Origins of American Government C H A P T E R 2 Origins of American Government SECTION 1 Our Political Beginnings SECTION 2 The Coming of Independence SECTION 3 The Critical Period SECTION 4 Creating the Constitution SECTION 5 Ratifying the Constitution Chapter 2
Chapter 2, Section 1 Our Political Beginnings S E C T I O N 1 Our Political Beginnings Europeans began coming to North America in the mid–1500s with the English emerging as the dominant force. American colonists based their governments on the developing tradition of ordered, limited, and representative government.
The Coming of Independence S E C T I O N 2 The Coming of Independence Great Britain began taking a more active role in its colonies in the 1760s. The colonists resented many of Great Britain’s policies, and 12 of the 13 colonies formed the First Continental Congress to oppose the British policies. The Second Continental Congress formed in May 1775, produced the Declaration of Independence, and became the government of the United States. The newly formed States began to write their own constitutions which later influenced the Constitution of the United States. The State constitutions purposely divided power among three branches, executive, legislative and judicial, and established a system of checks and balances. Chapter 2, Section 2
Chapter 2, Section 3 The Critical Period S E C T I O N 3 The Critical Period The Second Continental Congress created the Articles of Confederation which established “a firm league of friendship” among the States. The Articles of Confederation gave some power to the Congress, but denied it several important powers. Limits on the central government made it difficult for the government to deal with the country’s problems. Discussions among the States regarding how to meet the needs of the new nation led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.
Creating the Constitution S E C T I O N 4 Creating the Constitution Delegates from every State except Rhode Island were present to discuss the new government, and there were many disagreements. The States compromised and were able to resolve difficult questions about slavery, the selection of the President, the configuration of Congress, and other important issues. Chapter 2, Section 4
Ratifying the Constitution S E C T I O N 5 Ratifying the Constitution States had to accept (ratify) or reject the Constitution before it could be adopted. The Federalists were pro-Constitution. Anti-Federalists feared the plan’s strong central government and lack of a bill of rights. The Constitution was finally ratified, and the new Congress convened in New York, the nation’s capital, with George Washington as the first President. Chapter 2, Section 5