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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

American History: The Revolutionary War: Aftermath

Guide for Library Research on The American Revolution

The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay

The Federalist Papers is a collection of articles and essays created by by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay with the goal of convincing the public to ratify the Constitution that had been created in Philadelphia in 1787.

Anti-Federalists

Anti-Federalists

The Anti-Federalists were the opponents of the Federalists at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. They opposed creating a strong Federal government as well as ratifying the new Constitution. Among the main Anti-Federalists was Patrick Henry who feared that a strong Presidential office could evolve into a monarchy.

Political Parties

Political Parties

Federalist versus Democratic-Republican

The original structure of the United States government did not envision the development of political parties. The party system developed from the disagreements between the various politicians at the time, particularly what form they thought the new country should take. In the first years of the country the two political parties were the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton and with the support of George Washington and John Adams and the Democratic-Republics, led by Thomas Jefferson.

National Debt

National Debt

National Debt Clock in NYC

The national debt of the United States started in part to pay for the expenses of the Revolutionary War. Money had been borrowed, especially from the Netherlands to pay for the war. By 1783 the debt was 43 million dollars or a little less than a billion in 2014 dollars.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion

Monument To Shays Rebellion  in Sheffield Massachusetts

Shays '​ Rebellion was an 1786 attempt by western Massachusetts farmers to seize an armoury and overthrow the government. The rebellion was prompted by massive economic problems and corruption in the region. The rebellion was defeated but spurred the movement to replace the Articles of Confederation and thus the 1787 Constitutional Convention.

Northwest Ordinance

Northwest Ordinance

The Northwest Ordinance, first created in 1787 and then modified in 1789, was an act of Congress that organized territories in the United States not already states themselves (in this case in the Midwest, what is today Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin) and established how the new nation would deal with territories outside of the original thirteen states. Instead of expanding existing states as the country moved westward, new states would be allowed to form instead.

Tariff Act of 1789

Tariff Act of 1789

The Tariff Act of 1789 was passed in order to raise revenue to finance the new central governemtn and to pay the interest payments on Revolutionary War debt. It was the first major act passed by the government under the Constitution.

The United States in 1783

The United States in 1783

As a result of the Treaty of Paris, the United States was recognized by Great Britain as an independent nation. The British ceded a large amount of territory in what is today known as the American Midwest, basically everything between the original 12 colonies and the Mississippi river. (The British remained in violation of the treaty by keeping a series of forts in the territory that would not be removed until the War of 1812.)

Articles of Confederation

Page One of the Articles of Confederation

Page One of the Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation was the first governing document of the newly created United States. It allowed for the Continental Congress to run the Revolutionary War and make deals necessary to win and end it. However it was a weak system of government that created discord between the various states. It was replaced by the US Constitution in 1789, a system which allowed for a stronger central Federal government and President.

Annapolis Convention

Annapolis Convention

The George Mann's Tavern In Annapolis Maryland

The Annapolis Convention was a meeting held in 1786 by representatives of several states to discuss economic issues. The report issued from this meeting called for a Constitutional Convention to be held. That reconmendation would be fufilled and a Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia in 1787.

Philadelphia Constitutional Convention

Washington at The Constitutional Convention in 1787 by Junius Brutus Stearns

Washington at The Constitutional Convention in 1787 by Junius Brutus Stearns

The 1787  Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia originally met in order to reform the Articles of Confederation under which the United States government at the time operated. Instead the convention decided to scrap the Articles and draw up a new document which would deal with the issues facing the new nation at the time. The result of the convention was the creation of the United States Constitution.

The Constitution

The Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy

The Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy

The Constitution of the United States is a document that outlines the structure of the federal government, the rights and responsibilities of the state governments, the protections of civil liberties, and restrictions on the powers of the government. It is the supreme law of the United States. The Constitution was adopted in 1787 at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation. 

The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights

For more on the Bill of Rights visit our Bill of Rights Libguide.

The Bill of Rights refers to the first ten amendments of the Constitution. The amendments deal with personal freedoms and limitations on government powers. The Bill of Rights originally only applied to the Federal government but the Fourteenth Amendment allowed for them to be applied to the individual states as well.

Neutrality Proclamation

Neutrality Proclamation

In 1793 George Washington announced a policy of neutrality in the conflict between France and England that would later be known as the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1794 a Neutrality Act was passed that made it illegal for Americans to wage war against any nation at peace with the US.

Compromise of 1790

Compromise of 1790

 

Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson

The Compromise of 1790 was a deal between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton in which Jefferson agreed to back Hamilton's plan for the federal government to assume all the war debt of the indivdual states while Hamilton agreed to back moving the national capital from New York City to a territory somewhere in the south, which eventually became the city of Washington D.C.

First Bank of the United States

First Bank of the United States

First Bank of the United States
120 South Third Street Philadelphia PA

 

The First Bank of the United States was a national bank created in 1791 as part of an expansion of federal fiscal power that was argued for by the first treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton. The idea behind the bank was to stablize the national credit of the nation. It was bitterly opposed by Thomas Jefferson. The Bank would exist until 1811 when the senate refused to renew it.

Slavery

Gordon, a Louisiana slave who escaped to freedom in March 1863. He later joined the Union Army and served in the Sergeant in the 2nd Louisiana Regiment Infantry during the Siege of Port Hudson.

Gordon, a Louisiana slave who escaped to freedom in March 1863. He later joined the Union Army and served in the Sergeant in the 2nd Louisiana Regiment Infantry during the Siege of Port Hudson.

Slavery is a legal and economic system where people are treated as property. Slavery in North America existed since settlement began in the 17th century. After the Revolutionary War, slavery remained legal in the United States though over time, into the 19th century it would become extinct in the northern states, defined largely as north of the Mason-Dixon line that forms the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland. Slavery continued to exist in the south until put down by the Union Army in the Civil War and abolished officially by the 13th amendment to the Constitution in 1865. The international slave trade was ended by the British Navy in the early 19th century.

Three-Fifths Compromise

Three-Fifths Compromise

The Three-Fifths Compromise was compromise made during the Constitutional Convention in 1787 over the question of how slaves would be counted when determining a state's total population for the purpose of representation in the Congress (i.e. how many seats the state would have in the House of Representatives) and for tax purposes (i.e. how much of the nation's tax burden the state would have to have). Free state representatives didn't want slaves counted at all while slave state representatives wanted all slaves to be counted as it would increase the amount of voting power they would have in the congress. The compromise that was decided was that for the purposes of representation and taxation, slaves would be counted as "three fifths of all other Persons".

Judiciary Act of 1789

The Judiciary Act of 1789

The Judiciary Act of 1789

The Judiciary Act of 1789 established the federal judiciary system and gave it a shape, something the Constitution did not specifically mention.

The Jay Treaty

The Jay Treaty

The Jay Treaty

The Jay Treaty was a 1795 agreement signed between the US and Great Britain that resolved many issues that had remained after the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The Jay Treaty averted war between the two nations until 1812.

Pinckney's Treaty

Pinckney's Treaty

Pinckney's Treaty in 1795 established the border between Spanish Florida and the United States, an issue that had been in dispute at the time of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. It also guaranteed the rights of the United States on the Mississippi river which was also at the time under the control of Spain.

Whiskey Rebellion

Washington Reviews Troops at Fort Cumberland Attributed to Frederick Kemmelmeyer

Washington Reviews Troops at Fort Cumberland Attributed to Frederick Kemmelmeyer

The Whiskey Rebellion was a 1791 protest against a tax on alcohol that had been passed to generate revenue and pay down the national debt. Farmers in western Pennsylvania objected to the tax and in response the federal government sent the army to enforce the tax. The "Rebellion" was bloodless as the protesters went home before the military got to the area but the message behind sending an armed force to the region was to show that the new government, operating under the new Constitution, was not the same weak force as the old one. The whiskey tax was repealled when Thomas Jefferson became the third President in 1800.

, or Whiskey Insurrection, was a tax protest in the United States beginning in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington. The so-called "whiskey tax" was the first tax imposed on a domestic product by the newly formed federal government. It became law in 1791, and was intended to generate revenue to help reduce the national debt