Presentation on theme: "The Articles of Confederation NOTES. Essential Question(s): Why did the Second Continental Congress create the Articles of Confederation the way they."— Presentation transcript:
The Articles of Confederation NOTES
Essential Question(s): Why did the Second Continental Congress create the Articles of Confederation the way they did? Why didnt it work?
Q:Who was the first president of the United States? A:John Hanson
I. After sending the Declaration of Independence, the Second Continental Congress drafted the Article of Confederation and Union, a provisionalor temporarygovernment uniting the former colonies to conduct the Revolutionary War.
Finished in 1777, it was ratifiedor approvedby the thirteen states in 1781, at the conclusion of the war as the government of the new nation.
II. The Articles of Confederation were based on many of the complaints colonists had about the British governments handling of the colonies.
A. Fearing a strong central government like Britains, the Articles had a very weak one with most of the power being held by the individual states.
1. As such, the national government was only given powers to do things that individual states couldnt. It had the power to make treaties, declare war and receive ambassadors.
2. Everything else was left to the states. States all coined their own money and levied taxes (the national government had to get funding from the states). There was no chief executive to head the government, no standing army and no national judiciary.
B. The Articles also feared the tyranny of the majority and was created with some features that seemed like good ideas, but turned out to be flaws.
1. Representation in the government was based on each state having one vote in its Congress, regardless of population.
2. In order to amendor changethe Articles, all thirteen states had to approve of the modification. This made changing the government virtually impossible.
III. Despite these limitations, the government under the Articles had two main achievements amidst the many problems it faced.
A. The Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 were both key accomplishments of the Articles. These pieces of legislation set guidelines for the development of the Northwest Territory and the process by which new states would join the nation. They also prohibited slavery in the Northwest Territory.
B. The new nation faced severe problems too.
1. Most of the state governments were in debt from the Revolutionary War, some more than others. Creditors wanted the states to raise the money they owed through high taxes. Debtors wanted the government to print more money, causing inflation, to help them pay off their debt easier.
2. Trade between states caused problems too. The lack of a common currency, taxes imposed on inter-state trade and arguments of navigation rights of waterways all raised concern as the national government had no way to solve problems between states.
3. Due to a lack of unity, the national government struggled to be respected both abroad and at home.
a. Most countries ridiculed the American experiment and expected the new nation to fail.
b. Foreign nations refused to take the government seriously and the young country faced possible renewed war with Britain and a possible conflict with Spain.
c. At home, Shays Rebellion showed the challenge the national government could face.
1) Farmer Daniel Shay, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, was a farmer in western Massachusetts. When debt threatened to have the farms foreclosed on, Shay and other farmers claimed that they were victims of high taxes.
2) The farmers demanded the courts be closed to stop the foreclosures. In September 1786, Shay led a mob of 1,200 to seize the militias weapons depot in Springfield.
3) Massachusetts officials called out the militia to put down the rebellion, killing four rebels.
4) News of the rebellion caused dismay across the states as the need for a stronger national government to provide law and order became apparent.
IV. As a result of these problems, a meeting was called in 1787 to discuss the problems with the government under the Articles of Confederation. Upon meeting at this Constitutional Convention, it became clear that the Articles were not able to be revised and a new government had to be designed to take its place.