Judiciary Act of 1789

Act that established a federal district court in each state and three circuit courts to hear appeals from the districts, with the Supreme Court having the final say.

Bill of Rights

The first ten amendments to the Constitution, officially ratified by 1791. The amendments safeguarded fundamental personal rights, including freedom of speech and religion, and mandated legal procedures, such as trial by jury.

Report on the Public Credit

Alexander Hamilton's 1790 report recommending that the federal government should assume all state debts and fund the national debt � that is, offer interest on it rather than repaying it � at full value. Hamilton's goal was to make the new country creditw

Bank of the United States (BUS)

A bank chartered in 1790 and jointly owned by private stockholders and the national government. Alexander Hamilton argued the the bank would provide stability to the specie-starved American economy by making loans to merchants, handling government funds,

Report on Manufactures

A proposal by treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton in 1791 calling for the federal government to urge the expansion of American manufacturing while imposing tariffs on foreign imports.

Proclamation of Neutrality

A proclamation issued by President George Washington in 1793, allowing U.S. citizens to trade with all belligerents in the war between France and Great Britain.

French Revolution

A 1789 revolution in France that was initially welcomed by most Americans because it abolished feudalism and established a constitutional monarchy, but eventually came to seem too radical to many.


A political faction in the French Revolution. Many Americans embraced the democratic ideology of the radical Jacobins and, like them, formed political clubs and began to address one another as "citizen.

Whiskey Rebellion

A 1794 uprising by farmers in western Pennsylvania in response to enforcement of an unpopular excise tax on whiskey.

Jay's Treaty

A 1795 treaty between the United States and Britain, negotiated by John Jay. The treaty accepted Britain's right to stop neutral ships. In return, it allowed Americans to submit claims for illegal seizures and required the British to remove their troops a

Haitian Revolution

The 1791 conflict involving diverse Haitian participants and armies from three European countries. At its end, Haiti became a free, independent nation in which former slaves were citizens.

XYZ Affair

A 1797 incident in which French officials demanded a bribe from U.S. diplomats

Naturalization, Alien, and Sedition Acts

Three laws passed in 1798 that limited individual rights and threatened the fledgling party system. The Naturalization Act lengthened the residency requirement for citizenship, the Alien Act authorized the deportation of foreigners, and the Sedition Act p

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

Resolutions of 1798 condemning the Alien and Sedition Acts that were submitted to the federal government by the Virginia and Kentucky state legislatures. The resolutions tested the idea that state legislatures could judge the constitutionality of federal

Treaty of Greenville

A 1795 treaty between the United States and various Indian tribes in Ohio. American negotiators acknowledged Indian ownership of the land, and, in return for various payments, the Western Confederacy ceded most of Ohio to the United States.

Marbury v. Madison

A Supreme Court case that established the principle of judicial review in finding that parts of the Judiciary Act of 1789 were in conflict with the Constitution. For the first time, the Supreme Court assumed legal authority to overrule acts of other branc

Louisiana Purchase

The 1803 purchase of French Territory west of the Mississippi River that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States and opened the way for future American expansion west. The purchase r

Embargo Act of 1807

An act of Congress that prohibited U.S. ships from traveling to foreign ports and effectively banned overseas trade in an attempt to deter Britain from halting U.S. ships at sea. The embargo caused grave hardships for Americans engaged in overseas commerc

Battle of Tippecanoe

An attack on Shawnee Indians at Prophetstown on the Tippecanoe River in 1811 by American forces headed by William Henry Harrison, Indiana's territorial governor. The governor's troops traded heavy casualties with the confederacy's warriors and then destro

Treaty of Ghent

The treaty signed on Christmas Eve 1814 that ended the war of 1812. It retained the prewar borders of the United States.

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

A Supreme Court case that asserted the dominance of national over state statutes.

Adams-Onis Treaty

An 1819 treaty in which John Quincy Adams persuaded Spain to cede the Florida territory to the United States. In return, the American government accepted Spain's claim to Texas and agreed to a compromise on the western boundary for the state of Louisiana.

Monroe Doctrine

The 1823 declaration by President James Monroe that the Western Hemisphere was closed to any further colonization or interference by European powers. In exchange, Monroe pledged that the United States would not become involved in European struggles.