I heard that the Articles of Confederation gave a lot of power to the states and little power to the Federal government. This plan set up a Congress elected by the people. Each state had one vote in Congress.
Alright class, today we will be traveling to Philadelphia to see where the Constitutional Convention took place. We will be discussing many different topics. I will go ahead and introduce two topics. Does anyone have any idea what the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence are?
The Declaration of Independence was a formal statement written by Thomas Jefferson declaring the freedom of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain.
The Convention! The Constitutional Convention!!
They came up with two different plans, the New Jersey Plan and Virginia Plan. The NJ plan had a single house Congress, each state had an equal vote. The VA plan proposed a bicameral legislature the vote was based off of population.
Very well, Ella! The Constitutional Convention was held right here in hopes to address the problems of the weak central government under the Articles of Confederation. Can anyone tell me what else happened at the convention?
You guys ready to take a spin! Here we go to Philadelphia! Ok, who can tell me why we are here?
Now let's switch gears and talk about compromises. The Great Compromise offered a two house Congress to satisfy both small and big states. Each state would have equal representation in the Senate or upper house. The size of the population would determine its representation in the House of Representatives. Voters would choose the members of the House. The Great Compromise also occurred at the Constitutional Convention. Do any of you know what the “Three-Fifths Compromise” is?
Yes, Brooke! I think you’re correct.
After the Great Compromise they had to decide if the slaves would be counted as part of the population. Didn’t they decide that the slaves would be three-fifths of the population?
Now, with all these new government proposals and compromises, what is a very important factor that helped keep these governments orderly and in check?
Very good, Ella! Who knows what principle was placed on these governments?
I believe the separation of powers played an important role with the new government. It divided the government into three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. The legislative branch makes the laws, executive enforces the laws, and judicial interprets the laws.
Checks and Balances! It put restrictions and influences on each other so that one branch does not become too powerful.
Now that we know about how the government is constructed, who knows the two different groups in relation to the new government?
I also heard about the Bill of Rights, it guaranteed every citizen religious freedom, trial by jury, and freedom of speech.
There are federalists and anti-federalists. The federalists support the stronger government and unite under central authority. Anti-federalists wanted a weak central government and feel like states are giving up too much power to the federal government.
You’re correct, Brooke! In order to get the Constitution ratified in Massachusetts, Federalists promised to add a Bill of Rights to the Constitution once it was ratified. Virginia ratified the Constitution when the Federalists agreed to add a Bill of Rights. New York agreed to ratify the Constitution after it learned that Virginia and New Hampshire had ratified it.
It is finally lunchtime! What do we have left to discuss?
Will we just be discussing the Ratification of the Constitution?