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New Government In America. 1775-1789. Fears of the New Nation. Fears created during the Revolutionary period shape the new governments created in America Americans feared: Strong central governments (like Parliament) Strong chief executive (like King George) As a result Americans:

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fears of the new nation
Fears of the New Nation

Fears created during the Revolutionary period shape the new governments created in America

Americans feared:

Strong central governments (like Parliament)

Strong chief executive (like King George)

As a result Americans:

Were suspicious of all forms of federal government

Resisted taking power away from the states

Feared concentrating power in the hands of one group or one individual

Because of early fears Americans created a very weak federal government: The Articles of Confederation

the articles of confederation
The Articles of Confederation

Created by the Second Continental Congress as a government to unite the colonies

Articles government consisted of:

Single chamber legislature (equal representation)

Representatives were elected by state legislatures

States were members of a loose confederation

Weaknesses of new government:

No executive or judicial branches

Difficult to amend Articles (13 out of 13)

Difficult to pass laws (9 out of 13)

No power to tax

No power to regulate commerce

Sovereign states could be problematic

problems faced by the new government
Problems faced by the new government

Massive national debt (over 160 million)

Economic depression begins in 1784

Result of decreased trade with Britain

Low crop yields

Manage the Northwest territory

Chronic overpopulation of New England colonies

Made worse by depression

Land Ordinance of 1785

Surveyed and divided western lands for sale

Northwest Ordinance 1787

Banned slavery in Northwest territory

Established procedure for statehood

problems faced by the new government6
Problems faced by the new government

Continued friction with Britain

Occupation of Northwestern forts

British sold arms to native American tribes

Shays’ Rebellion 1786

Largest of a series of small rebellions against state officials

Many rural farmers were deep in debt (lacked specie)

Shays organized farmers to close local courts in Massachusetts

Stopped by privately funded state militia

Many sympathized with Shays

Created need to revise the Articles

need to revise the articles
Need to revise the Articles

Philadelphia Convention

55 delegates from 12 states met with the intent to revise the Articles

Meet in secret

Two immediate issues

How to “revise” the Articles?

How to balance interests of the states?

North vs. South

Slave vs. Free States

Big vs. Small States

Factional politics create the need to compromise

Why is our current Constitution “unconstitutional” under the Articles of Confederation?
constitutional compromises
Constitutional Compromises

How will states be represented in the government?

Two competing plans emerge

Virginia Plan (Madison)

Bicameral legislature

Representation based on population

New Jersey Plan (Paterson)

Unicameral legislature

Equal representation

Great (Connecticut) Compromise

Bicameral legislature

Lower house based on population (House)

Upper house with equal representation (Senate)

constitutional compromises13
Constitutional Compromises

How to deal with the issue of slavery?

The Constitution does not formally recognize slavery

Avoided the critical issue (threat of secession)

Includes only the provision that Congress would be allowed to ban the importation of slaves after 1808

3/5 Compromise

For the purposes of representation in the House of Representatives/Electoral College slaves were to be counted as 3/5 of a person by the census

Who should have the power to regulate interstate commerce?

Commerce compromise--Congress is given this responsiblity

constitutional compromises14
Constitutional Compromises

How much power should be retained by the states?

Framers left a large number of powers to the states but left the federal government as the supreme power

How should the federal government be kept in check?

Framers built in checks and balances

Promised to add a Bill of Rights

Added 4 years later by Congress 1791

ratifying the constitution
Ratifying the Constitution

Approved by the Philadelphia convention September 17, 1787

To become law it had to be ratified by conventions in 9 states

Became law June 21, 1788

Many states were divided over the new Constitution

Debate over the Constitution

Two sides emerged:

Federalists—supporters of the Constitution

Antifederalists—opponents of the Constitution

War of words was waged in newspapers and legislatures

Federalist Papers—essays written by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay to explain framers position

criticisms of the constitution
Criticisms of the Constitution

Lacked sufficient protection of individual rights

Solved in part by the Bill of Rights

Constitution represented the interests of the wealthy and powerful

Common concern of rural farmers

Only the House of Representatives was directly elected by the people

No guarantee of universal suffrage

Many states had property qualifications

Federal government/President would become too powerful

System of checks and balances

Universally acceptable candidate for President: Washington