Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
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Who wrote the Articles of Confederation?
John Dickinson of Pennsylvania gets most of the credit. But, Benjamin Franklin was looking over his shoulder. The Articles were in effect from 1781-1789 (The Critical Period).
What were some of the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation?
Each state could coin own money.No executive (though there was a President of Congress -- John Hanson. Some consider him to be the first president of the US ... hit your teacher with that one!)No regulation of interstate commerce. No interstate court system. No Army. 9/13 was needed to pass a law.13/13 was needed to make an amendment.
Daniel Shays' Rebellion was a Massachusetts uprising where farmers were protesting imprisonment for debt, lack of currency, and high taxes. It showed just how weak the Articles were, as there was no national army to put down the insurrection. The Massachusetts state militia eventually ended the violence, but plans to scrap the Articles were intensified.
Land Ordinance and Northwest Ordinance
These were the only true accomplishments of the Articles, besides the fact that they were on the books when the War ended. These ordinances provided for future settlement in the west, as well as future statehood for areas that would reach 60,000 inhabitants. No slavery would be allowed in this northwestern region.
A meeting that decided to have another meeting! Only 5 states were represented here in Maryland ... they determined that the Articles were weak, and further discussion should happen in Philadelphia in 1787.
55 Delegates assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 ... THEIR INTENTION WAS NOT TO MAKE A CONSTITUTION ... IT WAS TO AMEND THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION. Of course, they would indeed make the Constitution here.
Virginia Plan, New Jersey Plan, Great Compromise
Virginia Plan -- James Madison -- wants a bicameral (2 house) legislature based on population.New Jersey Plan -- William Paterson -- wants representation based on equality so the small states are not under-represented. Great Compromise (Connecticut Compromise of Roger Sherman) We will have a bicameral (2 house) legislature where the House of Representatives is based on population, and the Senate has equal representation (2 Senators per state).
North wants -- Slaves to count for taxation, but not representation. South wants -- Slaves to count for representation and not taxation.Compromise -- slaves will count for 3/5th of a person for both taxation and representation.
North wants -- tax on imports and exports. South wants -- tax on imports, not exports (they export a lot of farm goods). Compromise -- a tariff is a tax on imports ... there is no tax on exports.
Federalist / Anti-Federalist
Federalists - favor the Constitution - led by James Madison, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton. Anti-Federalists - are scared that the Constitution will put too much power in the hands of the government - led by James Winthrop, John Hancock, George Clinton, George Mason.
What was written to persuade New Yorkers and other doubters to ratify the Constitution?
The Federalist (or The Federalist Papers). Alexander Hamilton wrote most of them. John Jay wrote a few on foreign policy. But, James Madison wrote the most famous one ...
James Madison contended that the Constitution would work in a very large republic. He said that a strong union would be able to control tyrannical factions, or groups who were out for their own good. He believed that a republic that serves the public good would eliminate the effects of dangerous factions.
Bill of Rights
Ultimately the Constitution would be ratified (approved) when 9 of the 13 colonies agreed. But the promise for a Bill of Rights was critical. The Bill of Rights protected the simplest of freedoms, like speech, right to bear arms, due process, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, right to counsel, etc. NOTE -- THE BILL OF RIGHTS WAS COMPLETED IN 1791, TWO YEARS AFTER THE CONSTITUTION WENT INTO EFFECT.
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