Exploration Expeditions

Why did Europeans initially embark on exploration expeditions? How did finding the New World shape an emerging economic system based on exploitation and human violations, specifically in the British colonies? How did notions of “liberty” change among the British, their colonists, and slaves up to the American Revolution? How did liberty and rebellion come to shape the new nation? What were limits of the new United States government and how was it challenged?

The Terms:

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Printing press



Triangular Trade

Stono Rebellion

Republicanism (not the political party)

Liberalism (not today’s meaning)

Daughters of Liberty

Articles of Confederation

Shays’s Rebellion

The history of the United States has its beginnings in the period of technological invention and innovation throughout Europe, as well as the “discovery” of the New World. This “discovery” defined a new cross-Atlantic economic system, and eventually led to the founding of the United States, among the other nations in North and South America. Once European colonists—specifically the British in the thirteen colonies—established their place in the trade networks and in opposition to the British monarchy we see the formation of a new nation. This essay asks you to trace these prominent themes: exploration, economy, liberty, and nation building.


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