The Pursuit of Equality

Pages: 7 (1610 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Chapter 9

The Pursuit of Equality

Declaration of independence claims "all men are created equal"
Most states reduced property holding requirements to vote
Less hierarchy-poorer people now reacquired to be treated with the same respect as their wealthy counterparts
indentured servitude was abolished by 1800
Trade organizations for artists and laborers=social democracy
primogeniture (inheritance laws) were removed
Anglican church dissolved-became the Protestant Episcopal Church
Separation of church and state-especially in Virginia
Philadelphia Quakers established the first antislavery organization
Continental Congress (1774) called for an abolition of the slave trade
Still, slavery was not illegal because a complete divide over slavery would tear the nation apart
more rights for women
"civic virtue"=democracy depended on the unselfish commitment of each citizen to the public good
"republican motherhood"=women became keepers of the nations conscience
women were seen as crucial to the nation

Constitution Making in the States
Constitutional Congress started asking states to draft their own constitutions
some states started entirely from scratch
Massachusetts was the most innovative: they called a convention to draft it and then asked the people to ratify it. This was radically democratic.
British constitutions were not the same as the written documents in the colonies-they were an accumulation of laws and customs.
The constitutions of the states were more fundamental and stable
there was a deep distrust for despotic governors and arbitrary judges
Capitals of many states were moved westward, which upset some Americans

Economic Crosscurrents
States were given land that was once owned by the British throne
Loyalist property was seized and made into small farms (this accelerated the economy)
Americans now had to make their own goods now that they were not importing goods from the British
stimulated manufacturing
American ships banned from British ports-still, they were now allowed to trade with foreign nations
economy was still shaky-the Continental Congress had a hard time making economic laws
The status of people was totally changed-poor became rich and vice versa

A Shaky Start Toward Union
Now that they were not under the control of the British-it was up to the Americans to make their own government.
It seemed to be a very difficult task to do this
many American leaders were preaching natural rights
Not much unity
The Americans were encouraged to step back from buying foreign goods, despite the bargain. Instead, it was desirable for them to make goods, or buy from fellow Americans.
They had good leaders in America and a gov't with a good mix of old British rule and their own ideas incorporated

Creating a Confederation
Articles of Confederation was written at the request of the 2nd Continental Congress (this happened right before they declared independence in 1776)
they showed it to the French after Saratoga, hoping it would show them the fervor of Americans and gain their help
took the colonies until 1781 to unanimously ratify the Articles
The states started fighting over the new land that was available to them
The smaller states were upset with the privilege that larger states like New York and Virginia received
suggested that the western territory of America was given to the central gov't
New York surrounded its western claims and so did Virginia, so Maryland finally signed the Articles, which was the last approval needed
Congress said they would give up the west for the benefit of the country
Pioneers moving westward bought their land from the government
Uniform national land policy

The Articles of Confederation: America's First Constitution
loose league between the colonies after the confederation was passed
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