The Articles of Confederation CONSTITUTION. States and Constitutions. Articles of Confederation. State Constitutions Cont.. Westward settlement

States and Constitutions The Articles of Confederation   To the  CONSTITUTION State Constitutions Cont..       Each State Constitution...
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States and Constitutions

The Articles of Confederation

To the 


State Constitutions Cont..      

Each State Constitution had a list/bill of rights State governments had three branches LegislativeLegislative- created laws, most were Bicameral ExecutiveExecutive- and elected governor JudicialJudicial- power over court systems Property requirements for office holding was the norm


Colonies become States, Draft new Constitutions, By 1777 ten had constitutions. Battle between those who want well Defined Rules and Order (conservatives) and those who want to protect individual rights (liberals). State Constitutions were approved by a vote of the people or State legislatures.

Articles of Confederation       

Weak Central government, limited power. Unicameral Legislature, used Committees No Executive No Judicial Each state had one vote 9/13 states were needed to pass laws Amendments had to be Unanimous

Westward settlement

Was the constitution during the winning of the Revolutionary War The country was not ready for a strong central government, and therefore needed a GLORIOUS FAILURE. But it did have successes:  

Passed the Land Ordinance of 1785 Passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787


Managing the Frontier in the Early Republic

The Frontier During the Revolution  

Land Ordinance of 1785 Northwest Ordinance of 1787 Indian Intercourse Act of 1790 Battle of Fallen Timber Battle of Tippecanoe

The Complexity of Western Land Claims

Formation of the Northwest Territory 

The question of western lands Americans and the “right of conquest” Ceding the western land

Patriots and Loyalists Tribal alliances Warfare in the Backcountry The Impact of the Peace of Paris (1783)

The Land Ordinance of 1785  

Speculators and Squatters

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787  

Thomas’ Jefferson’s plan of government The Northwest Ordinance  Government and statehood  slavery  Indian land rights The Indian Intercourse Act of 1790  The status of Indian nations  “to promote civilization”

Surveying the land Selling the land

Northwest Ordinance  

Approved by Congress July 13, 1787 Area north of the Ohio River and East of the Mississippi River. Interim federal control while local governments were being developed Governor, Secretary and Three Judges, appointed by Congress


Guarantees of the Northwest Ordinance

Northwest Ordinance 

Whenever a district reached a population of 5000 free males, it could elect a bicameral legislature and send a nonnon-voting member to Congress. When the population reached 60,000 free inhabitants the district would be eligible for statehood.


Freedom of religion Trial by jury Each would enter the union "on an equal footing with the original states." that revenue generated from the sale of a portion of each township in the state would go to fund public education— education—the first instance of federal aid for education in American history.

Northwest Ordinance cont.. 

"neither slavery nor involuntary servitude" were to be allowed. that a good faith effort would be made to respect the Indians in the territory.



Social unrest: Shays’ Shays’ Rebellion 

Shays's Rebellion, winter, 1786 

Daniel Shays led a mob of farmers in Massachusetts to prevent bank foreclosures on farms. This showed vulnerability of state government and lack of ability to maintain order. The rebellion prompted Congress to call for representatives to be sent to Philadelphia to discuss constitutional revisions.

War debts were unpaid, problem with establishing good credit with other nations No power to tax Could not force Great Britain to leave the western lands. Shays Rebellion, dependence on state militias

Limitations/Problems No Chief Executive

Nine of the thirteen states needed to approve laws

13 out of 13 states needed to approve Amendments

No coordination of committees, no uniform domestic policy Rarely were all the delegates present, states voted in blocks, 5 Small versus 8 large. Never could get the 13 states to agree


Continued No power to regulate interstate commerce

No power to enforce treaties

Led to disputes between states, could not regulate to protect American business, tariffs Could not force the British to leave American territory

Continued No power to enforce laws, LIMITED national court system state courts interpreted national laws

Timeline — Prequel to the Constitution     

Dec. 1773 — Boston Tea Party Apr. 1775 — first battles of Revolutionary War, at Lexington and Concord, MA July 4, 1776 — Declaration of Independence adopted by Congress Nov. 15, 1777 — Articles of Confederation adopted by Congress Mar. 1, 1781 — Articles of Confederation ratified by states (cont’ (cont’d)




“The fundamental and organic law of a nation or state, establishing the conception, character, and organization of its government, as well as prescribing the extent of its sovereign power and the manner of its exercise.” exercise.”

— Black’ Black’s Law Dictionary Sets the broad rules of the game. The rules are not neutralneutral- some participants and policy options have advantages others don’ don’t.

Could only ask and request could not force states to follow the laws

Timeline (cont’ (cont’d)  

1783 — Revolutionary War ends with peace treaty The Aborted Annapolis Meeting  


An attempt to discuss changes to the Articles of Confederation. Attended by only 12 delegates from 5 states.

Shay’ Shay’S REBELLION TRADE DIFFICULTIES Sept. 1786 — Hamilton proposes another convention, this time in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation May 1787 — Philadelphia Convention commences work Sept. 17, 1787 — Convention concludes its work with a proposed Constitution (cont’ (cont’d)

Constitutional Convention (1787) 

Hamilton asks for another convention to “revise” revise” the Articles. This time at Philly. The CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION  Stated

Purpose: the Articles  12 of 13 states sent delegates  revise

Not a cross section of the country, but the elite. Real purpose:  Secret meeting  Write

a new constitution is Limited government

 Purpose of government


A Convention of DemiDemi-Gods?      

Issue of Representation

Franklin Madison Hamilton Washington William Patterson Edmund Randolf

Virginia Plan– Plan–Edmund Randolph  

New Jersey Plan– Plan–William Patterson 

Connecticut Compromise (Great Compromise)  

Created a bicameral legislature The first chamber of Congress would be apportioned according to number of inhabitants in each state (House). In the second chamber, each state would have equal representation (Senate).



Electoral College House of Reps elected by the people, but the Senate appointed by State Legislators (the elite) interstate vs intrastate trade slave TRADE can’ can’t be outlawed until 1808 etc

Each state should be equally represented regardless of population

ThreeThree-fifths Compromise   

Fundamental difference lies between slave and nonnon-slave states Over 90 percent of the slaves lived in five states (Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia) Compromise result: five slaves would be counted as three persons.  

Other Compromises

Framework for a new constitution Representation was to be based on the population of each state or the proportion of each state's revenue contribution

Supported by slave states to increase representation Supported by nonslave states that advocated principle of property representation

Left slavery question unresolved until Civil War

Key principles of the Constitution 

Separation of powers - assignment of law making, law interpreting and law executing functions to different branches of government Checks and balances - the power of scrutiny and control of each branch over the other two branches of government Republicanism - not classical democracy, but based on representation, calibrated popular input Federalism - two levels of government, with central government supreme


Separation of Powers 

"Ambition should be matched with ambition" (Madison) Prevents power accumulation in one branch

Checks and Balances     

States versus national government House versus Senate Executive versus legislature Courts versus executive and legislature Senate versus executive on treaties and appointments People through elections versus legislatures

Preamble of the Constitution

“We the people . . .” .”

“We the people of the United States, in order to . . . establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” America.”

“In adopting [the Constitution], the Framers envisioned a uniform national system, rejecting the notion that the Nation was a collection of States, and instead creating a direct link between the National Government and the people of the United States. . . . (cont’d)


“We the people . . .” .” (cont’ (cont’d)


“. . . [The] Congress of the United States, therefore,

Federal government

is not a confederation of nations in which separate sovereigns are represented by appointed delegates, but is instead a body composed of representatives of the people. people.”

State governments

— U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779 (1995)

Article I – Legislative branch

The US Constitution 

The Basic Structure Preamble  Article I:  Article II:  Article III:  Article IV:  Article V:  Article VI:  Article VII:

The Legislative Branch The Executive Branch The Judicial Branch National Unity and Power Amendment Procedure National Supremacy Ratification Requirements

Article I – Legislative branch 

Structure of the legislative branch Apportionment of Senators and Representatives among the states  Qualifications for holding office  Roles of House and Senate in impeachments  Basic functioning of the two houses  Role of Congress and president in making law: President’ President’s power to veto, Congress’ Congress’s power to override 

Two things you don’ don’t want to see being made: Sausage Laws

Article I — Powers of Congress 

Enumeration of Congress’ Congress’s powers

(Art. I, sec. 8)  

17 specific enumerated powers 1 catchcatch-all: “necessary and proper” proper” aka. Elastic Clause


Article I — Limitations on federal legislative power 

Specific limitations on the federal legislative power (Art. I, sec. 9):  No prohibiting importation of slaves before 1808  No suspension of habeas corpus  No bills of attainder or ex post facto laws  No granting titles of nobility

Article I — Limitations on state legislative power 

States may not:  Enter into treaties  Issue their own money  Pass bills of attainder or ex post facto laws, or impair contracts  Except with consent of Congress, impose duties on imports or exports, keep troops, or enter into an agreement with another state

Article II – Executive branch Election of President and Vice President, qualifications for office (Art. II, sec. 1)  Revised by 12th Amendment  Successorship, Successorship, in case of President’ President’s death or disability  Revised by 25th Amendment

Limitations on state legislative power (Art. I, sec. 10)

Article II (cont’ (cont’d)

(cont’ (cont’d)

Article III – Judicial branch 

Structure of the judicial branch  Creates the Supreme Court, and authorizes

Congress to create lower courts (Art. III, sec. 1)  Establishes rules regarding judges: life tenure, no reducing salary  Describes the types of cases that courts can hear and decide (Art. III, sec. 2)  Assigns the Supreme Court original and appellate jurisdiction (Art. III, sec. 2) BUT NOT Judicial Review  Defines the grounds for treason (Art. III, sec. 3)

Powers of the President (Art. II, sec. 2)  Commander in chief  Entering treaties and making appointments, with advice and consent of the Senate

 “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” executed” (Art. II, sec. 3)

Grounds for impeachment of President, VP, and other officials (Art. II, sec. 4)

Article IV – Relations among the states Relations among the states:  States must give “full faith and credit” credit” to judicial

decisions and other official actions of other states (Art. IV, sec. 1)  States must extradite accused persons to other states (Art. IV, sec. 2)  Each state is guaranteed “a republican form of government” government” (Art. IV, sec. 4)


Article V — Amendment of the Constitution  Amending

the Constitution  Amendments proposed by Congress or state

So now it written, but… but… 

Need to get 9 of 13 to ratify???? What happened to 13 of 13 to change the A of C?


conventions  Ratification by ¾ of states


Article VI — Supremacy Supremacy:

 Constitution and federal law overover-rule state



Large landowners, wealthy merchants, professionals


Small farmers, shopkeepers, laborers


Strong national government Feared excessive democracy Elites best fit to govern


Strong state government Feared concentration of power in few hands Protection for individual liberties


Patrick Henry James Monroe Melancton Smith George Mason Elbridge Gerry George Clinton Samuel Adams Richard Henry Lee (introduced the idea of the Dec. of Independence)

What of the protection of people’ people’s liberties?  

Ratifying the Constitution

Ratifying the Constitution 

Hamilton Madison????? Jay Gouverneur Morris (Madison took much of the Preamble from his Massachusetts state Constitution John Dickinson (wrote the Articles of Confederation


Neglected to include provisions in draft of the Constitution State constitutions generally included such provisions. Protection of liberties the duty of the states? Roadblock to ratification Bill of Rights was promised

Federalist No. 10: factions

We can’ can’t count on wise governors

“faction” faction” = “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community” community” [15]

“It is vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.” helm.” [16]


Madison’ Madison’s cure for factions Majority factions, which promote their own interests at the expense of the public good and the rights of other citizens



Democracy “Pure democracy” democracy”= “a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person” person” [16]

A republican form of government, instead of pure democracy  A large, populous nation, instead of a small one

Madison’ Madison’s view of pure democracy “[Pure democracies] have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” deaths.” [16[16-17]

The benefits of representation The effect of introducing representation is “to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations” considerations” [17]

Republicanism “Republic” Republic” = “a government in which the scheme of representation takes place” place” [17]

Representation (cont’ (cont’d) Result of representative government: “the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves” themselves” [17]


Majorities will be drawn to justice

Federalist No. 51: checks and balances

“In the extended republic of the United States, . . . a coalition of a majority of the whole society could seldom take place on any other principles than those of justice and the general good . . . .” .” [24]

“[T]he great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others.” others.” [22]

We’ We’re not angels

Plato: we need to become angels

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” necessary.” [22]

“Until philosophers are kings, kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one . . . cities will never have rest from their evils — nor the human race, as I believe — and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.” day.” — Plato, Republic 473 c.e. c.e.

Timeline (cont’ (cont’d) 1787 - 88 — Federalist Papers published June 21, 1788 — ninth state (NH) ratifies the Constitution, making it effective  Sept. 1789 — Bill of Rights proposed  Dec. 1791 — Bill of Rights ratified  


Bill of Rights – First 10 Amendments Limits Congress (1st Amendment)  Limits Executive (2nd-4th Amendment)  Limits Judiciary (5th-8th Amendment)  Limits National Government (9th-10th Amendment) 


Assessing the Constitution: Achievements

Hierarchy of sources of law  The people (i.e., ¾ of the states)

Created unified nation capable of defending itself Facilitated the country’ country’s economic development 

U.S. Constitution Federal statutes and common law

Outlawing separate state currencies Outlawed state tariffs

Created a presidency that was first filled by Washington

State constitutions State statutes and common law

Assessing the Constitution: The Constitution Today 

Constitution continues to give many groups/interests opportunities to voice their concerns   

Constitutional ambiguity Adaptability Successful governing arrangements

Stain of slavery  

Could not resolve an intractable problem Strong solution would mean no ratification


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