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The Constitutional Convention AMERICAN GOVERNMENT.

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1 The Constitutional Convention AMERICAN GOVERNMENT






7 Major Players  James Madison (Virginia)  At this time, Madison was the protégé of Thomas Jefferson. He was quiet, educated, short (about 5’2”), and master of oration. (The Father of the Constitution)  George Washington (Virginia)  Washington gained national acclaim as the leader of the Continental Army. Had it not been for Washington, many would not have attended the convention  William Patterson (New Jersey)  Patterson was a major opponent of Constitutional overhaul. Patterson helped to create a plan that opposed Madison’s new vision for Government

8 The Convention  The Constitutional Convention kicked off on May 25 th and ended on September 17 th of 1787  The Convention was setup under the guise of revising the Articles of Confederation  Despite the conventions stated intentions, the framers quickly went to work on a new constitution  Edmund Randolph proposed what became known as the Virginia plan. (Written by Madison)  This plan proposed a new constitution in which there would be:  A strong executive  A bi-cameral legislature (Congress split into two houses)  Representation based upon population  A Supreme Court

9 Support for an Executive  In order to drum up support for a stronger executive branch Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay began to write the Federalist Papers  These were a series of essays written under pseudonyms that talked up the benefits of having a stronger executive branch  They also tried to justify that a move toward a stronger central government was not a turn back towards monarchial power  Because of these papers, those who supported a stronger federal government became known as Federalists  By default, those who were against a strong federal government became known as Anti-Federalists


11 Counter  To counter the Virginia Plan, William Patterson and others devised a plan of their own known as the New Jersey Plan  The New Jersey Plan called for:  A weak central government (harkening back to the Confederacy)  A unicameral legislature where each state would receive one vote  A Supreme Court

12 Compromise  After much debate, the Virginia Plan and New Jersey plan were combined to create what was termed the Great Compromise or the Connecticut Compromise  This established a government that had:  A Supreme Court  A bi-cameral legislature  A Senate with 2 representatives from each state and a House of Representatives with representatives determined by population  Originally the members of the Senate were chosen by State Legislators  An executive with loosely defined powers  Slavery was another hot issue  It was determined that slaves would be counted as 3/5ths of a person when determining representation for a state. This was hence known as the 3/5ths compromise.

13 Ratification  The U.S. Constitution was ratified on September 17 th, 1787.  Though the document had made it through the rigors of the convention, very few were completely satisfied with the document  During the ratification, there was a cry for a separate bill of rights  Many only agreed to support the ratification of the Constitution if it was agreed that later a bill of rights would be added

14 Thomas Jefferson  While the Constitution had passed, Thomas Jefferson argued for a more limited government  Jefferson believed that government power is derived the consent of the governed.  In his pursuit of limited government, Jefferson created and lead a new political party with the name Democratic-Republicans  The Democratic-Republicans believed in a more limited role in central government

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