Henry Ford Museum:
With Liberty and Justice For All
Early Years of America:
1619-A Dutch ship brings about 20 enslaved Africans to English colonists at Jamestown, Virginia.
1620-English settlers in Massachusetts draft and sign the Mayflower Compact.
It is the first written
framework of government in the American colonies.
1765-The British government adds new taxes with the Stamp Act.
The colonists fight back with
protests, boycotts, and the slogan, “No taxation without representation.”
1770-British troops are stationed in Boston to help enforce the law.
Clashes between soldiers and
colonists lead to the so-called Boston Massacre.
1773-To protest restrictions on buying and selling tea, American colonists dress as Indians, smash
boxes of tea aboard three British ships and throw them into Boston Harbor.
1776- In his pamphlet
, Thomas Paine calls for American independence and an end to
Americans proclaim inalienable rights and freedoms-for themselves and people
everywhere-with the Declaration of Independence.
1775-1783-The Revolutionary War is the longest war in the nation's history.
American soldiers and
militia defeat the British army and the United States wins independence.
1787-The Northwest Ordinance establishes a division of the area around the Great Lakes into new
It prohibits slavery these and promises to protect forever the rights of Indians.
1789-Fifty-five men draft a document that defines the government for the new United States of
Today, it is the oldest national constitution in the world.
1791-The first 10 amendments to the Constitution, called the Bill of Rights, are added to the
They protect the freedoms of American citizens against the power of the government.
1798-The Alien and Sedition Acts impose restrictions on new immigrants to the United States and
threaten the First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of the press.
British need money to pay debts:
War was expensive, and the British had just spent a lot of money driving France out of American
It seemed only right to tax American colonists to repay these debts.
In 1764, the Sugar Act
The Sugar Act pushed taxes to merchants on sugar, coffee, wine and other British
In 1765, the Stamp Act was put in place.
The Stamp Act required colonists to pay stamps on
all printed paper.
In 1766, the Quartering Act was enacted.
This act required colonists to house and
feed British soldiers stationed in their town.
In that same year, the Declaratory Act was ratified.
stated that Parliament could enact any law it wished on colonists.
In 1767, the Townshend Acts taxed
merchants on glass, lead, paint, paper and tea.
Finally in 1770, tax on tea continued – eventually
leading to the “Boston Tea Party.”
The Constitutional Convention, 1787: