US Constitution - Background


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British background of our American Constitution - Magna Carta, English Civil War, Glorious Revolution

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  • Note the power struggle, economic and political.
  • Historian Joseph Ellis wrote: “Jefferson sat silently and sullenly, regarding each proposed revision as another defacement.”
  • US Constitution - Background

    1. 1. F oundations of A merican Government the Path to Our Constitution
    2. 2. Our Constitution Is Built Upon Ideas Gathered from Other Civilizations
    3. 4. <ul><li>Codified law - Babylon’s Code of Hammurabi introduced benefits of writing all laws down in an orderly manner, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowed all citizens to know the law and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the protections they can expect from the law. </li></ul></ul>Mesopotamia
    4. 5. <ul><li>Codified law - Babylon’s Code of Hammurabi introduced benefits of writing all laws down in an orderly manner, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowed all citizens to know the law and the protections they can expect from the law. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rule of Law or Supremacy of Law </li></ul>Mesopotamia
    5. 6. <ul><li>Codified law - Babylon’s Code of Hammurabi introduced benefits of writing all laws down in an orderly manner, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowed all citizens to know the law and the protections they can expect from the law. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rule of Law or Supremacy of Law </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ancient Hebrews introduced idea that No one is above the law, not even the king. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hebrews added idea that law is properly based upon morality , not simply on “might makes right” or exigencies of power and the state’s regulation of its subjects. </li></ul>Mesopotamia
    6. 7. Ancient Greece
    7. 8. Ancient Greek Ideas <ul><li>Democracy - every citizen is responsible for participating in decisions regarding their society’s problems or issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Public debate - the free forum of idea. If ALL sides of the debate are heard, we have all the facts and all the complexities before making decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Salaries for public officials - paying elected officials allows both rich & poor to hold office, participate, and serve. </li></ul>
    8. 9. Ancient Roman Ideas <ul><li>Representative democracy ­ Rome too large for direct democracy. Instead, citizens chose other citizens to represent them in government assemblies. (Senate) </li></ul><ul><li>Veto - power of the leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>of the executive branch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> to say NO </li></ul></ul><ul><li> to a law passed by the legislature. </li></ul><ul><li>There oughta be a brake </li></ul><ul><li>Bicameral legislature </li></ul>
    9. 10. Anglo-Saxon ideas <ul><li>Jury system - group of fellow citizens decides guilt or innocence of one accused of crime. </li></ul><ul><li>Feudal rights & obligations - what vassal owes his lord & vice versa - the power deal </li></ul><ul><li>The Witan - an advisory council of Nobles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>assistance and guidance to King. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power sharing not monopoly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eventually becomes Parliament . </li></ul></ul>
    10. 11. uh, Conqueror William the B . . .
    11. 12. N orman ideas <ul><li>Centralized gov’t superceded older, localized feudal order </li></ul><ul><li>Magna Carta - limitations on the crown, rights of the ruled, Parliament </li></ul><ul><li>Common Law - the common denominator of the rule of law </li></ul>
    12. 14. British Ideas
    13. 15. The Glorious Revolution <ul><li>Constitutional Gov’t – NO Divine Right </li></ul><ul><li>Parliament greater than the King </li></ul><ul><li>The Rule of Law </li></ul><ul><li>Religious issue - settled . . . mostly </li></ul>1fd
    14. 18. Roots of our Constitution <ul><li>English Civil War </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parliamentary power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Taxation – who gets to tax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religious issue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English Petition of Bill of Right </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No quartering of troops in homes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Enlightenment </li></ul>
    15. 19. Enlightenment Ideas ( This is review!) <ul><li>John Locke (1632-1704 British) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>natural rights (life, liberty, and property); </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social contract (gov’t's power comes from the people); </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>right of revolution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Voltaire (1694-1778 French) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>religious freedom </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom of speech </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>natural rights </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>end torture </li></ul></ul></ul>
    16. 20. Enlightenment Ideas <ul><li>Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755 French) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Separation of Powers - Three Branches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Checks & Balances </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778 French) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rejected Divine Right Theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power comes from the people , </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rulers serve the “social contract” </li></ul></ul>
    17. 21. Native-American Ideas <ul><li>Iroquois Confederacy/ Haudenosaunee Confederacy (united the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, & Tuscarora nations) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Confederation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social classes but with equality </li></ul></ul>
    18. 22. Early American Freedoms <ul><li>No aristocracy </li></ul><ul><li>No guilds . . . No exclusivity or monopoly </li></ul><ul><li>No compulsory payments to a state </li></ul><ul><li>established church </li></ul><ul><li>No state interference or control on transfer of one’s own property </li></ul><ul><li>No ceiling on wages </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of opportunity . . . The only limiting factor was . . . . Yourself </li></ul>
    19. 23. Salutary Neglect <ul><li>Prime Minister Robert Walpole stated that </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;If NO restrictions </li></ul><ul><li>were placed on </li></ul><ul><li>the colonies, </li></ul><ul><li>they would flourish .“ </li></ul><ul><li>British Policy of Salutary Neglect, from about 1607 to 1763, allowed light, lenient enforcement of mercantilist trade laws. </li></ul><ul><li>Prosperity and growth </li></ul>
    20. 24. Salutary Neglect Stops <ul><li>Mercantilism again ! . . . </li></ul><ul><li> But now for real !! </li></ul>
    21. 25. Mercantilism <ul><li>The first form of international trade theory </li></ul><ul><li>began around 1500 AD , lasted through the colonial era. </li></ul><ul><li>The theory behind Mercantilism was that measurement of a country’s power was the amount of gold it was holding </li></ul>
    22. 26. Mercantilism <ul><li>it was important therefore, for a country to export more than it imported in order to gain gold from other countries . </li></ul><ul><li>gold was used to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fund armies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>navies & </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>solidify the central government. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Under Mercantilism countries would restrict their imports and heavily subsidize domestic industries in order to increase their exports. </li></ul>
    23. 27. Mercantilism <ul><li>encouraged countries to use their colonies exploitively in order to support the mother county’s trade objectives. </li></ul><ul><li>colonies should supply raw materials and low value goods to the colonizing country, not manufactured goods. </li></ul><ul><li>Colonies were also forced to import the higher value finished goods from the mother country. </li></ul>
    24. 28. Mercantilist Acts Protested by American Colonists <ul><li>Sugar Act 1764 </li></ul><ul><li>Currency Act </li></ul><ul><li>Stamp Act 1765 </li></ul><ul><li>Townshend Acts 1767 </li></ul><ul><li>Tea Act 1773 </li></ul>Do not even ponder the thought of selling or trading goods without the Royal Stamp Those who choose to disobey will be severely punished
    25. 33. In ‘73 We Tossed their Tea into the Sea
    26. 36. First Continental Congress <ul><ul><li>still willing to pledge loyalty to King in Olive Branch Petition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>issued detailed list of problems that colonies had with the British. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begged the King to listen to us and to Do something to help us </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HE REFUSED </li></ul></ul>
    27. 37. Coercive Acts or &quot; Intolerable” Acts , 1774 <ul><li>Shuts down our Colonial Legislatures </li></ul><ul><li>Seals the port of Boston </li></ul><ul><li>Closes our courts & sets up unfair trials </li></ul><ul><li>Sends troops & requires us to quarter them </li></ul>
    28. 38. Revolutionary Timeline <ul><li>Coercive Acts or &quot;Intolerable” Acts, 1774 </li></ul><ul><li>First Continental Congress. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>still willing to pledge loyalty to king in Olive Branch Petition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>issued detailed list of problems that colonies had with the British. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>King rejected Olive Branch </li></ul><ul><li>hires & sends Hessian Mercenaries </li></ul><ul><li>Fighting breaks out in Lexington & Concord, Massachusetts </li></ul>
    29. 39. Steps on Our Road to Revolution <ul><li>“ No taxation without representation.” </li></ul><ul><li>Sons & Daughters of Liberty </li></ul><ul><li>Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773 </li></ul><ul><li>Coercive Acts of 1774 </li></ul><ul><li>First Continental Congress, 1774 </li></ul>
    30. 40. Concord & Lexington, 17 75
    31. 42. Second Continental Congress, May 1775 <ul><li>Declaration of Independence </li></ul><ul><li>July 1776 </li></ul>
    32. 43. The Declaration of Independence <ul><li>Rooted in Locke’s ideas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Natural rights which are “inalienable.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Consent of the governed” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Contract Theory </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Slave trade issue </li></ul><ul><li>“ Free and Independent states” </li></ul><ul><li>“ our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” </li></ul><ul><li>Treason! </li></ul>
    33. 46. Component Parts of the Declaration of Independence <ul><li>1) Statement of Democratic Principles: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>all men are created equal; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>all men have certain natural rights which include life, liberty, and property; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>government gets its authority from the people (&quot;consent of the governed&quot;); and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ . . . it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish&quot; a govern­ment . . . “ when it becomes destructive to these ends.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2) Statement of Grievances and Accusations </li></ul><ul><li>3) Concluding Statement </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WE Break with England! </li></ul></ul></ul>
    34. 48. Articles of Confederation <ul><li>Republic </li></ul><ul><li>Confederation </li></ul><ul><li>Article II guarded state sovereignty </li></ul><ul><li>Americans were fearful of any government that resembled Britain's </li></ul><ul><li>Each state had one equal vote in Congress </li></ul><ul><li>No amendment of theexcept if unanimous </li></ul>
    35. 50. Under the Articles
    36. 51. Think Back . . . <ul><li>What are the purposes of government? </li></ul><ul><li>Internal ORDER </li></ul><ul><li>External SECURITY </li></ul><ul><li>Provide GOODS & </li></ul><ul><li>SERVICES </li></ul><ul><li>ECONOMIC REGULATION </li></ul>
    37. 52. Weaknesses of A of C <ul><li>1) only a unicameral legislature </li></ul><ul><li>no separation of powers. </li></ul><ul><li>2) central gov’t was too weak since majority of the power rested with the states . </li></ul><ul><li>3) Congress did not have the power to </li></ul>
    38. 53. Weaknesses of A of C <ul><li>4) to change or amend the Articles, </li></ul><ul><li> unanimous approval of the states was needed </li></ul><ul><li>5) new laws had to be approved by </li></ul><ul><li> 9 of the 13 states </li></ul><ul><li>6) Congress didn’t have power </li></ul><ul><ul><li> to regulate commerce </li></ul></ul>
    39. 54. Calls for Convention <ul><li>Mt Vernon (1785) </li></ul><ul><li>Annapolis (1786) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve commercial regulation? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Philadelphia (1787) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ While the Declaration was directed against an excess of authority, the Constitution was directed against anarchy.” Justice Robert H. Jackson </li></ul>
    40. 55. Disorder Under the Confederation <ul><li>Four BIG problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National government could not regulate the Economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No power to tax </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No leadership/ directing power in government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The president was the presiding officer in Congress </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No regulation of interstate and foreign commerce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Articles could not be amended without the unanimous consent of congress and the state legislatures. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This republic was in chaos! </li></ul><ul><li>And then . . . Shays Rebellion </li></ul>
    41. 56. Shays’ Rebellion
    42. 57. When Shays’ Rebellion broke out, Sam Adams demanded passage of a Riot Act <ul><li>prohibited 12 or more persons from congregating together in public </li></ul><ul><li>empowered county sheriffs to kill rioters </li></ul><ul><li>This is the Sam Adams who had, in the Declaration of Independence, defended the right of a people to revolt; Sam now reversed himself : </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;In monarchy the crime of treason may admit of being pardoned or lightly punished, but </li></ul><ul><li>the man who dares rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death.&quot; </li></ul>