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ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION
VS. U.S. CONSTITUTION
NORTHWEST ORDINANCE - 1787
Land would be divided
up and occupied by
American citizens
 Slavery would be
banned in the
Northwest Territory
 What problems would
this cause?


The U.S. began
trading with other
countries, including
Britain (in special
circumstances)
The federal
government could not
control trade within
the states, so states
would charge each
other and other
countries whatever
they wanted to charge
 Each state was acting
like an independent
country


Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress
could not:





Impose taxes
Regulate trade
Raise an army
Have an executive
Have national court system

The new government was in a recession –
economic slowdown
SHAYS’ REBELLION - 1787
Massachusetts
government raised
taxes to pay off its
debts, which hit the
farmers the hardest
 Former Continental
Army Captain Daniel
Shays was now a
bankrupt farmer

Shays took 1,200 farmers to seize the state
arsenal and march to Boston
 He was met by 4,000 state militia
 The whole rebellion was defeated and only four
farmers were killed

This made the state and federal governments
terrified of rebellion
 They realized that the Articles of Confederation
made the federal government way too weak
 In 1787, they would hold a Constitutional
Convention

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION – MAY 1787
Every state except Rhode Island came
 Goal = balance states rights with the need for a
stronger national government


Thomas Jefferson was unable to attend because
he was serving as an American minister in
France – called the meeting “an assembly of
demigods”
THE VIRGINIA PLAN
Toss out Articles of Confederation
 Two house Congress
 Wanted the federal government to be in charge of
the states and have the ability to tax
 Wanted executive, legislative, and judicial
branches of government
 Wanted all state representation to be based on
population

THE NEW JERSEY PLAN
Modify Articles of Confederation
 One house Congress
 Federal government would have power to raise
taxes and regulate trade
 Wanted all state representation to be equal

THE GREAT COMPROMISE (CONNECTICUT
COMPROMISE) – ROGER SHERMAN

Ben Franklin (age 81) would oversee the debates

Decided: 2-house Congress (bicameral)
House of Representatives – based on population,
chosen by eligible voters
 Senate – equal representation, chosen by state
legislatures

3/5 COMPROMISE
The South wanted to count their slaves in
population
 The North did not want to


Decision – every five slaves would be counted as
three free persons
IDEAS OF THE CONSTITUTION – LIMITED
GOVERNMENT
Popular sovereignty- rule by the people
 Federalism – power divided between federal and
state government


Separation of powers
Legislative branch – make laws (Congress)
 Executive branch – enforce laws (President)
 Judicial branch – interpret/review laws (Supreme
Court)

Checks and balances – keeps each branch from
becoming too powerful
 Amendment – change to the Constitution
 Veto – reject
 Impeach – formally accuse of misconduct


The Constitutional Congress ratified (passed) the
United States Constitution

Needed 9/13 states to pass it before it could become
effective
FEDERALISTS VS. ANTI-FEDERALISTS
Federalists – supporters of the Constitution
 Anti-federalists – opposed the Constitution
because of states rights and it didn’t have a Bill
of Rights

John Hancock
 Patrick Henry

THE FEDERALIST PAPERS

Written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton,
and John Jay

Defended the Constitution and stressed the
importance of what was needed

The last state ratified the Constitution in 1790
George Washington became the first president of the
United States of America in 1789.
