History 2301E Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Constitution Of The United Kingdom, Unanimous Consent, Bicameralism

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16 Nov 2011
Lecture 13 – The Constitutional Revolution: Designing a New
Revolutionary distrust of executive sets the stage
Enthusiasm lived under the “world’s greatest constitution”
Justified their resistance under the British constitution
Corruption of the executive branch of British government
The Making of Revolutionary State Constitutions, 1776-1783
1776 – Radical phase of state constitution-making
Governor’s powers decreased, legislative powers increased
1780 – conservative phase of state constitution-making
(e.g. Massachusetts)
Governor’s powers increased, legislative powers decreased
American leaders coming to realized the powers of the
legislature is more feared that the governor’s
Tried to regain some of the lost powers of the British
Governor’s regained some of the powers held originally by
the Royal Governor’s (e.g. veto powers)
Checks and balances of each branch of the government
The Movement for a Stronger National Government
Articles of Confederation (ratified 1781)
Weak national government; unicameral legislature
Powers of the national government; unicameral legislature
(each state had one vote)
Produced a weak national government
War, foreign relations, settled intercolonial disputes,
Indian trades, evaluation of the currency, etc.
Weaknesses: no income, could not tax, no uniform
commercial policy, no coercive powers
Articles not meant to create a strong national government
– America meant to be a strong “league of friendships”
Reasons for movement: flaws of Articles of
Confederation, army supply, national finance, fear of
democracy (Shay’s Rebellion)
Shay’s Rebellion: Massachusetts, led by Daniel Shay,
group of indebted farmers, threatened their own local
government, democracy out of control
Similar to what will happen to the Confederacy in the Civil
Constitutional Revolution: transformed structure of
central government
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