Constitution Ratification - PowerPoint Presentation

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					 Debate Over
Ratification of
     The Ratification Debate
      in Historical Context
The Ratification debate addressed
  two questions:
    1. Should the Articles of
  Confederation be amended or
    2. If the Articles should be
  replaced, what should be the
  features of the new constitution?
       Arguments Against the
      Articles of Confederation
   The national government did not have
    the power to enforce its own laws - -
    Congress could not effectively regulate
    trade among states, collect taxes, or try
    individuals who broke national laws.

   The federal government was not given
    sole power to coin money causing
    Arguments Against the
   Articles of Confederation

 Government   was unresponsive to
 changing circumstances. New
 laws required super-majorities
 (9 of the 13 states) that were
 slow and costly to form.

 Amendments   required unanimity.
    The Constitution “fixed” the
     Articles, but at what cost?
   Anti-Federalists argued that the new
    Constitution provided insufficient
    protection for the rights of individuals
    and states from the powerful new
    federal government.

   Anti-Federalists preferred either to
      1. scrap the national government
      2. keep the Articles as they stood.
      What Was the Basis for
    Anti-Federalist Opposition?
    In general, the Anti-Federalists viewed
     the Constitution as a threat to:
    1. Sovereignty
    2. Political Stability
    3. The Principles of the Declaration of
    4. Law
    5. Commerical Interests
The Ratification Controversy
 Ratification was closely contested
  nationally during 1787 and 1788
 Any nine of the thirteen states were
  sufficient for ratification
 But rejection by any of the four most
  prominent states-Massachusetts,
  New York, Pennsylvania, or Virginia
  would have doomed the Constitution
              New York
 New York City was the seat of the national
  government during ratification
 The state of New York had a powerful
  executive branch that opposed ratification.
  The governor would lose power if a strong
  national government formed.
 Alexander Hamilton was from New York
  and led its Federalist faction.
      Hamilton’s Problem
 The Anti-Federalists were led by “His
  Excellency,” Governor George
 Clinton had a vested interest in
  preventing the formation of a strong
  national government.
 Clinton’s popularity as “father of New
  York” made him a formidable rival.
      Hamilton’s Strategy
 Hamilton focused on behind the
  scenes political manipulation to build
  support among political elites.
 He also proposed a series of essays
  designed to persuade the public of
  the Constitution’s value.
 These essays served as a “debaters
 The Role of
the Federalist
Papers During
     The Federalist Papers
 A set of essays, written by Hamilton,
  James Madison, and John Jay, and
  published in New York newspapers under
  the pseudonym Publius.
 During the ratification controversy, these
  essays were circulated nationally.
 The essays linked opposition to the new
  Constitution with hot-headed liberals
  (Patrick Henry) and those with a vested
  interest in maintaining a weak
  government (George Clinton).
Themes of the Federalist Papers
 An explanation of the benefits of national
 An indictment of the Articles of
  Confederation for failing to provide such a
  government at the national level
 An analysis and defense of the
  Constitution as an instrument of
  federalism and governance
 An exposition of the costs and benefits of
     They are essays designed to persuade
    Federalist #10 - Madison
 It is believed that James Madison
  took ideas from Thomas Hobbes and
  John Locke in regard to ideas of a
  strong controlling government.
 Opponents of the Constitution
  offered counterarguments to his
  position, which were substantially
  derived from the commentary of
  Montesquieu on this subject.
    Federalist #10 - Madison
 Addresses the question of how to guard
  against "factions," or groups of
  citizens, with interests contrary to the
  rights of others or the interests of the
  whole community. In today's discourse
  the term special interest often carries the
  same connotation.
 Madison argued that a strong, large
  republic would be a better guard against
  those dangers than smaller republics—for
  instance, the individual states.
It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen
will be able to adjust these clashing interests
and render them all subservient to the public
good. Enlightened statesmen will not always
be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such
an adjustment be made without taking into
view indirect and remote considerations,
which will rarely prevail over the immediate
interest which one party may find in
disregarding the rights of another or the
good of the whole.
                       --James Madison
 Federalist #51 - Madison
 Why  do we need separation of
 - Because individuals given
 power will use it for personal
 - “If men were angels, no
 government would be
              Federalist #51
   A constitution must balance two aims:
    sufficient capacity for governance and
    effective control over the leadership.

   “In framing a government which is to be
    administered by men over men, the
    greatest difficulty lies in this: you must
    first enable the government to control the
    governed; and in the next place oblige it to
    control itself. A dependence on the people
    is, no doubt, the primary control on the
    government; but experience has taught
    mankind the necessity of auxiliary
         Federalist #51 -
       Checks and Balances
 A system of checks and balances was what
  Montesquieu meant, rather than a strict
  separation of powers.
 To function effectively, the system of
  checks and balances requires multiple
  branches of government.
 Each branch must be independent from
  the others.
 Each branch must sufficient power to hold
  the others in check.
          Federalist #51 -
    Conditions for Independence
 “Each department should have a will of its
  own; and consequently should be so
  constituted that the members of each
  should have as little agency as possible in
  the appointment of members of the
 But, some deviations from this principal
  could be tolerated, especially for the
  judiciary whose lifetime appointments
  ameliorate any dependency.
            Federalist #51
“But the greatest security against a gradual
  concentration of the several powers in the
  same department consists in giving to
  those who administer each department
  the necessary constitutional means and
  motives to resist encroachments of the
  others, the provision for defense must in
  this, as in all other cases, be made
  commensurate to the danger of attack.
  Ambition must be made to counteract
  ambition. The interest of the man must be
  connected with the constitutional rights of
  the place.”
          Federalist #51 -
         Legislative Power
 In a democracy, legislative authority is
 The division of the Congress into two
  different branches curbs the power of the
 Each branch has a different constituency-
  Senators answers to their state, the House
  to their district.
 Senators have longer terms in office
  making them less responsive to their
  constituents, House members have shorter
  terms making them more responsive.
      Importance of Federalist 51
   System of checks and balances protects
    minorities when out of power and not
    already oppressed; however, checks and
    balances also limit opportunities for

   Makes Accountability Difficult: if multiple
    sources for responsibility, who is
    accountable for good and bad times?

   Responsible parties + no ticket-splitting
    creates disciplined national parties and
    unified partisan control of government
    offer a vehicle to overcome system of
    checks and balances.
        Federalist #51 -
        Executive Power
 The weakness of the executive
 requires that this branch be

 The veto power strengthens the
 president in relation to the

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