Chapter 4 – Foundations: Background to American History

Flashcard maker : Ken Ericksen
Declaration of Independence
Document recording the proclamation of the second Continental Congress (4 July 1776) asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain, predominately composed by Thomas Jefferson.
U. S. Constitution
The document written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 that sets forth the institutional structure of the U.S. government and the tasks these institutions perform. A Bill of Rights was added and the U.S. Constitution completed its ratification process in 1791. It replaced the Articles of Confederation.
Bill of Rights
Although the Anti-Federalists failed to block the ratification of the Constitution, they did ensure that the Bill of Rights would be created to protect individuals from government interference and possible tyranny. The Bill of Rights, drafted by a group led by James Madison, consisted of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which guaranteed the civil rights of American citizens.
John Trumbull, Sr.
Because of his role during the American Rev., Jonathan Trumbull is one of Connecticut’s best-known governors, and many historians regard him as one of its greatest leaders. He was the only governor of an English colony to side with the colonists, and his opposition to England’s settlements into the colonies made him the only colonial governor to remain in office throughout the war. Thus, he became Connecticut’s last colonial governor and it’s first state governor.
John Peter Muhlenberg
American clergyman, Continental Army soldier during the American Revolutionary War, he served in the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate from Pennsylvania; Founding father who signed the Declaration of Independence.
John Hancock
Patriot leader and president of the Second Continental Congress; first person to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Benjamin Rush
Physician, educator, and humanitarian who is sometimes known as the \”Father of American Medicine\”; signer of the Declaration of Independence; helped establish and finance the oldest African-American church in the country (the African Methodist Episcopal Church) in Philidelphia.
Charles Carroll
Signer of the Declaration of Independence who showed patriotism at the time of the Revolutionary War helping to pave the way for a greater acceptance of Catholics in the new nation; The only Catholic signer.
John Witherspoon
American Revolutionary leader and educator (born in Scotland) who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and president of the college that became Princeton University (1723-1794).
John Jay
American delegate who signed Treaty of Paris; New York lawyer and diplomat who negotiated with Britain and Spain on behalf of the Confederation; he later became the first chief justice of the Supreme Court and negotiated the Jay Treaty.
Fifth Amendment
A constitutional amendment designed to protect the rights of persons accused of crimes, including protection against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and punishment without due process of law.
Eminent Domain
Power of a government to take private property for public use; the U.S. Constitution gives national and state governments this power and requires them to provide just compensation for property so taken.
Alexis de Tocqueville
French liberal politician who observed the evolution of American political thought, customs and social interaction in the 1830’s. Identified five values crucial to America’s success; egalitarianism, populism, liberty, individualism, and laissez-faire. His book Democracy in America is still considered one the most accurate primary sources on American culture.
Liberty
An ideal of freedom from oppression, tyranny, and government, allowing individuals to pursue happiness through positive action.
Egalitarianism
A theory of practice based on the desire to promote equality; egalitarianism is sometimes seen as the belief that equality is the primary political value.
Individualism
A belief in the importance of the individual and the virtue of self-reliance and personal independence.
Populism
The political doctrine that supports the rights and powers of the common people in their struggle with the privileged elite.
Laissez-faire
Idea that government should play as small a role as possible in economic affairs.
\”E Pluribus Unum\”
(Latin), national motto of the USA; \”out of many, one\”
\”In God We Trust\”
A phrase that Congress made mandatory on all American currency in 1954, inspired by Eisenhower’s patriotic crusade to bring Americans back to God.

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