US History Survey US Constitutionpost-Revolutionary developments
politics• issue of war debts – owed to other countries, to average Americans, and to speculators who had bought many bonds cheaply. How to pay them off? How to tax?• Articles of Confederation created a not very strong central government. States were easy on debtors.• desire by many, especially wealthy merchants, for a stronger central government. – commercial regulation – revenue – i.e., taxes
Constitutional ConventionPhiladelphia, May – September, 1787
55 convention delegates, selected by states• not Rhode Island – localists were in power.• social & economic elite – 34 lawyers – 29 college-educated – 24 members of Congress – 21 officers in Revolution – 19 slave owners – land speculators & merchants.• who was not included?
secrecy of convention • delegates decided to operate in secret. • they even kept windows closed through the summer.
Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia
disagreements• how much power for the federal government?• how much power for the state governments?• small states feared large states would dominate.• different plans were hotly debated.• results: Great Compromise.
compromise # 1• 2-house Congress, legislative branch.• Senate – representation by state. Each state got 2 members, regardless of size.• House of Representatives – number of members proportional to the population of each state.• this plan for Congressional representation still exists today.• House is reapportioned after decennial censuses.
compromise # 2• how to count slaves in population? Southern states wanted to count them.• how to count slaves for taxation? Southern states wanted to exclude them.• compromise: 3/5 rule – slaves would be counted as 3/5 of a free person for apportionment for House and for taxation.
3/5 compromise• Articles of Confederation had no 3/5 clause, which magnified southern states’ power.• Articles had no fugitive slave clause.
compromise # 3• slave trade – South Carolina & Georgia wanted to continue importation from Africa.• compromise: no federal restriction on importation of slaves for 20 years.• fugitive slaves in free states would be returned to owners in slave states.• note: the word slave does not appear in the Constitution.
Black Methodist revival in Philadelphia
Preamble to Constitution• We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
debate over ratification by states• Federalists supported new constitution.• Anti-Federalists believed it gave too much power to central government & weakened states.• common belief that a republic could only function well in a small country.
Federalist essays• written to convince voters to ratify the Constitution.• written by Madison, Hamilton, John Jay.• control factions by extending government.• no faction can gain control.
Alexander Hamilton James Madison
factions/sides over ratification• mostly agrarian interests & localists opposed new constitution.• mostly commercial & cosmopolitan interests favored new constitution.• some states agreed to ratify only if a bill of rights included.• Constitution ratified by 2/3 states, 1788.• Madison took suggestions & wrote up a bill of rights, 1789.
Bill of Rights (1st 10 Amendments), 1791• no official religion; freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of press, right to petition.• right to bear arms.• no right of government to quarter troops in homes.• no unreasonable searches or seizures.• cannot be compelled to testify against self.• due process of law guaranteed.• powers not delegated to federal government reserved to states.
new government• Washington elected president 1788 & again in 1792. Called Mr. President – no aristocratic title.• temporary capital in New York City.• Congress established executive departments, which became the president’s cabinet.• Judiciary Act of 1789 – created court system.• Separation of powers – executive, legislative, judicial.
Washington taking oath as first president• New York City, 1789.
what was new in American government?• no aristocracy, no inherited titles.• rights of citizens clearly articulated.• intention to create a government that was democratic and republican.
what were effects of compromises?• 3/4 of presidential elections, 1788 – 1846 (12 out of 16) were won by slave owners, because of 3/5 clause.• Southerners dominated federal government because of 3/5 clause.• discussion of slavery in 19th century focused on extending or not extending it westward, rather than on ending it.
what’s been useful and what has been debated in Constitution.• includes process for change (amendments).• Bill of Rights copied numerous places.• has survived dramatic changes in American culture, economy, politics, society.• continuing arguments over the intentions of the Founding Fathers -- “strict constructionists” vs. “loose constructionists.”
our future• anonymous student evaluations today – I will read them only after grading final exam.• final exam, 10/1/2012, Tuesday, 10:10 am. Primarily covers second half of semester.• paper # 2 is required. Please turn it in.