Constitutional History

Constitutional History

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  • Teacher: Welcome to history class, first we will begin with the Declaration of Independence which is the document that declared freedom for the 13 colonies from Great Britain and was written by Thomas Jefferson. This document let the world know that America was independent from Britain. 
  • Teacher: Another document that influenced America were the Articles of Confederation. The Articles were the original constitution of the United States and established the functions of our national government. However, they were ratified because they contained certain flaws that needed to be addressed and changed.
  • Teacher: The need for the ratification of the Articles led to the Constitutional Convention which was the gathering that helped revise the Articles of Confederation into the present law of the land; the constitution. During the Convention, many things were discussed including the New Jersey Plan and the Virginia Plan. The New Jersey Plan proposed that every state was granted equal representation regardless of population size while the Virginia Plan suggested a bicameral legislature. Both of these plans helped decide how states were represented. 
  • Student: Wow. A lot really went into making the Constitution. I can’t believe how much effort and compromising this took to finally get the results we have in modern day America!
  • Teacher- The compromises discussed and decided during the convention involved the Great Compromise and the Three-Fifths Compromise. Both of these compromises were about representation in government. The Great Compromise is the two house structure where the House of Representatives was represented by the population and the Senate was represented equally regardless of population or state size.
  • Student- The Great Compromise really was great! They did really well to include both sides of the debate and make them go with each other.
  • Teacher- The Three-Fifths Compromise made slaves count as ⅗ of the population which, at the time, helped the north have about as equal representation as the south because the south’s population had many slaves.
  • Teacher- The government structure that was created within the constitution consists of the Three Branches which are the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The Separation of Powers within the branches include the Executive which carries out laws, the Legislative which makes laws, and the Judicial which interprets laws. With the Separation of Powers comes Checks and Balances. The Checks and Balances were made so not one group would have too much power. 
  • Student- That’s smart that they are able to check each other's power. I can clearly see they want to stay far away from Britain’s ideals.
  • Teacher- Going back to the Articles of Confederation, The Anti-Federalists and the Federalists were the two opposing groups that argued about the Articles. The Anti-Federalists wanted to add the Bill of Rights to the Constitution and didn’t want the government to have extended powers. The Federalists wanted a stronger system of government and opposed the addition of the Bill of Rights.
  • Student: The Anti-Federalists clearly won because the Bill of Rights are in our Constitution and we don’t have a super strong central government.
  • Teacher- Last we have the Bill of Rights and the Ratification. The Bill of Rights include the first ten amendments of the Constitution that list a person’s specific rights. For something to be ratified, nine of the thirteen states had to agree to ratify. Well that's enough information for today. Hope you all payed attention because we will be testing on this tomorrow!
  • Students- Aww really? Well, at least we listened.
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