Presentation on theme: "The Articles of Confederation Under the Articles of Confederation, states often argued amongst themselves. They also refused to financially support."— Presentation transcript:
The Articles of Confederation Under the Articles of Confederation, states often argued amongst themselves. They also refused to financially support the national government. The national government was powerless to enforce any acts it did pass. Some states began making agreements with foreign governments. Most had their own military. Each state printed its own money. There was no stable economy. In 1786, Shays' Rebellion occurred in western Massachusetts as a protest to rising debt and economic chaos. However, the national government was unable to gather a combined military force amongst the states to help put down the rebellion. As the economic and military weaknesses became apparent, individuals began asking for changes to the Articles that would create a stronger national government. Initially, some states met to deal with their trade and economic problems. As more states became interested in meeting to change the Articles, a meeting was set in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787. This became the Constitutional Convention.
A Federal Convention came together in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day until a quorum of seven states was obtained. Through discussion and debate it became clear that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise. The United States Constitution “The Need for a Change”
Thedelegates Seventy-four delegates were appointed, of which 55 actually attended sessions. The sessions of the convention were held in secret--no reporters or visitors were permitted. Patrick Henry, refused to attend, declaring he "smelt a rat." He suspected, that Madison had in mind the creation of a powerful central government and the subversion of the authority of the state legislatures. Also missing was Jefferson, Adams, and John Jay who were abroad on foreign missions. It was, nevertheless, an impressive assemblage. In addition to Madison and Washington, there were Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Alexander Hamilton of New York. Most of the delegates were well versed in philosophical theories of government advanced by such philosophers as John Locke.
The Virginia plan The proposed government had three branches--legislative, executive, and judicial--each branch structured to check the other. The plan meant a strong consolidated union. This was, indeed, the rat so offensive to Patrick Henry. The introduction of the Virginia Plan at the beginning of the convention forced the debate into their own frame of reference and in their own terms. For 10 days the members of the convention discussed the Virginia resolutions. The critical issue was the distinction between a federation, which was an agreement resting on the good faith of the states And a national government, which would establish a central government that had complete control. As soon as the convention opened, Edmund Randolph, of Virginia, opened the debate by calling fora strong national government. Randolph outlined a broad plan that he and his Virginia compatriots had put together.
The new jersey plan The New Jersey Plan called only for a revision of the articles to enable the Congress more easily to raise revenues and regulate commerce and ratified treaties be "the supreme law of the States.“ For 3 days the convention debated this plan, finally voting for rejection. With the defeat of the New Jersey resolutions, the convention was moving toward creation of a new government, much to the dismay of many small-state delegates. The nationalists, led by Madison, appeared to have the proceedings in their grip. In addition, they were able to persuade the members that any new constitution should be ratified through conventions of the people and not by the Congress and the state legislatures. Madison believed that the constitution would likely be vetoed in the legislatures, where many state political leaders stood to lose power. The nationalists wanted to bring the issue before "the people," where ratification was more likely to be passed. This nationalist position revolted many delegates who cringed at the vision of a central government swallowing state sovereignty. Soon delegates from smaller states rallied around proposals offered by New Jersey delegate William Paterson.
The Great Compromise However, there was one complicated and divisive discussion regarding how slaves were to be counted for purposes of taxation and representation. It was eventually proposed that representation for the House of Representatives would be based on the number of free persons and three-fifths of "all other persons". In the following week the members finally compromised, agreeing that direct taxation be according to representation and that the representation of the House of Representatives would be based on the white inhabitants and three-fifths of the "other people." With this compromise and with the growing realization that such compromise was necessary to avoid a complete breakdown of the convention, the members then approved. As the debate continued between the large and small states over the issue of representation. The convention finally approved a resolution establishing population as the basis for representation in the House of Representatives, thus favoring the larger states and also agreeing to a small-state proposal that the states have equal representation in the Senate.
ratification Although Massachusetts was now safely in the Federalist column, the recommendation of a bill of rights was a significant victory for the anti-Federalists. Six of the remaining states later appended similar recommendations. When the New Hampshire and Rhode Island turned down the Constitution in a popular referendum by an overwhelming vote Federalist leaders were apprehensive. In Baltimore, Maryland a huge parade celebrating the Federalist victory rolled. Through the downtown streets, highlighted by a 15-foot float called "Ship Federalist." The symbolically seaworthy craft was later launched in the waters off Baltimore and sailed down the Potomac to Mount Vernon. On July 2, 1788, the Confederation Congress, meeting in New York, received word that a reconvened New Hampshire ratifying convention had approved the Constitution. With South Carolina's acceptance of the Constitution in May, New Hampshire thus became the ninth state to ratify. The Congress appointed a committee "for putting the said Constitution into operation.“ Only the promise of amendments had ensured a Federalist victory. By January 9, 1788, five states of the nine necessary for ratification had approved the Constitution--Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut. But the eventual outcome remained uncertain in pivotal states such as Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia. On February 6, with Federalists agreeing to recommend a list of amendments amounting to a bill of rights, Massachusetts ratified by a vote of 187 to 168.
The Articles of Confederation and the The Constitution