A Little More About the Constitutional Convention
After agreeing on the difficult issue of representation, the delegates dealt with other issues somewhat more easily. The new system of government was a form of federalism in which power was divided between the national and state governments.
Power granted to the national government by the Constitution included control of foreign affairs, providing national defense, and regulating trade between the states.
Powers reserved for the states included providing for and supervising education, establishing marriage laws, and trade within a state.
Both levels of government shared such powers as the right to tax, borrow money, pay debts, and establish courts.
The delegates however, made sure to limit the authority of the federal government.
First, they separated powers within the national government. They gave the legislative branch – the Senate and House of Representatives – the power to make laws. The executive branch would carry out the laws. The judicial branch would interpret and settle disputes about the laws.
The delegates also made sure that each branch had certain powers over the others. This was called a system of checks and balances. It ensured that no one branch became too powerful.
The delegates also feared placing too much power in the hands of the people. So instead of choosing a president directly, each state would choose a group of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives each state had in Congress.
Together these electors were known as the electoral college. They were the ones who cast ballots for the presidential candidates.
The Bill of Rights Leads to Ratification Chapter 5 Section 4
The New Quarters – It Makes Cents… Right now we have Wyoming (its been out since September 3 rd ) Then comes Utah (which will be out in November… What are these items on each coin and why were they picked? And finally (and most important for today’s lesson) why are they minted in that order?
How many states needed to approve (or ratify) it? (Hint: Think a little more than 2/3) 9 States
Two sides argued over the Constitution’s passage. Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Federalists consisted of many of the designers of the Constitution who went to Philadelphia for the Convention as well as merchants and people from the larger cities for example: James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Federalists wanted the Constitution to be approved. They argued that without a strong central government we would all return to anarchy or at least more intense arguing between the states like with the Articles.
Anti-Federalists consisted of farmers, laborers, and some business leaders for example: Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams. They were against the ratification of the Constitution
Anti- Federalist argued that the document was illegal Because the original purpose of the convention in Philadelphia was to revise the Articles of Confederation. They also pointed out that the sessions were not open to the public so the people had no input
They claimed that the new proposed Constitution would take away the powers of the states and they worried that it didn’t mention God
Anti-Federalist biggest argument was that there was no mention of individual rights Anti-federalists said that without something like the English Bill of Rights the government could abuse the common people because the government has all their power What English philosopher said that the people should give all their power to the formation of the government? Thomas Hobbes
The Federalists claimed that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary due to the fact that individual rights were already covered in most state constitutions What English philosopher stated that the people should give some of their power to the government while keeping the rest?
Eventually they reached a compromise, the Federalists promised to include a Bill of Rights as soon as the Constitution was ratified.
What rights does the Bill of Rights protect? Many Federalists eventually admitted that the Constitution needed a Bill of Rights to protect the nation’s citizens. They promised to add a Bill of Rights after the states ratified the Constitution.
Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, in December 1787. The following June, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it.
5) Ratification a) Which state was first? b) Why were they first? – because they liked the idea of equal representation in which part of Congress? Delaware The Senate
The Constitution officially had been approved. However, New York and Virginia had not voted yet. The government needed the support of these large and influential states in order for the Constitution to work.
In order to convince Virginia and New York to join the United States, by ratifying the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, wrote the Federalist Papers, in order to convince the general public in those states.
By July 1788, both states ratified the Constitution. The Constitution became the basis for the new government in 1789.
In several states, ratification had hinged on the Federalists’ pledge to add a bill of rights. In September 1789, Congress approved 12 ammendments.
The government then sent them to the state legislatures for approval. By December 1791, the states ratified ten of the amendments. As a result, they became part of the Constitution.
The Bill of Rights guaranteed Americans such rights as freedom of religion, speech, and the press. They protected citizens against having their homes searched and property seized without a proper reason.
They also protected the rights of people accused of crimes. Finally, the Bill of Rights gave all powers not granted to the federal government to people and the states.
Not all Americans, however, enjoyed these rights. Women were not mentioned in the Constitution.
Native Americans and slaves were excluded. A growing number of free blacks also did not receive adequate protection from the Constitution.
Many states permitted free blacks the right to vote. However the Bill of Rights offered them no protection against discrimination and hostility from whites.