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The U.S. Government under the Articles of Confederation

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Presentation on theme: "The U.S. Government under the Articles of Confederation"— Presentation transcript:

1 The U.S. Government under the Articles of Confederation
(1781 – 1789) Why would this time period be called “The Critical Period”?

2 Accomplishments under the Articles of Confederation

3 1.) Signed the Treaty of Paris - 1783
Terms very favorable to the US US negotiators John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay did very well considering they had no experience negotiating treaties

4 2.) Kept the 13 states together
Government was not a threat to states’ powers Stayed as the “United States” long enough to realize the importance of unity

5 3.) The Land Ordinance of 1785 Planned for orderly expansion into the territory west of the Appalachian Mountains Money raised from sale of land would help fund government programs and the repayment of debt

6 Land Ordinance of 1785

7 4.) Northwest Ordinance - 1787
Planned for establishment of government in the territories Expanded basic democratic rights into the Northwest – Congress would guarantee trial by jury, freedom of speech, press, no slavery Set process for territory to become a state 5,000 voting males, organize territorial government (governor, legislature, non-voting representative to Congress) Prepare a constitution that must be approved by Congress Total population 60,000 people – recognized as a state No special privileges for original 13 states

8 Problems under the Articles of Confederation
Why couldn’t the government of the Articles of Confederation solve the new nation’s problems?

9 Economic Weaknesses… Congress can’t regulate trade – each state made own trade laws and taxed goods going from state to state Congress couldn’t tax – only request money to fund programs and pay down debt Currency is not exclusive power of National Gov’t- confusion on value led to very local markets 13 of 13 votes - Difficult to amend the Articles

10 Foreign Relations Weakness…
National gov’t could not raise an army – only “request”; No executive branch to enforce terms of treaties British refused to leave forts in Northwest Territory and along Canadian border Spain controlled Mississippi River and shipping; revoked “right of deposit” at New Orleans France was angry that the US preferred to trade for British goods and not with France

11 Political Weakness… Legislative branch ONLY – 1 house legislature; 1 vote/state No executive branch to enforce terms of treaties No national courts to settle disputes States controlled the National Legislature – chose representatives, paid them, told them how to vote, and could remove them No “national interests” or “common goals” develop Difficult to pass laws – needed to pass a law; 13 of 13 needed to amend The Articles

12 Controversial Issues Lead to Civil Unrest…
Slavery Debt State governments’ Individuals’

13 Slavery Issue Re-enforces Regionalism
South believed that emancipation would be contrary to economic interests- defended the institution as an “economic necessity” VS. North gradually abolished slavery as it was not necessary to economic success of the region

14 South fears strong central gov’t would try to end slavery…
Property rights of the slave holders must be protected Abolition of slavery could destroy the social order in the South “peculiar institution of the South” is a state by state issue “property rights” are protected by states The fragile balance within the union of states might be upset by changes and the Southern states begin to state that they might secede if pressured

15 DEBT- Shays’ Rebellion: A Struggle between borrowers and lenders
States had borrowed money and the lenders wanted high taxes so gov’t could pay back debt Debtors went farther into debt Farmers were paid with paper money and had to repay their debts with hard currency – paper currency was worthless and farmers began to lose their farms

16 Shays’ Rebellion Proposed relief package for economically suffering farmers; passed by lower house of Massachusetts legislature, defeated by the upper house (wealthier members) 2000 farmers led by Daniel Shays, rebelled, closed the courthouses to prevent foreclosures on mortgages Armed rebellion began in summer 1786 – ended in February 1787

17 Shay’s Rebellion National government could not control value of currency No uniform currency → inflation and confusion Government had no power to raise an army to prevent or stop a rebellion

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