2 What is a constitution? Constitution: legal framework for a government In other words: How it is organized.Questions that constitutions answer:What are the purposes of government?What is the organization of government?What parts does it have? What do they each do?How does the government make laws?How are people selected to serve in government?Who is a citizen?What rights do citizens have?
3 Historical Precedents Magna Carta(1215)jury trialprivate propertylimits on taxationreligious freedomsThe Petition of Right (1628)taxes can be levied only by Parliamenthabeus corpusFreedom from martial law during times of peaceEnglish Bill of Rights (1688)Freedom of speechRight to elect parliamentRight for Protestants to bear armsFreedom from standing armies during times of peace.Mayflower Compact (1620)Pilgrim’s social contract
4 What is a constitutional government? Limits on the powers of governmentEven governmental leaders must follow the higher law.
5 Before the Constitution Confederation: loose union (states have the power, not a central government)Articles of Confederation (1781)Fear of too much central power because of BritainWeaknesses:Congress could not pass taxesCongress could not force states to obey its lawsCongress could not regulate or manage tradeLaws needed to the approval of 9 of the 13 statesAll 13 states had to agree to changes in the ArticlesThere was no executive branchThere was no judicial branchDebt: major, crippling, war debt
6 Constitutional Convention Held in Philadelphia 178755 men appointed to represent 12 states (Rhode Island did not send delegates)George Washington was selected to be President of the ConventionRealized strengthening the articles of confederation was not enoughEach state had one vote7 out of 12 had to approvePublic would not be toldThe Articles had to be replaced by a new plan of government
7 Major Compromises Virginia Plan New Jersey Plan The Great Compromise Three-fifths compromiseSlave TradeExport taxesElectoral College
14 Bill of RightsFreedom of: Religion, Press, Speech, Petition, and AssemblyState militias and right to bear armsBans quartering soldiersUnreasonable search & seizureself-incrimination; double-jeopardy; compensation for takingsSpeedy and public trial; right to a lawyer;Trial by JuryCruel and Unusual PunishmentPeoples rights are not limited to the previous rightsPowers of the states
15 Other Amendment Highlights: 13: abolishes slavery (1865)14: Citizenship rights; equal-protection (1868)15: Race no bar to vote (1870)16: income tax (1913)17: direct election of senators (1913)18: prohibition (1919)19: women’s right to vote (1920)21: repeals prohibition (1933)22: term limits (1951)25: presidential succession (1967)26: voting age to 18 (1971)