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Creating the Constitution - Chapter 5
Transcript of Creating the Constitution - Chapter 5
Writing State Constitutions
The new constitutions minimized the state governments' powers and gave most of it to state legislatures elected by the people.
The Articles of Confederation
The Articles had a one-house legislature branch called Congress. It had no executive and no system of national courts.
of Western Lands
Land Ordinance of 1785
Congress had to come up with a system for land sales and settlement.
Surveyors divided public lands into townships with 6 miles on each side. Each of the townships also had a grid with 1 mile on each side. These 36 sections would be sold with the minimum price of $1 an acre.
Northwest Ordinance of 1787
Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 for the purpose of guaranteeing basic rights for settlers in the Northwest Territory and spreading American republicanism
As the nation began to grow, many Americans proclaimed that the Articles did not provide enough power for the government to solve a variety of emerging problems.
Furthermore, to help its own farmers and manufacturers, the states had to set taxes on imported goods from other states. This discouraged interstate trade.
Powerful nations looked down on the United States because it seemed weak.
British troops continued to capture forts in the Northwest Territory even if the forts were required to be turned over to the United States. $$$$
The Spanish refused to let Americans ship products through the Mississippi River. This caused Western farmers to send products through the Appalachian Mountains. $$$$
There was widespread despair and anger as the economic depression deepened.
The government still had many war debts (including back salaries due to the revolutionary soldiers)
This severely affected farmers in Massachusetts since crop prices declined and caused many to be unable to pay their taxes.
The government began selling farms to get back the taxes.
The Constitutional Convention Begins
Aims of the Convention
Congress called the meeting "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation."
Many delegates believed that revising the Articles would not be enough.
Delegates began to keep their debates secret so the delegates would be free to speak their minds.
55 delegates from 12 states joined the convention. Rhode Island was a no-show.
The Virginia Plan
A Two-House Legislature
a bicameral (two house) legislature
States with larger populations would have more members
The Congress would have the power to veto state laws.
The Great Compromise
Terms of the Compromise
House of Representatives would be based on population.
Bigger states would have more votes
Debates Over Slavery
A New Constitution
Three Branches of Government
Creating the Constitution
Why do we need government?
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another . . .
all were republics in which people elect their representatives
Allowing poor men to vote will
"confound and destroy all distinctions,
and prostrate all ranks to the common level."
the first state
to grant voting rights to taxpayers over the age of 21.
leads the way in adopting a Bill of Rights
The Articles provided a limited central government because the new states did not want to risk giving too much power to a central government far from the people.
Ratification: the process of securing formal approval.
Once ratified, it created a "firm league of friendship" amongst the 13 states, "for their common defense and security of their liberties and their mutual and general welfare."
Since Congress couldn't control trade or collect taxes, they had to ask permission from the states if they needed money
still not a true union
The primary accomplishment of the Articles of Confederation was the
Each territory had a governor but could elect an assembly once it had a population of 5000 men
The end of war always brings an economic downturn
because the government still has war debts and because production decreases.
As a result, each state had to print its own money which made trade between states harder.
Revolutionary War Veteran
Rebel of the Republic
Adams and Jefferson were serving as diplomats in Europe
President of the Constitutional Convention
The British system with its king and House of Lords is "the best model that the world has ever produced."
came to Philadelphia 9 days early
sat in the front
spoke 100 times
believed only a strong government could save itself from its democratic excesses
favored a large, diverse republic
the well-read, and
the well-read" -
Proposed by Madison
the big state plan
A Strong Executive Branch
seven year terms (although no re-election)
Command of military and foreign relations
A powerful president could "easily become king."
What is a constitution?
What is a democracy?
What is a republic?
What's the difference?
Historian James McGregor
"an assembly of demi-gods"
received a standing ovation wherever he went.
feeble and in ill health
provided wit and wisdom
the consummate diplomat as always
said they had created "a republic, if you can keep it."
proposed by William Patterson,
the governor of New Jersey
the small state plan
A unicameral legislature
each state would have equal power
An executive committee
rather than one chief executive
Similar to the Articles of Confederation
except that Congress would have the power to tax
and regulate commerce
States would remain sovereign
A compromise was needed.
The Union was in jeopardy.
Do you think compromise is a dirty word?
Roger Sherman of
negotiated the Great Compromise
If states were to be represented by population,
what question arises?
If slaves cannot vote,
are they counted as citizens in
States of all sizes would be equally represented in the
Senate because each state would have two seats
Out of 500 slaves,300 would be counted as free people
Guiding Concepts and Terminology
Government by the people
a representative government ruled by law
Northerners were required to return fugitive slaves.
The Constitutional Convention concluded on September 17
"The only thing certain is death and taxes."
urged the delegates to support
the "federal experiment."
It's better than anarchy
-Franklin wrote of the Constitution
in a letter a French friend , 1789
3 delegates did not
The Constitution did not contain a
Bill of Rights
"such bills generally begin with a declaration that all men are by nature born free....very bad grace whern a large part of our property consists of men who are actually born slaves."
-a delegate from South Carolina
39 delegates endorsed the Constitution
The process of getting formal approval was the next step
The Articles required
the approval of 13 states
The Framers declared that the approval of only 9 states was necessary
Immediately, a power struggle
between small states and
large states emerged
"What have you been contending for these
ten years past? Liberty! What is Liberty? The power of governing yourselves. If you adopt this Constitution, have you this power? No! you give it into the hands of a set of men who have gone one thousand miles distant from you."
-James Lincoln, South Carolina
Supported ratification of the Constitution
Stressed the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation
Argued that only a strong government could handle the problems that faced the young nation
Vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty."
Opposed the ratification of
Organized at a the state level
The Federalists advanced their
cause through The Federalist Papers,
a series of 85 essays that outlined the
reasons that the Consitution was essential
Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.”
The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right.”
Human beings are selfish and imperfect.
They are driven by ambition
Arguments of the Federalist Papers
Yet, a system of checks and balances
lessens the imperfections of a government
run by an imperfect people
It is impossible for imperfect people to
make a perfect document.
Anti-Federalist George Mason
insisted on a Bill of Rights to protect
the rights of individuals
The Ninth Amendment provided
for the "enumeration in the Constitution, of
certain rights, shall not be construed to deny
or disparage, others retained by the people."
This paved the way for future amenments
James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights
"All men are created equal.
All men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights;
life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness."
Six Principles ofThe Constitution
The people are the only source of
the government's power
The government has only the power that the Constitution gives it
Separation of Powers
The government's power is divided among three branches: the legislative, the judicial, and the executive
The federal government and
the state government share power
The people are the only source of
the government's power
Checks and Balances
Citizens elect representatives
to government to make laws
Each branch has the power to limit the power of the other two
It does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
"A little revolution now and then is a good thing."
What are competing
beliefs of govt?
Some were bicameral - two legisative houses
Some were unicameral - one legisative house
Which is more democratic?
unicamera or bicameral?
The negotiations were
It was "hot in Philadelphia!"
Jefferson vs. Adams