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Nation’s First Government. Early State Constitutions Even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, colonists discussed independence and establishing.

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Presentation on theme: "Nation’s First Government. Early State Constitutions Even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, colonists discussed independence and establishing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nation’s First Government

2 Early State Constitutions Even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, colonists discussed independence and establishing state constitutions to replace the old colonial charters Even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, colonists discussed independence and establishing state constitutions to replace the old colonial charters

3 Early State Constitutions January 1776: New Hampshire becomes the first colony to organize as a state and craft a constitution, a written plan for government January 1776: New Hampshire becomes the first colony to organize as a state and craft a constitution, a written plan for government By 1780, the other colonies were creating their own constitutions and own systems of government By 1780, the other colonies were creating their own constitutions and own systems of government

4 Early State Constitutions Most states had a legislative body which were divided in to two parts or houses, which made them bicameral; made the laws for the people Most states had a legislative body which were divided in to two parts or houses, which made them bicameral; made the laws for the people Each state also had an elected governor to carry out the laws made by the legislature and judges and courts to interpret the laws for the people Each state also had an elected governor to carry out the laws made by the legislature and judges and courts to interpret the laws for the people

5 Early State Constitutions Most state constitutions consisted of: Most state constitutions consisted of: - bicameral legislature (2 houses) - governor - judges/courts Included was also a bill of rights, which guaranteed basic freedoms and legal protections for citizens Included was also a bill of rights, which guaranteed basic freedoms and legal protections for citizens

6 Early State Constitutions The Massachusetts state constitution was different from the other states however in a few ways. The Massachusetts state constitution was different from the other states however in a few ways. 1. It distributed power more evenly among the legislature, governor, and courts. (separation of powers) 2. It gave the governor and the courts the authority to check the legislatures power. (checks and balances) 3. The constitution itself was not created by the legislature, but by a convention of elected delegates

7 Early State Constitutions 1780, Massachusetts became the last of the colonies to create a state constitution 1780, Massachusetts became the last of the colonies to create a state constitution The Massachusetts constitution would later become the model for the United States Constitution. The Massachusetts constitution would later become the model for the United States Constitution.

8 Articles of Confederation Although each state had their own framework for government, states would however unify under another framework of government called the Articles of Confederation. Although each state had their own framework for government, states would however unify under another framework of government called the Articles of Confederation. Our nation’s first Constitution and our first written framework of government Our nation’s first Constitution and our first written framework of government

9 Articles of Confederation 1777, the states could not maintain a large army to fight the British 1777, the states could not maintain a large army to fight the British A strong central army was one of the main reasons for the Second Continental Congress to make this plan for union among the colonies A strong central army was one of the main reasons for the Second Continental Congress to make this plan for union among the colonies The Articles of Confederation would group the colonies together for that common purpose. The Articles of Confederation would group the colonies together for that common purpose.

10 Articles of Confederation In this framework of government, The Articles of Confederation: In this framework of government, The Articles of Confederation: 1. Set up a one-house legislature (no Executive branch, no Judicial branch) 2. States refused to give Congress the power to tax 3. States refused to let Congress enforce its laws

11 Articles of Confederation This seemed to be suitable to the states, so they ratified, or approved the Articles in This seemed to be suitable to the states, so they ratified, or approved the Articles in Problems later became clearer Problems later became clearer Strict voting requirements to pass laws or amend the Articles made it difficult for Congress to accomplish anything. Strict voting requirements to pass laws or amend the Articles made it difficult for Congress to accomplish anything. Even when it passed laws, Congress could not enforce them; states could choose to ignore the laws Even when it passed laws, Congress could not enforce them; states could choose to ignore the laws

12 Articles of Confederation The Revolutionary War ended in 1783, but the problems continued in spite of the new established government. The Revolutionary War ended in 1783, but the problems continued in spite of the new established government. Unable to collect taxes, Congress had borrowed to pay for the war. Unable to collect taxes, Congress had borrowed to pay for the war. The states had also run up deep debts. The states had also run up deep debts.

13 Articles of Confederation To pay their debts, the states overtaxed their citizens and even taxed goods from other states and foreign countries. To pay their debts, the states overtaxed their citizens and even taxed goods from other states and foreign countries. This hurt international trade and interstate commerce This hurt international trade and interstate commerce Congress had no power to regulate trade between the states or for the country as a whole. Congress had no power to regulate trade between the states or for the country as a whole.

14 Articles of Confederation Indebted farmers felt that the state had no right to take away farms from people who were unable to pay these exaggerated taxes Indebted farmers felt that the state had no right to take away farms from people who were unable to pay these exaggerated taxes After all it is a problem that the states themselves help create After all it is a problem that the states themselves help create Civil unrest is going to increase until it eventually comes to a head. Civil unrest is going to increase until it eventually comes to a head.

15 Articles of Confederation Daniel Shays and 1200 Massachusetts farmers march onto a federal arsenal Daniel Shays and 1200 Massachusetts farmers march onto a federal arsenal Shay’s Rebellion will be quickly stopped but the point is already made Shay’s Rebellion will be quickly stopped but the point is already made This uprising will force leaders toward revising the Articles of Confederation to create a stronger national government. This uprising will force leaders toward revising the Articles of Confederation to create a stronger national government.

16 Articles of Confederation 1787, delegates had to be sent to Philadelphia, PA to revise the Articles of Confederation 1787, delegates had to be sent to Philadelphia, PA to revise the Articles of Confederation Constitutional Convention Constitutional Convention

17 Problems of the Articles of Confederation Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation: 1. Congress had no power to collect taxes 2. Congress had no power to regulate trade 3. Congress had no power to enforce its laws

18 Problems of the Articles of Confederation Lack of Central Control: 1. No single leader or group directed governmental policy (no Executive Branch or President) 2. No national court system existed (no Judicial Branch or Supreme Court)

19 Problems of the Articles of Confederation Rules too Rigid: 1. Congress could not pass laws without the approval of 9 states (9/13) 2. The Articles could not be changed without the agreement of all 13 states (13/13)


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