Articles of Confederation ("The Rope of Sand")
New Social Fabrics
A.Pro-democracy efforts gained.
1.Expulsion of 80,000 Loyalists robbed the nation of leadership and a conservative balance to revolutionaries.
2.Entail and primogeniture repealed, weakening aristocracy.
a)Forbidden in many new state constitutions
b)Some northern states abolished slavery or provided for phased emancipation
1.Church of England ruined, replaced by Episcopal Church, separate from England.
2.Democratic spirit encouraged spread of frontier faiths (Methodism, Baptists).
3.Strong statement of separation of church and state written by Jefferson in Virginia in 1786.
C.Because economic democracy preceded political democracy, little retributive violence occurred following the war. Some Loyalist land was broken up into parcels for farming.
D.Postwar economic problems resulted from severing ties with Britain
1.Commerce with Britain almost completely halted
2.Speculation and profiteering during the war had led to inflation with Congress unable to control its effects
3.New class of profiteers emerged
4.Economic causes of war had led to distaste for taxes, further weakening Congress' ability to take action.
E.Created by the 2nd Continental Congress in 1777, but not approved by the states until 1781.
F.Congress was the dominant force (no executive or federal courts), but it was hobbled by rules:
1.All bills required 2/3 vote for passage
2.Any amendment to the Articles required a unanimous vote
3.Each state had 1 vote.
4.No power to regulate commerce
5.No tax enforcement power (states paid taxes voluntarily).
G.Land Ordinance of 1785
1.Northwest territory land sold to pay off debt.
2.Land divided into townships six miles square (then into 36 sections of one square mile each).
3.One section reserved for a public school.
H.Northwest Ordinance of 1787
1.Territories established, which could eventually become states on an equal basis with the original 13. Needed a minimum of 60,000 inhabitants.
2.Slavery forbidded in Northwest.
Foreign and Domestic Problems
1.Britain refused to send an ambassador, to make a commercial treaty, or repeal the Navigation Laws. Trading posts along Canadian border source of trouble with Indians.
2.Spain seized lands granted to the U.S. by Britain and harassed trade on the Mississippi River.
3.France demanded repayment of loans made during the Revolution and restricted trade with the West Indies.
J.Domestic disputes arose over economic and political weakness
1.Some states refused to pay any taxes, while interest on the public debt grew and the nation's credit dwindled.
2.States began levying duties on each other's products and quarreling over boundaries.
3.Shays' Rebellion (1786) broke out in western Massachusetts with frustrated farmers losing their farms due to mortgage foreclosures and tax delinquencies.
a)Massachusetts authority put down the uprising with force (killing three)
b)Leaders throughout the nation worried about the potential of domestic unrest.
The Call for Reform of the Articles
K.Annapolis Convention, called to deal with interstate commerce squabbling, instead requested a convention to meet in Philadelphia to deal with reforming the Articles.
L.55 representatives from 12 states (Rhode Island boycotted) assembled in Philadelphia in May 1787 to "make a more perfect union."
The Constitutional Convention
The Setting of the Philadelphia Convention
M.Early decision to re-write, rather than tinker with the Articles of Confederation
N.Open agreement secretly arrived at--Washington's plea
1.Economic --protect property rights and make America safe from democracy.
2.Idealistic--make a perfect Union
3.Pragmatic--dealing with the question of sovereignty. Placing common interests over regional or personal concerns.
P.55 delegates from 12 states
1.Young (average age 42), professional (over half were lawyers), men of economic substance
2.Many were Revolutionary War veterans
3.Absent: Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, other Revolutionary War heroes.
1.Washington--president of the convention
2.Madison--researched every previous republic
a)Large republic is not only possible, it's preferred
b)Popularly elected officials with sovereignty in the hands of the people, not the states
3.Franklin--81 years old. The steadying influence
R.Great Compromise (bicameral legislature representing both people and states)
1.Virginia Plan or Large States Plan(Edmund Randolph)
a)2 house legislature with representation based on population for both
b)President and courts chosen by legislature
2.New Jersey Plan (William Patterson)
b)separate executive and judicial branches
c)increased powers of Congress
a)Lower house membership dependent on population
b)Upper house with two members from each state
S.Three-Fifths Compromise (60% of slaves counted for representation and taxation; no Congressional interference with slavery for 20 years)
1.Non-slavery states wanted slaves counted for taxation, but not representation and wanted an end to importation of slaves
2.Slave states wanted slaves counted for representation, but not taxation and no interference with slave trade by the federal government
T.Commerce Compromise (no tax on exports, simple majority needed to pass commerce bills)
1.Cotton and tobacco producing states wanted restriction of taxes on exports and all commerce bills to be passed by a two-thirds vote of Congress
2.Northern industrial states wanted federal tariffs to keep up out cheaper European products and raise revenues for the government.
U.Because of fear of opposition from states, only 9 of the 13 were needed for the Constitution to take effect
V.Because of opposition from state legislatures, conventions elected by the people were given authority to approve or reject Constitution.
W.Federalists vs. Antifederalists
1.Most Federalists were wealthy and well-educated andsought the creation of a more powerful central government
2.Most Antifederalists were farmers who were loyal primarily to their state governments
a)Feared taxation power of federal government
b)Republican government could not rule a large nation
X.Federalist Papers--most influential political literature of the time
1.Argued that limitations on governmental power were built into the Constitution
Y.Promise of Bill of Rights added to the Constitution helped persuade opponents to ratify it.
The Federalist Era (1789-1800)
Hamiltonians vs. Jeffersonians
Z.Hamilton's views--Man is irrational, corrupt, and guided by base instincts.
1.Sovereignty must rest with a strong central government insensitive to the popular will
2.Government's function is maintain order in a potentially chaotic society. It needs to be remote and secure from the people's emotional uprisings.
AA.Jefferson's views--man is rational, capable of self-improvement.
1.Government exists to protect man's natural rights to life, liberty, and happiness.
2.The greatest threat to man's freedom is tyrannical government. It needs to be limited in its powers and completely responsive to the needs and desires of the people.
3.State governments should have greater power because they are less likely to be despotic.
BB.Protective tariff to stimulate industry
CC.Willingness to assume debts of states
DD.Willingness to assume Confederation's debts
EE.Establishment of a national bank. Purposes:
1.Repository of national assets
2.Issue paper money based on assets
3.Source of investment capital
1.Whiskey Rebellion (1794)--2000 armed men
2.Washington leads militia to put down revolt
Jeffersonian Opposition to Hamilton's Plans
GG.Strict constructionist view--creation of U.S. Bank exceeded Congressional authority
HH.10th Amendment forbids the national government exercising powers not delegated to it.
II.Commercial and manufacturing interests favored over farming interests.
JJ.French Revolution--Early sympathy and support turned to divisive feelings following Louis XVI's execution.
1.Democrat-Republicans were strongly pro-French and formed Republican clubs advocating war with England and Spain
2.Federalists viewed England as the defender of property rights against French anarchy.
3.Citizen Genet lands in pro-French South, begins building revolutionary armies to attack Spanish Florida and Louisiana, and outfits privateers to attack British shipping
a)Washington sees Genet officially, but expresses America's intention of remaining neutral
b)Internal divisions between Federalists and Democratic-Republican societies increased.
KK.Jay Treaty (1794)
1.Trouble with Great Britain arose over fur trading posts in the Northwest and interference with American shipping
2.Jay negotiated with British who agreed to:
LL.Pinckney Treaty (1795) gave Americans the right to navigate freely on the Mississippi River.
MM.XYZ Affair--French demands for a bribe before negotiating with Americans so angered citizens that they called for war. Congress armed privateers, commissioned an army, and ordered new ships built
1.Naval war with France raged for two years, with 90 French ships captured.
2.France agreed to American terms in the Convention of 1800.
Fall of the Federalists
1.Alien Acts made it more difficult to become a citizen, provided for detention of aliens in time of war, and allowed the president to deport any alien
2.Sedition Act outlawed criticism of the government or the president (10 convictions obtained)
3.Jefferson and Madison wrote the Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions which stated right of states to disobey Congress if laws exceeded Constitutional authority. First statement of nullification.
OO.Jefferson's election in 1800 ended the reign of the Federalists.
1.Jefferson and Burr ended up with 73 electoral votes each
2.Hamilton cast his support to Jefferson, ending the tie
3.12th Amendment allows for president and vice-president to run on the same ticket.