Politics & Citizenship

Politics and Citizenship (1600-1800)

Colonial and revolutionary legacies, American political traditions,

growth of democracy, and the development of the modern state. defining

citizenship; struggles for civil rights.


1620 Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact was an agreement signed by the passengers aboard the Mayflower heading to the New World. This was the first system of government ruled by the consent of the governed.

1643 (May) New England Confederation was created

The New England Confederation was a relatively short lived alliance of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven. It was created to protect against the Native Americans and the Dutch and was the first time the colonies united to achieve a goal.

1777 (Nov. 15) Articles of Confederation adopted by Congress

The Article of Confederation, while not long effective, was a step toward modern democracy. This constitution gave a lot of power to individual states and classified each state as its own sovereign power.

1776 (Jul. 4) Declaration of Independence approved by Congress

The Declaration of Independence separated the thirteen American colonies from what they considered the "tyrannical rule of King George". This placed a lot of importance on self government and not letting anyone group of people become too powerful.

1781 (Mar. 1) Articles of Confederation ratified

The ratification of the Articles of Confederation meant that all of the states were on the same page on some issues, but also were free to regulate a lot of what went on in their own territory. This led to unity because the 13 American Colonies became a confederation but it also led to unity because taxes and roads were different everywhere you went.

1789 The American Constitution came into effect

The Constitution usurped the Articles of Confederation because the United States couldn't function very unified-ly because each states was its own sovereign entity. The Constitution brought about separation of powers, checks and balances, and a strong federal administration.

1789 (Apr. 30) George Washington inaugurated.

George Washington, the first president of the US and the only president to be unanimously elected. He saw the nation become well-financed and helped the new nation greatly by promoting isolationism and instead focusing inwards.

1791 Bill of Rights was ratified

The Bill of Rights was important in satisfying the Anti-Federalists who thought the Constitution would only favor the wealthy. It protects individual rights, limits federal role in the judicial branch, and leaves some power to the states.

1796 (Sept. 19) Washington's Farewell Address

In Washington's Farewell Address he urged the nation to not become involved in the wars going on in Europe. This began the tradition of

isolationism and nonentanglement, and allowed the new nation a chance to become stronger before they tried anything crazy.

1798 Alien and Sedition Acts

The Alien and Sedition Acts made it more a longer process for someone to become an American citizen and allowed the president to deport any immigrant he thought was dangerous. This unpopular law helped the Federalist Party who passed it fall out of favor.

1798 Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions issued

These resolutions said Alien and Sedition acts were unconstitutional and called for strict constructionism. These argued that states had a right to declare Congress unconstitutional if they outstepped the bounds of the Constitution.