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Learning Target
• The American Revolution’s democratic and
republican ideals inspired new experiments
with different forms of government.
OK, we won our Independence
and everyone was very excited!
Very excited…
• After declaring independence in 1776,
American political leaders created new
constitutions and declarations of rights that
articulated the roles of national and state
governments to protect their rights.
• These documents protected individual rights
and limited government power.
• Power was typically placed in the hands of
state governments, property rights were
strongly protected.
This protection of property extended to…
Articles of Confederation
• The first government we tried, was called
the Articles of Confederation. Under this
government, the 13 states were unified and
a central government with very limited
power was created.
• After all, they knew what they didn’t want
in a government…
• So they went the other way…
Articles of Confederation
• Under the Articles, there was no real
national government.
– 13 individual republics united loosely together.
– Power lay in the hands of the States.
Articles of Confederation
• But it got worse…
• During the Revolution, the Congress printed
$250,000,000 of money they didn’t have to
pay for the war.
Financial Crisis
• This created a financial crisis that had to be
dealt with.
• If America would not pay off its debts, then
the new nation could not receive credit.
• No credit, no international business.
• No international business, no economy!
Financial Crisis
• Since each state controlled its own
economy, currency and credit the 13
individual states really controlled the
economy of the United States.
Financial Crisis
• If the Federal Government controlled the
economy, currency and credit then the
financial crisis could be dealt with.
• But that would require a new government.
• The Articles of Confederation, had to go!
• Instead of having 13 individual republics,
each sovereign & independent, we needed
one government with power over the states.
• This went against everything the people
thought before.
Constitutional Convention
• 55 men arrived in Philadelphia to debate the
new Constitution. Among them were:
– George Washington, Benjamin Franklin,
Alexander Hamilton and James Madison
Constitutional Convention
• James Madison
was the central
figure in the
writing of the
• They had a few things going for them:
1.) They knew they needed a new form
of government.
2.) They knew what they didn’t want.
Constitutional Convention
• And they had a lot of…
Constitutional Convention
• Two main sides to the debate:
– The Virginia Plan
– The New Jersey Plan
The U. S. Constitution
• Threatening to derail the convention was
the issue of slavery.
The U. S. Constitution
• But there was another problem…
• Representation in the House of
Representatives depended on population.
Southern states believed they would be
under-represented in Congress, and slavery
could be outlawed by northern states who
were turning against slavery.
The U. S. Constitution
The U. S. Constitution
• Slaves would each count as 3/5 of a person
for the purposes of representation in
• This increased the population of southern
states by 20%
The U. S. Constitution
• And it provided enough southern votes in
Congress to fend off any challenges to
slavery until the Civil War.
President Washington
• Dealing with
this was
Economic crisis
• When President Washington met with his
cabinet, one of the first issues to come up
was the debt from the Revolution.
Economic crisis
• The new, stronger, federal government had
just inherited a debt of $54,000,000
• (in 1790 dollars)
Economic crisis
• Alexander Hamilton also wanted the federal
government to assume the debts the states
had accumulated under the Articles of
– Another $21,000,000
Economic crisis
• This would put the federal government in
charge of the U.S. economy, the states
would not have any control over it.
Economic crisis
• Since most southern states had paid off their
war debt already, this was not a popular
plan in the South.
Blue = < 1 person per
sq. mile
Orange = > 50 people
per sq. mile
Economic crisis
• A deal was struck between Alexander
Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson
– Hamilton would get federal control of the entire
debt of the united States
Economic crisis
• A deal was struck between Alexander
Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson
– The capital of the united States would be
located in the south, giving southern states
access to the central government.