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The U.S. Constitution and the New Republic . Themes. The first Constitution’s achievements and problems The Constitutional Convention (1787) Separation of Powers/Checks and Balances Washington’s Administration John Adams and war with France. Articles of Confederation .

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The U.S. Constitution and the New Republic

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  • The first Constitution’s achievements and problems
  • The Constitutional Convention (1787)
  • Separation of Powers/Checks and Balances
  • Washington’s Administration
  • John Adams and war with France
articles of confederation
Articles of Confederation
  • From 1775-1781 the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to discuss a government without a monarch.
  • Delegates agreed upon the Articles of Confederation
  • Created a national legislature
  • Unanimous support was required to pass major pieces of legislation
  • National government had no power to levy taxes

*Power belonged to the states*

slavery post american revolution
Slavery post-American Revolution
  • 1780 – Pennsylvania's legislature enacted a gradual emancipation law. Slaves born by a slave mother would be free at the age of 28.
  • Rhode Island and Connecticut adopted gradual emancipation laws in 1784.
  • States such as Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia rejected the emancipation laws.
  • In the deep South- Carolinas and Georgia believed that emancipation was unthinkable
ordinance of 1785 aoc
Ordinance of 1785(AoC)
  • Dealt with land in Northwest Territory
  • Public land was divided into townships
  • Each township was divided into 36 sections
  • Each sections could be purchased for $1 per acre

Goal: Raise money for the new found government

ordinance of 1785 result
Ordinance of 1785(Result)
  • Didn’t help raise as much money as the government hoped for, but:
  • Established precedent for surveying and selling public land
  • Impacted landscape by “checkerboard” pattern
northwest ordinance 1787
Northwest Ordinance (1787)
  • Provided process by which new states could join the Union
  • Territories received one Representative in Congress when population reached 5,000 voters (white males)
  • Territories could apply for statehood when total population reached 60,000
  • Freedom of religion and trial by jury were protected; slavery was prohibited in Northwest Territory

*Most important accomplishment of the Articles*

land ordinances interesting side note
Land Ordinances (Interesting Side Note)
  • Thomas Jefferson originally proposed creating 14 new states out of western lands
  • One state named-

- Metropotamia

problems with articles of confederation
Problems with Articles of Confederation

1. Each state had one vote (regardless of its population); unanimous support was needed for major pieces of legislation

  • Why should Virginia (pop.750,000) have an equal amount of votes as Delaware (pop.60,000)?

2. Each state had the power to negotiate treaties, coin their own money and declare war

*Problems led to Shay’s Rebellion*

problems with articles of confederation1
Problems with Articles of Confederation
  • Military payrolls were not being paid to soldiers during the war and after the war
  • With congress having no way to pay back the soldiers, members saw this as an opportunity to plead for the government to have the right to tax
  • Robert Morris, a Philadelphia merchant, pleaded from 1781 – 1786 for the states to give the government to power to tax
shay s rebellion 1786 87
Shay’s Rebellion(1786-87)
  • Farmers in Massachusetts faced economic hardships after American Revolution
  • Taxes were too high; ONLY states have control over taxes
  • Daniel Shays led an army of 2,000 men marched on the tax courts to prevent more foreclosures of land
  • General led a massive force to stop the rebellion
  • Impact: Demonstrated the weakness of the national government
shay s rebellion 1786 871
Shay’s Rebellion(1786-87)
  • Shay’s Rebellion provoked fear and hope that the government would do away with the Articles of Confederation
  • Knowing the problem would not stop with Shay, delegates agreed to meet in Philadelphia in 1786 to discuss what their next course of action would be
constitutional convention philadelphia 1787
Constitutional Convention (Philadelphia, 1787)
  • Included 55 delegates from all states EXCEPT Rhode Island
  • Attendance:

- George Washington (Chair)

- Benjamin Franklin (Diplomat)

- James Madison (Father of the Constitution)

- Alexander Hamilton (New York)

  • Not in Attendance:

- Thomas Jefferson (Ambassador to France)

virginia plan madison
Virginia Plan (Madison)
  • Eliminate the Articles of Confederation
  • Separate the government into 3 branches:

In order to protect the individual liberties of citizens, the government power must be divided:

Legislative (most powerful)



  • Representation in the legislative branch would be determined entirely by a state’s population
  • Small states vs. Large States
the new jersey plan
The New Jersey Plan
  • Delegates from New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and New Hampshire proposed the New Jersey Plan
  • Legislature: Maintained the existing single-house congress in which each state had ONE vote
  • Executive: Called for a plural presidency to be shared by three men elected by congress
great compromise
Great Compromise
  • Benjamin Franklin – “Great Compromiser”

- Separate the Legislative Branch into two sections: the House of Representatives and the Senate

House of Rep – each state was given at least one Representative; representation was then based on population

Senate – Two for each state

*Both the New Jersey Plan and Virginia Plan were used*

3 branches of government checks and balances
3 Branches of Government (Checks and Balances)
  • Executive Branch – President and his administrative staff
  • Job: Enforces Laws
  • Checks: Nominates Supreme Court Justices and Federal Justices
  • Checks: Can propose legislation
  • Legislative Branch – House of Representatives and Senate (Congress)
  • Job: Writes Laws
  • Checks: Senate confirms or rejects judicial nominations
  • Checks: Passes legislation
  • Can declare war
  • Judicial Branch – Supreme Court and Federal Courts
  • Job: Interprets Laws
  • Checks: Can declare Presidential actions to be unconstitutional
  • Checks: can declare legislation unconstitutional
impeachment and removal
Impeachment and Removal
  • Impeachment: to bring official charges against an individual (majority vote in HoR)
  • Trial/Removal: The individual stands trial (Senate acts as jury; 2/3 majority vote needed for removal
constitutional convention and slavery
Constitutional Convention and Slavery
  • Should slaves be counted when determining a state’s population??
constitutional convention and slavery1
Constitutional Convention and Slavery
  • States with a large number of slaves argued yes (Southern states)
  • States with a small population of slaves opposed (Northern states)

*After the American Revolution states such as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania began to slowly abolish slavery*

Agreement: 3/5 Compromise by Roger Sherman (Conn.)

- One slave is equal to 3/5 of a person when determining a state’s population

constitutional convention and slavery2
Constitutional Convention and Slavery
  • Fugitive Slave Law allowed for return of runaway slaves
  • Congress could not outlaw African Slave Trade until 1808
fight for ratification
Fight for Ratification
  • Federalists: Supporters of the new Constitution (pro-strong central government)
  • Anti-federalist: Remained opposed due to concerns over civil liberties
  • New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify in June 1788
judiciary act of 1789
Judiciary Act of 1789
  • This act, passed by Congress, organizes the Judicial Branch
  • Supreme Court: six members

- John Jay became first Chief Justice

  • Established federal courts in each state
  • Authorized Supreme Court to review state court decisions
constitution ratified in 1791
Constitution Ratified in 1791
  • The Bill of Rights were added to appease Anti-Federalists
  • Author – James Madison who did not deem it necessary to add it but was persuaded by Thomas Jefferson while in France
  • First Amendment:

-Free speech, press, religion, assembly, petition

  • Second Amendment:

- No large standing army; people had the right to bear arms

  • Prohibited unreasonable searches
  • Protected the rights of the accused: Jury trials, cruel and unusual punishment
signers of the constitution
Signers of the Constitution
  • Known Masons (9): Gunning Bedford, Jr., John Blair, David Brearly, Jacob Broom, Daniel Carrol, John Dickson, Benjamin Franklin, King Rufus, George Washington
  • Evidence of Membership/Affiliations (9): Abraham Baldwin, William Blount, Nicholas Gilman, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, George Read, Robert Morris, Roger Sherman
  • Those who later became Masons (6): Jonathan Dayton, Dr. James McHenry, William Paterson, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer
the first president
The First President
  • George Washington did not seek the Presidency
  • The colonists wanted him to become King George I but he declined the title
  • Electoral College unanimously chose him to be President in 1789
  • John Adams became Vice President
  • Each step George Washington took during his presidency would be a model for future presidents
washington s cabinet
Washington’s Cabinet
  • Henry Knox (MA)

- Secretary of War

  • Edmund Randolph (VA)

-Attorney General

  • Thomas Jefferson (VA)

- Secretary of State

  • Alexander Hamilton (NY)

- Secretary of Treasury

alexander hamilton secretary of treasury
Alexander Hamilton (Secretary of Treasury)
  • Served under Washington during Revolutionary War
  • Hoped to concentrate debt in the national government; not the states

- large investors were the key to fixing the debt

  • US debt: $54 million
  • Hamilton hoped to pay off foreign debt first. Then have national government assume state debt
  • Many states in the south (ex. Virginia) were against this plan because they had already paid their debts off
national debt compromise
National Debt: Compromise
  • Representative from the South agreed to comply by Hamilton’s plan
  • In return, U.S. capital would be located in the South (Washington D.C.)
bank of united states
Bank of United States
  • Hamilton supported creation of a national Bank of the United States:
  • Provide a safe place to deposit the government’s money
  • Help regulate state banks
  • Jefferson – Bank is unconstitutional; This right is reserved to the states
  • Hamilton – Bank is constitutional; Washington signed the bill into law
whiskey rebellion 1794
Whiskey Rebellion (1794)
  • In order to raise revenue in America, Alexander Hamilton raised the taxes on whiskey
  • Farmers in western Pennsylvania protested
  • Washington was allowed to send a massive force of militia to stop the rebellion

*The U.S. Constitution in action works*

jay s treaty 1794
Jay’s Treaty 1794
  • Treaty with Great Britain

- The withdrawal of British soldiers from posts in the American West

- A commission to be established to settle outstanding border issues between the U.S. and Canada

  • Opened peaceful trade between Britain and the United States for ten years
  • Angered the French
treaty of grenville 17951
Treaty of Grenville (1795)
  • A peace treaty between the United States and Indian Tribes of the Ohio River Valley
  • Indian Tribes: Delawares, Shawnees, Ottawas, Miamis, Weas, Kickapoos, etc.
  • Ended the warfare in the area; All prisoners on both sides returned
  • Established a definite boundary between Indian lands and lands open to white settlement
land west of appalachian mountains
Land West of Appalachian Mountains
  • With the land now open in the Northwest Territory, Americans are now looking for a safe passage into New Orleans
  • With the defeat of the French during the French and Indian War, the Louisiana Territory now belongs to the Spanish
  • Americans wanted to gain access to port of New Orleans
  • Thomas Pinckney was sent to Spain to negotiate a treaty to allow access to disputed territories
  • Pinckney’s Treaty (1796)

- Granted Americans free access to Mississippi River and New Orleans

  • Pinckney’s Treaty was a great accomplishment for United States
end of george washington s presidency 1797
End of George Washington’s Presidency (1797)
  • Two political parties emerged
  • Federalists – Led by Hamilton, Washington, Adams

- Location: Northeast

- Interests: Strong Central Government, Pro-business, Pro-British in foreign policy

  • Democratic-Republicans – Led by Jefferson and Madison

- Location: South and West

- Issues: States Rights and Small Farmers, Pro-French in foreign policy

farewell address
Farewell Address
  • Condemned political parties
  • Warned of entangling alliances
  • Established two term limit for future presidents
john adams 1797 1801
John Adams(1797 – 1801)
  • 2nd President of the United States
  • Washington’s Vice President and a Federalist
  • Jefferson ran against Adams for Presidency
  • Adams won the Presidency but Jefferson became Vice President because he finished 2nd

*Wont be fixed until the 12 Amendment in 1804*

xyz affair 1797
XYZ Affair(1797)
  • France was angered by the American treaty with England (Jay’s Treaty, which called for neutrality)
  • France began seizing American trade ships
  • Adams sent diplomats to France but were turned away by the French government
  • American diplomats met with XYZ; if U.S. paid $250,000 then the French would ONLY meet with them to talk
  • Americans refused and anti-French sentiment was very popular in America
quasi war with france
Quasi-War with France
  • Americans fought French in Caribbean, yet no declaration of war
  • Alien and Sedition Acts (1798):

- President could expel any foreigner he deemed to be a threat

- Foreigners could be deported or jailed by President during wartime

- Residency for citizenship was increased from 5 to 14 years

virginia and kentucky resolutions 1798
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions(1798)
  • Democratic-Republicans very angry about Alien and Sedition Acts; believe its unconstitutional
  • If national government overstepped its powers, states could nullify laws
  • Resolutions written by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison
  • Accomplishments and failures of Articles of Confederation
  • Key provisions of U.S. Constitution
  • Difference between the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution
  • System of separation of powers/checks and balances
  • Many events from the Presidencies of Washington and Adams
  • Power of central government vs. states