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.