Presentation on theme: "Unit 5-Creation of Government Lesson 20: Call for Change in Government."— Presentation transcript:
Unit 5-Creation of Government Lesson 20: Call for Change in Government
Review The first constitution of the United States was called the Articles of Confederation. The Articles gave little power to the central government. This caused the 13 states to look out for their individual needs. People believed that if the government was not changed, the new nation would fall apart quickly.
Economic Depression The United States was facing difficult problems, and many Americans believed that the Confederation was too weak to deal with the challenges. Following the Revolutionary War, the United States went through a depression, or a period when economic activity slows and unemployment increases.
Economic Depression Rice and tobacco exports dropped quickly, due to southern plantations being damaged during the war. Trade also struggled when American merchants were blocked by the British in the profitable West Indies. A money shortage came about because the little money there was had to be used to pay foreign debts.
Farmers Struggle Farmers could not sell their goods because of the lack of money. State governments levied taxes on farmers to help pay Revolutionary War debts, but many farmers had problems paying. State officials would seize land from the farmers to pay their debts and threw many farmers into jail.
Shays’ Rebellion Farmers in the states, especially Massachusetts, grew upset. The upset farmers believed the new government was just another form of tyranny. They believed the government should issue paper money and create new policies to help debtors, instead of taking property or jailing them.
Shays’ Rebellion In 1786 Daniel Shays, a former Continental Army captain, led angry farmers in western Massachusetts to force courts to close so judges could not take the land of farmers. In January 1787, more than 1,000 farmers were led by Shays toward a federal arsenal in Springfield, Massachusetts to capture weapons and ammunition.
Shays’ Rebellion The state militia ordered the Shays led farmers to stop, and then fired shots over their heads. The farmers did not stop, so the militia fired again, this time killing four of the farmers. Shays and his followers scattered, ending the rebellion.
Results of Shays’ Rebellion Shays’ Rebellion scared many Americans because they were worried that the government was not able to prevent violence and control unrest. George Washington questioned if “mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government.” Thomas Jefferson believed “a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing.”
A Call for Change Some leaders were happy with the system of self-governing, independent states. Others believed the only solution to America’s problems was a strong national government, and demanded reform of the Articles of Confederation.
A Call for Change Two of the most active leaders demanding change were James Madison, a Virginia planter, and Alexander Hamilton, a New York lawyer. In September 1786, Hamilton proposed a meeting, or convention, in Philadelphia to discuss trade issues and possible changes that were needed to the Articles of Confederation.
Madison and Hamilton James MadisonAlexander Hamilton
Washington and the Convention Initially, George Washington was not sure about a movement to revise the Articles of Confederation. Washington’s opinion of the convention changed after hearing about Shays’ Rebellion. He agreed to attend the convention in Philadelphia, which made the meeting more significant to the nations’ other leaders.
Delegates Arrive The convention began in May 1787 and continued through one of Philadelphia’s hottest summers. Planters, merchants, lawyers, doctors, generals, governors, and educators made up the 55 delegates. The delegates were well educated, 26 of them had college degrees.
Delegates Arrive Three delegates were under the age of 30, and one, Benjamin Franklin, was over 80. The presence of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin made sure that the citizens of the United States would trust any decisions made at the convention.
Organization of the Convention George Washington was unanimously chosen to preside, or look over, the meetings. Each state would have one vote for all questions. A majority vote would make decisions. Delegates of at least seven states had to be present for a meeting to be held. All meetings would be closed to the public.
Virginia Plan Edmund Randolph of Virginia surprised the Convention immediately by proposing that the delegates create a new strong national government instead of revising the Articles of Confederation. He introduced the James Madison’s ideas for government, known as the Virginia Plan.
Virginia Plan The plan suggested a two-house legislature, a chief executive chosen by the legislature, and a court system. The lower house of the legislature would be chosen by the people, where the lower house would then choose the members of the upper house. The representatives in both houses would be proportional to the population of each state.
Reactions to Virginia Plan The Virginia Plan would give the larger states more representation in the government, upsetting the smaller states. The smaller states, like Delaware and New Jersey, objected to the plan because they preferred the equal representation of the Confederation.
New Jersey Plan On June 15, William Paterson of New Jersey proposed an alternative plan that would revise the Articles of Confederation. Congress would remain a one-house legislature with each state having only one vote. Congress would be given power to set taxes and regulate trade, and choosing a weak executive branch of more than one person.
Which Plan? The delegates decided to create a new national government, using the Virginia Plan as the main guideline. They argued over many questions, such as: How were members of Congress to be elected? How were they to decide the number of representatives? Would slaves be counted towards the population?
The Great Compromise A committee led by Ben Franklin was created to try to come up with a solution to the disagreements. Roger Sherman of Connecticut suggested a plan that would be called the Great Compromise. A compromise is an agreement between two or more sides in which each side gives up some of what it wants.
The Great Compromise Sherman’s proposal said there would be a two-house legislature. The lower house, the House of Representatives, would be proportional to the populations of each state. The upper house, the Senate, would have two members from each state.
Three-Fifths Compromise Another major argument at the convention was how to count slave towards population, especially now that it was decided that population would determine representatives in the lower house. Southern states wanted to count slaves towards their population.
Three-Fifths Compromise Northern states didn’t want slaves to count towards population because they were considered property, but also because it increased southern populations. Some delegates from the north argued that slaves, as property, should be counted for taxation reasons, but not as representation.
Three-Fifths Compromise The solution that the delegates came up with was to count each slave as three-fifths of a free person for both taxation and representation. What this meant was that every five slaves would count as three free persons.
Slave Trade Northern states had banned the slave trade, but not slavery, while the Southern states believed slavery and the slave trade were necessary for their economic success. To keep the Southern states as a part of the Union, Northern delegates decided to not allow Congress to interfere in the slave trade until 1808.
Bill of Rights George Mason of Virginia suggested a bill of rights to be included in the Constitution to prevent the new government from abusing its powers. Most of the delegates believed this was unnecessary because the powers were defined carefully to provide protection of individual rights. Mason’s proposal was voted down.
Approving the Constitution The Constitution was finished in the late summer of 1787. James Madison is called the Father of the Constitution because his ideas from the Virginia plan were the guidelines for the new government. The final copy of the Constitution was written by Gouverneur Morris.
Approving the Constitution The delegates signed the document on September 17, 1787, giving their approval of the document. Three delegates refused to sign because it did not contain a bill of rights. The Constitution was then sent to all of the states for consideration.
Amending the Articles of Confederation required approval from all 13 states, which was slow and frustrating. The delegates agreed to change the approval process for the Constitution. The new government of the United States would become official once 9 of the 13 states ratified, or approved, the Constitution.
Conclusion Many people of the United States felt that a stronger national government was needed for the young nation to survive. Delegates met in Philadelphia to discuss a possible change to the Articles of Confederation, or a new plan for government. After debating issues, a new plan was agreed to, and now needed to be approved by the state legislatures.
Assignments Answer the four review questions for this lesson. Read the U.S. Constitution and prepare for lesson 22 and 23. You will have a Unit 4 test after you complete Lesson 23