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Founding a New Nation Chapter 5. Articles of Confederation Created during the war (adopted 1777, ratified 1781- main issue that held it up was western.

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Presentation on theme: "Founding a New Nation Chapter 5. Articles of Confederation Created during the war (adopted 1777, ratified 1781- main issue that held it up was western."— Presentation transcript:

1 Founding a New Nation Chapter 5

2 Articles of Confederation Created during the war (adopted 1777, ratified main issue that held it up was western lands, some “states” had them, some didn’t)- reflected the idea that the states weren’t REALLY sure they trusted one another yet. Key Idea: States should be stronger than central gov’t, b/c states are closer to the will of the their people Intended to balance freedom/order, and to escape the tyranny of monarchy. Unfortunately they went too far in the other direction, creating a gov’t that couldn’t control the new nation No constitutional authority- each state was sovereign, they only had to do what they wanted to do.

3 Provisions of Articles Designed to give central gov’t the power to handle foreign affairs and military issues…and not too much else. States made DARN sure no one could tell them what to do again… Congress the sole branch of gov’t (no central executive or judicial powers) Each state had 1 vote regardless of size/number of representatives (same as continental congress, but created disproportionate power) All bills require 2/3 vote to approve, any tax bill or amendment required unanimity.

4 Wartime Problems The war was not centrally directed, George Washington spent nearly as much time begging congress for funds/supplies as he did fighting. And even when they wanted to say yes, congress had to “ask” the states, who were unlikely to say yes unless the army was IN their state. When the war ended there were many areas that had been damaged, and wanted help with repairs (states found it easy to ask for $$, just hard to give it) War also created serious debt, and we did not have a stable and reliable currency

5 Foreign Policy Challenges British challenges –Still using Navigation laws- so now we cannot trade with any other British colony (Caribbean) –Remained in forts on Western Frontier, and maintained alliances with Indians –Demanded payment of prewar debts, and restitution for loyalist property confiscated in the war Spanish Challenges –Closed Mississippi to US trade in 1784 (main trade route west of Appalachians) –Worries about Spanish Florida and SW territory as threats to our border French Challenges –We owed them a LOT of money, and they were going broke- wanted it back –Restricted trade with French West Indies Barbary Pirates –Commerce in Mediterranean was threatened by pirates from North Africa. We used to be protected as part of British Empire- now we were fair game.

6 Weaknesses of New Government Every state was Sovereign: they make their own decisions, and there is no way to force compliance Both states and congress could coin $$, which was just confusing. Congress cannot interstate or international trade- which meant frequent arguments Very small national army, majority of military was state militia, who were not required to follow congress No executive or judicial branches at national level- no on is “in charge”, and there is no way to settle disputes or enforce policy No power to enforce taxes- it could only request funds from states

7 Newburgh Conspiracy 1783: an illustration of problems Continental soldiers had not been paid regularly during the war, and when they finally were, the $$ was worthless b/c of inflation. Some officers began talking about using the army to force restitution, Washington talked them out of it…. But a group of enlisted men surrounded the Congress building in New York, forcing the gov’t to flee temporarily to Princeton NJ

8 Northwest Ordinance of 1787 Determined how these territories could become states. The fact that they WOULD be admitted, on equal terms with original 13, is actually most important concept- it allows us to grow. When a “Territory” had 60,000 people it could write a constitution, and apply for statehood. Forbid slavery north of the Ohio river- an important precedent, beginning to gear up for an argument that would last more than 70 years

9 A delicate balance There is no blueprint for how to create a nation, or a government, hadn’t happened in Europe since the unification of Spain (and that’s not the kind of thing we were thinking of) Most Feared Direct Democracy: though leaders like Patrick Henry and Sam Adams thought freedom was more important than order Representative Democracy was more popular- but even so, where should we draw lines? –Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed strong state governments were needed to check central power –John Adams and George Washington felt that a national gov’t was needed to create a national purpose, but that there should be restrictions –Alexander Hamilton was the biggest fan of centralized power- a strong country creates a strong economy

10 Shay’s Rebellion 1786, a crisis developed that showed the weakness of the Articles. Debt was a problem in the states, and courts in many areas were foreclosing on mortgages. Western Massachusetts (which remembers well how to rebel) was particularly bad, and many of the foreclosed were veterans of the revolution. Capt Daniel Shays led 1,200 an assault on the arsenal at Springfield (with intention to march on Boston) demanding cheap paper currency, lower taxes and suspension of foreclosures. Massachusetts Militia called out- 4 killed 20 wounded. (Shay arrested, later pardoned) Prominent citizens began to cry out for a stronger government

11 Annapolis Convention Met summer of 1786 with purpose of looking at ways to revise the Articles of Confederation. Only 5 states show up, but those that arrive agree change is needed. Ask congress to get promises from all 13 state legislatures that they will send delegates to a second convention to be held in Philadelphia in 1787 (all but Rhode Island will comply) Began meeting May 25 th 1787 in the same building where Continental Congress had met and Declaration signed (at the time it was the PA statehouse, today it is Independence Hall)

12 The Constitutional Convention: Delegates 55 Delegates: most where men of high prestige…and were fairly conservative (landowners, worried about “mob-ocracy”) Well educated, generally experienced politicians. George Washington, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison important leaders- and these were men who favored a stronger government. Just as important: who is NOT there. Patrick Henry refused to come. Sam Adams, Richard Henry Lee not invited. Adams and Jefferson serving as foreign ambassadors. Sessions held in secrecy- they wanted to be able to argue without worrying the existing government

13 James Madison “Father” of Constitution Came with a plan- three important concepts he felt were vital for a successful government: –1. National Government should be stronger than the states, drawing it’s “Social Contract” from all citizens –2. A need for multiple branches of government; separation of powers, and checks and balances (Montesquieu) –3. The majority of people (white men) should be able to participate in government, to keep power from being in a small number of hands “Father” title somewhat misleading, as others made huge contributions (Charles Pinckney, James Wilson, and Roger Sherman)

14 Agenda in Philadelphia It’s really a 2 nd American Revolution….they were called offer suggestions on how to “Revise” the Articles- and they toss it out the window the 1 st week. (hence the need for secrecy) Represents a shift- from state supremacy to a Federal system

15 Representation Issues Major sticky point- almost ruined the whole thing before it started. Because representation will equal power in new government New Jersey (Small State Plan) Equal Representation in a unicameral legislature, one vote per state. This is the way things were in continental and articles congresses. Exec Branch would be a committee chosen by legislature- no veto. Supreme court chosen by exec- serve 1 term. Judicial appointed by legislature. Exec/Judicial together can veto. Virginia (Large State plan): Proportional Representation in a bicameral legislature. Number of delegates based on population. It’s the 1 st radical proposal of the convention, and entirely new way of looking at things- but, it will make some states more powerful than others. A single executive, chosen by legislature

16 Connecticut “Great” Compromise Proposed by Roger Sherman. Bicameral Legislature- Lower House (House of Representatives elected by popular vote) would be proportional, and Upper House (Senate, elected by state legislature) would be Equal. Tax Bills must originate in the House, since larger states would pay greater % of taxes Dual Executive chosen by people (RADICAL, freaked BOTH groups out) with electoral college as final vote. Veto power, congress can override with 2/3 majority Supreme court chosen by executive

17 Slavery Issues One of the 1 st national debates about slavery, and came to dominate conversation at convention. South says slaves should count for representative, but not for taxes. North took the opposite view. 3/5 Compromise faintly awkward, they never use the word “slave”, they just say “3/5 of all other persons”. Seems clear they are dodging the issue Convention saw 1 st proposal for national abolition of practice(Louis Morris of NY), but deep south threatened to walk out if the question was even put to a vote. To avoid the issue cropping up again, they agree no laws about slavery will be passed until 1808 (starting a long practice of putting off issue). To pacify the south a “fugitive clause” put in place saying that masters have the right to reclaim “property” if it flees.

18 Commerce Compromise Another sectional (North v South) issue…seeing a pattern yet? South depends on imported goods, wants low tariffs (taxes on imports) so European goods are cheap. North manufactures, but not as cheaply as Europe, nor do they ship manufactures overseas. (except ships) they want high tariffs. Congress agrees to higher taxes on imports than exports, giving North an econ advantage. IRONY: South gives econ power to the north b/c they thought their population would give them political influence (but immigrants don’t come to south) North gave in on slavery, thinking it was dying out anyway (Cotton Gin)

19 Supremacy Clause Constitution set up to be “Supreme Law”. This will be tested early on, and becomes important- now there IS someone who can tell states what to do, in the interest of the nation. Based on Locke’s principle of Consent of the Governed, and that the needs of the many (the nation) are more important than those of any individual state

20 Elastic Clause Article I Section 8: “Congress shall have the power to make all laws ‘Necessary and Proper’ for carrying into execution the foregoing powers. Gives congress (and the rest of the government) the flexibility to meet the social and technological changes of the last 2 centuries. Advocates of a strong central government (soon to be Federalists) wanted to make sure that there were “grey area” options. Advocates of States Rights (soon to be Anti-Federalists) not happy, wanted a specific enumeration of powers to limit the national government (will lead to bill of rights)

21 Democratic v. Conservative Elements in the Constitution It’s a balancing act- then and now. The need for order vs the will of the people Democratic: Popular election in House, opportunity for public to vote on president. Taxes come from House Conservative: Senate chosen by legislatures, electoral college. Supreme court chosen for life. Consent of the senate on treaties

22 Why No Bill of Rights? Weren’t sure they would be able to AGREE on rights, and worried about another fight between north and south (After all, the “all men are born free” thing was sticky enough) Most states already had a bill of rights, and many saw that as enough, didn’t think the national gov’t would have a big effect on people’s everyday lives (Called that one wrong) People thought if there WAS a list of rights, those would be the ONLY ones protected (which is purpose of 9 th and 10 th amendments.)

23 Ratification: Federalists v Anti Federalists See Chart The delegates left the convention, and took the new constitution home to their state legislatures (who were the ones who needed to ratify) The document was shocking to many, remember, this was a BIG step from Articles Federalists: Those who liked the changes, wanted to see a stronger central government Anti-Federalists: Thought it was TOO much, too powerful, too central, to big

24 “The Federalist” Anti-federalists had some legitimate concerns. (how would individual liberty and state power be preserved?) So supporters of the Constitution created a campaign to convince the public that the new gov’t was a good idea. Series of 85 essays, written by a variety of people (John Jay, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton most famous) under pseudonyms. Regarded today as masterpieces of political theory. Federalist X is the most famous, refuted idea that a “republic” cannot govern a large territory.

25 Ratification One of the provisions of the constitution is that when 9 states ratify, it become the gov’t (they were worried about unanimity) 4 States (DE, NJ, GA, CT) ratify very quickly (still in 1787). PA 1 st large state to ratify. MA critical test…their the rebels. This is where lack of Bill of Rights becomes an issue…and conversations start about adding one in more states (MD, SC, NH) bring us to nine… but not Virginia or New York, which would weaken gov’t (although they didn’t really NEED to, Constitution was law, their only choice would have been to secede.) They come in once Bill of Rights promised. North Carolina and Rhode Island the last: rugged individualism

26 Bill of Rights Written by George Mason of Virginia- 10 amendments added 1791 (still represents more than 1/3 of all changes to Constitution; that’s pretty impressive after 200 years) Actually 12 amendments proposed, one about apportionment of reps died, one about congressional salary eventually ratified in 1992! (27 th amend) Guarantees: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, and Assembly. Right to Bear Arms, Guarantees due process of law, trial by jury, and prevents cruel/unusual punishments. Says powers not given to Federal gov’t are reserved for states, and the people


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