The Magna Carta was a document written in England in 1215. It declared that no man could be punished by the will of The King alone. It is an example of the philosophy of “rule of law”
The Mayflower Compact was a declaration made by English settlers in Massachusetts in 1620. It was the first document establishing a government of English settlers in the US
Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson and signed at the Second Continental Congress in 1776. It declared that the US was a separate country from Great Britain. It also declared that citizens had individual rights and listed grievances, or complaints, against The King.
The Revolutionary War began as a protest against unpopular taxes and the presence of British soldiers in the American colonies. It ended with the British Army being pushed out after the Battle of Yorktown in Virginia.
George Washington was the commander-in-chief, or military leader, of American forces during The Revolutionary War. He was later elected the first President of the US.
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation were a document that created a US government. It gave very little power to the federal government and president and more to the individual states. It was not successful because of disagreements between the states.
The US Constitution is the framework of US government. It explains what the branches of the government are and their roles. It was signed in 1789 and is still in use today. Changes have been made to it, which are called amendments. The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights because they outline rights guaranteed to individuals.
War of 1812
In the War of 1812 the US declared war on Great Britain again. The war was fought over the British Navy forcing American troops to join them and British relations with Native Americans. Fighting broke out across the US, including the burning of Washington DC
Early on, Native American groups acted as autonomous, or independent, nations within the US. President Washington recognized them as sovereign. President Andrew Jackson, however, disagreed, saying that sovereign nations could not exist within the US.
Indian Removal Act
In 1830, Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act forcing all Native Americans to move west of the Mississippi River. There was some resistance fighting, especially among the Seminole people. Native Americans were walked to Oklahoma, and many died along the way in what is called the “Trail of Tears.”
Manifest Destiny was a popular idea in the US in the 1800s saying that the US should reach all the way across the US to the Pacific Ocean. It was used to advocate for wars against Mexico and the Native Americans in The West.