Describe the state constitutions that were more democratic and those that were less so. What effect would these different constitutions have upon those states? Who could participate in government, whether by voting or by holding public office? Whose interests were represented, and whose were compromised?
In what ways does the United States Constitution manifest the principles of both republican and democratic forms of government? In what ways does it deviate from those principles?
In this chapter’s discussion of New York’s ratifying convention, Alexander Hamilton takes issue with Anti-Federalist delegate Melancton Smith’s assertion that (as Hamilton says) “a pure democracy, if it were practicable, would be the most perfect government.” What did Smith—and Hamilton—mean by “a pure democracy”? How does this compare to the type of democracy that represents the modern United States?
Describe popular attitudes toward African Americans, women, and Native Americans in the wake of the Revolution. In what ways did the established social and political order depend upon keeping members of these groups in their circumscribed roles? If those roles were to change, how would American society and politics have had to adjust?
How did the process of creating and ratifying the Constitution, and the language of the Constitution itself, confirm the positions of African Americans, women, and Native Americans in the new republic? How did these roles compare to the stated goals of the republic?
What were the circumstances that led to Shays’ Rebellion? What was the government’s response? Would this response have confirmed or negated the grievances of the participants in the uprising? Why?