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The Constitutional Convention 1787

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1 The Constitutional Convention 1787

“I predict the worst consequences from a half-starved, limping government, always moving upon crutches and tottering at every step.” - George Washington

3 The Constitutional Convention begins
Philadelphia Delegates from all the states invited to a convention to improve the Articles of Confederation, which were not working Only RI didn’t attend 55 Delegates attended

4 Leaders of the Convention
George Washington was asked to preside (lead) over the convention. James Madison kept notes of the discussions and is often called “The Father of the Constitution.” The men who wrote the Constitution are called the “Founding Fathers.” All the participants in the Convention were wealthy, white, males.

5 The Founding Fathers

6 Issues that divided the Nation’s leaders
The power of the federal government. Would the states or the federal government have the most power? Representation in Congress (How many members on Congress would each state get? – small states wanted equal representation, large states wanted it to be determined by population of the states Slavery – How would slaves be counted? Would the slave trade continue?

7 Constitutional Convention 1787
Arguments at the Convention 1) Virginia Plan 2) New Jersey Plan 3) 3/5 Compromise Constitutional Convention 1787

8 The Virginia Plan Called for a new national government. Threw out the Articles of Confederation Three separate branches of government. – a legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch Bicameral House (Legislative Branch) Representation in the legislative branch based on population of state Large states like the plan, small states don’t.

9 New Jersey Plan Legislature – Unicameral House
Each state gets one vote. Small states like the plan, the large states hate it. There would have to be a compromise.

10 Constitutional Convention (Philadelphia, 1787)
- George Washington was elected president of the Convention. Virginia Plan New Jersey Plan - It called for a bicameral legislature, in which the number of representatives in each house would depend on the population of the state. - Both plans called for a strong national government with 3 branches. - It called for a unicameral legislature, in which every state received one vote.


12 • It provided for a bicameral Congress.
Virginia Plan New Jersey Plan - It called for a bicameral legislature, in which the number of representatives in each house would depend on the population of the state. - Both plans called for a strong national government with 3 branches. - It called for a unicameral legislature, in which every state received one vote. Great Compromise • It provided for a bicameral Congress. A. House of Representatives – each state is represented according to its population (satisfied the VA Plan) B. Senate – each state has 2 Senators (satisfied the NJ Plan) * Both houses of Congress must pass every law.

13 The Great Compromise Also known as the Connecticut Compromise
Legislature would have two houses (parts): House of Representatives and a Senate House - based on the population of state (given a representative for every 40K inhabitants) Senate - two senators per each state


15 Regional Differences North vs. South
Southern delegates wanted slaves to be counted as part of their population when giving out representatives to the lower house

16 North vs. South Northerners wanted slaves to be counted when deciding the state’s taxes, NOT representatives

17 North vs. South The northern delegates wanted federal government to ban (stop) the slave trade Many of the southern delegates threatened to oppose the new constitution and to withdraw from the Union if the banning of slavery became part of the constitutional document

18 Another compromise Northern delegates agreed to allow the slave trade to continue for 20 more years In exchange southern delegates agree to drop the demand that laws in Congress must be passed with a 2/3 majority vote

19 Slavery The Southern states refused to approve the Constitution unless slavery continued. It was a terrible compromise to make, but the Northern states had no choice if they wanted a Constitution. 3/5 Compromise - Made each slave worth 3/5 of a vote in deciding numbers in House of Representatives Congress can not ban the slave trade until 1808.

20 Three-Fifths Compromise
• In order to determine the population of a state, only 3 out of every 5 slaves would be counted.

21 result… The word slavery or slave was left out the Constitution, instead they used “free Persons” or “all other persons”

22 Ratification Process If two-thirds of the states ratify, the Constitution would go into effect Every state had to go through a ratification process, hold a convention, and elect delegates to the convention This sets up two groups: the Federalists and the Anti- Federalists

23 Controversy over the Constitution
The changes to the American government were so drastic that many disagreements arose and threatened ratification. The main controversy was over the power given to the national government versus the power given to the state government. The controversy would form two opposing groups, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists each who desired their own interpretation of the Constitution.

24 The Federalist View 1. Favored a strong National Government that shared power with the states. 2. Believed that checks and balances would keep any one branch of government from becoming too powerful. 3. Believed that a central government was needed to facilitate trade, conduct foreign relations and provide national defense. 4. Believed that having a strong national government was necessary for a nation the size of the United States.

25 Federalist Leaders George Washington James Madison John Jay
Alexander Hamilton

26 Works of the Federalists
The Federalist Papers – over 85 essays total Written by Hamilton, Jay and Madison Provided a summary of the major points of the Constitution to the public.

27 Federalist Papers 85 pamphlets & essays supporting the Constitution
Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay Cited in Constitutional interpretation debates Lens into the ideas of the founding fathers Large government would provide stability and security Federalist #10 – How to create a strong government while preserving freedom Federalist #51 – Separation of powers and checks and balances

28 The Anti-Federalist View
1. Believed that one central government was unable to control the interests of an entire nation. 2. Felt that the power of the nation should rest in the hands of the local and state governments. 3. Believed that a central government would only serve the best interest of the privileged minority. 4. Were afraid that the rights of the common man would be taken away without a Bill of Rights added to the Constitution.

29 Anti-Federalist Leaders
Patrick Henry Richard Henry Lee Samuel Adams

30 Check for Understanding
What are the major stances of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists? Who were the major leaders of each group? What were the major publications of the Federalists and who wrote them? What were the views on a Bill of Rights from the Federalist and Anti-Federalist perspective.

31 Shaping of the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights was initially based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights The Virginia Declaration of Rights was written by George Mason and much of what is included in our Bill of Rights can be accredited to him.

32 Shaping of the Bill of Rights
The first amendment of the Bill of Rights, which declares freedom of religion, was influenced by the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. Thomas Jefferson, the author of this work declared that a government may not establish a national religion nor support a favored church.

33 The Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution which led to ratification in 1788. The Bill of Rights also known as the Ten Amendments guaranteed the rights of American citizens. The principle author of the Bill of Rights was James Madison.

34 Check for Understanding
Who was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, what was its significance to the Bill of Rights. What is the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, who wrote it, and what is its significance to the Bill of Rights? Who is the author of the Bill of Rights, and what is its alternate name? What are the amendments that most affect you today as citizens of the United States? Why?

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