A new Nation 1781-1850 Chapter 5 – Shaping a New Nation Section 1: Experimenting with Confederation



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Unit 2: A New Nation 1781-1850
Chapter 5 – Shaping a New Nation
Section 1: Experimenting with Confederation


  • Colonies become states

    • The colonies were afraid to enter into a strong national government.




  • Unity through a republic

    • REPUBLIC-a government in which citizens rule through their elected representatives.

    • REPUBLICANISM-the idea that governments should be based on the consent of the people

    • Many people believed that a republic would succeed if people put the needs of the nation over personal interests.




  • State constitutions

    • Most limited the powers of government leaders, and guaranteed rights of citizens.

    • The right to vote was different for every state.




  • Political precedents




  • Continental Congress debates




    • Questions debated over:




      • Should the government be set up by number of people or should the power be equal for each state?




      • Can the government share supreme power with the states?




      • ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION-two levels of government share powers-state and federal




      • CONFEDERATION-alliance




  • Western Lands—the land west of the Appalachians became their own states.







      • LAND ORDINANCE OF 1785-established a plan for surveying the land




      • NORTHWEST ORDINANCE OF 1787-divided the land into territories.




      • In order for a territory to become a state:

        • Congress would appoint a territorial governer

        • When the territory had 5,000 voting residents, they could elect their own government

        • When the total population of the territory reached 60,000, they could write a state constitution and become a state if approved by Congress.




  • The Confederation Encounters Problems




    • Political and economic problems

      • One problem was that each state worked independently. As a Confederate, the nation lacked unity.

        • Each state had only one vote in congress, no matter how many people lived in the state.

        • Every state had to agree on any amendment to the Articles of Confederation.

      • The biggest problem facing the nation was paying for the Revolutionary War.

        • America had borrowed $190 million

        • The government had no power to tax the people.






  • Borrowers versus lenders

    • Wealthy people (creditors) had lent money to the states wanted high taxes so the states could pay them back.

    • People who owed money (debtors) wanted more paper money printed to help them pay off their debts.




  • Foreign-relations problems

    • Spain’s presence on the borders of the US made moving west a problem.

      • Spain closed the Mississippi river to American boats.

        • Congress was too weak to do anything about it.

    • Britain refused to evacuate some forts on the Great Lakes.

    • These problems showed major weaknesses with a Confederation government.

Section 2 Drafting the Constitution




  • Nationalists Strengthen the Government

    • SHAY’S REBELLION-a group of Massachusetts farmers who were protesting increased state taxes.




    • Call for Convention

      • Fights over interstate trade taxes led to problems between the states.

      • JAMES MADISON-called for a meeting of state delegates to discuss the interstate trade problems.




    • Convention Highlights

      • May, 1787, all states (except Rhode Island) met together.

      • George Washington was elected presiding officer.




  • Conflict leads to compromise

    • Big States vs. small states.

      • One big problem was fair representation for all states in Congress.

      • ROGER SHERMAN-proposed the Great Compromise

      • GREAT COMPROMISE-established a two-house national legislature-all states have equal representation in one house, and the other is based on population




    • Slavery-related issues

      • THREE-FIFTHS COMPROMISE-the agreement to count to count 3/5 of a state’s slaves as population for taxes and representation.




  • Creating a New Government

    • Division of powers

      • FEDERALISM-a political system in which a national government and the state governments share power.

      • The federal government could control foreign affairs, provide a national defense, control trade between states, and print money.

      • State governments could provide education, make marriage laws, and regulate trade in a state




    • Separation of Powers

      • The delegates needed to limit the power that the government had, so they created three branches.

      • LEGISLATIVE BRANCH-the branch of government that makes laws.

      • EXECUTIVE BRANCH-the branch of government that enforces the laws.

      • JUDICIAL BRANCH-the branch of government that interprets the laws.

      • CHECKS AND BALANCES- prevents any branch from dominating the other two branches.

      • ELECTORIAL COLLEGE-a group of people selected by the states to elect the president and vice president. (equals the same number of senators and representatives each state has).

Section 3 Ratifying the Constitution




  • Federalists and Antifederalists

    • Controversies over the constitution

      • RATIFICATION-official approval

      • FEDERALITS-favored the new Constitution’s balance of power between the states and the national government

        • They said the checks and balances would protect Americans from tyrrany.

      • ANTIFEDERALISTS-opposed having a strong central government and were against the Constitution

        • They argued that the Constitution did not protect individual rights.




    • The opposing forces

        • THE FEDERALIST-a series of essays defending the Constitution




  • The Bill of Rights leads to ratification

    • People demand a Bill of Rights

      • Antifederalists said that since the Constitution weakened the states, people needed a bill of rights.

        • People need the freedom of speech, press, and religion

        • Right to trial by jury

        • Right to bear arms




    • Ratification of the Constitution

      • All states ratified the Constitution by 1790




    • Adoption of a Bill of Rights



      • BILL OF RIGHTS-the first ten amendments of the Constitution.

        • 1st Amendment-freedom of religion, pres, speech and political activity.

        • 2nd, 3rd Amendments-right to bear arms as militia, prevents government from housing troops in private homes during peacetime.

        • 4th – 8th Amendments-fair treatment of people accused of crimes

        • 9th Amendment-peoples’ rights are not restricted to those listed in the Constitution

        • 10th Amendment-all states have all the powers that the Constitution does not specifically give to the national government.


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