign tobacco, even though this hurt British consumers. (Rice planters enjoyed a natural monopoly because they had no competitors.) Second, Parliament tried to minimize the added cost of landing tobacco and rice in Britain (where customs officials collected duties on both) by refunding these duties on all tobacco and rice that the colonists later shipped to other countries. About 85 percent of all American tobacco and rice was eventually re-exported and sold outside the British Empire.

5. The navigation system’s third impact on the colonies was to encourage economic diversification in America. Parliament used British tax money to pay modest bounties to Americans producing such items as silk, iron, dyes, hemp, and lumber, which Britain would otherwise have had to import from other countries, and it raised the price of commercial rivals’ imports by imposing protective tariffs on them.

6. On the surface, the trade laws’ fourth consequence for the colonies was negative: they forbade Americans from competing with British manufacturers of clothing and steel. In practice, however, this prohibition had little effect, for it banned only large-scale manufacturing; colonial tailors, hatters, and housewives could continue to make any item of dress in their households or small shops. Manufactured by low-paid labor, British clothing imports to America generally undersold whatever the colonists could have produced at their higher labor costs. For this reason, Americans failed to establish a profitable clothing industry until after 1820. Steel manufacturing also depended on cheap labor, and not until the 1840s did either Great Britain or America develop a successful steel industry. The colonists were free to produce iron, however, and by 1770 they had built 250 ironworks employing thirty thousand men, a work force larger than the entire population of Georgia or of any provincial city.At the American Iron Company’s complex of eleven forges and furnaces near Ringwood, New Jersey, five hundred workers manned eleven furnaces that annually consumed eight square miles of timber as fuel. By 1770 British North America produced more iron than England and Wales, and only Sweden and Russia exceeded the colonies’ output.

Theme: Tension between the colonies and Britain centered around the issues of mercantilism and its implementation. The British Empire attempted to more strictly enforce laws aimed at maintaining a system of mercantilism while colonists objected to this change from the earlier "salutary neglect."

Theme: The American Revolution occurred because the American colonists, who had long been developing a strong sense of autonomy and self-government, furiously resisted British attempts to impose tighter imperial controls and higher taxes after the end of the French and Indian War in 1763. The sustained conflict over political authority and taxation, enhanced by American agitators and British bungling, gradually moved Americans from asserting rights within the British Empire to openly warring with the mother country.

Theme: At the outset of the Revolutionary War, Britain appeared to be a mighty empire, but it was weaker than it seemed at first glance. Poor leadership in London along with second-rate generals in the colonies reduced the impact of the larger British population and its naval supremacy. Americans, on the other hand, had many advantages such as George Washington's leadership and fighting a defensive war. However, the colonists also faced disorganization, jealousy, and economic difficulties.

Causes of the American Revolution Outline

Causes of the American Revolution Overview

Road to Revolution Timeline

First Continental Congress Declaration and Resolves

Ch.7 summary

The American War of Independence was a military conflict fought from 1775 to 1783, but the American Revolution was a deeper transformation of thought and loyalty that began when the first settlers arrived in America and finally led to the colonies’ political separation from Britain.

One source of long-term conflict was the tension between the considerable freedom and self-government the colonists enjoyed in the American wilderness and their participation in the British Empire’s mercantile system. While British mercantilism actually provided economic benefits to the colonies along with certain liabilities, its limits on freedom and patronizing goal of keeping America in a state of perpetual economic adolescence stirred growing resentment.

The short-term movement toward the War of Independence began with British attempts to impose higher taxes and tighter imperial controls after the French and Indian War. To the British these were reasonable measures, under which the colonists would simply bear a fair share of the costs of the empire. To the colonists, however, the measures constituted attacks on fundamental rights.

Through well-orchestrated agitation and boycotts, the colonists forced repeal of the Stamp Act of 1765 as well as the Townshend Acts that replaced it, except for the symbolic tax on tea. A temporary lull in conflict between 1770 and 1773 ended with the Boston Tea Party, conducted by a network of Boston agitators reacting to the Massachusetts governor’s attempt to enforce the law.

In response to the Tea Party, the British imposed the harsh Intolerable Acts, coincidentally passing the Quebec Act at the same time. These twin actions aroused ferocious American resistance throughout the colonies, and led directly to the calling of the First Continental Congress and the clash of arms at Lexington and Concord.

As the two sides prepared for war, the British enjoyed the advantages of a larger population, a professionally trained militia, and much greater economic strength. The greatest American asset was the deep commitment of those Patriots who were ready to sacrifice for their rights.

· As with all conflicts, the roots of Anglo-American discord have short and long-term causes.

· The role of the state in regulating the economy has always been important in American politics, even 
before the American Revolution.

· Mercantilism is at the center of American discontent with British economic policies in the 1763 
period, despite Britain’s inability to successfully enforce mercantilist laws. A series of British acts, 
including the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts, bring the British and Americans closer to conflict.

· Tensions grow significantly following the Boston Massacre. Some colonies coordinate their 
opposition to what they perceive as unnecessarily harsh British actions.

· Radical Bostonians challenge Britain’s mercantilist policies by destroying tea belonging to the British 
East Indian Company. Britain responds harshly with the intolerable Acts. Within a year, military 
conflict between British troops and colonial Minute Men at Lexington and Concord precipitate the 
American War for Independence.

· British mercantilism hampered the growth of American commerce – American capital interests were 
subordinate to those of the British. The Iron, Hat, and Wool Acts all served this purpose, as did a 
series of Navigation laws, which were initiated as early as the mid-seventeenth century.

· The ongoing military conflict with France, culminating in the Seven Years’ War, strained the British 
Exchequer (treasury). The British government thought it reasonable that the colonists assist the 
mother country in alleviating its debt and paying for the cost of protecting the colonists.

Moving Toward Independence

“Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.”

(1776) Samuel Adams (1722–1803)

“The moment I heard of America I loved her. The moment I knew she was fighting for freedom, I burned with a desire of bleeding for her; and the moment I shall be able to serve her, at any time or in any part of the world, will be the happiest one of my life.”Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette 1757–1834

“Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power in the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have not had voice or representation.” 
(Letter to John Adams at the Second Continental Congress, 1776) Abigail Adams (1744–1818)

(To a British officer) 
“You’re too late. 
I’ve alarmed the country all the way up. 
We should have five hundred men at 
Lexington soon.”

Paul Revere (1735–1818)

The Ride of Paul Revere

The real story of Paul Revere's Ride


Theme: When hostilities began in 1775, the colonists were still fighting for their rights as British citizens within the empire, but in 1776 they declared their independence, based on a proclamation of universal, “self-evident” truths. Inspired by revolutionary idealism, they also fought for an end to monarchy and the establishment of a free republic.

Theme: A combination of Washington’s generalship and British bungling in 1776–1777 prevented a quick British victory and brought French assistance, which enabled the Patriots to achieve victory after several more years of struggle.

Theme: American independence was recognized by the British only after the conflict had broadened to include much of Europe. American diplomats were able to secure generous peace terms because of the international political scene: Britain's recently reorganized government that favored peace and France's inability to make good on its promises to Spain.

Ch.8 summary

Even after Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress did not at first pursue independence. The Congress’s most important action was selecting George Washington as military commander.

After further armed clashes, George III formally proclaimed the colonists in rebellion, and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense finally persuaded Americans to fight for independence as well as liberty. Paine and other leaders promoted the Revolution as an opportunity for self-government by the people, though more conservative republicans wanted to retain political hierarchy without monarchy. Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence deepened the meaning of the struggle by proclaiming its foundation in self-evident and universal human rights.

The committed Patriots, only a minority of the American population, had to fight both Loyalist Americans and the British. Loyalists were strongest among conservatives, city-dwellers, and Anglicans (except in Virginia), while Patriots were strongest in New England and among Presbyterians and Congregationalists.

In the first phase of the war, Washington stalemated the British, who botched their plan to quash the rebellion quickly at Saratoga. When the French and others then aided the Americans, the Revolutionary War became a world war.

American fortunes fell badly in 1780–1781, but the colonial army in the South held on until Cornwallis stumbled into a French-American trap at Yorktown. Lord North’s ministry collapsed in Britain, and American negotiators achieved an extremely generous settlement from the Whigs.

· Even as late as the calling of the Second Continental Congress in May 1775, divisions still exist 
among moderate, conservative, and radical colonial factions. By summer, the Americans call on 
the king to address their concerns, but to no avail.

· George Washington is called on by the Second Continental Congress to head the American army. 
In late 1775, the Americans go on the offensive by invading Canada. the invasion fails, and Canada 
remains firmly in British hands for the rest of the war.

· The war divides Americans, many of whom remain loyal to the British crown.

· Americans are not alone in their conflict with Britain. Many European countries have a variety of 
grievances against Britain and are willing to lend support to the Americans.

· Despite what seemed like overwhelming odds when the conflict began, the Americans, with extensive 
assistance from France, finally gain their independence in 1783.

· The causes of the American Revolution are still debated by historians. Some see only one impulse behind 
the revolution: the desire for independence. Others articulate a duel-revolution thesis: that is, many 
American colonists wanted independence for itself and as a prerequisite for a fundamental transformation – 
democratization – of American society. Those who identify with the single-cause perspective repudiate the 
claim that the American colonies were comparatively more democratic than Britain itself; therefore, 
Americans sought self-determination only.

· Many Americans perceived the conflict with Britain as an effort to replace the limitations of a monarchical 
system with the benefits of a republic. Few articulate this view more effectively than Thomas Paine in 
Common Sense

“Why then do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? 
Let this most happy day give birth to the American republic. 
Let her arise, not to devastate and conquer, 
but to re-establish the reign of peace and law.”

(Speech to Second Continental Congress, 1776) 
Richard Henry Lee

(Speech to Indians)“The Great Spirit has caused your old Father the French King and other nations to join the big Knife (Washington) and fight with them, so that the English have become like a deer in the woods.”George Rogers Clark (1752–1818)


(Common Sense, 1776)

“One of the strongest natural proofs of the 
folly of hereditary right in kings is that nature 
disapproves it, otherwise she would not so 
frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind 
an Ass for a Lion.…But where, some say, is the 
King of America? I’ll tell you, friend, He reigns 
above, and doth not make havoc of mankind 
like the Royal Brute of Great Britain.”

Thomas Paine (1737–1809)

Thomas Paine on Slavery

“America has been the country of my fond election, from the age of thirteen, when I first saw it. I had the honor to hoist, with my hands, the flag of freedom, the first time it was displayed on the River Delaware; and I have attended it, with veneration, ever since on the ocean.”
 (1779) John Paul Jones (1742–1792)

Review the Revolution:


United States of America... Boundary following the American Revolution


The Confederation and the Constitution, 1776–1790
Chapter 9 notes

Theme: The American Revolution was not a radical transformation like the French or Russian revolutions, but it did produce political innovations and some social change in the direction of greater equality and democracy.

Theme: Compromise on a number of important issues was required in order to create the new federal Constitution. Adopting the new document required great political skill and involved changing the ratification process defined in the Articles of Confederation, writing persuasively in support of the stronger central government, and promising to add amendments to protect individual liberty and states' rights.

Theme: The federal Constitution represented a moderately conservative reaction against the democratic and decentralizing effects of the Revolution and the Articles of Confederation. In effect, it embedded the revolutionary ideals of liberty and popular government within a strong framework designed to advance national identity and interests against the dangers of fragmentation and disorder.


The American Revolution did not overturn the social order, but it did produce substantial changes in social customs, political institutions, and ideas about society and government. Among the changes were the separation of church and state in some places, the abolition of slavery in the North, written political constitutions, and a shift in political power from the eastern seaboard toward the frontier.

The first weak national government, the Articles of Confederation, was unable to exercise real authority, although it did successfully deal with the western lands issue. The Confederation’s weaknesses in handling foreign policy, commerce and the Shays rebellion spurred the movement to alter the Articles.

Instead of revising the Articles, the well-off delegates to the Constitutional Convention created a permanent charter for a whole new government. In a series of compromises, the convention produced a plan that provided for a vigorous central government, a strong executive, and protection for property, while still upholding republican principles and states’ rights. The pro-Constitution Federalists, generally representing wealthier and more commercial forces, frightened other groups who feared that the new government would undermine their rights and their interests.

The Federalists met their strongest opposition from Anti-Federalists in Virginia and New York, but through effective organization and argument, as well as promises to incorporate a bill of rights into the document, they succeeded in getting the Constitution ratified. By establishing the new national government, the Federalists checked the Revolutionary movement, but their conservative regime embraced the central Revolutionary values of popular republican government and liberty.

Ch9 review... the EGG

Constitution VS Articles of Confederation

Comparison Notes for Federalists and Anti-Federalists:



Launching the New Ship of State, 1789–1800

Ch10 Review... GEORGE

Ch. 10 Overview

Chapter 10 notes

The First Four American Presidents


Theme: Led by Washington and Hamilton, the first administration under the Constitution overcame various difficulties and firmly established the political and economic foundations of the new federal government. The first Congress under the Constitution, led by James Madison, also contributed to the new republic by adding the Bill of Rights.

alex                                        tommy
The cabinet debate over Hamilton’s financial measure expanded into a wider political conflict between Hamiltonian Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans—the first political parties in America. Federalists supported a strong central government, a "loose" interpretation of the Constitution, and commerce (business). (Democratic) Republicans supported states' rights, a "strict" interpretation of the Constitution, and agriculture (farmers).

Federalist Papers 15

Theme: The French Revolution created a severe ideological and political division over foreign policy between Federalists and Republicans. The foreign-policy crisis coincided with domestic political divisions that culminated in the bitter election of 1800, but in the end power passed peacefully from Federalists to Republicans. American isolationist tradition emerges as a result of Washington's strong neutrality stance and his farewell warnings about foreign alliances.

Jefferson and Hamilton Debate the Issues

chapter summary

The fledgling government faced considerable difficulties and skepticism about its durability, especially since traditional political theory held that large-scale republics were bound to fail. But President Washington brought credibility to the new government, while his cabinet, led by Alexander Hamilton, strengthened its political and economic foundations.

The government’s first achievements were the Bill of Rights and Hamilton’s financial system. Through effective leadership, Hamilton carried out his program of funding the national debt, assuming state debts, imposing customs and excise taxes, and establishing a Bank of the United States.
Bank of the United States (BUS)

The bank was the most controversial part of Hamilton’s program because it raised basic constitutional issues. Opposition to the bank from Jefferson and his followers reflected more fundamental political disagreements about republicanism, economics, federal power, and foreign policy. As the French Revolution evolved from moderation to radicalism, it intensified the ideological divisions between the pro-French Jeffersonians and the pro-British Hamiltonians.

Washington’s Neutrality Proclamation angered Republicans, who wanted America to aid Revolutionary France. Washington’s policy was sorely tested by the British, who routinely violated American neutrality. In order to avoid war, Washington endorsed the conciliatory Jay’s Treaty, further outraging the Republicans and France.

After the humiliating XYZ affair, the United States came to the brink of war with France, but Adams sacrificed his political popularity and divided his party by negotiating peace.

These foreign-policy disagreements embittered domestic politics: Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, to which Jefferson and Madison responded with the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions.


· In 1794, an uprising in PA over a federal tax on whisky is suppressed by militia on orders from President Washington

· As secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton has a profound impact on establishing policies that will determine the nation’s economic direction and growth. Deficit spending, initiated in large part by Hamilton, endures as an economic and political tool.

· Politically opposed to Hamilton is Washington’s secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, a staunch opponent of Hamilton’s brainchild, the Bank of the U.S.

· Despite Washington’s concerns about political party affiliations, the period witnesses the emergence of two political parties: the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.

· Washington warns the new nation about establishing alliances with foreign nations; the key to America’s future, according to the first president, lies in a policy of neutrality.

· After Washington’s administration, the Federalists passed legislation that restricted civil and political rights. A response in the form of the VA and KY Resolutions offers a states’ rights challenge to questionable federal laws.

· Debate continues over the distinction made by most historians that Jefferson and Hamilton represented opposing views: Hamilton as an advocate of a strong central government, commerce, and manufacturing; Jefferson as a supporter of states’ rights and an agrarian future for the nation. Some historians contend, however, that the two adversaries simply represented two types of wealth and class: manufacturers and planter-slaveholders.