Origins of American Government

					Origins of American

  Our Political Beginnings
 The Coming Independence
        Chapter 2
Basic Concepts of Government
• Our first settlers brought with
  them the customs and laws from
• The first settlers organized their
  towns based on those common laws
  using a sheriff, coroner, justice
  of the peace, and grand juries.
Basic Concepts of Government

• Babylonia – Hammurabi‟s Code
• Greece – direct democracy
• Rome – 12 Tables which spread
  throughout their Empire in Europe
• English Law
• Native American Law
Basic Concepts of Government
• Land was divided into counties and
• They brought the idea of limited
• Because they were far
  from the king, they began
  a representative
  government in Jamestown
Basic Concepts of Government

• The new government was based
  on English law and tradition
  from the Magna Carta,
  Petition of Rights and the
  English Bill of Rights
• Wealthy men still ruled
  these local governments
      Limited Government
• Absolute monarchies lost some of
  their power in England beginning
  in 1215. (Magna Carta)
• The idea of limiting the power of
  government was brought with the
  early colonists.
           Magna Carta
• In 1215, English nobles forced
  King John to sign the Magna
  Carta, making the king share
  power with them
• It included a trial by jury and due
  process before taking life, liberty
  or property.
        Petition of Right
• Almost 400 years later, in 1628,
  Charles I signed the Petition of
  Right which gave rights to common
• This document further eroded the
  power of the absolute monarchy
• It challenged the idea of divine
  right saying the king had to obey
  the law.
     English Bill of Rights
• After the Glorious Revolution in
  1688, William and Mary agreed
  to the English Bill of Rights
• This required the elected
  Parliament to share the power
  of government
     English Bill of Rights
• It gave the right to a fair trial,
  freedom from excessive bail and
  cruel and unusual punishment and
  prohibited a standing army
  unless authorized by Parliament.
• The absolute monarchy was dead
  in England
Representative Government

• Colonists also brought with
  them the idea of electing
  representatives to serve for
  them in government.
• The first permanent English
  colony was started as a joint-
  stock company, the Virginia
• The first
  inhabitants were

• Far from the King
  (3 months by ship),
  local decisions
  were made by
  leading to self-

• The Pilgrims settled in
  New England to escape
  religious persecution
• The Puritans believed
  all other faiths were
  damned to hell.
• To relieve overcrowding in
  debtors prisons, Britain sent
  victims of the Poor Laws to
• It was set up as a military
  colony to buffer
  Spanish Florida
  from the Carolinas
      Royal Colonies
• Of the 13 colonies, 8 were under
  direct control of the Crown –
  NH, MA, NY, NJ, VA, NC, SC,
• The king named a
  governor but the lower
  house was elected by
  the people
  Proprietary Colonies
• Three were proprietary
  colonies: PA, MD, DE
• Lord Baltimore – Delaware
• William Penn – PA and MD       Penn

• Major decisions were made
  by the king while day to day
  business was controlled by
  elected representatives
        Charter Colonies
• Connecticut and
  Rhode Island were
  charter colonies
  and largely self-
• They had a bi-
  cameral, two
  houses, legislature
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The Coming of

  Chapter 2
  Section 2
      Britain‟s Policies
• The 13 colonies were separately
  controlled through the king, by
  means of the Privy Council or
  Board of Trade
• Except for trade, the colonies
  were left to govern themselves
  under the watchful eye of the
      Britain‟s Policies

• The Crown hired royal governors
  to oversee policy, but colonial
  taxes paid his salary.
• Usually the governor went with
  the wishes of the town
      Britain‟s Policies

• The Crown provided for a
  national currency and made
  foreign policy for the colonies.
• Parliament made few
  regulations regarding trade
  and taxes were low
           Colonial Unity
• For the first years, there was no
  unity among the colonies.
• Trade, transportation, communication,
  etc all went between Britain.
• The first attempts at unity, the New
  England Confederation and one devised
  by William Penn, were unsuccessful.
      Albany Plan of Union
• Ben Franklin wanted each colony
  to send delegates to an annual
• They would have the power to
  raise a military, regulate inter-
  colonial trade, and dealings with
  the Indians
• It was rejected
Albany Plan of Union
        Stamp Act 1765

• Parliament passed
  a new tax law for
  the colonists
• It required that a tax be paid on
  almost all paper goods;
  newspapers, legal documents, etc
• A stamp proved the tax was paid
        Stamp Act 1765
• The colonists petitioned the king,
  boycotted British goods and hung
  effigies of tax collectors
• Parliament repealed the tax.
 More Taxes, More Protests

• Colonial boycotts
  continued when
  Britain imposed
  other taxes
• Their claim, “No
  taxation without
                      Tar and feathering
 More Taxes, More Protests
• On Dec. 16, 1773, patriots
  threw chests of tea into Boston
• King George III imposed the
  Intolerable Acts
• It was time for
  the colonies to
  join forces.
  First Continental Congress
• Delegates from 12 colonies, (not
  GA) met in Philadelphia
• They discussed the worsening
  situation with Britain and looked
  for a way to solve the conflict.
• They planned to meet the
  following summer.
 More Taxes, More Protests
• In April 1775, British soldiers
  headed for a colonial munitions
  stockpile west of Boston
• The “shot heard „round the
  world” was fired and the
  American Revolution
  had begun
 Second Continental Congress
• By the meeting of this Congress,
  we were at war with Britain.
• All 13 colonies sent delegates,
  which devised America‟s first
 Second Continental Congress
• John Hancock was its president
• George Washington was appointed
  Commander in Chief
• They raised an army, borrowed
  funds, dealt with foreign nations,
  and created a money system
 Declaration of Independence
• A committee of 5 was charged
  with writing a document
  explaining our grievances against
  King George III
• Thomas Jefferson wrote
  the document which was
  approved on July 4, 1776
Declaration of Independence
• The Declaration of Independence
  lists the numerous acts that King
  George III did to America
  without any representative from
  the colonies in Parliament.
      United States of America

• After 5 years of fighting,
  America was independent
• States began writing their own
  state constitutions, each
  featuring popular sovereignty,
  something the patriots had
  fought for.
  United States of America
• The state constitutions had many
 – Governors had little power
 – Most authority was given to the
 – Elected offices had short terms
 – Landed men had the right to vote
  United States of America

• It was easy to see that America
  would not easily forget the
  reasons they fought for their
Origins of Our American
     The Critical Period
         Chapter 2
         Section 3
• Articles of Confederation – first
  plan for America‟s government
  following the Revolutionary War
• Ratification – approval
• Presiding officer – person leading
  a meeting
  Articles of Confederation
• The first state and federal
  governments of America were
  reminders of what colonists had
  lived through under King George
• They based these documents
  more on what they did not want
   Articles of Confederation
• The Articles of Confederation is
  a government which gave states
  exactly what they wanted
  – Strong state‟s rights
  – Weak central government
  – Unanimous decisions to change the
  Articles of Confederation
• The Articles of Confederation
  was ratified by all 13 states by
• The presiding officer had no
  decision making power
• Congress could declare war but
  not raise troops
• Congress could spend money but
  not raise revenue
 Articles of Confederation

• The states promised to send
  money and troops to the federal
  government when it was needed
• Nothing could force them to do it
  when the time came, however
• The govt had „power‟ but no
   Articles of Confederation

• Congress borrowed heavily to pay
  for the war and those debts had
  not been repaid
• Not a single state came close to
  repaying their share of the debt
  and Congress could not mandate it
 Articles of Confederation

• Because 9 of the 13 states had
  to ratify any amendments, it was
  impossible to get them to agree
  so no amendments were done
• States bickered among
  themselves and many acted like
  an independent country when
  dealing with foreign countries
   Critical Period, 1780‟s
• “We are one nation today and 13
  tomorrow, Who will treat us on
  such terms?” G. Washington
• States taxed one another‟s goods
  and banned trade.
• Debts went unpaid
• Violence broke out
        Shays Rebellion

• Daniel Shays led farmers in
  western Massachusetts
  in violent protests
  against losing their
• There was no army to
  stop them
        Shay‟s Rebellion
• The farmers rampaged
  through Massachusetts
  but no one was able to
  stop them without an
  army or trained
       Shay‟s Rebellion
• American‟s realized that they
  needed a stronger federal

• States agreed to meet to
  discuss a plan to settle the
   Constitutional Convention

• Delegates met in Philadelphia in
  the summer of 1787.
Origins of our American
Creating the Constitution
   Constitutional Convention

• The summer of 1787 was hot
• To keep out the noise and flies,
  and to protect their secrets, the
  windows were shut.
• Men wore wool suits
         The Framers

•The men who came to Philadelphia
had a great deal of experiences and
education among them
•Most were lawyers and current
legislators for their state
•Some wrote their own state
          The Framers

•Some signed the Declaration of
•The average age was 42, with
almost half in their 30‟s
•Ben Franklin was the oldest at 81
         The Framers

•Sam Adams, Thomas Jefferson,
Richard Henry Lee, John Hancock
and Thomas Paine were not present
•George Washington was elected
president of the Convention
           The Work

•The delegates had decided to keep
the proceedings secret until they
were finished.
•Several delegates, especially
James Madison, kept copious notes
•They met most days from May to
September 1878
           The Work
•Upon arriving, most delegates
expected to “fine tune” the
•Within days, they majority knew
they were writing a totally new
•Some delegates were prepared for
this turn of events
       The Virginia Plan

•Virginia was the largest, most
populated and most influential of all
the colonies.
•Their plan favored large,
populated states, wanting a
legislative body whose membership
was decided on by total population
       The Virginia Plan

•Their plan also called for 3
branches of government; executive,
legislative and judicial
•The lower house, based on
population, would select members
of the upper house
•Federal laws supersede state laws
       The Virginia Plan

•Congress has the authority to
admit new states
•Congress would choose a “National
•The small states thought these
ideas were too radical
    The New Jersey Plan

•William Patterson of NJ presented
the plan for the smaller states
•The plan called for equal state
representation regardless of size
•Congress would be limited in their
ability to tax and regulate trade
    The New Jersey Plan

•A panel would make up the
“federal executive” office
•A “supreme” tribunal would oversee
the judicial system.
The Connecticut Compromise

•The large states expected to
dominate the new government
•The Connecticut Compromise joined
the Virginia Plan and the New
Jersey Plan into the Constitution
we have today.
      The Connecticut or
      Great Compromise
•Two House Legislature
 –Upper House, the Senate, would
 have 2 members from each state
 –Lower House, House of
 Representatives, members would be
 based on population
  Three-Fifths Compromise

•Northern states had few or no
slaves and did not want them
counted for southern population
•The 3/5 Compromise allowed
states to count only 3/5 of their
slaves as noted in the 1790 US
  Three-Fifths Compromise

•Notice that slaves made up 43%
of the population in some southern
•Massachusetts had outlawed
•Not surprisingly, the arguments
over the compromise were loud and
    Commerce Compromise

•The South was fearful that the
new government would try to pay
for itself using export taxes.
•They didn‟t want tobacco, a major
export, taxed
•The Compromise stated that no
State export would be taxed.
   Slave Trade Compromise
•The South also feared that the
new government would try to
regulate the slave trade
•In the late 1700s, slavery was
dying out
•For this reason the North agreed
to allow slavery for 20 years, until
    Bundle of Compromises

•The Constitution is a bundle of
•From 13 states with different
geography, products, ethnic groups,
religions, social classes,
populations, climates, etc, they
agreed to the document
    Bundle of Compromises

•They agreed that the new
government had to have the power
to deal with big social and economic
•They agreed to a separation of
powers and checks and balances
    Bundle of Compromises

•The heated debates occurred over
how the president would be
elected, the structure of Congress,
and the limits of power that should
be given to the new government.
     Separation of Powers
•The 3 branches of government,
executive, legislative and judicial,
have duties and responsibilities
given to it in the Constitution that
is their job that no other branch
can do.
•Example - Only Congress can
declare war, only the President can
move troops.
     Checks and Balances

•Because each branch has its own
duties, the Constitution set up this
system to make sure no branch
assumes too much power.
•Example - The president
nominates a Supreme Court judge
but the Senate must agree.
 Sources of the Constitution
•The framers of the Constitution
used early writings from Greece
and Rome, and books written by
European philosophers of the
•They also used their experiences
with colonial governments and the
Articles of Confederation.
 Sources of the Constitution

•Locke – Two Treatises of
•Rousseau – Social Contract
•Blackstone – Commentaries on the
Laws of England
•Montesquieu – Spirit of Laws
The Constitution is Complete

            •On Sept 17, 1787
            the delegates
            approved and
            signed their work
            •James Madison
            gets credit for
            writing the
Origins of our American
Ratifying the Constitution
  Chapter 2 Section 5

•Two groups emerged
•Federalists, who supported a
strong, central government,
approved it
•Anti-federalists, who supported
state‟s rights, did not.
Federalists       Anti-Federalists
 •George          •   Patrick Henry
 Washington       •   John Hancock
 •James Madison   •   Samuel Adams
 •John Adams      •   Thomas
 •Alexander           Jefferson

•1. Increased powers of the
federal government (which means
less state‟s rights and local
•2. Lack of a Bill of Rights

•Nine states ratified the
Constitution, but two of the large
states, VA and NY, did not
•Without their support, the
Constitution would be doomed.
       Federalist Papers

•Essays, for and against
ratification, were printed in
•Once gathered, all 85 essays
comprised the Federalist Papers
•After including a Bill of Rights, all
states ratified the Constitution.
• They decided that the States
  would choose electors to vote for
  a president who would assume
  power in March 1789.
• Even today, electors, not
  individuals, elect our president.
President George Washington

•Washington was elected
president unanimously
•John Adams was selected
as his VP
•Inaugurations were held the first
Wednesday of March
•The President moved to the new
US capital in New York City
    Is Flag-Burning Free
• US v. Eichman – the Supreme
  Court struck down a TX state
  law that forbade destruction
  of the US flag. Eichman
  burned flags on the Capital
  steps to protest legislation
  against burning a flag.