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Origins of American Government. English colonist brought three main concepts: The need for an ordered social system, or government. The idea of limited.

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Presentation on theme: "Origins of American Government. English colonist brought three main concepts: The need for an ordered social system, or government. The idea of limited."— Presentation transcript:

1 Origins of American Government

2 English colonist brought three main concepts: The need for an ordered social system, or government. The idea of limited government, that is, that government should not be all-powerful. The concept of representative government—a government that serves the will of the people.

3 The way our government works today can be traced to important documents in history:

4 There were three types of colonies in North America: royal, proprietary, and charter. The royal colonies were ruled directly by the English monarchy. The King granted land to people in North America, who then formed proprietary colonies. The charter colonies were mostly self-governed, and their charters were granted to the colonists.

5 Until the mid-1700s, the colonies were allowed a great deal of freedom in their governments by the English monarchy. In 1760, King George III imposed new taxes and laws on the colonists. The colonists started a confederation, proposed an annual congress, and began to rebel. British Colonial Policies

6 Growing Colonial Unity Early Attempts In 1643, several New England settlements formed the New England Confederation. A confederation is a joining of several groups for a common purpose.

7 The Albany Plan In 1754, Benjamin Franklin proposed the Albany Plan of Union, in which an annual congress of delegates (representatives) from each of the 13 colonies would be formed. Growing Colonial Unity

8 The Stamp Act Congress In 1765, a group of colonies sent delegates to the Stamp Act Congress in New York. These delegates prepared the Declaration of Rights and Grievances against British policies and sent it to the king. Growing Colonial Unity

9 First Continental Congress The colonists sent a Declaration of Rights to King George III. The delegates urged each of the colonies to refuse all trade with England until British tax and trade regulations were repealed, or recalled. The Continental Congresses

10 Second Continental Congress In 1775, each of the 13 colonies sent representatives to this gathering in Philadelphia. The Second Continental Congress served as the first government of the United States from 1776 to The Continental Congresses

11 On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Between 1776 and 1777, most of the States adopted constitutions instead of charters. American Independence

12 Common Features of State Constitutions Civil Rights and Liberties Popular Sovereignty Limited Government Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances The principle of popular sovereignty was the basis for every new State constitution. That principle says that government can exist and function only with the consent of the governed. The people hold power and the people are sovereign. The concept of limited government was a major feature of each State constitution. The powers delegated to government were granted reluctantly and hedged with many restrictions. In every State it was made clear that the sovereign people held certain rights that the government must respect at all times. Seven of the new constitutions contained a bill of rights, setting out the “unalienable rights” held by the people. The powers granted to the new State governments were purposely divided among three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Each branch was given powers with which to check (restrain the actions of) the other branches of the government.

13 Articles of Confederation Approved November 15, 1777 Est. “a firm league of friendship” between the states Needed the ratification of the 13 states March 1, 1781 Second Continental Congress declared the Articles effective

14 Articles of Confederation Powers of Congress: –Make war and peace –Send and receive ambassadors –Make treaties –Borrow money –Set up a money system –Est. post offices –Build a navy –Raise an army by asking the states for troops –Fix uniform standards of weights and measures –Settle disputes amoung the states

15 Articles of Confederation States Obligations: –Pledge to obey the Articles and Acts of the Congress –Provide the funds and troops requested by the congress –Treat citizens of other states fairly and equally –Give full faith and credit to public acts, records, and judicial proceedings –Submit disputes to congress for settlement –Allow open travel and trade b/w and among states –Primarily responsible for protecting life and property –Accountable for promoting the general welfare of the people

16 Weaknesses of the Articles

17 Critical Period, the 1780’s Revolutionary War ended on October 19, 1781 Signed the Treaty of Paris With Peace comes hardships –Economic problems –Political problems –Problems a result of the weaknesses of AofC

18 Problems included –Central government who could not act –States entering into treaties –States taxing on goods and banning trade –Debts, public and private were unpaid Shay’s Rebellion –Farmers were losing their land –Shut down courts –Led and attack on Federal arsenal –Mass. State legislature eases the burden of debtors Critical Period, the 1780’s

19 NEED for a Strong Central Government Two states meet to discuss Trade issues –Maryland and Virginia –Meet at Mount Vernon The meeting was so successful that the Virginia General Assembly requested a meeting of all thirteen States, which eventually became the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

20 A meeting in Philadelphia Mid-February of 1787 Seven states name delegates –Delaware, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia A meeting: Constitutional Convention

21 Framers of the Convention

22 James Madison was the co-author of the Articles of Confederation. Gouverneur Morris was a lawyer who helped develop the U.S. system of money. Alexander Hamilton was a lawyer who favored a strong central government. George Washington was the successful leader of the Continental Army. Leaders of the Philadelphia Convention

23 Some famous leaders who were NOT at the Philadelphia Convention Patrick Henry said he “smelt a rat” and refused to attend. Samuel Adams and John Hancock were not selected as delegates by their states. Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine were in Paris. John Adams was on diplomatic missions to England and Holland.

24 Organization and Procedures Meet summer of 1787 in Philadelphia Elected George Washington as president of the convention Majority of States needed to conduct business One vote per State on all matters Majority of votes needed to pass proposals Worked in Secrecy

25 Father of the Constitution James Madison: –Kept detail records of the convention –Conventions Floor leader –Contributed more to the constitution than any other Full body settled all questions

26 The Virginia Plan: Called for a NEW Government Three Separate branches of government Legislature, Executive, and Judicial Bicameral legislature Based on population or money given to support the central government Members of House of Reps = based on population Senate = chosen by House from a list from the State Legislature Congress would be given powers it had under the A of C Veto any State law that conflicted with National Law

27 “National Executive” and “National Judiciary” Council of Revision Veto acts passed by Congress (but can be overridden by Congress) State officers should take an Oath to a Union Admit new States to the Union The Virginia Plan: Called for a NEW Government

28 The New Jersey Plan Unicameral Congress of the Confederation –Each state equally represented Add closely limited powers –Tax and regulate trade Federal Executive –More than one person –Chosen by Congress/could be removed with maj. Vote Federal Judiciary –Single “supreme Tribunal” –Selected by Executive

29 Differences between the plans How should the states be represented in Congress? –Based on population? –Financial contribution? –State equality? 4 weeks they deliberated –Heated debate –Lines drawn in the sand

30 The Compromises Connecticut Compromise –Two houses –Senate – equal representation –House – proportional representation Combination of Virginia and New Jersey plans AKA: The Great Compromise

31 Three-Fifths Compromise –Should Slaves be counted? –Split North v South –All “free person’s” will be counted; 3/5 of all other persons –Southerners could count slaves but had to pay taxes on them The Compromises

32 The Commerce and Slave Trade Compromises –Congress = power to regulate foreign and interstate trade –Scared southerners –Congress: forbidden the power to tax the export of goods from any state –Could not act on the slave trade for 20 years The Compromises

33 The Framers were familiar with the political writings of their time –Jean Jacques Rousseau (Social Contract Theory) –John Locke (Two Treaties of Government). They also were seasoned by –The Second Continental Congress, –The Articles of Confederation and –Experiences with their own State governments. Influences on the New Constitution

34 When the Constitution was complete, the Framers’ opinions of their work varied. Some were disappointed, like George Mason of Virginia, who opposed the Constitution until his death in Most agreed with Ben Franklin’s thoughts when he said, “From such an assembly [of fallible men] can a perfect production be expected? It…astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does…” Reactions to the New Constitution

35 Ratifying the Constitution Federalists –Articles of Confederation were weak – argued for the ratification of the Constitution. –James Madison –Alexander Hamilton Anti-Federalists –objected to the Constitution for including the strong central government –the lack of a bill of rights. –Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Samuel Adams

36 The Constitution is Ratified Nine States ratified the Constitution by June 21, 1788, but the new government needed the ratification of the large States of New York and Virginia. Great debates were held in both States, with Virginia ratifying the Constitution June 25, New York’s ratification was hard fought. Supporters of the Constitution published a series of essays known as The Federalist.

37 Inaugurating the Government The new Congress met for the first time on March 4, Congress finally attained a quorum (majority) on April 6 and counted the electoral votes. Congress found that George Washington had been unanimously elected President. He was inaugurated on April 30.


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