September 29th, 2010
AP U.S. History
Chapter 9: The Confederation and the Constitution
I. A Revolution of Sentiments-
A) Strking changes from accelerated revolution (rather than outright revolution): Affected
social customs, poticial institutions, and ideas about society, government and gender roles
1. Some 80,000 substantial Loyalists robbed the new ship of state of conservative ballast,
weaking the aristocratic upper crust (culture and elegance) allowing Patriot elites a way
to come in.
2. Ideas of democracy were spreading.
a) The requirements to be holding property to vote had been reduced by many states,
even if not completely removed
b) Social democracy increased by the growth of trade organizations for artisans and
c) Strong republic-believing citizens got rid of what was left of medieval inheritance
laws (like primogeniture- Eldest son inherits all of father's property)
3. Separation of church and state-
a) Legally established Congregational church in some New England states
b) Anglican church had humbled and reformed as the Protestant Episcopal church
when it was de-Anglicized. Then everywhere it was disestablished.
c) Hardest struggle to separate was in Virginia:
i. (1786) Thomas Jefferson and co-reformers, including Baptists -received the
passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
4. All men are created equal” -
a) Continental Army officers (1783) formed exclusive military order – the Society of
the Cincinnati- were denounced for lordly claims. The people wanted equality and
were careful to try and maintain a sense of it.
b) Slavery: Challenging of the institution of slavery when the war released the
i. Continental Congress (1774) had called for the complete abolition of slave trade
which actually got a good response
ii. World's first antislavery society founded by Philadelphia Quakers (1775)
iii. Northern states (several of them) complete got rid of slavery or made it so the
blacks would eventually be emancipated
c) The equality of women: wasn't even completely figured out or finished.
i. Some women fought (disguised) in the military
ii. In New Jersey (1776), their new constitution allowed women voters for a bit
iii. Abigail Adams said that “the ladies” were determined “to foment a rebellion” if
not given political rights
iv. “republican motherhood”: where the concept of “civic virtue” applies
(democracy depends on the unselfish commitment of each citizen to the public
good) and women were the keepers of the conscience of the nation because it
was necessary to the survival of their democracy and for things to turn out right.
II. Constitution Making in the States-
A) Drafting new constitutions was called upon the colonies by the Continental Congress in
1776 whereas the sovereighty of these new states would come from the people being in
1. Connecticut and Rhode Island edited their colonial charters to make it sound more
2. Massachusetts had called a constitutional convention which was later a method used for
making the federal Constitution. This is when you draft it and then submit the final draft
to the people to accept or deny in making it official (1780) and it could only be changed
by another convention.
3. There were many similarities in the constitutions of each of the states, which made it
easier for later in making the federal constitution.
a) Most of them included a bill of rights, required the annual election of legislators
(staying in touch with the public).
b) All of them had created weak executive and judicial branches, The people had
developed a distrust of governors and judges because of past experience with His
Majesty's officials and such.
c) Legislatures were given sweeping powers. Thomas Jefferson warned towards the
legislative thinking, “173 despots would surely be as oppressive as one.”
III. Economic Crosscurrents-
A) Things were changing a lot economically and trade opened up a lot more for the Americans
after the decision of independence that effected them with both the good and bad sides of
consequences. This larger focus on economic democracy though was a significant event in
preceding political democracy.
1. Many large holdings from Loyalists were taken and divided in more distributive land,
making it simpler to find available land that was affordable. This distracted people
fromteh French Revolution.
2. England trade had a lot of cut off imports, so it forced the Yankees to make their own
stuff. Cutting themselves off from the commerce of Englad, that were only reserved for
loyal parts of their empire, made them have to trade elsewhere and find others.
a) They were free to trade with whoever at this point, being foreign nations. In 1784
the Express of China, carrying ginseng (valuable weed) that was a cure for
impotence, created a path into East Asian market trade.
b) Comparison of after and before the choice of independence for conditions were
significant. The financiality of the average citizen was probably worse after the
shooting, profits for some people were as high as 300 percent, and the British
Navigation Laws were even more disagreeable after independence.
IV. A Shake Start Toward Union- The newly found and dearly fought for independence of the
Americans had left them to create their own central government, making it difficult because of
their confusion at the right ideas of what to do. This made it challenging to keep up a sense of
unity for what was now 'America'. This leads to experimentation and innovation in a
A) Some people preached about “natural rights” and questioned some ideals of authority.
B) Things dropped to the bottom in 1786 and British manufacturing flooded their market with
goods that were cut-rate making it very difficult competition for American industries.
C) The sovereign states were alike in governmental structure and worked under similar
constitutions, but they got a rich potical inheritance and had political leaders of a high order:
George Washington, James Madison, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander
V. Creating a Confederation- There was a dispute about the fairness of the nation in the land that
was left to certain states (such as Virginia and New York) because they had a lot of land and
sea-to-sea charter grants. It wasn't fair to the other states that were jealous because the land-
blessed states sell their trans-Allegheny tracts and pay off their own dues while the other states
would have to tax really heavily to do that.
A) The Second Continental Congress had still been attempting a development of a genuine
government. There was a drafting of a written constitution as an effort for the new nation to
be adopted, being the Articles of Confederation and it took awhile to approve (four years
from 1777) until 1781 (March 1) when Maryland gave in. They needed unanimous
approval for the Articles.
B) Congress had said that they would make more republican states for the “common benefit”
that would be part of the Union; this was pledged in the Northwest Ordinace of 1787.
VI. The Articles of Confederation: America's First Constitution- There were many issues that came
along with the Articles of Confederation, making it difficult to get things done and as a nation,
in unity. The Articles were a stepping stone to learn from and still kept a little sense of union to
hold the states together.
A) Each state only had a single vote and all bills dealing with specific issues needed at least 2/3
vote, while any amendment of the actual Articles needed to be unanimous, making the
process very unworkable. It was almost 'good' that this was what happened so that they
finally resolved their issues with the creating of the Constitution and not edited Articles of
B) Congress had no power to regulate commerce and it couldn't enforce taxes, only asked for
contributions. The national government could advise, advocate, and appeal but not
command, coerce, or control. They couldn't do anything more direct to the people/
C) The Articles of Confederation had outlined the general powers that were to be done by the
central government, like treaties (foreign affairs) and establishing a postal service. The
states realized that the Articles were a weak attempt at an effective government move until
the Constitution was taked for the United States.
VII. Landmarks in Land Laws-
A) The Old Northwest (nw of the Ohio River, E of the Mississippi, and S of the Great Lakes)
had passed pieces of legislation.
1. First of the red-letter laws: Land Ordinance of 1785 (related to their land)- the land
would be sold and help pay off the national debt. They would divide it into townships
and sell sections for the benefit of public schools
2. Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (related to their governing)- How a nation should deal
with its colonial peoples was a problem and the solution provided by the Northwest
Ordinance was a judiciaous compromise: Two evolutionary territorial stages, for the
federal govenmernt. Then, when a territory had 60,000 (or more) inhabitants then
Congress could admit it as a state, with all the privileges of the thirteen charter
members. They also forbade slavery which lead to a path of gaining freedom.
VIII. The World's Ugly Duckling- At this time period, America was looked down upon and treated
badly as foreign countries and England calmed down or were against the new Reublic formed
by America. This created trouble for the Americans with a lack of respect and decline of trade,
making it difficult for them to be sufficient. They became too weak and poor to be able to do
anything concerning protection and keep up.
A) Britain didn't want to make any sort of compromise with America when it came to the trade.
They weren't willing to repeal their Navigation Laws or make a commercial treaty, thinking
that America would just come crawling back.
1. They kept up soldiers and maintained their trade with the Indians for furs.
a) Maybe they were there because the American states failed to keep up with debts and
Loyalists in the treaty.
b) They also wanted their connection with the Indians and keep up a line of defense to
strike in case there was an attack in Canada.
B) Spain, at this point, did not like the new Republic and they controlled the mouth of the
Mississippi, which was part of American trade routes. They were limiting the new nation to
keep up commerce.
1. (1784) They closed the river to American commerce and this threated the West because
trade is needed to keep moving.
2. They also claimed land north of the Gulf of Mexico (including Florida) that was granted
to the U.S. by the British in 1783.
C) France demanded repayment of loans and even restricted trade for multiple ports
IX. The Horrid Specter of Anarchy- Issues with the economic system were still lingering and
occuring. Some states refused to pay anything and complained that Congress was tyrannical
while they also argued over boundaries and taxed each other while their currencies depreciated.
A) Shay's Rebellion in western Massachusetts (1786) were farmers that lost their farms to
foreclosures. Led by Capt. Daniel Shay, they demanded cheap paper money, lighter taxes,
and a suspension of property takeovers. To defend against the movement, wealthy people
contributed to raise a small army.
B) Conservatives (wealthy) tried to persuade fellow citizens to scrap the Articles but the poor
favored a simple ameding of them, didn't like the talk of anarchy.
C) (1789) shipping returned to the commercial world as Congress could gain control of
X. A Convention of “Demigods”- Leading to the constitutional convention was mainly an issue at
controlling commerce, but the first call failed in 1786 in Maryland and they were to call upon
Congress in a year in Philadelphia to deal with the entire Articles of Confederation- “for the
sole and express purpose of revising” the Articles.
A) 55 emissaries from twelve states convened on May 25th, 1787.
1. George Washington was elected chairman
2. Jefferson referred to the participants as “demigods” and this crisis was supposed to bring
together men who would 'drop their personal pursuits and come to the aide of their
3. James Madison: “The Father of the Constitution” - student of government and
4. This particular meeting did not hold other Revolutionary leaders that also lead to the
drafting of the Constitution, so this was simply a large debate and attempt at figuring
things out but not getting anything done. Arguments presented to convince other
delegates were also weak.
XI. Patriots in Philadelphia- The fifty-five delegates were conservative and good, they were
nationalists that were more interested in preserving and strengthening the Republic than to be
involved with popular democracy. They desired a firm, dignified, and respected government.
A) They were lawyers, merchants, shippers, land speculators, and moneylenders. These were
higher level jobs and there weren't any men from the poorer debtor groups, but these guys
were young and experienced.
B) Believed in republicanism but went after protecting the American democratic experiement
from its weaknesses and excesses. They wanted to preserve the union, forestall anarchy, and
ensure security of life and property. Most of all, they strived to curb the unrestrained
democracy rampant in the various states.
XII. Hammering Out a Bundle of Compromises- In coming to Philadelphia, the delegates had
begun a plan to completely get rid of the Articles of Confederation and start anew with drafting
a Constitution. There was a fear in this though of failure for this convention with angry debate.
A) There was a large debate over how government was to be represented in their bicameral
Congress and states had given ideas of what they planned on how that could happen.
1. The Virginia plan was a plan more devised for larger populated states to have
representation was based on population in Congress.
2. The New Jersey plan was more directed for smaller states to have equal representation
to make it more fair because they didn't want to be dominated by the larger states
bonding together and taking control.
B) The “Great Compromise” finally came out of the debate over the plans and they managed to
agree. This was where the larger states were given representation by population in the
House of Representatives (one house of Congress) and in the other house was given to
smaller state's ideas for equal representation (two senators) in the Senate.
1. Given that larger states have a larger burden of dealing with taxes because they had so
much more, then in the House would be be where they decided tax bills or revenue
C) The president was given the powers of commander in chief of the military and he could
appoint people to domestic offices, including judges. To keep another sense of balance in
the government, the president has veto power over legislation. To be elected though, there
was a compromise about him being appointed by the Electoral College, rather than directly.
D) Concerning taxes was the issue of what slaves accounted for and they compromised that a
slave would count as three-fifths of a person.
E) Most of the states wanted to stop trading slaves so then they compromised that it would end
in 1807 so they were given time.
XIII. Safeguards for Conservatism- At the convention, the members saw from basically the same
perspective when it concerned economically, by demanding sound money and the protection of
private property. Politically also, they were in basic agreement like favoring a stronger
government with three brances and with checks and balances to make sure one does not
dominate the other.
A) Federal judges were appointed for life. The president was to be indirectly elected by the
Electoral College. Senators were to be chosen indirectly by the state legislators. In the
House of Representatives, then citizens could could directly vote their officials.
B) Two great principles of republicanism: that the only legitimate government was one based
on the consent of thegoverned, and that the powers of government should be limited (by the
XIV. The Clash of Federalists and Antifederalists- The Framing Fathers could tell that it would take
some time and effort for acceptance of the Constituion to be reached. They demanded that when
nine states had registered their approval through specially elected conventions, the Constitution
would become the supreme law of the land in those states ratifying.
A) Antifederalists opposed the stronger federal government and federalists liked it.
1. Antifederalists were mainly composed of the backcountry dwellers, the one-horse
farmers, the work-soiled artisans, the ill-educated and illiterate moneyrites and debtors-
mainly the poorer class. They were scared of paying back all their debts.
2. Federalists were more respectable and embraced the cultured and propertied groups.
They mostly lived alone the seaboard and their outlook was similar to the conservative
Loyalist group of Revolutionary days.
XV. The Great Debate in the States- There were issues with different states being able to choose
between accepting the new Constitution or want the Articles of Confederation. Antifederalists
wanted a bill of rights and the federalists said that they would add that later. Nine states had
taken in the Constitution and the document was officially adopted in June 21, 1788 while some
other states still denied acceptance.
XVI. The Four Laggard States- Virginia was too proud to choose the path of the Constitution at this
point and they were extremely antifederalist and continued with their own independence for the
time being. While New York was also the only state that permitted a manhood-suffrage vote for
the members of the ratifying convention where they also were a large majority of
A) Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison had joined forces to write papers that
supported the Constitution and were federalist being the federalist papers.
B) New York finally realized that they couldn't make it alone, so they gave in.
C) North Carolina and Rhode Island were still hostile towards the Constitution and refused to
accept it, with NC calling their own convention and adjourning without votin gand Rhode
Island just didn't do anything but felt bitter.
XVII. A Conservative Triumph- Eleven of the thirteen states had seceded from the Articles of
Confederation and still left two out. Only about one-fourth of the adult white males in the
country (who had property) had voted for delegates to the ratifying convention.