Some Famous Delegates George Washington Benjamin Franklin James Madison
Why were they meeting in Philadelphia? Although the U.S. had won the Revolutionary War, there was no central government. Each state had its own laws. U.S. was getting too big to let each state have its own laws dealing with other countries and trade. The U.S. was falling apart. The country needed a strong national government.
Why were they meeting in Philadelphia? A big meeting, or convention, was called to create a plan for a central government. This plan would be called “The Constitution” The meeting became known as “The Constitutional Convention”.
Interesting Facts Lasted 16 long weeks during a hot summer at the State House in Philadelphia George Washington elected by delegates to be President of the Convention Delegates became known as “The Founding Fathers”
The State House in Philadelphia Independence HallLiberty Bell
Interesting Facts Delegates suffered from a terrible heat wave—they were even hotter because they kept all the windows closed so everything would be kept secret! It took many days for the delegates to travel to Philadelphia. Eighty-one year old Franklin was carried there in a chair!
Two Plans = Big Fight VIRGINIA PLAN Gov’t would be made up of 3 sections (branches). Executive: President: In charge of the gov’t Legislative: Congress: 2 house (House of Rep. and Senate=make laws) Judicial: Courts: Made sure laws were obeyed Each state would have an equal vote which meant that states would have more control than the President. NEW JERSEY PLAN Smaller states thought gov’t would pay more attention to bigger states.
The Great Compromise Delegates voted for Virginia Plan, but the two sides compromised. House of Representatives: Number of reps. would be based on the population of the state Senate: Every state would have 2 senators (size doesn’t matter)
Quiz How many senators are there in the Senate? 100 Which state has the most representatives in the House of Representatives? California
Which states have only 1 person in the House of Representatives?
STATEAREA (square miles) POPULATION Montana147,046909,453 North Dakota 70,704 634,110 South Dakota 77,121 761,063 Wyoming97,818 498,703 Vermont9,615616,592 Delaware2,489807,385 Alaska656,425643,786
Constitution Decided how new states could join the U.S. Decided how long terms of office should be Made it possible to change Constitution by adding amendments (changes)
Bill of Rights 10 Amendments added very quickly (1791) Describes rights that the government cannot take away from the people Examples: right to a trial by a jury, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. 16 more amendments added (13 th ended slavery; 19th gave women right to vote)
IMPORTANT The Founding Fathers were careful to create a government where no one branch had more power than the other!
What is the Constitution? The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. It tells how the government is set up and the rules by which all people must abide.
What is the Preamble? 1 sentence Explains why constitution was written We the People We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.