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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Tag > Constitution and Government (x)
  • Historical Eras > Revolution and New Nation (1751-1815) (x)

We found 23 items that match your search

Abigail Adams Reminds John Adams to "Remember the ladies"

In this famous letter, Abigail Adams shares wartime news and opinions with her husband. Already planning for the war's successful conclusion, she admonishes him to consider the rights of women when developing laws for a newly independent nation.

James Madison Considers the Problems of a New Democracy

The United States Constitution, though ultimately ratified unanimously by all thirteen states, was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. James Madison, a Virginia patriot and later the fourth president [...]

A New York Farmer Outlines His Opposition to the Constitution

The ratification of the United States Constitution was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. Among those opposed to ratification were many small farmers in the North. As this letter written by "A [...]

A Virginia Delegate Lists His Objections to the Constitution

The United States Constitution, though eventually ratified by all thirteen states, was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. Inherent flaws in the Articles of Confederation, which had served to bind the [...]

A Virginian Statesman Proposes Amendments to the Constitution

Richard Henry Lee was a Virginia statesman best known for proposing the motion calling for independence from Britain during the Second Continental Congress. In this letter to fellow Virginian and anti-Federalist George Mason, Lee sets out to correct [...]

Thomas Jefferson Decries Slavery in a Draft of the Declaration of Independence

The passage below was included in Thomas Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration of Independence as one of the grievances against King George III of England. Jefferson, a slave owner himself, later wrote in his autobiography that this passage [...]

A Radical Patriot Urges "Common Sense and a Plain Understanding" in the Pennsylvania Constitution

In 1776 Pennsylvania organized a convention to write a new state constitution. James Cannon, a radical patriot leader, advised Pennsylvania militia members to be sure to select delegates to this convention who would respect the rights and authority [...]

Congress Signs An Act Respecting Alien Enemies

The Act Respecting Alien Enemies was one of four Alien and Sedition Acts that Congress passed and president Adams signed into law in 1789. The laws were controversial in that they challenged the authority of the Constitution, specifically the Tenth [...]

Congress Passes the First Immigration Law

In March 1790, the newly-formed Congress passed a law establishing the rules for becoming a citizen. Under the law, only "free white persons" who had been in the United States for at least two years were eligible for citizenship, thus excluding free [...]

Anti-Federalists Oppose Slavery Provisions in Constitution

Slavery was one of the most divisive issues in the debates over whether or not to ratify the Constitution. Although the constitution banned the importation of slaves beginning in 1808, it did not restrict the continued use and ownership of slaves, [...]