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HST 3200 Study Guide - Fall 2019, Comprehensive Final Exam Notes - United States Congress, President Of The United States, United States Constitution


Department
History
Course Code
HST 3200
Professor
Johnn
Study Guide
Final

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HST 3200

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Summary - Notes
The Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation were adopted by the Second Continental Congress on
November 15, 1777, but did not become effective until March 1, 1781, when they were
finally approved by all 13 states. Under the Articles, the national government consisted
of a unicameral (one-house) legislature (often called the
Confederation Congress
);
there was no national executive or judiciary. Delegates to Congress were appointed by
the state legislatures, and each state had one vote. Congress had the authority to
declare war, develop foreign policy, coin money, regulate Native American affairs in the
territories, run the post office, borrow money, and appoint army and navy officers. Quite
significantly, however, all powers not specifically delegated to Congress belonged to the
states.
Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
Congress did not have the direct power to tax or to regulate interstate and foreign trade.
It could only ask the states for money with no means to compel payment, and the states
had the right to impose their own duties on imports, which caused havoc with
commerce. Congress had no authority to raise an army on its own and had to
requisition troops from the states. All major policy issues war and peace, treaties, the
appropriation of funds required the approval of nine states. The Articles reflected the
nation's concern about executive power; however, the lack of an executive meant there
was no effective leadership. A unanimous vote of the states, acting through their
legislatures, was necessary to amend the Articles.
Calls to strengthen the national government
The need for a stronger national government was aired by the representatives of five
states, including Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, at the Annapolis
Convention (September 1786). The inability of Congress to deal with Shay's
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Rebellion (winter of 17861787), a revolt of debtor farmers in western Massachusetts,
made the shortcomings of the Articles clear. In February 1787, Congress agreed to hold
another meeting "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of
Confederation."
The Constitutional Convention
Fifty-five delegates from 12 states (Rhode Island did not participate) met in Philadelphia
in May 1787. While authorized only to "revise" the Articles of Confederation, the
participants moved quickly to develop a new structure for the government.
The Virginia Plan
The early debates centered on a proposal by James Madison known as the Virginia
Plan. Supported by the large states, it called for a bicameral (two-house) legislature
empowered to make laws. The lower house was elected by voters in each state, and
the upper house was chosen by the lower house from candidates nominated by the
state legislatures. Representation in both houses was based on population. The
executive was chosen by the legislature for one term and was responsible for executing
all laws. The legislature also appointed the judges to one or more supreme courts and
lower national courts. A Council of Revision made up of the executive and judges could
veto laws passed by the legislature or the states; a vote by both houses was needed to
override a veto by the Council.
The New Jersey Plan
The small states supported a less radical departure from the Articles of Confederation.
The New Jersey Plan kept the one-house legislature, with its powers expanded to
include raising revenue and regulating commerce. Each state had one vote, and the
members were chosen by the state legislatures. A multiperson executive elected by the
legislature was proposed. The executives, who were removable by action of the majority
of the governors, also appointed judges to the Supreme Court. Laws passed by the
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