Chapter 2 The Constitution and the Founding. Copyright 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Longman

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1 Chapter 2 The Constitution and the Founding

2 A Republic At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Ben Franklin was queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation. In the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland s delegates to the Convention, a lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy. Franklin replied, A republic... if you can keep it.

3 The Historical Context of the Constitution 1760s: Tensions with England over taxation to pay for the French and Indian War. (All the colonies had drafted their own constitutions.) 1765: Stamp Act Congress and Petition to the King in response to the Stamp Act. England rescinded the Stamp Act. 1767:Townshends Acts (1:00) Patrick Henry & Samuel Adams Sons of Liberty 1772: Committees of Correspondence kept all colonies in the loop 1774: First Continental Congress: boycott British goods, and oppose the Intolerable Acts passed after the Boston Tea Party of 1773 April, 1775: Battles of Lexington and Concord (Why?) : Second Continental Congress July,1775: Olive Branch Petition (4:15) October, 1775: Response to the Petition (3:09) January, 1776: Thomas Paine Common Sense (Our Choice) July, 1776: A Decision, Our Declaration of Independence (5:55)

4 Declaration of Independence When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. [list of grievances] And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. Declaration of Independence (4:00) - Too Late To Apologize (3:22)

5 The American Crisis by Thomas Paine Chapter One written on a drumhead December 19 th 1776, published December 23 rd, and read to the troops December 25 th, before crossing the Delaware THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.

6 The Historical Context of the Constitution (recap)

7 The Articles of Confederation and the Constitutional Convention : Articles of Confederation League of Friendship - The States were the source of power. - Only one branch Legislative. - No standing federal Executive or Judiciary. - No power to tax. (John Hanson: First President of the Union under the Articles of Confederation) What was the importance of Shay s Rebellion? 1787: Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (2:06) Political Theories: rejection of monarchy, representative democracy, consent of the governed, and natural rights. Economic Interests: protection of property rights (life, liberty, property)

8 Compromises at the Constitutional Convention The Miracle at Philadelphia Representation of States in the Union - The Virginia Plan favored large states - The New Jersey Plan favored small states What was the Great Compromise? Representation of People in the States - How did slave states want slaves counted? - How did free states want slaves counted? What was the Three-Fifths Compromise? (3:15)

9 Compromise at the Constitutional Convention The Miracle at Philadelphia

10 George Washington I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.

11 Ratification: Antifederalist Concern and Federalists Strategies The IMPORTANCE of the Federalist Papers (1:06) Alexander Hamilton James Madison John Jay What did the Anti-Federalists fear? What was their condition for ratification?

12 Bill of Rights Why a Bill of Rights? Walter Williams (B)ill of rights are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous.for why declare that things shall not be done (by Congress) which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given (to Congress) by which restrictions may be imposed? Hamilton Federalist Paper 84 (concept of negative liberties) Example: Amendment prohibiting Congress from infringing on our right to Picnic on our back porch when the Constitution gives Congress no authority to infringe upon that right in the first place!

13 The Historical Context of the Constitution (recap)

14 The U.S. Constitution Article I: Legislative Branch Article II: Executive Branch Article III: Judicial Branch Article IV: States and full faith and credit clause Article V: Amending process Article VI: Supremacy clause Article VII: Ratification The U.S. Constitution: BORN of the Declaration of Independence A Republic of Laws, Not Men (4:06)

15 The Uniqueness of the U.S. Constitution The U.S. Constitution is currently the oldest written Constitution in the world (1789) and is only 4,400 words. was the result of natural law ideas of individual liberty. (1:08) These ideas would ultimately break religious, gender, and race barriers here and in other nations around the world. was the first complete, written national Constitution. Ancient Greek city states merely had partially written constitutions. was the first Constitution that was submitted for popular ratification, as opposed to being imposed on a people by a new political regime. Could man govern himself in absence of a king? This was the great experiment that was put to the test!

16 Influence of the U.S. Constitution The Power of the concept of We the People WE decide the type, kind, form Rule of law, not of men. Equality before the law. Law by us, and for us. These ideas are based upon the religious notion that we are created equal and given the same rights by the Creator. IF equal before God, equal among men. The alternative practiced in the rest of the world was life directed under whims and might of others - No governing document by the people, for the people. Once the American Constitution was ratified in 1789, the idea of the single written constitution became popular the world over. (7:17) - Poland and France adopt written Constitutions in 1791; Spain in By 1820, 48 written constitutions (mostly in Europe). - By 1850, 80 written constitutions (spread into Latin America). - Now, almost all modern democratic governments have written constitutions. - Judicial review of laws is an American invention practiced around the world. - Ideas of Individual Rights now a common concept in most democratic nations.

17 The U.S. Constitution: Checks and Balances Exclusive Powers, Shared Powers, and Checking Powers Legislative - Impeachment, Power of the Purse, and Override Veto Executive - Veto Power Judiciary - Judicial Review Challenges to this Balance of Power! Can the President declare a law Unconstitutional? Use of Executive Orders? (More in Chapter 10)

18 Is the U.S. Constitution a Living Document? Difficult and Slow for a reason! Formal In the Constitution 1. Proposal 2. Ratification Informal (2:52) Relies on Ambiguity, Implied powers, and Changing Social Norms Not in the Constitution and therefore controversial Judicial Review - Marbury v. Madison (1803) Do we look at what the Constitution MEANS, or what it OUGHT to mean? If the latter, who decides what it ought to mean?

19 Thomas Jefferson (1798) I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution... I mean an additional article.. taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.

20 Recent Amendment Proposal: Balanced Budget Amendment A balanced-budget amendment is a constitutional rule requiring that the state cannot spend more than its income. It requires a balance between the projected receipts and expenditures of the government. 1997: BBA came closest to passing! Debt was $5.3 Trillion. House - received 2/3 vote; Senate - fell 1 vote short of 2/3 vote 2011: Rising national debt and raising debt ceiling renews interest in BBA (4:14) Obama: We Don t Need a balanced budget amendment (:35) House - fell 23 votes short of 2/3; Senate - fell 20 votes short of 2/3 2012: GOP platform endorses a BBA 2013: Sen. Mike Lee 2014: - It's Time For States To Call A Constitutional Convention And Pass A BBA - Michigan - 'constitutional convention'? Today: Debt Clock

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