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Foundations Of American Government
Transcript of Foundations Of American Government
Many European documents throughout time influenced colonial veiws on government
Many philosophers had influential ideas during the Enlightenment, a time period in which many new ideas and theories about life and government emerged.
Thomas Jefferson was a delegate from Virginia in the Second Continental Congress. He was also the main writer of the drafts for the Declaration of Independence.
John Hancock was from Massacusetts and was the president of the Second Continental Congress. As president, he had to reside over congressional meetings and remain a mutual mediator during debates. He is also known for having the largest signature on The Declaration of Indepedence.
Benjamin Franklin was a Pennsylvania delagate for the Second Continental Congress. He also helped revise Jefferson's drafts the Declaration of Independence. He is known for being the only one to sign all four documents that shaped American Government. (The Declaration, Constitution, and the two treaties between France, the colonies, and England)
Samuel Adams was a member of the First and Second Continental Congress from Massachusetts. He is known for serving on many committees of the independence movement , that benefited the military, which he widely supported.
Important events leading up to the creation of the Declaration of Independence
Formation of the Second Continental Congress
This time, Delegates from all the colonies met in Philadelphia
Served as the US government for 5 years
Decided they needed to break away from Britain and become a sovereign country
Formation of the First Continental Congress
Delegates from every colony except Georgia met in Philadelphia for 2 months
They wrote and sent a protest to King George III
They decided not to trade with Britain until they repealed the taxes and new regulations.
The Stamp act was a tax on stamps, that were now required to be on all official documents and papers.
It was the first direct tax on Colonists by Parliament.
The Colonist protested that it was taxation without representation (which meant they were being taxed without having an representatives in Parliament)
The Colonies sent delegates to New York, creating the Stamp Act Congress to write the Declaration of Rights and Grievances.
The Stamp act was repealed.
The Boston Tea Party
Part of a protest of the tax on tea that was left after the Townsend Acts were repealed
Residents of Boston dumped barrels of tea from British ships into Boston Harbor.
Led to intolerable acts, which took away Massachusetts' self-government, restricted Boston from trading with Britain and sent a standing army to supervise Boston.
Reasons for the Creation of a New Government
Congress could not tax.
Congress did not have money from taxes to fund social programs or pay off debts.
Foundations Of American Government
Reasons for Declaring Independence
Reasons for Creating a New Government
John Adams was a member of the Second Continental Congress from Massachusetts. He revised Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of independence and engaged in debates about further changes.
Thomas Hobbes was a strong believer in Popular Sovereignty, which is where the government is ruled by the consent of the people. Popular sovereignty is a major aspect of colonial views on government. Also Hobbes idea of Social Contract theory, though flawed at the time, would later be a major part of American Government.
John Locke believed in freedom and equality in government, that everyone is entitled to unalienable rights such as life, liberty, and property, and that it is the people duty to overthrow the government if it is ruling unjustly. All of these concepts were represented in colonial government. The Declaration of Independence mentions the rights everyone deserves as "LIfe, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" and "that all men are created equal." which are very similar to Locke's ideals.
The belief that it is soley the government's responsibility to protect the freedom of the people, and that people must give up certain rights in order to receive this protection is was derived from an adaption of Thomas Hobbes by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It is known as Social Contract Theory, which is also present in colonial government.
Jean- Jacques Rousseau
Montesquieu had many philosophies whose concepts are pressent in American government. He is known for having strong positive views on Democracy. He believed that it was the best form of government and that power should never be in the hands of one person. He came up with the idea of having three branches of government and checks and balances
Baron de Montesquieu
Voltaire influenced the American Government veiw of Religious Freedom, and Seperation of Church and State. He believed that no government should be able to establish a religion for its citizens and cannot procecute on a religous basis.
The Magna Carta is an old English document that limited the King's powers and set up new guidelines for him to rule under, and had influences on American government.
It said that a ruler should not have absolute power.
It also established rule of law, which is where nobody is above the law, and due process of law everyone is entitled to a fair timely trial with a jury of peers.
It also established individual rights, which are rights that cannot be taken away
Considered the first form of American Government, the Mayflower Compact was established when settlers came to America on the Mayflower and decided that they needed a form of government to organize them, and this led to many ideas that influenced the colonial government.
This form of government is where majority rules
Social contract theory is in effect, but in this case it is to follow all the rules of the new society for the sake of survival.
The Petition of Right was another English document that included ideas that influenced colonial government.
It established individual rights for citizens
Limited the role of government
It protected all citizens equally, just as in colonial government.
Petition of Right
The English Bill of rights widely influenced American government as well.
It limits the power of government and took the idea of individual rights to a further extent.
It also gave citizens the right to bear arms, the right to petition, and freedom from cruel and unusual Punishment.( All mention in the American Bill of Rights as well)
English Bill of rights
The Townsend Acts
The Townsend Acts imposed a tax on goods such as glass, paper, lead paints and tea.
All these taxes were eventually repealed, except for the tax on tea.
The first Battles of the Revolutionary War were fought (Lexington and Concord)
The Declaration of Independence was adopted!
July 4, 1776
"He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."
"He", meaning the King, has denied support for laws that would benefit the colonies.
"He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of intermediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend them. "
He will not let the colonies pass important laws until he signs off on them, which he often did not do.
"He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance wit his measures."
"He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. "
"He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers."
"He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures."
"He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power."
"For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:"
"For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever."
"He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us."
"He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands."
He has taken colonial citezens prisoner, and forced them to fight against their own country and familiies.
"For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:"
"For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:"
Why the Colonists Declared Independence
Grievances listed in The Declaration Of Independence
The king has called meetings of the legislatures at places that were uncomfortable and far away so that when they got there, they would be so tired that they will just agree with whatever he says.
He has disbanded representatives on many occasions, just because they disagrees with his policies that went against human rights.
He had hurt the judiciary system by not passing laws that allowed for judiciary powers.
He sent armies to watch over the colonists when they were not needed or wanted
He has made his army separate and more powerful than the colonial government.
"For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:"
The king was protecting his soldiers that were apart of a Standing Army from being prosecuted for crimes they commited.
They took away the colonies' charters that let them govern themselves.
They suspended the colonies legislative powers, and forced their own legislative powers on them.
The king practically disowned the colonies and then declared on them for wanting to be sovereign.
"He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people."
When colonist were tried for crimes, the often were not allowed a jury at the trial.
They took colonist overseas to be put on trial for crimes they never committed.
The Colonists are complaining about how the British over-fished their water, and invaded and caused destruction in their towns
Under the Articles Of Confederation, The central government had little power.
No Executive or Judicial Branches
Without the Execute branch, there would was no system for carrying out laws into society.
Without a Judicial branch, there was no Supreme Court of means of justice.
Congress could not regulate trade between states.
Congress had no authority over what the states traded. States often put taxes on goods from other states in order to get consumers to buy locally.
States were not required to obey Congress.
States had no consequences for not obeying orders from congress.
Congress could ask states for money or troops and they didn't have to agree
Only one branch of Government
The Articles of Confederation consisted of only a Legislative branch, and no executive or judicial.
The Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation was the governmental structure of America from 1777-1781
The Legislative branch was unicameral, meaning there was only one house.
Each states had one vote and a chosen delegate
9 of the 13 colonies would have to vote for a law to be approved
These weaknesses of the government at that time all lead to the need for a new government, which was the United States Constitution.
Dec 16, 1773