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The Founding & The Founders
Transcript of The Founding & The Founders
Favored the Constitution
Favored a Strong National Gov't
Leading Federalists Included: Alexander Hamilton, James
Madison, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson
Opposed the Constitution
Demanded a Bill of Rights
Favored Decentralized Gov't
Leading Anti-Federalists Included: Patrick Henry, John
Hancock, and George Mason
The Founding & The Founders
Founding the US Gov't - Basic Chronology
ca 1600 - ca 1770
1776 - 1780
Sept, 1774 - March, 1776
1781 - 1787
Sept, 1787 - March, 1789
Atlantic Slave Trade
Native American Structures
1st & 2nd Continental Congress
Declaration of Rights
Declaration of Independence
Individual States Adopt Constitutions
13) New Hampshire
Adoption of the Articles of Confederation
1st Constitution of the United States
Debate Over Ratification of the US Constitution
Constitution Goes Into Effect March 4, 1789
Demographic Breakdown (1790):
Slaves (Male & Female): 694,000 (18%)
Free African-Americans: 59,000 (1.5%)
White Women: 1,540,000 (40%)
Poor & Lower Middle Class Men: 1,200,000 (30%)
Large Land-Owners: 390,000 (10%)
Total Population: Approx. 3,890,000
The Broad Veiw - Social Structure
Sources: University of Virginia Library Historical Census Browser, State Level Results for 1790; US Census Bureau, Accessed Sept 13, 2002
Owned 50% of the nation’s land & 1/6 of the nation’s population (i.e. slaves).
What Was Life Like in America at the Time of the Declaration of Indpendence?
Approved - 2nd Continental Congress (July 4, 1776)
Committee of Five (Primary Author - Thomas Jefferson)
Declaration of Secession & Complaints
Radicalism for Its Time:
The US Declaration of Independence
“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…”
“Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.”
Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence (1825):
Source: "TO HENRY LEE" - Thomas Jefferson The Works, vol. 12 (Correspondence and Papers 1816-1826;1905)". The Online Library of Liberty. May 8, 1825. http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&
staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=808&chapter=88496&layout=html&Itemid=27. Accessed 3/8/2008.
Committe of Five: Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, & Robert Livingston
American Constitutionalism - The Constitution & Debate Over Ratification
1776 to 1780 - All 13 States Adopt Individual Constitutions
Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
7 of 13 Original State Constitutions Included a Bill of Rights
Separation of Powers
Checks and Balances
Unicameral Congress (One House)
One Vote Per State In Congress
2/3 Majority Vote Needed To Pass Legislation
Unanimous Vote Needed To Amend Articles
National Gov’t Had No Power To Tax
Could Only Ask States For Funding
No National Court System
No Executive Head
National Gov’t Had No Power To Raise An Army
Could Only Ask States For Help From State Militias
National Gov’t Had No Regulatory Power With Regard To Trade
National Gov’t Had No Power To Coin Money
The Need For A New Constitution
Primary Characteristics of the Articles of Confederation:
Constitutional Convention (1787 - Philadelphia, PA)
Bi-Cameral Congress (Upper - Single Seat; Lower - Proportional to Population)
Executive Branch Chosen by Legislature
National Judiciary Appointed by Legislature
New Jersey Plan
Uni-Cameral Congress (Single Vote for Each State Regardless of Size)
Congress Elected by State Legislatures (Powers: Taxation, Appoint Executive, Regulate Trade)
National Judiciary Appointed by Executive
Established House of Reps & Senate (Lower & Upper Houses From VA Plan)
All Fiscal Bills to Originate in House of Rep
Census Every Tenth Year
3/5 Compromise (Article 1, Sect 2, Clause 3)
“free persons” would count as one person towards representation and taxation.
“...all other persons...” (slaves) would count as 3/5 of a person.
Commerce & Slave Trade Compromise (Article 1, Sect 9, Clause 1)
Gave Congress Power to Regulate Commerce (Domestic & Foreign)
Banned Congress From Taxing Exported Goods
Banned Congress From Limiting The Slave Trade Before 1808
Sept 17, 1787 – Constitution is approved by 39 of 55 delegates of Constitutional Convention.
Debate Over Constitutional Ratification
Article VII required ratification of the Constitution by a minimum of 9 out of 13 states.
Ratify: to formally approve, confirm, or sanction.
Debate Over Constitutional Ratification
Lack of a Bill of Rights
The Debate Over Constitutional Ratification Revolved Around Two Primary Points Of Contention:
Timetable of Constitutional Ratification
Dec 7, 1787
Dec 11, 1787
Dec 18, 1787
Jan 2, 1788
Jan 9, 1788
Feb 6, 1788
April 26, 1788
May 23, 1788
June 21, 1788
June 25, 1788
June 26, 1788
Nov 21, 1789
May 29, 1790
Constitution implemented on March 4, 1789.
As agreed upon during the 1788 ratification debates, the Bill of Rights was added in 1791 in the form of the first ten amendments to the US Constitution.
Purpose of the Bill of Rights – Limit the power of the federal government in relation to the individual.
Implementation of the US Constitution
Who were the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention?
55 white men representing 12 states (Rhode Island did not send delegates).
39 of 55 delegates would eventually sign the Constitution
Vast majority had political experience prior to the Convention.
Came from a wide-range of professional backgrounds:
Over Half Lawyers or Some Legal Training
12 Slave-holding Plantation Owners
11 Land Speculators
2 Small Yeoman Farmers).
Most were Protestant & fairly well-educated (half had university degrees).
18th Century American Society Compared To 18th Century Europe:
18th Century Europe - Political Power Held By Approximately 1 - 2% of Society .
18th Century America - Political Power Held By Approximately 10% of Society.
Usually Nobility; Example - France
Land-Owning White Men
18th Century American Literacy Rates:
Approx. 70 - 100% of white men were literate at the end of the 18th Century (Depending on the State)
Compared to 48 - 70% in England
Approx. 90% of white women were literate at the end of the 18th Century.
Literacy - defined as being able to read and write your name.
1776 - Thomas Paine's Common Sense
Sold over 500,000 copies in its first year of publication
1 for every 7 people living in the colonies
Does not include literacy rates for slaves or Native Americans, which were generally very low.
Landless Farmers, Free African-Americans, & White Women
Slaves & Native Americans
The Detailed View - Social Structure
Primary Land Owners
Held Right To Vote & Hold Office
10% of Society
No Right To Property
No Right To Vote
15-20% of Society (though probably more because Native Americans weren't included in census data in 1790)
Yeoman Farmers, Artisans, Traders
Secondary Land Owners
Some Had Right To Vote (Depending On Land Ownership)
Most Did Not Have Right To Hold Office
10 - 15% of Society
Rarely Held Right To Vote
Rarely Held Property
Over 60% of Society
Based on 1790 Census Data
Adoption of the Bill of Rights
First Ten Amendments to the US Constitution
Dec 15, 1791
Common Features of Early State Constitutions:
The State Constitutions
The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom (Thomas Jefferson - 1786)
The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read, "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination."
The Works of Thomas Jefferson
. Collected and edited by Paul Leicester Ford. Federal Edition. 12 vols. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904--5.
Jefferson on Religious Freedom (1821)