What form of national government did the
Patriots create initially, and what events
revealed that a new government was
Congress urged the former colonies to create
individual state governments.
Although state constitutions varied, each
provided for a republic where people voted for
Patriots disagreed over the design of these
republics, especially over how much power to
give the common people.
like Thomas Paine
wanted more power for
weak state governments with
most of their power in a
popularly elected legislature.
unicameral or one house
legislature with either a weak
governor or none at all.
a large House of
Representatives with small
districts so that the people had
Most states, including
NY & MA, chose to
a governor with broad
bicameral legislature, with
an upper house or senate
made up of wealthy,
who would balance a
lower house elected by
the common people.
In contrast to the colonial era, the new state
constitutions expanded the power of the
Voters chose the members of both houses of the
new legislatures, not just the lower house.
States increased the number of representatives,
making them more accountable to their people
and voters directly elected their governors.
Democratic states like Pennsylvania allowed all
male taxpayers over age 21 to vote.
Conservative states preserved colonial
requirements of property ownership for voting.
None gave the vote to women or to slaves.
In time, most grew more democratic
with the lower house gaining more power.
The American Rev.
Because of this most
freedom of religion in
In the colonial era,
states collected taxes for
Now, religious freedom
and pluralism became
The Virginia Statute of
Religious Freedom set
the example. It allowed
for religious liberty free
of state influence.
In 1777, the Continental Congress drafted the
original constitution for the union of the states,
known as the Article of Confederation.
John Dickinson (PA) led the congress to create
a loose confederation of 13 states, rather than a
strong centralized govt.
Congress’s power was limited to prevent the
problems experienced under Britain.
The federal/national government consisted of
a congress of delegates.
State legislatures chose the delegates rather
than the voters.
States could send as many as 7 delegates but
each state, no matter size, had 1 vote.
Only congress held the power to make,
implement, and enforce laws.
To declare & conduct war and to negotiate
To regulate foreign affairs.
However, Congress could not raise money
On minor issues, 7 states were needed for
approval, but on major issues (war) it took 2/3
or 9 states to approve.
It also took all 13 states to amend the Articles.
Congress had a limited role.
Congress could not:
Declare war or
conduct foreign policy.
with Indian nations.
between states or states
and foreign nations
There was also no federal court system.
Distributing Western Lands
The Articles created a method to settle and
govern the Northwest Territory.
By selling this land Congress hoped to raise
revenue and extend America’s republic westward.
Hundreds of settlers who already crossed the
Ohio R. provoked war with Native Americans .
The Federal Gov’t could not afford to defend
this territory, in addition, they were afraid of
these settlers seceding from the Union.
To save the Union, the federal leaders needed
to regulate frontier settlement.
In a series of laws, Congress established a
method of distributing public land.
• Surveyors divided the territory into a N-S and
E-W grid to establish hundreds of townships.
Each township was subdivided into one square
mile (640 acre) squares to sell at $1 each.
Many farmers couldn’t afford the $1 an acre, and
some land speculators got special deals.
The Land Ordinance of 1785 grid system is still evident
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided a
government for the western territory based on
Thomas Jefferson’s ideas.
Congress established a territorial government and
appointed a governor.
Settlers were guaranteed freedom of religion, trial
by jury, and rights of common law.
Once there were 5,000 men, an assembly could be
elected. The appointed governor retained veto
Once there were 60,000 residents, a territory could
apply for statehood.
a republican constitution.
settlers basic freedoms.
the rights of Native Americans.
in five new states: Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of
Spain did not like
and felt expansion would
threaten their colonies in
Louisiana and Mexico.
Spain forbade trade with
New Orleans, thus, taking
away usage of the
Mississippi R. from
Britain tried to cultivate goodwill towards
American in the Treaty of Paris.
Soon Britain abandoned original feelings and
forced America to trade with only British
interests in favor.
Britain denied American ships access to the
British West Indies and the right to export
goods to Britain on American ships.
Britain kept soldiers in the Northwest territory
which embarrassed America.
• The nation’s debt was mounting.
problems led to
calls for a
revision of the
• The economic depression was
deepening as debts,
bankruptcies, and foreclosures
• Shays’ Rebellion demonstrated
the Federal government’s
• Foreign nations did not respect
the United States.