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Alien and Sedition Acts
The four measures pressed in 1798 during the undeclared war with France that limited the freedoms of speech and press, including the restriction of liberty towards non-citizens.
The opponents of the Constitution who saw it as a limitation on individual and states' rights, which their demands led to the addition of a Bill of Rights to the document.
Articles of Confederation
The first American constitution that established in the United States as a weak central authority of national Congress, which was not granted the power to regulate commerce of collect taxes and later replaced by a more efficient Constitution in 1789.
The first wars fought by the United States, and the nation's first encounter until the Islamic world from 1801-1805 against plundering pirates off the Mediterranean coast of Africa after President Thomas Jefferson's refusal to pay them tribute to protect American ships.
Bill of Rights
A popular term for the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1791 to secure key rights for individuals and reserve to the states all powers not explicitly delegated or prohibited by the Constitution.
A meeting in Philadelphia of representatives from twelve colonies—except Rhode Island—to revise the existing Articles of Confederations, which this was soon resolved to produce an entirely new constitution.
Division of Powers
The divisions of political powers between the state and federal governments under the U.S. Constitution—as known as Federalism.
Empire of Liberty
The idea, expressed by Jefferson, that the United States would not rule its new territories as colonies, but rather would eventually admit them as full member states.
A system of government in which power is divided between the central government and the states.
A fort in Baltimore Harbor unsuccessfully bombarded by the British in September 1814, where Francis Scott Key—a witness to the battle—was moved to write the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner".
African-American persons held in slavery immediately before the Civil War where nearly a half million in the United States, splitting almost evenly between the North and South.
Arguments for liberty presented to New England's courts and legislatures in the early 1770s by enslaved African-Americans.
A slave uprising that led to the establishment of Haiti as an independent country in 1804.
A convention of Federalists from five New England states who opposed the War of 1812 and resented the strength of Southern and Western interests in Congress and in the White House.
An act of forcibly drafting an individual into military service, employed by the British navy against American seamen in times of war against France, which was a continual source of conflict between Britain and the United States in the early national period around 1793-1815.
Negotiated by Chief Justice John Jay in an effort to avoid war with Britain, the treaty included a British promise to evacuate outposts on U.S. soil and pay damages for seized American vessels, in exchange for which Jay bound the United States to repay pre-Revolutionary war debts and to abide by Britain's restrictive trading policies toward France.
Lewis and Clark Expedition
Led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, a mission to the Pacific coast commissioned for the purposes of scientific and geographical exploration.
President Thomas Jefferson's 1803 purchase from France of the important part of New Orleans, including 828,000 square miles west of the Mississippi River to the Rock Mountains, where it more than doubled the territory of the United States at a cost of only $15 million.
Marbury v. Madison
1819 U.S. Supreme Court case that established the principle of "judicial review", which Chief Justice John Marshall, holding that Maryland could not tax the Second Bank of the United States, supported the idea that the Supreme Court had the authority to determine constitutionally.
New Jersey Plan
A "small-state plan" that put forth at the Philadelphia convention, proposing equal representation by state, regardless of population, in a unicameral legislature, where small states feared that the more populous states would dominate the agenda under a proportional system.
Northwest Ordinance of 1787
A policy created for administering the Northwest Territories, establishing conditions for self-government and statehood with the Bill of Rights to forbade the expansion of slavery permanently.
Ordinance of 1784
A law drafted my Thomas Jefferson that regulated land ownership and defined the terms by which western land would be marketed and settled by establishing stages of self-government for the West, which would be admitted to the Union as a full state when Congress would govern a territory.
Ordinance of 1785
A law that regulated land sales in the Old Northwest and earmarked the proceeds toward repaying the national debt by the land surveyed into 640-acre plots and sold at $1 per acre.
Eighteenth-century British political commentators who agitated against political corruption and emphasized the threat to liberty posed by arbitrary power. Their writings shaped American political thought and made colonists especially alert to encroachments on their rights.
A representative political system in which citizens govern themselves by electing representatives, or legislators, to make key decisions on the citizen's behalf.
Revolution of 1800
An electoral victory of Democratic Revolutions over the Federalists, who lost their Congressional majority and presidency,where the peaceful transfer of power between what parties solidified faith in American's political system.
More specifically, Jefferson (Republican) had defeated incumbent Adams (Federalist) for president.
An armed uprising in western Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787 by small farmers angered over high debt and tax burdens. This event helped bring about the Constitutional Convention, as many worried that similar events would happen unless there were changes.
A collection of essays written by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton and published during the ratification debate in New York to layout the Federalist's arguments in favor of the new Constitution, which these influential essays have served as an important source for constitutional interpretation.
A provision signed into the Constitution in 1787 which determined that each slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of apportioning taxes and representation where the compromise granted disproportionate political power to Southern slave states.
Treaty of Greenville
1798 treaty under which twelve Indian tribes ceded most of Ohio and Indiana to the federal government, and which also established the "annuity" system.
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
Statements secretly drafted by Jefferson and Madison for the legislatures of Kentucky and Virginia, arguing that states were the final arbiters of whether the federal government overstepped its boundaries and could therefore nullify, or refuse to accept, national legislation they deemed unconstitutional.
War of 1812
A war fought between Britain and the United States largely over the issues of trade and impressment of American sailors, interference with shipping, and collusion with Northwest Territory Indians, which demonstrated their willingness to defend its interests militarily earning the young nation newfound respect European powers that was settled by the Treaty of Ghent in 1814.
A popular uprising of whiskey distillers in southwestern Pennsylvania in opposition to an excise tax on whiskey where Washington put down this rebellion with militia drown from several states' strength and resolve by the new central government.
A diplomatic conflict between France and the united States when Americans envoys to France were asked to pay a hefty bribe for the privilege of meeting with the French foreign, which many in the U.S. called war against France, while American sailors and privateers waged on undeclared sea war against France merchants in the Carribean.