Experimenting with Confederation
Republic: A government in which citizens can rule through their elected representatives
Republicanism: The idea that governments should be based on the consent of the people
Articles of Confederation: When two levels of government shared fundamental powers (state governments were supreme in some matters, while the national government was supreme in other matters.)
Confederation: an alliance formed by the delegates
Land Ordinance of 1785: A plan established, by congress, for surveying the land near the Ohio River
Northwest Ordinance of 1787: Half of the Land Ordinance that set requirements for the admission of new states
Americans Debate Republicanism
John Dickinson had two rules, which became the guiding principles for the leaders who had the task of starting a new nation.
Colonies Become states
British settlers founded many colonies in North America, but as they became states, they were still reluctant to unite under one central government.
The colonies’ main goal was to develop a system of government that balanced the interests of the states.
Unity through a Republic
Americans believed that a democracy gave too much power to the uneducated masses, so they liked a republic government.
Republicanism was misapprehended by certain Americans.
People believed that the government would only succeed if they “ placed the good of the nation above their personal interests.
Adam Smith believed that a republic would benefit from self- interest.
States struggled how to practice republican ideals while creating their constitutions.
The state constitutions had similarities:
Limited the power of government leaders
Guaranteed freedom of speech, religion and the press for the citizens
Emphasized liberty rather than equality
Reflected a fear of centralized authority
The state constitutions also had several differences such as granting the right to vote.
New Jersey gave voting rights to all property owners, but didn’t specify males
Women gained the right to vote in NJ, until it was revoked in 1807
There were few political systems that could serve as models for the new government, due to the fact that most of them were still governed by kings.
The Continental Congress Debates
The Continental Congress tried to write a constitution to draft one for the states as a whole.
Representation by Population or by State?
The states were unequal in size, wealth, and population, which posed a serious dilemma.
During that time, the Continental Congress saw themselves as representing all the independent states.
They decided that each state could only have one vote regardless of its size.
Supreme Power: Can it Be Divided?
People thought that a government couldn’t share supreme power with provinces or states.
Congress proposed the Articles of Confederation
This type of government gave the new national government the power to declare war, make peace, and sign treaties.
Western Lands: Who Gets Them?
By 1779, 13 states accepted the new government, but conflict remained over the western lands for two more years.
Maryland feared states could expand and overpower smaller states, but