Presentation on theme: "Main Idea In order to carry on the war and build a new nation, Americans had to create a framework of government, but their first attempt had many weaknesses."— Presentation transcript:
Main Idea In order to carry on the war and build a new nation, Americans had to create a framework of government, but their first attempt had many weaknesses.
What were some key aspects of the new American republic? What was the structure of the new national government? Why did that particular structure seem to make sense? What problems did the Confederation face? What did the government accomplish in the Northwest Territory? What did the new Constitution reveal about the nature of this new American republic?
Legislative branch made the laws. Judicial branch interpreted the laws. Executive branch (the governor) carried out the laws. Remembering the powerful royal governors, the states chose to limit the governor’s power. Therefore, the elected legislatures held more power.
Americans wanted a republic a political system without a monarch it would rule “with the consent of the governed.” Ideal of republicanism was that property-owning citizens would be active in government In reality, women, African Americans, Native Americans, and poor white laborers seldom owned property or take part in government.
The Revolutionary War brought a shift in women’s roles –Managed farms and businesses –Fought in battle or defended their homes –Organized boycotts –Supported war effort Encouraged mothers to raise their sons to be patriotic future leaders Encouraged mothers to raise their daughters to be intelligent, patriotic, and competent so they could run households and educate their own children.
The Articles of Confederation are ratified in November of 1777 ◦ The war started in 1775 ◦ We declared independence in 1776 ◦ What took so long to get a plan of government in place?
Established a confederation— an association of independent sovereign states with certain common goals Powers of the new government ◦ The states retained most of their powers. ◦ Weak national government ◦ The legislative branch was essentially the Continental Congress ◦ Each state had only one vote, regardless of population ◦ No chief executive / No federal judiciary
The Articles of Confederation allowed Congress ◦ …to establish national policies and conduct foreign relations, including relations with Native Americans ◦ …to coin money and set up post offices ◦ …to establish an army and declare war
Nine of the 13 states had to agree on any major law. All 13 states had to agree to amend the Articles. The new government’s major problems involved money. –No power to regulate interstate commerce –No power to impose or collect taxes –Could not afford an army or navy –Could not repay money it borrowed from foreign governments and from individual Americans during the war
Because it was so weak, Congress had trouble taking advantage of the territory that the United States had won in the Treaty of Paris. The British did not leave their forts in the Great Lakes region. The British and their Native American allies kept American settlers out of the Northwest Territory. Negotiating with Spain about uses of the Mississippi and port of New Orleans was difficult (the right of deposit)
Both dealt with western lands Land Ordinance of 1785 ◦ Land would be surveyed and divided into a neat grid of townships, each 6 miles square. ◦ Each township had 36 sections, each 1 mile square. ◦ Government owned four of the sections. ◦ One section would be sold to support public schools. This same regular grid was used in other territories. It ended many boundary disputes.
Northwest Ordinance of 1787. ◦ Encouraged orderly settlement and the formation of new states, all controlled by law ◦ Promised settlers religious freedom and other civil rights ◦ Did not allow slavery in the Northwest Territory ◦ The plan was to move unorganized territories to full statehood A district could become territory with a population of 5,000 adult males. Then could send a nonvoting representative to Congress A territory could write a constitution and apply for statehood with a population of 60,000.
After the war, each state began issuing its own paper money The more money in circulation the less a dollar bought Finances collapsed ◦ Paper money was refused as worthless ◦ Gold and silver were hoarded by people 1784-1789: worst depression the colonies had seen Farmers tried to use their crops to pay their debts, but it wasn’t enough If they failed to pay their bills they were thrown into jail until the bills were paid Farmers all over the colonies rioted
In 1786, Daniel Shays led a group of farmers in an attempt to capture a federal arsenal in Massachusetts The U.S., without an organized army, was powerless. Massachusetts sent a militia to stop the rebellion. Shays’ Rebellion convinced many people that the U.S. needed a new, stronger government
Even before Shays’ Rebellion, prominent Americans were thinking of means to strengthen the Articles of Confederation. James Madison and others met with George Washington at Mount Vernon in 1785, to discuss commercial issues relating to Virginia and Maryland. One recommendation from that meeting was to convene a group of delegates from the states to discuss alterations of the Articles. Only five states sent representatives to Annapolis in the fall of 1786 Alexander Hamilton recommends another reform meeting in Philadelphia in the spring of 1787 The recommendation was forwarded to the Congress.
Delegates from the states were selected to attend a convention to “revise” the Articles of Confederation Only Rhode Island didn’t attend George Washington presided 55 delegates – the “Framers” Fear occupied the fifty-sixth chair Philadelphia: May – September, 1787
Must be able to regulate interstate & foreign trade Must have the power to levy taxes Must have the means to enforce federal law Must have an executive Must have an easier amendment process Biggest Problem Area: The Nature of Congress ◦ The Virginia Plan or the New Jersey Plan? Another Problem: Slavery ◦ Count for representation but not taxes or count for taxes but not representation? Third Problem: How do we choose the Executive? ◦ Rely on the people? Have you seen the people?
The Great Compromise (Problem #1) ◦ A bicameral national legislature is created 3/5 Compromise (Problem #2) ◦ Slaves are to be counted as 3/5 of a person for the purposes of taxation AND representation ◦ No interference with the slave trade for 20 years ◦ Fugitive slave laws are protected ◦ The word “slave”/“slavery” does not appear in the Constitution (“democracy” doesn’t either) The Electoral College (Problem #3) ◦ The average voter could not make such an important decision so “electors” are elected by the popular vote and they elect the president ◦ # of senators + # of members in the House = electoral votes
In 1876 there were a total of 369 electoral votes available with 185 needed to win. ◦ Rep. Rutherford B. Hayes: 4,036,298 p. votes won 185 e. votes ◦ Dem. Samuel J. Tilden: 4,300,590 p. votes won 184 e. votes ◦ Hayes was elected president. In 1888 there were a total of 401 electoral votes available with 201 needed to win. ◦ Rep. Benjamin Harrison: 5,439,853 p. votes won 233 e. votes. ◦ Dem. Grover Cleveland: 5,540,309 p. votes won 168 e. votes. Harrison was elected president. In 2000 there were a total of 538 electoral votes available with 270 needed to win. ◦ Rep. George W. Bush: 50,456,002 p. votes won 271 e. votes ◦ Dem. Al Gore: 50,999,897 p. votes won 266 e. votes ◦ Bush was elected president.
A Conservative or Liberal Document? CONSERVATIVE ◦ Safeguards against the “mob” Judges appointed for life President NOT directly elected by the people Senators chosen by state legislatures LIBERAL ◦ Democratic elements The new government would be based on the consent of the governed The new government would be limited by a written constitution “We, the people…”
Enter the Federalists and Anti-Federalists A-Fs thought the Constitution created a too powerful central government The states should have more power since they were closer to the people No Bill of Rights (yet) Created a central government very similar to having a king The Fs supported the Constitution as being written by representatives of the states There were Checks and Balances within the national government Federalism created shared power with the states Wrote The Federalist to encourage the states to ratify
A series of 85 essays making the case for this new Constitution
Among the most influential: ◦ Federalist #10 countered the argument that democracies dissolve into chaos and disorder by factions (groups acting on passion or impulse counter to the best interests of the community) It was thought only a strong leader (a monarch) could control factions The antidote to the problem of faction, Madison declared, is a large republic with a multiplicity of interests, making it unlikely that a majority faction will form. Large republics provide the largest possible candidate pool ensuring fit office holders
Among the most influential: ◦ Federalist #51 explained how the separation of powers with checks and balances protects liberty. ◦ Madison borrowed his ideas from Montesquieu To preserve liberty it was essential that no one person or group of persons exercise all three powers (leg., exec., jud.) If one person or one group of people were able to exercise all three types of power, that person would be a threat to individual liberty. ◦ “If men were angels, no government would be necessary” ◦ A compound republic provided double security Federalism (power divided by national and state govt) Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances
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