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Creating the Constitution. Unit 2 Part III Chapter 5. Articles of Confederation. the first constitution. In 1777, the Continental Congress drafted the original constitution for the union of the states. This constitution was known as the Articles of Confederation.

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creating the constitution

Creating the Constitution

Unit 2 Part III

Chapter 5

articles of confederation
Articles of Confederation

the first constitution

  • In 1777, the Continental Congress drafted the original constitution for the union of the states. This constitution was known as the Articles of Confederation.
  • In this, states were strong, central government was weak
structure of the articles
Structure of the Articles

Congress chosen by state legislatures

Each state had 1 vote

No President

No executive branch

Only had power to declare and conduct war and to manage negotiations with foreign and Indian nations.

Unanimous vote needed to change the Articles.

conflict over the articles of confederation
Conflict over the Articles of Confederation

Farmers in Massachusetts were hurt because of taxes.

Farmers were in debt and owed money.

They were facing foreclosure, so they took up arms to block foreclosure hearings.

This rebellion was led by Daniel Shay and known as Shays Rebellion.

This event leads the country into thinking the Articles will not work and a stronger national government was needed.

new government
New Government

Confederation needs new ideas on how government should run

Many wanted a republic – rule through elected representatives

Some fear democracy – government by the people directly

Should we use unicameral (one-house) legislature or bicameral (two-house) legislature

Most states wanted bicameral


constitutional convention
Constitutional Convention
  • May 25 1787: All states except Rhode Island sent delegates
  • Madison called the “Father of the Constitution”
  • George Washington presided over the Convention
virginia plan
Virginia Plan
  • Strong national government
  • Representation based on population
  • Called for 2 houses in Congress
  • Court System
new jersey plan
New Jersey Plan
  • Unicameral Legislature
  • One vote per state
  • Congress had power to impose taxes and regulate trade
  • Favored states having more power than central government
the great compromise
The Great Compromise
  • Legislative Branch has 2 parts: House of Representatives and Senate
  • Representation would be based on population
  • Senate would have equal number of representative regardless of population
3 5 th s compromise
3/5th’s Compromise
  • 3/5 of the enslaved people were to be counted for both tax purposes and for representation
federalists vs anti federalists
Federalists vs. Anti-federalists
  • Federalists were in favor of a strong national government, and were in favor of the Constitution; more organized; wrote a series of popular essays called The Federalist Papers
  • Anti-federalists were not in favor of the Constitution and feared a strong national government. They demanded a Bill of Rights in order to ratify the Constitution.
principles of the constitution
Principles of the Constitution

The Constitution rests on 6 principles:

  • Popular Sovereignty – rule by the people
  • Limited Government – gov’t limited in what it can do (The Bill of Rights set specific limits on the government.)
  • Separation of Powers – power divided among 3 branches:

Legislative; makes law (Congress)

Executive; enforces law (President)

Judicial; interprets law (Supreme Court)

  • Federalism– division of power between national and state gov’t
principles continued
Principles Continued…
  • Checks and Balances – each branch has some control over the other

President – has veto power

Congress – can override veto w/ a 2/3 vote

Supreme Court – can declare bills passed by Congress and signed by the President unconstitutional

  • Representative Government – Instead of a direct democracy, the writers created an indirect democracy in which voters elect representatives to govern.
plans for western lands
Plans for Western Lands

Northwest Territory

  • Important to settle vast territory
  • North of the Ohio River and west of Pennsylvania to the Mississippi River
  • Wanted to sell to speculators and farmers to raise revenue and expand westward.
  • Eventually decided to divide land into a grid system
  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided a government for the western territory.
  • Slavery not allowed here.
  • The Northwest Territory later formed Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota