Declaration of Independence • The declaration and intent to separate from Great Britain • Grievances against Great Britain, specifically the King, King George • Appeal for equality, freedom, and to “the opinions of all mankind”
Declaration of Independence • The declaration of opinions, views, ideology, and intent; a type of “Manifesto” • Unalienable rights – the rights to which all people are entitled, according to the “laws of nature” and the “Creator” • Just powers: the authority of the government over its citizens, derived only from the consent of the governed.
Declaration • Tyranny, and despotism: abuses and usurpations by a government of its citizens’ rights • Separate and Equal Station: the desirable relationship between “free and independent states.”
Declaration • Grievances against the king: he suspended the people’s right to legislative representation, he swayed the system of justice in his favor, he interfered with free trade and immigration laws. • The appeal of the Declaration: emigration and settlement, common kinship, justice • The British Brethren refers to the king and those in power in Great Britain.
Declaration • Conduct of trade, formation of alliances are the power of the free and independent states. • The British monarchy proved to be a tyranny, and accumulation of power • Commerce with other nations was essential for the survival of the colonies, they wanted recognition and right to allies of their own.
Declaration • Officially signed on June 28, 1776, presented to the Continental Congress, revisions and editing occurred on July 2, 1776 and the final version was passed on July 4. 56 members signed the embossed version
The Constitution • Articles of Confederation: 1776 prelude to 1787 Constitution • Constitutional convention: 1787 to revise the Articles • Federal System: a division of authority between the national government and the states
The Constitution • The most important provision of the Constitution is the separation of powers of the U.S. government. • The president of the Constitutional Convention was George Washington. • Slavery was not a concern of the Constitution in its original form.
The Constitution • Provided a centralizing force for unity among the new states. • Provided a government adequate to prevent foreign invasion, prevent dissension among the states, provide for national development and give the national government power.
The Constitution Rules of the American political game that places limits and creates control of government. The fundamental laws of our nation. Defines the powers of government, specifies offices to be filled, authority that each exercises, sets limitations to government authority.
The Constitution • Sets two kinds of limits on the power of the majority: • Absolute: there are certain things the majority cannot do, no matter how large. Congress may not pass a law that makes an individual guilty without a trial. • Conditional: There are certain things a majority can do only if it is an extraordinary majority with greater than 50% of the votes: example: Congress may propose a constitutional amendment only if 2/3 of each house votes in favor of it.
The Constitution • Oversees: The President, Congress: The House of Representatives and Senate, The Supreme Court • The framers of the Constitution believed that people seek power because they are by nature greedy, ambitious, and easily corrupted. • A strong national government was essential during a time of turmoil, fear, uncertainty
Constitution • The problem was preservation of individual liberty,and the preservation of order. • The Constitution came from English legal heritage, yet England had no Constitution. The idea of “natural rights” • The Constitution came from the American models of the colonial and state government. • The Constitution came from experience with the Articles of Confederation.
Constitution • Insured that small states would not be dominated by larger states. • Assisted in the creation of a REPUBLIC which is a government in which a system of representatives operate, elected directly by the people; distribution and separation of power, shared power.
Constitution • First Continental Congress, 1774 • Second Continental Congress, 1775 • Declaration of Independence, 1776 • Articles of Confederation: 1781-1787 • Constitution, Philadelphia, May 1787 • Constitution Convention May 25-Sept. 17, 1787
Constitution • The issue of slavery was a central issue in the Constitution that was not addressed until after the Civil War – Amendment 13: 1865 which makes slavery illegal in the U.S.