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Bill of Rights

- The first ten Amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights

- at the time of its writing some people felt the constitution did not go far enough in establishing the freedoms of citizens.

- the bill of rights establishes our basic rights protects us from unjust rule.


What are some of the basic freedoms guaranteed by the bill of rights?

- freedom of speech
- freedom of religion
- freedom of the press
- protection against illegal search and seizures
- right to counsel
- we cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process
- private property shall not be taken from us without just compensation


1st Amendment

Guarantees freedom of:

- religion
- speech
- press


2nd Amendment

Right to keep and bear arms (own a gun)


3rd Amendment

No soldier can be quartered at a house without owner's permission

(this was a redress of the quartering act by the British)


US Constitution

Went into effect March 4, 1789

-Fundamental law of the US

- written to organize the newly independent American states under one national government

- establishes the structure of the national government

- divides powers between the national and state governments.

- creates 3 branches of US govt


4th Amendment

No unreasonable search or seizure


5th amendment

No one can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process.


6th amendment

Everyone has the right to a trial by an impartial jury (note: nowhere does it say the trial must be "fair")


8th amendment

Cruel or unusual punishments may not be inflicted


10th amendment

Powers not delegated to the US, nor prohibited to it by the states, are reserved to the states, or to the people.


What occurred on March 4, 1789?

The United States Constitution went into effect.


Advantages of slave labor

Slaves were bound for life, so they could not quit.


What also began in 1619 (the first year black slaves were purchased)?

America's democratic institution

- it was called the Virginia House of Burgesses
(Colonial America's first elected legislature)

- the only eligible voters were white, male landowners.


What happened to the house of burgesses?

It was too democratic for king james (who was ruler over the colonies) and he decided to abolish it, but he died before doing so.

- as a result, the budding democracy survived.


Why did people leave England?

Landlords evicted farmers by the thousands:
- there weren't any city jobs
- if you went too far into debt you were jailed immediately


The Church of England was tax supported and government regulated (ministers were paid by the state) and all other churches were banned by law.



A religious sect (they were separatists - those that wanted to leave the Church of England, now called "Pilgrims") that was banned by the Church of England fled England and spent 10 years in holland.

- then they hired the Mayflower ship and sailed for America in 1620.


What did the colonists aboard the Mayflower sign?

The Mayflower Compact

- it was a written agreement to abide by the rules of the colony.

- it stated (what was then - 1620 - a radical concept), that "a government depends on the consent of the governed".



A Patuxent Indian who was largely responsible for the Mayflower pilgrim's good fortune when they first arrived in Virginia.

- he had been kidnapped to England in 1616, missed the plague, and was returned in 1619. He spoke fluent English!

- thanks to his farming tips the pilgrim's had a bumper crop and celebrated with Thanksgiving, inviting Indians to share the feast.


What did the Mayflower pilgrim's find in America?

Good luck!

- The area had just been depopulated by the plague (there was no one to fight).

- only half the pilgrim's died the first winter, which was remarkable.

- third, they met Squanto


How did the pilgrim's try to keep the Indians in awe (doing their bidding)?

By hinting that they could bring back the plague, if necessary.



A deluge of 1,000 puritans (someone trying to "purify" the church from within) landed near Boston and formed Massachusetts Bay.

The colonies then agreed laws would be based on Old Testament laws: no work on the sabbath, an eye for an eye.

They declared all New England a Puritan commonwealth. It had a tax supported church with licensed ministers. No other churches were allowed.



The Royal Navy grabs New York from the Dutch (who had originally swindled it from the Indians)

New Jersey is created



To settle a debt, King Charles gives South Carolina to nobles.



King Charles sells Pennsylvania to a Quaker named William Penn


What was the main restraint on slave revolts in the southern states?

The fact that slaves were a minority of the southern population.

- 80% of southern white families never owned a single slave.

They were the other side of the old south: the poor farmers, behind the plantations, up in the hills, on the frontier.

These were the people who defended the slave system.


Basis of Triangular trade

Based on New England wealth and Puritan efficiency

(although there was not much slavery in New England itself, New Englanders were up to their necks in the trade)

- New England's biggest trees became masts for the Royal Navy, and the rest were turned into ships in Boston, Providence, and Newport.

- the whole economy revolved around shipping: warehousing, barrel making, rope manufacture.

- but the bay colony's biggest manufacturing industry was the distillation of rum.


Triangular trade

("the middle passage" was a reference to the part of the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and English colonies in the Caribbean - the longest part of the voyage)

- rum was distilled in New England and then travelled to Africa.

- in Africa the rum was traded for slaves

- the slaves were sent to the sugar cane plantations of Barbados, where they were traded for sugar cane (at a 1000% markup)

- the sugar cane then went back to New England, where it was distilled into rum.


Life on the middle passage

Puritan efficiency gone insane

Slaves spent 40 days chained below deck in a space 13 inches wide and 18 inches high.

(The puritans responsible were the same people that hanged witches and made the church state sanctioned)


What did the original framers of the constitution not put in?

Anything about:

- freedom of speech
- freedom of religion
- freedom of the press
- the right to bear arms
- right to due process

So, they added in the 10 Amendments (Bill of Rights)