CREATING A GOVERNMENT

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1 Let us not be afraid to view with a steady eye the dangers with which we are surrounded. Are we not on the eve of a war, which is only to be prevented by the hopes from this convention? CREATING A GOVERNMENT The United States Constitution

2 CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION All 55 delegates were white male landowners Most were businessmen, lawyers, bankers, shippers, and plantation owners Who: The founders (55 delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies) What: A meeting to revise the Articles of Confederation Where: Philadelphia When: May 25, 1787 Why: Fear of a rebellion was spreading throughout the states Rhode Island was the only state that didn t send delegates (it wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation)

3 IMPORTANT PEOPLE Not everyone supported this plan. Patrick Henry stayed home saying he smelled a rat tending toward monarchy. George Washington: Elected president of the convention James Madison: Provided ideas to the Virginia Plan and wrote the Bill of Rights Thomas Jefferson: Insisted a Bill of Rights (a summary of citizens freedoms) be included Patrick Henry: One of the most vocal opponents of the Constitution 1. 75% served in the Continental Congress 2. Most had helped write their state constitutions 3. 8 had signed the Declaration of Independence 4. 7 had been state governor had fought in the Revolutionary War James Madison is often referred to as the father of the Constitution

4 GEORGE WASHINGTON

5 JAMES MADISON

6 THOMAS JEFFERSON

7 PATRICK HENRY

8 KEY ELEMENTS Popular Sovereignty Separation of Powers Checks and Balances The Great Compromise Three-fifths Compromise Limited Government Slavery?

9 POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY Not only the cornerstone, but the foundation of the fabric. Popular Sovereignty: A government system in which the people rule The people not the king, dictator, or president are supreme This had become an American tradition with the Mayflower Compact (consent of the governed) and John Locke s view of a social contract

10 SEPARATION OF POWERS Three branches Executive: Enforce the laws (carries out the laws) President, Vice President, President s Cabinet Legislative: Create the laws Bicameral (two houses) House of Representatives Senate Judicial: Interpret the laws Supreme court and other federal courts The founders took this idea from Charles de Montesquieu

11 CHECKS AND BALANCES All power in human hands is liable (likely) to be abused. Checks and Balances: the power of each branch of government is balanced and checked by the other branches

12 THE GREAT COMPROMISE The Virginia Plan STRONG national government Bicameral (two houses in Congress) Representation by population The New Jersey Plan Weak national government Unicameral (one house in Congress) Equal representation The Great Compromise: The Legislative Branch would be split in two The House of Representatives (law-making house w/ representation by population) The Senate (law-making house w/ equal representation) That the proportion of suffrage (votes) in the first branch should be according to the respective numbers of free inhabitants (representation by population), and that in the second branch or Senate, each State should have one vote and no more (equal representation).

13 ACTIVITY: THE VIRGINIA PLAN V. THE NEW JERSEY PLAN

14 Why did slave states want slaves to count toward their population? THE THREE-FIFTHS COMPROMISE With slaves counting toward their population, how did this also hurt slave states? The Three-Fifths Compromise: Three-fifths of the slave population would be counted for representation

15 LIMITED GOVERNMENT Limited Government: the Constitution limits the National government s power Control trade Raise an army Declare war/make peace Print money Grant patents/copy rights Create federal courts Govern territories Admit new states Run the postal service Control immigration Collect taxes Borrow money Make and enforce laws Create banks

16 SLAVERY? Slavery had been banned in several Northern states Delegates from South Carolina and Georgia refused to agree to the Constitution if slavery was banned Compromise: Congress could not ban the slave trade until 1808

17 AGREEMENT September 17, 1787: Congress signed the Constitution and sent it to the states to be ratified

18 DISAGREEMENT Federalism: a system of government in which power is shared between the national government and state governments Federalists called for a strong national government (supported ratifying Constitution) Anti-federalists didn t want a strong national government (opposed ratifying Constitution)

19 THE FEDERALIST PAPERS The Federalist Papers, written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, explained why a strong national government was necessary

20 THE DEBATE Rural areas (low population) feared a BIG government would increase taxes Large states with strong economies wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation Federalists I am persuaded that a firm union is as necessary to perpetuate our liberties as it is to make us respectable; and experience will probably prove that the national government will be as natural a guardian of our freedom as the state legislatures. Alexander Hamilton Anti-Federalists Your president may easily become king: Your Senate is so imperfectly constructed that your dearest rights may be sacrificed by what may be a small minority; and a very small minority may continue for ever unchangeably this government, although horridly defective. Where are your checks in this government? Patrick Henry What groups do you think opposed the new Constitution?

21 ACTIVITY: THE FEDERALIST PAPERS Read The Federalist Number 51 on page 255 and the Objections to the Constitution on page 256 and answer the following questions with complete sentences. 1. Why does James Madison believe that the Constitution should be ratified? 2. According to James Madison, how could abuse by the majority be prevented? 3. What does George Mason fear? 4. In what ways does George Mason believe the government will abuse its power? 5. Compare both arguments. 6. Whose argument do you think is most convincing? Why?

22 RATIFICATION Why do you think Virginia feared this? 1. To convince Anti-Federalists, the Federalists promised to add a Bill of Rights 2. States began ratifying the Constitution 3. In June /13 states had ratified the Constitution 4. Two of the most populated states (New York and Virginia) had yet to ratify it 1. Virginia feared the shift from 9/13 to a simple majority (7/13) 2. New York wanted to wait until a Bill of Rights was added 5. In 1790, Rhode Island became the final state to ratify the Constitution

23 THE BILL OF RIGHTS I like very much the general idea of framing a government, which should go on of itself but I do not like, first, the omission (leaving out) of a bill of rights Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse. Thomas Jefferson

24 THE BIGGEST STRENGTH? Why is this so important? Congress had the power to amend (change) the Constitution The first change: Adding the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments)

25 ACTIVITY: THE BILL OF RIGHTS

26 STRENGTHS OF THE NEW GOVERNMENT 1. Congress could collect (levy) taxes 2. Congress had the power to control interstate and foreign trade 3. It created a national court system 4. It created a branch to enforce the laws 5. It had a balance between equal representation and representation by population 6. Congress could change the Constitution with a 2/3 vote 7. Congress could pass laws with a majority vote Articles of Confederation: 100% needed Constitution: 66% needed Articles of Confederation: 69% needed Constitution: 51% needed

27 ACTIVITY: STRENGTHS OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION

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