Chapter 6 – The Republican Experiment, 1776-1791 Christian Sparta – a virtuous society committed to republican purity; avoidance of special privileges to certain people; promoted liberty & equality for all, to civic virtue – working for the common good rather than private interests
What did “republican” mean to Americans in the 1780s? • Refers to an entire political culture • Refers to a national government without a monarch or aristocracy • Refers to a way of life, an ideology (way of thinking) committed to liberty & equality • A society made up of people with strong morals
Living in a Revolutionary Society • Avoidance of aristocratic pretense – that one group of people or a particular person was better than another • The Society of the Cincinnati – 163 • Fear of privilege • Titles were dropped • The appearance of equality was as important as its actual achievement, especially since the distribution of wealth was more uneven after the war than it had been before the war.
Laws of primogeniture – the passing down of an estate to the oldest son • Laws of entail – declaring your property could never be divided, sold, or given away • These types of laws were done away with by the states as a way to avoid creating a privileged class. • Voting requirements changed by states. Most reduced property requirements. (163)
Voting changes cont. • The most important changes in voting patterns were the result of western migration. (163)
Other changes… • The relationship between church and state – Jefferson advocated freedom of religion as evidenced in the VA Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786. No longer did Americans have to pay taxes to support churches. There no longer was an established church.
African Americans in the New Republic • Slavery contradicted the values of this new republic • Benjamin Banneker – African American astronomer & mathematician • Phillis Wheatley – African American poet • The rise of antislavery societies in the North . Why? White laborers resented having to compete in the workplace against slaves and slavery represented a double standard. • Manumission – freeing slaves • Slave owners no longer defended slavery as a positive good, but as a “necessary evil.”
Women in the New Republic • Republican women; Republican mothers – their “new” status in society • Women were given the responsibility for teaching their children morals and citizenship; both needed for a republican government to flourish. This justified the need for women to be formally educated. • Women now filed for divorce for new reasons. (mistreatment by their husbands) • Role of women was still defined as a mother, wife, and homemaker
From 13 colonies to 13 states State Constitutions • Each state had a written constitution. • Each had a statement that defined the rights of the people. • Power of the governor was restricted in almost every state. • The legislature dominated early state government. • State constitutions varied from state to state.
The Articles of Confederation • The first national government of the US after declaring their independence, Congress approved in 1777; states ratified in 1781 • Created a weak national government and strong state governments (state sovereignty) • Consisted of a one-house legislature, no independent executive & no veto over legislative decisions • Each state had a single vote in Congress • No power to tax, but could requisition (ask) • Amendments required unanimous consent. • Powers included foreign relations, military matters, Indian affairs and interstate disputes.
Why was the ratification of the AOC delayed? • Disagreement over western land (land west of the Appalachian Mtns. that ended at the Mississippi River. This was land the colonists hoped to gain once they won their independence from Britain. • Virginia gave up its claim to this land and the West now belonged to Congress (the government).
Achievements under the AOC • Land Ordinance of 1785 – surveyed and sold the western lands • Land Ordinance of 1787 (Northwest Ordinance of 1787) – governed the territory , determined how territories would become states & prohibited slavery in the western territory • Negotiated the Treaty of Paris, 1783 ending the Revolutionary War
Trade with Britain • After the war (before the treaty was signed), Britain flooded American ports with consumer goods and offered easy credit. This strained the US economy. Americans went into debt! • The National Government (AOC) could not regulate trade.
Problems after the Revolutionary War • National debts and individual state debts because of the war but Congress could not tax under the AOC. • The Newburgh Conspiracy, 1783 – a plot to use the army to establish a strong government because Congress couldn’t tax and couldn’t pay the soldiers’ pensions.
Solution to problems after the war • A group of “nationalists” – Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Robert Morris called for constitutional reforms to include allowing Congress to collect a 5% tax on imported goods (Impost of 1781). NEVER PASSED!
More problems… Foreign Issues! Congress could negotiate treaties (Treaty of Paris, 1783) but could not enforce the provisions within the treaty! Domestic Issues… Ordinary citizens were running the state governments. The US was large in size. Montesquieu declared that a republican government could not flourish in a large territory. (178)
Shay’s Rebellion • Poor farmers in MA rebelled against high taxes and a state government that was insensitive to their problems. • Led by Daniel Shays, rebels closed a county courthouse where creditors were suing to foreclose farm mortgages. • Congress lacked the money and military means to stop the rebellion. A state militia was formed to stop the rebellion. • This event proved the AOC was too weak.
Attempts to reform the AOC • The Annapolis Convention (MD, 1786) – few attended; met to deal with interstate commerce; decision made to meet again in Philadelphia which became the Constitutional Convention (1787) • Constitutional Convention – met to reform the AOC; decided to write the Constitution; kept everything they talked about a secret. (179); decisions they made be based on majority rule rather than unanimous consent.
Constitutional Convention cont. James Madison – “Father of the Constitution” Wrote the Virginia Plan or Madison Plan advocating representation based on population (proportional representative). This plan established a 2 house legislature (bicameral). William Paterson – proposed the New Jersey Plan calling for a unicameral legislature and equal representation.
Compromise begins… • The Great Compromise, introduced by Roger Sherman, resulted in proportional representation in the House of Representatives and equal representation in the Senate. • 3/5th Compromise – each slave would be counted as 3/5ths of a person for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives to balance representation between the North and the South. • Compromise over slavery – decided to end the slave trade in 1808. The South also obtained a fugitive slave clause that would later become the Fugitive Act of 1793.
Other decisions to be made.. • The president would be selected by an electoral college consisting of electors chosen by the voters. • The number of electoral votes would be equal to the number of representatives and senators. • Whoever received the largest number of votes would become president and the person receiving the second largest number of votes would become the VP.
Ratification of the Constitution • Only required 9 out of 13 state conventions to approve • Federalists – supported the Constitution • Federalist Papers – essays written by Madison, Hamilton & John Jay • Federalist #10 disputed the Anti-Federalist #1 argument about a large territory being difficult to govern. Madison argued that because the US was so big, it required a strong national government. • Anti-Federalists – opposed the Constitution unless a Bill of Rights was added • All 13 states ratified the Constitution. NC & RI were the last to.