[Back to Modern Europe Syllabus]
Modern Western Civilization
Class 10A: The American Revolution
II. The Discovery of America
III. The European World Economic System
- A. Central and Peripheral Areas
- B. The Slave Trade
IV. The English Colonies
- A. Colonial Life
- B. Colonial Government
- C. Colonial Expansion
V. The Road to Independence
- A. America and the Enlightenment
- B. The French and Indian War 1756-1763
France vs. GB. Only after Britain won did the colonists start
to make a fuss about taxation.
- C. Colonial Discontent
1. Trade System/Navigation Acts
2. Extent of Regulation - Benign neglect no more
- 3. Relations with Parliament
- 4. 1768-1774
VI. Rebellious Actions
- A. 1774 First Continental Congress
- B. 1775 Skirmishes at Lexington
VII. Opinion Changers
- A. Thomas Paine, the writer of Common Sense, was also
later to be involved in defending the French Revolution.
- B. 1775 Common Sense
VIII. Great Men ?
- A. Thomas Jefferson
- B. Benjamin Franklin
- C. George Washington
- D. Benedict Arnold
IX. Declaration of Independence 1776
- This drew heavily on liberal ideals; for instance in justifying
the revolution, in its emphasis on human rights, and the rights
- Unfair view of George III.
X. The War
- 1775 Lexington
- 1778 Alliance with France
- 1781 British Defeat at Yorktown
- 1783 Treaty of Paris
XI. Revolution or War of Independence?
- A War of Independence?
Elite classes remain in charge
Poor whites not represented
Blacks still slaves
- B. Revolutionary Social Change
1. Departure of Loyalists (60,000)
2. Leveling effect of inflation
3. Creation of New mythology
- C. A Country With a Mission
XII. The Governance of the New Country
- A. States
- B. Articles of Confederation 1781 - Loose Union
- C. Problems
XIII. The Making of the Constitution 1787
- A. Why?
1. For economic reasons (Charles Beard)
2. For Democracy
- B. Philadelphia 1787
- C. New Notion - Federalism
cf. Confederation (Joint citizenship)
XIV. The Constitution
- A. Rationale
Freedom from government [Discussion: What does government do?]
Built in Gridlock
- B. British Models
1. English Institutions
-Common law rules
2. John Locke
Government as a contract.
- C. French Models
1. Montesqueiu - Separation of Powers
2. Rousseau - Popular Sovereignty
- D. American Experiences
1. New England town meetings
Colonial assemblies (unlike anything in England)
State constitutions (e.g. Virginia)
2. Example of Iroquois Confederation?
- E. Separation of Powers
1. Executive Presidency (=King)
2. Congress (=Parliament)
3. Judiciary (=Judges)
- F. American Originality
Formalizing of Arrangements
XV. Federalists and Anti-Federalists
- A. Federalists:
- B. Anti-Federalists:
XVI. The Bill of Rights
- The Bill of Rights was written by Federalists to defend individuals
against state power.
XVII. The Party System
- A. Early Intentions
- B. George Washington
- C. John Adams
- D. Thomas Jefferson and the Republicans (i.e. Democrats)
XVIII. America - The Enlightenment Project
- A. The Constitution used many Enlightenment ideas.
Locke - "Life, Liberty and Property".
- The idea of just opposition to despotism.
Montesquieu - The idea of separation of powers.
B. Creation of a New Society
C. Civil Religion of the United States
D. Overwhelming cultural importance given to notion of the Individual
Who was an individual
XIX. America: A City on a Hill?
- America was an example of practical freedom
The Goldene Medina
This had a definite effect on Europe.