Ch 51 Experimenting with
Confederation
MAIN IDEA
Americans adopted the Articles of
Confederation but find the new
government too weak to solve the
nation’s problems.
WHY IT MATTERS NOW
The weakness of the Articles of
Confederation led to the writing of
the Constitution.
Colonies to States
• Self-governing
-allegiance to
their colony.
-continues when
they become
states.
Democracy vs. Republic
• Democracy gives too much power to
uneducated.
• Republicanism- Citizens rule
through elected representatives;
consent of people.
-John Dickson: put the nation’s good
above self.
-John Smith: pursue own interests.
Early Republics
• None balanced
needs of the state
and national gov.
• Ancient Greece,
Rome, & Italian
city-states all failed.
State Constitutions
• Constitution- Document of rules
explaining how government would
operate.
• Minimized the power of governors and
leaders.
• Guarantee specific rights; stress
liberty, not equality.
-Only white males over 21 yo. can
vote; sometimes have to own property.
Representation Through
Congress
• One house legislative (laws)
body.
• Each states gets one vote
regardless of size.
Confederation
• Alliance: national government, states share
powers.
Articles of Confederation
• Placed limits on government to prevent abuses
of power
• Alliance between the thirteen colonies
• Many weaknesses
-Congress couldn’t enact or collect taxes, states
only
-Each state had one vote, regardless of pop.
-Nine out of thirteen states could pass important
laws
-Articles could be amended only if all states
approve them
-No executive branch (No President)
-No national court (No Supreme Court)
-No central government or national unity, separate
states
Western Lands
• States would have to give up western
lands.
• Land Ordinance of 1785
-settlers and investors could buy
public lands.
-Creates plan for surveying lands.
• Northwest Ordinance of 1787
-Plan for creating territories,
statehood.
Problems
• Lack of unity.
• Huge war debt.
-Domestic and foreign.
• Economic depression- slow period of
economic growth.
-Creditors favor high taxes.
-Farmers lose land and livestock.
• Currency, more or less?
Foreign Relations Problem
• Don’t pay debts to
British merchants.
-British won’t leave forts
on Great Lakes.
• 1784, Spain close
Mississippi river.
-Westerner can’t ship
crops east.
• Congress unable to
resolve problems.
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Ch 5_1 Experimenting with Confederation