Skip to Main Content

Chapter 4: 1789-1800 Inquiry Organizer

📎 Inquiry Organizer Summary of chapter objectives and resources
📖 Chapter Introductory Essay In-depth overview of significant events in the time period
🔎 Narratives Shorter essays on a dramatic story or individual
📍 Decision Points Narratives that describe a pivotal decision in history
💬 Point-Counterpoints Differing sides of an argument presented by scholars or historical figures
✒️ Primary Sources Firsthand accounts from the time period
📝 Lessons Instructions and handouts to engage students in the classroom
✏️ Unit Essay Activity Culminating essay based on AP LEQs to assess chapter objectives
Unit 2: Chapter 4 (1789-1800)
Compelling Question:How can a nation stay unified despite divisions?
Chapter Objectives:

  • Students will be able to analyze the foreign and domestic policies of the Washington and Adams administrations and evaluate the constitutional basis for those policies and the opposition to them.
  • Students will be able to describe and compare the shaping of a unified American identity across various regions, the reasons for continued regional differences, and the effects of unity or differences in responses to national issues.
Supporting Question 1: What unified the thirteen former colonies as a new nation in 1789? Resources:

  • George Washington in American ArtLesson
  • James Madison and the Bill of RightsNarrative
  • Actions of the First CongressLesson
  • The Compromise of 1790Decision Point
  • Thomas Jefferson on the Compromise of 1790Primary Source
  • George Washington, First Inaugural Address, 1789Primary Source
  • The Judiciary Act of 1789Primary Source
Supporting Question 2: What political, social and cultural issues caused internal divisions in the new nation? Resources:

  • Benjamin Franklin and the First Abolitionist PetitionsNarrative
  • Eli Whitney and the Cotton GinNarrative
  • The Founder’s Failure to End SlaveryLesson (
  • Alexander Hamilton and the National BankNarrative
  • “Strict” or “Loose”: Was the National Bank Constitutional?Point-Counterpoint
  • The National Bank DebateLesson
  • Robert Carter and ManumissionDecision Point
  • Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, Writings on the National Bank, 1785-1792Primary Source
  • Methods of Slave Resistance DBQLesson
Supporting Question 3:
How was the new nation challenged in its interactions with other nations?

  • The Global Impact of the American Revolution DBQLesson
  • George Washington and the Proclamation of NeutralityDecision Point
  • The Battle of Fallen TimbersNarrative
  • The XYZ Affair and the Quasi-War with FranceNarrative
  • The Jay TreatyNarrative
  • The Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty of New York, 1790Primary Source
  • The Jay Treaty, 1795Primary Source
  • Pinckney’s Treaty, 1796Primary Source
  • Cartoon Analysis: Property Protected—à la Françoise, 1798Primary Source
  • Cartoon Analysis: Congressional Pugilists, 1798Primary Source
Supporting Question 4: How did the Washington and Adams Administrations respond to challenges? Resources:

  • George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796Primary Source
  • The Alien and Sedition ActsNarrative
  • Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, 1798 and 1799Primary Source
  • The Whiskey Rebellion: Unjust taxation or enforcing the rule of law?Point-Counterpoint
  • Be Washington: Whiskey RebellionLesson (
Additional Resources:

  • Chapter 4 Introductory Essay: 1789-1800
  • BRI Homework Help Video: Partisanship
  • Unit 2 Civics Connection: An Apple of Gold in a Frame of SilverLesson (
  • George Washington’s Views on SlaveryLesson (
  • Using Political Cartoons to Understand HistoryLesson (
Unit 2 Essay Activity:
How can a nation stay unified despite divisions?
Option B: Analyze the causes of the political divisions that emerged during the Washington and Adams administrations (1789-1801).

As the newly established American government convened for the first time, the various economic, social, and political interests of the American nation immediately began testing the resiliency of the new Constitution. Through this inquiry, students will evaluate primary and secondary sources to analyze how the young United States of America developed unity and a sense of national identity despite the divisions that emerged in the 1790s. Assess students’ progress in understanding the compelling question for this chapter by assigning the Unit 2 Essay Activity.

Some components of this resource may contain terminology that is no longer used because the terms are recognized to be offensive or derogatory, and some components may contain images that would be considered offensive or derogatory today. These terms and images have been retained in their original usage in order to present them accurately in their historical context for student learning, including understanding why these are not acceptable today.