U.S. Constitution: A Study of Our Beginnings

People identify with the land they live on. The have a connection, a history, a story to tell. The land you occupy has a beginning and that beginning is vital to why our communities exist, and how they got developed. It is important to learn who was there before you. What was their history? What did they build and why did they build it? We are tied to our communities and how we got there is vital to not just our hometowns but our Nation. All of our beginnings ultimately start at the founding of our Nation. 


We need to understand how we arrived to become the great nation that we are so proud of. We need that understanding so that we are able to maintain, sustain, and protect the very foundation that our country was built on. Knowing our history and what our founding fathers had to endure and fight for to create the freedoms we so complacently enjoy, will give us a true appreciation for our Constitution, and why it was created to begin with. 

image2

Historical Dates

May 14, 1607 Jamestown, Virginia is founded

A London group of entrepreneurs The Virginia Company, landed on Jamestown Island to establish the first English Settlement. The settlers developed private ownership of the land which increased productivity.  

July 30, 1619 Virginia House of Burgesses Convenes

  

This is the first legislative General Assembly of Virginia. The Virginia House of Burgesses became the first elected representative assembly. They were elected by the settlers of the American Colonies. In the beginning, the assembly was a charter issued by The Virginia Company of London which was under British Control, but allowing some self-government. The British began increasingly placing limits on the colonies ability to govern themselves. 

November 11, 1620 Mayflower Compact is signed

  

Fleeing religious persecution by King James, 41 of the 101 English passengers of the Mayflower ship wrote and signed the Compact to establish religious freedom and self-governance. 

May 28, 1754 Battle of Jumonville Glen starts the French and Indian War

Aggression over the Ohio River Valley and competition for the fertile land starts skirmishes between British and French Troops. Virginia Regiment Lieutenant Colonel George Washington attempts to force the French out of the Ohio River Valley. Washington, with Chief Tanacharison led the charge against the French, but ended up surrendering. The attack led to increasing tensions resulting in the start of the French and Indian War. 

April 19, 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord, American Revolution begins

British troops were headed to Concord, Massachusetts with the intent to seize firearms and supplies from Colonists. Paul Revere alerted everyone to mobilize militiamen. Once the British arrived in Lexington, Massachusetts a shot was fired (unknown who or from what side). This shot is known as the “Shot heard around the World” and the Revolutionary War for America’s freedom had begun. 

October 13, 1775 United States Navy is founded

  

In order to keep British held back, control of the seas was vital. The Continental Navy that eventually became the United States Navy was established. Originally consisting of 2 armed vessels it is now the strongest and most advanced fighting force in the world.

July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence is finalized

Once the Continental Congress had voted on declaring freedom from the British. (July 2, 1776) they drafted a document to present to the public. This document was in a committee headed by John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin & Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence was sent to the printers on July 4thsigned initially by Hon Hancock and later signed by the remaining members in August. 

October 17, 1777 British surrender at Saratoga, French Alliance

With intent to divide the colonies, the Battle at Saratoga ended with the British surrendering, re-enforcing the colonist’s independence and helping the French to recognize the colonists as an ally in the war.  

July 9, 1778 Articles of Confederation are approved

  

The articles of Confederation were created as the first United States founding document and Constitution. The Articles were enacted by Congress on March 1, 1781.

October 19, 1781 British Surrender at Yorktown, the end of the Revolutionary War

  

General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia. In 1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed after the British appeal for peace. The Revolutionary War was officially over. 

December 23, 1783 General GeorgeWashington resigns his military commission

General Washington resigned his commission at the State House in Annapolis, Maryland on December 23, 1783 in order to return home to Mount Vernon, Virginia to reside as a private citizen. Washington willingly gave up his power to return to citizenry. He ended up participating in the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and was unanimously elected as the first President of the United States. He reluctantly took the position turning down and rejecting the title of King. He again steps down from power in 1797 to give another the opportunity to serve. That peaceful transfer of power was to set precedence of leadership not power.  

July 13, 1787 Northwest Ordinance sets the process for forming new States

Under the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance helped the United States to expand. The pre-curser to establishing a free republic and the foundation of governing the Northwest and any new states. 

September 17, 1787 Approval of the U.S. Constitution is given to the states for ratification

 After declaring Independence, the formation of the Articles of Confederation, and the development of the U.S. Constitution, the undeniable creation of the United States designated it as a government designed to serve its citizens. The U.S. Constitution, with the establishment of the legislative branch in Article I is a firm reminder that the power is controlled by the people through the election of their representatives.  

April 30, 1789 George Washington is inaugurated as the first President of the United States

Attended by hundreds of anxious citizens, the ceremony was held at Federal Hall. Both houses of Congress, New York notables, American officials as well as French and Spanish Diplomats were in attendance to witness the grand display of distinction. The ceremony was set outside the Senate Chamber on the gallery balcony so that everyone could see the important and memorable inauguration. George Washington was escorted to the Federal Hall by a military escort. Washington took his oath with his hand on a Masonic Bible and after reciting the oath kissed the Bible. 

September 29, 1789 United States Army Established.

On the last day of the Congressional session, Congress recognized and adopted the Constitution as well as established a legalization of the existing Army that was created under the Articles of Confederation. 

August 4, 1790 Alexander Hamilton’s dept plan passes creating the foundation of Capitalism

After the war, finances, both foreign and domestic were out of control. Debe was high, but taxes were higher. Hamilton wanted to get the National debt under control and managed better. In order to create a strong, upheld, and growing Nation, Hamilton’s plan of Capitalism would create the Bank of the United States and financial stability. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were fearful that the process would create a government with no boundaries or limits. 

December 15, 1791 Bill of Rights are Ratified

James Madison introduced amendment to the Constitution that would protect and ensure liberty, unity and freedoms that were the very essence of mankind granted by God. Madison realized that without the bill of Rights Congress would be in a position to create power by force over the people.