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Week 3 Notes
by FREDERICK GOULD - Saturday, October 3, 2015, 10:40 PM
 

Chapter 6 Notes- The Constitution and the New Republic


Introduction (p. 159)

  • Pre-1780s government is under Articles of Confederation- Americans very unhappy

    • Government doesn’t have enough power- showed in Shays’ Rebellion

    • Colonists reconsider role of central government

  • The Constitution is made- one of the longest lasting forms of government in the world

Framing a New Government (p.160)

  • The Continental Congress has become a joke- has no power, delegates constantly absent

  • Advocates of Centralization- many people want a strong central government

    • Want a solution to economic problems- individual states tariffs don’t work well

    • Variety of other reasons- unified currency, removal of natives, national army

    • Overall debate over the balance of liberty and government control

  • General agreement that change is needed- led by Alexander Hamilton

    • Wants national convention to redo document- joined by James Madison

    • Eventually garners support from Washington- convention credible

  • 55 men (founding fathers) attend convention in Philly- very educated men

    • Washington presides, each state gets 1 vote, majority needed to pass

    • Gov. w/ 2 branches proposed- Virginia Plan, executive and legislative

    • New Jersey Plan- proposes one branch w/ more power

    • Virginia Plan remains main idea- needs revision on rep. grounds

  • Delegates argue for weeks- Great Compromise reached- “grand committee” made

    • Committee resolves representation issue- 3/5 slave rule

    • Resolves issues on slave trade, but leaves other topics open (immigration)

  • James Madison pioneers constitution- resolves major issues

    • Idea of representation flowing back to the people

      • Proper distribution of power between national and state gov. while maintaining individual rights

    • Argues successfully that republic would help avoid tyranny, not promote it

      • By having multiple centers of power that “check each other”

        • Checks and balances- 3 branches of gov. to avoid despotism

  • Constitution is signed Sep. 17, 1787- still very general- room for improvement

    • Still needs to be ratified by 9/13 states- Nat. debate begins

  • Supporters (Federalists)- Hamilton, John Jay, Washington, Franklin and Madison

    • Jay, Hamilton, Madison publish essays supporting it- The Federalist Papers

      • “among the greatest American contribution to political theory”

  • Critics (Anti-Federalists)- Believe themselves to be defending ideas of revolution

    • Fear the overreach of federal government- no Bill of Rights

  • Ratification happens despite critics- 9 states ratify but no NY or VA yet

    • Ratification narrowly passes in both states- but they want a Bill of Rights w/ it

  • Elections take place in 1789- Washington elected president, Adams vice

    • First congress established- task of creating Bill of Rights

    • First ten amendment to Constitution pass in 1791- The Bill of Rights

      • Places restriction on government- cannot infringe on certain freedoms

  • Judiciary Act of 1789- Creates the supreme court w/ 6 judges

    • Courts able to determine constitutionality of a law

  • The Cabinet is created- part of executive branch- has 3 dept.- state, treasury, war

    • Hamilton- treasury, Knox- war, Randolph- attorney general, Jefferson- Secretary of State.

Federalists and Republicans (p. 168)

  • Constitution had created many “vague compromises” that had to be worked out 1790s

    • One side is the Federalists- wanted strong central government- Hamilton leader

    • Other side are Republicans, want limited government influence- Madison and Jefferson leaders

  • Federalists popular through 1780s, early 90s- subtle support of Washington

    • Want to create a industrial, large scale economy and become economic power

    • Hamilton- treasurer, takes on a lot of power b/c Wash. doesn’t want to get involved w/ congress

      • Had federal gov. take on pre-constitution debt (not wealthy men)

      • Creates a permanent debt to keep wealthy lending money to fed. gov.

      • Creates the first national bank- center for nation’s banking system

        • Needs more revenue- call for tax on alcohol and imports

        • Report on Manufacturing 1791- praises advantages of strong manufacturing

  • Hamilton had some pushback to original programs, but passes many with little changes

    • Bargains w/ Virginia- puts capital in between VA and MD- present DC- gets states to accept taxes to support debt assumed by federal gov.

    • National Bank Bill creates debate- but passed, Bank of the United States -1791

    • Hamilton’s bill generally successful- all but small farmers see profit and US economy flourishes

  • General belief that political parties shouldn’t exist- yet parties beginning to form

    • Federalists use wide support to gain power and pass laws

      • Critics feel obligated to organize- create first Republican Party

      • Republicans form committees, caucuses in states- create divide

      • Claim to be fighting against Federalist tyranny-

  • Thomas Jefferson and James Madison lead the Republicans

    • Jefferson emerges as spokesman- believes in agrarian society-fears cities

      • Doesn’t want “propertyless workers”

      • Wants society dominated by farmers w/ some industrial aspects

  • Differences between the two parties shown in reaction to French revolution- which side they support

  • Washington reelected in 1792- widely support on both sides despite federalist leanings

Establishing National Sovereignty (p.172)

  • Federalists become popular because they solve problems AOC didn’t

  • Even with Northwest Ordinance, US struggles to control new western states

    • Whiskey Rebellion- West Penn. farmers don't pay taxes- similar to Shays Rebellion

      • Hamilton urges Washington to take national army to stop rebellion

      • Washington takes 15k and crushes rebellion

    • Shows that national gov. is strong- intimidates many into loyalty- many states join the US by end of 1790s (VT, TN, KY, RI)

  • US also struggles with Natives out west- but eventually defeats them all at some point

    • No mention of natives in Constitution, considered as if they don’t exist, or subhuman- dealt w/ thru treaties at later times

  • New gov. has complex relations w/ Europe- British and French go to war in 1789

    • US establishes neutrality- but struggles to keep that a reality

    • Edmond Genet- Ignores Washington and uses US ports to lead military expeditions

      • He tests relationship with revolutionary France, but eventually his side goes out of power- he becomes irrelevant

    • Britain seizes US trading ships around world- anti-British propaganda and fear of war fly around- need for diplomacy immediate

      • John Jay sent to negotiate- treaty helps in some areas- especially commercial- Jay’s Treaty ratified despite opposition

      • US also negotiates treaty w/ Spain- gets all trade and geographical benefits it wants (border in south)

The Downfall of the Federalists

  • Federalists- despite success find popularity decreasing- eventually make bad decisions and see party downfall in 1796

  • Washington’s Farewell Address- denounces disunity and sabotaging each other- he won’t run for a third term

  • Republicans have Jefferson run against Federalists Adams in 1796 election

    • Election is extremely divisive for Federalists- but Adams wins w/ Jefferson vice

      • Presides over divided Federalists and Republican challengers in gov.

      • Adams isn’t a good politician- Hamilton remains real power for Feds

  • France’s relationship w/ US is turbulent- capturing US ships and not accepting diplomats

    • Debate of whether to go to war or try diplomacy debated- Adams tries diplomacy

      • Sends diplomats to France- they are insulted by French Foreign Minister

      • Publishes report on French insults- the XYZ Affair- beginning of “undeclared war with France

      • Conflict grows into Quasi War- small navy battles

      • French eventually agrees to a treaty and reconciliation

  • The Alien and Sedition Acts- Federalists way to try to “silence the Republicans”

    • Alien Act- Obstacles to citizenship and increased gov power against aliens

    • Sedition Act- gives gov. ability to prosecute those who engage in sedition- loosely defined- can eventually lead to tyranny

  • Alien and Sedition Acts aren’t widely implemented- but still stir up anger

    • Republicans try to go through states to repeal the acts

    • Kentucky and Virginia declare acts void in their states- not huge but increases dispute

      • Congress becomes violent- fistfights

  • New election in 1800- once again Adams vs. Jefferson

    • Individually they are civilized, their supporters are not- wild propaganda helps turn election towards Jefferson

    • Voting complications end in tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr (also a Republican)- but Jefferson eventually elected president

    • Republicans gain control of all but judicial branches- Federalists try to desperately hold on with final acts under Adams






Crash Course Notes- #8


  • The government under The Constitution was not the first government- The Articles of Confederation

  • The AOC were not well thought out- “firm league of friendship”

    • 1 house of government with 1 rep from 13 states- no executive and courts

    • Need 9/13 votes- nothing gets passed

    • Government can conduct war, sign treaties- enough to win revolution

    • States need to agree to pay taxes to national government

    • Needs unanimous approval to amend articles- never happens

  • The government is made purposely weak- to avoid the idea of an evil, taxing parliament

    • But weak governments don’t work

      • Except for winning the war and...

      • Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (creating 5 new states)and other treaties

      • No slaves above Ohio River

  • International trade and collecting taxes doesn’t work well

    • Shays’ rebellion is a reaction to all the debt building up in the courts

      • Seen as a sign that the AOC wasn’t working

      • “Too much liberty threatens private property”

  • The Annapolis Convention- 1787

    • Only 6 states meet- but agree to revise AOC following year in Philly

  • All states (55 men) meet next year- write a new document- The Constitution

    • Many important, wealthy, decorated men meet w/ goal of creating a strong central government

      • Creates three branches of government

      • Goal of finding medium between too much and too little government

        • Electoral College- it’s dumb

    • Many issues are hotly contested- especially those regarding representation

      • 3/5 rule for slave representation

    • “The Great Compromise”- Creation of House and Senate

      • House is responsive, Senate does nothing

  • Separation of Powers- each branch “can check” the other- prevents one branch from having too much power

  • Federalism- Belief that the national government has rights and so do state governments

  • Some clauses against the idea of too much democracy and giving poor people power

    • Senators are elected by states

    • Electoral College

  • 9/13 states need to approve to ratify Constitution- convention called

    • The Federalist Papers- Written by supporters of Constitution seeking to convince states to ratify it (Alexander Hamilton)

  • 2nd Amendment- Citizens should be able to defend themselves- equally well armed as government

    • Doesn’t really apply today... drones...

  • Anti-Federalists supported by farmers who want freedom- not central government

    • Don’t want “empire” of central government led by the rich

    • They want state governments to have a lot of power

  • The Constitution ends up getting ratified- but it is very general and vague

    • Details will be worked out later