Articles couldn’t impose taxes Articles couldn’t raise an army Articles were clumsy in foreign affairs Problems with Spain and Britain were growing Articles required unanimous consent (1781, 1783, and 1785 examples) Incapable of conducting national business due to the incredible regional interests Need for change?
Pushing for change Federalism-was a developing philosophy and had several prominent supporters. Namely Alexander Hamilton who thought the nation’s economic woes could be solved by a stronger central government.
Hamilton a unique man Youth Nationalist Temper and demeanor Death Legacy
Nationalists James Madison Madison had little compassion for this confederacy that had been created. Felt it mortally flawed. “luxiurancy of the legislature had become a nuisance”. Future co-author (w/Hamilton and John Jay of the Federalist Papers.
Shay’s Rebellion In the eyes of Madison and Hamilton it was so weak that it couldn’t even protect against internal insurrection by a disorganized militia within one state!
“reverse the flow” Madison coined those words in describing the importance to create a way to reverse the flow of government back to a National government.
Annapolis 9 states agreed to meet as Shay’s Rebellion was ongoing—to discuss changing the articles. Madison invited the group to discuss commercial problems. Rather than adjourn and talk about commercial matters…Hamilton insisted they deal with the bigger problem. A resolution was drafted to discuss “all matters necessary”.
The Philadelphia Convention “the chair” 70% of delegates were from Continental Congress (not John Adams…or we’d watch!) 33% served in the military. “an assembly of demi- gods”. Jefferson (en absentia)
Suspicious elements Patrick Henry: emerging leader of a state’s rights group known as Anti- Federalists. Suspicious that the deliberations were kept secret.
Officers Washington to the surprise of no one was selected as President. Each state would vote as a unit.
Nothing Spoken Nothing spoken would be otherwise printed or published, those who did would be excused from the preceedings! Why? Official journals are succinct and are too incomplete for historians. Madison kept detailed notes on his own.
Competing Plans Early on it looked that the room had two distinct factions. Small states and large states. New Jersey Plan: singular representation Virginia Plan: proportional representation The Great Compromise
Bridging the Gap Compromise looked unlikely. “Something must be done or we shall disappoint not only America but the whole world”. Eldridge Gerry A recess took place on 7/4/87 to celebrate. A key part of bridging the gap—one of more depressing and vile legacies—the 3/5 compromise.
A Committee of Detail Bridge the gaps between the philosophies. Prepare a “draft”
Constitutional Principles Republicanism Federalism Indirect Election (Electoral College) Delegated Powers Presidential system The key opening lines— committee on style “ We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Ratification At the end of the convention. George Mason proposed adding a “Bill of Rights”. This would take no time, the states would provide an example. Rationale?
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