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Constitutional Underpinnings Advanced Placement United States Government & Politics.

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Presentation on theme: "Constitutional Underpinnings Advanced Placement United States Government & Politics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Constitutional Underpinnings Advanced Placement United States Government & Politics

2 Influence of the European Enlightenment Came out of the Scientific Revolution (16 th & 17 th Centuries) Success created confidence in the power of reason Enlightenment thinkers believed reason could be applied to human nature in the form of natural laws Every social, political, & economic problem could be solved through the use of reason

3 The Social Contract Theory John Locke – English philosopher Believed that in the “state of nature” people are naturally free and equal Argued that freedom led to inequality and eventually chaos

4 Locke argued that people have natural rights from the state of nature that include the right to “life, liberty, and property” Second Treatise of Government ◦ State that people form governments to protect natural rights ◦ Give up their freedom to govern themselves through a social contract between the government and the governed

5 The only valid government is one based on the consent of the governed This consent creates a social contract – an agreement between rulers and citizens For any reason the government breaks the contract through neglect of natural rights, the people have the right to dissolve the government

6 Locke & the D.O.I. John Locke directly influenced the thinking of the founders, as reflected in the Declaration of Independence

7 The Constitution The Constitution reflects the founders’ attempt to balance order with liberty It is based on 5 great principles designed to achieve balance: ◦ Popular Sovereignty ◦ Separation of Powers ◦ Checks & Balances ◦ Limited Government ◦ Federalism

8 Background to the Convention Continental Congress wrote the Articles of Confederation during the Revolutionary War Wanted to provide unity for the separate states that loosely formed the new country

9 The Articles of Confederation It allowed state governments to retain their powers Newly formed central government had severe limitations

10 Limitations under the Articles Federal government consisted only of a Congress – each state equally represented No executive or judicial branches Could not levy taxes – only request money from the states Could not regulate commerce between the states ◦ States taxed each other’s goods and negotiated trade agreements with other countries

11 No law enforcing powers were granted to Congress Unanimous vote for amending the Articles was required States retained all powers not specifically granted to Congress 9 of 13 states were necessary to pass legislation

12 Shay’s Rebellion Farmers in western Massachusetts rebelled against property foreclosures ◦ They were in debt and unable to pay taxes Forced judges out of court and freed debtors from jails Encouraged leaders to seek a stronger federal government

13 Constitutional Convention 55 delegates from 12 states May 1787 Most were well-educated, wealthy men Famous delegates: ◦ Alexander Hamilton – leading Federalist ◦ George Washington – chair of Convention, Federalist ◦ James Madison – credited with writing large part of Constitution ◦ Benjamin Franklin

14 Agreements/Compromises Founders had a common belief in a balanced government ◦ Wanted to construct a government where no single interest dominated They agreed with Locke that government should protect property Most delegates believed that only white, property owners should have the right to vote

15 Large states favored a strong, central government Small states wanted stronger state governments Most delegates favored a bicameral (two- house) legislature

16 The Virginia Plan Called for a strong central government Work by Federalists, such as Madison and Hamilton Plan proposed by James Randolph It called for a bicameral legislature Representation in both houses was to be based on population ◦ Larger states would have the majority Also called for a national executive and a national judiciary

17 The New Jersey Plan Proposed by delegates from the smaller states ◦ Presented by William Paterson Legislature would be unicameral (having only one house) ◦ Each state would have the same number of votes – equal representation

18 The Great Compromise Also known as the “Connecticut Compromise” Called for a bicameral legislature ◦ Senate – would have votes based on equal representation (NJ Plan)  Representatives would be chosen by state legislatures ◦ House of Representatives – votes based on population (VA Plan)  Directly elected by the people  Voter eligibility determined by the states

19 Three-Fifths Compromise There was a North/South disagreement regarding the counting of slaves for purposes of apportioning seats in the House South - wanted to count slaves in order to increase their numbers North – resisted the South’s efforts Compromise ◦ Allowed Southern states to count a slave as 3/5 of a person, allowing a balance of power between the North and South

20 Presidential Selection Compromise Selection of President would be up to an electoral college ◦ People selected by each state legislature to formally cast their ballots for the presidency

21 Signing the Constitution All but 3 delegates signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787 Drafting the Constitution took about 3 months Document has lasted more than 200 years, making it the longest lasting Constitution in world history

22 Amending the Constitution The Founders designed the amendment process to be difficult, preventing Congress from easily adding so many amendments They wanted the original document to be meaningful

23 Formal Amendments The Congress can be formally amended in 4 ways: ◦ (1) Amendments may be proposed by a 2/3 vote of each house of Congress and ratified by at least ¾ of the state legislatures  All but 1 of the amendments have been added through this process.

24 ◦ (2) Amendments may be proposed by a 2/3 vote of each house of Congress and ratified by specially called conventions in at least ¾ of the states.  Method was only used 1 time – 21 st Amendment that repealed prohibition ◦ (3) Amendments may be proposed by a national constitutional convention requested by at least 2/3 of state legislatures and ratified by at least ¾ of the state legislatures ◦ (4) Amendments may be proposed by a national constitutional convention and ratified by specially called conventions in at least ¾ of the states

25 The last 2 methods have never been used to amend the Constitution

26 Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists There was debate over ratification of the Constitution between two major factions – the Federalists and Anti-Federalists

27 Federalists Supporters of the Constitution Favored a strong, centralized government They believed the Constitution adequately protected individual liberties

28 Anti-Federalists Opponents of the Anti-Federalists Believed the proposed government would be oppressive Also believed that individual freedoms and rights should be explicitly guaranteed

29 The Federalist Papers Ratification of the Constitution was defended by the Federalist Papers ◦ Written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay

30 Two most famous papers: ◦ Federalist #10  Argued that separation of powers and federalism check the growth of tyranny by factions  Each branch of government would keep the other two from gaining a concentration of power ◦ Federalist #51  Explained why a strong government is necessary

31 Compromise and Signing A compromise and agreement was made between the 2 factions with the addition of a Bill of Rights (or 1 st 10 amendments) ◦ Guaranteed individual freedoms and rights Ratification occurred in 1787 ◦ All states agreed to the document Bill of Rights officially added in 1791

32 Important Terms/Identifications Anti-Federalists Articles of Confederation Bicameral Legislature Bill of Rights Checks and Balances Consent of the Governed Electoral College European Enlightenment Factions

33 Federalist Papers Federalism Federalists Formal Amendment Process The Great Compromise Thomas Hobbes Informal Amendment Process Judicial Review John Locke

34 Limited Government Natural Rights New Jersey Plan Popular Sovereignty Ratification Second Treatise of Government Separation of Powers Shay’s Rebellion Social Contract

35 “State of Nature” Three-Fifths Compromise Unicameral Legislature Virginia Plan

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