Unit 2 (Complete)
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How did the Framers create the Constitution?
Lesson 8: What were the Articles of Confederation, and Why Did Some Founders Want to Change Them?
Lesson 10: Why Was Representation a Major Issue at the Philadelphia Convention?
Lesson 11: What Questions Did the Framers Consider in Designing the Three Branches of the National Government?
Lesson 12: How Did the Delegates Distribute Powers between National and State Governments?
Lesson 13: What Was the Anti-Federalist Position in the Debate about Ratification?
Lesson 14: What Was the Federalist Position in the Debate about Ratification?
How was the Philadelphia Convention Organized?
After independence, the colonists first form of government, the Articles of Confederation, proved inadequate. Fifty-five men, the Framers, met to create the US Constitution, during which they debated the most basic ideas about political life and government institutions. In this unit, you will learn
◦ Why the Articles of Confederation were replaced ◦ Why the Constitution was created as it was ◦ How the debates over ratification raised issues debated to this day.
This lesson examines the government formed by the Articles of Confederation. This document reflects the political realities and divisions among the states as well as the need for unity., Many Americans felt the US government under the Articles lacked sufficient authority to meet the nation’s needs.
Describe the Articles of Confederation. Explain why some thought the Articles were too weak. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on..
◦ The strengths and weaknesses of the Articles ◦ The significance of the Northwest Ordinance ◦ American’s mistrust of a strong national government
Articles of Confederation
◦ (1781-1789) The first constitution of the United States, created to form a perpetual union and a firm league of friendship among the thirteen original states. It was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, and sent to the states for ratification. ◦ A form of political organization in which the sovereign states combine for certain specified purposes, such as mutual defense. Member states can leave a confederation at any time. The United States was a confederation from 1776 to 1789. ◦ An armed revolt by Massachusetts farmers seeking relief from debt and mortgage foreclosures. The rebellion fueled support for amending the Articles of Confederation.
Americans realized that they would need some centralized leadership to address the following issues ◦ Manage relationships between states ◦ Resolve border disputes ◦ Conduct relations with rest of world
Along with Declaration of Independence, Second Continental Congress creates the first US government, the Articles of Confederation (1776)
Fear of a Strong Central Gov’t
◦ To many, their state was their country. ◦ British government’s “abuse” of power could characterize a strong US government ◦ Study of history suggested that republican gov’t can only succeed in small communities ◦ Articles considered a “firm league of friendship” Most powers of government were given to states Ex) Congress could not collect taxes, could not regulate trade
Fear that some states would dominate central government The following issues pitted states against each other ◦ Representation and voting in Congress ◦ Payment for war expenses ◦ Territorial claims in the West
Secured recognition of American Independence Created executive departments and admiralty courts (developed into Cabinet & Federal Court System) Northwest Ordinance (1787) ◦ Created process for territory to become a state ◦ Prohibited slavery in new territory ◦ Guaranteed equality of new states
No power to tax
◦ Caused problems paying off war debts
No power to force states to recognize agreements with foreign nations ◦ Damaged trade relations
No power to make laws regulating trade among states No power to makes laws directly regulating behavior of citizens
Amendments never passed since all 13 states needed to ratify Many leaders proposed a meeting, or convention, to discuss changes Delegates then met in Philadelphia to propose changes to the Articles
100’s of farmers in MA gathered to prevent courts from selling their property
◦ Many ex-soldiers were not paid their wages, therefore falling into debt and losing their farms
Shays and his men attempt to capture weapons arsenal Governor calls militia to put down rebellion Fears generated by this and similar conflicts convinced many that a stronger national government was needed
This lesson describes the important people and their first steps at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, 1787. The structure and rules set forth for debate played a major role by providing a framework for civil discourse. The Virginia Plan created the agenda for subsequent discussion & debate.
Describe the organizing phase of the convention. Explain the significance of rules and agendas for effective civil discussion. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on ◦ determining what interests should be represented in a constitutional convention ◦ the advantages and disadvantages of secrecy in governmental deliberations
◦ Reasoned discussion as opposed to emotional display.
◦ The meeting held in Philadelphia from May to September 1787 at which the US Constitution was written. ◦ (1) (noun) A person chosen to act for or represent others. (2) (verb) To entrust someone to represent your interests. ◦ A form of government in which power is divided and shared between a central government and state and local governments. ◦ The organization having central political authority in a nation; the representative unit of political organization. ◦ In the context of American government, the electoral system in which the number of representatives for a state is based on the number of people living in the state. Proportional representation is used to determine the number of each state's representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives.
55 delegates from states (Framers) Ave. age 42, ¾ had served in Congress Most were prominent political leaders, very qualified ◦ George Washington Most respected Military Leader in nation
◦ James Madison Had greatest influence on organization of national gov’t
◦ Benjamin Franklin 81, poor heath, but internationally renown statesmen
◦ Alexander Hamilton Most prominent supporter of strong national gov’t
Thomas Jefferson ◦ In Paris as US minister to France
John Adams ◦ US ambassador to Great Britain
Patrick Henry ◦ Refused to attend, suspicious of convention / “I smell a rat!”
RI ◦ Opposed to stronger national gov’t
At least 7 states must be present each day While speaking, others had to listen Member could not speak more than 2x on same question Committees appointed as necessary Any decision subject to change until entire plan complete Convention’s proceedings kept secret
Many delegates wanted to completely scrap Articles, not just amend Madison proposes new, stronger government Two governments, national & state (Federal system) Three braches of national government ◦ Legislative – make laws (most powerful) ◦ Executive – enforce laws ◦ Judicial – interpret laws
Legislature (congress) would have two branches ◦ House of Representatives – elected by the people ◦ Senate – Proposed by States, selected by the House
Representation from each state in both houses based on population or amount contributed to federal treasury. ◦ Proportional representation means that states with a larger population have more representation
Congress would have power to make laws that states were not able to make ◦ Ex) regulating trade between states
This lesson examines: ◦ The debate over what, or who, the national government will represent. ◦ The Great Compromise, which dealt with the makeup of the House and Senate. ◦ How population would be counted for representation in the House. ◦ How new states might receive representation in Congress.
Explain the differences between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan and the importance of the Great Compromise. Explain how the Framers addressed regional issues with the 3/5ths compromise and the provision for periodic census of the population. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on why major issues debated at the Convention are still on the national agenda.
◦ A plan accepted at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 that called for a Congress of two houses: in the upper house, or Senate, representation of the states would be equal, with each state having two senators; in the lower house, or House of Representatives, representation would be apportioned according to the population of each state, so that states with more people would have more representatives. Also called the Connecticut Compromise. ◦ Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, later eliminated by the Fourteenth Amendment. The clause provided that each slave should be counted as three–fifths of a person in determining the number of representatives a state might send to the House of Representatives. It also determined the amount of direct taxes Congress might levy on a state.
No disagreement over two-house Congress Proportional representation was the issue Madison – states should not be represented as states in national government. Instead, representatives should serve the people. Those who sought Equal representation thought national government derived from and represented the States, not the people. Big states favored Proportional rep, small states favored Equal rep.
Similar to Articles of Confederation One house Congress, equal representation Most delegates were convinced that a unicameral Congress would not work, and NJ Plan voted down. However, many small state delegates refused to accept Virginia Plan due to their concerns over large states’ power under proportional representation. Disagreement over this issue almost ended the convention.
Great/Connecticut Compromise’s provisions ◦ House of Representatives= Proportional Rep. ◦ Senate = Equal Rep. (2 per state – chosen by state legislature)
Senate appeased small states, House appeased big states The compromise passed by 1 vote
What did proportional representation mean? Southern states want slaves to count towards representation Northern states thought counting them would only benefit, and empower, slave owners ◦ If they are considered property, why should property be represented?
◦ state’s population, in regards to apportioning representation, would be equal to free population plus 3/5ths slaves ◦ Slaves also counted as 3/5ths when computing taxes paid by each state to federal government
New states would have full representation in congress A census would be taken every 10 years to reapportion seats in the House based on the shift in America’s population.
Political philosophers claim that governments must do three things: make, execute, and judge laws. The Constitution assigns these functions to three separate branches. This lesson explains how the Framers envisioned the role of each.
Explain the role of each of the three branches and describe how the Constitution organizes them. Explain how and why the system of checks and balances contributes to limited government. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on how the President should be elected and issues relating to the appointment of Supreme Court justices.
Necessary and Proper Clause
◦ A legislative assembly that meets to debate issues. ◦ The group of presidential electors who cast the official votes for president and vice president after a presidential election. Each state has a number of electors equal to the total of its members in the Senate and House of Representatives.
◦ Clause of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to make all laws that are "necessary and proper" to carry out the powers specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. It is also known as the "elastic clause" because of the vagueness of the phrase "necessary and proper." ◦ The division of the powers of government among the different branches. Separating powers is a primary strategy of promoting constitutional or limited government by ensuring that no one individual or branch has excessive power that can be abused. ◦ Legislative powers not completely separated between the branches of government.
Framers believed their was an imbalance of power between British Crown and Parliament ◦ Led to tyranny of British Crown
Many state government created weak executives, but led to legislative corruption Delegates needed to create system of balanced powers (checks & balances)
Congress should be a deliberative body ◦ Thorough debate, no hasty decisions
Bicameral legislature makes law passage difficult (on purpose) ◦ Delegates felt power to make laws greatest power
Enumerated Powers are specifically listed Congress also granted powers Necessary & Proper
Executive needed “energy” to act quickly when necessary for ◦ Common defense ◦ Preserve public peace ◦ International relations
Must be strong enough to check power of legislature, but can not endanger republic A single chief executive needed, 4-yr term No limit set for reelection
Delegates reject idea of direct election
◦ Citizens of large country would “not know” best candidates
Other felt Indirect elections would be corrupt Instead, Electoral College proposed
◦ Organized every 4 years, then dissolved ◦ Each state selects electors, number based on total members in Congress ◦ Electors voted for two people (at least one outside home state) ◦ Majority wins presidency, 2nd becomes VP ◦ If tie, House selects with majority vote
Judges chosen by President, confirmed by Senate Supreme Court is head of judiciary Judges independent of politics Cannot be removed unless accused & convicted of high crimes
◦ President can veto bill passed in Congress ◦ Congress can override veto with 2/3 vote ◦ President nominates, Senate must approve
◦ President negotiates, Senate approves (2/3 vote) ◦ President is commander in chief, Congress declares war & controls $$$ ◦ Congress can remove executive or judicial branch members if they commit high crimes ◦ Judicial branch (eventually) can determine whether acts of Congress are Constitutional
The relationship between national and state powers was at the core of the first Convention debates. The delegates eventually worked out a series of regulations & compromises that defined what national and state government could and could not do. Several compromises involved slavery, the most divisive issue among states.
Describe the major powers and limits on the national government, powers specifically left to states, and prohibitions the Constitution placed on states. Explain how the Constitution did and did not address slavery and other unresolved issues. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on how limited government in the US protects individual rights and promotes the common good and on issues involving slavery.
ex post facto law
bill of attainder
◦ A law that criminalizes an act that was not a crime when committed, that increases the penalty for a crime after it was committed, or that changes the rules of evidence to make conviction easier. Ex post facto laws are forbidden by Article I of the Constitution. ◦ An act of the legislature that inflicts punishment on an individual or group without a judicial trial. ◦ Formal withdrawal by a constituent member from an alliance, federation, or association. ◦ Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution, which states that the U.S. Constitution, laws passed by Congress, and treaties of the United States "shall be the supreme Law of the Land" and binding on the states. ◦ A tax on imported or exported goods. Also known as a duty.
Powers given to national gov’t over states: Make or change state election laws Call state militias into national service Create new states Guarantee each state a “republican for of gov’t” ◦ Protect states from invasion or domestic violence ◦ Constitution & laws / treaties made by Congress are supreme law of the land (Supremacy Clause) ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦
These provisions protected individual rights ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦
Cannot Cannot Cannot Cannot
suspend habeas corpus pass ex post facto laws or bills of attainder suspend trial by jury in criminal cases modify definition of treason
The following protect rights of public officials ◦ Members of Congress cannot be arrested during session unless a major crime ◦ No religious tests for public office ◦ Impeachment clauses protect right to a fair trial ◦ Gov’t cannot take money from treasury without an appropriation law
States cannot ◦ Coin their own money ◦ Pass laws that enable people to violate contracts ◦ Make ex post facto laws or bills of attainder ◦ Enter into foreign treaties or declare war ◦ Tax imports or exports ◦ Keep troops or ships of war in peace time ◦ No discrimination against citizens of other states ◦ Must return fugitives from other states
Many delegates were opposed to slavery, kept terms out of Constitution (but protected institution) Southern states considered slaves property, and property issues should be state matters NC, SC, and GA would create own nation if Constitution interfered w/ slavery Northern delegates agree to put in “fugitive slave clause” and not to interfere with slave trade until 1808.
Where national power ends / state power begins ◦ “Necessary & Proper Clause”
State’s right to secede from the US
The signed Constitution would only become official if ratified by 9 of 13 states. This lesson explains the ratification process and public debate between the Federalists (supported) and Anti-Federalists (opposed).
Explain why the Anti-Federalists opposed ratifying the Constitution. Explain the role of Anti-Federalists in proposing a bill of rights. Identify other contributions their views have made toward interpreting the Constitution. Evaluate, take and defend a position on the validity and relevance of Anti-Federalist arguments.
Bill of Rights
◦ Opponents to ratification of the U.S. Constitution who believed that it gave excessive power to the federal government and failed to protect the rights and liberties of the people. ◦ The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Bill of Rights lists many basic rights that the federal government may not interfere with and must protect. Nearly all these rights are now also protected from violation by state governments. ◦ (1) Formal approval of some formal legal instrument such as a constitution or treaty. (2) In U.S. constitutional history, the approval of the U.S. Constitution in 1788 by the ratifying conventions held in each state, except for Rhode Island, which initially voted the Constitution down by popular referendum.
Ratifying conventions set up in each state ◦ Sole purpose was to debate and approve/reject the Constitution ◦ Delegates elected by popular vote
9 States needed to ratify Constitution for it to go into effect Example of Social Contract Theory
As soon as delegates released the proposal, opposition emerged. Anti-Federalists published objections in newspapers and pamphlets (George Mason, Elbridge Gerry) Oppositions believed in reasoned discourse to educate citizens
◦ They drew on political philosophy ad history to make arguments.
Americans read and discussed the arguments in their homes, coffeehouses, taverns and public meetings across the nation.
Representative gov’t could only work in small communities of people with similar beliefs In large nations, gov’t no longer reflects wishes of most citizens, resorting to force to maintain authority National gov’t will reduce power / role of local gov’t Small, agrarian communities are more likely to have civic virtue than large, diverse nations
Strong national gov’ts needed in large nations have always destroyed republics Each branch had potential for tyranny ◦ No adequate limit on Congress’ necessary & proper clause ◦ President has unlimited power to grant pardons ◦ National courts could destroy state judicial branches ◦ Gov’t is not truly representative. House of Reps has only 65 members out of 3 million citizens.
National gov’t did not protect rights. National gov’ts power is so general and vague that it is essentially unlimited. Nothing keeps gov’t from violating all rights it does not explicitly protect. State’s bill of rights does not protect against national government. Bill of Rights would remind people of the principles of our political system.
Those who supported ratification, which created a stronger government, called themselves Federalists. This lesson describes the arguments and strategies Federalists used to win support for the Constitution.
Explain the key arguments of the Federalists and the process by which the Constitution was finally ratified. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on the continuing relevance and validity of the Federalists’ argument.
"new science of politics"
◦ James Madison's term in The Federalist for a study of politics utilizing reason, observation, and history that would help the Founders construct a new government on a rational and informed basis. ◦ (1) A small group within a larger group. (2) In its political sense, according to James Madison in Federalist 10, a faction is a "number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united...by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." ◦ Advocates for a strong central government who urged ratification of the U.S. Constitution. They flourished as a political party in the 1790s under the leadership of Alexander Hamilton. The party disappeared from national politics in 1816. ◦ A situation in which a majority uses the principle of majority rule but fails to respect the rights and interests of the minority. See also majority rule ◦ A series of articles written for newspapers urging the adoption of the Constitution and supporting the need for a strong national government.
Federalists acted quickly so that Ant-Federalists would not have a chance to organize opposition. Over ten months of debate, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay published Federalist Papers to convince people to support ratification. They presented Constitution as a well-organized, agreed-upon plan that reflected a “new science of politics.”
Most Americans agreed that large republics were unsuccessful Madison creates new theory that factions are greatest danger ◦ Factions promote own self-interest at expense of common good ◦ Majority tyranny could be combated w/ a republic ◦ Large republic’s would reduce large factions ◦ Representatives “refine” public views by filtering out ideas based solely on self-interest. ◦ Large republics would defeat dangers of faction.
Civic virtue alone will not protect people’s rights and promote their welfare. ◦ With many interests and factions in a large republic, none would dominate
Constitution’s organization (Checks & Balances) promote goals of republicanism ◦ Electoral system would ensure qualified representatives ◦ Complicated system would prevent factions from serving own interests at expense of common good ◦ Difficulty to pass laws was a good thing
Representation of different interests in the government will protect basic rights
◦ In Legislative Branch, House represents local interests, Senate represents state’s interests ◦ In Executive, President safeguards nation’s interests ◦ In Judicial, Supreme Court ensures good judgments since they are independence of politics, responsible only to Constitution.
By June 1788, 9 states voted to ratify. However, no NY or VA (needed, wealthy & populous) Federalists agreed to add a Bill of Rights during first Congress, depriving Anti-Fed’s of their most powerful argument. NC and RI eventually forced to ratify by 1790 or else be treated as foreign nations.