Presentation on theme: " 1775-1789. Continental Congress reached agreement on the Articles of Confederation in November 1777 the union: a loose confederation of states with."— Presentation transcript:
Continental Congress reached agreement on the Articles of Confederation in November 1777 the union: a loose confederation of states with no national executive and no judiciary
Trade regulations required a paid customs force A postal system required postmen, horses, wagons, road maintenance Western lands required surveyors and diplomats to deal with the Indians
The Articles had no plan for the lands to the west of the thirteen original states; Many states claimed those lands; Five states had no claims, and they wanted congress to hold the land in a national domain and eventually sell the land to form new states.
States with claims finally compromised; any land a state volunteered to relinquish would become the national domain; James Madison and Thomas Jefferson ceded Virginia’s huge land claim in 1781;
No excitement over new government State legislatures were slow to select delegates Many politicians preferred to devote their energies to state governments, believing the real power was at the state level; Very often, too few representatives showed up to conduct business; The congress had no permanent home.
Why was the confederation government’s authority so limited? o Disputes over western lands o Each state desired to protect itself o Requirements for unanimous approval to amend the Articles o Absence of an executive
By 1778, all states had drawn up constitutions; Having been denied the unwritten rights of Englishmen, Americans wanted written contracts that guaranteed basic principles; All state constitutions stipulated that government ultimately rested on the consent of the governed; Political writers embraced the concept of republicanism as the underpinning of the new governments
Republicanism meant different things to different people, but all proponents believed that a republican government was one that promoted the people’s welfare.
Six state constitutions included bills of rights, which were lists of basic individual liberties that government could not abridge; Virginia passed the first bill of rights in June 1776. It guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and trial by jury.
Limits to participation were widely agreed upon in the 1770s; in nearly every state, candidates for the highest offices had to meet substantial property qualifications; only property owners were presumed to possess the necessary independence of mind to make wise political choices; qualifications probably disfranchised from one-quarter to one-half of all adult white males in the United States; made voting class specific.
Few stopped to question excluding women from voting; only three states specified that voters had to be male, as the assumption was unspoken. New Jersey—State constitution enfranchised all free inhabitants worth more than £50; opened the door for unmarried women and free blacks. A 1790 law used the language he or she, making woman suffrage explicit; Small numbers of free blacks and women made their influence narrow, but a new state law explicitly disfranchised blacks and women in 1807.