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Copy of The Constitutional Convention
Transcript of Copy of The Constitutional Convention
By the Fall of 1786, it was clear the Articles of Confederation had many weaknesses...
The Articles provided a weak national government and little control over state power
Congress was powerless to impose and collect taxes
During the summer of 1787, Delegates from the original colonies joined together to create a Constitution that would forever change the nation
Who is missing from the Convention?
It was decided that a Convention of delegates would soon meet to discuss the problems of the Articles and begin work on fixing them
Rhode Island refused to send delegates to the Convention because they feared a strong central government. The state hoped that their absence would prevent changes to the Articles. When presented with the Constitution, Rhode Island refused to ratify it.
55 Delegates, including many Founding Fathers, from the remaining 12 States met at the Philadelphia State House for the summer of 1787.
(formerly the Philadelphia State House)
Guards were placed at the State House doors to ensure no one else could enter.
Delegates agreed that the Convention proceedings should be kept secret in order to prevent outside and public pressure. The men could then speak their minds freely.
Meetings couldn't be held unless delegates from at least 7/13 states were present
The Convention Opens
To revise the Articles or to make a new Constitution?
Just 5 days after the Convention began, the delegates voted in favor of a proposal put forth by Edmund Randolph of Virginia. The proposal stated that rather than attempting to revise the very weak and unfit Articles, the Convention would write a completely new Constitution for the Union.
George Washington was unanimously elected as President of the Convention
In Congress, each state only had one vote, no matter what the size
James Madison is often referred to as the "Father of the Constitution"
Compromise of Plans
The Virginia Plan
The New Jersey Plan
Written mostly by James Madison
Bicameral national Legislature, or Congress, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate
Representation in each house would be based off a state's population
Congress would have the power to make laws for the states, override state laws, and force states to obey national laws
Called for a stronger central government
VA, MA, PA, NY supported
Central government had power to raise taxes, regulate trade, and enforce national laws
3 Branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial
Having the power to make laws
having the power to carry out the laws
having the power to tell what laws mean and decide if they are carried out fairly
Proportional Representation or nay?
2 House legislature, upper and lower houses
Representation in Congress would be equal, no matter the size of the state, large or small (this was an element of the Articles of Confederation)
A multi-person executive would be chosen by Congress
Protected the small states who feared a federal government ruled by the large states
DE, NJ, MD supported
a system of representation based on differences in population size between areas
One house legislature
The Connecticut, or "Great Compromise"
Although the Framers disagreed on a number of points, they also agreed on many basic issues:
Popular sovereignty, limited national government, representative system of government, separation of powers, and checks and balances
-Roger Sherman of Connecticut offered this compromise to the delegates at the Convention
-Considered the central Compromise of the entire Convention and marked a turning point in the Convention as it opened the door for other compromises
That Congress should consist of 2 Houses, a House of Representatives and a Senate
In the Senate, each state would have two representatives, no matter their size (equal representation to satisfy the smaller states)
In the House, a state's representation would be based upon current population (to satisfy the larger, heavily populated states)
The 3/5 Compromise
Should slaves be counted as part of the population?
Since the number of representatives in the House of Representatives a state will have is based on a state's population, Northern and Southern states argued about whether or not slaves should count.
Southerners: yes! This would increase their representation in the House. If they were not counted, the Southern states would remain weak in the House.
Northerners: no! Slaves cannot vote, they are property, why should they be counted?
The Compromise: All slaves would be counted, but the total population would be multiplied by 3/5, or every slave would be counted as 3/5 of a person
The Slave Trade & Commerce Compromise
This compromise was passed on July 16, 1787
North- "Congress should be able to regulate foreign commerce and trade between states! This was a huge issue under the Articles of Confederation!"
South- "Congress would use that power to tax exports (goods sold to other countries) that the our economy relies on, like tobacco and rice. Congress may also use that power to interfere with the slave trade!"
Congress can regulate trade, but they cannot tax exports and the slave trade can't be abolished for 20 years (abolished in 1808)
The delegates met for the last time on September 17, 1787. No one was completely happy with the document, some even refused to sign (39 out of 55 men signed). Most signed knowing that there was still room for improvement. It was then sent off to the states for ratification (formal approval) by at least 9/13 states
self-government based on the will of the people
what do we mean by "Founding Fathers" or "Framers of the Constitution"?
What do these words mean?
peace among states
government aid programs
provide for defense and safety of country with militia
well-educated lawyers, merchants, college presidents, physicians, generals, governors, planters, politicians.
No women, Native Americans, African Americans
Thomas Jefferson & John Adams (both in Europe at the time of the Convention)
Patrick Henry (selected to attend but refused)
written by William Patterson
How to elect President?
"Congress should pick because the people can't be trusted to pick someone qualified and worthy!"
"the people should vote!"
Compromise= The Electoral College
A group of people named by state legislatures to select the President and VP
Supposed to act as a safety net to not allow someone to become president who is not qualified
Every state's electoral college votes = the number of representatives in Congress that that state has (NH has 4- 2 Senators and 2 Representatives in the House).
Candidate who wins the popular vote gets all electoral college votes- Candidate needs 270+ to win elections
GOAL: opposed ratification of the Constitution
too much power to the national government
no bill of rights to protect individual liberties
Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason
A Bill of Rights would be added as soon as the Constitution was adopted
NYC became the nation's temporary capital
George Washington was unanimously elected as the 1st President
GOAL: Supported the ratification of the Constitution
Constitution stressed federalism (government in which power is divided between the federal, or national, government and the states
reminded Americans of Articles of Confederation's flaws
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay
wrote the Federalist Papers to argue support for ratification