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The Critical Period (1783-1789)

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 9 years, 1 month ago


The Revolution is over…Now what? 




 Even though Britain had superior military strength, the Americans won the Revolutionary War. The revolution was a people’s movement, and the Americans were fighting on their own land. The Patriots received help from France and Spain and had a great leader in George Washington. Many challenges remained for the new nation after the end of the Revolutionary War. Americans set up a republic, a government in which citizens rule through elected officials. The Articles of Confederation created a weak national government that could not regulate trade, impose taxes to pay debts, or make states obey its laws. Instability followed.

In 1787 state delegates met to address the problems. This Constitutional Convention drafted the Constitution calling for a strong central government, including a chief executive to enforce national laws, a court system, and a two-house legislature. One house, called the Senate, included two members from each state. The other house, called the House of Representatives, included members from each state based on the state’s population.  The framers of the Constitution believed that the government is based on a contract between people and ruler, and worried about a central government that might become too powerful. To limit government power, they separated the central government into branches and built in checks and balances. Congress, the legislative branch, makes laws. The executive branch, headed by the president, enforces the laws. Courts make up the judicial branch which interprets the laws. The framers left many important powers to the states. Sharing of powers between a national government and states is called federalism.


Federalists who supported the Constitution feared that without a strong government there would be chaos. Opponents feared a strong government could take away individual liberties. For the Constitution to become law, 9 of the 13 states had to ratify, or approve, it. All 13 states eventually voted to ratify. Anti-federalists won guarantees that a bill of rights, protecting individual freedoms, would be added to the Constitution as amendments, or changes




QUESTION #1  (Video  Clip Liberty – An Introduction )

What was the “Question of the Age” in the 18th century (1700s) that the 13 states faced after the Revolutionary War?






QUESTION #2    (Video  Clip Liberty – Thirteen Little Republics )

What was significant about George Washington resigning after the Revolutionary War?










QUESTION #3  (Video  Clip Liberty – Thirteen Little Republics)

What question faced America during the “critical period” (the 5 years after the Revolutionary War)?





QUESTION #4 (Video  Clip Liberty – A National Vision)

What 3 conditions existed in America that made Alexander Hamilton confident that it would become a world power?






QUESTION #5(Video  Clip Liberty – A National Vision)

How did the North and South view each other during the critical period?








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