Study Questions

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Chapter 1: British North America in 1763

  1. What were the geopolitical results of the diplomatic settlement that concluded the French and Indian War?
  2. Why did Britain's American colonies have one of the fastest growing populations on earth during the eighteenth century?
  3. Who were the eighteenth- century migrants and why did they settle in America?
  4. How widely did the experience of enslaved Africans vary by region and over time?
  5. Describe the social order in eighteenth-century America.
  6. Account for America's steady economic growth during the eighteenth century.
  7. Why were British policy makers eager to raise revenue in and assert Parliament's authority over the colonies after 1763?
  8. Describe the three main functions of the colonial household.
  9. How representative was local government in pre-Revolutionary America?
  10. Account for the discrepancy between the theoretical and actual powers of the colonial governors.
  11. What did colonial Americans believe about politics and power before the Revolution?

Chapter 2: The Imperial Crisis

  1. Why did Grenville wish to implement a program of colonial taxation in America?
  2. What was the Sugar Act and how did Americans react to it?
  3. Why did the American colonists react so strongly to the imposition of the Stamp Act?
  4. Why was the Stamp Act repealed?
  5. How did resistance to the Townshend Acts differ from that to the Stamp Act?
  6. Why was non-importation a valuable means of resistance?
  7. How significant was the Boston Massacre?
  8. Assess the effectiveness of colonial resistance to imperial reform, 1764-1774.
  9. What were the consequences of the Boston Tea Party?
  10. Examine the role of Massachusetts in the imperial crisis.
  11. How did the colonists' perception of their relationship with Parliament evolve between the Stamp Act Congress and the First Continental Congress?
  12. What implications did the political conflict have for American society?

Chapter 3: Revolution, 1775-1776

  1. Why did war break out in 1775?
  2. Why was Bunker Hill a Pyrrhic victory for the British?
  3. What difficulties did members of the Second Continental Congress face when they met in May 1775?
  4. How did American attitudes towards Quebec evolve from 1763 to 1775?
  5. Why was George Washington appointed commander of the Continental Army?
  6. How did the exigencies of war compel Congress to adopt the attributes of a national government?
  7. How did Americans become convinced that the struggle with Britain was not confined to New England in the winter of 1775-1776?
  8. Why was Common Sense such an influential and significant pamphlet?
  9. What created the political momentum for independence and where did it originate?
  10. Account for the focus on George III in the main body of the Declaration of Independence.

Chapter 4: Winning Independence

  1. How did Washington transform the Continental Army into an effective fighting force?
  2. What, if any, was the turning point in the War of Independence?
  3. Assess the impact and significance of the Franco-American alliance.
  4. Did the Americans win or did the British lose the War of Independence?
  5. Could Britain have won the war?
  6. What were the final provisions of the Treaty of Paris, 1783?
  7. Who were the Loyalists?
  8. Assess the political, diplomatic, military and social consequences of the War of Independence.

Chapter 5: The Confederation Era

  1. What characteristics define a republican government?
  2. Who were the elitists, what did they believe, and who did they appeal to?
  3. Who were the democrats, what did they believe, and who did they appeal to?
  4. Account for the radicalism of the Pennsylvania constitution.
  5. Account for the conservatism of the Massachusetts constitution.
  6. Compare and contrast the provisions of the Pennsylvania and Massachusetts constitutions.
  7. What were the terms of the Articles of Confederation?
  8. What difficulties did the United States face in the aftermath of the war?
  9. Why was the issue of paper money so divisive in 1780s?
  10. Why did violent disturbances break out in western Massachusetts in 1787?
  11. Assess the impact of Shay’s Rebellion on local and national politics.

Chapter 6: Creating the Constitution

  1. How did democrats and elitists differ over the extent of necessary changes to the national government?
  2. Where did the impetus for political reform come from?
  3. Why was the Confederation Congress perceived as weak?
  4. Compare and contrast democratic and elitist conceptions of republicanism.
  5. Who were the delegates to the Constitutional Convention? Who did they represent?
  6. What important procedural decisions were taken at the Constitutional Convention?
  7. What were the major issues at the Constitutional Convention?
  8. What were the major conflicts of interests at the convention?
  9. How was Madison’s Virginia Plan modified to create the Constitution?
  10. Is the Constitution as counter-revolutionary document?
  11. Why was the Constitution submitted to state conventions for ratification?
  12. Who were the Federalists and why did they support the Constitution?
  13. Who were the Antifederalists and why did they oppose the Constitution?
  14. Why did the Federalists win the ratification contest?

Chapter 7: The Federalist Era

  1. Why was Hamilton’s appointment as Secretary of the Treasury so crucial?
  2. What was Hamilton’s vision for the political and economic development of the United States?
  3. How did Hamilton suggest the credit of the federal government could best be established?
  4. Why were southern congressmen opposed to Hamilton’s Report on Public Credit?
  5. Why did Hamilton propose the creation of a national bank?
  6. What were the main features of Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures?
  7. What was Jefferson’s vision for the political and economic development of the United States?
  8. Why were Americans so concerned about the rise of partisanship in the 1790s?
  9. Assess the role of the press in the emergence of partisan politics and democratic political practices.
  10. Who were the Federalists and what did they stand for?
  11. Who were the Republicans and what did they stand for?
  12. Assess the significance of the Whiskey Rebellion.
  13. How did Federalists and Republicans differ in their attitudes towards the French Revolution?
  14. What was the Jay Treaty and what impact did it have on the politics and economy of the United States?
  15. How did the United States and France become involved in a quasi-war at sea?
  16. What were the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and why were they significant?
  17. Why was the election of 1800 so significant?

Chapter 8: An Empire of Liberty, 1801-1815

  1. Why did Republicans pursue a policy of geographic and commercial expansionism?
  2. What was the “market revolution”?
  3. How did the Louisiana Purchase transform the United States?
  4. What were the consequences of the Louisiana Purchase for Native Americans?
  5. Describe the Lewis and Clark expedition and its aims.
  6. What was the “Barbary War”?
  7. Why was the United States concerned with the conflict between Britain and France?
  8. Describe impressment and its implications for the United States.
  9. Who were the War Hawks and why did they feel the United States should pursue a more vigorous policy in defense of its interests?
  10. Why was support for the War of 1812 not universal?
  11. What was the major theater of the War of 1812?
  12. Assess the impact and importance of the War of 1812 for the United States.

Chapter 9: Native Americans and the American Revolution

  1. Why did a militant pan-Indian identity emerge during the latter eighteenth century?
  2. Assess the origins and impact of Pontiac’s Uprising.
  3. Why did most Native Americans attempt to remain neutral or fight alongside the British when the War of Independence broke out?
  4. Why did the British cultivate Indian allies in the west?
  5. Describe the nature of the conflict in the west.
  6. How effective was Indian resistance to American expansion during this period?
  7. Why was the American Revolution disastrous for Native Americans in eastern North America?
  8. Account for the popularity and significance of the Prophet’s call for cultural renewal and resistance.
  9. Why is the Battle of Horseshoe Bend viewed as a decisive moment in the history of the Creek and American nations?

Chapter 10: African Americans in the Age of Revolution

  1. How effective was the pre-revolutionary movement against slavery?
  2. Why did slavery become an issue during the American Revolution?
  3. What role did African Americans play during the War of Independence?
  4. What contribution did African Americans make to the abolition of slavery in the North?
  5. What impact did the Revolution have on the institution of slavery in the South?
  6. What impact did the Revolution have on the lives of enslaved African Americans in the South?
  7. Why was slavery abolished in the North but maintained in the South?
  8. What prospects did free African Americans have in the United States after the Revolution?
  9. What impact did the Haitian Revolution have on the United States?
  10. Why is Gabriel’s Rebellion viewed as a direct consequence of the age of revolution?

Chapter 11: American Woman in the Age of Revolution

  1. Why were American women at a distinct disadvantage in exploiting the political dispute to ameliorate their condition?
  2. Assess the value of female contributions to the resistance movement during the imperial crisis.
  3. What difficulties did American women face during the War of Independence?
  4. Assess the value of female contributions to the war effort.
  5. Why were radical political leaders so conservative when issues of gender relations and women’s rights were raised?
  6. Did the American Revolution bring any political, legal or economic changes for women?
  7. How was the political role of women redefined after independence?
  8. Was the ideology of Republican Motherhood limiting or liberating for American women?
  9. What was the legacy of the American Revolution for women?

Chapter 12: Who should Rule at Home?

  1. How did the question of independence divide and transform American society?
  2. What was the most crucial question confronting Americans after independence?
  3. Who were loyalists? Why are they a difficult-to-define group?
  4. Describe the experiences of at least 2 loyalists during the Revolution.
  5. Compare how democratic the American Revolution looks from a 21st-century perspective and an 18th-century perspective.
  6. Assess how the War of Independence was a battle between the British and rebels for the support and allegiance of the majority of the population.
  7. What difficulties did “common people,” and especially white men, face during the War of Independence?
  8. Explain different ways tenant farmers enacted a revolution within a Revolution .
  9. How did the experience of constitution making differ between Pennsylvania and Virginia?
  10. How did debate about federal Constitution reflect a contest about the balance of social power between social and political elites and common men?
  11. Who were the “new men” of the Revolution?