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Critical Period WebQuest

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 9 years, 8 months ago

The Revolution is over…Now what? 



 What were the achievements & failures of the Articles of Confederation?

 How did the framers of the Constitution address the weaknesses of the Articles while trying to avoid a tyrannical government? 

 How was the conflict over ratification shaped by political, economic and social differences?




 Even though Britain had superior military strength, the Americans won the Revolutionary War. The revolution was a people’s movement, and the Americans were fighting on their own land. The Patriots received help from France and Spain and had a great leader in George Washington. Many challenges remained for the new nation after the end of the Revolutionary War. Americans set up a republic, a government in which citizens rule through elected officials. The Articles of Confederation created a weak national government that could not regulate trade, impose taxes to pay debts, or make states obey its laws. Instability followed.

In 1787 state delegates met to address the problems. This Constitutional Convention drafted the Constitution calling for a strong central government, including a chief executive to enforce national laws, a court system, and a two-house legislature. One house, called the Senate, included two members from each state. The other house, called the House of Representatives, included members from each state based on the state’s population.  The framers of the Constitution believed that the government is based on a contract between people and ruler, and worried about a central government that might become too powerful. To limit government power, they separated the central government into branches and built in checks and balances. Congress, the legislative branch, makes laws. The executive branch, headed by the president, enforces the laws. Courts make up the judicial branch which interprets the laws. The framers left many important powers to the states. Sharing of powers between a national government and states is called federalism.


Federalists who supported the Constitution feared that without a strong government there would be chaos. Opponents feared a strong government could take away individual liberties. For the Constitution to become law, 9 of the 13 states had to ratify, or approve, it. All 13 states eventually voted to ratify. Anti-federalists won guarantees that a bill of rights, protecting individual freedoms, would be added to the Constitution as amendments, or changes.  




Slide #1   

1)      What was the “Question of the Age” in the 18th century (1700s) that the 13 states faced after the Revolutionary War? VIDEO CLIP





Slides #2 – #4

2)      What was significant about George Washington resigning after the Revolutionary War?








Slides #2 – #4



3)      What question faced America during the “critical period” (the 5 years after the Revolutionary War)?





Slides #5 – #7



4)      What 3 conditions existed in America that made Alexander Hamilton confident that it would become a world power?  



5)      Why were Alexander Hamilton and Noah Webster considered “nationalists?”



6)      How did the North and South view each other during the critical period?



7)      How would separate currencies (money) in each state contribute to the problem of unity in America?






Slides #8 – #10

8)      What were Alexander Hamilton’s criticisms of America under the Articles of Confederation?



9)      Describe the financial crisis in America under the Articles of Confederation. VIDEO CLIP for SLIDE 9




10)    Describe the conflict between debtors and creditors that led to Shays’s Rebellion.    


11)    What impact did Shays’s Rebellion have on America’s political leaders?













Slides #11 – #13

12)    What did James Madison believe was the “Big Problem” concerning government?



13)    What was the fate of earlier republics such as ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and England under the Commonwealth?





Slide #14

14)    Why did the delegates at the Constitutional Convention hold their meetings in secret? Do you think this was a good policy?  VIDEO FOR SLIDE 14






Slide #15

15)    What did the delegates decide to do with the Articles of Confederation?  VIDEO FOR SLIDE 15



16)    What did the new federal government have that the old one lacked under the Articles of Confederation?



17)    How would the new government protect the rights of the minority from the potential tyranny of the majority?





Slide #16

18)    How did the “Great Compromise” settle the dispute between large and small states concerning representation in government?  VIDEO FOR SLIDE 16







Slide #17

19)    How did the “3/5 Compromise” settle the dispute between Southern states and Northern states concerning representation in government?



Slide #18

20)    How did the “Trade (Commerce) Compromise” settle the dispute between Southern states and Northern states concerning trade and tariffs?



Slide #19

21)    How did the “Presidency Compromise” settle the dispute between states’ rights supporters and federal power supporters concerning the chief executive (president)?





Slides #20 – #23

22)    List the arguments made by the Anti-federalists (those who opposed the new government and the Constitution.)



23)    List the arguments made by the Federalists (those who supported the new government and the Constitution.)




24)    What was the greatest fear of the Anti-federalists regarding the new Constitution?



25)    What does the map on Slide #23 reveal about America concerning ratification of the Constitution?




Slide #25

26)    According to historian, Gordon S. Wood, what is the only thing that makes Americans a “single people?” Explain.



Slides #26


27)    What group was not protected by the ideals and liberties listed in America’s three founding documents when they were written: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights?




Slides #27


28)    According to columnist, George Will, what was the false belief that people held at the beginning of the American Revolution? Why was this belief “dead as a door nail” at the end of the Revolution?





29)    According to historian, Pauline Maier, why should the American Revolution be considered a success?




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