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The Constitutional Convention (May-Sept. 1787)

The Constitutional Convention (May-Sept. 1787)

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The Constitutional Convention (May-Sept. 1787)

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  1. The Constitutional Convention (May-Sept. 1787) J.A.SACCO

  2. Why a Constitutional Convention? “Experience has taught us that men will not adopt and carry into execution measures-the best calculated for their own good-without the intervention of a coercive power”. G.Washington

  3. Why a Constitutional Convention? Republicanism went to far? Less Locke More Hobbes Need more guidance under a central power or more Shay’s Rebellions will occur.

  4. Dissatisfied Groups in the U.S. • Merchants- need regulation of commerce • Manufacturers- tariffs against foreign goods • Land Speculators- protection from Native Americans to open up settlement • Bondholders- stable currency for debt repayment • Businessmen- curb inflation to promote business

  5. First Steps to Reform the Articles of Confederation • 1785- Mount Vernon Convention VA, MD, PA, DE, discuss the problems of interstate commerce.

  6. First Steps to Reform the Articles of Confederation • Sept. 1786 –Annapolis Convention Only five states- Hamilton urges all states to meet in Philadelphia in May 1787 to remedy defects of the Articles.

  7. Constitutional Convention (May-Sept 1787) • 55 delegates from all states except R.I. • Called “Nationalists”- these were men of distinction/talent. Conservative men of property who wanted a stable/stronger central government.

  8. Cast of Characters

  9. Areas of Agreement • Scrap Articles of Confederation- draw up new basic law • New gov’t should still be republican in form, with a chief executive to be elected by people or representatives (checks/balances) • Gov’t based on majority (popular sovereignty), but still protect the rights of the minority • Need a strong centralized gov’t that had the power to tax, regulate interstate trade/foreign commerce

  10. Virginia Plan Bicameral legislature Representation based on population New Jersey Plan Unicameral legislature Representation is equal for all states A Question of Representation? How is representation in Congress going to be determined?

  11. The Great Compromise • Creates a bi-cameral legislature. CONGRESS House of Representatives • Based on state population Senate • 2 per state

  12. North Not count toward population, but count toward taxes South Count toward population, not count toward taxes 3/5 Compromise Since the House of Representatives in based on a states population, should slaves count toward that states population? Slaves count for 3/5ths a person for both population and taxes.

  13. North New government to have the power to regulate all interstate and foreign trade South Feared being outvoted on trade regulation by more populous North. South opposed taxes on imports/exports. Would hurt tobacco trade. Not want interference on slave trade. Commerce, Tariffs, and the Slave Trade

  14. Commercial Compromise For the South • 2/3 vote of Senate required for ratification of treaties • No export taxes imposed by Congress • Could not prohibit the slave trade for 20 years (1808) • Fugitive Slave Act created. Free states return runaways to South

  15. Commercial Compromise For the North • Congress could regulate interstate commerce by a simple majority vote in Congress and tax imports (tariffs)

  16. Strong Executive Control foreign policy Power to veto Congress 4 year term/ no term limit Weak Executive Congress power to impeach To check excesses of democracy, Executive to be elected by an electoral college (equal to # members in House and Senate) No majority of electoral college- elected by House. Power of the President

  17. Power of the President Which parts of the proposals were accepted for the compromise of Chief Executive?

  18. Battle for Ratification • Change the law of unanimity– would become law when 9 states ratified. • Went over the head of the Articles, and State Legislatures directly to the people.

  19. Federalists/Antifederalists • Federalists • Antifederalists

  20. Federalists vs. Antifederalists • Federalists: • Wealthy, often powerful/ propertied class • Lived in settled areas, on coast- more regulation of trade • Educated • Controlled the press • Felt a strong central government would best serve the nation without sacrificing the interests of the states.

  21. Federalists vs. Antifederalists • Antifederalists: • Included many revolutionaries • Mainly people devoted to states rights, lived in backcountry, small farmers/debtors • Believed Constitution was plot by upper class to get even more power from common folk. • Criticized Constitution for taking away freedom of states and individuals.

  22. Ratification “The Roll Call” • DE, PA,NJ,GA, CT quickly ratify • Mass. led by Sam Adams only ratify after Bill of Rights promised and amendment added for reserve powers of states • By end of June 1788- MD,SC,NH ratified • VA ratify after Bill of Rights promised • NY ratify after realized it surrounded by states that already ratified the Constitution • By this time first Congress to meet on March 4th,1789 • NC ratify by Nov. 1789 • Which state is left to ratify?

  23. “Little Rhode Island All Alone” • Why was Rhode Island the last to ratify the Constitution? • Why was it important for all states to ratify it? • RI ratify in May 1790.

  24. Why were the Federalists Successful in Ratification? • Feds better organized/more skilled politicians • Offered a positive future with new Constitution/Anti-feds. had no alternative. • Feds better represented in electing bodies/poor could not vote against ratification • Washington and Franklin gave the new government credibility • A Bill of Rights would eventually be added to protect the rights of all/avoid the central government from crushing liberties

  25. “The Federalist Papers” • Federalist Papers plays key role • Anonymously written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay • Propaganda in favor of Constitution, major cause of ratification • Federalist #10 considered most important

  26. Federalist #10- “Dealing with Factions” • “…the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens[.]”

  27. A Conservative Constitution • Wanted to protect economic and political interests. • Create sound economy and protect private property • Kept lower-classes from voting • Election of senators and federal judges INDIRECT!!!

  28. A Democratic Constitution • Consent of the governed-kept republican principles • Limited government • Power of the people—”We the People”…

  29. Principles of U.S. Government Federalism • Powers shared between fed/state governments- Delegated, Reserved and Concurrent powers

  30. Principles of the U.S. Constitution • Federal law superior to state law • Constitution is the supreme law of the land • Constitution a living document- can change with the times • Under Articles power in the hands of states, under Constitution power in hands of the people (popular sovereignty)

  31. Republicanism Survived • Separation of Powers– three branches of government but all were meant to represent the people. • Checks and Balances - created to prevent the abuse of power from any one branch, creates a balance between liberty and order. • Limited defined powers in a written constitution • Individual rights are ensured in a Bill of Rights