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The ups and downs of american democracy in the mid 1780s in the united states

Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789. During the next several years, as the new government was being organized, intense political debates erupted. They would be some of the sharpest political conflicts in the nation's history and would shape America for the next two centuries.

The central issue in most of the debates involved the role of government in people's lives. Out of this debate grew political factions, groups of people who hold viewpoints on political matters different from other groups. Late in the 1790s, these factions evolved into organized political parties, something the Founding Fathers had not anticipated. Selecting a national leader Before the U.

A New Government: 1789–93

Constitution could be put into use, the nation needed to elect members to the House of Representatives and Senate as well as a president and vice president. The Constitution did not provide specific requirements for electing representatives and senators, so each state arranged their own elections.

Popular votes the votes of regular citizens did not become part of presidential elections until 1824. Until then, citizens called electors were the only ones who voted see Chapter 3. Each state was allotted a certain number of electors, determined by the number of representatives the state had in Congress. The states had various ways of choosing their electors. Some states allowed the public to vote directly for electors. In other states, members of the legislature chose the electors.

Under the system then in place, all presidential and vice presidential candidates were listed on the same ballot. During the presidential election, each elector voted for two candidates—one vote for president and one vote for vice president.

Each vote, however, counted as a presidential electoral vote. The candidate receiving the most electoral votes became president, while the second-place finisher became vice president. Words to Know Anti-Federalists: Those who opposed the U. Constitution during its ratification process in 1787 and 1788 because they preferred to have a weak central government with most governing powers held by the states.

A paper certificate the government sells to raise money; the government buys back the certificate repays the money at a later date. A tax on a product manufactured or sold within the nation.

Those who supported a strong central government for the United States and promoted adoption of the U. Constitution during its ratification process.

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Groups of people who hold viewpoints on political matters different from other groups. Those who favored a weak central government and strong state governments; became the Democratic-Republicans. People who take financial risks by buying something at a low price with the hope that its value will rise and a profit can be made by reselling. The electors cast their ballots for president on February 4, 1789, a date established by the Continental Congress.

However, only ten of the thirteen states actually voted in the first presidential election. New Yorkled by Governor George Clinton 1739—1812who opposed creation of a chief executive in the federal governmentdid not hold elections.

  • In fact, a recent survey of documents from the era shows that family connections seem to be one of the most important factors driving participation in the movement;
  • Yale University Press, 2003.

Rhode Island and North Carolina were still waiting to have their new state constitutions ratified. The electoral ballots were not counted until Congress first met, which was not until two months later.

  1. The electoral ballots were not counted until Congress first met, which was not until two months later.
  2. Creation of the First Bank spurred growth of other banks. The state governments, overwhelmingly representing the interests of the urban elite, were also levying taxes, also to be paid in cash.
  3. The modern urban working class as we know it today existed only in an extremely embryonic form, working in a relatively small number of rudimentary manufacturing workshops, usually employing only a small number of workers. The coast was dominated by for-profit production and importation for the market, whereas the small scale subsistence farming and barter of the interior was not.

On April 6, sixty-nine electoral votes from the ten states were tallied. George Washington 's name was selected on all sixty-nine ballots; electors from every state had given Washington their votes—and, therefore, the presidency.

John Adams 1735—1826 came in a distant second with thirty-four votes, ahead of several other candidates, so he became vice president.

  • The businessmen could deposit their own money there, and the federal government could loan them money from the bank money collected under Hamilton's tax policy to start new manufacturing businesses and expand existing ones;
  • British authorities even attempted to block emigration of skilled workers to the United States so that no drawings of factory designs or machine details would be taken out of the country;
  • He also proposed that the national economy should not be so reliant on agriculture;
  • Alexander Hamilton , President Washington's newly appointed secretary of the treasury, had specific ideas on how to solve the financial problems and create a firm economic footing.

Both Washington and Adams had sided with the Federalists during the constitutional debates. Federalists also won the majority of seats in both houses of Congress. After the election, Washington left his home at Mount Vernon in Virginia to take office in New York City, the location of the new government.

Washington felt a combination of great anticipation and dread, knowing he would be responsible for guiding the creation of a fully working government. All along his route to New York, cannons roared and bells rang as large, jubilant crowds came out to greet him. One of Washington's main goals was to create national unity and stability.

Washington hoped to calm Anti-Federalist fears about the newly empowered national government. Anti-Federalists were those who opposed the new constitution during the ratification process in 1787 and 1788. They preferred a weak central government and greater governmental powers for the states. Upon taking office, Washington took some deliberate steps to shape the public's image of the presidency and encourage unity among the states.

He wore a rather plain brown suit to his inauguration on April 30 at Federal Hall to show he was a common citizen, not an all-powerful ruler and not royalty. He also made political appointments from various parts of the country. Washington toured the country so people could see that the president was approachable.

As head of state, he showed both great dignity and great humility. He freely used symbols and ceremony to highlight the importance of the presidency, but he carefully downplayed the importance of the individual serving as president.

Most of all, Washington knew that everything he did would set an example for future presidents. Washington did not limit his appointments to people who shared his political beliefs.

  • These people are accustomed to rule in a certain manner, and do not want to change their ways or appear to bow to pressure from below;
  • The report described the various problems hindering industrial growth, including lack of capital and labor shortages.

His top appointments included Thomas Jefferson 1743—1826 as secretary of state, Alexander Hamilton 1755—1804 as secretary of the treasury, Henry Knox 1750—1806 as secretary of war, and Edmund Randolph 1753—1813 as attorney general. Both Jefferson and Randolph were Anti-Federalists. This group of top presidential advisers became known as the Cabinet.

A new Congress The first Congress under the new constitution got off to a slow start. A flu epidemic was racing through New York City. In early America, without vaccinations that are now common, the flu often proved deadly.

Many newly elected congressmen became ill and failed to appear on March 4, 1789, when Congress was scheduled to convene at Federal Hall. Once the congressional members did gather, they had plenty of important issues to resolve.

Their first priority was the creation of a bill of rights to satisfy public concerns about the increased strength of the central government, concerns that were raised during the constitutional ratification process. Congress hoped that a bill of rights would also defuse disgruntled Anti-Federalists who might be inclined to undermine the new federal government.

Under the leadership of James Madison 1751—1836a Virginian newly elected to the House of Representativesthe task was accomplished, and the first ten amendments to the Constitution were adopted as the Bill of Rights in December 1791 see Chapter 3. The amendments recognized individual liberties including freedom of religion, freedom of speechand freedom of the press. They also guaranteed citizens the right to assemble and to petition government concerning grievances.

Selecting a national leader

In addition, when charged with a crime, Americans were guaranteed the right to a lawyer and to a speedy public trial with an impartial jury. The amendments promised protections against cruel and unusual punishment and unreasonable search and seizure; they also guaranteed that no citizen would be tried twice for the same crime known as double jeopardy or be forced to testify against one's self. Most important to those concerned about the strong new central government, the tenth amendment reserved for the states all responsibilities that the Constitution did not clearly assign to the federal government.

Creating federal courts After making the Bill of Rights official, Congress had the daunting task of creating a federal court system. During the colonial period in America, no distinct American legal system existed. The courts, criminal laws, and punishments varied from colony to colony. In the mid-1700s, a reform movement was growing that sought to standardize the justice system among the colonies.

The American Revolution 1775—83 and the country's resulting independence from Britain greatly speeded up this reform. During colonial times, the British courts in America were unfair, generally favoring British interests and denying colonists equal consideration. American leaders were so sensitive to this unfairness that they decided to do without a federal judiciary after declaring independence from Britain.

They would place greater trust in their own local state court systems rather than a more distant central government's. Under the Articles of Confederationadopted in 1781 as the nation's first constitution, the thirteen states each had their own judicial system, with no greater court ruling over them. In 1787, the Constitution added a federal court system on top of the thirteen individual state court systems. The Constitution called for a supreme court the highest court in a judicial system and gave Congress the authority to establish other federal courts as it saw fit.

The new Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1789, legislation that organized the Supreme Court and created district and appellate levels of federal courts. District courts would hear original cases. Their decisions could be appealed to the appellate courts. The Judiciary Act of 1789 also established court jurisdictions the types of cases the courts have legal authority to hear and the geographic areas where the courts can exercise their authority and the positions of U.

The Court heard its first case in 1792. The Constitution did not address criminal law defining crimes and their punishments except to identify the federal crime of treason an attempt to overthrow one's own government.

The states remained primarily responsible for dealing with crime in the United States. When Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1790, it established sixteen federal crimes in addition to treason. These crimes included murder within federal installations such as forts or buildings, forgery signing a false name of federal documents, piracy robbery on the high seas, assault of a federal official, and perjury while under oath, intentionally making a false statement or lying during a court appearance in a federal court.

Trials for these federal crimes were to occur in front of juries.

A New Government: 1789–93

Another new characteristic of the federal judicial system was its total reliance on written laws. During colonial days, courts used the English common law system. In the common law system, judges were free to invent new laws as time passed and new issues came before the court. Under this system, the colonists were subject to the mercy of the British king and the British elite upper class.

Under the new federal law system, a person could not be prosecuted in a federal court for an action not specifically forbidden in the federal penal code a written set of laws regarding crimes and punishment. This change lessened the judge's control and power in the courtroom and gave defendants those accused of a crime a better chance for a fair trial.

The state judicial systems moved away from common law too, but this took place gradually, over many years. Criminal punishment The late eighteenth century would serve as an experimental period for the U.