Us history Fort Burrows Creating a Republic 1776 1790 1 a loose Confederation read pgs 198 – 205

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US History

Fort Burrows

Creating a Republic - 1776 - 1790

7.1 - A Loose Confederation

READ pgs 198 – 205
The toils of agriculture will here be rewarded with a great variety of valuable productions, than in any other part of America. The advantages of almost every climate are here blended together; every considerable commodity that is grown in any part of the United States is here produced in the greatest plenty and perfection. The high and dry lands are of a deep, rich soil – producing, in wheat, rye, Indian corn, buck wheat, oats, barley, flax…”

Manasseh Cutler, The First Map and Description of Ohio,

1787 Settler from the Northwest Territory
Time Line:

1777 - The Continental Congress approves the Articles of Confederation which

begin to create a ‘loose’ association of states
1781 - The Articles of Confederation take effect
1785 - Congress passed the Land Ordinance of 1785

It sets up a system for surveying and settling the Northwest Territory

between the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers
1787 - Constitutional Convention meets in Philadelphia

The new Constitution creates a stronger central government
1789 - The 1st election under the new Constitution creates a stronger central

1789 – George Washington becomes the 1st president!! (1789- 1797)
1791 - The Bill of Rights is added to the Constitution to protect individual

Main Idea:
The Articles of Confederation created a weak central government and a loose alliance of independence states.
Constitution - documents that sets out the laws, principles, organization, and

processes of a government
bill of rights - written list of freedoms that a government promises to protect

Bill of Rights - the 1st 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution
execute - carry out
Articles of - 1st American constitution, passed in 1777, which

Confederation created a loose alliance of 13 independent states
cede - to give up
currency - money
Land Ordinance of 1785 - law setting up a system for settling the Northwest

Northwest Ordinance - 1787 article that set up a government for the

Northwest Territory, guaranteed basic rights to

settlers, and outlawed slavery there
depression - period when business activity slows, prices and wages fall, and

unemployment rises
Shays’ Rebellion - 1786 revolt in Massachusetts led by farmers in reaction to

high taxes
Setting the Scene:
In 1775, Thomas Jefferson rode 300 miles from Virginia to attend the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The roads were so poorly marked that Jefferson got lost twice. The only way he could get back on the path was to hire guides. The ties uniting the 13 states often seemed as hard to find as the roads linking them. The Declaration of Independence had created a new nation. But the former colonies had little experience working together. Many Americans wondered if they could create a central government that would unite the states effectively.
The States Rights Constitution
when forming a government, most states wrote constitutions

States wrote constitutions for two reasons:

  1. to spell out the rights of all citizens

  2. to limit the power of the government

Virginia’s constitution included a bill of rights – guaranteed trial by jury, freedom of religion and freedom of the press
“…that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession

and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever

hereafter be allowed, within this State…”

New York Constitution of 1777
State Governments were similar to colonial governments – divided power between legislature and executive

The Articles of Confederation
as state governments were formed, Congress was drafting a plan for the nation as a whole

Delegates believed colonies should be united by a national government to win their independence

few Americans saw themselves as citizens of one nation

they were reluctant to give up power to a central government

after much debate, Congress approved the 1st American constitution in 1777 – the Articles of Confederation (AOC)

this created a very loose alliance of 13 independent states

Limited Power

Πunder the AOC, the states sent delegates to Congress

Πeach state had one vote

Πthe AOC had no president to execute laws

ΠAOC had no system of courts to settle conflicts between states

Congress Could…

appoint military officers

declare war

be responsible for foreign affairs

coin money

Congress Could NOT…

raise revenue through taxes

regulate trade between states/foreign countries

pass laws if not approved by 9 states

Dispute over Western Lands

Πa dispute arose before the AOC went into effect

ΠMaryland refused to ratify the AOC unless Virginia and other states ceded their claims to land west of the Appalachian Mountains

Œ Maryland was afraid “landed” states would become too powerful

Πone by one, states ceded their claims to Congress

Πwith demands met, Maryland ratified the AOC in 1781 so the American

government could at last go into effect

¿¿ What powers belong to Congress under the Articles of Confederation ?




Weakness of the Confederation
by 1783, the US had won its independence

American Revolution did not solve all the problems

Americans had reason to doubt whether “these United States” could survive

Conflicts Between States

Πboth New Hampshire and New York claimed Vermont

Πthe AOC did not give central government power to resolve such conflicts
So long as any individual state has the power to defeat the

measures of the other twelve, our pretended union is but a name,

and our confederation, a cobweb.”

Noah Webster, Sketches of American Policy
Money Problems

Πafter the Revolution, the US owed millions to individuals and other nations

Œ Congress had no way to repay debts since they couldn’t tax

ΠCongress had solved the problem by printing paper currency during war

Πpaper money not backed by gold or silver so it had little value

ΠStates printed their own money but refused to accept money of others

Πas a result, trade became very difficult
Other Nations Take Advantage

Œ Foreign countries took advantage of the Confederation’s weaknesses

ΠBritain, ignoring the Treaty of Paris, refused to withdraw its troops from Ohio Valley

ΠSpain closed its port in New Orleans to American shipping
¿¿ List the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation

Admitting New States
despite troubles, Congress did pass laws how to govern the Northwest Territory

NW Territory lay north of Ohio River and east of Mississippi River

Laws established how territories would be governed and how they could become states

Land Ordinance of 1785 set up a system for settling NW Territory

  1. territory would be surveyed and divided into townships

  1. each township would be divided into 36 sections of 1 square mile each

  1. Congress planned to sell sections to settlers for $640

  1. one section in every township was set aside to support public schools

In 1787, Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance which…..

  1. set up government for Northwest Territory

  2. guaranteed basic rights to settlers

  3. outlawed slavery

  4. provided for vast region to be divided into separate territories in the future

  5. provided a way to admit new states to the nation

    1. once territory had population of 60,000 free settlers, it could ask Congress to be admitted as a new state

    2. each new state would be “on an equal footing” with the original states in all respects

    3. states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were created from the Northwest Territory

¿¿ What were the provisions of the Northwest Ordinance ?


A Call for Change
Northwest Ordinance was the finest achievement of the national government under the AOC

Government couldn’t solve economic problems and nation suffered an economic depression

Farmers Revolt

Πdepression hit farmers hard because war had created a high demand for farm products

Πfarmers borrowed money for land, seed, animals and tools

ΠAfter war, demand for farm products fell and farmers could not repay loans

Πsome states raised taxes

Πcourts seized farms of those who could not pay their taxes or loans

ΠFarmers felt they were being treated unfairly

ΠDaniel Shays, a Massachusetts farmer, organized an uprising in 1786

Œ more then 1,000 farmers took part in Shays’ Rebellion which attacked the courthouse and prevented the state from seizing farms

ΠMassachusetts militia drove them off
A Convention Is Called

Œ Americans saw Shays’ Rebellion as a sign the AOC did not work

ΠLeaders from several states called for a convention to revise the AOC

Πin May 1787, leaders met in Philadelphia

Πthis convention would create an entirely new framework of government

1. Why did state governments write constitutions ?


2. What process did the Articles create for admitting new states ?


3. Why did many Americans call for changes ?


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