Adopting a Constitution


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Adopting a Constitution

  1. 1. Learning Goal • Discuss the philosophical underpinnings of the U.S. Constitution.
  2. 2. Main Points • The weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation led to the adoption of a new form of government • Federalism becomes the issue of contention • Influences come from England’s system and the Enlightenment • Delegates convene in Philadelphia
  3. 3. The Articles of Confederation • Adopted 1777 • State legislatures decide how to select delegates to Congress • Each state has one vote • No real president or executive branch to check Congress • Congress has power to declare war, manage foreign affairs
  4. 4. Challenges with the Articles Settling national debt Paper money controversy Payment of soldiers Shay’s Rebellion (1786‐1787) • Pirates of North Africa • Enforcing Treaty of Paris (on British and states) • Western lands and the Northwest Ordinance (1787) • • • •
  5. 5. Weaknesses of the Articles • Congress has no power to tax, must beg states • Cannot control supply of money, states print own • No power to maintain a standing army – at mercy of state militias • Need nine votes out of 13 to accomplish anything (one state, one vote) • Need unanimous vote of all 13 states to amend Articles (so as to allow taxation, for example)
  6. 6. Constitutional Convention • The problems that existed under the Articles of Confederation led twelve states to send delegates to Philadelphia in 1787.
  7. 7. Constitutional Convention • The delegates were only supposed to revise the Articles of Confederation, not write a new constitution. • George Washington was the leader. Not really. The chair
  8. 8. James Madison • 1751-1836 • Floor leader at the Constitutional Convention • Notebooks main source of information about the birth of the Constitution • “Father of the Constitution” • First 10 Amendments to the Constitution – Bill of Rights
  9. 9. Ben Franklin • 1706-1790 • Philosopher, scientist, publisher, legislator, and diplomat • Honorary supporter
  10. 10. Task at Hand • Definition of Government – The body given the authority to carry out binding decisions for a community. • Powers of Government – Legislative power to make laws – Executive power to carry out laws. – Judicial power to apply the laws to specific situations
  11. 11. General Consensus • Republican Government – The first Americans had many types of government to choose from. • Monarchy • Constitutional monarchy • Republic – The colonists chose a democratic republic. • Rule by popularly elected representatives. • Power rests with the people
  12. 12. Origins of the Convention • Annapolis Convention, 1786—calls for convention on trade and commerce to amend • Articles of Confederation • Philadelphia, 1787—55 delegates from 12 states (no Rhode Island) meet for Constitutional Convention • Politicians have been talking and writing about their ideas for years
  13. 13. Influences • Enlightenment • Past republics • Iroquois confederation provides example for combining independent nations into a larger government (Franklin  Stamp Act Assembly)
  14. 14. 5. The Council of the Mohawk shall be divided into three parties as follows: Tekarihoken, Ayonhwhathah and Shadekariwade are the first party; Sharenhowaneh, Deyoenhegwenh and Oghrenghrehgowah are the second party, and Dehennakrineh, Aghstawenserenthah and Shoskoharowaneh are the third party. The third party is to listen only to the discussion of the first and second parties and if an error is made or the proceeding is irregular they are to call attention to it, and when the case is right and properly decided by the two parties they shall confirm the decision of the two parties and refer the case to the Seneca Lords for their decision. When the Seneca Lords have decided in accord with the Mohawk Lords, the case or question shall be referred to the Cayuga and Oneida Lords on the opposite side of the house. Source: The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations What Constitutional principle does this passage reflect?
  15. 15. Influences • The influence of historic documents. – Magna Carta – limits the power of English Kings; grants some rights to nobles only. – Due process – Clause 39 (under John, 29 Edward) "No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.“ 5th and 14th amendments
  16. 16. Founding Ideals • Declaration of Independence proclaims that that US is independent from Great Britain; states that all men are created equal. 1. Equality 2. Rights 3. Liberty 4. Opportunity 5. Democracy
  17. 17. Influences • English Bill of Rights – provides rights to all English citizens. • • • • • • Freedom of speech Right to petition Right to arms No cruel or unusual punishment No excessive bail Free elections
  18. 18. Principles • Fundamental Principles of the Constitution – The Constitution provided a strong national government. – Federalism created a separation of power between states and the national government. – A system of checks and balances assured that no one branch of government would become too strong
  19. 19. Principles • Protection of Individual Liberties – During the ratification process, many people objected to the constitution’s lack of a bill of rights to protect individuals. – The first Congress added a Bill of Rights to the Constitution by adding the first 10 Amendments.
  20. 20. Voltaire Freedom of thought and expression • Fights for tolerance • Influenced U.S. Bill of Rights and French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen • European monarchs reduce or eliminate censorship
  21. 21. Montesquieu Separation of Powers “Power should be a check to power.” • France, United States, and Latin American nations use separation of powers in new constitutions
  22. 22. Beccaria Abolishment of Torture • Believed law was to preserve social order, not avenge crimes • Influenced law reformers in Europe and North America • Influence present in U.S. Bill of Rights
  23. 23. Drafting the Constitution • Members of the constitutional convention decided to abandon the Articles of Confederation. • Delegates believed a stronger national government was needed. • Compromises were made to settle differences. – Number of representatives in the House & Senate – How slaves were counted
  24. 24. Learning Goal • Understand the major compromises through the creation of the U.S. Constitution.
  25. 25. Compromising • Virginia Plan: Proportional representation, president selected by legislature Resolved therefore that the rights of suffrage in the National Legislature ought to be proportioned to the Quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases. • New Jersey Plan: One state, one vote (like Articles of Confederation) … the United States in Congs. be authorized to make such requisitions in proportion to the whole number of white & other free citizens & inhabitants of every age sex and condition including those bound to servitude for a term of years & three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes;
  26. 26. Great Compromise • Compromise: House of Representatives elected proportionally by the people, two senators selected by each state legislature. President selected by Electoral College • Slavery: Southerners want to continue slave trade, count slaves when allocating seats in legislature. Northerners opposed. • Compromise: Slave trade may continue for 20 years, slaves counted as 3/5 of a person, echoed in Mr. P’s Plan.
  27. 27. Government Structure • Legislative branch – Simple majority needed to pass laws—much less than Articles of Confederation – Congress gets power to tax, control money supply – Congress may raise army, declare war • Executive branch – President commander in chief of armed forces – President selected by electors voted for by the people (not by Congress) – President has power to veto laws passed by Congress – President appoints judges – Senate confirms judges • Judicial branch – Marbury v. Madison (1803) establishes judicial review—Supreme Court may strike down unconstitutional laws • Madison refused to send the commission papers to William Marbury (justice of the peace) after Adams appointed Marbury
  28. 28. Ratification of the Constitution • For the Constitution to become law, nine of the thirteen states would have to ratify it. • People around the country debated the issue.
  29. 29. Ratification of the Constitution • Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote a series of essays supporting the new Constitution. – The essays, published in newspapers, became known as the Federalist Papers. – People who didn’t like the new constitution wrote essays that became known as the Antifederalist Papers.
  30. 30. Ratification of the Constitution • By the end of 1788, twelve states had voted to ratify the constitution. • The new Constitution went into effect in early 1789.
  31. 31. Summary • Used ideas of Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau and Voltaire • Created a Federal Republic – Power is divided between the national, or federal government, and the states (federalism) • Bill of Rights added later • Federalist Papers – Writing campaign to convince American citizens to ratify the new Constitution • First President: George Washington. • Eaadwmw_D&index=4&feature=plcp