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Building a Nation: How much power should the national government have? U.S. History C. Corning - 2010
Think – Puzzle – Explore • 1. What do you think you know about creation of the U.S. Constitution? • 2. What questions do you have about this topic? • 3. How might you explore the questions you have about the Constitution?
Forming a National Government • Articles of Confederation – 1777 Continental Congress sent the A of C to the colonies for ratification. • Concerns: Strong national government and unequal power between states • Limitations: • National government had no power to tax or regulate trade • Amendments required unanimous consent of all states • Other problems: • Wartime gov’t had to print money to pay for war – inflation • British punished colonies by restricting trade with West Indies • Economic sectionalism – South more vulnerable – cash crops • Britain refused to abandon military posts in States – loyalists • Shay’s Rebellion – 1787 – famers protest unfair political and economic policies – resentment between backcountry farmers and coastal elite.
Articles of Confederation • What was working well? • Government won the American Revolutionary War • Northwest Ordinance 1787 – governing sale of government lands to settlers • Included a bill of rights guaranteeing trial by jury, freedom of religion, freedom from excessive punishment • Also abolished slavery from NW territories (NW of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River, up to Canadian border) • Regulations concerning the conditions under which territories could apply for statehood. • Read Articles – page 56 in “We the People” packet • What were the advantages/disadvantages for the states and/or national government?
Articles of Confederation – Weaknesses • Congress had no power to tax – could only ASK for money • No power over the state governments and their citizens – citizens could only be governed by THEIR states’ laws. • Unenforceable trade agreements – Congress could make trade agreements but could not force the States to abide by them. • Unfair competition among the States – Congress had no power to regulate taxes among the States. • Failed to protect citizens’ right to property. • Failed to protect the rights of the minority (vs majority rule)
Constitutional Convention – Philadelphia 1787 • Who: 55 delegates, all men, white, many of whom were wealthy lawyers and landowners, many of who also owned slaves. • Some wanted to revise the A of C (New Jersey Plan) – others wanted a new constitution. • James Madison – before convention he had drafted a plan for a new government – Virginia Plan • Proposed a strong national government with the power to make and enforce its own laws, and to collect its own taxes. • Each citizen would be governed under the authority of two (later three) governments – National, State (and Local). Both govts get their authority from the consent of the governed. • Both national and state govts are given a certain amount of authority – federalism.
Virginia Plan – more details! • Three branches of national government: • Legislative – to be the most powerful because it had the power to select people to serve in executive and judicial branches • Executive • Judicial • The national legislature – Congress – was to have two houses. • House of Representatives – directly elected by the people of each state. • Senate – elected by the members of the House of Reps • Proportional representation – based on size of state’s population or contribution to federal treasury.
New Jersey Plan • Also known as the “Small States Plan” because smaller states were concerned about a strong national govt. Wanted to keep the framework of the A of C. • NJ Plan: • Legislature: Congress would only have one house and it would have increased powers: • Power to levy import duties and stamp tax, and power to collect money from states • Regulate trade among the states and with other nations • Control over the states – any law made by Congress would be “law of the land” – states couldn’t make laws contrary to them. • Executive: Several people appted by Congress – administer national laws, appoint executive officials and control military. • Judicial: Supreme Court appointed by officials of executive branch.
Constitutional Convention - Problems • All the delegates agreed that the A of C were not working – however the resolution process was not easy. Two large issues caused conflict: • How should the number of representatives from each state be determined? According to population? Equal vote? • What powers should the national government have? • Great Compromise – blended the VA and NJ plans • House of Reps – based on population of each states • Senate – equal representation for each state (two each) • H of Rep have power to tax and spend govt money • U.S. Constitution (1787 / ratified 1789 / Bill of Rights – 1791)
U.S. Constitution - Highlights • Bicameral Legislature • Lower House – House of Representatives elected by the people • Upper House – Senate elected by the state legislatures (direct elections not until 20th century) • Executive – President and Vice President to be elected by Electoral College, not directly by citizens themselves • 3/5 Compromise – slaves to be counted as 3/5 of a person when determining the population of a state and how much representation the state would have in Congress • Established three branches of government – with the power of check and balances on each other.
Ratification Process • Once the Constitutional Convention was complete, the new constitution had to be ratified. What were the issues? (see pages 84 – 90 “We the People” packet) • Anti-Federalists – concern over strong national government, tended to come from the backcountry and were concerned about the absence of a Bill of Rights. • Federalists – argue for the values of a strong national government. • The Federalist Papers – essays defending the new constitution, authored by James Madison, Alexander Hamiiton and John Jay. Published in New York newspapers.
The Washington Presidency: 1789 – 1797 • The Electoral College unanimously chose George Washington to be the first president. • Washington knew his presidency would set a precedent for future administrations: • Cautious in his use of executive power • Created a cabinet to advise him – not part of Constitution but every president has had one. • Did not want to be a “king” – no bowing, titles, etc. • Important Cabinet members: • Thomas Jefferson – Secretary of State (States rights) • Alexander Hamilton – Secretary of Treasury (Strong central govt) • These two disagreed about the creation of a National Bank and support for the French Revolution – origins of our two-party system • Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans • Caused concern because people saw these as factions who only were concerned about their own interests (hmm, sound familiar?) • Read pages 102 – 106 “We the People” packet.
The Adams Presidency: 1797 – 1801(Federalist) • John Adams was one of our founding fathers – he had served as a Congressional representative to European countries, secured loans from Amsterdam bankers to pay for the war and concluded the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain. • The second-place candidate was Thomas Jefferson and he became VP (but opposing political party – any problems with that?) • Achievements: Avoided war with France • Disappointments: Alien and Sedition Acts which allowed govt to expel foreigners (vs immigrants??) and jail newspaper editors for “malicious” writing (what happened to the 1st Amendment?) who were mainly Demo-Reps.
The Jeffersonian Presidency:1801 – 1809 (Democratic-Rep.) • Started with the “Revolution of 1800” – meaning a bloodless transfer of power from one political party (Federalists) to another (Demo-Rep). • In addition to writing the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson also served as Governor of Virginia, Minister to France, member of the Congress of Confederation, Secretary of State under Washington. • Adams was upset that the Federalists were out of power and made “midnight appointments” filling many of the national govt positions with Federalists as possible. • Jefferson refused to recognize these appointments – Marbury vs. Madison (judicial review- responsibility for reviewing the constitutionality of Congressional acts.) • Repealed Alien and Sedition Acts • Jefferson wanted to reduce the national debt (a bit ironic considering his own personal financial situation)
Louisiana Purchase - 1803 • In 1800 Spain gave New Orleans to the French – which had given it to the Spanish in 1762 after the French-Indian War • This might threaten US trade down the Mississippi River. • Jefferson wanted to purchase New Orleans and western Florida from France. • Napoleon had given up on his dreams of American empire and was in the mood to sell the entire Louisiana Territory for $15 million. The size of the US had doubled. • Lewis and Clark Expedition – Jefferson sent Corps of Discovery to explore the new holdings – 2.4 years – from city of St. Louis to the Pacific (see page 200 in textbook) • Merriwether Lewis and William Clark • Sacajawea – interpreter and guide
Jefferson’s Second Term / Madison 1809 - 1817 • Embargo 1807 – British had tried to place on blockade on France and caught approx. 1000 American ships and “impressed” the Americans into service in British navy. • Congress declared an embargo – a ban on exporting products to other countries – against Great Britain. • War of 1812 – Madison declares war against Great Britain (see page 204 in textbook) because he felt that it was trying to destroy the American economy. • Native Americans aligned with the British, American troops ill-prepared • 1814 – British burn the White House • Treaty of Ghent – 1814 – a general armistice, over the following years the two countries reached agreements on many trade and diplomatic issues. • Positive Outcome: Increased American manufacturing – WHY?