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Drafting the Constitution

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Presentation on theme: "Drafting the Constitution"— Presentation transcript:

1 Drafting the Constitution
Creating A New Government Chapter 5, Section 2

2 The Constitutional Convention
Frustration with the Articles of Confederation had been building for years Congress called all states to Philadelphia in May 1787. Purpose was to revise the Articles of Confederation

3 The Constitutional Convention

4 A Historic Meeting Constitutional Convention – May 1787
Delegates from 12 states attended some or all of the meetings (Rhode Island never took part because it opposed a strong government) Each state had one vote Decisions were made by a simple majority (half plus one)

5 A Historic Meeting James Madison Father of the Constitution
Given this name because of the role he played in planning and writing the final document

6 A Historic Meeting The Constitutional Convention chose George Washington as its president. Strength and character His leadership brought the Convention respect and legitimacy

7 A Historic Meeting All delegates were men
Most were in their thirties and forties The delegates were well educated (many were lawyers and half had attended college) Many had served in the Revolution Most were wealthy

8 Controversial Plans Biggest Issues of the Convention
Finding a balance between the large and small states Finding a balance between northern and southern interests Strong national government vs. states’ rights

9 Virginia Plan James Madison’s Plan
Government would have three separate branches: executive, legislative, and judicial National legislature would be bicameral (two houses) Voters would choose members of the lower house, who would then choose members of the upper house Members of the lower house would be in proportion to each state’s population

10 Virginia Plan Small states objected to certain parts of the Virginia Plan They were afraid that larger states would have more of a voice in government because they would have more votes

11 New Jersey Plan Proposed by William Paterson
Proposed a unicameral (one house) legislature Each state would have equal representation in the legislature Suggested a “plural executive” – two or three top executives chosen by Congress

12 The Great Compromise Connecticut delegates came up with a compromise for the Virginia and New Jersey Plans The legislature would be bicameral (2 houses) The Upper House, the Senate, would have two representatives from each state The Lower House, House of Representatives, representation would be based on states’ population

13 The Great Compromise Virginia Plan – Power to state governments, Bicameral Legislature, Representatives based on Population New Jersey Plan – Power to national government, unicameral legislature, Equal number of Reps in each state The Great Compromise – Bicameral legislature, lower house based on population, upper house equal number of reps in each state

14 Compromises on Slavery
How to count population? Enslaved African Americans made up a large portion of some southern states (sometimes up to 30-40%) Counting enslaved African Americans in full would give those states much greater representation in Congress

15 Compromises on Slavery
Three-fifths Compromise Southern states wanted to count all slaves for representation and no slaves for taxation Northern states objected Delegates agreed that all whites and 3/5 of slaves would be counted for representation and taxation Native Americans were not counted

16 Three Fifths Compromise

17 Compromises on Slavery
North and south did not include a ban on slavery in the Constitution, although some favored it They agreed to a clause allowing the slave trade to continue for 20 years Fugitive Slave Clause – stated that a slave who fled to another state had to be returned to his or her original state

18 Checks and Balances How to balance the powers of Congress and the powers of the president? What powers should the states have and which powers should the federal government have?

19 Checks and Balances How to elect the president?
The people would not elect the president directly The state legislatures would choose electors, who would then choose the president Vice president – would go to the person who came in second for the electoral vote

20 Checks and Balances Checks and Balances – set up between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches Constitution provided each branch with power to slow or stop an action taken by one of the other branches Ensured that no one branch of government would dominate the others


22 Planning the Court System
President would nominate the judges Senate would have the ability to approve them Judges could not be fired arbitrarily

23 Final Decisions Basic structure of the federal government remains the same as the framers envisioned it 200 years ago Legislative Branch (Senate and House of Representatives) – make the laws Executive Branch (President and his advisors) – carry out the laws Judicial Branch (Supreme Court and Lower Courts) – Interpret the laws as they relate to the Constitution

24 Final Decisions 39 delegates from 12 states signed the Constitution
Some of the delegates would not sign because it did not include a Bill of Rights

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