Foundations of American Government• The Road to Revolution – 1700s – Colonists faced tax increases after the French and Indian War. – Colonists lacked direct representation in parliament. – Colonial leaders formed the Continental Congress to address abuses of the English Crown.
The Rise of Republicanism The 1st & 2nd Continental Congress’ • The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution. • Colonists opposed to any strong central government in the colonies • Opposed to rule by the British • Opposed to any permanent Union of the States • Each state was seen as the sovereign authority and the only legitimate ruling force
The 1st & 2nd Continental Congress’The Congress met from 1774 to 1789 in three incarnations. The first call for a conventionwas made over issues of mounting taxation without representation in Parliament andbecause of the British blockade. Though at first somewhat divided on issues concerningindependence and a break from Crown rule, the new Congress would come to issue aDeclaration of Independence and a Constitution, and proclaim the name United States ofAmerica as the name of the new nation. It would establish a Continental Army and alsohave to endure a war with Britain, before fruition of an independent Constitutionalgovernment was fully realized among the American colonies.
The Declaration of Independence 1776 Part I – Natural Rights!“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are Declaration’s author Thomas Jefferson withcreated equal, that they are endowed by their Creator John Adams & Benjaminwith certain unalienable Rights, that among these are FranklinLife, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to securethese rights, Governments are instituted among Men,deriving their just powers from the consent of thegoverned.” Thomas Jefferson
The Declaration – Part II - List of GrievancesSecond part addressed to King George III “He has . . .”Lawyer-like dissertation making the case against Great Britain• Taxation without representation• Unjust trials• Quartering British soldiers• Abolition of colonial assemblies• Policy of mercantilism
Declaration – Part III: SeparationLast four paragraphs• Announcing to the world that the colonists had no choice but to revolt• Not only the colonists’ right, but their duty to change the government that oppresses• “…we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred honor.” “Give me liberty or give me death!” Patrick Henry 1775 Boston Tea Party 1773 Boston Massacre 1770
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!• What was the gathering of delegates in Philadelphia, that formed the first governing body of the United States, called? The Continental Congress
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!Who wrote the Declarationof Independence? Thomas Jefferson
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!What were the colonists mad @ the British about? Paying taxes w/o representation!
WE’RE A COUNTRY NOW WHAT?! “Be careful what you wish for ‘cause you just might get…”
Looking for inspiration to start a new governmentThe discovery of Democracy – Ancient Athens (Greece) 507 B.C. In the year 507 B.C., the Athenian leader Cleisthenes introduced a system of political reforms that he called demokratia, or “rule by the people.” Although this Athenian democracy would survive for only two centuries, Cleisthenes’ invention was one of ancient Greece’s most enduring contributions to the modern world.
Looking for inspiration to start a new governmentAncient Rome – Classical Republic • elect people to represent you. • People practice “civic virtue”. • Promotion of the common good. Moral education. Hebrews - Ten Commandments Roman Senate laws based on morals
Old English Influences – Magna Carta • (1215) first document to limit the King’s power • Established Due Process, gave the nobles certain rights – Habeas Corpus Act • (1678) government must tell you what you are being held for and show evidence against you. – English Bill of Rights • (1689) Parliament replaced dominant • power of King (legislative supremacy) • Trial by jury • No cruel and unusual punishment • Right to bear arms
Mayflower Compact & Virginia House of Burgesses The Mayflower Compact was signed by the Pilgrims on November 11, 1620 by 41 of the ships 101 passengers. It was the first document signed in what would be the United States establishing a government.The House of Burgesses was the first assembly ofelected representatives of English colonists in NorthAmerica. The House was established by the VirginiaCompany to make conditions in the colony moreagreeable for its current inhabitants
Customs brought from England – Common Law & English Legal System – stare decisis – English Tradition – John Locke • Natural rights: – rights inherent in human beings, not dependent on government • Consent of the governed: – government derives its authority by sanction of the people • Limited Government: – certain restrictions should be placed on government to protect natural rights of citizens – English Religion (mix of Protestantism and Catholicism)
Philosophers & Popular Writers influence: John Locke – Natural Rights John Locke: “The state of nature has laws to govern it” “The purpose of government is to protect life, liberty and property
Montesquieu 1689 - 1755• “To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.”- MontesquieuMontesquieu was one of the great politicalphilosophers of the Enlightenment. He explainedhow governments might be preserved fromcorruption. He promoted a system in whichdifferent bodies exercisedlegislative, executive, and judicial power, and inwhich all those bodies were bound by the rule oflaw. This theory of the separation of powers hadan enormous impact on liberal politicaltheory, and on the framers of the constitution ofthe United States of America.
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!• Which ancient civilization “invented” democracy? Ancient Athens, Greece
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!• What document signed in 1215 took away some of the King’s power? The Magna Carta
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!• This act protects you from unlawful imprisonment Habeas Corpus
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!• The Pilgrims signed this establishing the first legal system in America The Mayflower Compact
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!• This philosopher believed government should protect citizens natural rights including life, liberty & property John Locke
What problems did the new nation face?To-Do List – Win a war against the British. • We don’t have a national army. • We aren’t trained or ready – Organize new state governments. • Most states have their own constitution by now. – Establish a national government. • Most people felt a stronger loyalty to their state than the entire nation.
So Let’s Start a Government! Articles of Confederation – our 1st ConstitutionThe Articles of Confederation • The first document to govern the United States, it was adopted in 1777 and ratified in 1781. • It established a confederation, a “league of friendship and perpetual union” among 13 states and former colonies. • Congress had few powers; there was no president or national court system. • All government power rested in the states.
Articles • First functioning Governmentof Confederation • Ratified in 1781 – While Revolution is in progress • Most real power with the States • Individual interests were very diff. • Lots of quarrelling between the states • Just one Congress – Unicameral (one house) – each State had 1 representative – it took 9/13 States to pass a law – it took 13/13 States to approve a treaty or amend the Articles – No executive or judicial branch – Could pass laws, make treaties, declare war & pace, borrow money, and create a postal system
Weaknesses of the Art. of Confederations1. Congress couldnt require States to obey national laws (no Judicial branch)2. The central government has little power over foreign trade3. The Confederation has no effective military force.4. Each state issues its own coins and paper money5. The Confederation must ask states for money to support the federal Government6. Changes in the Articles require a unanimous vote of the thirteen, makes it impossible to change the constitution7. At least nine states are required to decide major issues
We NEED a stronger Government!!!• “Shays Rebellion” scares a lot of people – A Small Rebellion of Massachusetts farmers – Series of attacks on courthouses by a small band of farmers led by Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays to block foreclosure proceedings• Can’t decide what to do with the Northwest Territory• Have a ‘Constitutional Convention,’ to rework the Articles – Philadelphia in May 1787• End up creating a new Constitution
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!• This agreement was really the 1st Constitution of the United States Articles of Confederation
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!The two biggest weaknesses of theArticles of Confederation were? 1. The Confederation has no effective military force. 2. The Confederation must ask states for money to support the federal Government
Brain Check – R U paying attention?!!This uprising scared the nation andspurred the need for a strongergovernment Shay’s Rebellion