A New System of Government (01:22)
Historians discuss the challenges of creating an American Constitution in this opening segment.
American Republic: An Experiment (05:29)
Maier quotes Adams who describes what it is like to participate in the crafting of a new American system of government. Maier describes other transformations that the revolution brought.
American State Constitutions (03:04)
Maier describes South Carolina's transition from a royal governed to a self-governed body. This experience became universal throughout the states.
Massachusetts' Constitutional Convention (03:24)
A balanced government was an important component of early state constitutions. Massachusetts' constitution, drafted by Adams, was separated into articles based on three branches of government.
Articles of Confederation (01:41)
Maier describes the purpose of this document. Lack of a central government impeded the ability to give national support during Shay's Rebellion of 1786.
Journey of the Constitution (03:58)
Delegates who assembled at Philadelphia in May 1787, created a new federal government from scratch. Washington agreed to serve as the nation's first president.
Constitution Compromises (03:35)
Washington and his administration came under attack from a group led by Hamilton. Tensions decreased as Adams became president and Jefferson vice-president.
Thomas Jefferson (02:45)
The Declaration of Independence took on new life as a statement of rights that the established government had to honor and protect. Maier talks about the deaths of Jefferson and Adams.
Credits: A New System of Government: Episode 4—A Biography of America (00:28)
Credits: A New System of Government: Episode 4—A Biography of America
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