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The Constitutional Convention

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Presentation on theme: "The Constitutional Convention"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Constitutional Convention
Building a New Nation The Constitutional Convention

2 Class Objectives Identify the key leaders at the Constitutional Convention Summarize the key issues and their resolution at the Constitutional Convention Compare the Virginia and New Jersey Plans Explain the Great Compromise Define the 3/5th Compromise Explain the compromise on commerce & the slave trade Describe the form of government established by the Constitution Describe the debate over ratification of the Constitution, and the views of the opposing sides. Explain the purpose of the Bill of Rights, and identify the documents that informed it.

3 Constitutional Convention
During the Constitutional Era, the Founding Fathers made two attempts to establish a workable government based on republican principles The failure of the Articles of Confederation led to a new Constitutional Convention During the fall of 1787 Congressman convened in Philadelphia to address the issues of the Articles of Confederation . They ultimately created a new form of government. Do you think it was easy?????

4 Activity Film Clip – The Constitutional Convention, 1787
Note the roles of key leaders at the Convention: George Washington: President (chairman) of the Convention Quiet but very respected; kept tempers cool James Madison: “The Father of the Constitution” Author of the Virginia Plan (three branches of govt) Kept detailed notes! Brilliant! Would later author the Bill of Rights Constitutional Compromises Handouts A, B, C – what do you think? What actually happened?

5 Constitutional Convention – Conflicts and Compromises
Great Compromise How should states be represented in the govt? Virginia Plan: 3 separate branches: Exec,Leg,Judicial Bicameral (2 houses) legislature, House of Representatives & Senate Representation based on population size in both houses More people  more reps Big states liked this! New Jersey Plan: 3 separate branches: Exec,Leg,Judicial Unicameral (1 house) legislature, House of Representatives only Equal representation for all states, like in the Articles of Con. One state  one vote Small states liked this! Bicameral legislature with 2 houses: House of Representatives & Senate Representation based on pop. in House of Reps Equal representation in Senate (each State gets two Senators) Also called Connecticut Compromise Northern States: Slaves should NOT be counted for representation, but they SHOULD be counted for taxation. This position was best for the non-slavery states (mostly northern and smaller). Southern States: Slaves SHOULD be counted for representation, but they should NOT be counted for taxation. This position was best for the slave-holding states (mostly southern with large #’s of slaves). Three-Fifths (3/5th) Compromise How should population be counted for representation and taxation? Count some of the slaves. For every 5 slaves, 3 would be counted for population and taxation. Northern States Wanted government to regulate business, to help northern industry Some northerners wanted the govt to end the slave trade, but all wanted to protect their own property rights Most northerners did not want to have to return escaped slaves to owners Slave Trade & Commerce Compromise Should the govt regulate business, including the slave trade? Southern States: Did not want government to regulate business, because it would not help southern agriculture Were afraid that government would end the slave trade Felt that northerners must return escaped slaves (property) to owners Govt COULD regulate business, but promised not to end the slave trade for 20 years. Escaped slaves would be returned to owners.

6 Basic Principles of the Constitution
Federal Govt is the Supreme Law of the Land, but States have a lot of power to govern themselves Popular Sovereignty (Rule by the people) Power comes from the people’s consent Limited Government Limited the powers of the Government to those powers in the Constitution

7 Basic Principles of the Constitution
Separation of Powers Three branches of government Legislative: Congress (makes the law) Senate and House of Representatives Executive: President (enforces the law) Judicial: Supreme Court (interprets the law) Checks and Balances Each branch has some control over the others No branch can get too powerful


9 Basic Principles of the Constitution
Judicial Review The courts (judicial branch) can declare laws unconstitutional This was added a few years later; not in the Constitution! Federalism Power is shared between the national government and the states

10 Federalism National Govt State Govts


12 Check for Understanding
What was the location of the Constitutional Convention? Who presided over the convention as chairman…why was he chosen? What were the main issues discussed at the convention? What did Great Compromise do? What are the basic principles of the Constitution?


14 The Ratification Debate
Ratify = Approve Read the article Ratification of the Constitution and answer the questions.

15 Ratification Before the Constitution can be put into practice, it must be ratified, or approved by the states. Each state sets up a convention to approve or reject the Constitution Nine states must accept the Constitution for it to be ratified Debate over Constitution -- (Federalists and Anti-federalists) – What were their arguments?

Strong central government was good for solving national issues: Order and national security Economic development Commerce between states Did NOT need a Bill of Rights, b/c the Constitution already protected citizens. Separation of powers, checks & balances, and federalism protected states and citizens from a govt that was toopowerful Major Federalists: Alexander Hamilton*, James Madison*, John Jay*, George Washington *wrote Federalist Papers to support ratification AGAINST Ratification: Feared that a strong central government would take away rights of citizens and states, and would favor the rich and powerful WANTED a Bill of Rights to protect individuals from power of govt. Refused to ratify w/o it (NY & VA) Major Anti-Federalists*: Patrick Henry, George Mason * James Madison eventually agreed with them, and wrote the Bill of Rights!

17 The Bill of Rights After the Federalists promise to add a Bill of Rights, states begin to ratify the Constitution. (Delaware is 1st) Bill of Rights is written by James Madison (a Federalist) Heavily influenced by two Virginia documents: The Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776) by George Mason The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom (1786) by Thomas Jefferson

18 Activity Review The VA Declaration of Rights and the VA Statute of Religious Freedom The Bill of Rights How did these two documents influence the Bill of Rights and other founding principles of the United States?

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