“The Critical Period”1781 - 1789 The early years of the American Republic
America after the War New Political Ideas: - Greater power for the people Republic: Represent the Public
America after the War • State Governments rule supreme • All States had a constitution (written law)
America after the War: State Constitutions Checks and Balances” – to prevent a group from becoming too powerful (separation of powers)
America after the War: State Constitutions Expanded Voting Rights – Still only white men could vote
America after the War: State Constitutions Bill of Rights – Guaranteed the rights of people
Slavery • Development of abolition movement in the north • Quakers begin the first Anti-Slavery Society
Women • Expanded role: • “Republican Motherhood” • Disenfranchised • Abigail Adams
Potential problems facing the young nation • Foreign Policy • Economic Problems • Domestic Policy
Problems: Foreign policy • England: controlled trade, and still maintained a presence in America • Spain: controlled access to the Mississippi River, controlling the trade of Northwest farmers • France: Demanded repayment of debt • Pirates: Raiding American ships
$$ Economics $$ • Huge debt from war: Individual states and the national congress owed great sums of money • High inflation: American money was virtually worthless • Farm foreclosures: Patriots could not afford to pay back loans
The Young Nation • Should the new nation be 13 independent countries or is it one united country?
The Young Nation • During the Constitutional Era, the Americans made two attempts to establish a workable government based on republican principles. • American political leaders, fearful of a powerful central government like Britain’s, created the Articles of Confederation, adopted at the end of the war.
The Achievements of the Confederation Congress • In November of 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the. Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. • This was a plan for a loose union of the states under Congress. • The Articles set up a weak central government • The Confederation Congress met just once a year.
The Articles of Confederation America’s 1st national government: The basic law of the country from 1781 until 1789, when it was replaced by the U.S. Constitution
“The Articles of Confederation gave Congress the privilege of asking everything & gave the states the prerogative of granting nothing” -Robert Morris
Discussion Question • Identify the major weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation which rendered it inadequate.
The Achievements of the Confederation Congress • The Confederation Congress had the power to declare war, raise armies, and sign treaties. • It did not have the power to impose taxes or regulate trade. • The only way the Congress had to raise money to pay its debts was to sell its land west of the Appalachian Mountains. • Congress arranged this land into townships to make it easier to divide, sell, and govern.
Land Ordinance of 1785 Divided up western lands into townships and set aside land for public schools
The Achievements of the Confederation Congress • The Congress also set up the Northwest Ordinanceas a basis for governing much of this territory. • The ordinance created a new territory north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River, which could become three to five states. • When the population of a territory reached 60,000, it could apply to become a state.
Northwest Ordinance Land North & West of the Ohio River
Northwest Ordinance Established how territories became states Sale of land to pay national debt & create public schools Banned Slavery in Northwest Territories
Successes of the Articles of Confederation Treaty of Paris: ended the Revolutionary War. Northwest Ordinance (1785 & 1787):
Congress could: Raise armies Declare War Sign treaties Congress could not: Raise revenue through taxes Regulate tradeor collect tariffs Enforce its own laws Settle disputes between states Conflicting Powers of the Articles of Confederation
The Congress Falters • After the Revolutionary War, British merchants flooded American markets with inexpensive British goods which drove many American artisans out of business. • American states imposed duties (taxes) on imported goods. • The states did not all impose the same taxes so the British would land their goods at the states with the lowest taxes or restrictions.
The Congress Falters • Because the Confederation Congress could not regulate commerce, the states set up customs posts on their borders and levied taxes on other states’ goods. • This weakness of the Confederation threatened the union of the states. • The federal government had no powers over the states and could not force them to pay their debts to Britain or return Loyalist property.
The Congress Falters • The British retaliated by refusing to leave American soil as promised in the treaty. • Since Congress could not regulate trade, it could not force the British into settlement. • The end of the Revolutionary War and the slowdown of economic activity with Britain caused a severe recession in the United States.
The Congress Falters • To pay for the war, many states had issued bonds as a way to borrow money. • To pay back the bondholders, many people urged the states to issue paper money. • States did not have the gold and silver to back paper money and so the paper money greatly declined in value.
Shays‘s Rebellion • Shays’s Rebellion broke out in Massachusetts. • It started when the government of Massachusetts decided to raise taxes to pay off its debt instead of issuing paper money. • The taxes hurt the farmers most and those who could not pay their taxes and other debts lost their farms. • Daniel Shays led the rebellion.
Shays’s Rebellion • They went to a state arsenal to get weapons. • A government militia defended the arsenal killing four farmers. • Many Americans began to see the risk of having a weak central government. • They called for a change in government.
Shays’s Rebellion • Causes: • Increased taxes • Foreclosure on farms by banks Stirs memories of………..
Shays’s Rebellion • Effects: • Convinces people of the need to Strengthen national government
Shay’s Rebellion Farms were taken away from them because they couldn’t pay their debts. Farmers revolted Closed down courts so homes could not be taken away from them. Why couldn’t the Congress help to stop Shay’s Rebellion?
Failure of the Articles 1) America had a huge debt: Couldn’t pay our bills 2) Couldn’t stop fighting between states Not United
Failure of the Articles Almost impossible to change the laws Our Government was: Too Weak It could NOT protect peoples rights to: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
The Constitutional Convention • All states, except Rhode Island, sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia in 1787. • Most of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention had experience in government. • George Washington was presiding officer. • James Madison kept records of the debates. • The meetings were closed to the public.
Constitutional Convention(1787) • Philadelphia • All states except Rhode Island • George Washington: President of Convention (presiding officer) • James Madison: “Father of Constitution”
The Constitutional Convention • Leaders were all appointed by the state legislatures, whose members had been elected by voters who could qualify as property owners. • 55 delegates convened on May 25, 1787 in the Philadelphia statehouse , most all were men of high prestige and conservative • Jefferson, in Paris, called the group a “convention of demigods”
Divisions at the Convention • What are we doing here? Revise the Articles OR Write a new Constitution
Articles of Confederation • Went against Congress’s explicit wish to revise the govt. not replace it, states were now in danger of losing their sovereignty. • In effect, U.S. government was peacefully overthrown
Hot Topics • Representation • Large States vs Small States
Stronger New Government • National principle: • National government should be stronger than the states
Hot Topics (cont) • Slavery • North vs South