Articles of Confederation to the Constitution
The Articles of Confederation
The writers of the Articles of Confederation were cautious about giving the new government powers they had just denied Parliament. b.
Weaknesses in the Articles included the following:
A lack of authority to tax
A lack of authority to exercise authority directly over the states c.
The most important accomplishment was the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. That ordinance did the following: i.
Provided for the orderly creation of the territorial governments and new states (Ohio was the first state admitted to the Union from the Northwest territory.) ii.
Excluded slavery north of the Ohio River
Supported public education
Shay’s Rebellion, 1786
The rebellion was sparked by the economic frustrations of Massachusetts farmers who were losing their farms because they could not pay debts in hard currency. b.
The leaders of Shays’ Rebellion sought these changes:
An end to farm foreclosures
An end to imprisonment for debt
Relief from oppressively high taxation
Increased circulation of paper money
The leaders of Shays’ Rebellion did not attempt to overthrow the government of Massachusetts. d.
Shays’ Rebellion helped convince key leaders that the Articles of Confederation were too weak and that the United States needed a stronger central government. C.
The Federal Constitution
The Constitution was the result of a series of compromises that created a government acceptable to large and small states, as well as to free and slave states. b.
The following provisions were in the Constitution, as submitted to the states in 1787: i.
The separation of powers, which organizes the national government into three branches ii.
The authority of Congress to declare war
A guarantee of the legality of slavery
The creation of an Electoral College to safeguard the presidency from direct popular election v.
Provision for impeachment of the President
Provision for the presidential State of the Union message vii.
Provision for ratifying the Constitution
A bicameral legislature, as created by the Great compromise x.
Enumeration of the powers of Congress
The Three-Fifths Compromise (Slaves counted as a three-fifths of a person for purposes of representation and taxation.) c.
The following provisions were not in the Constitution, as submitted to the states in 1787: i.
A two-term limit for presidents
Universal manhood suffrage
A presidential cabinet
The direct election of senators
Guarantees of freedom of speech and of press (added in the Bill of Rights) vi.
The right to a speedy and public trial (added in the Bill of Rights) vii.
The idea of political parties (The framers opposed political parties. They believed that political parties promoted selfish interests, cause divisions, and thus threatened the existence of republican government.) D.
The Federalist Papers, 1887
Alexander Hamilton and James Madison wrote the Federalist Papers (sometimes known as The Federalist) to support ratification of the Constitution of 1787. b.
The prevailing conventional wisdom was challenged when Madison and Hamilton asserted that a large republic offered the best protection of minority rights. “In an expanding Republic,” wrote Madison, “so many different groups and viewpoints would be included in the Congress that tyranny by the majority would be impossible.” E.
Those opposed to federalism feared that a strong central government would become tyrannical. b.
Opponents of federalism did the following:
Drew support primarily from rural areas
Argued that the President would have too much power
Feared that Congress would levy heavy taxes
Feared that the government would raise a standing army
Believed that the new national government would overwhelm the states vi.
Argued that individual rights needed to be protected
Alexander Hamilton’s Economic...
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