Presentation on theme: "New Government In America 1775-1789 Fears of the New Nation Fears created during the Revolutionary period shape the new governments created in America."— Presentation transcript:
Fears of the New Nation Fears created during the Revolutionary period shape the new governments created in America Americans feared: Strong central governments (like Parliament) Strong chief executive (like King George) As a result Americans: Were suspicious of all forms of federal government Resisted taking power away from the states Feared concentrating power in the hands of one group or one individual Because of early fears Americans created a very weak central government: The Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation Created by the Second Continental Congress as a government to unite the colonies Articles government consisted of: Single chamber legislature (equal representation) Representatives were elected by state legislatures States were members of a loose confederation Weaknesses of new government: No executive or judicial branches Difficult to amend Articles (13 out of 13) Difficult to pass laws (9 out of 13) No power to tax No power to regulate commerce Sovereign states could be problematic
Predict. What types of problems will this new government experience under the Articles?
Problems faced by the new government Massive national debt (over 160 million) Economic depression begins in 1784 Result of decreased trade with Britain Low crop yields Manage the Northwest territory Chronic overpopulation of New England colonies Made worse by depression Land Ordinances of 1784/85 Surveyed and divided western lands for sale Established procedure for statehood Northwest Ordinance 1787 Banned slavery in Northwest territory Clarified procedure for statehood
Problems faced by the new government Continued friction with Britain/Native Americans Occupation of Northwestern forts by British British sold arms to native American tribes Battle of Fallen Timbers Shays’ Rebellion 1786 Largest of a series of small rebellions against state officials Many rural farmers were deep in debt (lacked specie) Shays organized farmers to close local courts in Massachusetts Stopped by privately funded state militia Many sympathized with Shays Created need to revise the Articles
Need to revise the Articles Philadelphia Convention 55 delegates from 12 states met with the intent to revise the Articles Meet in secret Two immediate issues How to “revise” the Articles? How to balance interests of the states? North vs. South Slave vs. Free States Big vs. Small States Factional politics create the need to compromise
Why is our current Constitution “unconstitutional” under the Articles of Confederation?
Constitutional Compromises How will states be represented in the government? Two competing plans emerge Virginia Plan (Madison) Bicameral legislature Representation based on population New Jersey Plan (Paterson) Unicameral legislature Equal representation Great (Connecticut) Compromise Bicameral legislature Lower house based on population (House) Upper house with equal representation (Senate)
Constitutional Compromises How to deal with the issue of slavery? The Constitution does not formally recognize slavery Avoided the critical issue (threat of secession) Includes only the provision that Congress would be allowed to ban the importation of slaves after 1808 3/5 Compromise For the purposes of representation in the House of Representatives/Electoral College slaves were to be counted as 3/5 of a person by the census Who should have the power to regulate interstate commerce? Commerce compromise--Congress is given this responsibility
Constitutional Compromises How much power should be retained by the states? Framers left a large number of powers to the states but left the federal government as the supreme power How should the federal government be kept in check? Framers built in checks and balances Promised to add a Bill of Rights Added 4 years later by Congress 1791
How did the Constitution fix the problems contained in the Articles?
Ratifying the Constitution Approved by the Philadelphia convention September 17, 1787 To become law it had to be ratified by conventions in 9 states Became law June 21, 1788 Many states were divided over the new Constitution Debate over the Constitution Two sides emerged: Federalists—supporters of the Constitution Antifederalists—opponents of the Constitution War of words was waged in newspapers and legislatures Federalist Papers—essays written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay to explain framers position
Criticisms of the Constitution Lacked sufficient protection of individual rights Solved in part by the Bill of Rights Constitution represented the interests of the wealthy and powerful Common concern of rural farmers Only the House of Representatives was directly elected by the people No guarantee of universal suffrage Many states had property qualifications Federal government/President would become too powerful System of checks and balances Universally acceptable candidate for President: Washington