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Civics 101: The National Self Governing Will InHome Training

Course 1: Introduction to American Civics

The National Self Governing Will 1: Introduction to American Civics

Table of Contents
I. Introduction to American Civics.............................................................................. 3
History of the United States of America ..................................................... 4
Join or Die .................................................................................................... 4
More on Franklins Albany Plan................................................................. 7
II. The American Revolution ...................................................................................... 10
The Stamp Act ........................................................................................... 12
The Tea Act................................................................................................ 14
Continental Congress................................................................................. 14
The Second Continental Congress ............................................................ 16
III. Independence ........................................................................................................ 17
IV. The Declaration of Independence......................................................................... 21
Recap on the Declaration........................................................................... 27
V. The Constitution..................................................................................................... 28
Article I. ..................................................................................................... 30
Article II. .................................................................................................... 35
Article III. .................................................................................................. 37
Article IV.................................................................................................... 38
Article V. .................................................................................................... 38
Article VI.................................................................................................... 39
Article VII. ................................................................................................. 39
VI. The Bill of Rights .................................................................................................. 41
The Preamble to The Bill of Rights........................................................... 42
VII. The End of the Revolution .................................................................................. 51
VIII. Timeline of Events.............................................................................................. 52

I. Introduction to American Civics

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
- George Santayana

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
- The Declaration of Independence
The path to the current state of America is a long one. It is a path that has developed out
of the dreams and inspirations of men and women defined by the ambition and
imagination of freedom, and the liberty to develop a personal destiny. It is a path from the
state of a colony, developed into a beacon of hope in the free world, and of democracy to
the rest.
To fully understand how the path of history has led us to the current state of America, we
must first travel back to the very roots of it. Certainly we could tie back the development
of America earlier to Spanish exploration, to development of trade routes, to early
conquest of the globe. We could go back further to Norse in the 8th century, who predated
Columbus by several hundred years. These were all developments that led up to the most
tumultuous and incubative period in American history: The American Revolution.
One cannot truly understand the gift of independence without first appreciating the details
and struggle of the American Revolution. The revolution was a desperate time. The
colonists at the time understood that nothing less than success would suffice. Indeed,
anything less than success would mean extinction of the very American principles. This
principle at its core is very simple and at the same time very sublime.

The core American principle is self governing will.

This initial course of the American Civics subject of In-Home Training will develop from
one of the key moments of the American Revolution - the path to American Self
Governing Will. In this course, you will learn more about the key motivators or
protagonists of the Revolution. This course is framed on the American Will in terms of
governance by the will of the people as a collective of the dominant shared perception
united in a colony of like minded people. In other terms, the defining American will of
self governance in the nation is a reflection on the individual. Young patriots of the early
American Revolution understood this. They saw the need for people to be able to make
their way in the world by defining their own path, rather than being told the path by
parliament. The second course will dive into the current government system, and how we
continue with an American Self Governing Will today. In the third course, we will bring
the tie of American Self Governing Will to the case of business and job security. Finally
in the fourth course, we will provide an introduction and launch pad into action - what
steps can you take as an American patriot to protect your liberties and securities.

History of the United States of America

A history of the United States could hardly be said to have begun with the inception of
the states as a united land. In the earliest time of the colonies, few really perceived the
common notion - the common sense - of unification. Few understood the common goals.
One must understand that this was a different time. The colonies had forever been a
subset of British rule. Most saw themselves as British subjects. Many had deep loyalties.
As generations went forth, and new younger men and women were born to only know the
colonies, these ties slowly decomposed. The colonialists began to feel that they were
ruled by a distant cousin. The early colonists found it difficult, understandably so, to put a
face to this British rule. What they could put a face to was their daily life, what they
What they knew was family and struggle. These were times of struggle where survival
was not a given but had to be worked for. There was a constant toil to preserve an
existence. There was hope too, and there were newspapers to spread that hope and keep
people informed. These newspapers also became a reforming event helping to shape the
moral construct of American thought and - most importantly - American identity. Enough
cannot be stated as to the importance of American identity. It was this identity that was
shared in the streets, at tables, in churches, in committees. American identity was a
unifying force. Being American became important. It helped you to recognize your
neighbor, to empathize with his or her struggles, and to share an endurance to strain for
the dream of independence.

Join or Die
The first political cartoon to appear in an American Newspaper was created by Ben
Franklin in 1754. The cartoon sought to emphasize the importance of his Albany plan.
The Albany plan was evidence that Franklin highly appreciated the usefulness of intercolonial cooperation. The Albany plan was a call for colonial union. It would call into
action and create a grand council made of elected delegates from the various colonies.
This council would oversee matters of defense, western expansion, and Indian affairs. To
preside over this council, there would be a President General, as appointed by the king of
England. In his Albany plan, Franklin suggested that the council be authorized to collect
taxes for use with military expenditures.
On the next page is the infamous Join or Die cartoon by Franklin. This cartoon was
widely - very, very widely - dispersed and recognized throughout the colonies, thanks in
much to Franklins expertise in printing. Of any colonist, Franklin was the most
identifiable with an American Self Governing will. So much so, that today Franklin is an
icon for the thrifty. Children learn of his exploits, his rags to riches mythology, his
experiments with lighting and the whatnot. Historians rightly see that Franklins greatest
gift and one that really defines him as a measure of early American will is his
understanding and construction of his own history. Franklin was a man of the people. He
knew his exploits would go initiatory (again, recall his printing experience) and he
worked very deftly to correct the manner and light in which he would be defined to later

This is not to discredit Franklin in the least, but rather to showcase his perception of
himself, because this was a perception he shared - as did many others - for the coming
unification of the states.
The cartoon was first published in Franklins Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754. The
original publication by the Gazette is the earliest known pictorial representation of
colonial union produced by a British colonist in America. In other words, this was the
first time a colonist had so publicly stated a case for independence.
The cartoon is a woodcut showing a snake severed into eighths, each segment labeled
with the initials of a British American colony or region. New England was represented as
one segment, rather than the four colonies it was at that time. In addition, Delaware and
Georgia were omitted completely. Thus, it has eight segments of snake rather than the
traditional 13 colonies. The cartoon appeared along with Franklin's editorial about the
"disunited state" of the colonies, and helped make his point about the importance of
colonial unity. During that era, there was a superstition that a snake which had been cut
into pieces would come back to life if the pieces were put together before sunset.
The colonists were divided on whether to fight the French and their Indian allies for
control of the land west of the Appalachian Mountains, in what became to be known as
the French and Indian War. It became a symbol for the need of organized action against
an outside threat posed by the French and Indians in the mid-18th century. Franklin had
proposed the Albany Plan and his cartoon suggested that such a union was necessary to
avoid destruction. As Franklin wrote, "The Confidence of the French in this Undertaking
seems well-grounded on the present disunited State of the British Colonies, and the
extreme Difficulty of bringing so many different Governments and Assemblies to agree
in any speedy and effectual Measures for our common defense and Security; while our
Enemies have the very great Advantage of being under one Direction, with one Council,
and one Purse...."

Franklin was of course correct. What he saw was that the colonies had a common
struggle; however, they were not working together. They needed some solidification,
some governing force, to keep them from being essentially bulldozed by British rule.
Franklin's political cartoon took on a different meaning during the lead up to the
American Revolution, especially around 1765-1766, during the Stamp Act Congress.
British colonists in America protesting British rule used the cartoon in the Constitutional
Courant to help persuade the colonists. However, the Patriots, who associated the image
with eternity, vigilance, and prudence, were not the only ones who saw a new
interpretation of the cartoon.
The difference between the use of "Join or Die" in 1754 and 1765 is that Franklin had
designed it to unite the colonies for 'management of Indian relations' and defense against
France, but in 1765 American colonists used it to urge colonial unity against the British.
Also during this time the phrase "join, or die" changed to "unite, or die," in some states
such as New York and Pennsylvania.
Soon after the publication of the cartoon during the Stamp Act Congress, variations were
printed in New York, Massachusetts, and a couple of months later it had spread to
Virginia and South Carolina. In some states, such as New York and Pennsylvania, the
cartoon continued to be published week after week for over a year. On July 7, 1774 Paul
Revere altered the cartoon to fit the masthead of the Massachusetts Spy.
Why do much on a cartoon? Because it was published and shared iconoclastic symbols
such as this that helped to unify the states, and has helped to spread and sustain the
history of democracy. Indeed, the cartoon became a banner used in marches in Boston by
early patriots, and later used by both sides during the Civil War.

The Sons of Liberty tarring and feathering

a tax collector underneath the Liberty Tree

On August 14, 1765, a crowd gathered in Boston under a large elm tree at the corner of
Essex Street and Washington Street, originally called Orange Street, to protest the hated
Stamp Act. Patriots who later called themselves the Sons of Liberty had hung in effigy
Andrew Oliver, the colonist chosen by King George III to impose the Stamp Act, in the
branches of the tree. Up in the tree with the effigy hung a British cavalry jackboot.
Grinning from inside the boot was a devil-like doll holding a scroll marked Stamp Act.
It was the first public show of defiance against the Crown and spawned the resistance that
led to the American Revolutionary War 10 years later. On Sept. 10, a sign saying "Tree
of Liberty" was nailed to the trunk of the tree.
In the years leading up to the war, the British made the Liberty Tree an object of ridicule.
British soldiers tarred and feathered a man named Thomas Ditson, and forced him to
march in front of the tree. During the siege of Boston, a party of Loyalists led by Job
Williams defiantly cut the tree down in an act of spite, knowing what it represented to the
colonists, and used the tree for firewood. This act only further enraged the colonists. As
resistance to the British grew, flags bearing a representation of the Liberty Tree were
flown to symbolize the unwavering spirit of liberty. These flags were later a common
sight during the battles of the American Revolution.

More on Franklins Albany Plan

The Albany Plan of Union was proposed by Benjamin Franklin at the Albany Congress in
1754 in Albany, New York. It was an early attempt at forming a union of the colonies
"under one government as far as might be necessary for defense and other general
important purposes" during the French and Indian War. Franklin's plan of union was one
of several put forth by various delegates of the Albany Congress.

A committee, formed to consider the different plans, settled on Franklin's planmaking

only small modifications. Chief Justice Benjamin Chew, Richard Peters, and Isaac Norris
were also members of this committee. The Plan called for the general government to be
administered by a President General appointed and supported by the Crown, and a Grand
Council to be chosen by the representatives of the colonial assemblies. Many objections
and difficulties were debated, addressed, and resolved whereupon the plan was
unanimously adopted by the delegates of the Albany Congress. Copies were then sent to
the Colonial Assemblies and the British Board of Trade in London.
The plan did not receive approval from all of the colonial assemblies, and very much
rejected by the English Parliament. Naturally, so the English recognized that the Albany
plan undermined the power of the crown over the young, eager colonies.
Up to the time of the Albany plan, the French and the British all but declared all out war.
The conflict between France and the British instead fell to small skirmishes between the
two, vying to overstake parcels of the expanding western front before the other. However,
it was not necessarily the British fending off the French, instead it was the colonies. The
colonies were forced into the work of defense of the Eastern British rule. Instead of
building a nation, young colonialist found themselves fighting the French in the name of
British imperialism. One such example was Fort Necessity. The Fort was set forth as a
means to expand British rule into the Ohio territory.
To take up this cause, the Virginians enforced the Fort against the incoming attack from
the French and Indians troops. Under the command of a very young George Washington,
the Fort was lost by the Virginians on July 3rd 1754. The loss of the fort showed the new
world a few things. A single colony could not hope to defeat the French by itself.
Secondly, the British, while playing the absent leader, were beginning to disenfranchise
and anger the colonies due to the ungrateful disregard for the colonies toll in battles.

The battle at Fort Necessity in the summer of 1754 was the opening action of the French
and Indian War. This war was a clash of British, French and American Indian cultures. It
ended with the removal of French power from North America. The stage was set for the
American Revolution.

It was not until May 18th 1756 that the British officially declared war on the French. This
war came to be known as the French and American War in America, and in Europe it was
know as the Seven Years War (1756 - 1763). The war racked up tremendous national
debt for the British but eventually in the fall of 1760 the French surrendered after a brutal
battle in Quebec. The Peace of Paris signed in 1763 essentially gave what is now North
America back to the British in full. As you can see from the map, the British gained all
lands up to the Mississippi river. Of course, this is well before the Louisiana Purchase.

Instead, the land west of the Mississippi regained control by the Spanish claims.
The victory of the Seven Years War had a dramatic effect on the colonies. Although
Franklins Albany Plan had not been accepted in the years past, the war and the effects of
the treaty showed the colonists what they could do when united. In other colonists, the
victory inspired in them a greater reverence for the British Empire and making some to
feel that themselves may now be seen as worthy subjects. It is important to keep in mind
that common British thought of the colonies at the time, both by the general public and
by the Parliament, was that the colonies were little more than a bunch of rag-tag,
frontiersmen. The colonies were not respected amongst the British as anything close to
being British - as members of the empire - and certainly not as a united force or threat to
the empire.
The Seven Years War also had the affect of training many young colonialist in the way of
war and military strategy, namely on the plains of the east coast. The colonies also came
to understand that the British were not invincible. The British on the other hand, felt the
colonies to be ungrateful for the protection offered to fend off the French. The British
then used this as justification for the taxation of the colonies by the British parliament.

The colonies, having fought the empires wars of expansion, having purchased the
empires goods, and having sought to further British rule, saw themselves as brothers of
the crown. For the British, American was another word for not quite British.

II. The American Revolution

Colonists in the 1760s did not anticipate the coming national independence. Many felt
strong and more loyalist ties to England and believed that any plan for independence
would be an exercise in extinction of their colonies. Revolution was most spoken of, at
the outset, in hushed tones and amongst friends, as people were almost afraid that
outright show and display of any thought of independence would find them struck down.
Naturally, in the most basic terms independence from England amounted to treason in
the mind of the English and English loyalists.
It is only in retrospect today that we can see how the events of the period led to


independence. At the time though, the colonists thought of themselves in a post war era
having just ended the Seven Years War. It was a time of optimism for many. By 1776,
approximately 2.5 million people living within the 13 colonies. Nearly 60% of the
colonists were under the age of 21. This is of significance as these were the people who
would drive the revolution, having grown up with the idea of the growing cause for
In 1760, George III became the king of England at the age of 22. His public had
reservations about their new king and his socialization and general experience. He
immediately took a more assertive role in government than his predecessor, which was
not kindly taken amongst officials who thought him (like his own Grandfather George II)
as being a dim-wit. For decades, a powerful though unorganized group of men who called
themselves whigs had set policy and controlled patronage. George II had accepted this, as
long as the Whigs in parliament did not interject in the army. During George IIs time,
the Whigs essentially ran the empire. George III did not play along with this, which drew
into scope for many his intentions for the crown. There is significance in this, as
history can not attest, in that with the turmoil in his own house, George III did not
initially have much interest in the colonies.
George III

General Cornwallis
From across the pond colonists did not see it in their interest to maintain the
supremacy of Parliament. As the news of the debates ongoing between George III and
the English Parliament reached the shores of the colonies, the colonists had to begin with
their own debate both personally and publicly as to their own feelings on the rule of
Parliament from afar. By 1763, certain American beliefs started to become clear. Over
the course of the previous century, American assemblies - drawing on their own growing
legislative ideals had steadily defined their own systems of taxation and expenditures.
At first, these assemblies looked and worked like copies of the English Parliament. Due
to our own existing and working system of rule, the theme of representation came to
light. How should the colonies be represented to the English parliament might be the
early thought of the colonist.


The colonists had over-emphasized their own importance in the mind of the British
Empire. To the British, the colonies were no more than curious subjects, without class
and culture and very possibly and rabble-rousing group of felons. The concept from the
British rule was that as a part of the Empire, the colonists were represented in political
decisions, without their vote or any necessary input. The colonists referred to this as
virtual representation. Said John Adams of a representative (and now do please take this
term to mind in our own contemporary American government), (He) should think, feel,
reason, and act like them (the represented). None of the English Parliament had ever
been to the colonies, less even met an American.
So the idea that Americans could be represented without our input, our voice and vote,
was ridiculous. As we were not represented by this Parliament, their taxation was unjust.
So, in 1764 the Connecticut Assembly declared with large bold letters, NO LAW CAN
THEIR REPRESENTATIVES. Yes, you are right. Here we begin with the concept of
taxation without representation.

The Stamp Act

The Seven Years War had created a large national debt for Great Britain, so much so that
half of the annual national budget went to paying on interest of that debt. Sound familiar?
The greatest sum of this came with George III decision to maintain the largest peacetime
army in British history. To pay for the debt, the kings minister implemented the Sugar
Act of 1764. This act redefined the relationship between the colonies and Britain. The
parliament now expected the colonies to produce revenue for them. Colonists understood
at once that they were being unjustly taxed. If they were to be considered British subjects,
this additional American tax would be inconsistent with their rights.
The Stamp Act in 1765 turned what had been a debate into a more political movement.
The Stamp Act placed a tax on documents and printed materials (newspapers, marriage
licenses, wills, etc. - even playing cards). The stamps varied in denomination.

Example Stamps of the time circa 1765

Colonists reacted with the above mock stamp expecting the demise of Journalism
(newspapers) due to the effects of the stamp act tax on newspapers. The patriots


understood that the British rule was trying to silence the American voice of its will
through this taxation of papers.
Protests began to break out against the Stamp Act. By November 1st 1765, stamp
distributors in almost every American port had publicly resigned. Without distributors,
the revenue stamps could not be sold. Afraid that the turmoil in the colonies would lead
them to bankruptcy, the House of Commons repealed the Stamp Act in March of 1768. In
the colonies, the Act created a deeper rift between the colonists and British officials who
were posted in the colonies.
In Boston on March 5th 1770, the tension between the colonists angry about taxation
and the growing troops of British and patrolling British officers resulted in British
troops firing upon a gathering of colonists. Five colonists were killed. Pamphleteers
labeled the incident the Boston Massacre. Below is an engraving of the incident created
by Paul Revere.
When Paul Revere first began selling his color prints of
"The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street" in
Boston, he was doing what any like-minded patriot with
his talents in 1770 would have done. Only, Paul Revere
did it faster and more expeditiously than anyone else,
including two other artist-engravers who also issued
prints of the Massacre that year.
Twenty-one days before on the night of March 5, 1770
five men had been shot to death in Boston town by
British soldiers. Precipitating the event known as the
Boston Massacre was a mob of men and boys taunting a
sentry standing guard at the city's customs house. When
other British soldiers came to the sentry's support, a freefor-all ensued and shots were fired into the crowd.

The British soldiers were to be tried. A young lawyer by the name of John Adams elected
to take the case of defending the British soldiers. The case was a pivotal moment for the
young Adams career and for the young nation. The case, the hearing, and the verdict
carried with it undertones of the very republic. Blood was boiling in the Boston town.
Colonists saw this as an attack on the American principles. Adams impassionedly used
the trial to frame what America stood for: the right of every man to a fair trial, to be
judged on the same level. The trial was incredible proof of American Self Governing
Will. Adams proved that the States could govern for themselves - fairly, to the law.
Adams showed compassion to the right of the law and the equality of men to be judged
on a level plain of that law. He showed British soldiers on a level with the colonists under
the same law, meaning that the colony governed under its own equal rule, just as the
parliament might in England.
This trial was a symbolic manifestation of American right to rule. The soldiers were
acquitted of the charges in acting in self defense. What Adams did in the trial


reverberated across the colonies to show the courage and direction of the United States. It
would be a civil union. A union built on the laws and inherent rights of man. Further, as
Adams became renown in the colonies as a man of justice and governance, his coming
rebuttal of the parliamentarian acts as being unjust would add integrity to the cause of

The Tea Act

In May of 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act. The act was meant to save the East India
Company from bankruptcy by cutting out the tea smugglers from Holland that colonists
did business with. What it was taken as was a measure to in fact show case for taxation
without representation. Colonists would not allow the ships to unload the East India tea,
and British officials would not let them return to England with the tea, so the ships sat in
the Boston harbor awaiting one side or the other to back down. On the night of December
16th 1773, a group of men disguised as Mohawk boarded the ship and sent all the tea over
the starboard. These men were a group known as the Sons of Liberty.
The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance
movement throughout British America against the
Tea Act, which had been passed by the British
Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea
Act for a variety of reasons, especially because
they believed that it violated their right to be taxed
only by their own elected representatives.
Protesters had successfully prevented the
unloading of taxed tea in three other colonies, but
in Boston, embattled Royal Governor Thomas
Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be returned
to Britain. He apparently did not expect that the
protestors would choose to destroy the tea rather
than concede the authority of a legislature in
which they were not directly represented.

In reaction, Parliament passed what was termed the Coercive Acts, or as they were called
in the colonies, the Intolerable Acts. The acts would close the ports of Boston until they
would accept tea from the East India Company, created a new government in
Massachusetts with appointed officials, and authorized British troops to quarter wherever
they needed. Looking back, one can see the faulty logic of the British in these acts as they
just further infuriated the colonies and helped to solidify them/us into statehood. A united

Continental Congress
In the summer of 1774, colonial committees endorsed a call for a Continental Congress
a gathering of 55 elected representatives from 12 colonies. That is 12 because Georgia
did not send a representative, but did support the Congress. The First Continental
Congress met in Philadelphia on September 5th and included John Adams, Samuel
Adams, and George Washington.
The First Continental Congress was held on September 5, 1774, and lasted until October


26, 1774. It was held because the colonists were very upset about the Intolerable Acts and
the taxes. The Congress met in secret. The meeting was held to discuss unfair treatment
from Britain, what relationship the colonies should have with Britain, and what colonists'
rights should be.
The meetings were held in Philadelphia. Each state but Georgia sent a representative to
the Congress. The Royal Governor in Georgia had stopped the delegates from being a
part of the Congress. Patrick Randolph from Virginia was selected as the President of the
First Continental Congress.

The First Continental Congress agreed to boycott British goods. They also agreed to meet
again if Great Britain did not change its policies. They did not outwardly state a plan to
become independent yet at this time, though they spoke of the concept of freedom. Many
of the colonists still wanted to be Englishmen, and were called loyalists. The first
Continental Congress signed a petition and sent it to England, demanding that the
Intolerable Acts that the British had imposed should be repealed. They wrote that
"Americans cannot submitto these grievous acts and measures..." and that they wanted
both countries to return to "happiness and prosperity."
John Adams saw the First Continental
Congress like a school for colonial leaders.
Shortly after the meeting of the first
Continental Congress, attacks between
Minutemen and British soldiers at Lexington
and Concord became the shot heard around
the world.

The Second Continental Congress

When the Second Continental Congress met in May 1775, they found themselves at a
pivotal moment. The colonies were without a centralized control of their efforts. With
that, the Congress took control of the war and created the Continental Army and George
Washington was appointed its commander. When in December of 1775 the English
Parliament passed the Prohibitory Act, they essentially declared war on colony
commerce, as it stated that the colonies could only trade with the rest of the world. The
British Navy blocked colony ports. The British further hired German mercenaries to quell
rebellions in the colonies.

The second Congress managed the colonial war effort, and moved incrementally towards
independence, adopting the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
By raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties,
the Congress acted as the de facto national government of what became the United States.
With the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, the Congress became known as the
Congress of the Confederation.
Notable new arrivals to the Second Continental Congress included Benjamin Franklin of
Pennsylvania and John Hancock of Massachusetts. Within two weeks, Payton Randolph
was summoned back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses; he was replaced
in the Virginia delegation by Thomas Jefferson, who arrived several weeks later. Henry
Middleton was elected as president to replace Randolph, but he declined, and Hancock
was elected president on May 24.
Delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies were present when the Second
Continental Congress convened. Georgia had not participated in the First Continental
Congress and did not initially send delegates to the Second Continental Congress. On
May 13, 1775, Lyman Hall was admitted as a delegate from the Parish of St. John's in the
Colony of Georgia, not as a delegate from the colony itself. On July 4, 1775,
revolutionary Georgians held a Provincial Congress to decide how to respond to the
American Revolution, and that congress decided on July 8 to send delegates to the
Continental Congress. They arrived on July 20.


III. Independence
By the time the Second Continental Congress met, the American Revolutionary War had
already started with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The Congress was to take
charge of the war effort. For the first few months of the struggle, the Patriots had carried
on their struggle in an ad-hoc and uncoordinated manner. They had seized arsenals,
driven out royal officials, and besieged the British army in the city of Boston. On June
14, 1775, the Congress voted to create the Continental Army out of the militia units
around Boston and quickly appointed Congressman George Washington of Virginia as
commanding general of the Continental Army.
On July 6, 1775 Congress approved a Declaration of Causes outlining the rationale and
necessity for taking up arms in the Thirteen Colonies." On July 8, Congress extended the
Olive Branch Petition to the British Crown as a final attempt at reconciliation. However,
it was received too late to do any good. Silas Deane was sent to France as a minister
(ambassador) of the Congress. American ports were reopened in defiance of the British
Navigation Acts.
Although it had no explicit legal authority to govern, the Congress assumed all the
functions of a national government, such as appointing ambassadors, signing treaties,
raising armies, appointing generals, obtaining loans from Europe, issuing paper money
(called "Continentals"), and disbursing funds. The Congress had no authority to levy
taxes, and was required to request money, supplies, and troops from the states to support
the war effort. Individual states frequently ignored these requests.
Congress was moving towards declaring independence from the British Empire in 1776,
but many delegates lacked the authority from their home governments to take such an
action. Advocates of independence in Congress moved to have reluctant colonial
governments revise instructions to their delegations, or even replace those governments
which would not authorize independence. On May 10, 1776, Congress passed a
resolution recommending that any colony lacking a proper (i.e. a revolutionary)
government should form such a government. On May 15, Congress adopted a more
radical preamble to this resolution, drafted by John Adams, in which it advised throwing
off oaths of allegiance and suppressing the authority of the Crown in any colonial
government that still derived its authority from the Crown. That same day the Virginia
Convention instructed its delegation in Philadelphia to propose a resolution that called for
a declaration of independence, the formation of foreign alliances, and a confederation of
the states. The resolution of independence was delayed for several weeks as
revolutionaries consolidated support for independence in their home governments.
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee tabled a resolution before the Continental Congress
declaring the colonies independent, he also urged Congress to resolve to take the most
effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances and to prepare a plan of confederation
for the newly independent states. France was a favorite ally of the colonies at the time,
and very intrigued by the cause of independence. Ben Franklin was something of a cult
hero in France.


Richard Henry Lee argued that independence was the only way to ensure a foreign
alliance, since no European monarchs would deal with America if they remained Britain's
colonists. American leaders had rejected the divine right of kings in the New World, but
recognized the necessity of proving their credibility in the Old World. Congress would
formally adopt the resolution of independence, but only after creating three overlapping
committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, and the Articles of Confederation.
The Declaration announced the states' entry into the international system; the model
treaty was designed to establish amity and commerce with other states; and the Articles
of Confederation, which established a firm league among the thirteen free and
independent states; together these constituted an international agreement to set up central
institutions for the conduct of vital domestic and foreign affairs.
Congress finally approved the resolution of independence on July 2, 1776. Congress next
turned its attention to a formal explanation of this decision, the United States Declaration
of Independence, which was approved on July 4 and published soon thereafter.
Thomas Jefferson was appointed to draft the declaration. As a lawyer, Jefferson stated the
case for independence, listing out the grievances against George III. The fight for
independence, all knew, was against insurmountable odds. The British thought of it as a
police force, and thought through intimidation, the revolution could be put down.
However, the colonies had the edge. First, the British had to transport troops, while the
colonists were defending their homes. Secondly, America was too vast a land to conquer
with the British sense of militia marching redcoats. As colonists knew, America could
not be defeated as America the independence was a growing concept. Lastly, while
British soldiers were fighting as a vocation, the colonists were fighting for their freedoms
and homes.
Here is a short timeline of the events leading up to the Declaration
The following is a brief chronicle of events leading up to the official adoption of the
Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
May 1775 - The Second Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia. A "petition for
redress of grievances," sent to King George III of England by the First Continental
Congress in 1774, remains unanswered.
June - July 1775 - Congress establishes the Continental Army, a first national monetary
currency and a post office to serve the "United Colonies."
August 1775 - King George declares his American subjects to be "engaged in open and
avowed rebellion" against the Crown. The English Parliament passes the American
Prohibitory Act, declaring all American sea-going vessels and their cargo the property of
January 1776 - Colonists by the thousands buy copies of Thomas Paine's "Common
Sense," stating the cause of American independence.


March 1776 - Congress passes the Privateering Resolution, allowing colonists to arm
vessels in order to "cruize [sic] on the enemies of these United Colonies."
April 6, 1776 - American seaports were opened to trade and cargo from other nations for
the first time.
May 1776 - Germany, through a treaty negotiated with King George, agrees to hire
mercenary soldiers to help put down any potential uprising by American colonists.
May 10, 1776 - Congress passes the "Resolution for the Formation of Local
Governments," allowing colonists to establish their own local governments. Eight
colonies agreed to support American independence.
May 15, 1776 - The Virginia Convention passes a resolution that "the delegates
appointed to represent this colony in General Congress be instructed to propose to that
respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent states."
June 7, 1776 - Richard Henry Lee, Virginia's delegate to the Continental Congress,
presents the Lee Resolution reading in part: "Resolved: That these United Colonies are,
and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all
allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the
State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
June 11, 1776 - Congress postpones consideration of the Lee Resolution and appoints the
"Committee of Five" to draft a final statement declaring the case for America's
independence. The Committee of Five was composed of John Adams of Massachusetts,
Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R.
Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.
July 2, 1776 - By the votes of 12 of the 13 colonies, with New York not voting, Congress
adopts the Lee Resolution and begins consideration of the Declaration of Independence,
written by the Committee of Five.
July 4, 1776 - Late in the afternoon, church bells ring out over Philadelphia heralding the
final adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
August 2, 1776 - The delegates of the Continental Congress sign the clearly printed or
"engrossed" version of the Declaration.
Today - Faded but still legible, the Declaration of Independence, along with the
Constitution and Bill of Rights, is enshrined for public display in the rotunda of the
National Archives and Records Building in Washington, D.C. The priceless documents
are stored in an underground vault at night and are constantly monitored for any
degradation in their condition.


John Adams and Benjamin Franklin proofing Jeffersons Declaration.

The painting features 42 of the 56 signers. If you look closely you will see that Jefferson
is standing on Adams foot. This might have been a nod by the artist of the tension of will
between the two men. The same scene is found on the back of the US $2 bill, with
Jeffersons foot moved to the side. You can see Jefferson presenting the document to
John Hancock, the president of the Continental Congress at the time.
The defining documents of our nation detail independence, law and statehood. These
documents include: the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States,
and the Bill of Rights. Also known as the Charter of Freedom. These documents are
housed on display at the National Archives in Washington DC - the Independence
Rotunda. If you have the opportunity to visit Washington DC, be sure to make a stop at
the Archives.
Jeffersons initial version of the Declaration was studied over, edited, rewritten, and
revised. Upon the counsel to advise Jefferson of the language of the declaration included
John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. One rather extensive proportion of the preamble that
was taken out of Jeffersons text damned the British - as a people in whole - for allowing
their parliament to essentially invade the colony with all due recourse to indenture the
colonists to taxation and rule from afar, without representation in parliament, or better
yet, the will of the people of colonies unto a fate of their own. Taxation without
representation as the common term would be.
Into the original text of the Declaration, Jefferson had itemized a scathing list of damages
that King George had caused onto the colonies. One point of the original text Jefferson
had exposed on the idea that Britain and the colonies could have both ventured into the
idea of liberty and freedom together. This was a most honest and desperate injury as
Jefferson saw it. In his text, Jefferson referred to the British as the colonists brethren.
One must take into full consideration the momentous event that the signing of the
Declaration surmised to the young colonists. It was in full scale, an act of treason. Upon


the signing of the Declaration, there would be no backing down from the course the
Continental Congress had enacted. Their parts would be played in full, either to the birth
of a new nation, or to the utter destruction of the noble ideas of freedom and union hood.
Remember it cannot be said to this point anything of a nation or of America. The
colony still at this point was the collection - in proximity at least - of the 13 colonies.
Proximity must be noted in this text, as not all of the colonies agreed. Indeed, there were
dissenting views as to what path should be taken. Loyalists - who bid their loyalty to the
crown and King George, felt that Adams, Franklin, Paine and the rest were driving the
colonies into certain destruction. New Yorks leadership in particular felt that the
decision to independence was the wrong one and abstained from the votes leading up to
the event.
With the signing there seemed to be a general elation that came across most of the
colonies. In the days following there were public readings of the Declaration in
Philadelphia. The colonists also provided a mock funeral of King George. A statue of the
British king seated on a horse was torn to the ground by the colonists. There were
candles in windows, jubilation in the streets, eruptions of celebratory gunfire in the air excitement over the extraordinary events.
The colonists celebration - they knew - was to come with a price to be paid, and that
price was soon to be paid with the coming conflict with the spited British crown. In his
letter to his wife Abigail, John Adams wrote excitedly of the declaration, marking that the
2nd of July (actual in acting of the declaration) would forever be celebrated by the union
with celebrations and lights in the sky. But Adams noted in the same line to his wife that
the union would soon be tested.
John Hancocks part in history is a bit of a curiosity. While he was one of the signers of
the Declaration, he was most certainly not one of the most central figures. The name has
come down through the ages in the vernacular to mean, in venereal, your signature. In
looking at the signatures, you will most certainly recognize his at once as being the
biggest and most central. Rumor had it at the time that Hancock did this with the
intention that the British King could read the name without his reading glasses. This was
a thumbing of the nose at the magistrate by a colonist who understood that his neck literally - was on the line in signing the document.

IV. The Declaration of Independence

One cannot appreciate the stakes that early patriots took to ensure our independence or
the incredible responsibility that protecting these freedoms is a matter of self governing
will of every American citizen without reading the declaration. Please see a more recent
copy of the declaration image as follows, followed by the actual transcript. Please pay
particular attention to Jeffersons precise use of language and context as well as his use of


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the
political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the
powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of
Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they
should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are

endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are
instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the
Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its
foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that
Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while
evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are
accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the
same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it
is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future
security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the
necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The
history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and
usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over
these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance,
unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so
suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people,
unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a
right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant
from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into
compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness
his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected;
whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at
large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of
invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose
obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to
encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for
establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the
amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass
our people, and eat out their substance.


He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution,
and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they
should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing
therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once
an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering
fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to
legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War
against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives
of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works
of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy
scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a
civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms
against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall
themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the
inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare,
is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble
terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince
whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the
ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them
from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction
over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement
here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured
them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would
inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the


voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity,

which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies
in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress,
Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our
intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies,
solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be
Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British
Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is
and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full
Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do
all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support
of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we
mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee


Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins


William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Recap on the Declaration

Jefferson selected and labored over very specific language in the Declaration. For
example, To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his
Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. What Jefferson
did in the Declaration was to lay out the crimes that George II had committed on the
people of the colonies, forcing their hands to freedom. Just as John Adams had fought for
the equal treatment of the British soldiers of the Boston Massacre, Jefferson here uses the
same language to draw out the inalienable rights on men in the colonies to rule
themselves - due to the tyranny committed by the monarch. The monarch, in Jeffersons
list of offenses, is not fit to rule the colonies with any equal authority, and therefore is
thrown off.
The words of the Declaration are both moving and inspiring and have been referenced as
the most important words of American will. Words and examples have been borrowed
since they were penned and echoed by Abraham Lincoln during the civil war, by Martin
Luther King in his address at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Emerson and legions
The oldest written constitution still in use in the world today is the Constitution of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, drafted by John Adams in 1778, just two years after
the Declaration of Independence and full a decade before our national Constitution. In
many respects it is a rough draft of our national Constitution. But it also contains a
paragraph on education that was without precedent. Though Adams worried that it would
be rejected as too radical, it was passed unanimously. Listen, please, to what it says:
Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the
people being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties. [Which is to
say that there must be wisdom, knowledge, and virtue or all aspirations for the good
society will come to nothing.] And as these depend on spreading the opportunities and
advantages of education in various parts of the country, and among the different
orders of the people [that is, everyone], it shall be the duty [not something they might
consider, but the duty] of legislatures and magistrates in all future periods of this
commonwealth to cherish the interests and literature and the sciences, and all
seminaries of them ... public schools, and grammar schools in the towns.

The Revolution was one of the darkest, most uncertain of times and the longest war in
American history, until the Vietnam War. It lasted eight and a half years, and Adams,
because of his unstinting service to his country, was separated from his family nearly all
that time, much to his and their distress. In a letter from France he tried to explain to them
the reason for such commitment.


I must study politics and war [he wrote] that my sons may have liberty to study
mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy,
geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture
in order to give their children a right to study paintings, poetry, music, architecture,
statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

That was the upward climb envisioned for the good society in the burgeoning new
American republic. And Adams was himself vivid proof of the transforming miracle of
education. His father was a farmer, his mother almost certainly illiterate. But with the
help of a scholarship, he was able to attend Harvard, where, as he said, he discovered
books and "read forever."
Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island, who suffered from palsy, is said to have remarked as
he signed his name, "My hand trembles, but my heart does not." Hopkins was a grand old
figure who had seen a lot of life. You cannot miss him in the Trumbull painting. He is at
the back with his broad-brimmed Quaker hat on. In after-hours, he loved to drink rum
and expound on his favorite writers. "He read Greek, Roman, and British history, and
was familiar with English poetry," John Adams wrote. "And the flow of his soul made his
reading our own, and seemed to bring recollection in all we had ever read."

V. The Constitution
The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in
Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the
delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to
day until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and
debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the
Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer,
in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new
Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central
government to have, how many representatives in Congress to allow from each state, and
how these representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state
legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative
statesmanship and the art of compromise.
The following is an image of the current version. Current because over time the
parchment has faded a bit, like with the Declaration. However, the very recognizable,
We the people statement still easily identifies the document at first glance. Below the
image there is the actual transcript of the Constitution.


The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

Note: The following text is a transcription of the Constitution in its original form.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish
Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the
general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Article. I.
Section. 1.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States,
which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section. 2.
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year
by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the
Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five
Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when
elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which
may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be
determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to
Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other
Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting
of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in
such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not
exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one
Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire
shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence
Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight,
Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and
Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority
thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall
have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Section. 3.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State,
chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall
be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first
Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the
Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so
that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by
Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the
Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the


Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and
been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an
Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no
Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the
Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the
United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that
Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is
tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the
Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office,
and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the
United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to
Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Section. 4.
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,
shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any
time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on
the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Section. 5.
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own
Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller
Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance
of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for
disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the
same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and
Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of
those Present, be entered on the Journal.


Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other,
adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two
Houses shall be sitting.
Section. 6.
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be
ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all
Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during
their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning
from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be
questioned in any other Place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be
appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have
been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time;
and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either
House during his Continuance in Office.
Section. 7.
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the
Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall,
before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve
he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it
shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and
proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree
to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by
which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it
shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined
by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be
entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the
President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him,
the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by
their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of
Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be
presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect,
shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of
the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations
prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
Section. 8.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to
pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United


States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the
Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of
Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of
Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the
United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to
Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences
against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning
Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a
longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress
Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such
Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the
States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the
Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not
exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance


of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise
like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in
which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and
other needful Buildings;--And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the
foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of
the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section. 9.
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall
think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one
thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such
Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases
of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or
enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of
one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged
to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations
made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of
all public Money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any
Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of
any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince,
or foreign State.
Section. 10.
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque
and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin
a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law
impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on
Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection


Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or
Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall
be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops,
or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another
State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such
imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article. II.
Section. 1.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He
shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice
President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number
of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the
State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person
holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of
whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they
shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each;
which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government
of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate
shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the
Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number
of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of
Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an
equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by
Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five
highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in
chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each
State having one Vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members
from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a
Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest
Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain
two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice
The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which
they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of


the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall
any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five
Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or
Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on
the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal,
Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what
Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the
Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which
shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been
elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United
States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or
Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of
President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and
defend the Constitution of the United States."
Section. 2.
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,
and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United
States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the
executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective
Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the
United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make
Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and
by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other
public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the
United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which
shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such
inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in
the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the
Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their
next Session.
Section. 3.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union,
and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and


expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them,

and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment,
he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors
and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and
shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
Section. 4.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed
from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high
Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article III.
Section. 1.
The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such
inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges,
both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour,
and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be
diminished during their Continuance in Office.
Section. 2.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this
Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made,
under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and
Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which
the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-between a State and Citizens of another State,--between Citizens of different States,-between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and
between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in
which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the
other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both
as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress
shall make.
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial
shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not
committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress
may by Law have directed.
Section. 3.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in
adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of
Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on
Confession in open Court.


The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of
Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the
Person attainted.

Article. IV.
Section. 1.
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial
Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the
Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect
Section. 2.
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in
the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from
Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the
State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction
of the Crime.
No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into
another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from
such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such
Service or Labour may be due.
Section. 3.
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be
formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by
the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the
Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations
respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in
this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or
of any particular State.
Section. 4.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of
Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the
Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against
domestic Violence.

Article. V.


The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose
Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds
of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either
Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified
by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three
fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the
Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One
thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses
in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be
deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article. VI.
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this
Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under
the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance
thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United
States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be
bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several
State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and
of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;
but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public
Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the
Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page,
the Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first
Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third
Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and
forty fourth Lines of the second Page.
Attest William Jackson Secretary
done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day
of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and
of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We
have hereunto subscribed our Names,


G. Washington
Presidt and deputy from Virginia
Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom
James McHenry
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
Danl. Carroll
John Blair
James Madison Jr.
North Carolina
Wm. Blount
Richd. Dobbs Spaight
Hu Williamson
South Carolina
J. Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler
William Few
Abr Baldwin
New Hampshire
John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman
Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King
Wm. Saml. Johnson
Roger Sherman


New York
Alexander Hamilton
New Jersey
Wil: Livingston
David Brearley
Wm. Paterson
Jona: Dayton
B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robt. Morris
Geo. Clymer
Thos. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouv Morris

VI. The Bill of Rights

During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged
that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government.
Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and
during the Revolution. They demanded a "bill of rights" that would spell out the
immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of
the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the
understanding that the amendments would be offered.
On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States therefore proposed to the
state legislatures 12 amendments to the Constitution that met arguments most frequently
advanced against it. The first two proposed amendments, which concerned the number of
constituents for each Representative and the compensation of Congressmen, were not
ratified. Amendments 3 to 12, however, ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures,
constitute the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.


The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the
Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its
powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending
the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends
of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of
America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the
following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to
the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three


fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said
Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of
America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States,
pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution
in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form
what is known as the "Bill of Rights."
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of
the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of
Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the
people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the
Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but
upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the
place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a
presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval
forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall
any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor
shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived
of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be
taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,
by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been
committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses
against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have


the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the
right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual
punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or
disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to
the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.
Note: Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law
or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of
another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.
Note: A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th
The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and
Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with
themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in
distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists
of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and
of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit
sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the
Senate; -- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of
Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The
person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such
number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have
such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on
the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose


immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be
taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this
purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a
majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of
Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve
upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall
act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. -]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the VicePresident, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if
no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall
choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the
whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a
choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible
to that of Vice-President of the United States.
*Superseded by section 3 of the 20th amendment.

Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.
Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th
Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the
party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place
subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th
Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State
shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens
of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal
protection of the laws.
Section 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their


respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding
Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for
President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the
Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is
denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and
citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion,
or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion
which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens
twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and
Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any
State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of
the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial
officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged
in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies
thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts
incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or
rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall
assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against
the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such
debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions
of this article.
*Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.
Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.
Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the
United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of
servitude-Section 2.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.
Note: Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.


The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever
source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to
any census or enumeration.
Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913.
Note: Article I, section 3, of the Constitution was modified by the 17th amendment.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State,
elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The
electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most
numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive
authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That
the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary
appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator
chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed by
amendment 21.
Section 1.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation
of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof
from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage
purposes is hereby prohibited.
Section 2.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.
Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the
Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution,
within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the
United States or by any State on account of sex.


Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.
Note: Article I, section 4, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of this
amendment. In addition, a portion of the 12th amendment was superseded by section 3.
Section 1.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of
January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January,
of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified;
and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Section 2.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at
noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
Section 3.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall
have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have
been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect
shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a
President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein
neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall
then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such
person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
Section 4.
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from
whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice
shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from
whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have
devolved upon them.
Section 5.
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of
this article.
Section 6.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the
Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years
from the date of its submission.
Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933.


Section 1.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby
Section 2.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United
States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof,
is hereby prohibited.
Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the
Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within
seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.
Section 1.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person
who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a
term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of
President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office
of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any
person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term
within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or
acting as President during the remainder of such term.
Section 2.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the
Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years
from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.
Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.
Section 1.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in
such manner as Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of
Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it
were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition
to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the
election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they
shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of


Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.
Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for
President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or
Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any
State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.
Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967.
Note: Article II, section 1, of the Constitution was affected by the 25th amendment.
Section 1.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice
President shall become President.
Section 2.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall
nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of
both Houses of Congress.
Section 3.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to
discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written
declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice
President as Acting President.
Section 4.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the
executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to
the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives
their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of
his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the
office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and
the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability


exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a
majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body
as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore
of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration
that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon
Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if
not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written
declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is
required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is
unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue
to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the
powers and duties of his office.
Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971.
Note: Amendment 14, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 1 of the 26th
Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote
shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives,
shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

VII. The End of the Revolution

Not the glaze over the incredible feats of honor, courage and luck that brought upon the
colonial victory, but the sum of these skirmishes and battles are told and retold in
countless history lessons and outside the scope of this course. The path to victory is a
truly amazing story in history, one that every patriot should verse him or herself on.
For more details on the revolution there are many resources you can check out online:


On October 19th, 1781 British general Cornwallis surrendered to General George

Washington at Yorktown. This signaled an end to the fight for independence. Now it was
up to diplomacy to negotiate the peace treaty. Congress appointed John Adams, Benjamin
Franklin and John Jay. Of all patriots, it can be easily debated that none did more to
secure the personal victories that we enjoy today than the remarkable John Adams. Ben
Franklin at this time was at a very advanced age and was appointed to the task due to his
popularity in France. The preliminary agreement to American independence was signed
on September 3rd, 1783. This agreement also entitled all land east of the Mississippi to
the new republic.
The Siege of Yorktown, Battle of
Yorktown, or Surrender of Yorktown in
1781 was a decisive victory by a combined
assault of American forces led by General
George Washington and French forces led
by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British
Army commanded by Lieutenant General
Lord Cornwallis.
The culmination of the Yorktown
campaign, it proved to be the last major
land battle of the American Revolutionary
War in North America, as the surrender of
Cornwallis' army prompted the British
government eventually to negotiate an end
to the conflict.

Cornwallis surrenders
to George Events
of Major

VIII. Timeline of Events

June 19-July 11
Oct. 7
April 5
September 1
March 22
March 24
May 29

The French and Indian War

The Albany Congress
Proclamation of 1763
The Sugar Act
The Currency Act

May 30
October 7-25

The Stamp Act

The Quartering Act of 1765
Patrick Henry's "If this be treason, make the most of it!"
The Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions
The Stamp Act Congress

March 18

The Declaratory Act

June 29

The Townshend Revenue Act

August 1

Boston Non-Importation Agreement



March 5

The Boston Massacre

June 9

The Gaspee Affair

May 10
Dec. 16

The Tea Act

The Boston Tea Party

March 31
May 20
May 20

Boston Port Act, one of the "Intolerable Acts"

Administration of Justice Act, one of the "Intolerable Acts"
Massachusetts Government Act, one of the "Intolerable
Quartering Act of 1774, one of the "Intolerable Acts"
Quebec Act, one of the "Intolerable Acts"
The First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia
Battle of Point Pleasant, Virginia (disputed as to whether it
was a battle of the American Revolution or the culmination
of Lord Dunmore's War)
The Association (prohibition of trade with Great Britain)
Galloway's Plan rejected



June 2
June 22
Sept. 5-Oct. 26
October 10

October 20
October 24
March 23
April 18
April 19
May 10
May 10
June 15
June 17
July 3
November 10-21
November 13
December 11
December 22
December 23-30
December 30-31

Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech

The Rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes
Minutemen and redcoats clash at Lexington and Concord
"The shot heard 'round the world."
Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys seize Fort
The Second Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia
George Washington named Commander in Chief
Battle of Bunker Hill: The British drive the Americans
from Breed's Hill
Washington assumes command of the Continental Army
Ninety Six, SC, Patriots sieged
The patriots under Montgomery occupy Montreal in
Virginia and NC patriots rout Loyalist troops and burn
Col. Thomson with 1,500 rangers and militia capture
Loyalists at Great Canebrake, SC
Snow Campaign, in SC, so-called because patriots are
impeded by 15" of snow
American forces under Benedict Arnold fail to seize

January 1

Daniel Morgan taken prisoner in attempt to take Quebec



January 15
February 27
March 3
March 17
June 8
June 12
June 28
June 29
June 28
July 1
July 1-4
July 4
July 8
July 15
August 1
August 2
August 10
August 12?

August 12
August 27
September 15
September 16

September 19
October 11
October 28
November 16
November 20
December 26

Paine's "Common Sense" published

The patriots drive the Loyalists from Moore's Creek
Bridge, North Carolina
The Continental fleet captures New Providence Island in
the Bahamas
The British evacuate Boston; British Navy moves to
Halifax, Canada
Patriots fail to take Three Rivers, Quebec
The Virginia Declaration of Rights
Sullivan's Island, SC, failed British naval attack
The First Virginia Constitution
Patriots decisively defeat the British Navy at Fort Moultrie,
South Carolina
At the instigation of British agents, the Cherokee attack
along the entire southern frontier
Congress debates and revises the Declaration of
Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence; it was
sent to the printer
The Declaration of Independence is read publicly
Lyndley's Fort, SC, Patriots fend off attack by Indians and
Tories dressed as Indians
Ambushed by Cherokees, Patriots are saved by a mounted
charge at Seneca, SC
Delegates begin to sign The Declaration of Independence
Tugaloo River, SC, Andrew Pickens defeats Cherokees
Andrew Pickens' detachment surrounded by 185 Cherokee
Indians, forms a ring and fires outward. It is known as the
"Ring Fight."
Col. Williamson and Andrew Pickens defeat Cherokee
Indians and burn Tamassy, an Indian town
Redcoats defeat the George Washington's army in the
Battle of Long Island. Washington's army escapes at night.
The British occupy New York City
Generals George Washington, Nathanael Greene, and Israel
Putnam triumphantly hold their ground at the Battle of
Harlem Heights
Col. Williamson's patriots attacked by Cherokees at
Coweecho River, NC
Benedict Arnold defeated at the Battle of Valcour Island
(Lake Champlain), but delayed British advance
The Americans retreat from White Plains, New York.
British casualties (~300) higher than American (~200).
The Hessians capture Fort Washington, NY
Lord Cornwallis captures Fort Lee from Nathanael Greene
Washington crosses the Delaware and captures Trenton


from Hessians
January 3
January 6-May 28
April 27
May 20
June 14
July 5
July 27
August 6
August 16

August 23
August 25
September 11
September 16
September 19
September 21
September 26
October 4
October 7
October 17
October 22
November 16
December 5-7
December 19

Washington victorious at Princeton

Washington winters in Morristown, NJ
Benedict Arnold's troops force a British retreat at
Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Treaty of DeWitt's Corner, SC: Cherokees lose most of
their land east of the mountains
Flag Resolution
St. Clair surrenders Fort Ticonderoga to the British
Lafayette arrives in Philadelphia
The Redcoats, with Iroquois support, force the patriots back
at Oriskany, NY, but then have to evacuate
American Militia under General Stark victorious at the
Battle of Bennington, VT (actually fought in Walloomsac,
New York, several miles to the west)
British withdraw from Fort Stanwix, NY, upon hearing of
Benedict Arnold's approach
British General Howe lands at Head of Elk, Maryland
The British win the Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania
Rain-out at the Battle of the Clouds, Pennsylvania
Burgoyne checked by Americans under Gates at Freeman's
Farm, NY. This is part of the "Battles of Saratoga."
Paoli Massacre, PA
British under Howe occupy Philadelphia
Americans driven off at the Battle of Germantown
Burgoyne loses second battle of Freeman's Farm, NY (at
Bemis Heights). This is part of the "Battles of Saratoga."
Burgoyne surrenders to American General Gates at
Saratoga, NY
Hessian attack on Fort Mercer, NJ repulsed
British capture Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania
Americans repulse British at Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania
Washington's army retires to winter quarters at Valley

February 6
March 7
May 20

June 18
June 19
June 28
July 4

The United States and France sign the French Alliance

British General William Howe replaced by Henry Clinton
Battle of Barren Hill, Pennsylvania. Lafayette with 500
men and about 50 Oneida Indians successfully evade
British onslaught
British abandon Philadelphia and return to New York
Washington's army leaves Valley Forge
The Battle of Monmouth Court House ends in a draw
George Rogers Clark captures Kaskaskia, a French village
south of St. Louis


August 8
December 29

French and American forces besiege Newport, RI

The redcoats occupy Savannah

February 3

Maj. Gen. Moultrie defeats British detachment at Port

Royal Island, SC
Patriots Andrew Pickens and Elijah Clarke beat Loyalists at
Kettle Creek, GA
American George Rogers Clark captures Vincennes (in
what is now Indiana) on the Wabash in the Western
British Lt. Col. Jacques Marcus Prevost defeats Americans
under Gen. John Ashe at Brier Creek, GA
Maj. General Augustin Prvost breaks his siege when
American forces under Maj. Gen. Lincoln approaches
Stono River, SC, Maj. Gen. Lincoln inflicts extensive
British casualties in indecisive battle
Spain declares war on Great Britain
Fairfield, CT, burned by British
Norwalk, CT, burned by British
American "Mad" Anthony Wayne captures Stony Point,
"Light Horse" Harry Lee attacks Paulus Hook, NJ
Newtown, NY, after two massacres, American forces burn
Indian villages
John Paul Jones, aboard the Bonhomme Richard, captures
British man-of-war Serapis near English coast
The Tappan Massacre ("No Flint" Grey kills 30 Americans
by bayonet)
American attempt to recapture Savannah, GA fails
Washington's 2nd winter at Morristown, NJ (the harshest
winter of the 18th century)


February 14
February 23-24

March 3
May 11-13
June 20
June 21
July 8
July 11
July 15-16
August 19
August 29
September 23
September 28
October 9
Nov.-June 23, 1780
May 12
May 29
June 20
July 11
August 6
August 16
September 23
October 7

October 14

British capture Charleston, SC

British crush Americans at Waxhaw Creek, SC
Patriots rout Tories at Ramseur's Mill, NC
French troops arrive at Newport, RI, to aid the American
Patriots defeat Tories at Hanging Rock, SC
British rout Americans at Camden, SC
John Andr arrested, leading to the exposure of Benedict
Arnold's plans to cede West Point to the British
King's Mountain, SC: battle lasts 65 minutes. American
troops led by Isaac Shelby and John Sevier defeat Maj.
Patrick Ferguson and one-third of General Cornwallis's
Washington names Nathanael Greene commander of the


Southern Army
January 1
January 17
February 1
March 2
March 15
April 25
May 15
June 6
June 18
July 6
September 8
September 15
October 19

Mutiny of unpaid Pennsylvania soldiers

Patriot Morgan overwhelmingly defeats British Col.
Tarleton at Cowpens, SC
The Battle of Cowan's Ford, Huntersville, NC
Articles of Confederation adopted
British win costly victory at Guilford Courthouse, NC
Greene defeated at Hobkirk's Hill, SC
British Major Andrew Maxwell cedes Fort Granby, SC to
patriot Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lee
Americans recapture Augusta, GA
British hold off Americans at Ninety Six, SC
"Mad" Anthony Wayne repulsed at Green Springs Farm,
Greene defeated at Eutaw Springs, SC
French fleet drives British naval force from Chesapeake
Cornwallis surrounded on land and sea by Americans and
French and surrenders at Yorktown, VA

March 20
July 11
November 30
December 14

Lord North resigns as British prime minister

British evacuate Savannah, GA
British and Americans sign preliminary Articles of Peace
British leave Charleston, SC

April 19
September 3
November 25
December 23

Congress ratifies preliminary peace treaty

The United States and Great Britain sign the Treaty of Paris
British troops leave New York City
Washington resigns as Commander

September 17

U.S. Constitution signed

June 21

U.S. Constitution adopted, when New Hampshire ratifies it