Articles of Confederation

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document that sets the laws, principles, organization and processes of the government
Two Reasons Why Americans Wanted a Written Constitution
1) it would spell out the rights of all citizens
2) it would limit the power of the government
Purpose of the Bill of Rights
to protect a list of freedoms that the government guarantees the people (trial by jury, freedom of religion, freedom of the press)
The Articles of Confederation (definition)
1) name of America’s First Constitution in 1777
2) created a loose alliance of 13 independent states
First American Government
only had one branch of government – CONGRESS
The Articles of Confederation (facts)
1) Number of Votes each state had in Congress – 1
2) Number of States needed to pass a law – 9
3) Four (4) Main Powers of Congress
a) declare war, b) appoint military officers, c) coin money, d) responsible for foreign affairs
4) created a loose alliance of 13 independent states
Two very important powers CONGRESS did not have
1) could not regulate trade between states & foreign countries
2) did not have the power to tax
economic depression
a period when business activity slows, prices and wages drop, and unemployment rises
Executive branch
carries out the laws
Legislative branch
passes the laws
Judicial branch
system of courts that decides if laws are carried out fairly
settlement in which each side gives up some of its demands in order to reach agreement
a principle of the US government that establishes the division of power between the federal government and the states
separation of powers
three branches of government created so no person or group had too much power (legislative, executive and judicial)
checks and balances
a principle of the US constitution that gives each branch of government the power to check other branches
electoral college
group of electors from every state who meet every four years to vote for the President and Vice President of the US
proposed law
to reject (when President rejects a law passed by Congress)
gave more people right to vote than in colonial times
To vote, a citizen had
1) to be white, male and over 21
2) own certain amount of property or pay certain amount of taxes
(some women in New Jersey could vote and some African American men who owned property in a few states could vote)
Articles of Confederation – Limited Powers
1) Congress had limited powers, could pass laws but 9 states had to approve before they went into effect
2) no power to tax or regular trade between states & foreign countries
3) to raise money, Congress had to ask for it
4) no president to execute laws and states had to enforce laws (no system of Courts)
Articles of Confederation – dispute over land
Dispute over land west of Appalachian Mountains
1) Maryland didn’t want to give up their claim to land west of Appalachian mountains
2) Virginia was the last hold out but Thomas Jefferson convinced them to give up their claims in the West and the Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781.
1783 United States Won its Independence
Disputes among states continued because Articles did not give central government power to resolve conflicts
Problems under Articles of Confederation
1) After revolution, the US owed millions of $$ and Congress, w/o power to tax, had no way to repay the debts
2) During revolution, Congress printed paper currency (money) but dollar had little value- it wasn’t backed by gold or silver
3) continental dollars were nearly worthless-states starting printing their own money and trade become difficult
4) foreign countries took advantage (Britain ignored Treaty of Paris and didn’t withdraw troops from Ohio Valley)
Land Ordinance of 1785
1) law called for the Northwest Territory to be surveyed and divided into townships
2) each township would be further dividend in 36 sections or 1 square mile each
3) Congress would sell sections for $640 dollars a piece.
4) 1 section in each township was set aside for public schools
Northwest ordinance of 1787
1) Set up government for Northwest Territory
2) Guaranteed basic rights to settlers
3) outlawed slavery there
4) provided for region to be divided into separate territories
5) provided a way to admit new states to the nation
Northwest Ordinance Creating New States
1) Needed a population of 60,000 free settlors and could ask Congress to admit as a new state
2) New states would be equal to original states
3) Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were created from Northwest Territory
Economic Depression hits Farmers
1) depression hit farmers hard
2) war created high demand for farm products
3) farmers borrowed money for land, seed, animals & tools
4) after revolution, demand went down and farmers couldn’t repay loans
Farmers revolt
1) Daniel Shays, a Massachusetts farmer (fought at Bunker Hill and Saratoga) organized an uprising in 1786
2) More than 1,000 farmers took part in Shay’s rebellion – they attacked courthouses and prevented states from seizing farms
3) Massachusetts legislature sent militia to drive them away
Convention in Philadelphia
1) called to revise the Articles of Confederation
2) Articles of Confederation weren’t working
Why did Shay’s rebellion frighten many americans?
1) it was a sign that Articles of Confederation weren’t working
2) The people feared more rebellions
National Government
A main government that would unify the states; conduct the war, control trade, manage conflicts between the states, and help national relations.
Confederation Congress
Under Articles of Confederation stated that each state had one vote in the Congress, they had limited powers but could coin money, appoint military officers and declare war but had no power to tax or regulate trade
Articles of Confederation (achievements)
1) waged war for independence against Britain
2) peace treaty of Paris to end Revolution
3) Northwest Ordinance-when you live in territory you can create your own land
to bring changes of serious wrongdoing against public official
due process
(law) the administration of justice according to established rules and principles. Based on the principle that a person cannot be deprived of life or liberty or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards
Virginia Plan
James Madison’s plan at Constitutional Convention that called for three branches of government w/ two chambers of legislature (favored large states)
New Jersey Plan
Paterson’s plan at Constitutional Convention that called for three branches of government (favored small states)
Connecticut Plan
Roger Sherman’s plan at Constitutional Convention that said
1) one house of the legislature should reflect the state’s population-House of Representatives
2) one house should have an equal number of representatives from each state-Senate
Also called the Great Compromise–This solution ended the stalemate and paved the way for the completion of the Constitution.
introduction to a declaration, constitution or other official document “We the People …”
to ask that a decision be reviewed by a higher court
Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation served as the first constitution of the United States. This document officially established the government of the union of the thirteen states.
Why were the Articles of Confederation written?
Why were the Articles of Confederation written?
The colonies knew they needed some form of official government that united the thirteen colonies. They wanted to have written down rules that all the states agreed to. The Articles allowed the Congress to do things like raise an army, be able to create laws, and print money
The Articles of Confederation had 13 main articles

Article 2: The state governments still had their own powers that were not listed in the Articles.

Article 3: Refers to the union as a “league of friendship” where the states will help to protect each other from attacks.

Weakness of the Articles of Confederation
No power to raise money through taxes (federal/national government was too weak)
Weakness of the Articles of Confederation
No way to enforce the laws passed by Congress (federal/national government was too weak)
Weakness of the Articles of Confederation
the federal (national) government was too weak;
the state governments had more power
Weakness of the Articles of Confederation
Each state only had one vote in Congress despite the size of the state
What replaced the Articles of Confederation in 1788?
What replaced the Articles of Confederation in 1788?
replaced with the current United States Constitution
Why did the Articles of Confederation make the national government so weak?
Did not want to be like Britain; wanted to try something different, giving more power to individual states

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