Meeting to Fix Problems May 1787 Independence Hall Philadelphia, PA original purpose – fix the Articles of Confederation and improve the national government Constitutional Convention meeting that created a completely new plan of government – the Constitution
Significance of the Document The current Constitution of the United States is the world's oldest written constitution still governing a country today - 224 years.
British Ideas Used in the Constitution Magna Carta 1215 (Great Charter) guaranteed due process of law trial by a jury of peers people judged according to law protected the rights of Parliament against the monarch English Bill of Rights 1689 right to petition the government right to a fair punishment if found guilty of a crime Parliamentary Government two-house (bicameral) lawmaking body one appointed, one elected by the people checks and balances
Secret Meetings Delegates agreed not to discuss any of the Convention business outside the Convention could speak freely during their meetings no pressure by outsiders allowed delegates to change their minds allowed agreement on difficult issues
Records of the Convention James Madison kept a journal of the proceedings of each meeting only delegate who attended every meeting all summer notes released after his death chief source of info about the Convention
A New System of Government Federalism (Federal System) = A system of government in which the powers of government are divided between the national government, which governs the whole country, and the state governments, which govern the people of each state.
Settling Differences Serious disagreement over representation in the new national legislature. Larger states wanted representation based on population Smaller states wanted equal representation Great (Connecticut) Compromise Created a bicameral lawmaking body called Congress Senate - all states would have equal representation House of Representatives - each state would be represented according to the size of its population
New Powers for the Government 1. coin and print money 2. raise armed forces 3. regulate trade – domestic and foreign 4. collect taxes
Ending the Convention Completed September 17, 1787 (Constitution Day) Signed by 39 of the 42 delegates Delegates return to their home states
Approving the Document Ratification = Approval by a formal vote. Before the Constitution could go into effect, it had to be ratified by 9 of the 13 states. Each state set up a special convention of delegates to vote on the Constitution.
Ratifying the Constitution FederalistsAnti-Federalists Supporters of the Constitution who urged its adoption. Opponents of the Constitution who urged its rejection. needed a strong national government to keep the country united feared that the United States would break up into 13 separate countries feared a strong national government defeated the purpose of the Revolution believed that the new document would not protect the states' power or the people's freedoms Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Sam Adams
Convincing the People Federalist Papers series of 85 articles or essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, and published to help increase public support for approving the new Constitution. Many citizens were upset that the Constitution did not contain a list of the rights of the people. Some states suggested that a Bill of Rights should be added if the new Constitution was ratified.
The New Government Begins New U.S. government began to operate in March 1789 Members of the new Senate and House of Representatives arrived to begin their work George Washington was sworn in as the first president inaugurated on April 30, 1789 Required ninth state ratified Constitution in June 1788 North Carolina and Rhode Island did not approve the new Constitution until after it went into effect New York City chosen as the temporary U.S. capital Washington DC did not yet exist