Articles of Confederation



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Articles of Confederation:

The United States’ most difficult problem after winning the American Revolution was to create a government for its people. In their first efforts to govern themselves at a national level, the leaders of the thirteen free states wrote the Articles of Confederation. However, the states were more like thirteen separate nations than one unified country. Many states had their own armies, their own navies, and their own paper money. This first attempt at forming a government was a natural product of the distrust and fear that existed among the thirteen states. The Articles of confederation contained so many weaknesses that it was unsuitable for the needs of the newly formed nation. By 1787 a crisis had arisen in North America. Unless something was done soon, the new United States could collapse and Britain could regain control of the colonies she had surrendered just a few short years before.


A Meetinghttp://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/independence-hall-frederic-kohli.jpg

A meeting of the thirteen states was called in 1787 for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. Rhode Island’s delegates never arrived, therefore the convention was composed of only twelve states. It was held in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall, during the months of May through September, 1787. The weather was hot and humid, but the windows were kept closed because all the business details of the meeting had to be kept secret until the final document was prepared and a new government was born.




Connecticut
William. Samuel Johnson
Roger Sherman
Oliver Ellsworth*

Delaware
George Read
Gunning Bedford, Jr.
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jacob Broom

Georgia
William Few
Abraham Baldwin
William Houston*
William L. Pierce*

Maryland
James McHenry
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer
Daniel Carroll
Luther Martin*
John F. Mercer*

Massachusetts
Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King
Elbridge Gerry*
Caleb Strong*

New Hampshire
John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman

New Jersey
William Livingston
David Brearley
William Paterson (Patterson)
Jonathan Dayton
William C. Houston*

New York
Alexan

der Hamilton


John Lansing, Jr.*
Robert Yates*

North Carolina
William. Blount
Richard Dobbs Spaight
Hugh Williamson
William R. Davie*
Alexander Martin*

Pennsylvania
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robert Morris
George Clymer
Thomas Fitzsimons (
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouverneur Morris

South Carolina
John Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler

Rhode Island
Rhode Island did not send any delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

Virginia
John Blair
James Madison Jr.
George Washington
George Mason*
James McClurg*
Edmund J. Randolph*
George Wythe*

* indicates delegates who did not sign the Constitution


Attending the Convention at Philadelphia were fifty-five well educated, professional men. Most of the men had been involved in affairs of government before this Convention. A great many were wealthy and they did not have complete faith in the common man’s ability to govern himself.

President of the Convention: George Washington, Delegate from Virginia

Recording Secretary of the Convention: Major William Jackson




  1. Delegate – Representative

  2. Legislative Branch – branch of government that makes the laws

  3. Executive Branch – branch of government that enforces the laws. The President is the head of the Executive branch.

  4. Judicial Branch – branch of government that interprets the laws

  5. Compromise – a settlement in which each side gives up part of what it wants

  6. Representation – a system in which people elect representatives to pass their laws

  7. Commerce – the buying and selling of goods; trade

  8. Impeach – to accuse a federal official of wrongdoing

  9. Federal Governmentnational government; government that conducts the business of the nation

  10. State Government – government that conducts the business of the state

  11. Congress – the Legislative branch of the government. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate make up the Congress.

  12. Senate – the upper house of Congress. Each state has an equal number of Senators (2).

  13. House of Representatives – the lower house of Congress. The number of Representatives from each state is determined by the population of the state.

  14. Chief Executive – the highest official of the Executive branch; the President

  15. Justices – judges of the Supreme Court

  16. Chief Justice – highest official of the Supreme Court

  17. Supreme Court – the Judicial branch of the government

  18. Term – a set period of time; the lengths of time for holding office

  19. Electors – selected people from each state who chose the President.



  1. How should the large and small states be represented in the national legislature?

    1. Large States

      1. Virginia Plan – presented by Edmund Randolph of Virginia

        1. Two houses in the legislature

        2. Representation should be based on the population or number of free inhabitants in a state

    2. Small States

      1. New Jersey Plan – presented by William Paterson of New Jersey

        1. One house for the national legislature

        2. Each state should have equal representation and each state should be entitled to ONE (1) vote per state.



  1. Should slaves be counted as part of the population when determining how many representatives a states is entitled to, if representation is to be based on population; and should slaves be counted as part of the population when determining how much a state will pay to the national government, if the amount of that tax is based on the population of the state?

    1. Southern States

      1. Slaves should be counted in the population when determining how many representatives a state should have, but not when determining how much tax the state will have to pay the national government.

    2. Northern States

      1. Slaves should not be counted in the population when determining how many representatives a state should have, but should be included in the population figure when calculating how much tax a state will pay to the national government.



  1. Should the national legislature how the power to regulate commerce and the slave trade?

    1. Southern Merchants

      1. The southern merchants feared the national legislature might place export duties on their crops, interfere with the slave trade and make commercial treaties favoring the north.

    2. Northern Merchants

      1. The northern merchants wanted the national legislature to have the power to make tariffs and regulate trade

In this binder you have been assigned a role. The “role sheet” will describe the particular delegate that you are to depict throughout the Constitutional Convention Simulation. Read the BIOGRAPHY side first.


Now you are ready to study the viewpoint of your particular delegate as it compares to the TOPICS FOR DEBATE. Place the role sheet (VIEWPOINT side up) next to the TOPICS FOR DEBATE sheet. You will see that your role sheet corresponds to the order for the TOPICS FOR DEBATE. Read the questions to be resolved on the TOPICS FOR DEBATE sheet and then read your solution on your role sheet.
While reading through both pages, you will note that only ideas are given on your roll sheet, not arguments or reasons for your opinion. In preparation for your convention, you will need to prepare your own arguments and speeches to defend your delegate’s viewpoints and convince others to support your cause.


  1. Articles of Confederation

    1. Do we revise the Articles of Confederation or do we write a new form of government?




  1. Legislative Branch




    1. How many houses should there be in the national legislature and what will the basis for representation in the house or houses of the national legislature? (Representation to be based on population OR to be equal for each state?)

    2. Should the slaves be counted as part of the population when determining how many representatives a state gets and when figuring how much tax the state must pay to the national government?

    3. Should the national legislature have the power to regulate commerce and the slave trade?

    4. Who should choose the representatives to the house or houses of the national legislature?

    5. How long should the term of office be for the representatives in the house or houses of the national legislature? If there is more than one house, will the term of office be the same for both houses?

    6. Should representatives be able to serve more than one term?




  1. Executive Branch




    1. How many executives should the national government have?

    2. How will the executive or executives be selected?

    3. What powers will the executive or executives have?

    4. How long should the term of office be for the executive or executives?

    5. Should the executive or executives be able to serve more than one term?




  1. Judicial Branch

    1. What type of national court system should be created?

    2. How should the justices be selected?

    3. How long should the term of office be for the justices?

    4. Should the justices be able to serve more than one term?



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