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Development of the Constitution. Something Must Be Done. AOC stink Annapolis Convention – 1786 Originally meant to discuss trade regulations Only five states show up Representatives agree – Must discuss strengthening the government Idea is popular among states.

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Something must be done

Something Must Be Done

AOC stink

Annapolis Convention – 1786

Originally meant to discuss trade regulations

Only five states show up

Representatives agree – Must discuss strengthening the government

Idea is popular among states

Background the constitutional convention of 1787
Background - The Constitutional Convention of 1787

  • Met in Philly

  • Examine and recommend changes to the existing Articles of Confederation

  • May – Sept 1787

Composition who was there
Composition – Who was there?

  • Wealthy upper class, white men

  • Selected by state legislatures, not popular vote

    • George Washington

    • Ben Franklin

    • Alexander Hamilton

    • James Madison

    • Roger Sherman

  • Notable names not present

    • John Adams (minister to England)

    • Thomas Jefferson (minister to France)

  • Regardless, there was a ton of political talent at this convention

Virginia delegation
Virginia Delegation

  • Led by James Madison

    • Had every intention of creating a new constitution

    • This is Virginia’s mission in Philadelphia

    • Virginia Plan

      • crafted by Madison

      • presented by Edmund Randolph

Initial decisions the constitutional convention of 1787
Initial Decisions - The Constitutional Convention of 1787

  • Presiding officer – George Washington – Why?

    • _____________________________

    • _____________________________

  • Every state - one vote

  • Proceedings held in secret

    • Concerned newspapers would criticize decisions

      • Not democratic

  • The delegates want a government that was …

    • Firm, dignified, respected at home and abroad

    • Strong against instability at home

  • From the start, decided the A of C were too flawed

    • Virginians set the tone - introduced Virginia Plan

    • They weren’t authorized to change AOC, but they did it anyway

Two plans
Two Plans

  • Virginia Plan

    • Presented by Edmund Randolph – Gov from Virginia

    • Three branches – legislature strongest

    • Bicameral house

      • 50% required to pass legislation

    • Strong federal government

      • Could veto state laws

    • Smaller states object since they would have no influence

  • New Jersey Plan

    • Proposed by William Paterson – delegate

    • Presented as a series of amendments to the AOC

    • Unicameral house

    • Would create an executive, a judiciary, federal taxes, federal regulation of trade

      • But would require a unanimous vote to pass these taxes, trade regs

    • Larger states rejected since smaller states would have equal power

Centrist view
Centrist View

  • The Virginia Plan became seen as a centrist plan because

    • NJ Plan was a glorified A of C

    • Alexander Hamilton introduced the idea of a constitutional monarchy

      • Far more conservative than the Virginia Plan

      • This was calculated to help Va. Plan

Connecticut compromise great compromise
Connecticut Compromise (Great Compromise)

  • Roger Sherman is the architect for this plan

  • Have a Legislature where the lower house was popularly elected

    • assigned delegates based on population

    • House of Representatives

  • The Upper house would have equal reps from each state

    • The Senate

    • Elected by state legislatures

  • Only need 50% of the vote to pass legislation

  • Model for our legislature

Federalist anti federalist compromises

  • Independent v. Congressionally controlled judiciary

  • Executive Branch – Art. 2 – Series of compromises

    • Should there be an Executive Branch? How many executives?

    • Control foreign policy, but Senate had to approve all diplomats and treaties

    • President is C-in-C, but only congress can declare war

    • Would there be a popular vote? - No way

      • The people are dummies

      • Birth of electoral college

Slavery compromises
Slavery – Compromises

  • The framers built slavery into the fabric of our government

  • However, they are careful to never use the term “slavery” in the Constitution.

    • 3/5 Compromise

    • Slave Trade and Commerce Clause

  • These items would pose big problems for those trying to remove slavery in the future.

Differences between articles and constitution
Differences Between Articles and Constitution…

  • Passing Legislation

    • Constitution – simple majority – easier to get things done

    • A of C – two-thirds

  • Executive

    • Constitution – a single President – not a lot of power at first (would get stronger)

    • A of C – No executive

  • Power of the Federal Government

    • Constitution – potentially strong

    • A of C – very weak

  • Amendment process

    • Constitution – 2/3 of both houses of Congress + ¾ of State conventions

    • A of C – virtually impossible - need a unanimous vote

  • Constitution

    • The Constitution is a less democratic document

    • Takes power away from common voters

    • More aristocratic

    • Creates a stronger federal government – this is a danger in the eyes of many

Ratification process
Ratification Process

  • If two-thirds of the states ratify, the Constitution would go into effect

  • Every state had to go through a ratification process, hold a convention, and elect delegates to the convention

  • This sets up two groups: the Federalists and the Anti- Federalists

Federalists vs anti federalists
Federalists –vs- Anti-Federalists

  • Anti-Federalists

    • Opposed Constitution

    • More democratic

    • States rights

    • Wanted strong local government, not fed government

    • Small farmers, small business people, artisans.

    • Felt they didn’t need a strong government to protect their interests

    • Less funded, less educated, less organized

  • Federalists

    • Supported Constitution

    • Most of the distinguished people in the country

    • George Washington, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay

    • Well-funded, well-organized, politically experienced

    • Wanted a strong federal government

    • Wanted a strong executive

    • Wanted a government that was respected abroad and at home

      • put down insurrections

      • Act decisively – even if done by sacrificing some rights


  • Constitution was drafted and signed by 39 delegates on Sept 17, 1787

  • Some states were very pro-constitution and they ratified easily. Dec 1787-Jan 1788

    • Delaware

    • Pennsylvania

    • New Jersey

    • Georgia

    • Connecticut

  • Other states followed between Feb – Jun in 1788

    • Massachusetts

    • Maryland

    • S Carolina

    • New Hampshire

  • Final group of four

    • NY

    • N Carolina

    • Rhode Island

    • Virginia

  • Why was 9 of 13 states, as Article VII stated was required, insufficient?

Federalist papers
Federalist Papers

  • 85 pamphlets & essays supporting the Constitution

    • Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay

  • Cited in Constitutional interpretation debates

    • Lens into the ideas of the founding fathers

  • Large government would provide stability and security

    • Federalist #10 – How to create a strong government while preserving freedom

    • Federalist #51 – Separation of powers and checks and balances

Bill of rights
Bill of Rights

  • Anti-federalists refused to sign the Constitution

    • Did not protect the people against the central government

    • Needed a statement of individual freedoms

    • Required to prevent the country from falling into tyranny

  • Anti-federalists tried to influence state ratification processes by writing pamphlets and newspaper articles

    • They would often take on pseudonyms of the Roman Republic, like Brutus

    • Some argued that the federal government would degenerate into a tyrannical entity

  • Federal Bill of Rights - #1 priority of the new Congress