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2: The Development of the United States Government

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    Supporting Question

    How did the framers of the Constitution attempt to address issues of power and freedom in the design of a new political system?

    Topic 2 examines the development of the United States government during the time period of the American Revolution. It focuses on the founding documents of our democracy—the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—as well as the contentious political debates that surrounded the meaning of those texts. The issues raised in those debates continue to be part of our lives today, demonstrated by the struggles of people of color, women, and LGBTQIA individuals for equal rights as well as efforts by people and courts to balance states' rights and federal power in the pursuit of social and economic policies.

    • 2.1: The Revolutionary Era and the Declaration of Independence
      Ways in which the Declaration of Independence has shaped Americans' and other nations' views of the world. Declarations of rights, freedoms and independence from groups across the world.
    • 2.2: The Articles of Confederation
      The Articles of Confederation and their goal of balancing the powers of federal and state governments. Shays' Rebellion and its influence on the creation of a new constitution. The debate over the federal government's regulatory powers, in the modern context of self-driving cars.
    • 2.3: The Constitutional Convention
      The impact of the Constiution's Great Compromise and Three-Fifths Compromise on America. Thomas Jefferson's draft constitution and Thurgood Marshall's bicentennial speech on the flaws of the Constitution.
    • 2.4: Debates between Federalists and Antifederalists
      The debates between Federalists and Antifederalists over ratifying the Constitution. The political roles of women, such as Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren, in these debates. Modern controversies over federal vs. state government authority over environmental regulation.
    • 2.5: The Articles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
      The Articles in the U.S. Constitution, the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and the influence of these documents on other Bills of Rights. Other important figures and documents in America's multicultural history, including W.E.B. Du Bois and the NAACP.

    Thumbnail: Image of the American flag by Angelique Johnson, from Pixabay.

    This page titled 2: The Development of the United States Government is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Robert W. Maloy & Torrey Trust (EdTech Books) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform.