UNIT 4: From Confederation to Constitution
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July 4, 1776 … The United States declared independence from Great Britain, so …
But … HIIIYAAHH!
Later, King George – no more tyranny!
What form of government would the new country have?
Confederation to Constitution BIG IDEAS 1) The “Framers” wanted to create a government that would: govern the country while protecting individual rights share power between the national and state governments 2) The weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation led to the birth of the Constitution 3) Regional differences between the states caused conflicts for the national government 4) The Constitution illustrates the need for compromise in government
The First U.S. Government • 1776 - Continental Congress agreed that United States would be a republic (what does that mean?) but disagreed on other issues • Wrote the Articles of Confederation to establish a national government • Created a weak government that left most powers with the states – feared another tyranny • Consisted of Confederation Congress – NO executive or judicial branches! • Each state had one vote – no difference for greater population
Confederation (National) Powers
Wage war – fought the Revolution Make peace – signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783 to end Revolutionary War Make treaties – made treaties with France and Spain during the war Issue money – yes, but so could the states … would this create problems?
Set taxes Create courts Enforce laws Establish trade Issue money (?!)
Ratifying the Articles • 1777 – Articles of Confederation passed by Continental Congress – sent to states to ratify • 5 small states objected to bigger states controlling western lands • 1781 – with control of western lands given to Congress, all 13 states ratified the Articles Articles more a loose treaty between states than a true constitution, but U.S. now had a government
The Northwest Territory • Made plans to sell and settle western lands • Northwest Territory – area bordered by Great Lakes and Ohio and Mississippi Rivers • Land Ordinance of 1785 – divided territory into 36 sq. mile townships • Square #16 usually reserved for public school
The Northwest Ordinance - 1787 Three-step plan for adding new states in NW Territory 1. New territory with territorial governor and judges 2. 5,000 free white male landowners (RWDs) – elected assembly to govern 3. 60,000 population – apply to become a state Also established rights of settlers and outlawed slavery IMPORTANCE: Established orderly process for admitting new states to U.S. with same rights as original 13 states Next - Part 2: Problems with the Articles
Part 2: Problems with the Articles To review … 1776 – 13 British colonies became the United States of America • First government called the Articles of Confederation • Weak national government that left most powers to individual states – feared tyranny • Some successes: Fought and won Revolutionary War Made Treaty of Paris with Britain Passed Land Ordinance of 1785 to sell Northwest Territory Passed Northwest Ordinance of 1787 – plan to add new states to the Union
Weakness Leads to Problems No revenue •
No power to tax = no money to run government
Had to ask states for money, but …
They weren’t required to give anything
Without gold and silver, Confederation paper money worthless, so states made their own! North Carolina $5 and $10 bills
Trade issues •
States taxed each other’s goods - no national enforcement of trade laws
States fought with and sued each other – no national courts to settle disputes
States had different trade policies – discouraged foreign countries from trade with U.S.
Made Congress look weak to foreign countries
Politics • Passing new laws required minimum 2/3 vote – 9 of 13 states • Amending Articles required unanimous vote – in other words … 13-0 or NO GO!
Do you think it would have been difficult to get laws passed like this? Why? Answer in your notes
Crisis for Farmers • • •
States deep in debt from war costs State of MA raised taxes on farmers – more than total income for most families Risked loss of land or debtors prison if not paid
National government unable to help and MA refused debt relief
Fall 1786: Anger and protests among farmers grew until …
Shays’ Rebellion • Daniel Shays, MA farmer and war veteran
Part 3: Constitutional Convention • Congress agreed that Articles of Confederation needed improvements to strengthen national government • May 1787: Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in Pennsylvania State House, now called Independence Hall 12 states sent delegates (representatives) - Rhode Island boycotted the convention because it feared small states would lose power
America’s Best and Brightest • Convention delegates a collection America’s “All-Stars”
• Educated, most wealthy - had served in Congress, state legislatures, or as governors Known as the “Framers” because Constitution is the framework for all government in U.S.
Convention Leaders James Madison (VA) – “Father of the Constitution” Read and prepared for Convention Kept detailed daily notes – main source of Convention history Creator of Virginia Plan Author of Bill of Rights George Washington (VA) elected president of the Convention – most respected leader
… and a Few Absences • Thomas Jefferson – ambassador to France • John Adams – ambassador to Great Britain • Patrick Henry – said he “smelled a rat” and refused to attend (what do you think he meant by this?) • Samuel Adams and John Hancock also not present
Goals of the Convention Improve upon the Articles of Confederation Create a strong federal government while preserving state powers and individual rights Planned to revise the Articles, but ended up starting over and writing Constitution Compromise - an agreement or settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions aka “meeting in the middle”
Issue: Government VIRGINIA PLAN • Proposed by Edmund Randolph • Three branch government with strong executive branch • Two-chambered (bicameral) legislature • Representation based on population • Favored big states
NEW JERSEY PLAN • • • • • •
Proposed by William Paterson Three branches with weak executive branch One legislative chamber One vote per state More like Articles of Confederation Favored small states
The Great Compromise Delegates approved Virginia Plan with a few compromises
CONGRESS (legislative branch) • Representation by • Each state 2 members population • Elected by legislatures to • Elected by the people as represent the states (17th their voice in government Amendment changed) • 2-year terms • 6-year terms
Issue: Representation and Taxes Should slaves count as persons or property?
Slaves are property
• Slaves part of population
Taxes – YES
• Representation – YES
Representation – NO
• Taxes - NO
The Three-Fifths Compromise Count 3/5 (60%) of slave population for both representation and taxes
Issue: Trade NORTH • Ban importation of slaves • Regulate commerce • Tax exports (merchant economy)
SOUTH • No ban on slave importation (SC and GA) • No taxes on exports (agricultural economy)
No ban on slave trade until 1808 (20 years) Congress could regulate commerce, but … No taxes on exports
Issue: The Executive Branch • Non-royal head of state was a recent idea in government – not much experience to go on Questions: • One executive or a group of three? Would single executive create a tyranny? • Who selects the executive – the people, Congress, or a special group? • How long a term – limited or lifetime?
The Presidency •
Single chief executive - the President
4-year term limit (2 term maximum in 22nd Amendment)
Electoral College – states select electors to vote for president 2012 Presidential Election Results
Electors = number of representatives in House + 2 senators Ex. Texas’ 36 representatives + 2 senators = 38 electoral votes
A Government Is Born – almost … • September 1787: final draft of Constitution made and approved by Convention delegates • Sent out to the thirteen states for ratification, and here’s where the fun began again …
Next – Part 4: Federalists vs. AntiFederalists
Part 4: Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists • Signed by 39 delegates and approved by Congress, the Constitution went to the states for ratification • Debated in state legislatures and public forums
Constitution Debate in Virginia General Assembly
OK, maybe not, but they DID debate – fell into two main groups: Federalists: Supported a federal republic of states bound by a strong national (federal) government
Anti-Federalists: Supported loose confederation – believed states could better serve their own people than one national government
The Federalist Papers Series of 85 essays written in support of the Constitution Main authors:
Newspapers and merchants supported Federalists – published essays, gaving their side advantage with public opinion
Anti-Federalists Fight Back Some prominent writers and speakers were Anti-Federalists Two main arguments: MUST have Bill of Rights Presidency will lead to tyranny
Mercy Otis Warren
The Constitution Approved June 1788: New Hampshire ninth state to ratify Constitution – now official government of the United States …
4 to go, but still missing 2 important states – Virginia and New York …
The Final Pieces Madison promised to add Bill of Rights as amendments Virginia – June 1788
New York – July 1788
North Carolina – November 1789
Rhode Island – December 1790
1791 – Bill of Rights first 10 amendments to Constitution