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Chapter 3, Lesson 1 The Country’s First Governments
Essential Question
Why do people create, structure, and change governments?
State Constitutions
•As the colonies moved toward independence, they began to plan for the future. colonial charters
designed to govern the colonies under British rule did not fit the needs of an independent people.
•The states developed new plans, or constitutions, for their governments.
or two part,
elected by people
or legislature
judges and
to apply and
interpret laws
governor’s job was to
carry out
Bill of Rights
•Why did most state constitutions include a bill of rights?
guarantee the freedom of citizens
•State constitutions having bills of rights can be traced back to the English Bill of Rights and the
Magna Carta.
Chapter 3 Lesson 1, page 1
The Articles of Confederation
1. Some tasks were too big for individual states to handle on their own.
2. Example: A single strong army was needed to win the war against Britain.
3. American leaders met in the Second Continental Congress to plan for a confederation of states.
4. A confederation is a group of individual state governments that unite for a common purpose.
5. They created the Article of Confederation, which became the first constitution of the United
States of America.
6. This set up a “league of friendship” among the states.
7. By 1781, all 13 states had ratified, or approved the Articles.
8. The Articles created a one house legislature where each state had one vote.
9. The legislature was known as the Confederation Congress.
10. The legislature controlled the army and had the power to deal with foreign countries.
The Northwest Ordinances
1. The area called the Old Northwest included the present day states of Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota.
2. The Ordinance of 1785 set up a plan to survey, or measure a piece of land. It also described
how western lands were to be sold.
3. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 set up a government for this area, which was called the
Northwest Territory.
4. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 became a model for admitting new states to the union.
5. The Northwest Ordinance outlawed slavery in the territory.
Chapter 3 Lesson 1, page 2
Weaknesses of the Articles
Lack of Power and Money
•Congress had no power to collect taxes
•Congress had no power to regulate trade
•Congress had no power to enforce its laws
Lack of Central Power
•No single leader or group directed government policy
•No national court system existed
Rules Too Rigid
•Congress could not pass laws without the approval of 9 states
•Articles could not be changed without the agreement of all 13 states
Based upon the above chart, who had more power under the Articles of Confederation, the
national government (Congress) or the states? the states
The limited powers outlined in the Articles of Confederation made it difficult for the Congress to
pass and enforce laws. The Congress could raise an army. However, it could not pay for an army
because it did not have the power to tax. Why did the Articles of Confederation create such a weak
central government?
They disliked British rule and were afraid government would abuse its power.
Chapter 3 Lesson 1, page 3
Shays’s Rebellion
1. What success was the Articles of Confederation able to help the United States achieve?
won the American Revolution
2. What treaty ended the fighting between Great Britain and the new nation?
Treaty of Paris
3. What problems after the war caused Shays’s Rebellion?
A. States taxed people heavily to pay off debt.
B. Farmers went in debt to pay their taxes.
C. States tried to take their farms.
D. Farmers rioted.
4. What effect did Shays’s Rebellion have on people’s view of government?
They feared the government could not maintain law and order.
5. What did many political leaders, merchants, and writers begin to believe was needed to solve the
nation’s problems?
a stronger national government
6. What was the decision that 12 of the states made to solve the nation’s problems?
to meet in Philadelphia to revise, or change, the Articles of Confederation
Chapter 3 Lesson 1, page 4