During the Revolutionary War, state governments began to dissolve As a result, in May of 1776, the Second Continental Congress began to ask states to form their own governments In July of 1776, the Congress began to organize a national government Source: National Park Service
Most states created Constitutions (documents that set laws and principles of a government), which served 2 purposes: 1. spell out rights of citizens 2. limit the power of government
Americans wanted to prevent an abuse of power so they divided government into two parts: All colonies had a Legislative Branch: Lawmakers Lawmakers Elected by voters Elected by voters had an Upper and Lower House (bicameral) had an Upper and Lower House (bicameral) Executive (governor): Carried out laws Carried out laws All states but PA had a governor All states but PA had a governor Samuel Adams Library of Congress
Virginia was the first of several colonies to include a bill of rights which lists the freedoms the government promises to protect: For example, freedom of: speech religion assembly press trial by jury
The right to vote also expanded under state constitutions To vote you had to be male at least 21 years of age property owner or pay a tax In some states free blacks could vote In New Jersey, women could vote for a while
Members of the Continental Congress also agreed that a national plan of government had to be created Because most Americans were loyal to their states, few saw themselves as citizens of the “United States”. They did not want to turn over powers of the state to a national government
Because Americans feared tyranny, the Congress created a very weak national government. The first American constitution, completed in 1777, was the Articles of Confederation Source: National Archives
Wanted a Republic Government in which citizens rule through elected representatives
The authors of the Articles of Confederation did not create a nation, but a “firm league of friendship” between the 13 states The Articles of Confederation created a Congress with 2-7 delegates from each state- BUT each state only had one vote Created legislative branch, but it did not create an executive or judicial branch The Articles of Confederation, ratified in 1781. This was the format for the United States government until the Constitution
Under the Articles of Confederation Congress could 1.maintain the military 2.conduct foreign policy 3.borrow money 4.coin money The Congress could NOT 1. regulate trade between the states or foreign nations 2. force citizens to join army 3. impose taxes Congress had to ask states for money to keep the federal government going- they could not force them to contribute
In order to pass laws, 9 of the 13 states had to vote in favor Summary of the Articles of Confederation: 1. created a loose alliance between states 2. did not provide for a president (no executive branch) and laws had to be enforced by the states 3. did not create a court system (no judicial branch) and the government could not resolve differences between the states CREDIT: Tholey, Augustus, artist. "Leaders of the Continental Congress." Wm. Finley & Co., copyright 1894. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
Most states ratified the Articles of Confederation, but Maryland originally refused Maryland was concerned because states like Virginia were claiming land in the west They feared that larger states would become extremely powerful They also feared that states that claimed land in the west could sell the land to make money and avoid taxes. If that happened, they feared, citizens of Maryland would move to places like Virginia to avoid taxes
Maryland demanded that all of the land west of the Appalachian Mountains be turned over to the Congress The larger states rejected the demand Fortunately, Thomas Jefferson and other respected leaders stepped forward and convinced lawmakers to give up their claims to western lands They were successful and Maryland ratified the Articles of Confederation and they went into effect in 1781 Thomas Jefferson
Western settlers also caused problems for the Congress Western settlers also caused problems for the Congress Settlers in the frontier began to feel neglected and tried to form their own states Settlers in the frontier began to feel neglected and tried to form their own states In Kentucky, settlers set up the state of Transylvania In Kentucky, settlers set up the state of Transylvania In eastern In easternTennessee they set up the State of Franklin (after Benjamin Franklin) and applied for admittance to the Union
Congress decided to pass 2 laws to deal with Northwestern land: Land Ordinance (Law) of 1785dealt with settling areas of land The first was the Land Ordinance (Law) of 1785 (dealt with settling areas of land): It divided the territory into 36 square mile townships Each township was then divided into 36 one square mile sections which contained 640 acres Congress planned to sell each section for $640 each One section was always set aside for a public school Half Section 320 Acres Quarter Section 160 Acres 1 mile
The 2 nd law was the Northwest Ordinance passed in 1787 (dealt with setting up new governments) 1. The Northwest Ordinance allowed congress to appoint a governor, a secretary, and 3 judges to the territories 2.It allowed a nonvoting member of congress to be elected in the territories when the adult male population reached 5,000 3.It allowed territories to apply for statehood once the adult male population reached 60,000
4. The Northwest Ordinance required that all newly admitted states be on “equal footing” with the original states 5. Added a clause (condition added to a document) that prohibited slavery in the territories 6. It also guaranteed the basic rights of freedom of religion, speech, trial by jury, etc. to settlers OH IN MI IL WI
Land Act of 1800 Made it easier for people to buy land in the territory People could pay for the land a little at a time OH IN MI IL WI
After the Revolutionary War, the United States was in serious debt Robert Morris, the U.S.’s chief financier, had used up all his resources, borrowing from wealthy Americans, and the country had about $27,000,000 of debt to repay Robert Morris Robert Morris
During the Revolutionary War, the Congress solved its money problems by printing paper money, but it had no gold or silver to back it up This caused massive inflation (prices rise, wages remain the same) Items that cost a single Continental dollar in 1776, cost $1,000 in 1780
Because the Continental dollar depreciated (fell in value), individual colonies began to print their own money This caused more confusion Money from each of the colonies were valued differently As a result, most colonies would not accept money printed outside of their colony Trade between the states suffered as a result R H O D E I S L A N D P E N N S Y L V A N I A P E N N S Y L V A N I A N E W J E R S E Y C O N N E C T I C U T
Proposed a 5 percent tax on imported goods to help pay down the debt. 12 of 13 states approved, but all were required for it to pass. Financial crisis grew worse. Robert Morris Robert Morris
Other problems arose as a result of the weak national government New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire claimed Vermont. The Articles of Confederation did not allow the government to solve the problem It was finally resolved after Vermont paid New York $30,000 and officially became an independent state in 1790 (the 14 th state)
Additionally, foreign nations took advantage of American weaknesses The British refused to remove troops from the Ohio Valley (despite the conditions of the Treaty of Paris) The Spanish closed the port of New Orleans to American farmers
After the Revolution, the United States fell into an economic depression During an economic depression… business activity slows business activity slows wages fall wages fall prices rise prices rise unemployment rises unemployment rises
The depression hit farmers the hardest During the war, there was a high demand for the food produced by farmers As a result, farmers borrowed money to buy more land, livestock, seeds, and tools With the war over and a depression in its place, the farmers could not repay their loans
In Massachusetts, farmers were even more outraged when the state raised taxes on farmers The courts began to seize land and put farmers in jail for inability to pay off loans The state also refused to accept paper money for debt repayment
Shays’ Rebellion In 1786, Daniel Shays, a Massachusetts farmer who served as a Captain during the Revolution, organized 2,000 farmers to help farmers keep their land His men, many dressed in their old Army uniforms, attacked court houses that were in charge of hearing cases about land foreclosures and punishments for debtors
During their final assault, Shays and his men decided to attack the Federal Arsenal in Springfield The Massachusetts militia was assembled by the Governor and it defended the arsenal, killing 4 of Shays’ men and wounding 24 This was the first time the militia had been called in after nearly 5 months of attacks
On February 3, 1787 the farmers were attacked in Petersham, MA by General William Lincoln The farmers scattered, and the rebellion was ended The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts sentenced 14 of the rebellion's leaders, including Shays, to death for treason They were later pardoned by the newly elected Governor John Hancock General William Lincoln Governor John Hancock Lincoln, Benjamin. Painting by Henry Sargent.
Shays’ Rebellion proved one thing: The federal government was much too weak and a stronger national government was needed! Shays' Rebellion is considered one of the leading causes of the formation of the United States Constitution
Many Americans feared that Shays’ Rebellion was proof that the Articles of Confederation were not enough Many leaders called for a convention to improve the Articles of Confederation They decided to meet in May of 1787… but they ended up doing a lot more than just improving the Articles of Confederation!
Slavery issues Importation of enslaved people was outlawed or taxed in 11 of 13 states. Although slavery existed and was legal in every state, states in the North gradually passed laws to end slavery there. African Americans faced discrimination and created their own schools, churches. Virginia passed a law encouraging manumission (freeing of individual enslaved people).
Constitutional Convention Soon after the Constitutional Convention met in in Philadelphia, PA in May of 1787, it was decided that the Articles of Confederation needed to be set aside and a new, stronger document needed to be created 55 delegates, from 12 of the 13 states (all but Rhode Island), helped craft a document that is still celebrated around the world as a great achievement. These men became known as the “Framers” of the Constitution.
Many notable framers at the Constitutional Convention including: Benjamin Franklin: 81 years old, (oldest delegate) wise, and well respected. George Washington: elected president of the convention. Many thought that he would be able to best control the debate. Alexander Hamilton: a staunch advocate for a stronger federal government. He had served as Washington’s personal secretary during the Revolution. James Madison: highly intelligent, well prepared,36 year old. He was soft spoken but eloquent. He took excellent notes during the convention which have served historians well. “Father of the Constitution” as author of basic plan of gov’t.
It was decided that the meetings during the Constitutional Convention would be kept secret so delegates could feel free to speak their minds without outside pressure Guards were posted at the doors and all of the windows were closed Some resented the secret meetings, believing that government meetings should be open to the public in a free society Independence Hall Philadelphia, PA
Edmund Randolph and James Madison put together a plan for government early on known as the Virginia Plan Edmund Randolph James Madison
The Virginia Plan created a strong national government and called for the following: 1.Three branches of Government Legislative Branch (pass laws) Executive Branch (carry out/ enforce laws) Judicial Branch (interpret laws- see if laws are fair and carried out fairly ) 2.Legislative Branch would be “bicameral” or have 2 houses. Both houses would base membership upon the population of states (therefore, states with greater population would be better represented) Lower House elected by people, Upper House elected by Lower House 3.Chief Executive (President) would be elected by the legislature Virginia Plan
Smaller states objected to the Virginia Plan, believing that it was unfair to states with smaller populations. As a result, William Paterson introduced the New Jersey plan to counter the Virginia Plan William Paterson
The New Jersey Plan created strong national government and called for the following: 1.Three branches of Government Legislative Branch (pass laws) Executive Branch (carry out/ enforce laws) Judicial Branch (interpret laws- see if laws are fair and carried out fairly) 2.Legislative Branch would be “unicameral” or have only 1 house. The single house would allow each state to have one vote only. Population was not an issue. 3. Chief Executive (President) would be elected by legislature… could be multi-person New Jersey Plan
The Constitutional Convention was at a deadlock, as neither side could sway the other Many believed that the convention would fail Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy.
Great Compromise (or Connecticut Compromise) Finally, a delegate from Connecticut named Roger Sherman, proposed a compromise which came to be known as the Great Compromise (or Connecticut Compromise) Taking bits and pieces from both the New Jersey Plan and the Virginia Plan, Sherman created a government which has changed very little Roger Sherman Source: National Park Service
The Great Compromise proposed a strong national government with: 1.Three Branches of Government Legislative Branch (pass laws) Executive Branch (carry out/ enforce laws) Judicial Branch (interpret laws- see if laws are fair and carried out fairly) The Great Compromise
Bicameral Legislature Upper House United States Senate- Each state would have equal representation (1 state, 2 votes). Members would be chosen by state legislatures Lower House United States House of Representatives- Each state would be represented based upon population and elected directly by the people of their state
On July 16, 1787, the Great Compromise was approved by 38 of the 55 delegates. But other issues arose that would require even further compromise.
The issue of slavery became a problem for Northerners and Southerners… not due to moral differences, but because of questions of representation Southerners wanted to count their entire population of slaves to boost their numbers in Congress Northerners objected citing that slaves were not considered citizens and could not vote Library of Congress
It was decided that three fifths of a slave population in a state would be counted during a census This agreement was referred to as the Three-Fifths Compromise For example, if a state had 5,000 slaves, 3,000 of them would be counted
Another issue that arose also related to slavery Many northerners opposed slavery and most northern states had outlawed the institution of slavery Therefore, Northerners called for an end to the slave trade in the United States Library of Congress
Southern states argued that a ban would ruin the Southern economy Each side agreed to compromise and it was decided that the slave trade would continue for at least 20 years… after that, Congress could regulate the slave trade In 1808, the United States banned the importation of slaves, but did not end slavery
After resolving a series of important issues, the United States Constitution was completed on September 17, 1787 and read to the convention for the last time
As members stepped forward to sign the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin pointed to a chair behind George Washington and said, "I have often... in the course of the session... looked at that sun behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now at length I have the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun."
The Constitution was an incredible achievement No other nation had created a document that was as bold or daring The world watched to see if it would succeed… But first it needed to be ratified by the states!
At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention a woman approached Benjamin Franklin and asked, “Well, Doctor… what have we a got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic. If you can keep it.” Library of Congress
A republic is a nation in which voters elect representatives to govern them The Constitution begins “We the people…” which exemplifies the American desire to have a government controlled by the people
Although the Constitution was a first for the world, it drew upon many sources The Magna Carta was the basis for limited government The English Parliament helped serve as an example of representative government The English Bill of Rights served as a basis for protecting individual rights The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut gave the framers an outline for limiting government
John Locke The theories of political philosophers were also incorporated John Locke English philosopher John Locke published the Two Treatises of Government from which the framers drew 2 very important ideas
1.The first idea was that all people had natural rights to life, liberty, and property. These were cited in the Declaration of Independence, although Jefferson changed the right to “property” to the right to the “pursuit of happiness”
2. The second idea was that there was an agreement between the people and the government. In this idea, he suggested that citizens give the government its power and promised to obey its laws; but in turn, the government had an obligation to protect the natural rights of man. If they failed to protect those rights, the people could rebel. This is known as the “Social Contract Theory”.
Baron de Montesquieu French political philosopher, Baron de Montesquieu Baron de Montesquieu, suggested the separation of powers in his book The Spirit of the Laws He believed in the separation of powers in which there would be 3 branches of government; a legislative branch, an executive branch, and a judicial branch
Montesquieu believed that creating good laws was important and that all laws should be clear and understandable Individuals and groups could not misuse the government if the laws were clear… this is why the framers defined and limited the powers of the government in the Constitution
The Framers also studied the work of French political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau, wrote the Social Contract of 1762, and took the ideas of Montesquieu and Locke a step further. He argued that all government rested on a social contract and not on God given rights, nor the Bible, nor tradition of any kind. Rousseau believed that citizens of a nation determined everything. Jean-Jacques Rousseau Maurice-Quentin La Tour, 1753
Rousseau insisted on complete equality of men and suggested that citizens not only had and obligation to abide by the law, but to conform to the laws… even if they objected to them! Rousseau stressed greatly the importance of Majority Rule! Majority rule, he argued, was the best method for creating fair laws… through the consent of the governed.
Powers of the government changed under the Constitution Under the Articles of Confederation, the states had greater power than the federal government Under the Constitution, the states were required to give up some powers, but kept many of them The sharing of power between the federal and state governments is known as FEDERALISM (or the FEDERAL SYSTEM)
The Federal System gives Americans the ability to vote for both state and national officials The federal government acts for the nation as a whole The states have power over local matters
Federal Powers State Powers Shared Powers Some Examples - Coin Money - Declare War - Regulate Trade (b/twn states and states and foreign nations) - Maintain army & navy - Regulate trade within borders - Protect public welfare & safety - Conduct elections - All powers not delegated to federal government - Establish courts - Enforce laws - Collect taxes - Borrow money - Provide for general welfare
Of course, disagreements between the states and the federal government were inevitable To ensure that disagreements were resolved with greater ease, it was decided that the Constitution would serves as the “supreme law of the land”. In other words… the Constitution was the final word!
To ensure that the government was not too powerful, the Constitution divided the government into three separate branches (using Montesquieu’s theory) Legislative Executive Judicial
Article 1 of the Constitution created the Legislative Branch It created a bicameral legislature: The House of Representatives: Representatives are elected by the citizens of their Congressional District for 2 year terms. The Senate: Senators were originally chosen by state legislatures but in 1913 the Constitution was amended allowing citizens to directly vote for Senators (Amendment 17). 6 year terms The main purpose of the Congress is to makes laws. Article 1 also states the powers of the Legislative Branch (collect taxes, regulate foreign and interstate trade, declare war, raise and support armies).
Article 2 of the Constitution created the Executive Branch Although many feared a strong executive branch (because of the American experience with King George III), it was decided that a strong executive branch would be needed to balance the Congress James Madison argued that a Congress had the potential to act tyrannically as well The Executive Branch is headed by the president but also includes the Vice President and all of his appointed advisors. The President has a 4 year term, and can serve no more than a total of 10 years The main purpose of the Executive Branch is to enforce laws
After the creation of the Executive Branch of government, there was still debate about how the President would be elected Some feared a direct vote by the people would lead to the election of a demagogue Others feared that citizens from the north would not get to know candidates from the south and vice versa
The delegates decided to create an electoral college to solve these problems According to the framers, the electoral college would be made up of wise and well educated people who would chose a President for us Picking members of the electoral college would be determined by the states In most cases, each state has a slate of electors for each candidate chosen by the political parties
Article 3 of the Constitution created the Judicial Branch Article 3 called for the creation of a Supreme Court and other federal courts created by the Congress to interpret, or determine if laws are fair The Supreme Court and other federal courts hear cases dealing with the Constitution, laws passed by Congress, and cases that involve disagreements between states Those who serve on federal courts have a lifetime tenure
The framers also thought it was necessary to create a System of Checks and Balances as a way to limit the powers of government In this system, each branch of government can “check” the other 2 branches.
For example… Congress passes a bill and sends it to the president to be signed The President checks the Congress by either signing or vetoing (rejecting) the bill If he vetoes the bill, it returns to Congress where they can check the President by overriding the President’s veto if they get a 2/3 majority in both houses Send a bill to the President President can sign or veto the bill. If he vetoes the bill, it goes back to the Congress Congress can override a presidential veto IF they get a 2/3 majority in each house
The Constitution is referred to as a living document by some, because the framers realized that changes would be required over time. Others suggest that although the Constitution can be changed, those wishing to amend it should consider the original intent of the Framers. The Constitution has survived for over 200 years, longer than any other written constitution on earth. It has served as a model for constitutions around the world.
Articles of ConfederationThe US Constitution 1. Unicameral Congress (1 house) 2. Equal (one) vote in Congress per state 3.No Executive Branch 4. No Judicial Branch 5.9 out of 13 states had to approve laws in Congress 6.States could coin their own money 7.States could regulate trade with states and foreign nations 8.States had great autonomy to govern themselves 9.Only states had the power to impose taxes 1. Bicameral Congress (2 houses) 2. In House of Representative, states were represented based on population; In the Senate each state got two votes regardless of population 3. Executive Branch established, lead by US President, carries out laws 4.Judicial Branch established, headed by Supreme Court, interprets laws 5.Majority rules! (50% +1 in each house to pass laws) 6.Congress has exclusive right to coin money 7.Only Congress could regulate trade with states and foreign nations 8.States recognize the US Constitution as the final word on all matters 9.Congress can impose taxes as well
Ratifying the Constitution was not an easy task In 1787-88, citizens in each state had to elect delegates to state conventions to debate and discuss whether or not to approve the new Constitution
Two Groups Emerged… Federalists- Supported ratification of the Constitution Anti- Federalists- Opposed ratification of the Constitution
Federalists supported ratification because they wanted a strong national government The most famous Federalist leaders were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
The Federalists’ ideas about strong national government were included in the Constitution Separation of Powers System of Checks and Balances System of Checks and Balances Shared Powers between State and Federal Government Shared Powers between State and Federal Government
In support of their beliefs, Federalists wrote a series of essays called The Federalist Papers to try to convince the people of New York to support ratification The 85 Federalist Papers were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay from October 1787 to May 1788. They always used the pen name “Publius” when signing their essays. Publius was a Roman statesman
Anti-Federalists opposed ratification because they wanted a much weaker federal government and stronger state powers. The most famous Federalist leaders were George Mason, Patrick Henry, and Richard Henry Lee
The Anti Federalists argued against ratification of the Constitution because : 1.The national government had too much power and the states had too little 2.There was no bill of rights. 3.They did not want a federal government that would have a peacetime army. 4.The president had too much power and it would likely lead to tyranny
The biggest and most convincing argument of the Anti-Federalists was that of the need for a Bill of Rights They argued that rights would be ignored if they weren’t spelled out Federalists argued it was excessive and unnecessary. They also contended that it would be impossible to list all of the natural rights of man
When states began to refuse to ratify the Constitution until a Bill of Rights was included, the Federalists promised to add it later
In June 1788, New Hampshire became the 9 th state to ratify the Constitution, making it the law of the land The United States could now begin to form the government it created at the Constitutional Convention
Despite the fact that 9 out of the 13 colonies had ratified the Constitution, two large and important states were still debating the issue: New YorkVirginia New York and Virginia both had close to an equal number of Federalists and Anti- Federalists... They were at a deadlock! When New York City threatened succession if the State of New York did not agree to approve the document, it was ratified quickly, although the vote was close (30-27)
In Virginia, Patrick Henry spoke passionately against the Constitution referring to it as the “… most fatal plan that could possibly be conceived to enslave a free people." He suggested that there would be “… no checks, no balances” under the Constitution. 1851 Peter F. Rothermel's "Patrick Henry Before the Virginia House of Burgesses," A painting of Patrick Henry's "If this be treason, make the most of it!" speech against the Stamp Act of 1765
In the end Madison, Washington, and many other Virginia Federalists prevailed and Virginia ratified the Constitution by a margin of 89-79 Over a year later, North Carolina ratified the Constitution, and in May of 1790, Rhode Island became the last of the 13 states to ratify the Constitution
Order 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 State Delaware Pennsylvania New Jersey Georgia Connecticut Massachusetts Maryland South Carolina New Hampshire Virginia New York North Carolina Rhode Island Date Dec. 7, 1787 Dec. 12, 1787 Dec. 18, 1787 Jan. 2, 1788 Jan. 9, 1788 Feb. 6, 1788 Apr. 28, 1788 May 23, 1788 June 21, 1788 June 25, 1788 July 26, 1788 Nov. 21, 1789 May 29, 1790 Votes For 30 46 38 26 128 187 63 149 57 89 30 194 34 Votes Against 0 23 0 0 40 168 11 73 47 79 27 77 32 Ratification
After the ratification of the Constitution, cities throughout the United States celebrated with fireworks, ringing church bells, and parades. The Consti- tution would be a great experi- ment.