Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Creating the Constitution

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Creating the Constitution"— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating the Constitution
Plan of government

2 History of the Articles of Confederation: 13 Independent States
Before the end of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress decided to have a national government, but shortly after the war ended the colonies began writing their own state constitutions. How should our new government be run? Who should have the POWER? Most colonists feared a strong central government. They didn’t want someone that lived somewhere else making laws that they had to live by. Wrote state constitutions that limited the power of the governor. The Second Continental Congress came up with a plan…The Articles of Confederation.


4 History of the Articles of Confederation: Thirteen Independent States
At first, most Americans favored a weak central government. They assumed the states would be very much like small, independent countries…similar to the way that the colonies had been set up. The states would act independently on most issues, working together through a central government (Congress) only to wage war and handle relations with other nations.

5 Structure of the Articles of Confederation
Congress (Central Gov) State Governments

6 History of the Articles of Confederation: 13 Independent States
For Americans, establishing separate state governments was a much easier task than creating a central government. States divided government functions between the governor and the legislature. Most states established two-house (bicameral) legislatures to divide the power even further. State constitutions restricted the powers of the governors, which made legislatures the most powerful branch of government. The writers of the constitution not only wanted to prevent abuses of power in the states, but they also wanted to keep power in the hands of the people. State governments stronger than Congress!

7 What Was The Articles of Confederation????
These articles were to be a kind of friendship between the thirteen colonies. It would be a republic form of government. What is a republic? A government where people elect representatives to run the country. Under the articles each state chose leaders who would chose the representatives. Each state would send no more than 7 representatives which would make up Congress. Even though there were 7 people, each state only received ONE vote. In order to pass a law, 9 out of the 13 colonies had to vote in favor of the law. In order to amend the Articles, 13 out of 13 states had to vote in favor of it. Sounds like a good plan right????

8 The Articles of Confederation
Our 1st attempt at government 1st constitution 1777 – until current constitution written Our main goal was to avoid a strong central government. We wanted to avoid a strong oppressive government, like Great Britain imposed. States would retain sovereignty.

9 Basics of The Articles of Confederation
Created a confederation of 13 sovereign states A confederation is a loosely tied group of states. Established a national legislature (Congress), but no judicial or executive branch Congress had very little power.

10 Basics of the Articles of Confederation
Under the new plan each state had one vote in Congress, regardless of its population, and all states had to approve the Articles as well as any amendments. Larger states believed their population warranted more votes

11 Central Government Structure
Unicameral (single house) legislative body Each state had one vote regardless of population size Congress given sole authority to govern the country Lacked a chief executive An executive committee oversaw government when Congress was not in session. Congress would establish temporary courts to hear disputes among the states. The creators of the Articles believed that government was an agreement with the people and that power originated from the people. They further believed the best form of government was a republic, in which the people’s wishes were addressed by chosen representatives. The legislative body would be elected by and directly responsible to the people. Soon after independence had been declared, many smaller states expressed concern regarding the overlapping claims to western lands made by many of the states with larger populations. The small states feared their voices would be drowned out if representation was based solely on population. Thus, to equalize representation in Congress, each state had one vote—regardless of the size of its population. Congress was given the responsibility for governing the country; however, it wasn’t given much power to do so. An executive committee was meant to oversee the operations of the government, but it ended up serving more like a cabinet of advisors than as actual leadership. Congress had the authority to establish temporary courts to hear disputes among the states, but these courts could act only as mediators because they and the executive committee had no power to enforce the laws.

12 Powers Granted to Central Government Under the Articles of Confederation
Declare war and make peace Make treaties with foreign countries Establish an army and navy Appoint high-ranking military officials Requisition, print, and borrow money Establish weights and measures Hear disputes among the states related to trade or boundaries The Articles of Confederation granted Congress important powers to operate the government. When the document was drafted in 1777, the immediate concern was conducting the war and hopefully crafting a favorable peace treaty. To carry out the war, Congress needed the power to make treaties with foreign nations and to establish an army and navy and appoint military officers. Such powers gave Congress authority over affairs with foreign nations. To help pay for the war and for the operation of the government after independence had been won, Congress would need to requisition funds and to print and borrow money. This requisitioning power allowed Congress to ask the states for funds, which the states would provide if they were able or inclined to do so. Under the Articles, Congress also had the power to hear disputes among the states related to trade and boundaries. During and after the war, individual states sometimes established tariffs in order to raise revenue and discourage the sale of imports from foreign countries or neighboring states that competed with homegrown products. Other states targeted by these tariffs usually retaliated in kind.

13 Powers Denied to Central Government Under the Articles of Confederation
No power to raise funds for an army or navy No power to force citizens to join the army No power to tax, impose tariffs, or collect duties No executive branch to enforce laws No power to control trade among the states No power to force states to honor obligations No power to regulate the value of currency If Congress needed to raise money or troops, it had to ask the state legislatures. The Articles didn’t provide the government with enough authority to fully carry out the tasks it was given. Though Congress could declare war and raise military forces, it couldn’t pay for them because it lacked the power to tax. Congress could requisition funds from the states, but had no power to make them part with their money. Congress could borrow money, but had no way to raise funds to pay off the debt except to ask the states for funds. If a state disagreed with the way Congress spent the funds, it would refuse or delay payment. Congress could appoint a court to hear the disputes between states, but it couldn’t enforce decisions the courts made. Thus, if a court ruled in favor of one state over another, the losing state wouldn’t have to comply with the decision. After the war, the Treaty of Paris stipulated that British citizens still living in the former colonies would receive compensation for land or property seized. However, individual states did not force their citizens to make such restitution and Congress had no authority to compel the states to obey the treaty’s provisions. To pay off the debt from the war, Congress was authorized to print money; however, each of the states had the power to print money as well. The resulting increase in currency, combined with a slowdown in the postwar economy, sent the young country into a deep economic depression. Inflation rose so high that the Continental Dollar became virtually worthless.

14 Accomplishments of the Articles of Confederation
Administered the seven-year war effort Americans won their independence Expanded foreign trade Negotiated the Treaty of Paris with Britain in 1783 Established the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 Though they had many shortcomings, the Articles of Confederation cannot be considered a total failure. Under them, the government operated for nearly 12 years and managed to conduct a successful war of rebellion against what was then the most powerful country in the world. Under the Articles, the United States also negotiated a very favorable peace treaty in which Britain formally recognized the United States and agreed to remove all British troops from U.S. territory. From the land granted to the United States as a result of the treaty, the country doubled in size, gaining land that today holds the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota. Many historians view the Northwest Ordinance as the most important piece of legislation to come out of this period. The Ordinance provided a method for admitting new states into the Union and for placing them on an equal footing with existing states. Thus, citizens from these new states would enjoy all the rights for which Americans had fought in the Revolution. The Ordinance even provided a bill of rights, something both the Articles and the original Constitution lacked. Map of the land settled in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787

15 New Land Policies More and more people are settling west of the Appalachian Mountains by the 1790s. These western settlers hoped to organize their lands as states and join the union, but the Articles of Confederation contained no provision for adding new states. Congress realized that it had to extend its national authority over the frontier and bring order to this territory. In 1784, Congress divided the western territory into self-governing districts. When the number of people in a district reached the population of the smallest existing state, the district could petition Congress for statehood.

16 The Ordinance of 1785 In 1785, the Confederation Congress passed an ordinance (law) that established a procedure for surveying and selling western lands north of the Ohio River. Land speculators viewed the law as an opportunity to cheaply accumulate large tracts of land. Concerned about lawless people moving onto western lands, Richard Henry Lee, urged the rights of property be clearly defined by the government. Congress drafted another ordinance to protect interests of hard-working settlers.

17 The Northwest Ordinance
Passed in 1787, the Northwest Ordinance created a single Northwest Territory out of the lands north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River. Eliminated the Proclamation of 1763 The lands were to be divided into three to five smaller territories. When population of a territory reached 60,000, the people could petition for statehood. Each new state would come into the Union with the same rights and privileges as the original 13 states. j

18 The Northwest Ordinance
Included a bill of rights for the settlers, guaranteeing freedom of religion and trail by jury. Also stated “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in said territory.” Marked first attempt to stop the spread of slavery Opened the way for settlement of the Northwest Territory in a stable and orderly manner.

19 Problems Facing the New Nation
Government had severe economic problems (debt and inflation) Congress could not enforce tax laws Competition between states and no one worked together. There was no president or clear leader of the country. Didn’t have money or power to establish a military Could not regulate commerce No central money system, weights & measures different in every state and no one to regulate. The Articles of Confederation did not provide a government strong enough to handle the problems facing the United States.

20 More Problems Facing the New Nation
Trade with foreign nations Financing the nation Foreign relations British troops still occupying forts in U.S. Interstate relations Hard to pass laws Confusion with where Congress should meet Inflation Note to teacher: Have your students address the questions in the next series of four slides describing the problems the United States faced under the Articles of Confederation. Students should review the details of the problem as stated on the slide, then examine the potential remedy or remedies to address the problem. Finally, have students discuss the reasons the Articles could not adequately address each problem.

21 Problems with Trade U.S. no longer the favorite trading partner of Great Britain U.S. exports to British ports had to be on British ships. British keeping Americans out of the West Indies and other profitable British markets Many U.S. produced goods were barred from British ports. Britain sent vast amounts of cheap goods to U.S. Spain closed the lower the lower Mississippi River to American shipping in 1784. Potential Remedy Establish a tariff on British goods Weakness in Articles of Confederation preventing this solution After the war, the United States lost its “favored nation” status with the British Empire and was treated like any other non-allied nation competing in the mercantile system. In retaliation for its rebellion, all U.S. goods exported to any port in the British Empire had to be carried on British ships. This dealt a blow to the fledgling American shipping industry, since Britain was still America’s main trading partner. In addition, some U.S. goods that competed with British-made goods were barred altogether. To help shore up its economy and keep production going, British merchants began flooding American markets with inexpensive goods that often competed with similar goods made in the United States. This drastically hurt local industries that couldn’t compete with the more cheaply manufactured British goods. Potential Remedy: Establish a tariff on British goods. Weakness in the Articles: The Articles prevented Congress from imposing any taxes, including tariffs on imports. Individual states could levy tariffs, but these were not binding on other states, and foreign shippers would respond by sending their goods to states that didn’t have a tariff in place.

22 Who Was Affected? Since products that used to cost less were now costing much more, how do you thing they colonists felt? You’re right! They were MAD! The people most affected were soldiers and farmers. These farmers had to pay high state taxes, and now the materials they needed to operate their farms were too expensive. They began to protest, some protests became VIOLENT…

23 Obviously these new laws weren’t working!
Shays’s Rebellion In 1786, angry farmers lashed out! Led by Daniel Shay’s, they forced courts in western Massachusetts to close so judges could not confiscate farmer’s land. In 1787, Shays led more than 1000 farmers toward the federal arsenal in Springfield, Mass. for arms and ammunition. The state militia ordered the advancing farmers to halt, then fired over their heads. The farmers did not stop, and the militia fired again, killing four rebels. Shays and his followers shattered, and the uprising was over. Shays’s rebellion frightened many Americans. They worried that the government could not control unrest and prevent violence. Obviously these new laws weren’t working!

24 Obviously The Articles Weren’t Working!!!
Each colony was acting as a separate nation. Some began to feel it was necessary that there be a strong central government. One person supporting this was James Madison. Remember, people still feared strong national government because of former British rule. Some still supported the Articles. One supporter was Patrick Henry. Something must be done!!! Some decisions need to be made!!

25 Structure Decision-making Money & Finances Protection Other
Once branch of government: Congress, responsible for making national laws Each state has 1 vote in Congress No Executive Branch (President) No Judicial System (judges) Decision-making 9 of 13 states had to approve a proposal before it could become a law All the states had to agree to change an existing law Money & Finances The Articles of Confederation (A of C) could not collect taxes A of C had to ask individual states for money A of C could print and borrow money Each state could regulate trade with other states Each state could tax its residents Protection The A of C managed agreements with other countries and Native Americans The A of C could appoint military officers Only the states could establish militias Other The A of C established the following: A postal system Weights and measures Courts Consequences for piracy

26 Review: Our First Government
What were the new laws that governed our new nation? How many colonies had to agree for a law to pass? Which military captain led a rebellion against the taxes and inflation?

Download ppt "Creating the Constitution"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google