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Constitutional Period/Critical Period/Federalist Period Essay Sample

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Constitutional Period/Critical Period/Federalist Period Essay Sample

Ending the American Revolution, the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. During the war, the Articles of Confederation had been drafted, creating a confederation out of the colonies for the first time. Under the Articles, the government could not raise an army or tax. It also lacked centralized power because of the absence of an executive branch. The only strong aspect of the Articles was its orderly settlement of the west, as seen in the Land Ordinance of 1784 and 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Those in favor of a stronger central government became known as the Nationalists, and they wanted the federal government to have more power than the states’ governments. Their concerns were exemplified after Shay’s Rebellion in 1786. Although the rebellion was blown out of proportion, it convinced many that a stronger government was needed to control similar outbursts in the future. The government’s inability to tax and raise an army, as well as their lack of central power, led to what became known as the Constitutional Convention in 1787. The Founding Fathers met to fix the problems with the Articles, but ended up drafting the Constitution instead.

During the convention, several different plans were discussed. The first was the Virginia Plan, written by James Madison, which suggested the existence of both an executive and legislative branch. The legislative branch was to have two houses of Congress, each with representation based on population. In contrast, the New Jersey Plan was to have a unicameral legislative branch with equal representation for each state. With the help of Benjamin Franklin, the Great Compromise was created, which combined the two plans. It called for three branches; including a legislative branch comprised of two houses. The Senate was to have equal representation from each state, while the House was to have representation based upon population. To settle the dispute over counting slaves, the Three-Fifths Compromise would count each slave as three-fifths of a person for representation purposes. Also, slavery was neither endorsed nor condemned by the Constitution.

The founding fathers were aware of the problems with giving one man, or one branch, too much power, and for this reason they developed a system of checks and balances, in which each branch was able to check certain powers of the others. Those favoring the Constitution became known as Federalists, and among them were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, George Washington, and John Jay. They believed in a loose interpretation of the Constitution, stating that what it does not forbid, it permits. However, many were against the Constitution because they feared the Elastic Clause would give the legislative branch too much power. They were known as the Anti-Federalists, or the Jeffersonian Republicans. To support ratification of the Constitution, Madison and Hamilton composed a series of essays, which came to be known as the Federalist Papers. By June 21, 1788, the required nine states had ratified the Constitution. Those that had opposed it now followed a strict interpretation, believing that what the Constitution does not permit, it forbids. They were scared that individual rights would not be protected by the Constitution.

In order to defeat this problem, the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. The first nine amendments gave specific guarantees of personal freedoms, while the tenth gave powers to the states not held by the federal government. The first test for the new government was when George Washington became the nation’s first president in 1789. He assigned Alexander Hamilton as his secretary of treasury. Hamilton had many policies to promote economic growth, including establishing a national bank and funding a national debt. His polices were debated widely and eventually established. A major event that gave credibility to the new government was the Whiskey Rebellion, which occurred in 1794 when western farmers refused to pay the tax on whiskey, which formed the backbone of Hamilton’s revenue programs. In contrast with Shays’ Rebellion, Washington was able to send out a federal militia, which proved the young government’s strength. Also occurring during Washington’s administration was the French Revolution.

Washington produced a Proclamation of Neutrality, but was met with opposition from Edmond Genet. Genet, a French diplomatic representative, defied the President and tried to encourage support for the French cause. This became known as the Citizen Genet Affair. To try to secure compensation for British assaults on American ships, John Jay was sent to England. He returned with the Jay treaty, which failed to achieve its goal of withdrawing British forces from the frontier post. However, it did settle the conflict with Britain and established American sovereignty over the Northwest. When he returned, many thought it was controversial because he failed to get enough promises from the British. Jay’s Treaty brought fear to Spain that America and Britain would come together and challenge the Spanish properties in North America. Therefore, when Thomas Pinckney negotiated with the Spanish, he gained the right to use the Mississippi River for American trade in Pinckney’s Treaty. To end Washington’s term in office, he gave a farewell address, in which he warned of the dangers of permanent entangling alliances and political parties.

Before he left, however, he set many precedence’s that are still used today. For example, the existence of the presidential cabinet is not required by the Constitution, but every president since has had one. Also, after he held two terms of office, it became tradition to hold no more than two. The 1796 election was between John Adams, a Federalist, and Thomas Jefferson, a Republican. Adams gained the most votes, with Jefferson coming in second. This led to Jefferson becoming Adams’ vice president, an unwanted duo. During Adams’ presidency, relations with Great Britain and Spain greatly improved while relations with the revolutionary France were deteriorating. When French vessels began to harass American ships, Pinckney was once again sent to negotiate. When he arrived, three French agents demanded a loan for France and a bribe for French officials before they could begin negotiations. This came to be known as the XYZ affair. Outraged, Adam’s urged Congress to prepare for war.

However, before any real war could take place, France and the U.S. signed a new treaty and established new commercial arrangements. In order to place obstacles in the way of foreigners who wished to become American citizens, the Alien and Sedition Acts were created, among the most controversial legislation in American history. The Alien Act strengthened the president’s abilities in dealing with “aliens”, while the Sedition Act gave the government the ability to prosecute people who engaged in sedition against the government. Republican leaders hoped that the state legislatures would reverse the Alien and Sedition Acts. In order to give the states the right to do so, Republicans drafted the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. These Resolutions used to ideas of John Locke to argue that states had the right to nullify laws. All of these controversies between the two parties led to tension during the 1800 presidential election. The nation in the past had majorities in all three branches of government. However, after the “Revolution of 1800,” the Republicans gained both Congress and the Executive branch when Thomas Jefferson was elected president.

Glossary

1. Administration The management of office; in this case referring to the presidential administration, which governs the country and carries out laws. 2. Alexander Hamilton He was the Secretary of Treasury under Washington. Hamilton developed a financial program that included taking on a national debt and creating a national bank. Two components of his plan were an excise tax and a tariff. He is considered the father of American banking. However, the Jeffersonian Republicans were opposed to the plan because they felt the system of taxing was too similar to the British proposals of the 1760’s. 3. Alien & Sedition Acts Legislation enacted by Federalists to reduce foreign influences and increase their power. The Alien Act created new hurdles to citizenship and was used to silence Jeffersonian Republican critics of the Federalists. The Sedition Act suppressed newspaper critics and tested the strength of the First Amendment. 4. Annapolis Convention A 1786 meeting in Annapolis, Maryland in which only five states sent delegates to fix the weaknesses of the Articles.

They approved a proposal written by Hamilton that recommended Congress to call a convention the next year. This later convention was known as the Philadelphia Convention. 5. Anti-Federalists Those that opposed a strong federal government and believed most of the power should be held with states’ governments. Originally they opposed ratification of the Constitution, but when it was finally ratified they believed in a strict interpretation. They supported the Bill of Rights and the main Anti-Federalists were Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Samuel Adams. 6. Articles of Confederation First government of the United States written during the Revolutionary War. It did not have the power to tax or raise an army and didn’t have an executive branch. However, it did provide for the orderly settlement of the west. 7. Bill of Rights A set of ten amendments written by Thomas Jefferson that were ratified by 1791.

The first nine protected basic rights, while the tenth reserved to the states all powers not withheld from them or delegated to the federal government. This bill legitimized the new government in the eyes of its opponents. 8. Cabinet A group of people appointed by the president that serve as his advisory board. 9. “Citizen Genet” Edmond Genet, a French diplomatic representative, voiced his support for the new French government, defying President Washington’s Proclamation of Neutrality. Washington demanded the French government recall him and it eventually blew over. 10. Checks and Balances A system that is designed to keep one branch of government from having control over the others. It regulates this because each branch can check the powers of the other ones. 11. Constitutional Convention Took place from May 25 until September 17, 1787. The delegates met to address and reform the problems with the Articles of Confederation, but they ended up creating the Federal Constitution, a whole new government.

12. Daniel Shays A former captain in the Continental army and a Massachusetts farmer who led Shays’ Rebellion in 1786. 13. Edmund Randolph He introduced the idea of a national government consisting of a Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary at the Constitutional Convention. Washington named him attorney general during his term in office. 14. Elastic Clause Also known as the necessary and proper clause, it gave Congress the right to pass legislation that it deemed necessary for carrying out the enumerated list of powers. The Jeffersonian Republicans feared this clause would give Congress too much power. 15. Election of 1796 John Adams, a Federalist, was elected president, and Thomas Jefferson, a Republican, became vice president because he got the second highest electoral vote. This led to an awkward and unproductive term. 16. Election of 1800 Jefferson, a Republican, defeated the Federalists. This was the first peaceful transfer of power and ended the Federalist decade. 17. Electoral College A group of electors in each state that vote for the President and Vice-President.

18. Ex post facto laws A law that makes illegal an act that was legal at when it was committed. These are forbidden by the Constitution. 19. Executive Branch The part of the government which has sole authority and must enforce the law as written by the legislature and interpreted by the judicial system. The President heads the Executive Branch, and he is the Commander in Chief, Foreign Minister, and the head of government. 20. Federalists supported the Constitution because they believed in a strong central government. They also believed in a loose construction of the Constitution. Among the most famous Federalists were George Washington, John Adam, and Alexander Hamilton. 21. The Federalist Papers A series of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay and submitted anonymously to gain support for the ratification of the Constitution.

22. French Revolution This was a period of radical social and political upheaval in French history. The old monarchy, which had always ruled France, collapsed and the society and government underwent a severe transformation. Although the French had assisted America with their revolution, the U.S. attempted to remain neutral. 23. George Washington One of the Founding Fathers and the first President of the United States. He established precedence’s for the presidency, like having a Cabinet and holding no more than two terms in office. Some of the key events that happened during his terms in office were the Whiskey Rebellion, and Jay and Pinckney Treaties, and the French Revolution and Citizen Genet Affair. 24. Great Compromise Also known as the Connecticut Compromise; called for a bicameral legislative system where the House of Representatives would be based on population and the Senate would have equal representation in Congress. Combined the New Jersey Plan and the Virginia Plan.

25. Habeas corpus A legal order requiring a person to go before a court to protect against illegal imprisonment. 26. James Madison Wrote the Virginia Plan in Congress and participated in writing The Federalist Papers. He is often considered the “Father of the Constitution” because he is the main author and is one of the Founding Fathers. Later went on to become the fourth president. 27. Jay Treaty A treaty negotiated by John Jay in 1794 with the British that was aimed at having Britain withdraw their forces from the frontier posts. It created controversy because it did not achieve its goals and many thought the British didn’t promise enough, but it did settle the conflict at sea. 28. John Adams The second President of the United States; had a fairly unsuccessful term in office. The XYZ affair and the Quasi War took place while he was in office. 29. John Jay A Federalist that was one of the three authors of The Federalist Papers. He also negotiated the Jay Treaty with Britain.

30. Judicial Branch The final authority on the interpretation of the Federal Constitution and all statutes and regulations. It also determines the constitutionality of the various state laws. The Supreme Court is the final judgment in important cases. 31. Judicial Review Although not a part of the original Constitution, the Supreme Court gained this principle in 1803 in the case of Marbury v. Madison. This ability to deem acts of Congress unconstitutional is one of the only checks the judicial branch is given. 32. Land Ordinance of 1784 Proposed by Thomas Jefferson and divided the western territory into ten self-governing districts. Each could petition for statehood when its population was at least that of the number of free inhabitants of the smallest existing state.

33. Land Ordinance of 1785 Provided for the equal distribution of the western lands and set aside four sections in every township for the United States, as well as one section for the creation of a public school. 34. Legislative Branch Contains two houses, the Senate, which has equal representation for each state, and the House of Representatives, which has representation based on population. The job of the Legislation is to create and pass bills. It also confirms presidential appointments and brings forward impeachment cases. 35. Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court case in 1803 in which William Marbury, a “midnight appointment” was not given his commission from James Madison. He took the case to the Supreme Court and the Court stated that Marbury had the right to his commission but the Court had no authority to order Madison to deliver it. The case is significant because John Marshall established judicial review, one of the only checks the Judicial Branch receives.

36. Nationalists Name given to those that believed in the importance of a strong national government and weaker state ones. They later became the Federalists. 37. Newburgh Conspiracy In 1783 a group of men that envisioned a military dictatorship challenged Congress, but Washington intervened and halted the potential rebellion. 38. New Jersey Plan A plan developed by William Patterson at the Constitutional Convention that contained a unicameral legislative branch with one vote per state. 39. Northwest Ordinance The ordinance in 1787 that created a single Northwest Territory out of the lands north of the Ohio. It guaranteed freedom of religion and the right to trial by jury to residents, as well as prohibited slavery. Finally, it required there to be a minimum population of 60,000 for statehood. 40. Pinckney’s Treaty A treaty negotiated by Thomas Pinckney and signed by the United States and Spain in 1795. It gave the U.S. free navigation of the Mississippi River and the area north of Florida that had been in dispute. Also enabled western farmers to use the port of New Orleans for their goods.

41. Preamble The introduction to the Constitution that states the essential principles, purposes, and goals of the United States government. 42. Quasi-War with France Congress cut off all trade with France and authorized American vessels to capture armed French ships; the U.S. became allied with Britain. In 1798, Congress established the Department of the Navy. 43. Separation of Powers A model in which the government is divided into three separate branches, each responsible for their own separate and independent powers. 44. Shays’ Rebellion A group of Massachusetts farmers rebelled against taxes. In 1786 they advanced on Springfield to seize an arsenal. This highlighted the weaknesses of the Articles because the federal government could not raise an army to stop them. 45. Society of Cincinnati an exclusive and hereditary group formed by Revolutionary army officers in 1783. Many of them became involved in the Newburgh Conspiracy. 46. Thomas Jefferson Became the Republican Vice-President after the 1796 election under Federalist James Madison. He wrote the Bill of Rights and became the first Republican President after the Election of 1800.

47. Three-Fifths Compromise Counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for purposes of apportioning representation. 48. U.S. Constitution Written by James Madison at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. It formed a more reliable and stable government in which the states had less power and the Federal Government had a majority of the power. 49. Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions The response by Jeffersonian Republicans to the Alien and Sedition Acts that stated the states should have the power to nullify federal law and said the federal government had no right to exercise powers not specifically delegated to it. They called into question the paradox of the Elastic Clause and the Tenth Amendment. However, the issue died after only Virginia and Kentucky adopted the resolution. 50. Virginia Plan Proposed by James Madison at the Constitutional Convention.

It called for a bicameral legislative branch with representation based on population. 51. Washington’s Farewell Address Washington’s final speech before leaving office in which he warned of the dangers of political parties and foreign entanglements. 52. Whiskey Rebellion Farmers in Pennsylvania refused to pay the excise tax on whisky and in 1794 they resisted government orders. Washington sent a federal militia to successfully crush the rebellion; this showed the strength of the new government. 53. XYZ Affair To respond to French ships harassing American shipping, President Adams sent three men to negotiate peace with France in 1797. When they arrived in Paris agents of the French foreign minister demanded a loan for France and a bribe before any negotiations could begin. The men did not accept these terms, and this event stirred hostility towards the French.

Essays

Analyze the contributions of TWO of the following in helping establish a stable government after the adoption of the Constitution.
• John Adams
• Thomas Jefferson
• George Washington

After the Revolutionary War, America needed to create a firm foundation in order to help the new nation thrive. So in 1787, the Constitutional Convention was held to reform the Articles of Confederation, but ended up constructing a stronger government. Although many people took part in contributions towards the development and establishment of a stable government, George Washington played a significant role in creating the firm government, while others, like John Adams, did not make significant contributions to helping the new government grow and succeed.

The post-Revolutionary War America was afraid of a government that would revert to the old British ways. For this reason leaders such as George Washington became key factors in establishing a strong foundation for the nation. George Washington was a primary figure in establishing a stable government. He utilized his position to uphold the Constitution with numerous events throughout his term in office. Washington became the first President of the United States in 1789 with John Adams as his Vice President. Shortly after the Constitution was ratified, Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton as his secretary of the treasury, Henry Know as his secretary of war, and Thomas Jefferson as his secretary of state. A prime example of an event in which Washington upholds the Constitution can be seen through the Whiskey Rebellion.

The Whiskey Rebellion took place because western farmer refused to pay the excise taxes on whiskey and lashed out towards tax collectors. In response to this, Washington gathered a militia of 15,000 men in order to have the rebellion broken. Another example of Washington’s ability to stabilize the government is shown when he responds to the French Revolution with the Proclamation of Neutrality. These two events were small examples directly linked with Washington; however, two other major events took place: the Jay Treaty and the Pinckney Treaty. In 1794, John Jay attempted to settle hostilities with the British in the sea. Finally, Pinckney Treaty was a treaty negotiated with Spain. The treaty opened the Mississippi River for trade and established the thirty-first parallel as the northern border of Florida. Thus, after the acceptance of the Constitution, Washington contributed a great deal in creating a stable and successful government.

On the other hand, John Adams had an unsuccessful term in office and did little to encourage the still fairly new government. This was due to Adams being a Federalist while his Vice-President, Thomas Jefferson, was a Republican. Two years after the election an event known as the XYZ affair took place. This event was the result of French ships harassing American merchant vessels. As a response, Adams sent three men to go and negotiate the issue with France. However, the French demanded a bribe before they would begin negotiations, to which all three American men refused and just increased tension with France. Another example of Adams not upholding or influencing the Constitution is seen through the Alien and Sedition Acts.

The Alien Act increased the difficulty for an immigrant to get citizenship in the U.S, while the Sedition Act was a way for the National Government to take control of newspaper critics portraying the government in a negative image. It is obvious that Adams did not assist in establishing a stable government, and in some respects his actions also suggest that did not strongly follow the Constitution. In conclusion, many important people took part in establishing a stable government after the Constitution was ratified. For instance, George Washington played a key role in the contributions to development of a young government and nation. In contrast, although Adams was significant in the creation of the document itself, he did little to shape the stable new government.

Settlers in the eighteenth century American backcountry sometimes resorted to violent protest to express their grievances. Analyze the causes and significance of TWO of the following:

• March of the Paxton Boys
• Regulator Movement
• Shays’ Rebellion
• Whiskey Rebellion

After the Revolution, America found itself in a deep postwar depression that lasted several years. The Confederation had an enormous debt and few ways to pay it because the government did not have the power to tax. It attempted to make requisitions to the states, but received very little money in return. Therefore, states had to increase taxation to pay their own debts. They were met, however, with anger from farmers, who thought such policies were unfair. So in the summer of 1786, one farmer led a raid on Springfield, Massachusetts to highlight the discontent. This event became known as Shays’ Rebellion, and greatly changed the course of the United States’ government. Another example of American discontent with taxes is the Whiskey Rebellion, in which farmers in Pennsylvania refused to pay an excise tax on whiskey. However, the outcome of this rebellion was drastically different from that of Shays’ Rebellion. In comparison, both events highlighted times in American history where settlers resorted to violent protest to express their grievances.

Shays’ Rebellion of 1786 highlighted the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation. Already unhappy with debt, farmers in Massachusetts began to speak out against the increase in taxes after the American Revolution. Dissidents began to gather behind Daniel Shays to protest. They demanded tax relief, a moratorium on debts, the abolition of imprisonment for debt, a relocation of the state capital, and the issuing of paper currency to increase the money supply. They used force to have their demands met, and in the winter of 1786 they advanced on Springfield in the hopes of seizing weapons from an arsenal. Because the government couldn’t raise an army, merchants in Boston had to finance their own local militia to put down the rebellion. Although Shays’ army didn’t cause any real harm, it was significant in that it showed precisely how ineffective the Articles were. It brought fear to Americans that many more rebellions could arise and the government would be unable to prevent them. Therefore, it led many to support the movement to create a new constitution.

Another example of rebellion is the Whiskey Rebellion, which proved the strength of the U.S. Constitution. In 1794, farmers in Pennsylvania were displeased with the excise tax put on whiskey, so they refused to pay it, and many started to terrorize tax collectors. In response to the threat, President Washington raised an army of 15,000 men and personally led the militiamen to Pennsylvania. When they reached Pittsburgh, the resistance abruptly collapsed. Although it was not a huge threat, the Whiskey Rebellion gave hope that the new Constitution was strong enough to quickly put down rebellions and effectively protect the people.

Thus, settlers in the 1700’s sometimes resorted to violence to deal with their problems. Although not all of them were caused by taxation, these were, and they are two of the most influential to American history.

To what extent was the United States Constitution a radical departure from the Articles of Confederation?

After the US won their independence from the British in the American Revolution, the major problem they now faced was forming a new government. They created the Articles of Confederation, which was a loose alliance of the states. The Articles contained many weaknesses, and these weak points were highlighted during Shay’s Rebellion. The government was unable to raise an army, and thus could not bring down the rebellion. Therefore, the Founding Fathers met in order to revise the Articles in 1787. In reality, they ended up creating a whole new government: the Federal Constitution. The Constitution was a much stronger government and was more in depth than the Articles. However, although the Constitution was indeed a departure from the Articles, it was not necessarily a radical one.

The Articles of Confederation was a confederation in which liberty had prominence over order, and the states were seen as more important than the nation. Because the colonists had just escaped the tyranny of England, they wished to create a democracy that would protect individual rights. Therefore, in 1777 they met to write the Articles of Confederation, but it did not become operational until 1781. The Articles had only one branch, the Legislative, which gave one vote per state, no matter the population. There was no executive or judiciary branches and the legislative only contained one house.

The Articles could not tax, raise an army, or regulate commerce. It had very little central power, and a ¾ majority was needed to pass simple laws. The Articles only effectively provided for western settlement and land distribution through the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and the Land Ordinances of 1784 and 1785. In 1786, Shays’ Rebellion frightened the Founding Fathers by displaying the weaknesses of the Articles. Daniel Shays led this rebellion of poor western farmers who could not afford to pay taxes, and the government could not raise an army in order to stop them. Shortly after the rebellion, the Founding Fathers met once more in Philadelphia in order to revise the Articles. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, they formed the Constitution.

Instead of being a loose confederation of states, the Constitution created a strong union out of the United States. The Founding Fathers had many influences when they created the new government, including the Enlightenment and John Locke. The convention was led by George Washington, and other important people in attendance included Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Since the major problem with the Articles was a lack of centralized power, the Constitution added an Executive Branch that would maintain strong central power. In addition to the Executive, they also created Legislative and Judicial Branches. The Legislative Branch was bicameral, containing both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The New Jersey Plan was drafted by small states who wanted equal representation, while the Virginia Plan was created by large states who wished to have representation based on each state’s population. In order to appease both sides, the Great Compromise combined both plans. Therefore the Senate had components of the New Jersey Plan, while the House of Representatives was based off the Virginia Plan.

The Legislative Branch would carry the power to create and pass bills. To fix another problem, in the Three-Fifths Compromise, it was decided that a slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person. The Elastic Clause, or the Necessary and Proper Clause, gave Congress the ability to create any law which it deemed necessary to carry out powers of the government. In order to keep one branch of government from gaining too much power, a system of checks and balances was put into place. Each branch would have the ability to check the power of the other branches. Unlike the Articles, the Constitution would have the power to tax, regulate commerce, and raise an army. These concepts were brought on by the fear following Shays’ Rebellion. After the Constitution was created, the Founding Fathers had trouble getting the states to ratify the new government. The Anti-Federalists feared a national government with too much power. In order to remedy this, Federalists such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote a series of essays which came to be known as The Federalist Papers. In these essays, the three men advocated the ratification of the Constitution. After some struggle with the Anti-Federalists, the Constitution finally became operational in 1789.

Although there are a vast amount of differences between the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, they are also very similar in some ways. For instance, neither granted any liberty to African Americans, women, or Native Americans. Also, there was nothing in either government that gave the people any rights. The Bill of Rights was only included to the Constitution several years later, it was not originally included. Lastly, the main similarity is that both forms of government are democracies. As one can see, although the Constitution differed greatly from the Articles, their similarities prevent the new government from being a radical departure from the old one.

Multiple Choice

1. The Republican response to the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts included
A. South Carolina’s nullification of the acts
B. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
C. The Hartford Convention
D. The Ostend Manifesto
E. The Mulligan Letters

2. The primary issue in dispute in Shays’ Rebellion was
A. The jailing of individuals of seizure of their property for failure to pay taxes during a time of economic hardship B. The underrepresentation of western Massachusetts in the state legislature leading to accusations of “taxation without representation” C. The failure of Massachusetts to pay a promised postwar bonus to soldiers who had served in its forces during the Revolution D. The failure of Massachusetts authorities to take adequate steps to protect the western part of the state from the depredations of raiding Indians E. Economic oppression practiced by the banking interests of eastern Massachusetts

3. All of the following were weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation government EXCEPT:
A. It lacked the power to levy taxes.
B. It lacked the power to regulate commerce.
C. It lacked the power to borrow money.
D. It could not compel the states to abide by the terms of international treaties it had made.
E. It lacked a strong executive.

4. The most controversial portion of Alexander Hamilton’s economic program was
A. Federal assumption of state debts
B. Assessment of direct taxes on the states
C. Creation of the Bank of the United States
D. Imposition of high protective tariffs
E. Establishment of a bimetallic system

5. During the first two decades under the United States Constitution, the main factor that separated Federalists from Republicans was A. Whether they accepted the Constitution or opposed it B. Whether they favored the French Revolution of opposed it C. Whether they leaned more toward states’ rights or national sovereignty D. Their personal like or dislike for the personalities of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton E. Whether they had been patriots or loyalist during the American War of Independence

6. The international incident known as the XYZ Affair involved A. A French foreign minister’s demand for a bribe before he would meet with American envoys B. The British refusal to evacuate their forts on American territory C. General Andrew Jackson’s incursion into Spanish-held Florida D. The British seizure of American crewmen from a U.S. Navy warship in Chesapeake Bay E. Aaron Burr’s secret plot to detach the western United States in order to create a new nation of which he would be ruler

7. In the 1790s political conflict between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, Jefferson would have been more likely to
A. Take a narrow view of the Constitution
B. Favor Britain over France in the European wars
C. Favor the establishment of a national bank
D. Win the cooperation of presidents George Washington and John Adams E. Oppose the efforts of Citizen Genet in America

8. Which of the following was NOT true of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787? A. It recognized the territorial claims of the various Indian tribes within the Northwest Territory. B. It guaranteed freedom of religion to settlers in the Northwest Territory. C. It guaranteed the right to a jury trial to settlers in the Northwest Territory. D. It prohibited slavery within the Northwest Territory. E. It specified procedures through which settlers could organize state governments and eventually apply for full statehood.

9. During the campaign to ratify the Constitution, the Federalists argued A. For a return to the Articles of Confederation as the framework of federal government B. That a bill of rights, to correct flaws in the Constitution, must be in place before the Constitution could be ratified C. For rejection of the Constitution and the convening of a new Constitutional Convention to come up with a better framework for government D. For ratification of the Constitution, with a possible bill of rights to be discussed after ratification E. Against a strong national government of any kind and an increase in the powers of states to govern themselves.

10. A leader of the Nationalist movement in the United States in the 1780s was
A. Alexander Hamilton
B. Thomas Jefferson
C. Samuel Adams
D. Richard Henry Lee
E. Thomas Payne

11. The Newburgh Conspiracy was concerned with
A. betrayal of the plans for the vital fort at West Point, New York B. the use of the Continental Army to create a more centralized Union of the states C. resistance to the collection of federal excise taxes in western Pennsylvania D. New England’s threat to secede should the War of 1812 continue E. Aaron Burr’s plot to detach the western United States as an empire for himself

12. The Jay Treaty (1794) provided for?:
A. The acceptance of American trade with the French West Indies.
B. Free navigation of the Mississippi.
C. An ending of the impressment of American seamen.
D. The settlement of the Canadian boundary.
E. evacuation of English troops from their posts along the Great Lakes.

13. The main purpose of the Alien and Sedition Acts was to:
A. capture French and British spies.
B. control the Federalists.
C. silence and punish critics of the Federalists.
D. keep Thomas Jefferson from becoming president
E. stop the alien invasion

14. Which of the following was NOT a cause of John Adam’s defeat in the presidential election of 1800? A. The Alien and Sedition Acts.
B. The XYZ Affair.
C. Alexander Hamilton’s disagreement with John Adams.
D. British harassment of American sailors.
E. the failure of Adams to support war with France.

15. The Judiciary Act of 1789:
A. established a system of lower federal courts.
B. provided for the election of federal judges.
C. provided for the establishment of state courts.
D. provided for the impeachment of federal officials.
E. was violated by William Marbury.

Answer Key

1. B. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions were the centerpieces of the Republican response to the Alien and Sedition Acts.

2. A. The primary issue in Shays’ Rebellion was the jailing of individuals or seizure of their property for failure to pay taxes during a time of economic hardship.

3. C. The Articles of Confederation government did have the power to borrow money, which is how it financed most of what it did. It did not, however, have the power to levy taxes.

4. C. Creation of the Bank of the United States was more controversial than federal assumption of state debts.

5. B. Though many factors might contribute to an individual’s choice of party, including, perhaps, the character of the party’s leader, the chief factor during this period was actually acceptance or rejection of the French Revolution.

6. A. The XYZ Affair involved the demand of French foreign minister Talleyrand that he receive a bribe before he would meet with American Envoys.

7. A. Jefferson would have been more likely to take a narrow view of the Constitution, Hamilton a broad and permissive one.

8. A. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787, like the previous Ordinances of 1784 and 1785, ignored the Indian tribes’ claim to the land contained within the Northwest Territory.

9. B. The Federalists’ name implied that they did not support a strong national government. However, the leaders of the Federalist movement believed strongly in the necessity of a relatively strong central government. They strongly supported ratification of the Constitution and believed that discussion of a Bill of Rights should be delayed until after the Constitution was ratified.

10. A. Alexander Hamilton was a prominent spokesperson for the Nationalist cause. His expertise in monetary matters led him to believe that without workable taxation authority at the national level the United States would never be able to raise the revenues it needed to develop its economy effectively.

11. B. The Newburgh Conspiracy was composed of army officers disgusted with a central government too weak to collect taxes to pay them and their troops.

12. E. John Jay negotiated a treaty with the British in order to settle the conflict at sea, as well as the evacuation of British troops from their posts in the US.

13. C. The Federalists created the Alien and Sedition Acts, which would grant the Executive Branch more power in order to punish their critics.

14. D. The Alien and Sedition Acts, XYZ Affair, Alexander Hamilton’s disagreement with John Adams, and Adams failure to support war with France all led to Thomas Jefferson defeating Adams in the election of 1800.

15. A. The Judiciary Act of 1789 was created in order to establish a system of lower federal courts.

Works Cited

“American History A.P. Quizzes.” Historyteacher.net.

Feldmeth, Gregory, Jerome A. McDuffie, Gary Wayne Piggrem, and Steven E.
Woodworth. The Best Test Preparation for the AP United States History Exam.

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