American History Homework Three Answers - Model

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Lecture - Questions - Student Answers

1. Identify two weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.

Two weaknesses to the Articles of Confederation are that they established a unicameral Congress, and they let the states keep most of the power for themselves. The three branches of government we have today are necessary to keep Congress in check, and not allow corruption. I think the states need a unifying government so that all states are the same on important things. (Sarah W.)
Under the Articles of Confederation, nine out of the thirteen states’ approval was needed in order for a law to be passed. This made for a virtually powerless national government.
The articles of Confederation did not give the Congress the right to impose taxes, so even the few powers that the federal government did have (the power to declare war for example) were essentially impossible for it to practice. (Rachel N.)
Weaknesses 1: a unanimous vote was needed to amend the Articles of Confederation. There is no way that all 13 states would ever agree on anything. They did not even agree about going to war! The only way things get done in a government is through compromises.
Weaknesses 2: the federal government could not impose taxes. While the right to impose taxes is often abused, it is still important that the government have some kind of funding. (Ruth L.)

2. Identify the first three Articles of the Constitution, and what each Article establishes.

1) The Legislative Branch establishes the laws and rules of the country through the Congress.
2) The Executive Branch establishes the power of the president and the executive officials.
3) The Judicial Branch establishes the court system and the Supreme Court and lower courts. (Veronika F.)
The first article is the Legislative Branch, which is in charge of making the laws. Next is the Executive Branch, which carries out the laws. And last is the Supreme Court which interprets all the laws. (Amanda S.)
... Taken as a whole, the first three articles of the Constitution outline the basic structure of the US government; the same three-branch, checks and balances system as exists today. (Addison D.M.)

3. Explain what you like most about George Washington.

George Washington was a very humble man. He was extremely popular and respected during his presidency. His Jesus-like feature allowed him to decline power in order to advance the greater good. He showed mercy on Citizen Genet as well as the convicted farmers from the Whiskey Rebellion. (Natalie D.)
One of the reasons why I like George Washington is because he was not afraid to get his hands dirty. During the Whiskey Rebellion, when the Pennsylvania governor refused to stop the violent farmers, George acted. He rounded up an army and suppressed the rebellion; he even pardoned the rebel farmers when it was all finished. (Olivia F.)
The appeal of power has been the downfall of mankind since the beginning of time. Eve ate the forbidden fruit upon hearing the promise that she would have the power to know good and evil. Throughout history countless potentially good rulers have fallen into the trappings of the appeal of power (for example, Saul of the Old Testament). Many kings have had masses of people put to death out of the fear of losing power (King Herod, for example, when he massacred the babies in Bethlehem). Yet George Washington conquered the evil that few have been able to resist; he turned down power for the sake of the greater good, forgoing kingship, a third term as president and the opportunity to take revenge (as in the case of “Citizen Gent”). Washington’s exceptional resistance of this common weakness played an essential part in making our nation exceptional. (Rachel N.)
What I liked most about George Washington was his ability to take initiative and be a strong leader when our country demanded it of him. (Sean R.)

4. Describe the most important invention of the 1790s, and its political impact.

The most important invention of the 1790s was made by Eli Whitney in 1793. He built a machine called the cotton gin which mechanically separated cotton from its thorny branch and seeds. This machine could do the work of fifty men and the South's cotton production was monumentally greater than before. This made the South an economic force to be reckoned with, and made the South believe itself to be invincible by the time the Civil War rolled around. (Katie B.)

5. Explain the political view expressed by this week's cartoon, and which side of what issue the cartoonist likely represents.

Federal Superstructure.jpg
I believe it describes the ratification of the Constitution by the colonies. At the time of this cartoon, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut had already ratified the Constitution. Massachusetts was on the verge of ratifying so I believe the hand could possibly be God, since it is reaching from the clouds or just a way of showing that Massachusetts was nearly joining the rank of those who ratified already. Massachusetts ratified the United States Constitution on February 6, 1788, by a vote of 187 to 168. A later cartoon, publicized 10 days later, depicts Massachusetts standing with the rest of the States. The cartoonist was probably a Federalist because he depicts a hand, possibly God's, holding the states together. (Bethany S.)
... A pair of hands (most likely God's) are shown lifting the Massachusetts column into an upright position alongside the others. This cartoon expresses how the colonies were seeing how they needed to be one nation under God in order to succeed. ... (Jenna N.)
The pillars in the cartoon represent states supporting the Federal government. the hand in the cloud is the Hand of God saving Massachusetts during Shay's Rebellion. The cartoonist, Ben Russell, was a federalist, favoring power to the federal government rather than States retaining power. Because the Rebellion took place under the Confederation, Russell held that it showed the need for a strong Constitution to stop insurrections like this quickly. Under the Articles, things were clearly getting out of hand. (Steven M.)
... It gives the illustration that the coming together of these states in ratifying the Constitution is like the construction of a building. The strength of the building increases as the pillars are set in place. ... (Jonathan R.)

6. Describe two significant achievements of The Northwest Ordinance.

One significant achievement of The Northwest Ordinance was establishing a way to create no less than three and no more than five new states. It established a three-stage process based on population for new states to be created and join the Confederation of colonies. In addition to those two achievements, it also specified what type of government the new territories and states must have, a requirement that would in later years become a part of the U.S. Constitution. (Deborah B.)
A)It protected individual rights such as religious freedom and property stability. The government could not come and kick people off their land.
B)It also was a wonderful success in setting a way to establish states in a peaceful way. (Jenna N.)

7. Describe what you think was most significant about John Adams' presidency.

The most significant thing that happened in John Adams’ presidency was that the Alien and Sedition acts were nullified by Kentucky and Virginia. The states’ laws stated that the Alien and Sedition acts were unconstitutional and that the states did not have to obey the laws. This provided a basis for other states to try and nullify other federal laws, leading to the Civil War. (Lena M.)
The most significant thing about Adam's presidency was that the United States accidentally went into a naval war with France. (Isaac Z.)
All that was significant during John Adams' presidency was the fact that the Federalists and the Republicans were fighting all the time .... (Laura Grace K.)
The Most significant role that John Adams' presidency played was demonstrating that America could stand up to its presidents and its political leaders in order to make for a better country. .... (Sean R.)

Honors Questions

H1. Explain how George Washington's Farewell Address is relevant today.

Washington's Farewell Address would only be relevant in that it should be used as an example today. Americans should follow Washington's example in putting others first (Washington stepping down for the better of the people) instead of focusing solely on themselves. It would teach Americans to stay out of conflicts in which they don't belong, which could lead to division among the people (then conflicts with Europe, now conflicts with the Middle East, where we may or may not belong), and it would teach that religion and morality should be the base of what they do ("Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." -Farewell Speech). So few people follow that last statement that it's obvious that very few people followed what Washington said. Because of this, I don't believe the speech is necessarily relevant to life today, but it should be taken into consideration by any future presidents who wish to make a change for the better. (Kara H.)
In his address, Washington stresses the importance of religion and morality- “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?”, he warns America about permanent foreign alliances- “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world”, and stresses stable public credit (something very relevant to today) “...cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible...avoiding likewise the accumulation of is essential that you...bear in mind, that towards the payments of debts there must be Revenue, that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not...inconvenient and unpleasant..” (Danielle R.)
... Another key part of George Washington's Farewell Address was when he warned of "the baneful effect of the spirit of party." Unfortunately, recently this warning has not been followed and government has become more and more partisan which as resulted in government becoming less effective." (Kevin F.)

H2. Do you think the Anti-Federalists had some good points? Explain.

I do believe that the Anti-Federalists had some good points. Without a Bill of Rights there was nothing standing in the government’s way of overstepping their boundaries and taking away our ‘inalienable rights.’ The Anti-Federalist Papers did not stop the ratification of the Constitution, but it consequently gave us the Bill of Rights. (Danielle R.)

H3. State your view on any discussion topic or mystery concerning the period 1780-1800.

Was it proper for the delegates to go beyond their authority to amend the Articles of Confederation, and instead propose a new constitution? I think it was fine because nothing could be definite without the states' permission. If the states didn't like it they could just send the delegates back to the drawing board. (Michelle F.)
A state should not be allowed to secede from the rest of the United States because, first, the states and the whole government was established to work only if we all stood together as one nation. ... [M]ost of the states that joined the Union later were purchased by the United States, and therefore that individual state doesn’t have a right to say it’s an individual nation because it physically belongs to the country as a whole, and not just to the people who live in it. (Katie B.)
The central problem with debtor’s prison is that it gives the creditor no second chance to pay back his obligation. He cannot, because he is not making any money at all. For example, if a workman with debts to pay is laid off, and he cannot find a job quickly enough, off he goes to debtor’s prison, where he makes no money at all. (Duncan B.)
Question: Is homeschooling protected by the Bill of Rights? Should it be?
It ... wouldn't be in the spirit of the Bill of Rights. When it was written the bill was only intended to limit federal power, not state and local government power. (Daniel N.)
Obviously, it isn't explicitly protected, since it doesn't appear in the Bill of Rights by name. However, the First and possibly the Fifth Amendments grant freedom which could include homeschooling, and it is only logical that homeschooling would be constitutional, since public schools hardly existed in the time the Bill of Rights was ratified. ... (Addison D.M.)
Issue: When those in the Constitutional Convention decided the Article of Confederation was faulty and that a new government needed to be formed, the public was not informed. Answer: In my humble opinion, this was a stroke of genius. No paparazzi putting their opinion in the headlines, no political peer pressure, only thos representing the people of the U.S.A. doing their best to run the government. ... Of course, the public and We the People would be informed of what the conclusion of said governmental powwow, to say whether or not it was agreeable. ... (Cole N.)

H4. Contrast the handling of Shays' Rebellion with the handling of the Whiskey Rebellion, and whether you think a president is necessary.

The Shays’ Rebellion was not handled well; the farmers took over the town courthouse and it took six months to finally stop the uprising. The Whiskey Rebellion, on the other hand, was dealt with very quickly. George Washington raised an army, and personally rode out and stopped the revolt. Due to this fact and many others, I believe that a president is necessary. (Olivia F.)

H5. Describe the response of Jefferson and Madison to the Alien & Sedition Acts. Do you agree with their approach?

Jefferson and Madison responded to the Alien and Sedition Acts by drafting strong state resolutions, to “nullify” them as unconstitutional. I would agree with them in their approach because the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional. (Nathanael)

See also