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Experimenting with Confederation

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1 Experimenting with Confederation

2 BIG IDEAS MAIN IDEA: Americans adopted the Articles of Confederation but found the new government too weak to solve the nations problems. WHY IT MATTERS NOW: The reaction to the weak Articles of Confederation led to a stronger central government that has continued to expand its power.

3 Americans Debate Republicanism
Fighting the revolution gave states common goals but they were reluctant to unite under a strong central government. Republicanism: government bases on the consent of the people Republic: government in which citizens rule through their elected representatives

4 Basis for a Republic Many Americans believed that a ‘republic’ would put the nations in the hands of capable elected leaders Others felt that a republic would benefit from allowing citizens to pursue their own economic/political interests State Constitutions were similar in guaranteeing rights like: freedom of speech, press, & religion. State Constitutions differed widely in granting voting rights. (Some states granted voting rights to all white males while some made it mandatory for male voters to own property in order to vote.)

5 Continental Congress Debates
While states developed their individual constitutions, the Continental Congress tried to draft one for the nation. This task would prove to be very difficult.

6 Supreme Power: Can it be divided?
The Continental Congress proposed a new type of government called: The Articles of Confederation: This meant that state governments & federal government would share fundamental powers. State governments were in charge in certain areas while the federal government was in charge of other areas. This is known as a confederation or alliance.

7 Supreme Power: Can it be divided?
FEDERAL Government STATE Government Power to declare war, make peace, sign treaties, borrow money, set standards for coins/ weights/measures, establish a postal service, and deal with Native Americans. Only government with the ability to tax its citizens

8 Representation Debate
All states would have equal power in Congress even though the states were different in many ways: (land size, wealth, population, etc.) Should the delegates to a national congress represent population or state? Should states with greater populations have more delegates in Congress than states with smaller populations? RESULT: Each state was represented by 1 delegate.

9 Western Lands By 1781, the states gave up their western claims to the Confederation Congress and the Articles of Confederation went into effect in March 1781.

10 Governing Western Lands
Each township would be divided into 36 sections of 1 square mile A person/family could purchase a section and divide it into farms or units Typically $1= acre Hope to develop communities Congress would appoint a territorial governor and judge 5000 voting residents = temporary constitution and government elections Total population of 60,000 = draft a constitution and ask for sate approval by congress

11 Economic and Political Problems
Problem 1: The United States lacked ‘national unity’. Problem 2: Confederation Congress did not recognize the differences in population among the states. Problem 3: Articles could not be amended without the consent of all the states– Nearly impossible to amend government. Problem 4: Congress was in enormous debt. ($160 million) Continental money was worthless. Problem 5: Congress had no control over interstate or foreign trade.

12 Borrowers and Lenders Wealthy Creditors Poor Borrowers After the Revolution, wealthy people who lent money to the states favored high taxes so the state governments could pay back their loan. Wanted to keep the supply of money low so that it would keep its full value. High taxes sent many citizens (farmers) into debt. Wanted the state to print more paper money to lessen its value and enable them to pay off their debts with cheap currency

13 Foreign Relations Problems
United States could not repay its debts to British merchants and would not compensate Loyalists for property losses. Britain refused to evacuate its military forts on the Great Lakes. Spain’s presence on the western boarder of US posed a threat to US western expansion.

14 Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
Congress could not enact and collect taxes Congress could not regulate interstate or foreign trade Each state had only one vote in Congress, regardless of population 2/3 majority– 9 out of 13 states needed to agree to pass any law Articles could be amended only if all states approved There was no executive branch to enforce laws of Congress There was no national court system to settle legal disputes There were 13 separate states that lacked national unity

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