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Lec notes on Building the New Republic: America’s First 25 years- Oct 9th

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Erin Black

Oct 9 2013 HIS271Y Building the New Republic: America’s First 25 years I. A rocky start  Is primarily b/c there r a number of issues facing the US, and lacked authority facing the new country  The first few yrs functioned as independent states instead of united states  1777- weakness articles of confederation  Western frontier lands o Claims were overlapping o Could not be ratified until the nxt 5 yrs o Individual states ceded territory o It should all be federal land o Virginia cedes most of its territory o Land ceded by states as federal territory o States interested in own individual interest than the interest of eth federal state- thus there is weakness and it takes 5 yrs  Debts o Congress borrowed money to help finance the war o But it has no authority to tax  Stable boundaries with Britain and Spain o The B have military forts in the American territory and the soldiers r still in the fort o There is no pressure to respond because of gov weakness o “dis-united states” o Thought of themselves instead of the united states as a whole o Disputes b/w Georgia and Florida o Spanish closed the Mississippi river to American trade o There r some ppl in the country that the articles need to be re-amend to give congress a bit of teeth to deal with all these issues  Impetus for change  Shay’s rebellion o Asking states for tax o Most of eth 13 states refused, except massachusetts o Taxes be paid in hard currency o Those who fight against taxes, end up in jail o Most r urban based o 3000 dissapents marched in the courthouses to let them out of jail o They were thus called rebels o The army was too little size to do anything o So congress can’t use force to end the rebellion o It concerned groups of citizens in other states o Thus a conference is called to change the articles of confederation-1777 o Congress endorsed this II. Creating the constitution  The Philadelphia convention, 1787  This is working in complete secret to give congress power  But it’s not a united voice  Disputes among the delegates  The first is called the Virginia plan (James Madison) o Replace congress with 3 branch gov: executive, judiciary and legislative o Based on population o members of eth smaller states de their own plan for maintain the existing single changing congress- to alter the power of congress to tax  New Jersey plan o Compromise of representation- the upper house has to represent equal rep for all states  The vision of gov  Legislative branch (congress) o Northerners did not want slaves to count o To determine the state pop based on all free persons and 3/5 of all other persons (3/5 clause) o The upper house (senate): every state will get 2 senator’s o Senators r not to be elected by ppl but by the state legislature of new York- this doesn’t change until 1912 o Now congress has more power: to tax, borrow money and coin money, regulate trade b/w states, setting interest rates, patines and copy rights, pull forth military, declare war on foreign power, how military will function and finally the elastic clause : can make laws. A sentence in the constitution that can make laws about anything stated above  Executive (president) o That he will be 1 guy and serve a 4 year term o He has a veto power over congress o But congress can veto his veto o Commander and chef of armed forces- but cannot declare war uncles congress allows it o Negotiate treaties o Can be impeached- works by the house of reps to initiate presiding o This happened only 3 times: Johnson- won case, Nixon- resigned before it could happen, Clinton- won the case o Senate vote decides if they r guilty or not, but the house decides if there should be a proceeding but not really elected by ppl but by the electoral collage o Every state gets an elector o Big states have more electors than small states o Collage still exists to this day o So ppl r really voting for electors o 270 electors to win, even if u get the most votes on the ground  Judiciary (supreme court) o Soul power is judicial review o can strike law down and it will never come up again o initially the review worked for federal laws, but then it can extend to state laws  Features of the constitution  but constitution is the highest law  checks and balances in play- only congress can declare war but president cant  it’s very ambivalent on the issue of slavery  1- the 3/5 clause  Slave trade referred to as the transportation of persons- shall not be prohibited till 1807  The internal slave trade is still legal  The fugitive slave clause referred to as- the only ppl, who r held to service are traded persons  The word slave is never mentioned  The failure to address issue of slavery becomes heavy to America in the fut
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