Revolutionary American Ideas in Post-Revolutionary Period

Categories: American Revolution
About this essay

Lindsay Adams
Mrs. Wilkinson
12 September 2013
Chapter 9 Study Guide

1. How did the revolutionary American ideas of natural human rights, equality & freedom from the governmental tyranny affect developments in the immediate post-Revolutionary period? (1783-1789)

Revolutionary American ideas from government tyranny affected development in the post-Revolutionary period by making it impossible for a strong federal government to be created. Since the colonies fought to get out of a federal government, they did not want to create another one, so, congress was forced to make a weak federal government called the Articles of Confederation.

It gave no power to the government, but gave all power to the central governments of the colonies.

2. What significant change to the new United States resulted from the revolutionary war? Freedom from England was the primary change of the new United States.

The colonies, now called states, were officially independent from Great Britain when the Treaty of Paris was signed in France in 1783. Other alterations included the lack of an executive branch of government, more rights, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and several others.

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3. Describe the powers of the national government under the Articles of Confederation.

The Articles of Confederation created a one-house legislature as the Confederation’s main institution, making the government a unicameral system of government. In addition, Congress could settle conflicts among the states, issue coins, borrow money, and make treaties with other countries and with Native Americans. Congress could also ask the states for money and soldiers.

4. What were the major weaknesses and strengths of the Articles of Confederation government? Why do some historians call it the “Critical Period”?

The Articles of Confederation was drafted during the years 1776 and 1777, while the colonists were still fighting for independence, it created a weak national government with most of the governmental powers retained by the states.

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The Articles provided no separation of branches. There was no president or any other independent executive, nor was there a federal judicial branch. Congress, the legislature, was the only branch of government. Members elected to congress did not vote as individuals, but as states. While congress did have some powers, it could not enforce its laws on the states or the people. States were permitted to coin their own money.

There was no regulation of commerce between the states and states could even enter into treaties with foreign nations and declare war, with the consent of Congress. Congress could not tax the states or the people; it could only request funds to run the government. Since the Revolution created an enormous debt, and there was no way to tax the colonies with such a weak government, the need for a federal government was great.

5. What motivated the “founding fathers” to call for a convention to modify the Articles? What was the significance of Shay’s Rebellion?

The Founding Fathers wanted a new constitution because the current government of the Articles of Confederation was not working due to the balance of powers between state/federal governments and Shay’s rebellion. The document gave state governments too much power and left the federal government helpless in both defending and caring for American interests which led to almost no unification of the states. The federal government was powerless to stop Shay’s rebellion and Congress had little power. The Articles of Confederation had no chief executive, Congress had no power to tax citizens directly, no power to draft an army, had no national court system, no power to settle arguments among states, and many more. Shays Rebellion was a rebellion against the Articles of Confederation in 1787.

There were many unfair “laws” that the working class couldn’t fight, there were polling taxes and that made it hard for the working class to vote, there was no common currency so the working class would sometimes be cheated out of money, and it was really hard for them to set prices on their goods.

6. Explain the Virginia Plan, the New Jersey Plan, and the Connecticut Compromise.

The NJ plan was an attempt to make the country vote by equal representation where each state would send the same amount of delegates to represent them. The Virginia plan was an attempt to start representation by population where the states would send more or less delegates depending on how big the state was. The CT Compromise/Great Compromise benefitted both large and small states. There was representation in the House based on population and equal representation in the Senate.

7. Explain the 3/5th Compromise.

States ideally wanted to have more representation in the House of Representatives, in order to have more voice in the federal government. However, southern states, which refused to give Blacks the slightest of rights (due to the already entrenched ideals of slavery) wanted to make the most of their black populations to achieve greater representation. It was eventually decided (in part because of Southern threats to not join the new nation) that each slave would count as “3/5 of a person” for representation purposes.

8. Explain the first three articles of the Constitution. Which body of the government was described in each article and how did federal powers under the new Constitution contrast with federal powers under the Articles?

The first three articles of the Constitution established all three branches of government and their powers. The first article defines the Legislative Branch, its powers, members, and workings. The second Article of the Constitution that defines the Executive Branch, its powers, duties, and means of removal. The Article of the Constitution that sets up the Judicial Branch and defines treason is the third article.

The constitution possessed more federalist ideas, giving more power to the national government rather than the states.

9. Who were the Anti-Federalists, what was their major objection to the Constitution, and why did they lose their struggle to the Federalists?

The Anti-Federalists did not want to ratify the Constitution. They argued that it gave too much power to the national government at the expense of the state governments. These were the people of a high class. Because the majority of the states supported the Constitution and anti-federalists wished to remain a union, they accepted the document which was also issued with a bill of rights.

10. Which of the social changes brought about by the Revolution was the most significant? Could the Revolution have gone further toward the principle that “all men are created equal” by ending slavery or granting women’s rights?

Women became more politically involved throughout the revolution although no women’s rights were officially established until later on. Native American relationships with the Americans improved as well. Small opposition against slavery initiated in Pennsylvania.

The biggest change was that people felt like they had a voice in their government instead of having birthrights determine who was in charge. Yes; if slavery was abolished and women’s rights were established, that statement could have been more valid.

Big Question: Should the Constitution be seen as a conservative reaction to the Revolution, an enshrinement of revolutionary principles or both? The Constitution should be seen both as a conservative reaction to the Revolution and an enshrinement of revolutionary principles because it reflected conservative principles but also promoted the idea of a strong republicanism. The wealthy were still in power; most of those in Congress were wealthy. The rights of certain people were still limited under the Constitution like women and slaves. However, the government was still based on the consent of the people and government’s power was limited. The system of check and balance is the most original aspect of the Constitution. There were three branches, the legislative, executive, and judicial and each had its own power as well as an opportunity to check the other branched to assure that no branch abused its power.

Key Terms & People:
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Shay’s Rebellion
Articles of Confederation Daniel Shays
Old Northwest Patrick Henry
Northwest Ordinance Great Compromise
Land Ordinance of 1785 The Federalist

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Revolutionary American Ideas in Post-Revolutionary Period. (2016, Mar 20). Retrieved from

Revolutionary American Ideas in Post-Revolutionary Period
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