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Constitutional Convention


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Constitutional Convention

  1. 1. The Constitutional Convention Drafting a New Nation 1787
  2. 2. The Call for a Convention The Articles of Confederation was a disaster  Without the power to levy taxes, the federal government was broke  Massive inflation lead to anger and rebellion
  3. 3. The Call for Convention cont… Representatives from each state met in Philadelphia to revise the Articles 55 delegates from 13 states attended
  4. 4. Key Delegates James Madison (Virginia)  Known as the “Father of the Constitution” George Washington (Virginia)  His presence gave the convention legitimacy. Alexander Hamilton (New York) George Mason (Virginia) John Dickinson (Delaware) Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania)
  5. 5. Notable Absences Patrick Henry  Refused to attend, saying he “smelt a rat” Thomas Jefferson  Was serving as a Foreign Diplomat in Paris John Adams  Was serving as a Foreign Diplomat in London
  6. 6. James Madison “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it (the government) to control itself.”
  7. 7. The Convention Begins Although the convention was called to fix The Articles of Confederation, the tone would soon change The convention’s first speaker introduced a plan for an entirely new government, The Virginia Plan
  8. 8. The Virginia Plan Proposed a government made up of three branches  The Legislative Branch would make the laws  The Executive Branch would enforce the laws  The Judicial Branch would interpret the laws
  9. 9. The Virginia Plan The legislative branch would have two houses  A state’s population would determine its number of representatives in both houses. Called for a strong national government The small states were not happy  This was “the rat” many of them had feared
  10. 10. The New Jersey Plan In response to the Virginia Plan, small states offered the New Jersey Plan  Called for a legislative branch with only one house  In it, each state would have equal representation (1 vote) This plan called for a weaker national government
  11. 11. Virginia Plan New Jersey Plan Legislative branch with two houses Legislative Branch with one house Representation determined by population (proportional representation) Each state would have one vote (equal representation) Strong national government Weak national government Virginia vs. New Jersey
  12. 12. The Great Compromise Cont… The Great Compromise  To satisfy the smaller states, each state would have an equal number of votes in the Senate  To satisfy the larger states, representation in the House of Representative would be based on a state’s total population
  13. 13. 3/5 Compromise The delegates had to decide who would be counted when determining representation in the House of Reps  The South had more slaves and thought that they should be counted towards a state’s population  The Northern states contended that slaves were not citizens, so they should not be counted.
  14. 14. 3/5 Compromise 3/5 Compromise  3/5 of the slave population would be counted to determine representation in the House of Representatives
  15. 15. Finished? On September 15, 1787, the delegates voted to approve the new Constitution It was then sent to the states for ratification (approval)  9 of the 13 states had to ratify the Constitution before it would become law  The fight was far from over
  16. 16. Ratification As state conventions opened to determine the fate of the Constitution, debate swirled The country was split into two camps:  Federalists supported ratification of the constitution  Antifederalists opposed the new constitution, claiming it took too much power away from the states and the people
  17. 17. Federalists vs Antifederalists Federalists Antifederalists Supported a strong national government Favored stronger state governments Wanted power divided into three separate branches Were fearful of a strong president James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay Wanted a Bill of Rights included to protect people’s rights George Mason, Patrick Henry
  18. 18. The Federalist Papers The Federalists had a key ally: the press The Federalists argued their points with essays printed in newspapers The best known of these essays were called The Federalist Papers
  19. 19. The Bill of Rights Even with the majority of support, there was still strong opposition in several key states In order to ratify the constitution, these states demanded that a Bill of Rights be included
  20. 20. The Bill of Rights Supporters of a Bill of Rights believed it was necessary in order to protect the people from the power of the national government James Madison was charged with writing the Bill of Rights  When he was finished, Congress edited the list and sent it back to the states for ratification  With Virginia casting the deciding vote in 1791, ten of these amendments were ratified and became law. These ten amendments became known as the Bill of Rights