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Creating Republican Institutions 1776-1787. “Which of us shall be the rulers?” Would power reside in the national government or states? Who would control.

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Presentation on theme: "Creating Republican Institutions 1776-1787. “Which of us shall be the rulers?” Would power reside in the national government or states? Who would control."— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating Republican Institutions 1776-1787

2 “Which of us shall be the rulers?” Would power reside in the national government or states? Who would control the new republican institutions: traditional elites or average citizens? Would women have greater political and legal rights? What would be the status of slaves in the new republic

3 The “Virtuous Republic” Classical view of a model republic “City on a hill” Ideal citizen 1.Govt. gets its authority from the citizens. 2.A selfless, educated citizenry. 3.Elections should be frequent. 4.Govt. should guarantee individual rights & freedoms. 5.Govt.’s power should be limited [checks & balances]. 6.The need for a written Constitution. 7.“E Pluribus Unum.” [“Out of many, one”] 8.An important role for women  raise good, virtuous citizens. [“Republican Womanhood”]. Enlightenment Thinking

4 A republican ideology Tenants/small farmers and workers/artisans Merchants and planters

5 The State Constitutions: How Much Democracy? May 1776: Congress instructs states to establish republican govts w/i 6 mos. VA, MD, NC, NJ, DE, PA, CT, RI had constitutions

6 Lockean ideas & colonial Experience Social Compacts From the Massachusetts constitution: “The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals: it is a social compact by which the whole people covenants with each citizen and each citizen with the whole people that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good.”

7 Common Characteristics All provided for separation of powers Assembly (2-house) Courts Governor

8 common characteristics Property requirements maintained for voting 66% Office-holding limited to men with more property limited govt b/c all men tyrants at heart assembly had the most power States drew up Bills of Rights religion, press, speech, jury trial

9 Constitutional Comparisons Pennsylvania (1776) w/ support from Scots-Irish famrers, Philly artisans, intellectuals No governor all taxpaying men could vote unicameral legislature

10 Constitutional comparisons Massachusetts (1780) Conservative Patriots (John Adams) alarmed by PA office-holding to “men of learning, leisure and easy circumstances” “if you give them the command or preponderance in the...legislature, they will vote all property out of the hands of you aristocrats.”

11 Constitutional comparisons Massachusetts 3 branches of govt 2 house legislature with upper house substantial property owners Governor w/ veto power and power to appoint judges

12 Constitutional comparisons New York (1777) property qualifications excluded 20% of white men from assembly elections; 60% from voting for governor and upper house South Carolina (1778) property qualifications ruled out 90% of white men from office-holding Governor: $700,000 worth of property Senators: $140,000; Assemblymen: $70,000

13 Who had the power? if govt bodies wrote the documents, they could change them as well. What would protect liberty against the abuse of governmental power? Massachusetts Constitution “We the people of Massachusetts...agree upon, ordain, and establish” 1779: citizens elected a special convention for preparing constitution. People would vote to ratify


15 a national government Experience w/ GB State sovereignty Repblics ill-adapted to a large geographic area Confederation of small repbulics

16 Articles of Confederation (1781-88) John Dickenson Central govt: Congress. Each state had one vote 9 votes needed to pass important laws To amend Articles: need all 13 “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence.”

17 powers of congress decide on war/peace appoint military officers requisition (beg) the states for men/money send ambassadors make treaties coin money post office borrow money Indian affairs Inter-state disputes

18 Powers not given to congress Regulate commerce Collect taxes Enforce own laws Terms limited to 1 year Tariffs required unanimous approval

19 Western Lands prevent ratification Landless States desired Congress to control unoccupied lands (MD, DE, NJ, RI, PA) Landed states had some claims extending to Pacific (VA, MA, CT, GA, NC, SC) MD refused to ratify until Western lands given to Congress Land Speculation Fear of spiral of taxation

20 Western Lands prevent ratification Thomas Jefferson to rescue VA to cede all lands on 2 conditions All prior speculative claims cancelled Region to be divided into states to be admitted on an equal basis w/ original 13 states Articles ratified in March 1781


22 Accomplishments under the Articles Winning the war Land Ordinance of 1785 States admitted on equal basis Self-govt survey of townships of 6 square miles; 1 section for a public school $1 in gold/per acre Speculation


24 Accomplishments Northwest Ordinance of 1787 Congress to govern territory instead of self-govt (takes away power from small farmers) Governor < 5,000 people Assembly, non-voting member of Congress > 5,000 people State constitution, admission to Union > 60,000 Slavery prohibited freedom of religion


26 Major problems under the articles FOREIGN Great Britain Never evacuated 7 military posts in NW Territory Stirring up Indian tribes

27 problems under the articles Spain Didn’t recognize or territory south of Ohio River and west of Appalachians Cut off US navigation rights to play on secessionist sentiment Mississippi River is essential to economic lifeblood of Ohio Valley Jay-Gardoqui Treaty East vs. West tensions

28 Problems under the Articles FOREIGN TRADE Britain cuts off trade Floods US market with cheap manufactured goods pent-up post-war demands A tariff never passes (11-2 and 12-1 votes)

29 Problems under the Articles Post-war depression in 1780s Failure to pay war debts Worthless paper money in circulation Soldiers, citizens yet to be paid

30 Newburgh Conspiracy (1783) Spurred on by nationalists who wanted amendment to Articles Continental Army officers concerned about payments, pension Washington shut it down

31 Problems under the Articles Shays’s Rebellion (Summer 1786) Mass. levied heavy taxes; foreclosed small farms Daniel Shays: veteran of Army, closed county courthouse paper money moratorium on debts removal of state capital to interior no imprisonment if in debt

32 Congress no $$$ to support an army to put down rebellion Wealthy merchants raise a militia and end rebellion Threat to law and order and to property alarms many

33 Social reform WOMEN During the war, some followed their men into the camps (nurse, cooks, very few were soldiers) Maintained colonial economy while men away Some improvement in divorce laws

34 Republican motherhood (1760-1800) Beginnings of education for women A republic required an educated citizenry Women expected to help promote these values since they held chief child-rearing responsibility Mothers raise children to value patriotism and self-sacrifice Women must be educated to rear patriotic sons

35 Abigail Adams “...and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

36 Slaves After 1780, Northern states did away w/ slavery gradually Post-nati laws All states prohibited importation of slaves Except for SC and GA, restrictions on manumission were lifted Emancipation only where slavery not economically important


38 separation of church and state Anglican Church disestablished in South NH, CT, MA: Congregational Church still received tax $$ Discontinued early in 1800s

39 A Social Revolution? No new social class came to power No major shift in leadership as result of Revolution 75% of state officials during the war held office prior to 1774 Tory lands were confiscated; sold for revenue mostly sold to speculators NOT landless farmers Russian and Cuban Revolutions

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