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HIS271 - Building a New Nation

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Grant Brown

Building a New Nation Wednesday, October 20 / 2010  The revolution created the framework and the language by which marginalized groups were able to express themselves and find the freedoms that were created by the revolution, but were not realized  Convention to discuss the articles of confederation – was a response to the failure of the articles  Each states had different laws which complicates things  Power did not lie in the hands of the population  Two options: The Virginia Plan (the “big states plan”) – representation by population. The Virginia plan distressed the smaller states, and the New Jersey Plan served to the smaller states, but they both gave more power to congress.  Within the concern of representation within the states system, slavery became an issue  How will they balance the need for sovereignty while lowering the power of the executive? The Great Compromise  Produced the US Constitution  Create a balance between the small and large states  Bicameral legislator  Supreme courts to adjudicate disputes between the states  Allowed to declare war, levy taxes, regulate trade, and to legislate  In the Upper House each state would have equal representation, and in the Lower House representation would be based on population  Southerners = slaves are people / Northerners = slaves are not a part of the population  3/5 of a person = what slaves were counted as  The constitution barred the government from ending slavery for over 20 years (in 1808)  Runaway slaves had to be returned to their state of origin  Applied the concept of Federalism (divisible power between state and national governments) – inserted a system of “Checks & Balances” (the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial)  The public would elect only members of the House of Representatives  The president selected judges who served for life Electoral College  Each state would appoint electors (sometimes by popular vote, and sometimes by state legislator)  They would elect the president  People have a say, but it is indirect  Originally, the person with the second most votes would become vice president  However, this created problems for a number of reasons (clash of political parties…in an event of a tie)  In the event of a tie, the votes would go to congress, and congress would attempt to break the tie  12 Amendment – 1804  The notion that not too much power would be put in the hand on any one group  The biggest issue had to due with the fact that there was no clear idea of citizenship, and no written record of individual rights and citizenship  Debate between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists Federalists  Mostly came from the upper class of society (wealthy, educated, powerful)  Most lived in northern regions on the east coast  Produced the federalists papers (were a series of articles authored in support for the federalist cause)  Published in the hopes of swaying states that were struggling over the idea of ratification  Underplayed the need for something like the Bill of Rights  The Federalist Papers are very important to American political thought and the framework for the constitution The Ant-Federalists  Basically opponents of the constitution  Supported by Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry  Believe they were defenders of the revolution and republican values  In favor of states rights  Worried about higher taxes, weakened state legislature, and return to corruption that came from Federalism  Most came from rural south – large support from there (mostly lower class and people who had the most to gain from the revolution)  1788 = 9 conventions had already agreed to adopt the constitution (later followed by Virginia and New York) Celebrati
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