Alexander Hamilton, Continental Army Officer

Captain Hamilton’s battery made the trek to the winter camp at Valley Forge and on the night of December 24th, it was ferried across the Delaware River. Hamilton positioned the battery so it could fire on the German soldiers as they tried to form in ranks. His guns rapid and accurate fire killed many German cannoneers and prevented them from firing on the attacking Continental Army soldiers.

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H.M.S. America(s) as in Plural

Launched in 1777, the third H.M.S. America had 64 guns – twenty-six 24-pounders on her lower gun deck and 18 on its main deck. The ship participated in the Battle of the Chesapeake in September 1781 in which the Royal Navy’s defeat paved the way for Cornwallis’ defeat and ultimately independence.

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America’s Birth Certificate

The Ringmann/Waldseemüller chart was made from 12 sections using wood cut blocks that have amazing detail. Only 1,000 charts were printed today, only one original copy survives housed in the U.S. Library of Congress.

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Political Hot Buttons from the 1790s

When the United States of America was founded, there was no book or instruction manual on how to run a republic. Yes, most of our Founding Fathers schooling had included studying the Greeks and Romans. There was John Locke and 17th and 18th Century philosophers. Back then, our Founding Fathers couldn’t go to the local Barnes & Noble and browse the shelves for books on how to run a republic. Our Founding Fathers were, to use two overworked platitudes “breaking new ground” and “creating it on the fly.”

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The Ultimate Civics Course Project

Madison’s proposed amendment was still in legal purgatory until Gregory Watson, a University of Texas undergraduate, wrote a paper in 1982 on the proposed amendment for a political science course. Watson posited that since the Constitution does not apply a statute of limitations on any amendment, any proposed amendment can be voted on at any time.

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Madison’s 17 Proposed Amendments

Three times in 1789 – August 24th, September 5th, and September 25th – the First Congress voted to ratify Madison’s amendments either as originally written or as modified by the legislative body. By the time the First Congress adjourned, all but three of the 17 worked their way into the 10 amendments that made up the Bill of Rights.

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The Mighty Ninth and Tenth

Understand that Madison, who wrote the Bill of Rights, was afraid that a strong central government might run roughshod over the states. Hence the concept that if is if it not a power enumerated in the Constitution, the rights belong to the individual states or the people, i.e. the voters.

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Competing Plans for the New U.S. Constitution

The states refused to provide money to the central government. Under the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress, now known as the Confederation Congress, could not regulate either interstate or international commerce. There was no executive or judicial branch of government so the Congress had no means to enforce laws.

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Jefferson’s Foreign Policy Mess

Jefferson believed that if the U.S. imposed restrictions its merchants defining with whom they could trade, the warring European powers would accept them. They didn’t. England, through the Royal Navy was hell bent on cutting off supplies going to Europe.

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The Essex Case and the Rule of 1756

Jefferson responded to the Essex ruling by getting the Congress to pass the Embargo Act of 1807 which forbade U.S. merchants from trading with countries at war. It backfired and U.S. trade declined dramatically causing Jefferson to push through the Non-Importation Act of 1807 that prohibited U.S. merchants from doing business in either France or Britain or any of their colonies. It too was largely ignored.

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