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Constitution Day The ratification of the U.S. Constitution September 17th.

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Presentation on theme: "Constitution Day The ratification of the U.S. Constitution September 17th."— Presentation transcript:

1 Constitution Day The ratification of the U.S. Constitution September 17th

2 American Revolution (The beginning) In 1763, after the French and Indian War the British Parliament adopted a policy ordering the colonies to pay a larger share of their costs to remain under the King. One of those taxes now imposed upon the colonies was called the Stamp Act which was extremely unpopular by the colonies. At that time the colonies did not have any representation in the British Parliament and therefore considered the laws coming from the Parliament to be unlawful. The government ruled the relationship between the British and the colonies was one of a virtual representation or having representation, but not the right to vote for who makes the decisions.

3 American Revolution (The beginning) Disturbing to the colonist they started forming committees within their individual colonies in a movement that quietly denounced Parliament’s behavior that in 1774 created the first Continental Congress. In essence, the Continental Congress became the governing body of the 13 colonies during the American Revolution. At this moment in history, the British sent troops to Boston to assert their authority over those who were protesting in order to overthrow any newly formed governments; however, the colonies (through their militias) fought back. Such rebellion was viewed by the King as traitors to the crown.

4 American Revolution (The beginning) Only a year later, in 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence which in effect rejected the King and his Parliament and created thirteen independent states without allegiance to the British government. Here come the Articles of Confederation

5 Articles of Confederation In 1781 the thirteen colonies formally ratified the Articles of Confederation. The purpose was to address relationships with, for example, Europe as well as address territorial issues with the Indians. Sadly over time, it was discovered that even with the Article the government was still weak. For example:

6 There was a time… …when the government could not collect taxes to pay their expenses; …when each state had their own money; …no courts existed to settle disputes between different states; …when criminals could simply cross the state borders to avoid arrest.

7 Formal Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation included, Regardless of the size of the colony they only got 1 vote in Congress; Congress had no authority; Congress had no authority to regulate foreign and interstate commerce; There was no President; An unanimous vote was needed to amend the Articles of Confederation; and Law were only passed by a 9 colony majority.

8 Daniel Shays Rebellion Captain Daniel Shays was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War. His rebellion of August 1786 started through economic issues following the post-war depression and governmental policies. In essence, in Massachusetts many farmers were unable to pay their debts and/or taxes because they were not making enough money. In response, the people the farmers owed money to would take them to court where it was ordered the farmers would have to relinquish their land, farm, and livestock. Shays marched with his neighbors to the court to close it down prompting Massachusetts authorities to seeking help from the national government, but with no money to pay the troops nobody was sent. Instead businessmen independently hired their own militia defeating Shays and his men. Shays was sentenced to hang, but he was pardoned by the governor. Shays rebellion showed the people how weak the national government truly was causing fear and leaving little faith in their nation.

9 Creating a Constitution In 1786 political leaders from the 13 colonies were asked to send delegates to a convention to fix the Articles of Confederation. They met in the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) which is the same location where the Declaration of Independence was signed in In February 1787, 36 year old John Madison, was the first delegate to show up.

10 Creating a Constitution Did you know that… …eight of the delegates of the Constitution Convention who met in the Pennsylvania State house (Independence Hall) had signed the Declaration of Independence. …a third of the delegates served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War; and …most were members of the Continental Congress or the Congress under the Articles of Confederation.

11 Creating a Constitution By May 1787 there were 55 delegates from 11 states in Philadelphia. – New Hampshire’s delegates arrived in July, and – Rhode Island did not send delegates. General George Washington, the American hero of the Revolution, was chosen to chair the convention. Their second decision was to keep their discussions private; therefore, the doors were locked and windows were closed.

12 Creating a Constitution Two Plans Issue faced by delegates: How to balance power between big states v. small states. Madison’s Virginia Plan – Representatives in Congress were based on their states population Paterson’s New Jersey Plan – Each state, regardless of size, received the same number of representatives.

13 Creating a Constitution Roger Sherman’s Compromise Two Houses – Senate: Each state gets two senators regardless of their size – House of Representatives: Representation is based on the population of the state. The Great Compromise

14 Creating a Constitution Three-fifths Compromise Undecided was how slaves should be counted. Southern states wanted slaves counted as people because in some states half the population was enslaved; thus, giving the South more votes than the North. Northern states did not want to count slaves at all. The Three-fifths Compromise ended the debate by having the number of representatives based on all free people and 3/5ths of the slaves.

15 Creating a Constitution Passing the Constitution Two-hundred twenty-five (225) years ago today on September 17, 1787 the Constitutional Convention completed their work; thus, prompting a majority of the delegates to sign the Constitution, but pursuant to Article VII, the Constitution would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.

16 Creating a Constitution Passing the Constitution In the beginning of December 1787 five states, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Georgia, and Connecticut ratified the document. Massachusetts opposed the Constitution as written because it lacked basic protections like, freedom of speech, religion, and press. In February 1788 a compromise was reached that amendments would be included prompting Massachusetts to ratify the document followed by Maryland and South Carolina. New Hampshire became the 9 th state to ratify the document on June 21, 1788, followed by Virginia and New York in July. The United States Constitution took effect on March 4, 1789.

17 The U.S. Constitution The Preamble The purpose of the United States Constitution was: – Create a Union where the states can work as one; – Create a system of laws; – Keep the peace within the country; – Protect the country from external threats; – Improve American’s lives; and – Ensure a free society for the future.

18 The U.S. Constitution The Articles The seven articles… …establish the powers of congress; …establish the powers of the president; …establish the powers of the federal courts; …how the Constitution is amended; …how states relate with the national government; …confirm the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land.”

19 The U.S. Constitution Executive Branch Article II – President – Governmental agencies – Military – Carries out the laws made by congress

20 The U.S. Constitution Legislative Branch Article 1 – Referred to as Congress (Bicameral system: Senate [100 members] and House of Representatives [now 435 members]; – Makes the laws for the nation

21 The U.S. Constitution Judicial Branch Article III – Supreme court and all other federal courts – Listens to cases and interprets the laws

22 The U.S. Constitution Checks and Balances For trust issues as well as issues surroundings giving the delegates too much power the Constitution has a system of Checks and Balances. This system allows for: – Congress to pass laws that the president can veto (or sign of course); – President’s veto can be overturned by 2/3rds of Congress; – Supreme Court can rule a law unconstitutional.

23 The U.S. Constitution Elections The Constitution describes how the president, but not by popular vote (like members of congress are). President is elected by a group referred to as the electoral college. Here the voters elect the state’s electors who in turn vote for the president. It is the electoral votes that makes the president and not per se the popular vote.

24 Bill of Rights The first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution. (There are only 27 Amendments to the United States Constitution.) On September 25, 1789, 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution were adopted.

25 Bill of Rights Amendment I – Freedom of Speech, Religion, Press, and Free Assembly and Right to grieve Amendment II – Right to Bear Arms Amendment III – Quartering Soldiers Amendment IV – Security from Unreasonable Searches & Seizures Amendment V – Rights to Due Process of Law

26 Bill of Rights Amendment VI – Right to a Free Trial Amendment VII – Trial by Jury Amendment VIII – Fair Bail & Punishments Amendment IX – Rights Retained by the People Amendment X – Powers Reserved to States & People

27 225 Years Later While the United States is not perfect and was never meant to be perfect, it has guaranteed We the People rights unthinkable beyond our nations borders. If for nothing else, the United States Constitution offers We the People a right to be heard, stand up for what they believe in, and “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice…and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

28 References Finkelman, P., & National Geographic Society (U.S.). The constitution. Washington, D.C: National Geographic Society. Mitchell, R., Mitchell, R., & United States. (1986). CQ's guide to the U.S. Constitution: History, text, index, glossary. Washington, D.C: Congressional Quarterly Inc. Patterson, T. E. (2011). We the people: A concise introduction to American politics. New York: McGraw- Hill. Ritchie, D. A., & JusticeLearning.org. (2006). Our Constitution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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