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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.

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the constitution

The Constitution

Chapter Two

essays for the test do 2 of these essays
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.
  • Federalist and Anti-Federalists had a VERY different view of the Constitution. Detail the arguments for each side. How was this disagreement resolved?
  • Explain the AMENDING PROCESS? Why was it made so intentionally hard? Do you believe that the Constitution is a “living and breathing document?” WHY

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

policy change
Policy Change
  • Britain instituted a series of taxes to pay for her colonial wars
  • The change in policy caused great resentment
    • (taxation without representation)
  • Resentment grew with each new tax and eventually it led to revolt
So . . .????

Was the change in policy reasonable or unreasonable?

If reasonable, why did the colonists resent it?

If unreasonable, what part was unreasonable and why?

resentment grew
Resentment Grew
  • First to protests
      • Stamp Act Boycott
      • Boston Massacre
  • Then to rebellion
      • Boston Tea Party
      • 1st Continental Congress
      • Letter of Rights and Grievances
  • Finally to independence
      • Declaration of Independence
          • Rewrite assignment
declaration of independence rewrite
Declaration of Independence Rewrite
  • Group One (Maddy, Hunter, Zach M, Samantha S)
    • P. 35 Beginning thru “Candid World”
  • Group Two (Casey, Marissa, Mark, Andrew, Jerome)
    • P. 36 “He has” thru “had affected to”
  • Group Three (Sateeva, Samantha J, Zach S, Erik)
    • P. 37 “He had combined” thru “sexes and conditions”
  • Group Four (Alyssa, Samantha L, Nicole, Rachel)
    • P. 38 “”In every stage” to the end

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.

declaration of independence p 693 94
Declaration of Independence p. 693-94

In addition to being a polemic, the Declaration also set forth a new philosophy of government

Included in it are the following important principles:

Natural Rights

Consent of the Governed

Limited Government

natural rights
Natural Rights

What is important about this concept?

How does it differ from the idea that government gives people rights?

consent of the governed p 693 94
Consent of the Governed p. 693-94

Where is this stated in the Declaration of Independence?

limited government p 693 94
Limited Government p. 693-94

What is the limitation of government in the Declaration of Independence?

  • The Declaration of Independence led to revolution, as the Founding Fathers knew it would
  • This revolution was not bloodless, but compared to other revolutions, it was quite conservative
      • French Revolution
      • Russian Revolution
      • Chinese Revolution
      • Iraq/Afghanistan Revolution
the revolution
The Revolution

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 first constitution
The First Constitution

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

articles of confederation
Articles of Confederation

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


post war america
Post-War America

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

philadelphia convention
Philadelphia Convention

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

  • The biggest equality issue was over state power
      • Population vs. equality
  • This had to be overcome first
  • It was solved by the Great Compromise
      • Virginia Plan (big states)
      • New Jersey Plan (little states)
      • Connecticut Compromise ** Great Compromise
virginia plan
Virginia Plan
  • Strong National Government
  • Balance of powers among 3 branches of government
    • Legislature bicameral
    • Executive – One leader chosen from Senate
  • Representation based on population/wealth

(proportional representation)

new jersey plan
New Jersey Plan

Equal Representation – each state gets same number of representatives

3 branches

Unicameral Legislature

Plural Executive

Supreme Court

connecticut compromise great compromise
Connecticut Compromise(GREAT COMPROMISE)
  • Key Issues
    • Representation
      • Big states vs. small states (gov’t power)
    • Trade
      • North states vs. south states (protect their economic base)
    • Slavery
      • Moral issue – ethics vs. property/states rights
best of both plans
Best of both plans
  • REPRESENTATION (the great compromise)
    • House of Representatives: Based on Population
      • Voice of the people – elected body
    • Senate – Based on Equality
      • Voice of the States – chosen by state legislatures
    • President – Elected by ELECTORAL COLLEGE
      • Voice of the entire US
  • Congress would control INTERSTATE COMMERCE
  • Treaties
    • North – President would be empowered to make treaties
    • South – The Senate would have to ratify any treaties
other compromises
Other Compromises
  • SLAVERY – not mentioned by name
    • 3/5ths compromise (see next slide)
    • Fugitive Slave Clause - escaped slaves would be returned to their state/owner. The federal government would enforce this law
the great compromise
The Great Compromise
  • What was it and why was it so important?
  • What other issues were handled by the delegates?
      • Economic Issues (trade, taxation)
      • Slavery
basic principles in the constitution
Basic Principles in the Constitution
  • Limit Majority Control
      • Only House of Representatives in control of majority vote
  • Separation of Powers
      • 3 branches
  • Checks and Balances
      • Each branch “watchdogged” the other two
  • A Federal System
      • Powers divided between federal and state governments
it is difficult to imagine
It is difficult to imagine

How the Framers could have possibly created a more inefficient government

BUT, the Framers did NOT care about an efficient government


the constitution1
The Constitution

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?

for and against
For and Against

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 federalist papers
The Federalist Papers
  • 3 men wrote a series of articles under pen names
    • James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, & John Jay
  • The Federalist Papers give key insight into the minds of the framers of the Constitution
  • Still believed to be the BEST arguments for American style democracy ever written
  • Antifederalist Papers – also wrote articles to support their side of the ratification argument
  • Debate played out in each state as the vote for or against ratification neared
ratification debates
Ratification Debates
  • Each state held debates on the issue
  • Both sides sent in speakers
  • 9 of 13 states needed to ratify
  • Big states held out (New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania)
  • Key Issues:
      • Protection of Individual Rights
      • Elitism – rule by the elite
anti federalist paper 1
Anti-Federalist Paper #1

“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

relate these to today
Relate these to today
  • One major argument against the Constitution was that it was an “elitist” document that protected the landed property-owner class
      • Land owners vote
      • Senate chosen by state legislatures
      • President chosen by “Electoral College”
  • Virtually, the same arguments continue to this day
      • Special Intersests , PAC’s use money to influence
      • Lobbyists (paid influencers)
      • Electoral College still used
      • Money now heavily impacts elections
amending the constitution

Use your pocket Constitution (p.15) to read Article 5

Use that information to fill in the chart on your handouts

  • The major sticking point to ratification of the Constitution was the absence of individual liberty protections

!! 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 Bill of Rights was added to ease those concerns
allowing for change
Allowing for Change

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?

informally changing the constitution
Informally changing the Constitution

Make a list of the informal methods of changing the Constitution (p. 54-57)

Judicial Interpretation

Changing Political Practice


Increasing Demands on Policymakers

  • Should “gay” rights be formally included in the Constitution as an amendment?
        • What should be included in the Constitution?
        • Are “gay rights” a category that should be protected as a constitutional right?
        • Are there other categories that might be
key ideas
Key Ideas

Declaration of Independence

Articles of Confederation

Shays Rebellion

Constitutional Convention

Steps to stop abuse of power


Amending Process

Informal Changes

“Tyranny of the Majority”

tyranny of the majority
Tyranny of the Majority
  • Federalists believed in the government being run by the educated elite
  • Tyranny of the Majority feared
    • Only House of Representatives directly elected by the voters
    • Senate chosen by State Legislatures
    • President chosen by Electoral College
    • Justices chose/confirmed by President/Senate
federalist anti federalist papers
Federalist & Anti-Federalist Papers
  • 25-30 minutes to read/highlight these key documents
    • Are they for or against the Constitution?
    • What part of the Constitution is being discussed?
    • What are the main points made by the author?
    • Summarize the document in 1 paragraph