Presentation on theme: "The American Revolution. Objective The student will be able to describe the American colonies in the 1700’s as well as what led them to revolt against."— Presentation transcript:
Objective The student will be able to describe the American colonies in the 1700’s as well as what led them to revolt against the British crown—and tie this to the Enlightenment.
Response Question Put yourself in the shoes of one of our Founding Fathers…. –Would you be willing to give up everything you have (job, family, money) to fight for a belief you have, knowing if you were caught by the government you would be executed for treason? What is the belief you would fight for?
The American Colonies By 1770, there were 2.1 million colonist, who had been living there for about 150 years, in North America. –On top of this, they had developed their own identity separate of the English culture. –Each of the 13 colonies had their own forms of local governments, monetary exchange systems, and for the most part, independence –By 1775, colonist were identifying themselves as Virginians or Pennsylvanians rather than English subjects. –Colonist, especially in Massachusetts were growing more and more tired of the English government. Why Massachusetts? While the English & Glorious Revolutions strongly limited the power of the British crown at home, the power abroad on the overseas colonies was outlandish. The English crown had begun enforcing more strict trade laws, taxes, and other restrictions. These restrictions began to turn the tide of the colonist’s minds toward revolution.
The Enlightenment Thinkers and their Influence on the Revolution Our founding fathers read and studied the Enlightenment thinkers. Their ideas and thoughts were constantly in their minds. The ideas of –Life, Liberty, and Property –Separation of Powers –Governments Responsibility –REASON and Its Impact on All Things –The power of the Individual to make change…Progress! …all were constant reminders of a better life that awaited them…if they could only get rid of this brutal crown that was over them. …all were constant reminders of a better life that awaited them…if they could only get rid of this brutal crown that was over them.
The American Revolution In the Fr/Indian War, Britain had racked up a huge national debt to pay for the war. As a result, the government expected the colonist to pay for it. The colonist were outraged. After months of debate & discussion, the 2 nd Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence—written by Thomas Jefferson. –The majority of this document was influenced by the Enlightenment thinker John Locke. –The primary justification of this document was that the governed had the right to rebel against an unjust govt.
…Continued After several years of fighting, and the American colonies losing most of the major battles, the British granted independence to the colonies. How? –Motivation was on the side of the colonist –Poor military planning by the British –Time = Money. After seven years of fighting & financing the war, British citizens were tired of paying for the high cost of the war. They clamored for an end to the war. –The French become American allies.
The New Republic The Articles of Confederation Though deliberately set up to be weak, the Articles of Confederation were doomed from the beginning. Here are some of the problems it encountered… –Loose association of the 13 states –Weak national authority –No national leader –Individual currencies –No national tax base Within 6 years, the nation had almost broken out into Civil War…something had to be done.
The Constitutional Convention In May of 1787, delegates from the 13 states met in Philadelphia, PA to “revise” the Articles of Confederation. Soon into the meeting (which lasted several months) it was apparent that the Articles were so flawed, they needed to be tossed out, and a new document written. This new document would be called the Constitution of the United States of America. The Primary goals of the Convention were… –Address National Power (Checks-n-Balances) –Division of Power b/w National & State levels (Federal System) –Protection of Individual Rights (Bill of Rights & Forthcoming Amendments to the Constitution) When the convention ended, all but one state ratified the new constitution. The new American Republic had officially begun.
The United States of America The Founding Father’s mission was to have a form of government that was nothing like that of the crown they had just overthrown. So by default, they wanted more individual liberties for all Americans, limited national powers, and a way to check the power of the President and Congress. As a result, our Constitution provides us with our civil liberties and will protect us from a government that cannot become too powerful. What do you think? –Is it a perfect government? What would you change and why? –Would it be possible for the US to ever have a “revolution” against our own government like we have seen in Europe? –Winston Churchill: “Democracy is not the best form of government in the world, it is simply better than all the rest”. What does he mean?