Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Shaping A Federal Union

Chapter Outline

The Confederation

  1. Called the "critical period"
  2. Nature of congressional administration during the war
    1. Limitations
    2. Accomplishments
  3. Financial problems of the government
    1. Robert Morris, secretary of finance
    2. Use of public debt to secure support for the nation
    3. Scheme for a national bank failed to receive unanimous approval
    4. Newburgh Conspiracy
    5. Growth of domestic debt from $11 million to $28 million
  4. Development of a land policy
    1. Direct congressional authority prevailed
    2. Early land ordinances set precedents for future treatment of territories
    3. The Northwest Ordinance
    4. The Ohio Company of Associates and its plan
    5. Indian treaties made to gain claim to western lands
  5. Effects of the war on the economy
    1. Commercial agriculture suffers downturn
    2. Mercantile adjustments
    3. Trade treaties opened new markets
    4. Commerce and exports in "critical period" compared to colonial era
  6. Diplomacy
    1. Problems with Britain
      1. British retained forts along the Canadian border
      2. Americans refused to pay prewar debts to British
      3. Treatment of Loyalists
    2. Problems with Spain
      1. Southern boundary
      2. Right of United States to Mississippi River
  7. Efforts of states to exclude imperial trade
  8. Effects of shortage of cash
    1. Demands for legal paper currency
    2. Depreciation of paper currency varied
    3. Paper money chaos in Rhode Island
  9. Shays's Rebellion
    1. Farmers demanded paper money to pay off taxes
    2. Militia scattered "Shays's Army"
    3. Legislature lowered taxes for the next year
    4. Conflicting responses of Jefferson and Abigail Adams
  10. Demands grow for stronger central authority

Adopting the Constitution

  1. Preliminary steps to the convention
    1. Mount Vernon meeting of 1785
    2. Annapolis meeting of 1786
    3. Call for the constitutional convention
  2. Nature of the convention
    1. Nature of the delegates
    2. James Madison
    3. Political philosophy represented at the convention
  3. Major issues of dispute in drafting the Constitution
    1. Basis for representation of the states
      1. Virginia plan
      2. New Jersey plan
      3. Great Compromise
    2. Disputes between North and South over slaves
      1. The three-fifths compromise
      2. No ban of African slave trade until 1808
    3. Women's rights not addressed
    4. Congress to control naturalization
  4. Principles incorporated into the Constitution
    1. Separation of powers
    2. Nature of the office of president
    3. Nature of the judicial branch
    4. Examples of countervailing forces in the government
    5. The amendment process
    6. Ratification provisions

The fight for ratification

  1. Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
  2. Charles Beard's argument for economic motivation of the delegates
  3. Arguments of The Federalist for ratification
  4. Views of Federalists and Anti-Federalists
  5. The pattern of ratification
    1. Several smaller states acted first
    2. Massachusetts the first close vote
    3. New Hampshire was ninth state
    4. New York and Virginia approve
  6. Plans for transition to a new government
  7. Constitution has proved flexible and resilient
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