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Unit 2: The Constitution of the U.S. (1781 – 1791) Our Democratic Foundations and Constitutional Principles.

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Presentation on theme: "Unit 2: The Constitution of the U.S. (1781 – 1791) Our Democratic Foundations and Constitutional Principles."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Unit 2: The Constitution of the U.S. (1781 – 1791) Our Democratic Foundations and Constitutional Principles

3 Articles of Confederation 1781-1789 - first true U.S. government 1781-1789 - first true U.S. government Weak national government / strong state governments – opposite of England’s Weak national government / strong state governments – opposite of England’s No President to enforce laws – feared he might become a king No President to enforce laws – feared he might become a king One-house Congress with little power One-house Congress with little power No way to tax, support a national military, print money, or enforce its laws No way to tax, support a national military, print money, or enforce its laws Not a “union”, but a “firm league of friendship” between the states Not a “union”, but a “firm league of friendship” between the states

4 Dissatisfaction with the Confederation Each state government had own laws, currency – little cooperation Each state government had own laws, currency – little cooperation Gov’t couldn’t pay pensions to soldiers as promised Gov’t couldn’t pay pensions to soldiers as promised Shays’ Rebellion – western Massachusetts, 1786-87 – debt-ridden farmers rebelled when state took farms & imprisoned debtors Shays’ Rebellion – western Massachusetts, 1786-87 – debt-ridden farmers rebelled when state took farms & imprisoned debtors Crisis convinced many Americans a better system was needed Crisis convinced many Americans a better system was needed

5 Conflict 1: Large States vs. Small States Virginia Plan Virginia Plan –Wanted representation in national legislature based upon a state’s population (proportional) (favored more populous states) New Jersey Plan New Jersey Plan –Wanted each state to have equal votes in the legislature (i.e. like the unicameral Continental & A.O.C. Congress) –Wanted a multi-person executive branch to enforce the laws

6 Solution: The Great Compromise The Great (Connecticut) Compromise The Great (Connecticut) Compromise –Gave us our present national legislature - 2 house (bicameral) legislature  One house based upon population (House of Representatives)  A second house based upon equal votes per state (the United States Senate)

7 Conflict 2: North vs. South Southern states supported slavery Southern states supported slavery –Wanted slaves to count for representation, but not for taxation Northern states opposed slavery for moral reasons Northern states opposed slavery for moral reasons –wanted slaves to count for taxation, not representation

8 Solution: Three-fifths Compromise Slaves would be counted as 3/5 of a person; states with large numbers of slaves gained more representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives Slaves would be counted as 3/5 of a person; states with large numbers of slaves gained more representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives 3/5 of slaves would also be taxed by national government 3/5 of slaves would also be taxed by national government Allowing slavery to legally exist would be the main cause of the U.S. Civil War less than 80 years later! Allowing slavery to legally exist would be the main cause of the U.S. Civil War less than 80 years later!

9 Conflict 3: Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists Constitution had to be ratified (approved) by 9 of the 13 states Constitution had to be ratified (approved) by 9 of the 13 states Federalists thought central government should be strong – James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay – The Federalist Papers Federalists thought central government should be strong – James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay – The Federalist Papers Anti-Federalists feared power of central government; took too much power from the states – Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson Anti-Federalists feared power of central government; took too much power from the states – Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson

10 Compromise: The Bill of Rights Proposed in 1789 to settle debate between Federalists and anti- Federalists Proposed in 1789 to settle debate between Federalists and anti- Federalists Approved by states in 1791 Approved by states in 1791 First 10 Amendments to the Constitution First 10 Amendments to the Constitution Listed citizens’ basic rights in the new government Listed citizens’ basic rights in the new government

11 U.S. Constitution 1789-present 1789-present Replaced Articles of Confederation Replaced Articles of Confederation “Written” by James Madison “The Father of our Constitution” “Written” by James Madison “The Father of our Constitution” Three branches of government: Three branches of government: 1) Legislative – Makes law (Congress) 2) Executive – Enforces law (President) 3) Judicial – Interprets law (Courts)

12 What Did It Look Like??? Preamble – States Purpose of the Document Preamble – States Purpose of the Document Article I – The Legislative Branch (Senate and House of Representatives – Qualifications and Powers of) Article I – The Legislative Branch (Senate and House of Representatives – Qualifications and Powers of) Article II – The Executive Branch (President and Vice President, Qualifications, Powers, Duties, Impeachment of) Article II – The Executive Branch (President and Vice President, Qualifications, Powers, Duties, Impeachment of) Article III –The Judicial Branch (Supreme Court and Lower Courts, Jurisdiction, and Treason Defined) Article III –The Judicial Branch (Supreme Court and Lower Courts, Jurisdiction, and Treason Defined) Article IV –Relations Among States (Full Faith and Credit, New States Admitted Article IV –Relations Among States (Full Faith and Credit, New States Admitted Article V - The Amendment Process (Changing the Constitution) Article V - The Amendment Process (Changing the Constitution) Article VI –National Debts, Supremacy Clause, Oaths of Office Article VI –National Debts, Supremacy Clause, Oaths of Office Article VII- Process for Ratification (How it was adopted) Article VII- Process for Ratification (How it was adopted) Bill of Rights – The first 10 Amendments guaranteeing the rights of citizens Bill of Rights – The first 10 Amendments guaranteeing the rights of citizens

13 Founding Principles of Our Constitution Popular Sovereignty – Power is derived from the people (voting) Popular Sovereignty – Power is derived from the people (voting) Limited Government – The only powers the government has is what the Constitution (the people) gives it. No one person or branch is all-powerful. Limited Government – The only powers the government has is what the Constitution (the people) gives it. No one person or branch is all-powerful. Federalism – The federal, state, and local governments all share the power to govern. The federal government is supreme! Federalism – The federal, state, and local governments all share the power to govern. The federal government is supreme! Separation of Powers – Three branches of government: Legislative (Makes Laws), Executive (Enforces Laws), and Judicial (Interprets Laws) Separation of Powers – Three branches of government: Legislative (Makes Laws), Executive (Enforces Laws), and Judicial (Interprets Laws) Checks and Balances – Each branch can limit the power of or check the other two (Veto Power, Power of Appointment (Cabinet Positions, Justices, etc.), Impeachment, Judicial Review, Pardon Power, etc.) Checks and Balances – Each branch can limit the power of or check the other two (Veto Power, Power of Appointment (Cabinet Positions, Justices, etc.), Impeachment, Judicial Review, Pardon Power, etc.) Republican Government – Citizens elect representatives (legislators) to make laws for them. Republican Government – Citizens elect representatives (legislators) to make laws for them. Individual Rights – The Constitution and Bill of Rights protect citizens’ basic or Natural Rights (Life, Liberty, and Property). Individual Rights – The Constitution and Bill of Rights protect citizens’ basic or Natural Rights (Life, Liberty, and Property). Amendment Process – The Constitution can be changed if necessary. To date this has only happened 27 times. The last Amendment was ratified in 1992. Amendment Process – The Constitution can be changed if necessary. To date this has only happened 27 times. The last Amendment was ratified in 1992.

14 Foundations of Democracy U.S. has a democratic republic – people have the power to rule and elect representatives to serve in government U.S. has a democratic republic – people have the power to rule and elect representatives to serve in government Based on ideas from Greeks and Romans, British political system, and philosophers from the Enlightenment Based on ideas from Greeks and Romans, British political system, and philosophers from the Enlightenment

15 A Federal System Adoption of the Constitution made the U.S. into a federal system – government powers shared between national and state & local governments Adoption of the Constitution made the U.S. into a federal system – government powers shared between national and state & local governments National gov’t = Washington, D.C. State gov’ts = state capitals Local gov’ts = county courthouse or city hall

16 How’s that Different from Before? England (and most of Europe) had a unitary system – all power flowed from central government England (and most of Europe) had a unitary system – all power flowed from central government Previous U.S. government was a confederation system – power held in states, with some power given to federal government Previous U.S. government was a confederation system – power held in states, with some power given to federal government

17 A “Living Document” Constitution can change through amendments (changes or additions) as culture and country change Slavery, voting rights, civil rights were some of the major changes since 1791 Only 27 Amendments (10 + 17) – requires 2/3 of both houses of Congress or of the state legislatures to propose and ¾ of all state legislatures to approve Courts can interpret Constitution and expand or decrease certain powers and rights over time


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