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Lecture

Building the New Republic.docx

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Department
History
Course Code
HIS271Y1
Professor
Erin Black

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Description
Building the New Republic: America’s First Twenty- Five Years 10/12/2011 2:08:00 PM I. A Rocky Start  Reason: o When independence was declared the 13 states met to create the articles of confederation  Drafted 1777  Ratified 5 years later o Articles didn’t set up any real central authority  Only gave the central government right to enter war and treaties, and regulate trade (not through the imposition of taxes) and postal services o Was only a united states in name only, not in practice  Each state was its own individual power o Distrusted strong central government as a result of the king of England  Weakness of articles of confederation o Western frontier lands  Most states had claims to the west of their actual boundaries  There were many conflicts in these boundaries  Idea came about that all of this land be turned over to the new government  Ended up holding up the ratification of the articles of confederation  Land doesn’t go directly to the national government but is ceded by the states  The fight over land shows the first weakness of the confederation o Debts  The congress is incapable of paying off its debts  To pay for the war they had borrowed money from france and had started printing its own money which devalued its dollar  As a result of the articles of confederation, it is not able to tax the people, preventing congress from paying off that debt o Unstable Boundaries with Britain and Spain  Spain initially refused to accept the previously stated boundaries, and then Spain closes the Mississippi river to the Americans  Spain and Britain showed no respect to the new united states  Viewed them as the disunited states  Saw the weakness in the congress  Impetus for Change o Shay’s Rebellion  Source directly ties to the weakness of the national congress under the articles of confederation  Since the congress couldn’t directly tax the people, it turned to its states to tax their people  Massachusetts  Had no problem raising taxes  Legislature required hard currency  Large amount of population didn’t have access to hard currency  Result was that large amounts of people (commonly farmers) were sent to jail for failure to pay taxes  Daniel Shay  Petitioned that paper money should be accepted  Rebellion  Marched on the states congress in order to protest the increased taxes and demand for hard money  Congress fears what’s happening  Tries to increase the size of the continental army  Receives no help  Governor of Massachusetts raises his own private army to put down the rebellion  Shows the weakness of the government to be able to raise their own army  As a result James Madison brings about another conference to discuss the articles of confederation  Philadelphia 1787  Goal was to revise the articles of confederation  Instead throws out the articles of confederation and the constitution is born II. Creating the constitution  The Philadelphia convention, 1787 o 2/3 were lawyers o many served in the national congress o many served in the continental army during the revolution o decided to meet in secrecy, closed session  allow the delegates to explore options without fear of persecution o Delegates were a variety of people with incredibly varied views o Virginia Plan (James Madison)  Didn’t want to bother working with the articles of confederation but make something new  Wanted a new vision for the united states  Wanted a 3 branch bicameral system  Representation in both houses would be based on population  Clear break from articles of confederation  In the articles all states, regardless of population had the same amount of votes  Smaller states opposed this plan, due to losing seats in the house o New Jersey Plan  New Jersey, Delaware, New Hampshire  Call for keeping the existing single chamber congress  Suggested they alter the powers granted to the existing systems  Ability to tax and use force for example o Both plans are debated with a focus on representation o Compromise  Kept with the idea of the 3 branches of government  Upper house: Senate would have equal representation (2) no matter the size of the state  Lower house: House of Representatives would be based on population  The Vision of Government o Legislative Branch (Congress)  Senate have 2 representative per state  House of representatives are based on population  Brought about question of who counts as people  Are slaves people or property?  3/5 clause  all other persons count as 3/5 of a person  smaller states wanted them to count as property not persons in order to increase the property tax burden on the slave holding states  the large slave holding states wanted them to count as people in order to increase their population  Senators  Are not originally elected by the population but appointed by the state legislature  Later changed in 1912  The new congress has much more power then the old congress  Taxation  Borrow money  pay off debts  ability to regulate interstate commerce  regulate international commerce  power to call forth a military  right to declare war on another nation  right to support armies and navy and their rules  elastic clause  make laws that are necessary and proper  ex: congress has the right to legislate the American economy  unstated yet state declaration  gives congress ability to do whatever it needs to do o Executive Branch (President)  4 year terms  in the creation there is no limit on how many terms  ability to appoint his own cabinet  must do so with the approval and consent of the senate  commander and chief of the American military but does not have the right to declare war  can negotiate treaties with other countries, but treaties must then go to the senate  veto  can refuse any laws passed by congress  congress can veto his veto with a 2/3 vote  impeachment  treason, high crimes, or misdemeanor  house of representatives must vote in majority  senate puts the president on trial with the chief justice of the supreme court as the judge  been activated 3 times  1860’s Andrew Johnson o failed by 1 vote  Richard Nixon o Nixon resigned before impeachment  Clinton  Election  Chosen by electors that make up the electoral
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