Leading Up To The Constitution


Intolerable Acts


The Intolerable Acts were laws passed by the British government intended a punishment for the Boston Tea Party. These laws took away Massachusetts' right to self govern and instead of lessening resistance from the colonies like the British had hoped these laws would, pushed back against Britain more than before.

The Revolutionary War Begins


The Revolutionary Wars begins with the Battle of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. A month later, the second Continental Congress meet in Philadelphia and appoint George Washington as commander of the Continental Army.

Common Sense


Thomas Paine publishes "Common Sense" a pamphlet supporting rebellion against the British. The pamphlet spread through the colonies and served to gain the people's support of the revolution by pointing out the many problems the Colonies had been having with Britain.

Declaration of Independence


Though others contributed Benjamin Franklin was the main writer of The Declaration of Independence. This document stated the issues the colonies had with the British and people's right to choose and make their won government as they separated from Great Britain.

Articles of Confederation


The Articles of Confederation was the first constitution in the United States. It gave states the vast majority of power to do what they wanted and gave the central government very little power and didn't even grant it the right to collect taxes. Under the Articles of Confederation there was no president, just the 13 leaders of the states.

Treaty of Paris


The Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War and recognized the United States as a free and independent country. It granted the United States land between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River. The final treaty was signed on September 3, 1783.

Shays' Rebellion


Shays' Rebellion is the name given to an uprising of farmers against state tax collections. While these farmers were away at war their farms were left untended so they were unable to generate any revenue. While the men were at war they were promised they would be compensated for their time fighting. Since the federal government could not collect taxes there was no money for the farmers when they returned and they were unable to pay the large tax bills their farms had accumulated. Because of this groups of farmers banded together and harassed supporters of the federal government. this uprising was cause to re-evaluate the Articles of Confederation.

Constitutional Convention


By 1786 the Articles of Confederation was showing its flaws and oversights so congress decided to draft a new constitution. In 1787 the Constitutional Congress met in Philadelphia and after three months drafted a constitution which 38 of 41 delegates signed.

The Great Compromise


The Great Compromise was the product of a disagreement between delegates over how states of varying sizes should be represented in Congress. This deal equalized the powers between states with different populations. It split Congress into upper and lower houses. A state;'s representation in the lower house was proportional to its population, but all states had equal representation in the upper house.

Ratification of the Constitution


After the Constitution was signed, it needed 9 of the 13 states approvals to be ratified. In 1788 New Hampshire became the ninth state to approve the constitution. The Constitution went into effect on June 4, 1789.