American History
Early America

Reading Guide—Chapter 1:  The Nation’s Beginnings

Section 1:  Many Cultures Meet

1.  What date did Columbus land in the New World?

2.  What did the people he meet look like and what did they Columbus’s men trade with each other?

3.  When did the first people come to America, and how?

4.  What kind of groups were different American Indian cultures divided into?

5.  What were the first three major crops cultivated in the Americas?  Where were they grown?

6.  What were some of the major Indian tribes in Eastern North America?

7.  What was the Renaissance?

8.  Who controlled the trade between Europe and Asia in the 1400s?

9.  What was the first European country to reach India by sea?

10.  What was the capital of the Songhai Empire in Africa?

11.  What was the middle passage?

12.  Why did Christopher Columbus sail west across the Atlantic?

13.  What were conquistadors?

14.  Who conquered Mexico?

15.  What Spanish explorer led an expedition through the Southeast (including Tennessee)?

16.  What was the Columbian Exchange?

Reading Guide—Chapter 1:  The Nation’s Beginnings

Section 2:  The American Revolution

1.  How many colonies did Britain establish in what is now the United States?

2.  Which European nations first settled Mexico, Florida, and Canada?

3.  What was the first permanent English settlement in America?

4.  What two English documents described the rights of Englishmen and inspired Americans to defend their rights?

5.  What were the House of Burgesses and the Mayflower Compact?

6.  What colonies made up New England?

7.  What was the Enlightenment?

8.  What was the Great Awakening?

9.  Who fought in the French and Indian War?  Why?  Who won?

10.  What problems did the French and Indian War cause for Americans?

11.  How did Americans protest against how Britain began treating them in the 1760s and 1770s?

12.  Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

13.  Who won the battles of Bunker Hill, Trenton, Brandywine, Saratoga, King’s Mountain, and Yorktown?

14.  What foreign country gave the most help to America during the Revolution?

15.  What was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War?

16.  What were the boundaries of the United States after the Treaty of Paris was signed?

Reading Guide—Chapter 1:  The Nation’s Beginnings

Section 3:  The Constitution

1.  Who could vote in the governments set up when the states declared their independence?

2.  What was the first constitution for the United States? 

3.  What important powers did Congress lack under that government?  How many states had to agree to change the constitution?

4.  Where was the Northwest Territory?  What did the Land Ordinance and Northwest Ordinance do?

5.  What was Shays’s Rebellion?

6.  What were the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan?

7.  What was the Great Compromise?

8.  What were supporters of the Constitution of 1787 called?  Name three important ones.

9.  What were opponents of the Constitution called?  Why did they distrust it?

10.  How many states had to ratify the Constitution?

11.  When was the Bill of Rights ratified, and what rights does it protect?

12.  What is federalism?

13.  What are checks and balances?

14.  What three branches were created as part of the separation of powers?

15.  What clause in the Constitution allows Congress to be flexible in its interpretation of the Constitution?

16.  How many times has the Constitution been amended since it was written?

Reading Guide—Chapter 1:  The Nation’s Beginnings

Section 4:  The New Republic

1.  Who were George Washington’s first Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury?

2.  How did the Secretary of the Treasury plan to pay of America’s war debt?  What were his supporters called?

3.  What political party wanted to limit the power of the national government?  Who was their leader?

4.  What battle against the Indians in 1794 opened the Ohio River Valley to American settlement?

5.  (Omitted)
6.  Who did John Jay make an unpopular treaty with in 1794 to avoid a war?

7.  Why was Thomas Pinckney’s treaty with Spain in 1795 so important?

8.  What did the Alien and Sedition Acts do?

9.  What Supreme Court Chief Justice established the precedent (tradition) of judicial review?  What does that mean?  What court case did this?

10.  What did Thomas Jefferson buy from France in 1803?  Who explored it?

11.  Why was America angry with Britain in the early 1800s?

12.  Whom did America fight during the War of 1812?

13.  What was the Industrial Revolution and in what part of America did it have the greatest influence?

14.  What did the Southern economy depend on in early American history?  What invention revolutionised the Southern economy?

15.  What did the Monroe Doctrine say?

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This page last updated 15 August, 2009.