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The Articles of Confederation

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  1. The Articles of Confederation A radical government

  2. Proposed in 1777; ratified in 1781 after settlement of land dispute • Reflected fear of centralized authority! • Each state maintained “its sovereignty, freedom and independence” – no thought of consolidation! – a confederation to provide national defense, protect liberties and cooperation • Funds to be provided by the states. • No executive or judicial branches • A unicameral Congress elected by state legislatures – each state one vote – terms 1 year • No power to tax or regulate trade without unanimity

  3. Success • The US waged war against Britain and negotiated a successful treaty • but what cost? • 8 states agreed to important concessions and laws regarding the west • Taxes overrated – land sales! • Domestic insurrections crushed (Shays)

  4. The Confederation and the West • Land Ordinance of 1785 • Divided territory into townships and sections • One section would be sold for public schools • LANDS COULD BE SOLD TO FINANCE THE NATION! • Northwest Ordinance of 1787 • Defined steps for statehood • Forbade slave while the region remained territories

  5. Defense of the West? • Indian resistance supported by British who remained in territory (citing treaty violations) • Indian resistance in the southwest supported by Spain • Creeks prevented GA from occupying lands • Spain also denied western settlers permission to ship down the MI (NO closed) • Jay unsuccessful at opening trade (in fact NO closed for 20 years) but opened Spanish markets to eastern merchants. •  western fury

  6. Finance and Trade • Huge national debt; inflated currency (worth only 2% of face value) • Import tax supported by 12 states but failed due to RI • The states fell behind nearly 80% in providing funds • Newburgh Conspiracy - (Hamilton) threatened coup if the treasury did not obtain taxing authority. Washington ended plot with famous speech • Inability to pry trade concessions from England – loss of over 60% of market + English dumping of cheap goods in American markets • But new French and Asian markets

  7. Loss of Faith – by whom? • Shays Rebellion • Economy disrupted by trade restrictions • Heavy taxes • Laws placed that debts could only be paid in specie • Demand for stay laws and paper money defeated • Shays in 1786 led 2000 to shut down western MA courts  rout by MA forces • But debtor legislation and violent action threatened in other states • Responses • Jefferson: rebellion important • Anarchy? • Appeals for foreign despot or restraint of liberties?  desire for a new government to protect limited government from more reactionary desires • Annapolis Convention: call for a convention to revisit, revise the articles of confederation

  8. The Coup and the Constitution“the conservatives regain control”

  9. Constitutional Convention • 1787: delegates from 12 states • 55 men – 24 were creditors, 15 owned slaves, 40 had government bonds, 14 were land speculators • No Paine, no S. Adams, no Henry, no Jefferson, no RI • Inspired by Hobbes, Montesquieu and Whig Ideology • WHO ARE THESE REPRESENTATIVES?

  10. Early Decisions • Create a new document • A stronger government was needed: - Article I • Government should filter the impulses of “the ignorant restless desperadoes, without conscience” or “poor reptiles”: - no popular elections except house, longer terms • Debts repaid –Article VI • But how to represent the states?

  11. Rival plans and compromises • VA Plan (Madison – father of constitution) • Strong national government with nearly unlimited powers to tax and legislate and veto state legislation. Bicameral legislature with proportional representation with only lower house elected. Upper house, executive and judiciary all appointed by lower house • NJ Plan (Patterson) • Mostly a reworking of AC • Equal representation in unicameral Congress which would have power to tax ,regulate commerce and choose a plural executive and court. Act of congress supreme law • Protection of states rights • Great Compromise (Sherman) • Bicameral legislature – proportional and equal representation

  12. Later Agreements • Slavery must be protected: • No mention of slavery in the document • Should slaves count as persons for tax and representation purposes? - southern need for representation to protect rights  VA Dynasty • Could exports be taxed? • Should there be limits on “the infernal traffic? • Return of fugitives Article IV- ii • Congress must have the ability to put down uprisings: • Article I – viii • Power must be limited (whig) Federalism Delegated v. reserved powers Checks and balances

  13. Later Agreements • Slavery must be protected: • No mention of slavery in the document • Should slaves count as persons for tax and representation purposes? - southern need for representation to protect rights  VA Dynasty • Could exports be taxed? • Should there be limits on “the infernal traffic? • Return of fugitives Article IV- ii • Congress must have the ability to put down uprisings: • Article I – viii • Power must be limited (whig) Federalism Delegated v. reserved powers Checks and balances

  14. Federalists and Anti-Federalists and Fight for Ratification

  15. The Federalist Regime – conservatives again! “meet the new boss… same as the old boss”

  16. In the “court” of George Washington”

  17. Washington • Goals: Nation-building – order, unity. However the cost – sectionalism and faction? Remember there was no United States yet. Localism prevailed. • Definition of the presidency • Style: elegance, rank seating, “Mr. President • Cabinet: State, Treasury and War (Jefferson, Hamilton, Knox – three major states) later an attorney general

  18. “The Report on the Public Credit”; huge national debt and state debts goals – protect credit to ensure the ability to borrow in the event of war and BIND THE WEALTHIEST ELITES TO THE GOVERNMENT AND ENSURE SUPPORT OF THE FEDERAL NOT STATE GOVERNMENTS (PROMOTE NATIONALISM Hamilton’s Policies

  19. Funding of national debt: compensation at full value • No “discrimination” favored by Madison (many had sold bonds to creditors at partial value). The rich benefited; the poor paid taxes to support this funding. •  prompted Madison and democratic-republican party.

  20. Assumption: the federal government pay back debts of states • Southern states fussed – they had paid debts. (sectionalism?) • Achievement; transferred loyalty from states to federal government,

  21. To raise money to pay the debt • Whiskey tax (excise tax) whiskey key trade item  opposition (taxes by distant authority that favored coastal areas) • Whiskey Rebellion (1794) – protests about distant courts, unfair tax  tarring and feathering + refusal to pay • 13,000, leaders sentenced to execution but pardoned • Ham “add to the solidity of everything in the country” • A revenue tariff goal = revenue but also protection favored infant commercial class. Opposition in Congress (southern sectionalism)

  22. National Bank (modeled on England)charter =20 years based on “necessary and proper” clause – loose interpretation Stimulate commercial growth Notes = currency But: a challenge to limited government, it would threaten state banks through regulation and competition AND private stockholders would gain influence over economy and funds  corruption Jefferson “strict interpretation”

  23. Rescued national credit Promoted support for national government among moneyed classes BUT! Dissension and factionalism developed political parties Federalists; supporters of the Hamilton Democratic-Republican Societies (1792): opponents of Hamilton and consolidated government. Hamilton’s Legacy

  24. Washington and Foreign Policy • 1793 . France’s Wars  divided population • France – democratic, old ally (unending alliance), weaken England and Spain to secure west, • England – trading partner for northern merchants, a bastion of conservatism • Washington’s Neutrality Proclamation war=disaster, nation unprepared and divided, civil war?

  25. New Troubles • Citizen Genet: French official sent to recruit Americans . IGNORED PRESIDENT • England seized 250 American ships in Caribbean and “impressed” US sailors, many English deserters, many citizens • England stirred up Indians on western frontier  terrible defeats by Miamisand Little Turtle in Ohio. • General “Mad Anthony” Wayne to defeat the Indian tribes. Victorious at Battle of Fallen Timber!

  26. Treaty of Greenville • (1795) gave USA right to settle most of Ohio

  27. Appeasing England – Splitting the Nation • Jay’s Treaty (Jay, an anglophile) • Britain - withdrawal from the Northwest (TP-1783?) • Britain - payment for damages to shipping but would continue to seize ships and impress sailors • Britain insisted on debt repayment. • outrage! Among westerners and southerners who would have to help pay Britain and not be paid for slaves who fled during war • Seemed like US was allying with Britain • Pinckney’s Treaty: fearful of Anglo-American rapprochement Spain agreed to allow use of Mississippi.

  28. Washington’s Farewell • Unpopular and exhausted, Washington declined to run again. • Farewell Address – avoid divisiveness • Avoidance of permanent alliances – acceptance of temporary alliances • Spoke against factions

  29. Federalist v Dem.Rep. Jay’s Treaty, taxes, made Federalists unpopular Sectional election Elected by 3 electoral votes after a vicious campaign – “fireeating salamanders and poison-sucking toads” John Adams – “His Rotundity”

  30. John Adams France , upset by Jay’s Treaty seen as a violation of alliance of 1778, seized US ships. … Adam’s response?

  31. More Problems…

  32. XYZ Affair – • Adams – • builds navy, 10,000 man army • For what purpose? • Undeclared naval war. • Unwilling to drag country into a war in spite of support he might gain • Convention of 1800 – the French agree to free the US from its alliance – brings peace with France. • Makes possible LA purchase in 1803

  33. Alien and Sedition Acts • Problem of the poor immigrants.  • Alien Laws – raised requirements for citizenship from 5 to 14 years. Arrest and deport dangerous immigrants without trials. • Sedition Act – censorship – banned and made illegal speech critical of the government. The acts expired in 1801. • VA and KY Resolves “states have the right to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil” • Two very different visions of the nation. Be sure to see this. • 1800 Election and Crisis?