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Suffolk Resolves, Summary

Joseph Warren

At the urging of King George III, the British Parliament enacted five laws in 1774, in response to colonial actions flaunting British authority, particularly the Boston Tea Party. The British referred to the legislation collectively as the Coercive Acts or the Restraining Acts. In the American Colonies, they were called the “Intolerable Acts.” In September … Read more

Pontiac

Pontiac, Illustration

Biography Pontiac was a chief of the Ottawa Indians who remains famous for his leadership role in Pontiac’s Rebellion (1763–1766). Pontiac subscribed to the religious beliefs of Neolin, a prophet among the Delaware Indians who encouraged his fellow Indians to forsake all English goods and customs. Along with other American Indian leaders, Pontiac urged tribes … Read more

Valley Forge, Winter, 1777-1778, Overview

Continental Army, March to Valley Forge

Summary The winter of 1777–1778 may have been the low point of the Revolutionary War for George Washington and the Continental Army. After the Battles of Brandywine (September 11, 1777) and Germantown (October 4, 1777), the British Army occupied the American capital, Philadelphia, Congress was on the run, and the Army was in shambles. On … Read more

Constitutional Convention of 1787, Summary

Constitutional Convention, Signing the Constitution, Christy

United States Constitutional Convention Summary By 1787, only four years after the official end of the Revolution, many Americans were convinced that the new nation could not survive under the weak central government established by the Articles of Confederation. Following two previous attempts to address growing concerns about the state of the nation (Mt.Vernon, 1785 … Read more

Paris, Treaty of (1783), Summary

Benjamin Franklin, Portrait, Duplessis

Summary of Treaty of Paris 1783 The 1783 Treaty of Paris was one of a series of treaties, collectively known as the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of Versailles of 1783, that established peace between Great Britain and the allied nations of France, Spain, and the Netherlands. The Treaty of Paris was negotiated as … Read more

Coercive Acts, Summary

King George III, Painting

Coercive Acts Summary The Coercive Acts were five laws governing the American Colonies and the Province of Quebec that were passed by Parliament in the Spring of 1774.  The first four laws punished the city of Boston and the colony of Massachusetts for their ongoing opposition to laws like the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and … Read more

Boston Port Act, Summary and Text

Thomas Gage, Portrait, Copley

Summary of the Boston Port Act The Boston Port Act was introduced to the House of Commons by Lord North on March 18, 1774. A week later, on March 25, the bill was sent to the House of Lords where it was approved. It was given Royal Assent by King George III on March 31, … Read more

Quartering Act of 1774, Summary

Thomas Gage, Portrait, Copley

The Quartering Act of 1774 was one of five laws enacted by the British Parliament in 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party. Collectively, the acts are known as the Coercive Acts or the Intolerable Acts. The Quartering Act of 1774, passed on June 2, 1774, was an extension of the Quartering Act of … Read more

Massachusetts Government Act of 1774, Summary and Text

Thomas Gage, Portrait, Copley

Summary of the Massachusetts Government Act The Massachusetts Government Act received Royal Assent on May 20, 1774, and went into effect on June 1, 1774. It revised the governing structure of Massachusetts, consolidating royal authority and severely limiting self-government within the colony. It replaced the Governor’s Council with Mandamus Councillors, appointed by the Crown. The … Read more

Quebec Act, Summary

King George III, Painting

Summary of the Quebec Act of 1774 The Quebec Act received Royal Assent on June 22, 1774. Although it was not one of the punitive acts passed in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, many colonists and historians consider it one of the Coercive Acts, which were called the Intolerable Acts in America. The official … Read more

Currency Act, Summary

King George III, Painting

Summary of the Currency Act Colonial America suffered from a lack of hard money due to the mercantile system. Under that economic, system colonies exported relatively cheap raw materials and imported relatively expensive manufactured goods. The system was good for merchants in the mother country, but bad for the colonies because it resulted in more … Read more

French and Indian War – Summary

King George III, Painting

French and Indian War Summary The French and Indian War was the North American portion of a worldwide contest for empire between Britain, France, Spain, and other European nations. In Europe, the conflict is known as the Sever Years’ War. Most of the fighting in North America took place in Canada and the Ohio Country, … Read more

Proclamation of 1763

King George III, Painting

Proclamation of 1763 Summary At the conclusion of the French and Indian War, the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1763, left Great Britain in control of a vast new empire in North America. Most of the inhabitants of the newly acquired lands were hostile Natives, intent on maintaining what was theirs. Colonists living … Read more

Federalist Papers, Number 1, Text

Alexander Hamilton, Portrait

Introduction Written by Alexander Hamilton and published in the Independent Journal on October 27, 1787. To the People of the State of New York: AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks … Read more

Federalist Papers, Number 2, Text

John Jay, Founding Father, Head Justice, Portrait, Stuart

Written by John Jay and published on October 31, 1787. WHEN the people of America reflect that they are now called upon to decide a question, which in its consequences must prove one of the most important that ever engaged their attention, the propriety of their taking a very comprehensive, as well as a very … Read more

Madison, James

James Madison, Painting

James Madison Biography James Madison was an American statesman, political theorist, and the fourth President of the United States, serving from 1809 to 1817. He is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and is widely regarded as the “Father of the Constitution” for his pivotal role in the drafting of the United … Read more

Jay, John

John Jay, Portrait

Early Life and Education John Jay was born on December 12, 1745. He was the eighth child and sixth son of a family of wealthy New York City merchants. Jay spent his childhood in Rye, New York, near New York City. He received his early education from private tutors. Jay graduated from King’s College, now … Read more

Burr, Aaron

Aaron Burr, Illustration, Sartain

Aaron Burr Biography Aaron Burr was born on February 6, 1756, in Newark, New Jersey, His father, the Reverend Aaron Burr Sr., was a co-founder and then second president of the College of New Jersey — Princeton University. His mother,  Esther Edwards Burr was the daughter of the famous New England theologian Jonathan Edwards. Both … Read more

Rush, Benjamin

Benjamin Rush, Illustration

Quick Facts Born January 4, 1746, in Byberry, Pennsylvania. Graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) in 1760. Received MD degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1768. Elected to the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania in 1776. Signed Declaration of Independence in 1776. Appointed Surgeon-general to the armies of the middle department of … Read more

Hamilton, Alexander – Speech to New York Convention

Alexander Hamilton, Portrait

I am persuaded, Mr. Chairman, that I in my turn shall be indulged in addressing the committee. We all in equal sincerity profess to be anxious for the establishment of a republican government on a safe and solid basis. It is the object of the wishes of every honest man in the United States, and … Read more