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Constitutional Convention

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1 Constitutional Convention
The Constitutional Convention

2 The Convention - met in Philadelphia - May - September of 1787 - 55 delegates from 12 states (not R.I.)

3 The Delegates - Mostly prosperous, educated, experienced men - George Washington – elected Chairman Ben Franklin – a calming influence - They helped make the Convention acceptable to Americans

4 Many prominent Americans were not there
- Abroad: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Jay, Thomas Paine - At home: Sam Adams & John Hancock - Refused to attend: Patrick Henry

5 James Madison - Wrote the proposal for a new government: The Virginia Plan - The plan became the basis for the Constitution - Took extensive notes, the only complete record of the Convention - Wrote many of The Federalist Papers essays that explain the Constitution - Later wrote the Bill of Rights - “Father of the Constitution”

6 Revising or Replacing? - Meeting was for the “sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.” - The delegates instead decided to completely change the government

7 Basic Principles of American Government Popular Sovereignty
- the will of the people Republicanism - a democratic (elected) republic (representatives)

8 Federalism - share power between the national & state governments Limited Government - to identify the powers of the new, stronger national government

9 Basic Principles (cont’d)
Separation of Powers – divide the powers of the national government Checks & Balances – branches of the national government to oversee & limit each other Individual Rights – protected from this stronger national government

10 Major Problems & Compromises
Representation – should states be represented proportionally (by population) or equally in the legislature? - Virginia Plan / Large-States / Madison - proportional (based on population) - New Jersey Plan/Small-State/James Patterson - equal representation Solution: The Great Compromise (Connecticut) - Roger Sherman - a bicameral legislature (two houses) - House of Representatives - based on population - The Senate - equal (two) votes for each state.

11 Problem: Slavery - How to count the slave population for representation & taxation? - Southern/Slave states wanted to count slaves for legislative representation - Northern states wanted to count slaves for determining the taxes the southern states should pay to the federal government Solution: Three-Fifths Compromise - 3/5’s of the slave population would count for both representation and taxation

12 Issue: State vs. National Government How to balance the powers of both levels of government? Solution: Federalism - a Federal System - the state and national governments share power

13 Government Powers Enumerated Powers – powers of the Federal government are limited to those listed in the Constitution Reserved Powers – powers not specifically given to the Federal government are ‘reserved’ for the states Concurrent Powers – powers that are ‘Shared’ by both The national government would be superior to the states.

14 Basic Principles in the Constitution
Republicanism - The People directly elected the members of the House of Representatives Federalism - The States chose their Senators, and elected the President through the Electoral College - Powers not specified for the national government were reserved for the States

15 Limited Government - The powers of Congress (Federal Government) are listed in Article I, Section 8 - The powers denied Congress are listed in Article I, Section 9 - The 10th Amendment would restate the idea of Reserved Powers for the States

16 The Elastic Clause or Necessary & Proper Clause
- Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, allows Congress to make the laws needed to carry out its responsibilities. - This clause has been the basis for the expansion of the power of the Federal government, almost from the nation’s beginning

17 Separation of Powers and Checks & Balances
The federal government was divided into three branches - Legislative Branch – makes the laws and has authority over the budget (Congress) - Executive Branch – enforces the laws and has authority over foreign policy & the military (President) - Judicial Branch – interprets the laws and hears federal cases & appeals (Supreme Court) - Each branch has some authority over the others, limiting the powers of each

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