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Creating a Constitution

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1 Creating a Constitution
U.S. History ch.5 notes

2 1) In 1777 the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, which was a plan for a loose union of the states under the authority of the Congress.

3 2) The Articles of Confederation established a very weak central government. Under the AOC Congress didn’t have the power to impose taxes, and could only raise money by selling land west of the Appl. Mtns.

4 3) The Land Ordinance of 1785 established a method for surveying and settling the western lands.

5 4) The Northwest Ordinance provided the basis for governing much of the western territory. The law created a new territory north of the Ohio R. and east of the Miss. R. which eventually would be divided into 3-5 states.

6 5) Each of the states in the new U. S
5) Each of the states in the new U.S. imposed different tax rates on imported goods. They were beginning to act as small independent countries, which threatened the unity of the newly formed U.S.

7 6) The end of the Revolutionary War and the slowdown of economic activity with Great Britain plunged the new U.S. into a severe recession, or economic slowdown. Farmers were the most affected by the recession.

8 7) Paper money was put into circulation, but it would not be backed up by gold and silver. People didn’t trust paper money, which led to inflation – a decline in the value of money. Beginning in 1785 , seven states began issuing paper money.

9 8) When Massachusetts raised taxes in 1786 a rebellion known as Shay’s Rebellion broke out. Farmers in western MA were most affected by the higher taxes. Led by Daniel Shays, they closed down several county courthouses and then marched on the state supreme court.

10 9) People with greater income and social status saw Shay’s Rebellion, as well as inflation and an unstable currency, as signs that the republic itself was at risk. Therefore they began to argue for a stronger central gov’t.

11 10) Henry Knox, a close aide to George Washington, concluded that to prevent violence from lawless men the gov’t must be braced, changed, or altered to secure people’s lives and property.

12 11) Weaknesses of the Confederation Congress worried many Am
11) Weaknesses of the Confederation Congress worried many Am. Leaders, who believed the U.S. wouldn’t survive w/o a strong central gov’t. People who supported a stronger central gov’t became known as “nationalists.”

13 12) Prominent nationalists included George Washington, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Alex Hamilton, and financier Robert Morris. One of the most influential nationalists was James Madison, a member of the VA Assembly and head of its commerce committee.

14 13) News of Shay’s Rebellion and reports of unrest elsewhere convinced Congress to call for a convention of the states “for the sole purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.”

15 14) Every state except R.I. sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention. In May of 1787 the delegates met in the PA statehouse in Philadelphia where they faced the challenge of balancing state’s rights with the need for a stronger central gov’t.

16 15) The VA delegation to the Const. Conv
15) The VA delegation to the Const. Conv. Proposed a plan that came to be called The Virginia Plan. It called for scrapping the Articles of Confed. and creating a new nat’l gov’t with the power to make laws binding upon the states and to raise its own money t/ taxes.

17 16) William Patterson of NJ offered a counterproposal to the VA Plan that came to be called The New Jersey Plan. This plan called for revising the Articles of Confederation rather than abandoning them.

18 17) The Connecticut Compromise, a. k. a
17) The Connecticut Compromise, a.k.a. the Great Compromise, called for the number of representatives from each state in the House of Representatives to be proportionate to each state’s pop., and the Senate to have equal representation from each state.

19 18) The Three-Fifths Compromise came about during the Constitution Convention in order to solve the argument of how enslaved people would be counted in determining representation and taxation.

20 19) The 3/5 Compromise simply stated that every five enslaved people would count as three free persons for determining both representation and taxes.

21 20) The new U.S. Constitution that was completed in 1787 had to be ratified by 9 of the 13 states for it to take effect. It created a system of gov’t known as federalism, which divided gov’t power between the federal and state governments.

22 21) The Constitution provided for a separation of powers among the 3 branches of the federal gov’t. The 2 houses of Congress made up the legislative, the president made up the executive, and the system of federal courts made up the judicial branch.

23 22) The legislative (Congress) makes the laws
22) The legislative (Congress) makes the laws. The executive (President) implements and oversees the laws. The judicial (federal courts) interprets and makes judgments in regards to federal laws.

24 23) In addition to separating the powers of the gov’t into 3 branches, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention created a system of checks and balances to prevent any of the 3 branches from becoming too powerful.

25 24) The delegates in Philadelphia realized that the Constitution might need to be amended, or changed over time. To ensure this could happen, they created a clear system for making amendments, or changes to the Constitution.

26 25) The success of the Constitution Convention in creating a gov’t that reflected the country’s many viewpoints was, in Washington’s words, “little short of a miracle.” John Adams said the Convention was, “the single greatest effort of nat’l deliberation the world has ever seen.”

27 26) Supporters of the Constitution called themselves Federalists because it emphasized that the Const. would create a federal system. Federalists included large landowners who wanted the protection of a strong central gov’t.

28 27) Opponents of the Constitution were called Antifederalists
27) Opponents of the Constitution were called Antifederalists. They were not against Federalism as the name might indicate, rather they wanted the states to be sovereign and stronger than the central gov’t.

29 28) The Federalists and Antifederalists debated over the ratification of the Constitution. The Federalists arguments for ratification were summarized in The Federalist - a collection of 85 essays written by James Madison, Alex Hamilton, and John Jay.

30 29) The Federalist explained how the new Constitution worked and why it was needed. It was very influential in helping get the Constitution ratified. Even today, judges, lawyers, legislators, and historians rely on it to help them understand the Constitution.

31 30) By July of 1788, following months of debate b/w Federalists and Antifederalists, all of the states except R.I. and NC had ratified the Constitution. Because ratification by 9 states is all that was required, the new gov’t could be launched without R.I. and NC.

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