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republican ideology

civic virtue, republican motherhood

civic virtue

democracy depended on the unselfish commitment of each citizen to the public good; part of republican ideology


Anglican church was disestablished everywhere (even after it changed its name to Protestant Episcopal Church)

common good

the good of the community; reached by civic virtue

Society of the Cincinnati

an exclusive hereditary order formed by the Continental Army officers; their lordly pretensions were ridiculed by most Americans

state constitutions (as "laboratories of democracy")

Continental Congress called upon states in 1776 to make their own constitutions; sovereignty of states rested on authority of people; Massachusetts special (had special committee to write it and then submitted to people for ratification, could only be changed by calling of special committee; these practices adopted by Congress); similarities between states (made drafting of federal constitution easier; as written documents they were intended to represent fundamental law, superior to whims of legislation; bill of rights, annual election of legislators, weak executive and judicial branches); western influence (western legislators and state capitals moved somewhat westward)

Articles of Confederation- successes and failures

failures- no international credit, states refused to pay taxes, interstate disputes, federal government couldn't regulate commerce, Shay's Rebellion; successes- no monarchy, outlined general powers of central government (making treaties and establishing a postal service), held the union together, decisions on western land

western lands question

why not turn the whole western area over to the central government?; states without western lands had fought equally as hard for American Independence and states with western lands could use them to pay off debt

Lard Ordinance of 1785

the acreage of the Old Northwest was sold adn the proceeds went to pay off national debt; area was to be surveyed before sale and settlement; divided into townships six miles square, split into thirty-six sections; sixteenth section set aside to be sold for the benefit of the public schools

Northwest Ordinance

governance of western lands; two evolutionary territorial stages, during which the area was subordinate to federal government; when a territoy had sixty thousand inhabitants, it could be admitted by Congress as a state, with all the privileges of the thirteen charter members (this was what Continental Congress had promised when the states surrendered their lands in 1781)

Shay's Rebellion

uprising in Massachusetts in 1786; impoverished backcountry farmers, many veterans of Revolutionary War, were losing farms through mortgage foreclosures and tax delinquincies; led by Captain Daniel Shays (veteran of Revolution) they demanded that the state issue paper money, lighten taxes, and suspend property takeovers; Massuchusetts authorities responded with small army and movement collapsed; Massachusetts legislature soon passed debtor-relief laws championed by Shays; struck fear in propertied class of "mobocracy"

New Jersey (small-state) plan

equal representation in a unicameral Congress by states, regardless of size and population

Virginia (large-state) plan

representation in both houses of a bicameral Congress hsould be based on population

Great Compromise

larger states were conceded representation by population in the House of Representatives and the smaller states were appeased by equal representation in the Senate

"three-fifths compromise"

as a compromise between total representation and none at all, it was decided that a slave might count as "three-fifths of a person"

"bundle of compromises"

compromises reached before ratifying the Constitution; the Great Compromise, the "three-fifths compromise", Electoral college or popular vote for presidential election, three branches of government with checks and balances

conservative and progressive (democratic) elements of Constitution

conservative- demanded sound money and the protection of private property, favored a stronger government with three branches and with checks among them, feared manood-suffrage democracy; democratic- the only legitimate government was one based on the consensus of the govened, the powers of government should be limited, the virtue of the people (not the authority of the state) was to be the ultimate guarantor (of liberty, justice, and order)

Constitution of the United States

the constitution written at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and subsequently ratified by the original thirteen states


lead by George Washington and Benjamin Franklin; had power and influence; primarily lived on seaboard and were richer, more educated, and better organized than Anti-Federalists; controlled the press


lead by Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and Richard Henry Lee; states-rights devotees, backcountry dwellers, and one-horse famers (poorest classes); thought of Constitution as a plot by the upper crust to steal poer back from the common folk

ratification process

the ratification of the Constitution required only nine of the thirteen states (not unanimity, like the Articles of Confederation)

The Federalist (Federalist Papers)

written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison; a masterly series of articles for the New York newspapers (commentary on the Consitution; most famous is Madison's No. 10 (refuted the idea that it was impossible to extend a republican form of government over a large territory)

separation of powers

the division of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government

Constitutional Convention

Beginning on May 25, 1787, the convention recommended by the Annapolis Convention was held in Philadelphia. All of the states except Rhode Island sent delegates, and George Washington served as president of the convention. The convention lasted 16 weeks, and on September 17, 1787, produced the present Constitution of the United States, which was drafted largely by James Madison.

Bill of Rights

a statement of fundamental rights and privileges (especially the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution)

James Madison

dubbed "the Father of the Constitution"; one of the writers of the Federalist Papers

Alexander Hamilton

New Yorker that saved the convention at Annapolis from failure by engineering the adoption of his report (called upon Congress to summon a convention in Philadelphia the next year); favored a much stronger central government than in the Constitution, but helped it get ratified in New York; one of the writers of the Federalist Papers

John Jay

one of the writers of the Federalist Papers

Richard Henry Lee

one of the leading Anti-Federalists

George Washington

unanimously elected chairman of the Constitutional Convention; one of the leading Federalists

republican motherhood

selfless devotion of a mother to her family was often cited as the very lmodel of proper republican behavior; elevated women to a newly prestigious role as the special keepers of the nation's conscience

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