Foundations of the American Government

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1 Foundations of the American Government

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3 1600s-1770s Each colony was loyal to Great Britain but was responsible for forming its own government, taxing and defending itself. The government and constitution of each colony used ideas adopted from: English Law English Religion (Christianity) English Tradition

4 MAJOR INFLUENCES ON COLONIAL GOVERNMENTS Writings of John Locke (1660 s) Man is born with three basic rights which cannot be unjustly taken away: Life, Liberty and Property. Government power comes from the people (popular sovereignty). English Legal Documents Magna Carta (1215) First document to limit the King s power. Established Due Process and the Rule of Law.

5 Petition of Right (1628) Government could not tax without consent. Government could not quarter troops in your house w/o permission. English Bill of Rights (1689) Parliament replaced dominant power of King (legislative supremacy) Guaranteed a trial by jury No cruel and unusual punishment Right to bear arms

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7 Britain (the Mother Country) and the 13 colonies had a good arrangement going. French & Indian War Britain sends its army to help the colonies defend themselves from the French. It decides to make the colonies pay taxes to pay for it. BIG PROBLEM: Britain cannot legally force the colonies to pay taxes because they aren t represented in parliament (Britain s congress).

8 ACTION FRENCH & INDIAN WAR ( ) Britain & the colonies fight to drive the French out of N. America SUGAR ACT (1764) The British tax sugar, wine and cloth and make English sugar the only legal sugar to import. STAMP ACT (1765) British force every legal document, contract, will, pamphlet, letter, deck of cards must have a government stamp for which the colonists must pay a tax TOWNSHEND DUTIES ( ) British impose taxes on imported tea, glass & paper. REACTION Britain is forced to tax the colonies to pay for the war. Colonists get angry, grow their own sugar and boycott (refuse to purchase) English sugar. Tax affects everyday life. Riots break out Mobs attack tax collectors People in different colonies begin discussing via secret letters how to resist the tax. Colonists smuggle tea into the colonies Protests grow Boston Massacre TEA ACT (1773) Only the British East India Company (A government company) may sell tea in the colonies. Boston Tea Party Dressed as Mohawk Indians, the Sons of Liberty throw 342 tons of English tea from ships into Boston Harbor in protest.

9 ACTION INTOLERABLE ACTS (1773) Boston Port Act & Quartering Acts Boston Harbor is closed until Massachusetts pays back the cost of the ruined tea. The government of Massachusetts is dissolved. King George III replaces Massachusetts government with an army general backed up by several thousand British soldiers British soldiers are authorized to quarter themselves in people s homes whether they liked it or not. REACTION The colonies form the Continental Congress in an effort to unite the colonies and get their rights as British citizens back. They send a petition to the King asking him to convince parliament to repeal the Intolerable acts. He refuses. THE POWDER ALARM (1774) The British begin seizing weapons and gunpowder from armories in Massachusetts. British soldiers begin searching private homes for weapons without a warrant. All meetings and gatherings in Massachusetts are outlawed. Other colonies begin urging people to arm themselves in case a war with Britain breaks out. LEXINGTON & CONCORD (1775) 700 Redcoats under the command of Major John Pitcairn left Boston and attempt to seize American arms at Lexington and Concord. The Massachusetts militia confronts the British and a battle breaks out. The British retreat back to Boston and are shot at by small groups and individuals along the way. This is the first battle of the War of Independence.

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12 Written by Thomas Jefferson I. Explains to the world why the American colonies would no longer submit to British Rule. II. Explains how the government of Great Britain has violated the rights of the colonials. III. Explains that the colonies tried to solve the problem but had no other choice.

13 Articles of Confederation America s first constitution One branch of government (Legislative) WEAKNESSES No way of settling disputes between states (no Judicial branch) No Executive Branch (There was a President) Could not regulate trade between states No national army No national currency (each state had their own) Amending required unanimous vote New laws required 9 of 13 to vote in favor.

14 John Hanson 1 ST POTUS?

15 Constitutional Convention Shays Rebellion illustrates that the national government is unable to handle a crisis-the Articles of Confederation need serious revision PHILADELPHIA delegates from 12 states meet to revise the Articles of Confederation Wealthy, white males Average age is 42, 2/3 lawyers, 1/3 owned slaves Had political experience, from cities. No John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, John Hancock, or Patrick Henry! Father of the Constitution James Madison of Virginia Spoke over 200 times Don t write the pink!

16 MAJOR ISSUES The discussions revolved around several key issues, the most critical of which were: How much power should the federal government have over the states How should states be represented in congress? How much power should the people have? Should slavery be abolished?

17 Virginia Plan Strong national government Three branches of government (legislative, executive, judicial) Two houses of congress, based on population Big states like it! VA, Penn, NC, Mass, NY, MD JUST before was voted on, NJ introduced a new plan New Jersey Plan Three branches (same three) ONE house equal representation Two executives (presidents) Constitutional Compromise You don t need to take notes on this one, but I want to discuss it!!!

18 Constitutional Compromise The Great Compromise (Connecticut Compromise) Divided congress into two houses (bicameral legislature) House of Reps based on state population (Big States Happy) Senate has two representatives per state (Small States Happy) One executive, popularly elected ***BONUS: Splitting up Congress diffuses government power, making it harder to pass unjust/unpopular laws.

19 Slavery Slavery Slave states argue that slaves should count as part of their population. More population=more representatives in Congress. Non-slave states=if they can t vote, they shouldn t count. Madison comes up with a solution 3/5 Compromise 3/5 of slaves were counted, for representation purposes Ended the slave trade coming into the country in 20 years (1808)

20 Opposed ratifying the new Constitution MAJOR CONCERNS Anti-Federalists 1. Federal government would be too distant from the people and strip power from the states 2. Federal government could tax and spend too much. 3. No Bill of Rights existed to restrain government power. George Mason Patrick Henry Sam Adams

21 Federalists Supported ratifying the Constitution because: 1. It corrected the failings of the A of C. 2. Without a strong, central government uniting the states, the country would break apart. 3. Believed no BoR was needed Washington Madison Adams Hamilton

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