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US History to 1877
A Quick Overview
Founding Documents and “Rights of
The Magna Carta
English Bill of Rights
Representative Self Government
The Magna Carta (1215)
The English King agreed that his power
was not absolute and that government
should be limited in what it could do.
English Bill of Rights (1688)
Limited the King’s power and reserved rights for
the people including a fair and speedy trial with
a jury of their peers and no “cruel and unusual”
Representative Government
Houses of Parliament - The
two house system; Commons and
Houses of Burgesses 1619
Virginia - was the first assembly
of elected representatives of
English colonists in North America.
Mayflower Compact 1620 was the first governing document of
Plymouth Colony.
New England Town
Meetings - in which most or all
the members of a community come
together to legislate policy and
budgets for local government.
American Documents
Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
 The Declaration of Independence
 The United States Constitution and the
Bill of Rights
Declaration of Independence
Three Main parts –
1) Defines Human Rights
2) List of grievances
3) Decision to leave England
John Locke and Thomas Jefferson on
“Unalienable Rights”
Locke: people’s natural rights include
“life, liberty and estate”
 Jefferson: “unalienable rights” of “life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
Declaration of Independence
and “unalienable rights”
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all
men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are
instituted among Men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed…..”
Articles of Confederation
What is it good for?
Concluded the Revolution
Set up procedure for a territory to become a state
Addressed the slavery issue
Set up means for education in federal territories
Constitutional Convention –
The Question of Representation
The Connecticut (Great) Compromise –
A bicameral legislature (two houses)
Senate – each state gets two votes
House – votes based on population
Constitutional Convention –
The Question of Slavery
The 3/5 Compromise
Every slave would count as 3/5 of a free
person for both taxation and representation
3 Free Citizens = 5 Slaves
Seven Principles of Democracy
Popular Sovereignty
Limited Government
Representative Government
Separation of Powers (Three branches of
Judicial Review
Checks and Balances
The Bill of Rights – Why?
Not everyone liked the idea of a strong central
Federalists – favored ratification
- wrote many essays in support
“The Federalist Papers”
Anti-Federalists – felt the Constitution did
not go far enough to protect the rights of the
individual as well as the state.
First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
No state sponsored religion
Free exercise of religious beliefs
Freedom of speech
Freedom of the press
Freedom of assemble
Freedom to petition
No state sponsored religion
- Use of “God” on money and other state sponsored items
Free exercise of religious beliefs
- As long as the exercise does not violate the rights of others
Freedom of speech
- As long as that speech doesn’t defame or cause disruption
Freedom of the press
- Cannot knowingly print false information
Freedom to assemble
- Has to be a peaceful assembly
2nd, 3rd, and 4th Amendments
2nd Amendment – Right to bear arms to
maintain a well regulated militia.
3rd Amendment – No quartering of troops in
people’s homes in times of peace.
4th Amendment – Protection against
“unreasonable searches and seizures” and
any evidence obtained illegally cannot be
The 5th Amendment
Assures the right not to be deprived of
“life, liberty, or property without due
process of law”, including protections
against double jeopardy, selfincrimination, and government seizure
of property without just compensation.
6th, 7th and 8th Amendments
6th Amendment – Guarantees the right to a
speedy and public trial by an impartial jury.
7th Amendment – Assures the right to a jury
trial in cases involving the common law.
8th Amendment – Protects against excessive
bail or cruel and unusual punishment
The Founding Fathers – Children of the
Thomas Jefferson
Ben Franklin
George Washington
John Adams
Alexander Hamilton
James Madison
Founding Fathers According to the
Benjamin Rush – doctor of the Revolution – on a mission from
John Hancock – One of the wealthiest Americans; President of
the 2nd Continental Congress
Charles Carroll – only Roman Catholic to sign D of I
Jonathan Trumbull – Royal and Revolutionary governor of
John Peter Muhlenburg – Lutheran minister who leaves the
pulpit to fight for the Revolution
John Jay – negotiated the Treaty of Paris 1783, 1st Supreme
Court Justice; firm believer that the “notables” should control
the government
John Witherspoon – Minister and New Jersey signer of the
Dof I.
The Country Grows
Louisiana Purchase 1803
Florida 1819
Texas 1845
Oregon Territory 1846
Mexican Cession 1848
Gadsden Purchase 1854
Problems of Expansion
Native Americans – What to do with
– Indian Removal (Andrew Jackson)
– Growth of military
– Treaties (Broken)
Problems of Expansion
What about the people of European ancestry
in areas?
American laws vs. European laws for
How to settle the land?
Problems of Expansion
Division of Free vs Slave
Who makes the decision? - State vs. Federal
Economic differences – Manufacturing vs.
Dred Scott Decision – Slaves are not protected by
the constitution and are not citizens of the US.
Bleeding Kansas/John Brown’s Raid – AntiSlave vs. Pro-Slave. Kansas would eventually join the Union.
John Brown tried to start an armed slave revolt.
The 1860 Election
The Civil War
Secession – 11 states secede, 4 slave states
remained loyal to the federal government.
Bloody War – over 650,000 Americans killed.
Why important – preview on how bloody wars can
be in the modern era and how war will now affect
 Most important the US finally living up to the
Declaration of Independence.
Turning Point Battles
Bull Run – 1861 Confederate victory in the largest American and
bloodiest battle up to that point.
Shiloh – Union victory in 1862.
Antietam – Union victory was the first major battle in the American
Civil War to take place on Union soil. It was the bloodiest single-day
battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties on both sides.
Gettysburg and Vicksburg – Union victory and turning
point in the Civil War.
Sherman’s March (Total War) -
inflicted significant
damage, particularly to industry and infrastructure as well as to civilian
property throughout Georgia.
Key Legislation
1st draft in US History – Conscription of men into the armed
Pacific Railway Act - Promoted the construction of the
transcontinental railroad in the United States through authorizing the
issuance of government bonds and the grants of land to railroad
Homestead Act – U.S. federal law that gave an applicant
ownership at no cost of farmland called a "homestead" – typically 160
acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River.
Morrill Land Grant Colleges Act - United States statute that
allowed for the creation of land-grant colleges (Texas A&M).
National Currency – Now backed by bank holdings of U.S.
Treasury securities
Civil Rights
The Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1
 13th – Prohibition of Slavery (1865)
 14th – Citizenship, Due Process, Equal
Protection (1868)
 15th – Right to vote not to be denied by
race, color or previous servitude (1870)
Presidential Reconstruction
Congressional Reconstruction
What’s the best way to rebuild the South and
heal the nation