Constitutional Foundations--History


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Constitutional Foundations--History

  1. 1. CONSTITUTIONAL FOUNDATIONS The History Barbour and Wright, Chapter 2 Sunday, February 8, 2009
  2. 2. IDEOLOGICAL UNDERPINNINGS English Civil War (1640-1651) Armed and political conflicts between monarchists and parliamentarians Constitutional issue between a king claiming divine right and Parliament professing itself to have rights and privileges and claiming sovereignty Algernon Sidney, John Milton Natural rights, representative government, process, and individualism Sunday, February 8, 2009
  3. 3. EARLY COLONISTS Jamestown, Virginia 1607 Pilgrims, Plymouth Colony 1620 Puritans, Massachusetts Bay Colony 1629 Middle Colonies: Dutch, German, Irish, English immigrants Southern Colonies: private ventures Spanish and French territories Sunday, February 8, 2009
  4. 4. FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR 1754-1763 Native Americans fought mainly with the French with the exception of Iroquois Lead to British territorial gains Sunday, February 8, 2009
  5. 5. FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR To pay for colonial defense, Britain increased taxes and trade profits Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, Tea Act Sunday, February 8, 2009
  6. 6. TAXATION AND REPRESENTATION Post-war economy Increased taxes No representation in Parliament Distance and isolation from Britain Boston Tea Party 1773 Existing tradition of self- Coercive (Intolerable)Acts governance 1774 Sunday, February 8, 2009
  7. 7. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE Continental Congress formed Jefferson writes Declaration Virginia Declaration of Rights John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government Language meant to unify large numbers of colonists Unalienable rights and justification for revolution Who was left out? Sunday, February 8, 2009
  8. 8. REVOLUTIONARY WAR 1775-1783 Americans lacked professional army/navy Each state had militia lacking arms, training, uniforms American casualty estimates at 50,000 Spent approx. $150 million fighting (modern equivalent of $74 billion) Sunday, February 8, 2009
  9. 9. ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION Articles of Confederation drafted (1777) and officially passed (1781) by Constitutional Congress League of friendship between states Fought a war against big government—didn’t want another Protection of states rights Sunday, February 8, 2009
  10. 10. ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION Problem 1: Sovereignty States retained sovereignty—ultimate legal authority of government Included authority over war and peace and foreign affairs Post-war national security threats: English, Spanish, Native Americans Problem 2: No executive No president, prime minister or king; only weak Congress Sunday, February 8, 2009
  11. 11. ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION Problem 3: No taxation authority To the colonists, taxation equaled tyranny Congressional representatives committed states to give money, but states didn’t follow through Confederation’s treasury was empty; couldn’t pay soldiers No money for defense, infrastructure, etc. Sunday, February 8, 2009
  12. 12. ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION Problem 4: Economy Economy troubled from war including massive debt, mostly financed by European nations States added taxes as goods moved through them to other markets making them expensive Each state printed and valued its own currency Post-war recession devolved into depression Sunday, February 8, 2009
  13. 13. SHAYS REBELLION Economy worsened to the point where people were losing their homes, businesses and land States passed debtor relief laws, but Massachusetts legislature would not Farmers in Western Massachusetts rebelled for over 1 year Mobbed courthouses and judges to stop them from imposing foreclosure notices Sunday, February 8, 2009
  14. 14. CONVENTION MAY, 1787 States worried Shays-type rebellions would happen elsewhere and if something wasn’t done, Revolutionary War would have been for nothing 12 states sent 74 delegates to Philadelphia to discuss revisions to Articles of Confederation Rhode Island 55 delegates showed up; 35 there consistently; 20 did most the work No public intention of drafting new constitution —treasonous Conventioneers wary of stronger national government that would limit states’ sovereignty and power Sunday, February 8, 2009
  15. 15. DELEGATES James Madison Contributions to writing, recording; Virginia Plan Benjamin Franklin Alexander Hamilton George Washington Added respect and legitimacy to the convention Missing?: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry Sunday, February 8, 2009
  16. 16. CONVENTION RULES Recognized that each state had different views, values, agendas and interests Vow of secrecy Freedom for open discussion; less vulnerability to attack No vote was binding Any motion had to have a second to be discussed Sunday, February 8, 2009