The American Journey © 2007

Chapter 8: A New Nation

Chapter Overviews

With the ratification of the new Constitution, the United States was ready to face its many challenges. George Washington, unanimously elected as the first president, chose prominent political figures to lead the executive departments. The first Congress established a federal court system. Ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were added to the Constitution to ensure the rights of the people and of the states. Many of the greatest challenges involved the national debt and the country's finances.

Not everyone was happy with the decisions made by the new government. Farmers in western Pennsylvania led an armed revolt, called the Whiskey Rebellion, to protest taxes. In the west, American settlers clashed with Native Americans. Troubles with Britain, France, and Spain all required the nation’s leaders to exercise skilled diplomacy.

At the end of his second term, President Washington announced that he would not seek reelection. In his farewell address he warned the nation about the dangers of political parties. It was too late. The Federalist and Democratic-Republican Parties had already formed. The nation’s second president, John Adams, faced problems with France and division within his own political party.

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