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bell ringer
Bell Ringer
  • If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
  • Do you agree with James Madison’s theory? Do you think our government is living up to the responsibility of controlling itself?
the problem with liberty
The Problem with Liberty
  • Many Americans believed in the years leading up to the war that they could remain British and have their liberties protected
    • They felt that they should be able to trades without burdensome regulations and pay no taxes unless they had a representative there to speak on their behalf
  • By 1775, many felt that independence was the only way to gain those liberties
    • They believed the English Constitution to be inadequate in protecting their liberties from an abusive King/Parliament
the colonial mind
The colonial mind
  • “an old, wrinkled, withered, worn-out hag” was Alexander Hamilton’s description for England
    • While this was largely inflammatory writing to try to drum up support for the conflict, it was also showing how colonists felt about the politicians who did not protect their liberties
  • The Founders believed that God bestowed “natural rights” upon them
    • John Dickinson—”[rights] are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken away from us by any human power”
    • Those rights were life, liberty, and property (Jefferson later changed to pursuit of happiness)
the colonial mind1
The colonial mind
  • The war was not about protecting property or trying to get rich by breaking from England
    • In fact, it hurt most Americans economically
    • This war was about ideology, not economics
the colonial mind2
The colonial mind
  • While most Americans can talk about the intro to the Declaration of Independence they do not seem to know what the other 27 paragraphs are about
    • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
  • Thomas Jefferson had a lot more to say to the King than that—but what?
the colonial mind3
The colonial mind
  • The real revolution came not in booting out the British but in the change in government that followed
    • No kings for these folks—government could only exist with the consent of the governed
    • Power could only be exercised based on what was in a written constitution
    • Legislative branch (as chosen by the people) was to have power over the executive branch
  • Their first crack at this idea was the Articles of Confederation
the articles of confederation
The Articles of Confederation
  • The Articles was nothing more than a “league of friendship” between the states
    • It couldn’t raise taxes or regulate commerce
    • It couldn’t make peace between states
  • The Articles could
    • Deal with treaties
    • Coin money (with little gold to do so)
    • Appoint officers
  • They also had a president
    • John Hancock was America’s first president—he never showed up to take the job o_O
  • Worst of all—you had to have 13 out of 13 agree to any amendments
    • There were zero amendments passed in 11 years!
the articles of confederation1
The Articles of Confederation
  • Many of the Founders believed that the Articles were too weak and that changes needed to be made
  • A group of men gathered at Mt. Vernon (Washington’s home) and decided to meet in Annapolis and call for the other states to revise the Articles
    • None of the New England delegates arrived
  • They rescheduled for Philadelphia after Shays’ Rebellion brought to light the need for a stronger central government
shays rebellion
Shays’ rebellion
  • The Founders had different opinions on Shays’ Rebellion
    • Washington—”For God’s sake, if they have real grievances, redress them; if they have not, employ the force of government against them at once.”
    • Jefferson—”A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” (NOTE: He was in Europe while making this claim)
  • Regardless, it was enough to bring the Founders together to take a second look at the Articles
the framers
The Framers
  • 55 delegates came together in Philadelphia to discuss revising the Articles
    • The meetings were kept secret—why?
    • The party-going, story-loving Benjamin Franklin had to be accompanied everywhere to prevent him from telling everything
  • They were diverse
    • Many were young—Hamilton was 30, Madison, 36
    • 8 signed the Declaration
    • 7 were governors, 34 were lawyers, few were wealthy
    • They were not “intellectuals” (excluding Madison)
  • Missing were John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Sam Adams
the framers1
The Framers
  • Washington was tall, athletic
  • Madison was frail, bookish
  • Franklin was old, a scientist, with shrewd judgment when sober
  • Hamilton was an illegitimate childe of a French woman and Scottish merchant who had a lot to prove
    • He was Washington’s aid during the war, and became the first Sec. of the Treasury
    • Would you like to watch a video clip about Hamilton?—I knew you would 
  • In the end you should know that the Founders were not schemers or angels, they were practical people looking for a government that would not be too weak or too oppressive
bell ringer1
Bell Ringer
  • Why is it necessary to compromise?
    • Name an instance where you have had to compromise.
    • Explain how that process went for you.
    • Even though you had to give up something for the compromise, were you better off?
the challenge
The Challenge
  • Issues debated during the Constitutional Convention included slavery and how the states would be represented
  • Two plans were devised to deal with the issue of representation: The Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan
the challenge2
The Challenge
  • While many other compromises had to be made there was one other issue to deal with
    • How were slaves accounted for in the new legislative branch?
    • Would the slave trade be allowed to continue?
the constitution and democracy
The Constitution and Democracy
  • Issues addressed by the Constitution include:
    • Representation—the legislature must come from the people (at least the house)—thus creating a REPUBLIC
    • To give states power—the Senate was elected by state legislatures
    • To give all states some form of equality, the president would not be DIRECTLY elected by the people, but instead elected by ELECTORATES in the electoral college
      • Why is the election not based on the popular vote?
the constitution and democracy1
The Constitution and Democracy
  • To prevent the government being at the mercy of popularity the framers included safeguards
    • The Supreme Court—they exist to ensure laws created are in line with the Constitution (JUDICIAL REVIEW)
    • Amendments—framers made it easier to amend the Constitution than it was to amend the Articles, but still hard enough that it cannot be changed regularly
the constitution and democracy2
The Constitution and Democracy
  • The key principles of democracy is separation of powers/checks and balances and federalism
the constitution and democracy3
The Constitution and Democracy
  • Should the government force politicians and people to be more virtuous?
    • Madison says in order to do so would create a government so strong it would limit other freedoms
  • By dividing power between the federal and state governments (FEDERALISM) it created double security for the people’s rights
    • Each faction would find their political place in either the state or federal government and therefore everyone would have some (not full) power
the constitution and liberty
The Constitution and Liberty
  • Immediately the country was divided into two groups—we’ll start with the Anti-federalists
    • Didn’t like the Constitution because the federal government was too powerful
    • It could heavily tax, Supreme Court could overrule state courts, and the President could control a large army (FYI-all of these have happened)
    • They listed a series of demands before they would approve the Constitution
      • The only one that was granted was creating a Bill of Rights
the constitution and liberty1
The Constitution and Liberty
  • The second group—the Federalists—responded to these claims
  • Madison, Hamilton, and Jay wrote a series of articles collectively called The Federalist Papers
    • Madison’s No. 10 and 51 clearly point out that liberty is better protected by the mass because if you dissent, you are likely to find an ally in a larger group, than in a smaller one
  • This doesn’t answer for the lack of a Bill of Rights though
the constitution and liberty2
The Constitution and Liberty
  • First the framers did include some rights
    • Writ of Habeas Corpus-rights cannot be suspended (except during war)
    • No Bill of attainder-cannot be convicted on a crime without a trial
    • No ex post facto laws-cannot make laws retroactive
    • Citizens in each state are entitled to the privileges and immunities of the other states
    • No religious tests
    • Cannot impair contracts from state to state
the constitution and liberty3
The Constitution and Liberty
  • Second, most states had a bill of rights in their state constitutions
  • Most importantly, the reason the Constitution lacked a bill of rights, was because the framers believed that the government was limited only to what was stated in the Constitution (STRICT CONTRUCTIONISM) and therefore didn’t have legal ability to impede on rights such as freedom of speech, etc.
    • If they had listed what rights were guaranteed, any freedoms that may arise in the future (technology use) would have been open to being taken away because it was strictly forbidden by the Constitution
the constitution and liberty4
The Constitution and Liberty
  • The “peculiar institution” was left out of the Constitution
    • No where are the words “slavery” or “slave” mentioned yet three clauses dealt specifically with the issue
      • “other persons” would be counted as 3/5ths of a person for calculating population
      • Congress could not forbid “importation of persons” before 1808
      • “person held to service or labour” who escaped must be returned to their person of indebtedness
  • This was the framers best attempt at compromise on the issue—should they have pushed the issue further?
homework
Homework
  • Read pages A21-A29
  • Complete the worksheet questions on the readings