The Summer of 1787:The Constitutional Convention George Washington and other delegates at the Constitutional Convention that took place in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787.
Bell-Ringer • If the delegates of the Continental Congress did not want a strong central governing body, why do you think they even bothered creating something like the Articles of Confederation anyway? • On the whole, do you think Americans favor a strong or weak central government today? Why?
Did You Know? • Well before the Constitutional Convention of 1787, many states had already drafted their own individual constitutions? • The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, principally authored by John Adams, and adopted in 1780, is the oldest functioning constitution in the world.
During the summer of 1787, 55 representatives from most of the American colonies met in Philadelphia. • Their original intent was to revise the form of government the colonies had created once they declared their independence: The Articles of Confederation. • In the process, they would end up creating a whole new government structure that still runs our country today…The Constitution. • Many of these men were men of prominence, power, and money. • They each had different ideas and plans for what they wanted included in this new government. • Among the issues they discussed were: the presidency, how each state would be represented in the national government, terms of office for government officials, and what kinds of powers the states and the central government could have.
The delegates met in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Even though it was a hot summer, the windows were kept shut to ensure secrecy.
James Madison’s Virginia Plan was one of many ideas for government proposed at the convention. Eventually, some of its ideas would be put into the final Constitution.
James Madison, who would later become 4th President of the United States. The Constitution had him like woah.
William Paterson (name sound familiar?), authored the New Jersey Plan. More in favor of smaller states, some of its ideas would also wind up in the Constitution.
To create this government, they also used the ideas and writings of great thinkers from the Enlightenment, as well as forms of government from the past and present. • One of the biggest challenges they had to struggle with was creating the different parts of our government with unique characteristics, while bearing in mind that they should/could not create a “monster” in the process. • Once the document was created, battle lines were drawn between those who favored this new form of government, Federalists, and those who did not, called Antifederalists. • Eventually, a Bill of Rights was included in this Constitution to guarantee certain liberties to the American people. • Provisions were also made for how additions or changes could be made, known as Amendments. • In the 227 years since its creation, the Constitution has been amended, or changed, 27 times.
The Frankenstein Story • Anyone remember the basic plot of it? • Dr. Frankenstein sought to create a living being in his laboratory. However, he feared the experiment would become a “monster” if he did not hold control by limiting the being’s traits and abilities.
Activity: Making a Monster • In groups of 4, you will design your own Frankenstein-type monster. • Using the large paper provided, trace your classmates’ limbs to help create the outline of the monster. • On your paper, you must also include the following: • What human abilities or traits should the monster have? (example: breathing) • What abilities or traits should be unique (“one of a kind”) to the monster? (example: follows all orders) • What human abilities or traits should not be given to the monster? (example: ability to show anger) • Be creative, but appropriate. Finish by the end of the block. Involve the ideas of all group members.