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Shaping a Federal Union Chapter 7. The Political Union 1775-1776, royal authority crumbled in the royal colonies as the royal governors attempted to curb.

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Presentation on theme: "Shaping a Federal Union Chapter 7. The Political Union 1775-1776, royal authority crumbled in the royal colonies as the royal governors attempted to curb."— Presentation transcript:

1 Shaping a Federal Union Chapter 7

2 The Political Union , royal authority crumbled in the royal colonies as the royal governors attempted to curb Patriot activities. Royal governors dissolved or dismissed colonial legislaturesthey reassembled as conventions or provincial congresses with no official authority. As protests moved toward war, the conventions/congresses gained authorityover the militia, for example.

3 State governments Provincial congress or convention acted as legislature. Committee of Safety acted as a plural executive and when congress or convention not in session.

4 Declaration of Independence Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson Adopted by Second Continental Congress, July 1776 Natural rights philosophy taken from John Locke these united colonies are, of right ought to be, free and independent states

5 New State Governments Connecticut and Rhode Island just kept their colonial chartersthey already elected their own governors and both houses of their legislatures Other states wrote constitutions Georgia Rules and Regulations of 1776 succeeded by the Constitution of 1777 (created the first 8 counties in Georgia)

6 Common features of constitutions Governors very weakneeded agreement of an executive council to exercise powers of office; no power to veto Legislatures powerful, electing most officials who once were appointed by King or Governor typically, the legislature chose the Governor (claimed separation of powers, but dominating legislatures) Directly-elected lower house chose the members of the upper house in most states Annual elections in most states

7 The Continental Congress De facto government of the United States Acted as national legislaturecreated the army and navy, sent ambassadors to Europe, organized the post office, ratified treaties, borrowed money Exercised executive powersformed war board and navy board over the army and navy Wrote the Articles of Confederation in 1777, but document not ratified until 1781

8 The Articles of Confederation In effect from 1781 Essentially put into writing how the Continental Congress had already been functioning Congress – One house – Delegates chosen by state legislatures annually – Each state had one vote in Congress – Most major decision required 9 affirmative votes – To amend the Articles required ratification by all states

9 Articles, cont. No real executive branch – The President of the United States of America, in Congress assembled was the presiding officer of Congress – The Committee of the States, with 1 member from each state, acted while Congress was not in session – Congress appointed a Secretary of Foreign Affairs to correspond with our ambassadors to France (Jefferson) and England (Adams)

10 Articles, cont. No real federal judiciary – Congress to mediate disputes between the states – Congress had power to create courts to deal with admiralty claims, cases of piracy on the high seas, etc.

11 Articles, cont. Powers of Congress – To declare war and make peace – To send and receive ambassadors – To establish and maintain an army and navy – To establish and maintain a post office – To establish copyrights and patents – To create new territories and admit new states to the Union

12 Articles, cont. Weaknesses of Congress – No power to regulate trade between the states – No power to act directly on American citizens (no federal court system) – No power to tax; could only ask the states for money (requisitions system)

13 The Critical Period Men such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison upset at the weakness of the central government United States could not maintain an army or navy or enforce the terms of the Treaty of Parisso not respected by England, France, or Spain. Major trade disputes between states.


15 Specific Problems England maintained its forts in the Northwest, violating Treaty of Paris. Spain kept the USA from free navigation on the Mississippi River, violating treaty terms. England kept our merchants out of the British West Indies, but dumped cheap manufactured goods on the American marketsmothering our infant manufactures. Recessionfarmers demanded cheap paper money (Rhode Island); Shays Rebellion (Mass)

16 The Federal Convention Grew out of Annapolis Convention on trade regulation in 1786 Met in Philadelphia, May to September, 1787 Called by Continental Congress to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation 72 delegates named by 12 states; 55 attended at some point or other (never all at once) New Hampshire delegates last to arrive, in July New York delegates quit in frustration in June

17 The Convention Delegates George Washington made President of Convention (aged 55) Benjamin Franklin the oldest (aged 81) The youngest delegate only 26; three others younger than 30 Most in their 30s or 40s (37 delegates; 14 were 50+) Most had been members of Congress or their state legislatures. Many had helped write state constitutions. Generally, men of property: merchants, planters

18 Who Was Not There Thomas Jeffersonin France John Adamsin England Patrick Henrynamed a delegate by Virginia, but he refused to serve (he smelled a rat) Samuel Adams John Hancock Many of the leading revolutionaries who were most suspicious of centralized power not involved in writing the Constitution.

19 The Work of the Convention James Madison, 36, had been planning for years a proper replacement for the Articles. Madisons Plan (the Virginia Plan): – Add real power to the federal governmenthe wanted a national government; a supreme, national executive, legislative, and judiciary structure. – Divide power between branches so that no singled body of men could gain too much power

20 Divisions at the Convention Large states (Virginia and rest of South, usually, with Pennsylvania and Mass.) vs. small states (New Jersey, Delaware, often rest of New England, New Yorkoddly) North vs. Southpartly because North seen as not as wealthy as the South; slavery an issue. Representation by wealth or by free population?

21 Compromises Great Compromise 3/5 Compromise Taxing Commerce Ending slave trade

22 Ratification Debates


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