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The First American Political System


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Electoral College
The process whereby the winner of the popular vote in a state usually takes all of its electoral votes.
Stamp Act Congress
First elected Congress of the United States Colonies, held in 1765.
Articles of Confederation
The United States’ first written constitution.
Colonial governors
Elected by the King.
Colonial legislatures
Elected by landholding voters.
Britain antagonized the colonies
Closed off the colonial frontier, tried to make the colonies pay for protection.
The Stamp Act
The most famous of the first direct taxes imposed in North America.
No Taxation Without Representation
The motto of colonial traders and planters opposed to direct taxation by Britain.
Media opposition to the Stamp Act
Newspapers and printers.
Colonial postal system
Developed by Benjamin Franklin.
Result of the Stamp Act Congress
A petition to the King of England that convinced British authorities to annul the taxes.
The East India Company
Awarded a monopoly on importing and selling tea in the American colonies.
Boston Tea Party
Bostonians ransacked the East India Company’s ships and pushed cartons of tea overboard in response to the Company's monopoly.
Consequences of the Boston Tea Party
The port of Boston was closed; the rebels were deported to England for trial, and trade and settlement to the west were restricted.
Continental Congress
Met after repressive policies were put in place, after the Boston Tea Party. Launched a boycott of British products, initiated the Revolutionary War, and passed the Declaration of Independence.
July 4, 1776
The Declaration of Independence was passed.
Declaration of Independence
Point-by-point charges against British rule, giving equal weight to economic concerns and principles of self-government, asserting the right of the American colonies to separate from Britain.
Declaration of Independence: Quote
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” and have inviolable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Federal government under the Articles of Confederation
The United States of America was a confederation of states. Although the confederation was superior to the individual states, it had no powers without their consent.
Powers under the Articles of Confederation
Make war and peace, send and receive ambassadors, enter into treaties and alliances, coin money, regulate Indian affairs, and run a post office.
Powers NOT provided under the Articles of Confederation
Raise revenues, enforce laws, or resolve disputes between states.
Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
Few laws were passed; states usually refused to fund policies that hampered their own interests; the federal government could not address foreign policy issues.
Logic behind the weakness of the Articles of Confederation
People distrusted national government and believed that self government worked best in small communities.