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Creating the Constitution. The Weak Articles. By mid-1780’s, two schools of thought have emerged… Articles are okay… can be slightly revised/amended. Afraid that “freedom” and “democratic gains” would be lost with a stronger federal government. Supported by Henry, Adams, Clinton

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the weak articles
The Weak Articles
  • By mid-1780’s, two schools of thought have emerged…
    • Articles are okay… can be slightly revised/amended.
      • Afraid that “freedom” and “democratic gains” would be lost with a stronger federal government.
      • Supported by Henry, Adams, Clinton
    • Articles are not doing the job
      • Need stronger national government
      • More prestige; power
      • Supported by Jay, Hamilton, Madison
  • Congress realizes there is an immediate need for a stronger national government following Shays’ Rebellion
starting from scratch
Starting From Scratch
  • May 1787 – Convention is called with the intent to suggest changes to the Articles.
    • Led by Alexander Hamilton
    • Immediately decide to draw up a new document.
      • Property holders and wealthy are largest supporting group.
        • Want strong nation to protect their wealth and other interests.
constitutional convention
Constitutional Convention
  • Never before or after will there be as many strong political talents in the same room.
    • An assembly of “demi-gods.”
      • Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Dickinson
    • 55 delegates from 12 states (Rhode Island)
  • George Washington selected as President of the Convention.
    • Believe is that if Washington is there, there will be no undermining the Revolution.
  • Convention will meet in secrecy behind closed doors; then release the document.
    • Who’s not there?
      • John Jay, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry
changes to legislative branch
Changes to Legislative Branch
  • Debate breaks down between large states (NY, VA) and small states (MD, NJ)
    • New Jersey Plan
      • Desire Unicameral Congress
        • 1 state = 1 vote
        • Much like Articles
    • Virginia Plan
      • Desire Bicameral Congress
        • Representation should be based on population.
  • Almost give up compromising several times.
changes to legislative branch cont
Changes to Legislative Branch cont…
  • Connecticut Compromise or Great Compromise
    • Upper House (Senate) has two representatives from each state.
    • Lower House (House of Representatives) has representatives based on population.
changes to executive branch
Changes to Executive Branch
  • Desired one individual as chief
    • King? President?
    • Electoral College
    • Did not want people to have direct vote
    • Too much democracy = mob rule
the issue of slavery
The Issue of Slavery
  • Southern states wanted slaves counted as population.
    • Not fair to North.
    • 3/5 Compromise
      • Slave counts as 3/5 of a person in terms of population totals.
  • Slave Trade Compromise
    • Foreign slave trade can be outlawed in 20 years.
      • Will be abolished in 1808.
establishment of federalism
Establishment of Federalism
  • Federalism
    • Power is split between the national and state governments.
  • Reserved Powers
    • Powers explicitly left to states
  • Delegated Powers
    • Powers given to national government
  • Decision is made that if 9 of 13 states approve, it should go into effect.
  • Anti-Federalists
    • Against Constitution
  • Federalists
    • For Constitution
    • Federalist Papers
      • Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote series of papers in New York supporting the Constitution.
ratification continued
Ratification continued….
  • Every state is supposed to call a convention to vote for or against.
  • Critics of Constitution argue there are no guarantees of personal rights.
    • Will only support if a Bill of Rights is added
      • Jefferson, Mason were very insistent.
  • Mid 1788 – Constitution is ratified
    • All states ultimately approve
  • 1791 – Bill of Rights is added.