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Enlightenment Thinkers Pave the Way for the U.S. Constitution

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Presentation on theme: "Enlightenment Thinkers Pave the Way for the U.S. Constitution"— Presentation transcript:

1 Enlightenment Thinkers Pave the Way for the U.S. Constitution

2 John Locke ( ) People were reasonable (though still selfish) and had the natural rights to life, liberty, and property. Purpose of government is to protect these natural rights. Government power comes from the consent of the people.

3 Voltaire ( ) Wrote more than 70 books of political essays, philosophy, and drama. Used satire against his enemies, especially the clergy. Beliefs: Tolerance Reason Freedom of religious belief Freedom of speech “I do not agree with a word you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

4 Montesqieu ( ) Believed Britain was the best-governed and most politically balanced country of his own day. Proposed the “separation of powers” between executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Proposed “checks and balances.”

5 Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
Passionately committed to individual freedom. Believed man was born free and good but easily corrupted. Believed the only good government was the “general will” or direct democracy.

6 A Nation Built on Compromise: The Constitutional Convention
Who Were The Delegates? The Issues Compromises

7 The Constitutional Convention, 1787
55 delegates attended but on a typical day 35 were present 29 held college degrees 34 were lawyers 24 served in the Continental Congress 21 were military officers of the American Revolution Washington was elected president of the convention based on his integrity and past service to the colonies.

8 The Constitutional Convention, 1787
Most delegates considered themselves as merchants or slave owners Small farmers, free African-Americans, women, or Native Americans are not present What does this painting show about the delegates at the convention?

9 The Virginia Plan Proposed a three branch government
The legislature branch would write the laws. The executive branch would enforce the laws. The judicial branch would interpret the laws. The legislative branch would have a bicameral legislature and representatives would be based on a states population. The legislature would appoint the executive and the judiciary. It would also settle disputes between states.

10 The New Jersey Plan (small states)
The legislature would have a unicameral house to guard against large states having to much power. Each state would have one vote. This plan sought to stay as close to the Articles of Confederation as possible.

11 What were they thinking?
Alexander Hamilton proposes that members of the executive branch serve for life Luther Martin suggested that states should be even more powerful than the national government

12 The Architects of Compromise
Edmund Randolph proposed the Virginia Plan. Roger Sherman proposed the Great Compromise.

13 The Great Compromise (Connecticut Plan)
The legislature would be bicameral. The Senate would give each state equal representation. The House of Representatives would be based on state populations. Terms of office would be outlined. An electoral college of all representatives and senators would choose the president.

14 Three-Fifths Compromise
Slaves would be counted toward political representation and would also be counted when states were taxed. The slave trade was to be allowed for the next 20 years

15 The road to debate On September 17, delegates sign the U.S. Constitution It had been done in secret and was a new written document Only white property owning males would have a say in the ratification of the Constitution.

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