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The Road to the Constitution
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  1. The Road to the Constitution Civics

  2. Colonial Background • 1607 Eng. Govt. sent a group of farmers to establish a trading post , called Jamestown, now VA • The Virginia company was the first to establish a permanent colony in the Americas • The King gave the backers of the colony a charter granting them “full power and authority” to make laws.

  3. Jamestown • The colonists created representative assembly – a leg. made up of individuals who represent the population • Many died 105 who landed 67 died in first year • 800 new arrivals came in 1609 by spring of 1610 numbers cut to 60. of 6000 who came from 1607-1623 about 4,800 died-

  4. Separatists / the Mayflower Compact • 1620 first New England colonists landed at Plymouth ( Massachusetts) • Made up of a group of extreme separatists who wanted to break with Anglican Church • Before going on shore they ( adult males) (Women still did all the work but had no political rights) drew up the Mayflower Compact signed by 41 of 44 men Nov. 21, 1620

  5. Why the Compact • The group was outside the jurisdiction of the VA. Co. of London which chartered in VA not Massachusetts. • Separatist leaders thought that some passengers might think they did not have to follow obligations of civil obedience • So some public authority had to be established – rumors and mutinous speeches on the ships

  6. What was the Compact • Not a constitution • Was a political statement • Signers agreed to create and submit to the authority of govt. pending receipt of a royal charter

  7. Why is the Compact Significant? • Historical and political significance • It depended on the consent of the affected individuals • It also served as the prototype for similar compacts in American History • Proved they wanted to live under rule of law based on consent of the people

  8. More Colonies • Then in 1630 the Mass. Bay Colony was set up • Then Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire , and others the last in 1732 of the original 13 was Georgia • Used limited govt, London governed the colonies , they did have large measure of self-govt. • A lot of colonial laws foreshadowed the Constitution and Bill of Rights

  9. Colonial Conflict • Began in 1760’s when G.B. decided to raise revenues by imposing taxes on Am. Colonies • Advisors to King George III ( 1760) convinced him that it made sense to tax the colonies to pay for defending them in French and Indian War (1756-1763)

  10. No taxation without representation!!! • In 1764 British parliament passed the Sugar Act • Colonists unwilling to pay it • 1765 passed the Stamp Act providing for internal taxation – taxation without representation • Created the Stamp Act Congress (1765) • Colonists boycotted the purchase of English commodities

  11. No Taxation without Representation!!!! • Continued to impose taxes on glass, lead, paint, and other items in 1767 - They boycotted again • The colonists fury over taxation climaxed in Boston Tea Party colonists dressed as Mohawk Indians dumped 350 chests of tea into Boston Harbor

  12. British response • In response to Tea Party in 1774 Parliament passed the Intolerable Acts • Closed the Boston Harbor • Placed Massachusetts under direct British control • Colonists outraged

  13. The First Continental CongressSept. 5 , 1774 • Created due to passage of Intolerable acts • Caused colonists to send delegates to a meeting to discuss matters and make plans for action • Only 12 sent delegates Georgia did not attend until 1775 • Little talk of independence • Delegates passed resolution to send delegation to petition King George III expressing their grievances

  14. First Continental Congress • Also passed resolutions to require colonies to raise their own troops and boycott British trade • They also declared that a committee be created in every county and city that would spy and report to the press anyone not participating in the boycott • Cooperation which was a step to forming national govt.

  15. Response of Crown to Congress • King George III and the British govt. condemned the actions of the Congress and treated them as open acts of rebellion

  16. 2nd Continental Congress • In May of 1775 a new congress met but by now the Revolution had begun • Notable newcomers attended including Ben Franklin and John Hancock who was selected as president • They organized a govt. an established an army led by George Washington who was elected as commander in chief • First govt. until Articles of Confederation

  17. 2nd Continental Congress • Lasted from the signing of the Declaration to March 1, 1781 – Articles • The Congress was unicameral- 1 house • Exercising both legislative and executive powers • Each colony had one vote • Executive functions were handled by a committee of delegates

  18. Public reaction • Thomas Paine’s, Common Sense , pamphlet appeared on Philadelphia bookstores and became a best seller basically saying that they needed to form a constitution of their own

  19. Second Continental Congress • On April 6 , they voted for free trade at all Am. Ports with all countries but Britain • Interpreted as declaration of independence • The next month the Congress suggested that each of the colonies establish state governments unconnected to Britain • Then on July 2, the Resolution of Independence was adopted

  20. Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776 • Mostly written by Thomas Jefferson but also Adams, Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston ) • Inspired by Locke, Rousseau and Montesquieu • Natural Rights as they relate to life, liberty and property • The consent of the governed • Limited government • D of I opens with Jefferson invoking Locke philosophy… “Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness” • Jefferson continues by listing grievances against George III for violating inalienable rights

  21. I do declare • Jefferson had to take out a phrase about condemnation of slave trade to gain acceptance of the Georgia and North Carolina • July 19 became unanimous declaration of 13 colonies • Aug. 2, signed by the members of the 2nd Continental Congress

  22. Philosophical Basis • The use of Locke’s “unalienable rights” reveals influence from Two Treatises on Govt. ( 1690) is cornerstone to natural rights • Locke argued all people had right to life , liberty, and property and govt. had to protect those rights • Govt. est. by the people through social contract – form a govt. and abide by rules • Like Mayflower Compact – not new

  23. Philosophical Basis • In citing “pursuit of happiness “ instead of property T.J. went even further than Locke • Mostly it lists what He, King George III did to the colonists

  24. The Grievances • Case against G.B. • No taxation without representation • Unjust trials • Quartering of British soldiers • Abolition of colonial assemblies • Policy of mercantilism ( the belief that to become wealthy and powerful a govt. had to accumulate gold and sliver – export more than they import- have raw materials – need for colonies)

  25. Statement of Separation • Jefferson said the colonists had no choice but to revolt • England had a superior navy and resources to support a war • But colonists had knowledge of the land, leadership and the desire to be free

  26. Goals of the Founders • Create a government based on idea of consent of the governed • State government s – urged to adopt their own constitutions • Most granted same rights as they had under British rule • They varied widely in detail • All of them gave little power to the governor • Political authority given to legislature and short elective terms

  27. Goals of the Founders • Power was not centralized – could and would not have a king • Even though they said “ all men were equal” this was only meant to apply to white men • Property as an indicator of wealth and status was also a requirement for political office

  28. Articles of Confederation • Was drafted in June 1776 by the Second Continental Congress • Final form made by Nov. 15, 1777 • March 1 1781 did the last state MD. Ratify it ( implemented before this) • First govt. of the U.S. • Relied on states to make decisions that would ultimately determine whether a new nation would survive

  29. A of C: 2 levels of govt. • Weak national government • One-house ( unicameral) Congress • Could declare war , make peace, sign treaties • Could borrow money but no power to tax the states • There was a national army and navy, no power to draft soldiers • No chief executive or national court • Legislation had to have 2/3 majority to pass • Amendments had to be unanimous

  30. Features of New State governments • Popular Sovereignty- states existed by consent of the governed , people who hold the power and the people are sovereign • Limited govt. - the power of the State’s government was restricted • Civil Rights and liberties- each state clearly announced the rights of its citizens • 7 of the new contained a form of “ bill of rights

  31. Features of New State govt. • Separation of power and Checks and Balances – each state govt. organized with independent branches of govt.

  32. A of C: Dominate State govts. • State govt. had to be dominant • Created their own currency • Refused to amend the Articles • Refused to recognize treaties made by national government • Imposed tariffs on each other

  33. What was in the Articles • Formed a govt. of the states called the Congress of the Confederation • Established a “firm league of friendship “ among the states that came together “ for the common defense and securtiy of liberty and their mutual and general welfare • Most power rested with states

  34. A of C : Govt. Structure • Govt. under articles was unicameral • No executive or judiciary • Delegates chose annually – as determined by states • Executive and judiciary handled by committee of Congress • Congress chose one of its members as “president” but not of U.S. this would be done annually

  35. Powers of Congress • Most powers related to common defense and foreign affairs • Under the A of C Congress had the power to maintain an army and a navy

  36. State Obligations • The States agreed to accept several obligations to the central govt. • They retained many powers of govt. for themselves • Required to give full faith credit and generally accept horizontal federalism ( allocation of power among co-equal states • States retained powers not given to Congress

  37. Who had power in states • Power began to shift to farmers and craft workers in the states who emerged as the middle class • Small farmers began to dominate state politics • Led to opposing political parties ( Federalists and Anti-Federalists)

  38. Trying to fix the A of C • Efforts to correct problems informal at first • Like conferences to deal with commerce disagreements between states • One was in Annapolis was poorly attended and led to a call for a Philadelphia Convention

  39. Shays’ Rebellion-Aug. 1786 • Farmers returning from Rev. War faced with extremely high taxes for which they had no money – severe depression and fields were fallow • Farms were foreclosed upon also govt. owed them back pay for military service in Rev. • Daniel Shays led a group of farmers to take over the Massachusetts State Armory and interrupt trials of debtors in Springfield Massachusetts • Revolt succeeded in pointing out weaknesses of the new govt.

  40. Shay’s Rebellion • Jefferson did sympathize with them • However the governor of Mass. Called on Congress to put down rebellion but there was no army so he was able to raise enough money to raise a militia

  41. Shay’s Rebellion • Showed central govt . Could not protect citizens from armed rebellion or provide for the public welfare • Pointed out that Congress and the army were weak and mob action was increasing • At Virginia’s urging five states met at the Annapolis Convention in late 1786 to address crisis it was inconclusive • They recommended to have a constitutional convention of all the states to be held following spring in Philadelphia to amend A of F

  42. Weaknesses under A of C • Govt. lacked the power to levy taxes • Could not regulate trade between states • No power to make the states obey A of C • Could only exercise powers with the consent of 9 of the 11 state delegations • No amendments added because it had to be unanimous among 13 states

  43. Successes • During 8 years of existence state’s claims to western lands Settled • Maryland had objected to land claims by Carolinas, Conn., Georgia, Mass, N.Y. and Virginia until they gave land claims up to U.S. as a whole only did MD. Ratify the A of C

  44. Successes under A of C • Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established a pattern of government for new territories north of the Ohio River • First pooling of resources by the Am. States

  45. The Philadelphia Convention • The delegates ignored the delegates request to amend A of F and decided to draft a new plan of govt. • With the exception of Rhode Island the rest of the states sent 55 delegates to the Convention in 1789

  46. Philadelphia: Constitutional Convention • Make up of delegation • All men, all white • Average age -42 (Ben was oldest at 81) youngest 26 • Most had important roles in Revolution • Most served in state legislature ( 7 former governors) • Most were of moderate means , some wealthy • None were poor • Some attended college (31) • Many were merchants, 33 lawyers, farmers & bankers • 7 plantation owners, 8 business leaders

  47. Founders and their beliefs • Original intent was to reform the Articles , but most realized reform was not enough • Shared a cynical belief that people should not be given power to govern freely – checks had to be put in place • Many came from upper and new middle class factions started to show that would exist not only in society, but in politics as well

  48. Key Concepts of Founders • William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, Montesquieu’s, The Spirit of the Law, and Rousseau’s ,Social Contract , all showed popular sovereignty ( right to rule yourself) and limited govt. ( not too powerful) • From Locke , Second Treatise of Civil Govt. , also gave Framers idea of judicial review ( determine constitutionality of laws)

  49. Key concepts continued • From the many state constitutions the Framers developed ideas of Checks and Balances and Separation of Powers

  50. Key Agreements • Major disagreement over representation in Congress • Two plans develop Virginia Plan and New Jersey Plan