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1776 Declaration of Independence signed on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia by delegates to the Second Continental Congress.
1787 U.S. Constitution written by delegates to the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation and decided to draft a new plan of government for the United States (The U.S. Constitution).
1861 – 1865 American Civil War fought over the issues of slavery, states’ rights, and economic and sectional differences between the North and the South.
Thomas Jefferson Wrote the Declaration of Independence; colonial leader; 3rd President
George Washington Leader of the Continental Army during the Revolution; President of the Constitutional Convention and the first President of U.S.
Issues causing the Revolution “No taxation without representation”; colonial protests against British policies and taxes; Battles at Lexington/Concord.
Declaring Independence Grievances listed against King George III of England declaring the American colonies independent. Written in Philadelphia by Thomas Jefferson, July 4, 1776.
Limited Government The idea that governments are created by the consent of the governed and that the power of government is limited by rule of law.
Federalism The idea that power is divided by the Constitution between the federal (central or national) government and the state governments.
Bill of Rights 1791 The Bill of Rights consists of the first ten (10) amendments (changes) to the Constitution.
Federalist Papers A series of essays written to support ratification (approval) of the Constitution. Leading Federalists included Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Principles of the Constitution
Checks and Balances The idea that abuse of power is controlled by the three branches of government watching each other and having the power to approve or disapprove certain actions of the other branches.
Republicanism The idea that government is controlled by the people who hold power and elect representatives, giving those representatives power to make and enforce laws.
Popular sovereignty The idea that the power of government rests with the people who express their ideas through voting; popular sovereignty was used before the Civil War to allow voters in a new territory to decide whether to allow slavery.
Separation of powers The idea that the power of government is separated into three branches of government
Individual rights The rights guaranteed to individual citizens by the Bill of Rights and other amendments to the Constitution. Freedom of speech and the press are two of these important rights.