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Foundations of the United States Constitution

Unit 1

Catherine Farrar

on 3 October 2014

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Transcript of Foundations of the United States Constitution

The United States Constitution
People Who Influenced the Constitution
John Locke: was an English philosopher who wrote about social contract (man's relationship with government) and natural rights (given by God).
Ideas That Influenced the Constitution
Events that Influenced the Constitution

The Magna Carta:
Foundations of American Government
Social Contract - individuals have surrendered some of their freedom's in exchange for protection of their remaining rights.
Natural rights - are those rights not bestowed by government but instead granted by God, and therefore universal and inalienable (i.e., cannot be transferred, or removed). All individuals have natural rights.
1632 - 1704
Montiesquieu: was a French philosopher who articulated the theory of separation of powers.
Separation of Powers -
states that the administrative powers of government were the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. These should be separate from and dependent upon each other so that the influence of any one power would not be able to exceed that of the other two.
He also said that there were three main forms of government, each supported by a social "principle": monarchies (headed by a hereditary figure), which rely on the principle of honor; republics (free governments headed by popularly elected leaders), which rely on the principle of virtue; and despotisms (enslaved governments headed by dictators), which rely on fear.
1689 - 1785
Locke's writings inspired the
Declaration of Independence.
Montiesquieu's writing's inspired the
U. S. Constitution.
was appointed a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence in June 1776. At the signing, he is quoted as having stated, "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." Franklin believed the best form of government was a republic. Like the other advocates of republicanism, Franklin emphasized that the new republic could survive only if the people were virtuous.
1706 - 1790
is the Father of the Constitution, having spoken over 200 times at the Constitutional Convention, and the Father of the Bill of Rights. He was one of the author's of the Federalist Papers, which helped the Constitution to be ratified. He also wrote the Virginia Plan. Madison convinced George Washington to attend the Convention because he thought Washington's presence would give the Convention legitimacy.
1751 - 1836
after the war, he longed to retire to his fields at Mount Vernon. But he soon realized that the Nation under its Articles of Confederation was not functioning well, so he agreed to attend the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. When the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected Washington President. Some wanted Washington to be king, but her refused. He understood that as the nation's first president, he would be setting precedents for all following presidents. He only served two terms, remained neutral in foreign affairs, and disliked political parties.
1732 - 1799
1. Civil -
There is civil equality in gov't when persons are subject to the same law in enjoyment of their various rights and liberties.
It implies that all citizens should be treated alike in the matters of possession of their rights without any discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, caste or creed.
2. Political -
Political equality implies that all citizens should have political rights and should have equal access to all offices of authority. It means universal adult suffrage. It also implies rights to form political parties. These rights are necessary in a democratic society.
3. Social -
It means that all citizens are equally eligible to enjoy various opportunities in society. Social equality is a difficult idea to attain.
4. Natural -
Natural equality implies that all men are born free and equal and are endowed with equal gifts and talents.
This debate over federalism, the system of shared power between national and state governments, has continued throughout American history. Some argued in favor of states’ rights, saying that the states had sovereign powers equal to the federal government. Others defended nationalism, the supremacy of the federal government over the states.
Separation of Powers:

The framers of the Constitution feared too much centralized power, adopting the philosophy of divide and conquer. At the national level, they created three different branches of government to administer three different types of power.
Checks and Balances:
Within the separation of powers, each of the three branches of government has “checks and balances” over the other two. For instance, Congress makes the laws, but the President can veto them and the Supreme Court can declare them unconstitutional. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” wrote James Madison in Federalist 51, so that each branch will seek to limit the power of the other two branches to protect its own power. Such a system makes concerted action more difficult, but it also makes tyranny less likely.

Rights of the Individual:
Consent of the Governed:
Philosophers like John Locke theorized that natural rights come from nature or from God, and are not “granted” by government. Individual rights include life, liberty, and property. The Founders believed that individual natural rights include freedom of speech, religion, and press, as well as freedom from unreasonable searches. Individual rights also encompass political, economic and civil rights. These include the right to assemble freely, to petition government, to own and use property, and to vote. All compact theories are based on the idea that individuals willingly trade some of their natural freedom, including the absolute exercise of individual rights, in exchange for the protections provided by society and government.
The United States of America was the first modern state formed around the principle of consent of the governed. The term implies that the people of a country or territory are sovereign and consent to the establishment of their own government.

The Boston Massacre:
The Intolerable Acts:
The Declaration of Independence:
July 4, 1776
The Revolutionary War:
1775 - 1783
Shay's Rebellion:
The Articles of Confederation:

was the first document imposed upon a King of England by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their rights. It was an important symbol for those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law
wasn't a massacre. It was really more of a riot. Only 5 people died. But, the BM increased the hatred between the Americans and the British. Paul Revere and Samuel Adams were happy the few colonists died because they used it as propaganda so the colonists would get mad at the British.
was the American Patriots' name for a series of punitive laws passed by the British Parliament after the Boston Tea party. They were meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in throwing a large tea shipment into Boston harbor. The acts took away self-government in Massachusetts, triggering outrage and resistance in the Thirteen Colonies. They were key developments in the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775.
The American Revolutionary War, the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War in the United States, was the violent overthrow of the Kingdom of Great Britain's control of thirteen of its American colonies which joined together as the United States of America in July 1776.
was written by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, and is the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty. Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and other philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.
Benjamin Franklin:
James Madison:
George Washington:
*see notes
*see notes
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