Origins of American Government Origins of American Government and Constitution by zhangyun


									Origins of American Government
        and Constitution
        Our Political Beginnings
• The English colonists brought with them
  political ideas that had developed over
  centuries in England.

• Some ideas, such as the rule of law, had roots
  in early Asian and African civilizations.

• Other influences came from the ancient
  Romans, who occupied England.
        Our Political Beginnings
• Many key political ideas were written into
  landmark English documents.

• Ordered government
  – Local governments should be divided into
    units and ruled by officers according to law.

• Limited government
   – Individual citizens have basic rights
   – There are limits on government power
       Our Political Beginnings
• Representative government
   – Government should serve the will of the
     people. In other words, people should have
     a say in what the government does or does
     not do.

• Written documents also had an influence on
  government in the colonies.

• The Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215.
        Our Political Beginnings
• Created by English barons to put limits on the
  once absolute power of the King.

• Guaranteed certain fundamental rights for the
  privileged, such as trial by jury and due
  process of law.

• Over time, these rights were extended to all
  English people.
        Our Political Beginnings
• The Petition of Right was signed by King
  Charles I in 1628.

• Banned the king from imprisoning or
  punishing people without first following the
  laws of the land.

• Kept the king from declaring military rule in
  times of peace or making people house
      Our Political Beginnings
• Required the consent of Parliament
  for taxation.

• The English Bill of Rights was drawn
  up by Parliament in 1689 to prevent
  the abuse of power by all future
       Our Political Beginnings
• Required the consent of Parliament
  for taxation and suspension of laws.

• Promised the right to a fair trial, and
  to petition the monarchy to correct
This chart compares the rights guaranteed by the Magna Carta and the
English Bill of Rights with the freedoms listed in the Virginia Bill of
Rights and the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution.
        Our Political Beginnings
• The colonies were established over a span of 125
   – Virginia was the first colony, founded in 1607.
   – Georgia was the last, formed in 1733.

• The similarities among the colonies ultimately
  outweighed their differences.

• Each colony was established on the basis of a
  charter granted by the king.
   – These charters granted some governing
     authority to the colonies and kept some for the
        Our Political Beginnings
• Royal colonies were directly controlled by the

• Proprietary colonies were run by a proprietor
  chosen by the king.

• Charter colonies were run mainly by elected
  legislatures and were the most independent.
        Our Political Beginnings
• Royal Colonies:

• The governor was appointed by the king, and
  approved all laws.

• The upper house of the colonial legislature
  was also appointed by the king and served as
  the colony’s highest court.

• The lower house was elected by colonists who
  owned enough property to vote.
        Our Political Beginnings
• Proprietary Colonies:

• The proprietor appointed the governor.

• These colonies were run much like royal colonies.

• Of the proprietary colonies, Pennsylvania had an
  unusually democratic government with a
  unicameral legislature.
        Our Political Beginnings
• Charter Colonies:

• Governors in charter colonies were elected by
  property-owning colonists and lacked veto power.

• The elected bicameral legislature could pass laws
  without the approval of the king.

• Judges were appointed by the legislature.

• Charter colonies enjoyed the most freedoms.
• What was the purpose of the Magna Carta,
  and what did it provide for all citizens?

• Explain the differences between royal,
  proprietary, and charter colonies.
       Coming of Independence
• Over time the colonists began getting used to
  more and more self-rule.

• England was over 3,000 miles away and it took
  two months to sail from England to the

• Colonial legislatures sometimes withheld
  governor’s pay until they agreed with the
The distance from England to the colonies was over
3,000 miles – at least a two-month journey by sail.
       Coming of Independence
• By 1760 King George III ruled England and
  Britain became more strict with the colonies.

• Increased taxation on the colonists began to
  make the colonists resentful.

• King George increased British soldier
  population in the colonies and made colonists
  pay for the expenses.
       Coming of Independence
• The Stamp Act of 1765 added fuel to the
  colonists fire – taxing them on all business

• The colonists were upset at England’s policy of
  taxation without representation.

• Even though they were upset, the colonists
  tried to resolve problems with the king.
       Coming of Independence
• Failing to come to an agreement with the king,
  small revolts broke out in the colonies.

• In 1770 British soldiers fired their guns into an
  angry colonial mob killing five – this was called
  the Boston Massacre.

• In 1773 colonists dressed as Native Americans
  destroyed tea from England in the Boston
  Harbor – called the Boston Tea Party.
Boston Massacre – 1770. British troops fire into a
crowd of angry colonial protesters. Five colonials
Boston Tea Party 1773. Colonists dressed as Native Americans storm
British ships carrying tea in Boston Harbor. The tea is thrown overboard
to show the colonists resentment over England’s policy to control the
tea trade.
       Coming of Independence
• England responded by punishing the colonists
  even more.

• This prompted the first meeting of the
  colonies (all except Georgia) in Philadelphia in

• This meeting is called the First Continental
  Congress – they discussed what to do.
       Coming of Independence
• Some wanted to separate from England,
  others wanted to ask King George for relief.

• The Declaration of Rights was sent to England
  asking one last time for a change in English

• Their request was rejected, and met with even
  more severe taxes from England.
      Coming of Independence
• By the time the Second Continental Congress
  met in 1775 shots had been fired between
  British troops and colonists at Concord and

• George Washington from Virginia was named
  leader of the Colonial Army.

• The Second Continental Congress became the
  first American government.
       Coming of Independence
• About one year after the American Revolution
  began, the colonies issued the Declaration of
  Independence to England on July 4, 1776.

• It was mostly written by Thomas Jefferson, a
  delegate from Virginia.

• The document discussed the belief that
  government be held accountable by the
  people it governs.
       Coming of Independence
• The Declaration of Independence also uses
  such terms as:

  – “all men created equal”
  – “certain unalienable rights”
  – “consent of the governed”
       Coming of Independence
• These terms, especially “unalienable rights” or
  “natural rights” were ideas from past
  philosophers like John Locke.

• It was Jefferson’s idea to incorporate the ideas
  of John Locke and other famous past
  philosophers into the Declaration of
  Independence to increase its credibility.
The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in 1775
and agreed to declare independence from England. The
Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776.
• What was one reason why the colonists began
  getting used to self-rule and not always
  following English policies?

• What was the main complaint made by the
  colonists towards England?

• Was the colonists initial goal to separate from
  England? Explain your answer.
            The Critical Period
• Once the colonies established independence
  from England, they knew a formal government
  needed to be established.

• To meet this need the Articles of
  Confederation was created.

• The Articles of Confederation set up a “firm
  league of friendship” between the states.
            The Critical Period
• The Articles of Confederation established a
  strong state government in which they would
  come together for common defense.

• This created an alliance instead of a country.

• By 1781, all 13 states had ratified – or
  approved – the Articles of Confederation.
           The Critical Period
• The government structure of the Articles of
  Confederation was simple.

• There was one Congress made up of all 13
  states – each had one vote.

• Representatives of the Congress were chosen
  every year by whatever method each state
  wanted to use.
            The Critical Period
• Congress also chose one presiding officer each
  year to lead.

• Congress had power to make war, make
  treaties, and ask for states to provide troops.

• However, states held most of the power to
  govern themselves as they saw fit.
            The Critical Period
• States did agree to allow Congress to settle
  any disputes, and treat people from other
  states fairly.

• Articles of Confederation proved weak
  because Congress lacked essential power.

• Congress could not tax the states, regulate
  trade between states, or force the states to
           The Critical Period
• In 1783 the American Revolutionary War came
  to an end with the Treaty of Paris.

• Afterwards, states bickered and could not
  come to an agreement on issues.

• Hard feelings set in between the states, and
  violence even broke out in some areas.
           The Critical Period
• By 1785, it was clear that the need for a
  stronger central government was necessary.

• Hope came during a trade dispute that was
  solved between Maryland and Virginia.

• This prompted the idea of another meeting of
  the states to revise the Articles of
           The Critical Period
• In September of 1786 a meeting of all states
  was called in Annapolis, Maryland.

• The turnout was low, which prompted a
  second calling of all states to meet in

• While the purpose of the meeting was to
  revise the Articles of Confederation…
           The Critical Period
• It turned into a meeting in which the entire
  structure of the American government was re-
• Did the Articles of Confederation set up a
  strong central government or a strong state

• What were the weaknesses of the Articles of

• Why were meetings of all the states called in
  1786 and 1787?
      Creating the Constitution
• At the Philadelphia Convention in 1787
  representatives from the 13 states met to
  create a new central government.

• They met during the summer months – very
  hot, no air conditioning, windows closed to
  stop eavesdroppers.

• “The most wonderful work by the brain and
  purpose of man.”
       Creating the Constitution
• The meeting place was Independence Hall
  where the “D of I” was signed 11 years earlier.

• George Washington was elected president of
  the convention.

• First order of business was to set up ground
  rules for the convention.
       Creating the Constitution
• Each state would receive one vote, and
  majority was needed to pass a resolution.

• Their goal was to write a new constitution.

• There was yelling, bickering, arguing among
  the representatives – some even left the room
  at certain points.
       Creating the Constitution
• Two major plans were offered as
  replacements to the Articles of Confederation.

• First was the Virginia Plan, developed by
  future president James Madison.

• It featured three branches of government, a
  legislature, executive and judicial branch.
       Creating the Constitution
• Legislature was made up of two houses – a
  House of Representatives and a Senate called
  the Congress.

• Total population of a state determined how
  many Reps and Senators each state had.

• Congress could also force states to obey laws.
       Creating the Constitution
• Congress chose a “National Executive” and a
  “National Judiciary” to balance power.

• The Virginia Plan had the support of large
  states – but smaller states rejected it.

• Instead they favored the New Jersey Plan
  which was different from the Virginia Plan.
       Creating the Constitution
• New Jersey Plan called for a one-house
  Congress with each state having equal
  representatives, regardless of population.

• It also gave Congress the power to tax the
  states to fund the government.

• The question between the two plans – how
  should the states be represented?
      Creating the Constitution
• The conflict was settled through the
  Connecticut Compromise – also called the
  Great Compromise.

• The compromise created two houses – House
  of Representatives and a Senate.

• Number of HOR was based on state
  population – Senate was equal representation.
       Creating the Constitution
• The next question was about slaves – should
  they count towards total population?

• Southern states said yes because it would give
  them more HOR seats.

• Northern states said no because they did not
  want the south to out vote them.
      Creating the Constitution
• The Three-Fifths Compromise resolved the
  issue – all “non-free persons” equal 3/5 when
  counting population.

• It was a mixture of compromises that made
  the U.S. Constitution.

• They did not agree on everything, but did
  agree on liberty and sovereignty for all.
• What was the biggest difference between the
  Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan?

• What was the Three-Fifths Compromise?

• Did the “framers” of the U.S. Constitution
  consider it to be perfect? Explain your answer.
      Ratifying the Constitution
• After the Constitution was written a new
  challenge presented itself.

• The Constitution needed to be ratified – or
  approved – by a vote in all of the states.

• Copies of the Constitution has been made and
  were being read by every citizen in the U.S.
      Ratifying the Constitution
• Not everyone was in agreement with the
  Constitution however.

• In each state, two distinct groups were
  forming – Federalists and Anti-Federalists.

• Federalists were those who were in favor of
  the Constitution and Anti-Federalists were
  opposed to the Constitution.
      Ratifying the Constitution
• Federalists believed that the Constitution was
  necessary because the Articles of
  Confederation were too weak.

• Federalists were led by those at the
  Philadelphia Convention when the
  Constitution was written.
      Ratifying the Constitution
• Ant-Federalists claimed that the Constitution
  gave too much power to the central

• They also were worried that the president – or
  executive branch – was too powerful.

• Anti-Federalists feared the president turning
  into another monarchy.
      Ratifying the Constitution
• Anti-Federalists also were concerned about
  the absence of a list of rights for each

• The right to freedom of speech, freedom of
  religion, and freedom of the press was not in
  the Constitution.
      Ratifying the Constitution
• Federalists said that there doesn’t need to be
  a list of rights.

• Their argument was that because there was a
  separation of powers between the legislative,
  executive and judicial branch, people’s rights
  would never be threatened.
       Ratifying the Constitution
• The Anti-Federalists got their way – a list of
  rights called the Bill of Rights was added to
  the Constitution.

• The Bill of Rights was 10 specific freedoms
  that each citizen held which was protected by
  the Constitution.

• The goal now was to get all 13 states to ratify.
      Ratifying the Constitution
• Getting the Constitution ratified was not easy.

• Both sides campaigned and wrote essays
  expressing their view points.

• Eventually, all 13 states did ratify the
  Constitution – but vote was very close in
  Rhode Island and New York.
       Ratifying the Constitution
• Finally, the Constitution replaced the Articles
  of Confederation and the U.S. had a new
  framework for government.

• The new Congress met in 1789 for the first

• New York City was named a temporary capital
  where Congress would operate.
      Ratifying the Constitution
• George Washington – the Revolutionary hero
  – was elected as the first President.

• John Adams was elected as the first Vice
• What was the difference between Federalists
  and Anti-Federalists?

• Why was it important to add a Bill of Rights to
  the Constitution?

• Why was it important for all 13 states to ratify
  the Constitution?

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