The Constitution. Chapter Two. Essays for the test ** do 2 of these essays **. The Great Compromise resolved the key issue at the Philadelphia Convention. Explain what the key issue was, how it was resolved AND why this compromise is considered SO important to the United States.
Up until the French and Indian War, Britain’s policy toward the American colonies was one of benign neglect. (salutory neglect)
The war was long and costly, fought mainly in the colonies
Britain, concerned about bankruptcy, changed it’s American colonial policy
Was the change in policy reasonable or unreasonable?
If reasonable, why did the colonists resent it?
If unreasonable, what part was unreasonable and why?
1774 - a Continental Congress was formed
In 1776, the Continental Congress adopted a Declaration of Independence
Your text describes the Declaration of Independence as a polemic
A polemic is a controversial argument, as one against some opinion, doctrine, etc. - in this case, an argument against British rule.
In addition to being a polemic, the Declaration also set forth a new philosophy of government
Included in it are the following important principles:
Consent of the Governed
What is important about this concept?
How does it differ from the idea that government gives people rights?
Where is this stated in the Declaration of Independence?
What is the limitation of government in the Declaration of Independence?
Although the Revolution did not make radical changes in Colonial lives, some changes were dramatic
On page 36 in your text is a chart that shows changes in economic status
The Continental Congress that drew up the Declaration of Independence also drew up the plans for a new government
The Articles of Confederation
* States had the power
* Weak central government
* Change required unanimity
Despite its weaknesses, the Articles held the new nation together through a war for independence
It also established the precedent of written Constitution
What is important about having a written
An economic downturn followed the Revolution
Each state tried ineffectively to deal with the problems. Each state became more concerned with their well-being than the good of the nation
A series of armed attacks by farmers on debtors added to concerns (Shays’ Rebellion)
Colonial leaders recognized the need for a stronger government
Delegates from each state were to meet to revise the Articles of Confederation
Instead, a new government was created
Delegates had to create a government AND deal with questions of equality, economics and individual rights
Equal Representation – each state gets same number of representatives
How the Framers could have possibly created a more inefficient government
BUT, the Framers did NOT care about an efficient government
Once hammered out, the new government and Constitution had to be sold to the people
It was decided to call special state conventions to ratify the Constitution
Why state conventions and not state legislatures? Was this a more, or less democratic method?
There was strong opposition put forth by the Anti-Federalists
Who were the Anti-Federalists and what were their arguments?
Who were the Federalists and what were their arguments?
“The hideous daemon of Aristocracy has hitherto had so much influence as to bar the channels of investigation, preclude the people from inquiry and extinguish every spark of liberal information of its qualities. At length the luminary of intelligence begins to beam its effulgent rays upon this important production; the deceptive mists cast before the eyes of the people by the delusive machinations of its INTERESTED advocates begins to dissipate, as darkness flies before the burning taper.”
A Federalist, Anti-Federalist No. 1, “A Dangerous Plan of Benefit only to the ‘Aristocratick Combination,’” Boston Gazette and Country Journal, November 26, 1787
Use your pocket Constitution (p.15) to read Article 5
Use that information to fill in the chart on your handouts
!! Government TOO POWERFUL
!! No specific rights are protected
+ Feared listing rights afraid they might miss something
+ States had rights listed, federal government didn’t need to
The new Constitution was more flexible than the Articles and could be changed
BUT, change is difficult and the status quo (no change) is favored, why?
Make a list of the informal methods of changing the Constitution (p. 54-57)
Changing Political Practice
Increasing Demands on Policymakers
Declaration of Independence
Articles of Confederation
Steps to stop abuse of power
“Tyranny of the Majority”