Presentation on theme: "Constitutional Convention: A New Opportunity from Crisis Session 6."— Presentation transcript:
Constitutional Convention: A New Opportunity from Crisis Session 6
Table of Contents I. America’s New Crises before 1787 1. Failure of the Confederation 2. Debts crisis & economic depression 3. Military revolt (the Newburgh Conspiracy) Newburgh Conspiracy 4. Shay’s rebellion 5. Foreign threats
Table of Contents II. Opportunity: The Constitutional Convention 1. Interest conflicts 2. The legislature 3. The Executive 4. The Judiciary III. Comparison (China’s one-person rule vs. American term-limit presidency) IV. Conclusion
I-1. The Confederation: A Failure of National Government Confederation: A product of the war to gain its indepence. Power belongs to the parts rather than to the whole. A league of friendship rather than a nation, because "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence.” To avoid a too powerful leader like British Crown, there was no executive officer as the national leader.
Continue No power to tax its citizens. Expenditures by the United States of America will be paid by funds raised by state legislatures, and apportioned to the states based on the real property values. But no an authority to enforce it. Any amendment to the Articles needs to be unanimously approved by all the 13 states.
I-2. Economic Difficulties Huge debt Economic depression from 1784-1785 Domestic market shrank due to loss of 20% population, and state tariffs blocked free trade Market abroad was blocked by Britain Home industry was no match to English cheap products
Continue Financial difficulties: To support the war, the Congress issued the continental currency: By the end of 1778, Continentals retained from 1/5 to 1/7 of their face value. By 1780, the bills were worth 1/40th of face value. Later the paper money had the expression “not worth a continental”
I-3. Military Revolt in 1783 Newburgh Conspiracy in 1783 http://www.encyclopedia.com/video/UHY1kDirTx4-libertys-kids-38-man-who.aspx Washington would not use the army to threaten the civil government: a course, which he believed, would violate the principles of republicanism for which they had all been fighting.republicanism His message was that they should oppose anyone "who wickedly attempts to open the floodgates of civil discord and deluge our rising empire in blood." The outcome: a peaceful solution - a life pension of half pay became a five years full pay.
I- 4. Shay’s Rebellion Shay’s rebellion in 1787 A soldier in the Continental Army: Battle of Lexington Battle of Bunker Hill Battle of Saratoga The political struggles were primarily between "the class with, and [the] class without, property." James Madison http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=3ImIEcsTEVo http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=23vQjYzyx9Q
I-5. Foreign Threat Threat from Great Britain trade blockage and its army in Detroit & NY North Africa pirates threat Disputes with Spain because of Florida and the Mississippi River
II. Opportunity: The Constitutional Convention Two key factors: Shay’s rebellion led to this convention directly The first debt crisis another reason: “After independence from Britain in 1783, America’s states refused to repay their Revolutionary War debts,” writes Mark Roe. “The country … could not solve its financial problems, and eventually those problems – largely recurring defaults – catalyzed the 1787 Philadelphia convention to create a new United States.”
Continue “not a “respectable country.” - George Washington "You talk, my good sir, of employing influence to appease the present tumults in Massachusetts. I know not where that influence is to be found, or, if attainable, that it would be a proper remedy for the disorders. Influence is not government. Let us have a government by which our lives, liberties, and properties will be secured, or let us know the worst at once." - George Washington The movie (Yale course)
Discussion Is the Constitutional convention the only choice at that time? What would happen to the US if no this constitutional convention?
Continue Result: The representatives from 12 states created a new constitution instead from merely amending the Articles of Confederation.
II-1. Conflicts at the Convention 1. Conservative vs. democratic camps 2. Federalists/nationalists vs. anti-feralists 3. Large vs. small states 4. North commercial vs. south agricultural interests 5. Free states vs. slave states 6. ……
II-2. Powers of the Congress The sole power to coin and print money Levy and collect taxes Regulate interstate commerce Declare war upon the President’s request Raise and support an army and a navy Establish lower federal courts Make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers
Bi-cameral Legislature The Virginia Plan The New Jersey Plan The Connecticut Plan Hamilton Version (British plan)
Continue All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the states & proportionally based on population Slaves: Three/fifth clause & 20 years slave trade extension.
Continue The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State,(chosen by the Legislature thereof) (The preceding words in parentheses superseded by 17th Amendment, section 1.) for six Years;17th Amendment, section 1 Heritage, compromise, creation & rational
Continue Heritage from British tradition: one house would represent the aristocracy, and the other would represent the commoners. Compromise (big and small states): for bicameralism in which the upper house would have states represented equally, and the lower house would have them represented by population.
Continue Rational (checks): "The Senate was created to be a stabilizing force, selected by the State legislators. Senators would be more knowledgeable and more deliberate—a sort of republican nobility—and a counter to what Madison saw as the 'fickleness and passion' that could absorb the House. “The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system and with more wisdom, than the popular branch.”MadisonMadison
III-3. The Executive Branch-the President The delegates also agreed with Madison that the executive function had to be independent of the legislature. In their aversion to kingly power, American legislatures had created state governments where the executive was beholden to the legislature, and by the late 1780s this was widely seen as being a source of paralysis. The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.
III-4. The Judicial Branch A separate judiciary as part of a national government The U.S. Supreme Court adjudicates “cases and controversies”—matters pertaining to the federal government, disputes between states, and interpretation of the United States Constitution, and, in general, can declare legislation or executive action made at any level of the government as unconstitutional, nullifying the law and creating precedent for future law and decisions.unconstitutionalprecedent The guardian of the Constitution and the individual liberties of the American people. Creation and rational
II-6. A Government of “Checks and Balances” “Checks & balances” of the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. while the Congress (legislative) has the power to create law, the executive (President) can veto any legislation -- an act which, in turn, can be overridden by Congress. The President nominates judges to the nation's highest judiciary authority (The Supreme Court), but those nominees must be approved by the Congress. The Supreme Court, in its turn, has the power to invalidate as "unconstitutional" any law passed by the Congress Each branch has its powers specifically described, and each would be tied into the other two in such ways as to prevent any one branch from taking over supreme power.
III. Comparison George Washington’s example Emperor/lifelong ruler in the Republic of China & People’s Republic of China Yuan Shikai Chiang Kai-shek Mao
Conclusion The paralysis of the Confederation made the US into a critical crisis from 1783-1787 The constitutional convention seek a solution to solve the challenges. The birth of Constitution created an opportunity for this new nation The thirteen states became a unified nation A powerful and also a checks & balanced federal government was established A solid political foundation led to a powerful country in the future
Comparison The Mayflower Compact The Constitution
Ben Franklin’s Comment He said he often looked at the painting, "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."