America Democracy or Republic?
State Constitutions • States began drafting documents that outlined how their governments should be run. • There were many similarities between the constitutions: • Popular Sovereignty • Limited Government • Checks and Balances
Articles of Confederation • Debated on by the Continental Congress • Essentially the first National Constitution for the United States • Virginia first to ratify AOC – Dec. 16, 1777 • Maryland last to ratify AOC -- March 1, 1781
Articles of Confederation • Debates: • How should representation be divided? • Population vs. Equal Proportion • Decided that because they were each representing individual states that they would each be worth one vote. • Who has the power to tax states? • Federal government, States, or no one • No taxes from federal government • Who should have more power? • States or federal governments? • States have supremacy over government
Land Ordinance of 1785 • Established a plan for surveying the land • Made parcels of small land affordable to everyday folk. • Land divided into townships that were 36 square miles • Land then divided into 36 pieces • Land then sold as whole or in sections • All profit went to the federal government
Northwest Ordinance of 1787 • Congress provided procedure for dividing the land into territories • Set requirements for admission of new states • Congress would appoint a territorial governor and judges • When the territory had 5000 voting residents, the settlers could write a temporary constitution and elect their own government. • When the total population of a territory reached 60,000 free inhabitants, the settlers could write a state constitution, which had to be approved by Congress before it granted statehood.
Shay’s Rebellion • Protest lead by impoverished Massachusetts farmer Daniel Shay. • Veteran of Bunker Hill and Saratoga, returned to his land in grave debt. • Faced debtors prison • Believed he was unfairly taxed • Protested that the courts be closed so the farmers would not lose their land. • Led 1200 men militia toward an arsenal at Springfield • 4 rebels were killed, but a call for a stronger governemtn was sounded
Words from Washington • “The consequences of.. [an] inefficient government are too obvious to be dwelt upon. Thirteen sovereignties pulling against each other, and all tugging at the federal head will soon bring ruin on the whole… Let us have [government] by which our lives, liberty, and property will be secured or let us know the worst at once.”
Constitutional Convention • Held May 1787 in Philadelphia State House • Independence Hall • Windows tightly closed from eaves droppers and outsiders • 55 delegates in total, all but Rhode Island sent delegates • Rich, well-educated men such as Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington
Key Compromises at the Constitutional Convention Representation Slavery
Division of Powers • Federalism- divided power between the national government and the state government. • How is this contradictory from the AOC?
Separation of Powers • 3 Branches • Executive • Legislative • Judicial • Checks and Balances • In order to make sure no branch gets too strong, each branch “looks over the shoulder” of the other branches.
Electoral College • The framers wanted to make sure that only the smartest, most politically knowledgeable made the decisions in the country. • They set up a process in which the people do not vote for the president, instead they vote for a representative to vote for the president for them. • The electoral college is made up of the amount of Senators and Representatives per state.