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Conservapedia:American History Lecture Two

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Students have entered enough terms in Lecture One to enable us to move on to Lecture Two. But before we start our second lecture for American history, we review some test-taking tips for multiple-choice history exams. View a history exam like a contest or a game. Part of your score is how much you know going into the exam, but a big part is how much you try on the test itself.

MANY OF THE ANSWERS TO A HISTORY EXAM CAN BE FIGURED OUT DURING THE TEST. The key is not to give up on questions that you don’t think you know the answer to. You can get many of them right. The person in the class who knows the most history probably won’t be the person who gets the highest score. The highest score will usually go to the person who tries the hardest during the test.

Tip Number One: Understand the question. Read it twice if necessary. Pause after reading it to make sure you understand its point. Never, ever try to answer a question you do not understand. You can improve your score by 10% on each exam by making sure you understand each and every question before attempting to answer it.

Tip Number Two: Pay particular attention to qualifiers in questions, such as “EXCEPT”. Every exam there are many students who miss questions because they overlook “EXCEPT”. For example, consider this question: “The Articles of Confederation contained all the following EXCEPT:” If you ignore the “EXCEPT” then you will answer the question incorrectly.

Tip Number Three: Eliminate the wrong answers before picking the right one. Draw a line through the wrong choices. Examples of wrong answers that can be immediately eliminated:
Wrong dates or time period
Answer doesn’t match the question – e.g., answer is generally true, but not limited to time period of question.
Two answers are too similar to each other.
The answer violates common sense.
The answer is familiar for reasons unrelated to the question E.g., “Magna Carta” (not in American history)
The answer is too general.
The answer is too broad, or too sweeping, or too strong.
The answer is too awkward
The answer is something you never heard of. Don’t pick it based on hope.

Cross out wrong answers. Try to cross out 3 answers to narrow the choice to 2 answers. If you guess at that point, you have a 50% chance of getting it right.

Tip Number Four: Stay on track. Expect to miss a few, but move on to answer the questions you can. This is like a round of golf: expect to miss some shots. Skip a question that confuses you. Move on and then return to the question later. But make sure you leave space on your answer sheet for any question you skip.

Tip Number Five: There are many ways to find the correct answer for a question. Try several different approaches until you get the right answer. For example, put the event in the context of other events. Use all the information that is given you. Ask yourself if you could answer the question without ever taking U.S. History (sometimes you can.) Be clever. You will maximize your score by being as clever as possible.

Tip Number Six: Don’t outsmart yourself. There are no trick questions. There are traps to avoid falling into, but nothing too clever. Your first impression about which answer is correct is usually your best choice. Don’t second-guess yourself into a wrong answer.


Let’s continue now with the Colonies around the turn of the century (from 1600 to 1700). Keep the periods separate in your mind: 1600s and 1700s. In the 1600s most of colonies were just getting started (except ). In the 1700s, the colonies were established and were just growing stronger. I should be able to mention an event and you should be able to tell me if it happened in the 1600s or 1700s.

In 1688, there was upheaval in England. The people there overthrew King James II, who was Catholic. His daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange took the throne and reinstated Protestantism, and adopted the English Bill of Rights. A century later this would inspire the American Bill of Rights.Well, Andy's depiction of the Glorious Revolution seems more like the English Civil War. Before using terms like 'overthrew', shouldn't he mention that it was bloodless? Just my thoughts.

In 1692, the Salem Witch Trials began. There was a panic that some girls, just about your age, were practicing witchcraft. Girls were prosecuted for this. Some were convicted and then executed. The authorities thought that these criminal prosecutions would help expose the ways of the devil for the benefit of everyone. Then someone observed that killing all these people may itself the work of the devil. Finally one of the accused said that the wife of the governor was also a witch. Then they put a stop to the prosecutions and freed everyone who was still alive. The whole episode did not make the Puritans look very good.Andy, girls were not convicted. They convicted elderly women of being witches. Get your victims straight.

1700-1750: salutary neglect. Colonies during this time were very different from each other. The same is true today with respect to homeschooling. If we were holding this class just 50 miles west in Pennsylvania, each of us would have to register each year with our school district, take tests, and follow a state curriculum. But we do not have to do any of that in New Jersey.What does homeschooling have to do with all these? Andy's point is that states were different from each other during the 18th century. And his example is modern homeschooling, which again has no relation with this. Give us some proper examples, Andy. Go to the library-oh right, you hate books.

Freedoms in the colonies varied widely also. In the colony of New York, for example, John Peter Zenger got in big trouble for publishing something critical of the governor. The New York governor demanded that Zenger be prosecuted and thrown in jail for criticizing him. Zenger was put on trial. On the first day of the trial, a good defense attorney from Philadelphia appeared to defend Zenger for free. The defense attorney argued to the jury that it should not be a crime to say something that is true, even though it may embarrass the governor. The judge told the jury that the law says that can be a crime called “libel”. But the jury ignored the law and held in favor of Zenger: “not guilty.” This case established the very important right unique to America: the right of freedom of the press. To this day we have that right in America, but those in England do not have this right.Andy, the United Kingdom is a democracy. They do have the freedom of the press. What did you expect? Also, that's weird coming out of Andy's mouth, as Conservapedia relentlessly practices censorship. Finally, England is a part of the United Kingdom. There's a reason for the United, Andy. That's like calling the United States 'California'.

The case helped convince Americans of the importance of the right to a jury trial, which was later written into our Constitution.

The trial also established an important power of the jury to ignore the law and hold in favor of a defendant even though the law says he is guilty. This is known as “jury nullification”.

Debate: Do you think a jury should be able to ignore the law in order to find a defendant “not guilty”?



1730-1740: The Great Awakening:

In the 1700s, the colonies grew in size. The colonies grew to 2M in population, much more than the French settlements of only 100,000. The colonies were not just the English. Germans came here, African slaves came here involuntarily, Scotch-Irish immigrated here and settled in Appalachia. William Penn was advertising for immigrants to come to Pennsylvania. Colonists also began to migrate to Ohio, and conflicted with French fur trade with Indians. The French constructed forts in Ohio, and the governor of Virginia sent a 21-year-old named George Washington to check out what was going on in 1754. In Western Pennsylvania, at Fort Necessity, French defeated and captured him and his troops. They made him sign a statement in French (which George Washington did not understand) that his men had assassinated some Frenchmen. Then they released George Washington. He remembered that lesson and in the Revolutionary War made sure he had an aide who could understand French. That aide would be Alexander Hamilton.2,000,000? Compare the native population in 1492; 17,000,000. But of course the Amerocentric Andy doesn't mention this. You could also write about the horrors of the Atlantic slave trade. 'Involuntary' is not strong enough a word. The innovations of the Scots-Irish and the Germans, including Conesta wagons and country songs. And Washington was not so much of an idiot. He asked the French to translate it for him, and they skipped over the parts that Washington wouldn't have liked. And before you get angry at France, remember that the US did the same thing to the Sioux in Fort Laramie. Speaking of Native Americans, this would have been a good place to mention the Iroquois Confederacy and their expansion in the Midwest, which Andy omits, probably because he underestimates the Iroquois hegemony at the time.

George Washington is the most honored person in all of American history. Why was he so great? Was he so great? He was not a brilliant man. He was not a great military general. In terms of military strategy, he was not particularly good. He was inept during the French and Indian War, for example. He did not write anything of value.That would be Abraham Lincoln, actually....

Debate: George Washington. Was he great, and if so, why?

In 1755, the British sent General Edward Braddock to confront French, but they ambushed and beat him badly nearly Fort Duquesne (pronounced DOO CANE). In 1756, war broke out between the French and English in Europe and things got very serious.Doesn't mention that Braddock was killed. Or that George Washington was his aide. Or that native groups such as the Lenape were crucial in the fight. You completely omitted the war in Europe, too, but I'll forgive that.

Eventually a smart fellow named William Pitt was elected as Prime Minister in England. The city of Pittsburgh is named after him. Pitt believed in appointing generals based on merit, not seniority or friendship. Pitt recognized the importance of the colonies and began investing significant money and resources. He started beating the French. Under Pitt’s leadership, he captured Fort Duquesne in 1758, then Quebec in 1759, and then Montreal in 1760. He started winning other places in world also, including India. In 1763 the Treaty of Paris was signed that eliminated French and her Indian allies as a threat to colonists.The French won at Fort Duquesne, Andy. So England did not 'capture' Duquesne; the French abandoned Duquesne. Also, you didn't differentiate William Pitt with his son, William Pitt the Younger. But your greatest problem is that you misinterpreted Pitt's plan. Pitt's strategy was to draw French forces into Germany and keep them in Germany, while using the British navy to conquer other places. Do you really have a teacher's license? Moreover, the threat of the indigenous allies of the French did not cease in 1863. Andy has never heard of Pontiac, or Tecumseh, or Little Turtle, or Black Hawk.

But there was a change in the King of England even before 1763: King George III assumed the throne in 1760, and wanted to end the war quickly. Pitt wanted more war by England and resigned in 1761. A new prime minister gains power in England in 1763: George Grenville. England was angry that colonists didn’t pay fair share of war, and England wanted to make peace with Indians. It passed the Proclamation Act of 1763 to forbid colonists from settling west of Appalachians and stop buying land from Indians. Kind of like today’s problem with new Israeli settlements in areas claimed by Palestinians. Like the Israeli settlers, colonists were angry at this restriction, and ignored it.Missing a lot of the and their. Why don't you follow proper grammar? Also, the colonists did not 'buy' land from the indigenous, who Andy keeps calling 'Indians' despite the fact that real Indians live in India, not the Americas. The colonists stole land from the indigenous. Andy seems to think that colonists were justified in stealing land, which is why he presumably compares it to Israel. We ought to put it in a different context, like Martians swooping down, killing the lot of us, and forcing the rest to go live in the Sahara. Andy, do you think it's 'different'? Well, it's not. Sorry. But Andy won't accept this, especially as he still seems to think that what happened at Wounded Knee was a 'battle'.

Now that a new Prime Minister was in power who wanted peace, and wanted the colonies to pay its share of the war costs. Prime Minister Grenville started taxing colonists, and enforcing the taxes. He taxed sugar, then prohibited colonies from issuing paper currency.As a colony, England was justified in taxing Americans. However, the problem was that they were not represented in the House. If taxation was the problem, then there should be revolutions every month.

He humiliated the colonists with legal intrusions: writs of assistance to search businesses without a court order or warrant. He violated ancient rights. He passed the Quartering Act to require colonists to house British troops at their own expense.Way too subjective. What are ancient rights? There are no such things, unless Andy believes God gave us rights. Then he should have said 'god-given' instead. Use correct terms, Andy, otherwise you sound like the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Again, the emphasis is on representation, not taxation. They were 'humiliated'? All people in England had to do these things. And besides, a lot of these 'humiliations' are being broken right now, and has been repeatedly broken throughout US history. Just look at World War One, or current terrorist suspects.

Next came the Stamp Act of 1765: it required that printed materials, like newspapers, bear stamp showing that coin tax had been paid. The public, and especially the media, was outraged. This sparked the colonies to meet with each other in the Stamp Act Congress, which was attended by 9 colonies. Riots broke out, and colonists boycott tax and British goods. Britain repealed the law, but passed the Declaratory Act asserting right to legislate for colonies in future.

The colonists developed a strong argument: taxation without representation. Britain said colonists had “virtual” representation. Colonists said adequate representation was impossible because England is so far away.

1767: Townshend Act imposes more taxes. It taxed paper, lead, paint and tea in colonies to pay salaries of royal judges and governors. Singled out New York and Massachusetts to suspend their assemblies for failing to levy taxes to house and feed British troops in their colonies. The Act tried to avoid inciting the wrath of all colonies. But the colonists boycotted British goods again, and once again the boycott was very effective.

Debate: should England have been able to impose direct taxes on the colonies?

Boston Massacre in 1770, when troops shot and killed a mob for throwing snowballs (some having rocks) at it.

Green Mountain Boys: Ethan Allen wanted to protect his land holdings in the disputed area that became Vermont; they captured Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 (first American act of aggression).

There was relative calm in 1770-73. But Rhode Island smugglers burned the British ship Gaspee in 1772.

Tea Act of 1773. Large British tea company lobbied for and obtained monopoly rights from the England. EXPLAIN MONOPOLY. Had a huge inventory of tea. Received an exception from the tea tax and proceeded to import this huge inventory to Boston Harbor, where it would undersell the colonial merchants. The Puritans up there in Massachusetts were outraged. They tried to have the tea turned back to England, but the royally appointed governor refused. Led by Samuel Adams, a group of roughnecks dressed up as Indians and went on board the ship, and dumped all of its tea into Boston Harbor. It had the entire night to do it.

The British responded by revoking Massachusetts’ charter, closing Boston Harbor, installing a British general as governor, and repealing liberties like the right to hold town meetings.

The British also passed the Quebec Act, which gave the Canadians part of the Ohio Valley, which infuriated colonists. It also gave the French more freedoms, such as freedom of religion for the Catholic Church there. Colonists were angered because (1) they felt people in Quebec were getting more freedoms than they had and (2) they feared establishment of an Anglican Church in America.

The First Continental Congress was held in 1774. 12 colonies (not Georgia) agreed to disobey Coercive Acts, withhold taxes, cut trade, and arm the people.

The Second Continental Congress was held in 1775: made written money and named George Washington head of Continental Army, who governed during the Revolution.

The boycott hurt England. The British commander in charge of America, General Thomas Gage, decided to march by surprise from Boston to Concord to seize a storehouse of rebel guns and ammo, and maybe arrest some leaders.

Paul Revere then went on his midnight horseback ride to alert the colonists, and they were ready. War broke out.

Jan. 1776: {{r|Thomas Paine}’s Common Sense pamphlet argued against divine rule and economic reasons to stay w/ Britain, in plain language. Often written books or pamphlets were a bigger force than military battles.

July 4, 1776: Declaration of Independence. All men are created equal. Natural inalienable rights. Listed grievances against crown (by then we no longer recognized Parliament). Frequent invocation of God. Used philosophy of John Locke: government is a social compact, and rebellion is justified when the government breaks its end of the bargain. John Locke actually wrote the original constitution for the Carolinas in the 1669, but it proved unworkable.

Causes of American Revolution: (1) accustomed to much independence and self-determination, Tory effort to regulate and tax was bitterly opposed by Colonies (and by Whigs in England); (2) British burdens hurt nearly all Colonists in all walks of life; (3) taxes hit at a bad time: postwar depression; (4) legally, colonies disagreed with “virtual representation”; (5) religious reason: many colonists disliked Anglicans (and Catholics), and feared England would install an Anglican bishop; (6) colonists disliked English class distinctions; (7) 1/3 of colonists were not even English, and broad geographic separation; (8) accepted John Locke’s philosophy of natural rights and social contract; (9) bright prospect for future by colonists. Independence was inevitable, as with other British colonies, but came quicker than for most.

1/3rd of the colonists were loyal to Britain. Washington’s army was only 18,000, less than a third the size of attendance at Giants Stadium. The British won early battles at Bunker Hill in Boston, in Canada, and in New York. We started winning on Christmas Eve in Trenton in 1776, then later at Princeton. Big win was at Saratoga in upstate NY in October 1777, when 6,000 British soldiers surrendered. Benedict Arnold led our army brilliantly then, before he became a traitor and went over to the British side. That was the turning point because the French then entered on our side.

The British were beating the Patriots badly in the South. The British captured Charleston in 1780, taking 5,500 soldiers and huge amounts of weapons. Finally, we installed General Nathanael Greene, one of our best generals. He started inflicting heavy casualties on the British, and they retreated from the Carolinas to Yorktown, VA.

In May 1781, French arrived with two fleets, and we trapped the British at Yorktown, Virginia. They had to surrender their entire army of 8000. But the British still held New York, and didn’t finally sign a peace treaty until February 1783. They gave up east of the Mississippi, from Canada to Florida. We promised to treat the Loyalists and English creditors (people owed money by colonists) fairly. We didn’t.

Assignment: Enter or improve at least 10 topics relating to this lecture, which are highlighted below (or you can highlight terms that have not yet been highlighted). Example topics are "William Pitt" or "Benedict Arnold." Simply input one of those or another historical term in the upper-left hand box and click "Go". If the term does not yet exist, then click the link to enter a description. If the term is already described, then improve the description or enter another historical term.

The instructor will be evaluate your work based the number and quality of the entries, with feedback provided on your "Talk" page here. At the end of this course there will be recognition and ranking of the top students. Examinations will only be provided to students who complete these assignments. The next lecture will be posted when sufficient terms are filled in for this lecture.