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FROM CONFEDERATION TO UNION: The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution

Jan 14, 2016



  • FROM CONFEDERATION TO UNION: The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution

  • Powers of State Government after the RevolutionLegislative branchelected two house legislatureExecutive branchelected governorJudicial branchsystem of courts

    All white males who owned some property could vote

    Higher property ownership qualification to hold office

  • New Central GovernmentArticles of ConfederationEstablished a central government consisting of one body CongressEach state given one vote9 out of 13 needed to pass lawsUnanimous vote required to amend

  • Accomplishments of the ArticlesWinning the War - Negotiated favorable terms in the treaty of peaceLand Ordinance of 1785 Established public policy for western landsNorthwest Ordinance 1787 Granted self-government to territory and prohibited slaveryEstablished rules for creating new states

  • Social Change After the WarAbolition of Aristocratic TitlesReinvented the Role of WomenSeparation of Church and StateSlavery

  • Weakness of Articles of ConfederationForeign Relations:European nations had little respect for the new nation that could not: pay debtsforce states to adhere to the Treaty of Paristake effective and united action in a crisisBritain and Spain threatened to take advantage of U.S. weakness interested in western lands

  • Weakness of Articles of ConfederationDomestic Issues:Shays Rebellion Rebellion of farmers against high state taxes, imprisonment over debts, and lack of paper moneyDepression as a result of foreign trade reductionQuarrels between states

  • Annapolis ConventionAlthough representatives from all states were invited, only 5 states sent delegates to AnnapolisMadison and Hamilton persuaded others to reconvene in a new meeting to revise the Articles

  • Issues at the Constitutional ConventionChange the Articles or draft an entirely new document?Nationalists favored a strong central governmentSystem of Checks and Balances

  • The Debate over RepresentationThe Virginia PlanFavored large statesNew Jersey Plan Favored small statesThe Great CompromiseProvided a two-house congressEqual representation in the SenateRepresentation based on population in the House of Representatives

  • SlaveryHow were slaves going to be counted?Were the slave trade and slavery itself to be allowed under the Constitution?3/5 Compromise: Each slave counted as 3/5 of a person for taxation and populationSlaves could be imported for 20 years (until 1808), at which time Congress could vote to abolish the practiceGreat as the evil is, a dismemberment of the Union would be worse.--James Madison

  • TradeNorthern states wanted central government to regulate interstate commerce and foreign trade.South was afraid taxes would be placed on agricultural products (i.e., tobacco & rice)Commercial Compromise Congress regulates interstate and foreign commerce, including tariffs on imports, but prohibited taxes on exports

  • The PresidencyElectionSome argued that President should hold office for lifePresidents term 4 years but set no limit to the number of termsElectoral College feared too much democracy might lead to mob rule

    PowersVeto acts of CongressMay appoint federal judges who serve for life

  • Electoral CollegeElection of the President was yet another compromise. Heres how it works:People from each state choose electors (process different from state to state)# of electors based on populationMeet as one body to vote for President vote for two people (most votes=President, the second most votes=Vice President)If no one received the majority, the House of Representatives selects President based on majority vote

  • Federalists v. Anti-FederalistsFederalists supported the Constitution and wanted a strong national governmentFederalist PapersAlexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison writing as Publius 85 essays, printed in newspapers, explaining the Constitution and trying to convince people to ratify the Constitution

    Anti-Federalists- opposed the Constitution because it lacked a Bill of Rights, their protection against government interference

  • What did they ratify?A federal system governmentSeparation of powers into three branchesSystem of checks and balancesPopular sovereignty as the guiding principle