Pre-Civil War Study Notes 1776-1861. A comprehensive guide to major events, laws, and important people before the Civil War.

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The Declaration of Independence- document in American history used by the 13 British North American colonies to proclaim their independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was adopted in final form on July 4, 1776.

The Northwest Ordinance- 1787 The ordinance provided for the formation of not less than three, nor more than five, states. It defined the boundaries of these states, forbade slavery in the territory

The Constitutional Convention- meeting during the summer of 1787 at which delegates from 12 states wrote the Constitution of the United States. At the convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the delegates abandoned the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, and created a stronger form of government

The Constitution- system of fundamental laws of the United States of America. The Constitution was drawn up by 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 and ratified by the states in 1788.

The Constitution defines distinct powers for the Congress of the United States, the president, and the federal courts.

The 10th Amendment- The Tenth Amendment restates a fundamental constitutional rule: If a particular power was not assigned to the federal government by the Constitution itself, then the states may exercise the power, unless the Constitution also prohibits the states from exercising it. The Tenth Amendment also states that people are free to act, without permission of the federal government, in areas outside the scope of the federal government's powers.

Alien & Sedition Acts - The Sedition Act made it a criminal offense to print or publish false, malicious, or scandalous statements directed against the U.S. government, the president, or Congress - The Alien Act, empowering the president to arrest and deport any alien considered dangerous.

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions- drawn up by James Madison -resolutions adopted...