What are the basic principles of American democracy? In what ways did exceptional leaders influence the creation of the new nation? What are the core tenants of the United States Constitution? What ideas and experiences influenced the Constitution? What are the core responsibilities of a citizen in a democracy?
Objective: We are going to analyze the creation of the Constitution and the government of the United States of America.
By the end of the American Revolution states wrote their own Constitutions. Virginia’s constitution contained a Bill of Rights, New Jersey allowed women to vote and several allowed free African Americans to vote.Virginia’s constitution
In 1777 the Continental Congress created the Articles of Confederation.
The Articles of Confederation left Congress unable to resolve to disputes between the states, unable to pay back debts, and not able to negotiate with other nations.
The Land Ordinance of 1785 set up a system for settling the Northwest Territory. In 1787 the Northwest Ordinance set up basic rights for settlers and outlawed slavery. (It also set up a system to admit each territory as a state.)Northwest Ordinance
Many farmers took loans, as crop prices dropped they could not repay their loans or taxes. In Massachusetts many farmers rebelled with Daniel Shays burning court houses. In response a convention was called to improve the Articles of Confederation. Part 1 and 21 2
What was lacking in the Articles of Confederation? How did a territory become a state? Was Daniel Shays right to rebel? What would you have done to put down the rebellion?
George Washington served as President of the Convention along with Alexander Hamilton, Roger Sherman, William Paterson and James Madison.
The Virginia PlanThe New Jersey Plan 3 branch system 2 house legislature with representation in proportion to population 3 branch system 1 house legislature with each state having equal representation
Roger Sherman of Connecticut created a compromise with the bicameral system.
On September 17, 1787 all but three delegates signed the Constitution.
Who was the MVP of the Constitutional Convention? Why? Would you have agreed to the 3/5 compromise? Why did small states oppose the Virginia Plan?
To create a republic or a government where citizens rule themselves through elected representatives the convention looked to ancient Rome. The founding fathers wanted America to have educated citizens governed by those interested in public service.
The tradition of the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights allowed for rule of law, trial by jury, elections and habeas corpus.
The writings of John Locke in 1690 suggested that all men have natural rights such as life, liberty and property. Locke also suggested that government exists to protect the rights of people. The enlightenment thinker Montesquieu also suggested that a separation of powers between the branches of government.John Locke Montesquieu
What lessons of the Roman Republic would the founding fathers want to avoid? How did John Locke’s ideas influence the Constitution? How did the ideas of Montesquieu influence the Constitution? What ideas in the Magna Carta influenced the Constitution? What ideas of the English Bill of Rights influenced the Constitution?
FederalistAntifederalist Favored a strong national government James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton Opposed the Constitution and a strong central government Patrick Henry feared that the president could become a new king Wanted a Bill of Rights
George Mason of Virginia argued that the Constitution needed to spell out the rights of Americans. Otherwise those rights could be taken away.
Debates between federalists and antifederalists continued as Delaware first ratified the Constitution. Rhode Island was the last state to ratify the Constitution.
The first presidential election was held in 1789 with Adams elected as the first VP and Washington the first President. James Madison authored the Bill of Rights and the Constitution was amended to include 10 of his 12 rights.
Would you have been a federalist or an antifederalist? What words would you use to describe Patrick Henry? Why was it important to include a Bill of Rights? What was the most important right in the Bill of Rights?