Constitutional Period

By John Bradley

Articles of Confederation

After considerable debate and alteration, the Articles of Confederation were adopted by the Continental Congress on November 15, 1777. This document served as the United States' first constitution. It was in force from March 1, 1781, until 1789 when the present day constitution went into effect. Ratification by all 13 states was necessary to set the Confederation into motion. The Articles of Confederation was replaced for a Constitution that provided stronger federal government with a executive and judicial branch.

3 branches of government

The 3 branches of government are the executive, judicial, and legislative. Executive branch carries out the laws made by the legislative branch. The executive branch consists of a president, vice president and cabinet members. Judicial branch enforces or evaluates the laws made by the legislative branch. The judicial branch consists of a Federal courts and the Supreme Court. Legislative branch makes the laws. The legislative branch consists of two Senate per state and a House of Representatives.

Virginia Declaration of Rights

The Virginia Declaration of Rights is a document drafted in 1776. Drafted to proclaim the inherent rights of men. That includes the right to reform or abolish inadequate government. It influence the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. The authors are George Mason and Thomas Ludwell Lee. Document was ratified on June 12, 1776.


The Federalist party was the first American Political party. They existed from the early 1790s to 1816. Remnants lasted into the 1820s. The Federalist called for a strong national government that promoted economic growth and that promoted growth and fostered friendly relationships with Great Britan. The party controlled the government until 1801, when its elitism was overwhelmed by the Democratic Republicans opposition led by Thomas Jefferson.

United States Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed to assuage the fears of the Anti-Federalists. The anti-Federalists opposed constitution ratification . On June 8,1789 James Madison introduced 39 amendments to the constitution in the House of Representatives. In September 25, 1789, Congress approved twelve articles of amendment to the constitution and submitted them to the states for ratification. On December 15, 1791, Articles three-twelve became ratified by the required number of states and became amendments one-ten of the US Constitution.

Viginia Statute of Religious freedom

The Virginia Statute of Religious freedom was drafted in 1777 by Thomas Jefferson in the city of Federicksburg, Virginia. It was not introduced into the Virginia General Assembly until 1779. On January 16, 1786, the Assembly enacted the statute into the state's law. The statute disestablished the Church of England in Virginia and guaranteed freedom of religion to people of all religious faiths. The Statute for Religious Freedom is one of only three accomplishments Jefferson instructed to be in his epitaph.