13 History 103 oct 19

13 History 103 oct 19 - History 103 Completing the...

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Completing the Revolution Oct. 19, 2011 History 103 Web
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Reminders: class etiquette
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The U.S. Constitution A remarkable document Note short length: only 4200 words Amended only 27 times, 10 of them at beginning, for additional 3000 words Note for comparison: proposed constitution of European Union runs to 60,000 words!
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A more perfect union Second constitution of USA aimed to correct deficiencies of First constitution, Articles of Confederation, which included Congress had to depend on states for revenue but could not compel them to pay At a time when new USA surrounded by hostile nations (including Indian tribes), Congress could not fund its own army New constitution aimed to correct those deficiencies But in order to do so, had to overcome entrenched American fear of government power
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A series of compromises 55 members of Constitutional Convention came up with series of compromises that made stronger union possible: Balanced power of big states versus little states (House vs Senate) Balanced power of states versus federal government Acknowledged “rights” of Southern slaveholders to their “peculiar institution” That final compromise: side stepped incompatibility of slavery with republican society Civil War would be necessary to resolve the problem
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A stronger “roof”
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Miracle or Nightmare? Reaction to proposed constitution created proto political parties Anti-Federalists : feared recreation of British rule, preferred stronger state governments because closer to people’s interests, felt Constitution would create dangerous political elite Federalists: favored stronger central government, felt new government would attract “natural aristocracy” of best men to rule
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Federalists won the argument Of two parties to debate, Federalists by far the better organized and more eloquent Made more effective use of the press: much more pro-Constitutional coverage in newspapers Case in point: The Federalist by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton made case for Constitution in 85 essays
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As important as “Commonsense” Brilliant exposition of governing theory still read by politicians today Federalist no. 10: importance of “factions” in keeping tyrannical majority from dominating an educated minority A large republic more likely to survive than a small one…. Web
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The Bill of Rights Federalists promised inclusion of bill of rights once ratification had been accomplished many of state constitutions already included “bills of rights” Inclusion of Bill of Rights was critical to Federalists’ defeat of strong Anti-Federalist opposition throughout country Majority of states ratified by 1789 Last vote came with Rhode Island’s ratification in 1790
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Where historians disagree… Major debates over the U.S. Constitution: how much did framers’ economic interests shape the government it set up? Was it a radical or a conservative document? Debate begun in Progressive era by historian
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This note was uploaded on 01/02/2012 for the course HIS 103 taught by Professor Nedlandsman during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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13 History 103 oct 19 - History 103 Completing the...

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