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Focus Question:. Was the Constitution a fulfilment of their Revolutionary aspirations?. The Problems encountered with writing the Constitution. The public didn’t see a need to become one nation. The state leaders didn’t want to become one nation as they may lose their power.

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Focus question
Focus Question:

Was the Constitution a fulfilment of their Revolutionary aspirations?


The Problems encountered with writing the Constitution

  • The public didn’t see a need to become one nation.

  • The state leaders didn’t want to become one nation as they may lose their power.

  • There were still those who were loyal to Britain.


Washington said "I do not conceive we can exist long as a nation without having lodged somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union in as energetic manner as the authority of the state governments extends over the several states."


Why was a National Constitution needed?

  • Some states were in great debt.

  • America’s economy was suffering

  • The Articles of Confederation created at best a loose government but were not enough to sustain the population.


  • Three branch system of Government:

  • The Executive would head the government

  • The Legislative would be broken down into the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    • The Senate would be the smaller more coolheaded body

    • The House of Representatives would be elected directly by the people.

  • The Judicial would enforce the Constitution and laws.


  • Some of the Questions that faced the Delegates:

  • Should there be a multi person executive or single head of state?

  • Should the executive be paid a salary? Or should they rely purely on patriotism?

  • If they were paid who would fund their salary?

  • How long should the executive be in office for?

  • Could the congress impeach him if he was guilty of misconduct?

  • Could they remove him from office?

  • What if he should die when in office?

  • Who would take his place?

  • If there was a vice president what would they do when the president was still living?


Resolutions:

  • President would preside over the Executive branch

  • The President would be chosen by electors from each state

  • He would serve for four years

  • Should he die whilst in office a Vice president would take over

  • The Vice would preside over the senate whilst the President was living

  • Both would be paid out of the treasury of the new government


  • Resolutions: The Great Compromise

  • Each state would have two members in the senate with equal vote

  • The House of Representatives would have one representative for every 40,000 inhabitants. (This was later changed to 30,000)


Arguments against the Constitution:

  • There was no Bill of rights, were these not what they had been fighting for in the war?

  • It was argued that Confederation offered a more secure future for America.


James Wilson:

"We should consider that we are providing a Constitution for future generations and not merely for the circumstance of the moment."


  • The Ratifications Began:

  • Delaware December 1787

  • New Jersey December 1787

  • Pennsylvania December 1787

  • Georgia January 1788

  • Connecticut January 1788

  • Massachusetts February 1788

  • Maryland April 1788

  • South Carolina May 1788

  • New Hampshire June 1788

  • THE UNITED STATES WAS FORMED


  • Delaware December 1787

  • New Jersey December 1787

  • Pennsylvania December 1787

  • Georgia January 1788

  • Connecticut January 1788

  • Massachusetts February 1788

  • Maryland April 1788

  • South Carolina May 1788

  • New Hampshire June 1788

  • THE UNITED STATES WAS FORMED

  • Virginia June 1788

  • New York July 1788

  • North Carolina November 1789

  • Rhode Island May 1790



Thomas Paine wrote:

"The same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still."


The Declaration of Independence and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense convey the revolutionary atmosphere of 1776.

  • What were they fighting for?

  • Human rights

  • Government representation

  • Independence / NO KING!


  • The Constitution meant:

  • They were independent from Britain

  • They not only a set of rules written by their people for their people but it established a system of checks that made it difficult for one person to get too much power

  • The government could not become anything like Britain’s government.

  • Equal representation was provided for all men (and later slaves and women)

  • The rights of man were protected.



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