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Principles of American Government Influential Historic Documents Grades 8, 10 and 11.

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Presentation on theme: "Principles of American Government Influential Historic Documents Grades 8, 10 and 11."— Presentation transcript:

1 Principles of American Government Influential Historic Documents Grades 8, 10 and 11

2 American Government: Influential Historic Documents The Magna Carta 1215 Limited the power of the king (government) by guaranteeing certain rights to the nobles. These rights were later extended to all citizens. This document placed the power of government beneath that of the law. Some specific limitations were: 1. protection against cruel and unusual punishment. 2. protection against loss of life, liberty, and property. 3. the right to a fair and speedy trial by a jury of one's peers. 4. the king could not levy certain taxes without approval of the people.

3 American Government: Influential Historic Documents The English Bill of Rights 1689 The English king and queen, William and Mary, agreed to accept the Bill of Rights establishing the supremacy of Parliament. Some specific guarantees included: 1. freedom of speech and debate in Parliament. 2. guarantees of individual freedoms against the power of government; protection from excessive bail, right of petition, and reaffirming the right of trial by jury.

4 American Government: Influential Historic Documents The Mayflower Compact 1620 The passengers of the Mayflower drew up a written agreement by which they would govern themselves. They agreed to organize a government to frame and enact laws "most fitting for the general good of the colony."

5 American Government: Influential Historic Documents The Declaration of Independence 1776 It consists of three parts: a statement of human rights, the reasons for declaring independence, and the declaration itself. In his opening comments, Jefferson stated that: 1. All men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 2. Governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed. 3. If governments become destructive, people have the right to replace them with new forms of government.

6 American Government: Influential Historic Documents The Federalist Papers Series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to explain and support the new Constitution. They hoped to define the reasons why the new Constitution should replace the Articles of Confederation. Some basic ideas stated in the Papers were: 1. Legislatures prescribe rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are regulated. 2. Legislatures are comprised of representatives of the people. There should be no qualifications of wealth, of birth, of religious faith, or of civil profession to serve as a legislator. 3. The fabric of the American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of the consent of the people who are the fountain of all legitimate authority. 4. The majority rules, but the Constitution protects minorities and individuals.


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