The Articles of Confederation
Terms in this set (23)
plan of government recomended to the states by the continental congress in May 1776.
states divided government functions between the governor and the legislature.
State constitutions restricted powers of the governors so the legislatures became the most powerful branch of government. They struggled to make taxes more fair but there were many disagreements.
states established two-house legislatures to divide the power even further.
AMericans found establishing a separate state government was easier than creating a central government.
republic was created in which citizens rule through elected representatives.
Articles of Confederation
Second Continental congress realized that central gvmnt was needed to coordinate war effort against Britain.
Article- provided new central government under which states gave up little of their power.
government- had authority to conduct foreign affairs, maintain armed forces, borrow money and issue currency
negative- not regulate trade, force citizens to join army, impose taxes. If Congress has to raise troops they had to ask state legislatures but states were not required to contribute.
Confederation government problems
Aricles of confederation did not provide strong enough government to handle problems in USA.
Could not pass law unless approved by 9 states voted in favor.
Could not change the articles unless they had consent of all 13 states.
Confederation government accomplishments
Under this government, Americans won independence and expanded foreign trade
Also confederation provided for settling and governing the nation's western territories.
New Land Policies
Beginning of war:
Only few thousand settlers lived west of App mts.
1790's- number approaching 120,000. These western settlers hoped to organize land as states & join the union but Articles of Cofederation contained no provision for adding new states.
1780's- all states but Georgia gave up land west of App mts.
Central gvt took control of these lands.
1784- Thomas Jefferson proposes plan to divide western territiory into self governing districts. When people=smallest existing state, district can petition or apply to Congress for statehood.
relates to Thomas Jefferson plan. Applying for Congress statehood.
The Ordinance of 1785
passed in 1785. established a procedure for surveying and selling the western lands north of the Ohio River.
Law divided massive territory into townships six miles long and six miles wide.
Townships were to be fiurther divided into 36 sections of 640 acres each that would be sold at public auction for atleast a dollar acre.
views about "The Ordinance of 1785"
Land speculator-opportunity to cheaply accumulate large tracts of land
Richard Henry Lee
president of congress
Concerned about lawless people moving into western lands.
Urged that "the rights of property be clearly defined" by gvt.
Congress draft another ordinance to protect interests of hard-working land settlers
created single Northwest Territory out of lands north or Ohio River & east of Mississippi River.
land divided into 3 to 5 smaller territories
population reaches 60,000=people can petition for statehood
New state= come into the Union wth same rights and provileges as original 13 states
Opened way for settlement of the Northwest Territor into stable & orderly manner.
What was in the Northwest Ordinance
BIll of rights
"There shall neither be slavery nor involuntary servitude in said territory."-clause marked USA's first attempt to stop slavery.
Money lost its value. The continental congress and states printed own money because they could not tax.
Price of food and other goods went up.
In Boston and other areas there were food riots.
Congress borrowed money from American citizens & foreign governments during war still owed Revolutionary soldiers pay for military service.
Lack of power to tax led to Confederation not being able to pay these debts.
Requested funds from states but only small portion of money was contributed.
1781- Under Philidelphia merchant Congress created a department of finance after they faced with a total collapse of country's finances.
Morris proposed 5% tax on imported goods.
Plans to change Articles of Confederation
To help pay debt, Congress tried to get the power to levy tax. 12 colonies approved. Rhode Island did not and hence, Congress failed. 2nd attempt also failed.
Problems with Britain
In Treaty of Paris Britain promised to withdraw from land east of Mississippi River. However, they still occupied strategic forts in Great Lakes region.
Trade problems- British were keeping Americans out of the West Indies and other profitable British markets.
1785-Congress sends John Adams
British blamed Americans- Americans had agreed to pay Loyalists for the property taken from them during war. Congress recommended States to pay but they refused.
Problems with Spain
Spain- held Florida & land west of Mississippi River. Also, Spain was anxious to halt American expansion into the territory it claimed.
Result=Spain closed lower Mississippi River to American shipping in 1784.
1786- Agreements with Spain
American diplomats reach agreement. However, Representatves from Southern states block agreement because it did not include right to use the Mississippi River.