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“ The United States In Congress Assembled ”: America under the Articles of Confederation.

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Presentation on theme: "“ The United States In Congress Assembled ”: America under the Articles of Confederation."— Presentation transcript:

1 “ The United States In Congress Assembled ”: America under the Articles of Confederation

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3 Articles of Confederation Richard Henry Lee/John Dickinson Passed by the 2nd Continental Congress in 1777, but not ratified by the states until Congress was the dominant force (no separate executive or federal courts), but it was hobbled by rules: 1.All bills required 2/3 vote for passage 2.Any amendment = unanimous vote 3.Each state had 1 vote. 4.No power to regulate commerce 5.No tax enforcement power (states paid taxes voluntarily).

4 Land Cessions Geographical knowledge of North America was incomplete when colonies were founded. Many were established by royal proclamation or charter that defined their boundaries as stretching "from sea to sea"; others did not have western boundaries established at all. ended up with theoretical extents that overlapped each other, and conflicted with the claims and settlements established by other European powers. With Union, states must give up claims! –New York vs. Virginia = the biggest problem –Jan 2, 1781 – Virginia Cession unblocks the logjam

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6 Other Problems of the West GB abandoned their Indian allies who didn’t consider themselves defeated Pressure of American Expansion GB troops still in posts in the NW territories, encourage raids on American settlers Diplomatic problems – some westerners threatened to rejoin GB!

7 First President? Peyton Randolph –1 st President of the Continental Congress John Hancock –President of the Continental Congress when Declaration was Adopted Samuel Huntington –“President of the United States in Congress Assembled” (AOC) George Washington –“President of the United States” (Constitution)

8 New Political Dynamics “Pro-democracy” efforts gained. –Loss of 80,000 Loyalists = loss of balance? –Entail and primogeniture repealed, weakening aristocracy. –Expansion of voting rights, citizen participation Two new political cliques (not parties.. Yet!) –Republicans – liberalish – believe in rule of the people – the voice of the masses should drive decisions –Whigs – conservatives – believe in rule of the educated elite, insulate the government from popular mood swings

9 Land Ordinance of 1785 (drafted by TJ) –NW Territory land sold to pay off debt.

10 Northwest Ordinance of 1787 –revision of a little more –1. Territories established, which could eventually become states on an equal basis with the original 13. Needed a minimum of 60,000 inhabitants. –2. Slavery forbidden in Northwest. (had been rejected in 1785, but added back now)

11 Social Adjustments… African Americans –Vermont – 1777 abolishes slavery – – all states but GA and SC prohibit or heavily tax the international slave trade –Rise of free black population with schools, churches, other institutions –Personalities Benjamin Banneker Phillis Wheatley

12 Religious Change –Church of England ruined, replaced by Episcopal Church, separate from England. – Democratic spirit encouraged spread of “frontier faiths” (Methodist, Baptist). – Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Strong statement on separation of church and state written by TJ.

13 Foreign and Domestic Problems The U.S. had difficulty commanding respect from allies or enemies –Britain refused to send an ambassador, to make a commercial treaty, or repeal the Navigation Laws. Trading posts along Canadian border source of trouble with Indians. –Spain seized lands granted to the U.S. by Britain and harassed trade on the Mississippi River. –France demanded repayment of loans made during the Revolution and restricted trade with the West Indies.

14 Domestic disputes arise –Some states refused to pay any taxes, while interest on the public debt grew and the nation's credit dwindled. – States began levying duties on each other's products and quarreling over boundaries.

15 Economic Stresses Some Loyalist land was broken up into parcels for farming, sold off for $... Currency totals $400 million, but is subject to great inflation –Fixed income vs. inflation… –1787, $167 of paper money = $1 in specie Food Riots in several major cities… March 1783: Newburgh Mutiny – GW puts down a mutiny by saying: –"Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country."

16 Economic Growth? Immediate economic problems resulted from severing ties with Britain –Commerce with GB almost completely halted –Speculation and profiteering during the war = inflation. Congress unable to control effects !!! –Economic causes of war had led to distaste for taxes, further weakening Congress' ability to take action. After the downturn, postwar trade with GB returns to earlier levels in the 1780s Exports abroad surpass previous levels, but represent a smaller part of the total economic activity… Domestic economy flourishes! Trade moves inland – ports with no inland access go into decline…

17 Problems in the State Legislatures? 1780s – James Madison – a “spirit of locality” in the state legislatures is destroying “the aggregate interests of the community.” Power struggles with Governors, Courts Property Rights Currency Debtors rights acts

18 Strengths of AOC State governments are powerful, can make laws appropriate for local needs The Central Government can: –Conduct foreign relations –Maintain maritime trade –Regulate Indian trade –Manage Western territory

19 Weaknesses of AOC No Executive to provide leadership No federal courts Can not levy taxes Can not ratify amendments without unanimous consent Can not raise an Army Can not regulate interstate commerce Boundary disputes (see next slide!)

20 Shay’s Rebellion (1786) 1783: State land taxes rise Veterans return: most people have little money Violence breaks out in western Massachusetts with frustrated farmers losing their farms due to mortgage foreclosures and tax delinquencies. 1786: Daniel Shays leads 1000, seizes the courthouse State asks Central Government to send in help: there is no Army, no money to pay for it, no other states willing to get involved! State puts down rebels alone with force (killing three), but the win many seats in the next election – tips balance in state legislature! Leaders throughout the nation worried about the potential of domestic unrest. Reveals weakness of the Articles of Confederation.

21 Call for Reform of the Articles Annapolis Convention, –called to deal with interstate commerce squabbling, issues arising from Shays Rebellion –instead requested a convention to meet in Philadelphia to deal with reforming the Articles. Alex Hamilton makes a name for himself…

22 “Miracle at Philadelphia”: The Constitutional Convention

23 Philadelphia Convention Open agreement secretly arrived at--Washington's plea Intent of the Convention: –Economic -- protect property rights and make America safe from democracy. –Idealistic--make a perfect Union –Pragmatic--dealing with the question of sovereignty. Placing common interests over regional or personal concerns.

24 The Participants 55 delegates from 12 states –Young (average age 42) –professional (over half were lawyers) –men of economic substance (remember it’s a volunteer job!) –Many were Revolutionary War veterans –Absent: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, other Revolutionary War heroes. The “Big Names” who went in with notoriety –1) Washington--president of the convention –2) Madison--researched every previous republic a) Large republic is not only possible, it's preferred b) Popularly elected officials with sovereignty in the hands of the people, not the states –3) Franklin--81 years old. The steadying influence. Sick, old, but well-respected by all.

25 The Compromises Virginia Plan or Large States Plan –(Edmund Randolph) –2 house legislature with representation based on population for both –President and courts chosen by legislature New Jersey Plan or Small States Plan –(William Patterson) –Congress with each state having 1 vote (like AOC) –separate executive and judicial branches –increased powers of Congress Great Compromise (Connecticut Plan) –Bicameral legislature representing both people and states –Lower house membership dependent on population –Upper house with two members from each state –All revenue bills must begin in lower house

26 Three-Fifths Compromise Non-slavery states wanted slaves counted for taxation, but not representation and wanted an end to importation of slaves Slave states wanted slaves counted for representation, but not taxation and no interference with slave trade by the federal government –THE AGREEMENT: 60% of slaves counted for representation and taxation; no Congressional interference with slavery for 20 years Commerce Compromise Cotton and tobacco producing states wanted restriction of taxes on exports and all commerce bills to be passed by a two-thirds vote of Congress Northern industrial states wanted federal tariffs to keep up out cheaper European products and raise revenues for the government. –THE AGREEMENT: no tax on exports, simple majority needed to pass commerce bills

27 Ratification Only 9 of the 13 were needed for the Constitution to take effect Because of opposition from state legislatures, conventions elected by the people were given authority to approve or reject Constitution. Federalists vs. Antifederalists –Most Federalists were wealthy and well-educated and sought the creation of a more powerful central government –Most Antifederalists were farmers who were loyal primarily to their state governments Feared taxation power of federal government Republican government could not rule a large nation Federalist Papers –New York – Jay, Hamilton, Madison –Written to convince NY to ratify! –most influential political literature of the time –Argued that limitations on governmental power were built into the Constitution –Need for strength to earn respect abroad Promise of Bill of Rights added to the Constitution helped persuade opponents to ratify it.


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