The constitution and federalism
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The Constitution and Federalism. The Philadelphia (Constitutional) Convention of 1787. May 25, 1787: 55 delegates from 12 of the 13 States (Rhode Island did not send a representative) met in Philadelphia Purpose: To revise (edit/change) the Articles of Confederation

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The Constitution and Federalism

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The constitution and federalism

The Constitution and Federalism


The philadelphia constitutional convention of 1787

The Philadelphia (Constitutional) Convention of 1787

  • May 25, 1787: 55 delegates from 12 of the 13 States (Rhode Island did not send a representative) met in Philadelphia

  • Purpose: To revise (edit/change) the Articles of Confederation

  • 5 days into the convention, they decided to throw out the Articles of Confederation and start all over with a new government

  • For 89 of the 116 days from May 25-September 17, they met in secret and eventually wrote what we know as our Constitution.


The constitution a bundle of compromises

The Constitution: “A Bundle of Compromises”

  • Compromise: settling a conflict by each side giving up part of their demands in order to meet in the middle (come to an agreement).

  • The Constitution has been described as a “bundle of compromises” because lots of people had different opinions on how the government should run, and everyone had to give in a little bit along the way.

  • The biggest compromises had to do with representation in Congress and with slavery


1 the connecticut compromise

1. The Connecticut Compromise

  • Established that our legislature (Congress) would be bicameral

  • Also called “The Great Compromise”

  • The conflict: Big States vs. Small States

    • Virginia Plan (favored big States): Congress should be bicameral (2 houses). Representation is based on wealth and population of each State

    • New Jersey Plan (favored small States): Congress should be unicameral (1 house). Every State sends the same number of representatives, no matter how big the State is.


The constitution and federalism

  • The compromise: Congress is bicameral (2 houses):

    • Senate: Every State send 2 representatives, no matter how big the State

    • House of Representatives: The number of reps. each State sends depends on how many people are in the State (the population)

      • 1 representative for every 650,000 people who live in the State

      • Georgia currently sends 14 reps. to the House. Montana only sends 1.


2 the 3 5 compromise

2. The 3/5 Compromise

  • The conflict: Southern States vs. Northern States

    • Southern States:

      • Wanted to count slaves as part of their population so they would be able to send more representatives to the House of Representatives

      • Otherwise, the Southern States would always be outvoted on things in Congress

    • Northern States:

      • Thought that slaves shouldn’t count toward Southern representation in Congress, because they weren’t counted as citizens

  • The compromise: 3 out of every 5 slaves would be counted toward the population of each State.


3 slave trade compromise

3. Slave Trade Compromise

  • The conflict: Northern States vs. Southern States (round 2!)

    • Northern States:

      • Wanted to end the slave trade (the actual shipping of slaves from Africa to the US)

      • Worried that southern States would just ship in more slaves so they could increase their populations and control Congress

    • Southern States:

      • Their economy was based on farming/agriculture – large plantations where slaves did the work for free

      • Wanted to continue to have access to slaves

  • The compromise:

    • Slaves could continue to be imported (brought in to the country from Africa) until 1808 – about 20 more years

    • Congress would not have the power to tax exports (goods shipped out of the country to other countries)


Obj 2 ratifying the constitution

Obj. 2: Ratifying the Constitution

  • Sept 17, 1787 – The Constitutional Convention approves the Constitution and 39 members sign

  • Needed 9 states to approve for new govt to go into effect

  • Sept 28, 1787: copies of the Constitution were sent out to the states for approval


Two sides emerge

Two sides emerge:

Federalists

Anti-Federalists

Opposed ratification

Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, John Hancock

Supported states having most of the power (weak national govt)

Feared a single executive would turn into a king/tyrant

Strict interpretation of Constitution – If it doesn’t say it, the national govt can’t do it!

**Demanded a Bill of Rights to protect civil liberties**

  • Favored ratification

  • Alexander Hamilton, James Madison

  • Supported a stronger national government, with states giving up some powers

  • Supported having a single head executive (president)

  • Loose interpretation of Constitution


Ratification

Ratification

  • Votes on ratification were close in many states

  • 1st state to ratify - Delaware (Dec 7, 1787)

  • June 21, 1788 – New Hampshire is the 9th state to ratify

  • BUT, Virginia and New York, the two largest, wealthiest states, had not ratified.


Ratification1

Ratification

  • Washington and Madison were able to convince Thomas Jefferson to ratify

  • Virginia ratifies June 25, 1788

  • NY went through heated debates

  • The Federalist Papers – a collection of 85 essays supporting the Constitution

    • Authors: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

    • Considered first campaign document in the US – it greatly influenced NY’s decision to ratify

  • NY finally ratifies July 26, 1788


A new government

A New Government

  • Sept 13, 1788 – Constitution officially goes into effect

  • New York chosen as the temporary capital

  • March 4, 1789 – First Congress meets in NY

    • Did not have a quorum (majority), so electoral votes for Pres/VP could not be counted until…

  • April 6:

    • President = George Washington

    • John Adams = Vice President

  • April 30, 1789 – GW sworn in as 1st Pres of US


Obj 3 fundamental principles of the us constitution

Obj. 3: Fundamental principles of the US Constitution

  • Functions of the Constitution (What does it do?)

    • It is the highest form of law in the US

    • Lays out the framework and procedures of our govt

    • Sets limits on govt power


6 basic principles of the constitution

6 Basic Principles of the Constitution

  • Limited Government

  • Popular Sovereignty

  • Separation of Powers

  • Checks and Balances

  • Judicial Review

  • Federalism


6 basic principles of the constitution1

6 Basic Principles of the Constitution

  • Limited Government

    • NO government is all powerful

    • Government can only do the things that people have given it the power to do

    • Aka constitutionalism – the government MUST be conducted according to constitutional principles

    • Includes the Rule of Law:

      • NO person is above the law

      • Everyone, even government officials, MUST follow the laws of the land


The constitution and federalism

2. Popular Sovereignty

  • All political power is with the people

  • Government can only rule with the consent of the people

  • Expressed in 1st words of Constitution: “We the people…”


The constitution and federalism

  • Separation of Powers

    • All of the basic powers of the American government are distributed among 3 branches of government

      • The executive, legislative, and judicial branches are completely separate bodies/groups of people

      • Each branch has its own set of responsibilities:

        • Legislative Branch: makes/passes the laws

        • Executive Branch: executes, enforces, administers the law

        • Judicial Branch: interprets and applies the laws

    • Why?

      • The framers wanted a stronger central government, but…

      • didn’t want too much power in the hands of any one person or group


The constitution and federalism

  • Checks and Balances

    • Even though the 3 branches have separate powers, they still have to work together to get things done

    • Each branch is subject to limits by the other branches

    • And each branch also has powers that limit other branches

    • Facts of Congress: Checks/Balances


Checks and balances examples

Checks and Balances: Examples

  • Executive Branch

    • The President is the Commander-in-Chief (head) of the military…

    • ….but only Congress can declare war and vote on funds/troops (legislative limits the executive)

  • Legislative Branch

    • Congress has the power to make (write, discuss, and vote on) laws…

    • the President can veto those laws (executive limits the legislative)

    • …but Congress can override the Presidential veto with a 2/3 majority vote (legislative limits the executive)


The constitution and federalism

  • Judicial Branch

    • Is limited by the Executive and Legislative Branches…

      • The President chooses (appoints) all Supreme Court judges….

      • but the Senate must vote to approve the President’s choices.

      • Congress can also vote to impeach and remove Federal judges

    • But the Judicial Branch also limits the Executive and Legislative Branches…

      • With the power of judicial review


The constitution and federalism

  • Judicial Review

    • Courts have the power to determine constitutionality of all laws and government actions

    • In other words, courts can declare illegal, null and voidany government action that violates any part of the Constitution

    • Extends to all governments in US – national, state, and local

Judicial review was established in 1803 with the Marbury vs. Madison court case.


The constitution and federalism

  • Federalism

    • The national government is not all-powerful. Government powers/duties are divided between:

      • The National/Federal government (based in Washington, D.C.)

      • The States’ governments (like GA)

    • The framers chose this system as a compromise between those who wanted sovereign (independent) states and those who wanted a stronger national government

    • Facts of Congress: Federalism


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