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The American colonies were in the middle of a war when they declared themselves independent from Great Britain.
The colonists who wrote these constitutions thought it was very important that they have written documents. Approved in 1777, the Articles established a Confederation government, which was a fancy way of saying that the central government didn't have a whole lot of power. The Articles of Confederation established the first national government for the United States of America. Students use this worksheet as an activity to write facts about the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance, and Shay's Rebellion.
The 274 broadsides in Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789 chronicle the founding of our nation from Colonial resistance to British rule and the Revolutionary War, through the drafting and ratification of the Constitution.
These historical era(s) are best represented in the collection although they may not be all-encompassing. Search on Articles of Confederation, Bill of Rights, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence. 1) The collection contains classic documents of the Revolutionary War era including the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, The Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. 2) The broadsides document debate on issues such as states rights, balance of power, and branches of government.
A Plan was carried on by the British Ministry for several Years in a systematic Manner to enslave you to that Kingdom. And whereas great confusion hath arisen from the manner in which officers and soldiers have been paid for rations and parts of rations allowed to, but not drawn by, them respectively: Resolved, That the parts of a ration be estimated as follows, viz. 6) Under the treaty of Paris (1783) which ended the war, Britain relinquished a large tract of land in the west. Be it further ordained, That the secretary at war issue warrants for bounties of land to the several officers and soldiers of the late continental army who may be entitled to such bounties, or to their respective assigns or legal representatives, certifying therein the rank or station of each officer, and the line, regiment, corps and company in which the officer or soldier served. 7) As part of the debate over western territories, the early also debated treatment of and relationships with Native Americans.
Search on Indian, treaty, and the names of specific tribes (such as Shawnee, Cherokee, Mohawk and Wabash). The solemn ratifications of the present treaty, expedited in good and due form, shall be exchanged between the contracting parties, in the space of six months, or sooner if possible, to be computed from the day of the signature of the present treaty.
The Broadside Collection can be used to create a detailed time line of the Revolutionary era and the formation of the new nation. Declaring Independence: Drafting the Documents, the Library of Congress Exhibit, provides a helpful starting time line.
The variety of broadsides allows students to examine the intentions of our nation's founders. Older students can be challenged to compare their interpretation of the broadsides with interpretations of the era found in textbooks and in other secondary sources. Using this collection, student can analyze why the colonists wanted to fight a war for independence.


The collections can be used to support discussions of literary themes such as courage and risk, achieving independence, vision and ideals, growth and change, and conflict and resolution. This collection is an excellent resource for studying persuasive literature and the techniques used to put forth an argument. Using the collection, students might write and produce their own broadsides on contemporary issues of importance to them. The mission of the Federalist Papers Project is to educate Americans on the principles of government that turned our country into the greatest, richest and most powerful country in the history of the planet while remaining a beacon for freedom and opportunity. The British constitution wasn't written down, so British laws could be interpreted any way the judges wanted to.
Fearful of another king, the American colonists wanted a government that would serve them, not the other way around. In light of the terrible treatment the American people had received so very recently, this new government was a welcome sight indeed.
The collections include the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, drafts of the Constitution, resolutions, proclamations, and treaties.
Also browse the Collection Finder for more related material on the American Memory Web site.
A Declaration By the Representatives of the United States of America, In General Congress Assembled.
The broadsides record hallmark events in American history such as the call for the first presidential election and the establishment of the Supreme Court. The broadsides paint a picture of how colonists became convinced to fight a war for independence. After various Attempts in an artful and insidious Manner to bring into Practice the laying you under Tribute, they at last openly and decisively asserted their Right of making Laws to bind you in all Cases whatsoever. The documents reveal the details and financial difficulties of organizing 13 separate governments and militias into a united fighting force. The collection traces Congressional debate over division, distribution, and governance of these territories. The collection covers Native American issues such as treaty formation, trade, and settlement of Native American lands.
The documents were written by patriot leaders steeped in the ideology of freedom and equality.
In witness whereof, we the undersigned, their ministers plenipotentiary, have in their name and in virtue of our full powers, signed with our hands the present definitive treaty, and caused the seals of our arms to be affixed thereto.
Students can use their textbooks or other sources to create an initial time line of Revolutionary events. Younger students can understand the main arguments for independence such as no taxation without representation and the right to liberty.
By studying the collection, students can learn how a government of checks and balances arose from leaders who feared tyrrany and believed in individualism, equality, and the natural rights of mankind. Many sources, for example, describe creation of the Constitution as a response to weaknesses of the Confederation and the need for a strong federal government.


Students will probably need secondary source accounts to provide context, but the documents alone can be used to build a detailed understanding of the era.
The Declaration of Independence, for example, is an excellent source for examining the presentation of an ordered argument. An executive is one person who is in charge and makes major decisions, like a president or a governor.
Broadsides set the stage for the open public debate and free press that became ideals in our society. For example, Congress designated some of the territory lands as rewards for soldiers of the Continental Army. While the broadsides do not commonly cite authors, many famous patriots are named in or are signers of the documents. DONE at Paris, this third day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three. Older students can understand how the founding generation built their government around terms such as liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In the collection, students are exposed to the arguments of those against a strong federal government. Using the documents, students can analyze the strength and persuasiveness of a broadside's argument. Most state constitutions included a bill of rights to protect these natural and individual rights. Mixed method, in Essais Historiques et Politiques sur la Revolution de l'Amerique Septentrionale, 1782.
Debate over the new Constitution is well chronicled in the Constitutional Convention Broadsides. In the process of their research, students probably will discover supporting examples for the time line not mentioned in textbooks. Students can trace fear of tyranny from the crown in earlier broadsides to fear of tyranny from strong central government in later broadsides. Students can search in other parts of the collection or other sources for evidence that a broadside's arguments bore fruit over time.
Students can review the actions and reactions between Great Britain and the colonists that led to war. By studying the broadsides, students can compare points of view on issues such as how to treat Native Americans or how to defray war debts.
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