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The Impact of the American Revolution on American Society.

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Presentation on theme: "The Impact of the American Revolution on American Society."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Impact of the American Revolution on American Society

2 Changes to American Society The American Revolution led to unintended social changes by forcing many Americans to question the meaning of “equality” aristocracy –Many wanted to eliminate the idea of an American aristocracy –Fighting British tyranny made slavery seem hypocritical; Abolitionist sentiment grew –Women gained increased status States abolished “feudal” laws of primogeniture & entail universal male suffrage Many states lowered property qualifications to vote; but none offered universal male suffrage Most states clearly separated church & state Blacks demanded the right to freedom in petitions & lawsuits manumitted Franklin, Jay, Hamilton founded abolition societies; Washington manumitted his slaves VT, PA, MA abolished slavery Some Southern slave owners privately freed their slaves Republican Motherhood “Republican Motherhood”—mothers should instill virtue in their children Took greater control over family farms & businesses

3 Benjamin Banneker & Phillis Wheatley

4 Postponing Full Liberty The Revolution was limited in its extension of rights & failed to abolish slavery, grant universal male suffrage, or apply equality to women; But… …it introduced the ideal of freedom and equality that future generations would use to make these ideals a reality Lots of references to the “Spirit of ‘76” World War I propaganda poster

5 New State & National Governments

6 Forming New Governments When independence was declared from England in 1776, colonists considered themselves a new nation & needed a new gov’t: states –Colonies became individually sovereign states governed by written state constitutions national gov’t –A national gov’t was needed to provide basic services like sign treaties & develop a military In 1776, the American Revolution has just started; The colonists did not wait to gain British recognition of their independence before creating new governments!

7 States Constitutions In 1776, the new states created written constitutions which: –Clearly defined the citizens’ rights & the limits of government –Guaranteed natural rights; Eight states had bills of rights –Almost all states reduced the powers of the governor & kept most power in the hands of the people via state legislatures

8 The United States, 1783 How “democratic” are these new state gov’ts?

9 Defining Republican Culture But, creating a national gov’t that met everyone’s needs was hard: individual liberty maintaining order – How to balance individual liberty with maintaining order? property rights equality – How to balance property rights with equality? centralized gov’t tyrannical authority – How to create a centralized gov’t without creating a new tyrannical authority?

10 Defining Republican Culture republican Americans set out to create a republican form of government after independence was declared: –Gov’t with no king or aristocracy –With power held by the citizens Even though all previous republics had failed, Americans were optimistic this would be an “uncompromising commitment to liberty & equality” virtue Civic virtue is now a necessity

11 The Articles of Confederation In 1775, three committees were formed to sever ties with England: –Thomas Jefferson headed the committee to draft a declaration of independence –John Adams headed committee to establish foreign alliances –John Dickinson headed a committee to draft a new central government

12 Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation was adopted as America’s 1 st national gov’t in 1777 (but ratified in 1781) –The Articles established an intentionally weak central gov’t in order to protect state power –The confederation-style gov’t gave all 13 states 1 vote in a unicameral congress –There was no national president Each state was treated as a pseudo-nation Too similar to a monarch

13 The Articles of Confederation The only powers granted to the national government were to –Settle disputes between states, negotiate treaties, handle Indian affairs, oversee a military It could not tax citizens or states; could only request contributions Laws required 9 of the 13 states Amending the gov’t required agreement by all 13 states The Articles were created to loosely tie the states together

14 “A firm league of friendship” The colonies were loosely joined to address common problems "each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power...which is not... expressly delegated to the United States.…"

15 What is the significance of the following quote: –“People do not chop off heads so readily when they can chop down trees.”

16 Western Lands The “West” presented a problem: –Many states had overlapping land claims in the West –Some “landless” states (MD, NJ, DE) wanted part of West & refused to ratify the Articles without this issue resolved –The US gov’t negotiated treaties with Indians to gain land in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky

17 The United States, 1783 The USA in the “Critical Period”

18 Western Lands Virginia took the lead to solve the “West problem” by ceding its western claims to the national gov’t –Other states, especially NY, ceded their western lands too –By 1781, Congress (not the states) gained control over all lands west of the Appalachians With dispute over, Maryland was the last state to ratify the Articles With the new gov’t finally ratified in 1781, Congress created the Departments of War, Foreign Affairs, & Finance

19 Western Land Claims Ceded by the States Don’t forget Indian lands too Indian Land Cessions:

20 The Land Ordinance of 1785 The U.S. gov’t was eager to sell off Western lands to settlers to gain revenue (since the gov’t did not have the power to tax) Land Ordinance of 1785 –The Land Ordinance of 1785 established an orderly process for laying out western townships –Section 16 of the each township was dedicated to public schools

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22 The Northwest Ordinance Northwest Ordinance The Northwest Ordinance (1787) gave structure to the NW territory: –Created new territories, ruled by a governor, & whose citizens were protected by a bill of rights –Residents could create a legislative assembly when the population reached 5,000 –Residents could apply for statehood with 60,000 people –Slavery outlawed in NW lands

23 The United States, 1783 Because of the 1785 & 1787 ordinances, the Northwest territories were well organized & orderly Territories south of the Ohio River received less attention from Congress Prospectors poured into Kentucky & Tennessee By 1790, the region was plagued by land claims & counterclaims that generated lawsuits for years The USA in 1787

24 Conclusions The Articles of Confederation accomplished exactly what its framers intended: –By creating a weak central gov’t, the power of the states was preserved & no tyrants emerged –The weaknesses of the central gov’t failed to meet the long- term needs of the new USA

25 Essential Question: –Why did the Americans create the Articles of Confederation & what problems did the Articles present? Warm-Up Question: –What major decisions did the new American nation have to answer after winning the war for independence?

26 Examining the Articles of Confederation

27 The Weaknesses of the Articles The Articles of Confederation served as the framework for the U.S. gov’t from 1781 until 1789: –Early in the “Confederation Period,” the weakness of the national gov’t was seen as good because it eliminated tyranny –Later, these same weaknesses kept the gov’t from solving serious national problems

28 Economic Problems During the American Revolution, colonial boycotts hurt trade Everyone expected the economy to improve after independence, but the Confederation Congress had a difficult time: –Paying off debt & collecting taxes –Halting inflation –Generating a favorable balance of trade (foreign & domestic)

29 Debt, Taxes, & Inflation The U.S. was burdened with $40 million in war debt in 1783: –The Confederate Congress could not ease the national debt because it had no power to tax –Congress printed $200 million in new currency to pay off debt but this led to massive inflation –Creditors demanded repayment of debts at market value The gov’t could request, but not require, states to send money to Congress

30 Trade Problems under the Articles Congress was unable to create a favorable balance of trade: –To raise revenue, states created tariffs on goods from other states –The lack of hard currency made trade difficult –Desire for cheap British goods hurt infant American industries –England prohibited its Caribbean colonies from trading with USA Connecticut levied heavier duties on Massachusetts goods than on British goods This especially hurt Southern planters This especially hurt the North

31 Economic Problems The economic stagnation of the Confederation era led to uprisings: Newburgh Conspiracy –The lack of tax revenue & failure of the gov’t to pay soldiers sparked a military coup in 1783 called the Newburgh Conspiracy Shays’ Rebellion –Property foreclosures led to desperation & uprising farmers in 1787 called Shays’ Rebellion "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." Washington kept generals from overthrowing the new government: "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." the Shays’ Rebellion proved to be the convincing event that led to the Constitutional Convention of 1787

32 Shay’s Rebellion in Western Massachusetts Poor farmers in western MA were angered over high taxes & prospect of debtors jail Daniel Shays led an uprising & closed debt courts & threatened a federal arsenal

33 Economic Problems “Nationalists” called for a stronger central gov’t & a constitutional amendment to allow create a 5% import tax & a national bank 12 states agreed, but a group of Rhode Island “Localists” refused & killed the amendment The failure to reform the Articles led Nationalists to consider the Articles hopelessly defective “A national debt if not excessive, will be a national blessing”—Hamilton Led by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & Robert Morris

34 Foreign Policy Problems The Articles proved inadequate to handle interstate & foreign affairs: –When Americans did not repay legitimate war debts, Britain kept troops in the Ohio Valley –Spain refused to recognize the southern U.S. border & closed access to the Mississippi River –Algerian pirates attacked & enslaved American merchants –States argued over river rights Congress & the army were too weak to resist John Jay’s Jay-Gardoqui Treaty was met with regional resistance & was rejected in Congress

35 “Have We Fought for This?” “Have we fought for this? Was it with these expectations that we launched into a sea of trouble?” —George Washington, 1785

36 Constitutional Reform American political ideology changed from the beginning of the American Revolution to the late Confederation period: tyranny –In the 1770s, American political leaders saw tyranny as the greatest threat to the USA ordinary citizens –But…by the mid-1780s, they saw ordinary citizens who lacked virtue as the greatest threat Thus, states created weak state governors & a weak Articles of Confederation The problem is an excess of democracy not an excess of tyranny Shays’ Rebellion will help prove this point to the Founding Fathers

37 Constitutional Reform By 1787, the fatal flaws of the Articles of Confed were exposed: –Shays’ Rebellion –Shays’ Rebellion broke out among desperate MA farmers who faced losing their farms or being sent to debtor’s prison –Congress called for a meeting in Philadelphia to discuss revising the Articles & strengthening the national gov’t Merchants in MA hired their own mercenary militia to end the uprising Congress did not have the tax funds to send an army In Sept 1786, James Madison led the Annapolis Convention to discuss improving American trade urgency Shays’ Rebellion gave nationalists like Washington, Madison, Hamilton the urgency to call for a stronger national gov’t

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39 The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, 1787

40 The Philadelphia Convention Shays Rebellion led to increased support for a stronger central government & more attendance at the Philadelphia Convention In May 1787, 55 delegates from all states (except RI) met to discuss revising the Articles of Confederation, but it soon became apparent that something more serious was needed NOT They did NOT intend to replace the Articles

41 The Philadelphia Convention The Philadelphia Convention delegates in Philadelphia made 3 important (& illegal) decisions: –The Articles of Confederation were to be completely replaced –Nothing from the meeting was to be printed or spoken to the public –Every state got 1 vote but all decisions needed a majority vote (not 9 of 13 states) to pass Is this a government of the people? To amend the Articles, all 13 states had to agree

42 Inventing a Federal Republic Delegates incorporated 4 major principles into this new gov’t: –Limited gov’t –Limited gov’t—even though a stronger gov’t was being created, citizens’ liberty is protected –Republicanism –Republicanism—the people vote for their leaders –Separation of powers –Separation of powers—three branches with defined powers –Federalism –Federalism—the national gov’t shares power with state gov’ts

43 Three Branches of Government

44 Federalism

45 Inventing a Federal Republic New Jersey Plan William Paterson presented the New Jersey Plan: –Congress given power to tax –Each state had one vote in a unicameral legislature –But Articles mostly untouched Virginia Plan James Madison presented the Virginia Plan: –Bicameral legislature –Larger states had more representatives –Create a chief executive appointed by Congress Small states objected to this large-state dominance The large states listened politely then overwhelmingly voted against it

46 The Great Compromise Great Compromise Roger Sherman helped resolve the differences between the large & small states by proposing the Great Compromise –Congress would be a bicameral legislature (House & Senate) –Each state was given 2 delegates in the Senate –House of Representatives was determined by state population Also known as the “Connecticut” Compromise” Victory for the small states Victory for large states Only the House of Reps could introduce tax bills

47 What did Congress look like after the Great Compromise?

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49 The 3/5 Compromise Problems still remained between the northern & southern states regarding how to count population size (do slaves count?) Three-Fifths Compromise The Three-Fifths Compromise settled the issue: –Three-fifths of the slave population could be counted toward representation in the House of Representatives

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51 Compromising with Slavery Despite the contradiction slavery posed, Southerners threatened to leave the USA anytime the slave question was discussed As a compromise for the South, the slave trade could continue to 1808 & runaway slaves returned “Great as the evil is, a dismemberment of the Union would be worse.” —James Madison

52 The Last Details In 1787, a final draft included: –Electoral College to vote for the president to “filter the masses” –System of checks & balances among the 3 branches of gov’t –President would serve for 4 years rather than for life Delegates decided against a Bill of Rights because most state constitutions already had them Including ideas once considered tyrannical Including ideas once considered tyrannical: Presidential power to appoint judges & presidential veto power over Congress

53 FYI: Electoral Votes (2000 Census)

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55 James Madison helped broker many of the compromises that made the Constitution possible & is referred to as the “father of the Constitution”

56 Key Ideas of the Constitution Only Congress can make laws, declare war, create taxes The “elastic clause” gives Congress implied powers to make laws seen as “necessary & proper” The Senate ratifies treaties & confirms judicial appointments

57 Key Ideas of the Constitution The president can only recommend legislation to Congress but can veto bills The president oversees the bureaucracy

58 Key Ideas of the Constitution The only court mentioned in the Constitution is the Supreme Court

59 The supremacy clause establishes the Constitution (not the states) as the "the supreme law of the land" Federalism Federalism—state gov’ts & the national gov’t both have power A state law cannot contradict a national law

60 The Struggle for Ratification

61 The delegates in Philadelphia knew that ratification of the new Constitution would not be easy: –They had no authority to change the Articles of Confederation –They did not inform the public of their ongoing decisions –They fundamentally altered the relationships between the states & the central government

62 Federalists & Anti-FederalistsFederalists Supported ratification of the Constitution Were well- organized & educated Federalist Papers Used Federalist Papers to argue for ratification Had the support of the media Anti-Federalists Against ratification –Distrusted of a gov’t that removed power from the hands of the people –Claimed the new Constitution favored the upper class Authored by Madison, Hamilton, & Jay “The Constitution is itself a Bill of Rights” Anti-Federalists argued for more protection of individual liberties

63 Ratification of the Constitution

64 Adding the Bill of Rights To win ratification, the Federalists agreed to add a Bill of Rights –With this protection of citizens’ liberty, all 13 states agreed to ratify the Constitution –Constitution became the official the law of the land in 1789 After bitter fight, most Americans chose to support the Constitution If 1776 was the 1 st American Revolution… 1787 was the 2 nd American Revolution

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66 Discussion Question Which of the following ideas was most important to the framers of the Constitution in 1787? –Federalism –Separation of powers? –Checks and balances? –Republican democracy? –Gov’t limited by the people? Which is most important today?

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68 Essential Question Essential Question: –In what ways did the Constitution deviate from the gov’t under the Articles of Confederation? –What were the Federalist and Anti-Federalist critiques regarding the new Constitution?


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