H301 Study Guide: History of the American Founding

H301, Founding of the American Republic; Birzer

Study Guide for the Final, 2014


Section 1: Essay.  Worth 40% of your final exam grade.

When asked about the sources influencing the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the venerable third president of the United States answered: “This was the object of the Declaration of Independence.  Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take.  Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.  All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc.”

  • The greats of the classical world, Protestantism, Lockean liberalism, and whiggism profoundly shaped the American mind during the founding of the American republic.  Trace and compare the influence and significance of two of the four on the creation of the American mind, 1764-1806.



Section 2: I.D.s./Definitions  There were will be four possible terms on the exam; you will need to answer 3 (and only 3) of them.  Each one will be worth 10% of your final examination grade.

  • Alexander Hamilton
  • Anti-Federalists
  • Articles of Confederation
  • Cato (18th-century editorialists)
  • Cato: A Tragedy
  • Committees of Correspondence
  • Commonwealth Men
  • Conventions (extra-legal) and Associations
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Edmund Burke
  • Enlightenment
  • Federalist-Miami War
  • Federalists
  • First Continental Congress
  • George Washington
  • Intolerable Acts
  • James Madison
  • James Otis
  • James Wilson
  • John Adams
  • John Dickinson
  • John Locke
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • Loyalism
  • Newburgh Conspiracy
  • Northwest Ordinance
  • Pacificus-Helvidius Debates
  • Quebec Act
  • republicanism
  • Sam Adams
  • Second Continental Congress
  • Stamp Act
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Townshend Acts
  • Writs of Assistance


Section 3: Short answers: multiple choice; fill-in the blank; quote identification; etc.  Worth 30% of your final examination.

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