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Chapter Six: The Constitution and the New Republic


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Annapolis Convention
1786; only five states sent delegates, but the conference approved a proposal drafted by Hamilton for a convention of delegates from all the states to meet in Philadelphia the next year (1787)
Why did the Philadelphia Consititutional Convention attract more delegates than the Annapolis Convention?
News of Shays's Rebellion had alarmed many previously-apathetic leaders. The Rebellion aroused George Washington, who promptly planned to attend the Constitutional Convention. His support gave the meeting much-needed credibility.
Describe the "Founding Fathers."
They were the 55 men representing all states except Rhode Island, who attended at least one convention in the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention.

They were well-educated for their time. Most were wealthy property owners, andmany feared the "turbulence and follies" of democracy. They all retained the Revolutionary suspicion of concentrated power.
Virginia Plan
Proposed by Madison. It called for national legislature of two houses. In the lower house, states would be represented in proportion to their population. Members of the upper house would be elected by the lower house under no rigid system of representation; it was possible that small states would have no upper-house representation at all, because there were no guidelines.
New Jersey Plan
Proposed by William Paterson. It retained the existing system of a one-house legislature with all states having equal representation. It gave Congress expanded powers to tax and regulate commerce.
The Great Compromise
It called for a two-house legislature. In the lower house, the states would be represented on the basis of population, which each slave counting as 3/5 of a person. In the upper house, each state would have two representatives.
Popular Sovereignty
The Convention decided that sovereignty didn't lie with the federal government OR the state governments, but with the people. This made it possible to divide powers between the national and state governments. The Constitution was to be the "supreme law."
"Checks and Balances" and Separation of Powers
Power was divided between three branches, and each branch was constantly competing with the others.

Congress's two chambers, each "checking" the other, would both have to agree before any law could be passed. The President would have the power to veto Congressional acts. the Courts would be protected from both the executive and legislative branches, becauses judges would serve for life.
Supporters of the Constitution. Supported by Ben Franklin, George Washington, Hamilton, Madison, and John Jay.
The Federalist Papers
A series of essays widely published in newspapers throughout the nation explaining the meaning and virtues of the Constitution. Written by Hamilton, Madison, and John Jay.
The Antifederalists
Opponents of the Constitution. Supported by Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams. They saw themselves as the defenders of the true principles of the Revolution.

They believed the Constitution betrayed their principles by increasing taxes, weakening the states, wielding dictatorial powers, favoring the "well-born" over the common people, and abolishing individual liberty.

Their biggest complaint was the absence of a Bill of Rights.
Bill of Rights
Twelve amendments approved by Congress, ten of which were ratified by the states. Nine amendments placed limitations on Congress by forbidding it to infringe on certain fundamental rights. The 10th amendment reserved to the states and the people all powers except those specifically withheld from them or delegated to the federal government.
Judiciary Act of 1789
Congress provided for a Supreme Court of six members, and a system of lower district courts and courts of appeal. It also gave the Supreme Court the power to make the final decision in cases involving the constitutionality of state laws.
Establishment of Executive Departments
The first Congress created the departments of state, treasury, and war. It also established the offices of attorney general and postmaster general.
Competing National Visions
[Federalists vs. Republicans]
Federalists believed that the US required a strong national government. They thought the country's mission was to become a nation-state with centralized authority and a complex commerical economy. Supported by Hamilton.

Republicans [formerly Antifeds] believed the US shouldn't aspire to be a highly commercial or urban nation. It should remain predominantely rural/agrarian. Supported by Jefferson and Madison.
Hamilton's "Funded Debt" Proposal
The existing public debt should be funded: certificates of indebtedness issued by the old Congress should be called in and exchanged for interest-bearing bonds, despite the fact that some were now owned by wealthy speculators, not their original holders.

He also wanted the states' Revolutionary debts to be "assumed" by the federal government, so that state bondholders would look to the central government for eventual payment.

He wanted to create a permanent national debt, with new bonds being issued as old ones were paid off. This way, the wealthy classes [who were most likely to lend money] would have a reason to want to government to survive.
What two taxes did Hamilton propose to gain revenue to fund his financial program?
1- an excise tax on alcoholic beverages. This would be most burdernsome to backcountry small farmers who converted their corn and rye crops into whisky for ease of transportation.

2- a tariff on imports. Hamilton considered this both a way to raise money and a way to protect domestic industries from foreign competition.
Why did some oppose Hamilton's funded debt proposal?
Many of the original bond holders had been forced to sell to speculators for a fraction of the bonds' actual values.

Instead of Hamilton's plan of issuing new bonds to whoever holds the old ones, Madison proposed the new bonds be divided between the original purchases and the speculators who currently owned them.

Hamilton's proposal passed, because they decided they needed to fulfill their original promise to pay whoever held the bonds, or the government's honor would not be preserved.
Describe the compromise made for the location of the nation's capital.
In exchange for southern support for Hamilton's debt assumption plan, Hamilton and Jefferson agreed to support a southern capital location.
Whiskey Rebellion
1794; farmers in W PA refused to pay the whiskey tax and began terrorizing tax collectors. The federal government, at Hamilton's suggestion, called out the militias of three states and assembled a 15,000-man army. Washington accompanied the troops into PA. At the approach of the militiamen, the rebellion quickly collapsed.
The Indians' Ambiguous State
The Constitution gave Congress to the power to regulate commerce with Indian tribes, and it bound the new government to respect treaties made with the tribes under the Articles of Confederation. However, the tribes received no direct representation in the new government.

The Constitution also did not address the major issue of land: Indian nationas lived within the US, but they claimed that they had somemeasure of sovereignty over their land. There were no guidelines, however, to the precise nature of trival sovereignty.
Describe relations between Britain and the US during the 1790s.
1793, Britain went to war with France.
1794, the Royal Navy began seizing hundreds of US ships that were trading in the French West Indies.

Hamilton&co were concerned, b/c war would mean an end to imports from England, and most of the revenue for maintaining the nation's financial system came from duties on such imports. The Sec. of State Edmund Randolph was pro-French, so the Federalists persuaded Washington to send a special commissioner to England to negotiate a treaty.
Jay's Treaty
Chief Justice John Jay was sent to England to secure compensation for the British assaults on US shipping, to demand withdrawal of British forces from their posts on the frontier of the US, and to negotiate a commercial treaty.

The 1794 treaty didn't accomplish these goals. It provided for undisputed US sovereignty over the entire NW, and produced a satisfactory commercial relationship between the US and Britain.
Pinckney's Treaty
1795; Spain recognized the right of Americans to navigate the Mississippi to its mouth and to deposit goods at New Orleans for reloading on oceangoing ships. hey agreed to fix ther N border of Florida along the 31st parallel, and they commanded FL authorities to prevent Indians in Florida from launching raids N across the border.
Quasi-War with France
French vessels captured US ships on the seas; the French government refused to receive Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, the new US minister.

After the XYZ Affair, Adams persuaded Congress to cut off all trade with France and to authorize US ships to capture French armed ships on the ocean.

1798, Congress created the Dept. of the Navy, and the Navy won a number of duels against France.

1800, the new French government, lead by Napoleon, agreed to a commercial arrangements between France and the US, and the "quasi-war" came to an end.
The XYZ Affair
Adams appointed a bipartisan commission to negotiate with France. Three agents of the French foreign minister, Prince Talleyrand, demanded a loan for France and a bribe for French officials before any negotiations could begin.

When the incident became publicized, it provoked widespread outrage at France's actions, and strong support for Federalists' refusal to pay the bribe.
The Alien and Sedition Acts
Federalist legislation trying to silence Republican opposition.

The Alien Act placed obstacles in the way of foreigners who wanted to became citizens, and it strengthened the President's hand in dealing with aliens

The Sedition Act allowed the government to prosecute those who engaged in "sedition" against the government.

No aliens were deported under the laws, but ten Republican newspaper editors were arrested for sedition. Their only crimes were criticism of the Federalists in government.
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
Argued that the federal government had been formed by a "contract" among the states and possessed only certain delegated powers. Whenever a party to the contract [a state] decided that the central government had exceeded those powers, it had the right to "nullify" the appropriate laws.
Election of 1800
Candidates: Adams, Jefferson.

Federalists and Republicans accused each other's candidates of being tyrants, etc.

Aaron Burr mobilized an organization of Rev. War veterans, the Tammany Society, to serve as a Republican political machine. Through its efforts, Republicans carried the city and the state.

However, there was a tie between Jefferson and Burr. The Congress would have to vote to break the tie to see who became Pres, who became VP.

After 36 ballots, Jefferson was elected President, because most Congressmen deemed Burr too unreliable to be trusted with the presidency.
Judiciary Act of 1801
The number of Supreme Court judges was reduced to five, but the number of federal judges as a whole was increased.

Adams quickly appointed John Marshall to be chief justice. Marshall was one of Adams's "midnight appointments"--appointments he made at the very end of his presidency.
"Revolution of 1800"
The Republicans believed their victory in the Presidential Election of 1800 was saving the nation from tyranny and marked the defeat of the Federalists.

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