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The Constitution in Frames

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Erik Pham

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of The Constitution in Frames

The Constitution in Frames
The Virginia Plan
The New Jersey Plan
The problem of representation in Congress (legislative branch) was settled by Roger Sherman. He proposed a plan called the Great Compromise. It was later accepted. The plan was as follows:
Congress- consists of a two house legislature. The lower house is the House of Representatives, while the upper house is the Senate.

House of Reps. Senate
# of reps. is
based on state
(Virginia Plan)
The Constitution: General View
The Constitution is the document that is the "frame" of our government. The American government is based on the ideals and principles of the Constitution. It was written in 1787, about 226 years ago! Yet we American citizens still swear and live by it today. This is because the Constitution still represents and protects us. We will continue to abide by it until it does not protect our liberties and rights anymore. The U.S. Constitution is uniquely American and represents the goals of our government and our people.
The Articles of Confederation
The previous (first) government of America did not provide for its citizens. The U.S. was a
and adopted the
Articles of Confederation

as their first constitution. The government formed was based on the principles of the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation was formed during the American Revolution by the second Continental Congress. Their purpose was to develop a central government to deal with foreign affairs and deal with various money problems. However, the Articles of Confederation was faulty. Under the Confederation, the states had majority of the power, which left little power for the Continental Congress, the central government of the U.S. The states had supreme authority, and the Continental Congress had to have the states' approval for most things (like passing laws). This proved to be a problem later on. The Continental Congress could not pay the Continental Army because they could not impose taxes on the citizens during the war. The new government was deep in debt as a result of the American Revolution. The central government did not have the authority to tax the citizens (RI disbanded Morris' plan), but the states did. The states began to impose taxes to raise money in attempt to alleviate the debt. The states imposed taxes on the citizens (many of them former soldiers of the Continental Army). A significant number of the taxed citizens were farmers. The farmers had no $ to pay their taxes (they didn't receive their pay for fighting), so their lands were seized and they were jailed. Many farmers became angry and hostile towards the Confederation. Farmers who were protesting banded together against the government. They were led by Daniel Shays. In Jan. 1787, Shays and his men attempted to raid the Springfield arsenal but were stopped short by the state militia, who fired at four rebels, thus scattering the farmers. The uprising collapsed then and there. However, even though the rebellion was dispersed, American citizens remained worried because they were uncertain about the new government's abilities to protect them. (prevent violence)
The Constitutional Convention
Shays' Rebellion proved that the Confederation (Articles of Confederation) could not provide for its citizens. The government was unable to raise money, and the issue of slavery grew. Some people believed that the central government should be strengthened in order to solve problems. They wanted to revise the Articles of Confederation (which would change the government because the gov. is based on the Articles of Confederation). Two men named James Madison and Alexander Hamilton called for a convention to revise the A.O.C. The convention took place in Philadelphia in May 1787 and lasted throughout the summer, with 55 delegates attending. George Washington, at first, was not happy about the need for reforming the Articles, but he was convinced after he learned about Shay's Rebellion and presided over the Convention from the first meeting. At the first meeting, there was an idea about how the government could be changed. The idea was proposed by Edmund Randolph. The idea was rejected by small states, however. . .
First Page of the Constitution
Proposed by Edmund Randolph
Large state Plan
Based on Bicameral Legislature
Lower house- elected by the people
Upper house- elected by the lower house
A chief executive for the central government
The plan was that the # of representatives a state receives should be based on its population
people =
Proposed by William Patterson
Small state plan
One House Legislature
A weak executive of more than one person for the central government
The plan was that the # of votes each state receives is
regardless of its population
The Great Compromise
# of reps. in each state is only 2
Representation Problems- During the Convention, delegates were faced with problems of how they should be represented. Other people were involved, too.
Different Views of Legislative Representation
Slave Representation
The Northern and Southern
states reached an impasse when
the issue of counting slaves arose.
The states couldn't decide how
slaves would be represented or
taxed.There were two sides whose
ideas differed. In the end, both accepted the 3/5ths Compromise.
Did not
want slaves
to be counted
Wanted to
count slaves to
gain delegates
in House of Reps.

The 3/5ths Compromise was a plan that counted a slave as 3/5ths of a person for representation and taxation purposes.
Ratification Attempts
The Constitution was completed towards the end of summer. Delegates met in the Philadelphia State House to sign the Constitution on September 17, 1787. However, all but 3 delegates signed the new Constitution. The original plan was to get all the states to approve the Constitution. This method was not very effective, so the ratification method was changed. The new method stated that the Constitution (new government) would take effect when at least 9 out of the 13 states ratified the Constitution. This process would take a long time, as the states (people) spent their time perusing the Constitution before making any choices. During this time, the ratification of the Constitution was the main issue in all of the states. Many people gave their opinions by criticizing the Constitution. Soon, two sides rose out of the debate. One side, known as the Federalists, supported the ratification of the Constitution. The other, known as the Anti-Federalists, opposed the Constitution's ratification.
Constitutional Debate
Wanted to ratify the Constitution
Wanted a stronger national government
Government was to be controlled by the wealthy & educated
Had strong ties with
, not France
Wanted National Banks (central gov.)
Wrote the
Federalist Papers
to persuade ratification
Did not want Bill of Rights included
Main Supporters- John Jay, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton
Did not want to ratify the Constitution
Wanted to limit the national government
Government was to be controlled by ordinary citizens
Had strong ties with
, not
Wanted State Banks (state gov.)
Wrote the
Antifederalist Papers
to dissuade ratification
Wanted Bill of Rights included
Main Supporters- Patrick Henry, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson
Principles of Government
These 7 Principles of Government are reflected in the Constitution.
Popular Sovereignty
- the governments' power comes from the people. Without the people, the government is
Limited Government
- the government's is limited by the Constitution & the people.
- the power of the U.S. gov. is divided between the state governments and the national gov.
Separation of Powers
- the government is divided into 3 branches, which consists of the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Branches.
Checks and Balances
- each of the three branches can "check" on one another, limiting each other's power so that they are all equal.
Individual Rights
- every U.S. citizen has their rights secured by the Bill of Rights (and other amendments), which contain our basic rights & liberties.
- the people have the power to elect representatives to represent them in government
These principles (and others) found in the Constitution helped "shape" the government. The U.S. government is based on these key principles. These principles acted as a blueprint for building our government. The American government had to oblige with the principles of government in the Constitution in order to fulfill the needs of its people.
Levels of Government
The government provides for its citizens at different levels. One level of government cannot provide everything, so more levels were created to meet our specific needs. Each level also has its own powers of government, some shared, some different.
Local State Federal
Participating in Government
We U.S. citizens can participate in our government by following our responsibilities and duties. Duties are our obligations, while responsibilities are things that we are compelled to do, though they are optional. We can participate by doing the following things.


Be informed
Vote (republicanism)
Volunteer (public services)
Run for office
Donate hard and soft $
Provides for its citizens in a
Provides services (education, police, fire, waste management. transportation, etc.)
Provides recreational areas
Closest to its people
Give licenses
Enforce laws
(in addition to national laws)
Protect the state's lands
Build roads and highways
Establish local governments
Establish courts
Somewhat involved with people, though not as attentive as local gov.
Conduct foreign affairs
Coin money
Provide army & navy
Least associative with a
All 3 levels of gov. provide for the general welfare of its people.
Note: This chart
how different levels of gov. helps meet the
of its people,
Ratification Complete
The ratification process was not easy. It took 3 years for the
of the states to ratify the Constitution. Delaware was the first, ratifying it on December 7, 1787. Many other states followed suite. On one fateful day (June 21, 1778) New Hampshire ratified the Constitution. The new government (Constitution) could take effect starting that very day. You'd expect that the Americans would celebrate, but some problems still remained. Four states still did not ratify the Constitution yet, two of which were large and powerful (New York & Virginia). These two states still opposed ratification. However, they agreed to ratify the Constitution after the Federalists agreed to add a bill of rights to protect individual rights. Virginia ratified it on June 25, 1778, New York on July 26, 1778 (barely!), and North Carolina on November 21, 1789. The last state, Rhode Island, ratified the Constitution on May 29, 1790. All of the states had at last ratified the Constitution. Finally, the citizens could rejoice. It was the dawn of a new government.
Obey laws
Pay taxes
Serve in jury duty
Defend the nation
(when it's in danger)
Branches of Government
Makes and proposes bills
(which become laws)
Approves bills
(later becomes laws)
Vetoes bills
Interprets laws
Appoints justices (judges)
Supreme Court
Enforces laws
Makes treaties
Can impeach President
Can override veto
Can disprove
President's appointments
Can impeach judges
Can declare the President's actions unconstitutional
Can reject or ratify treaties
Can declare laws unconstitutional
Can propose amendments
By: Erik Pham
It's beautiful, right?
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