The Road to Change. From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution

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1 The Road to Change From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution

2 From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution 1776: Colonists sign the Declaration of Independence 1783: Colonists win the American Revolution 1788: Colonists sign the Constitution 1791: Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution

3 Purpose of the Declaration of Independence: 1. To explain to their fellow colonists why it was necessary for the colonies to revolt. 2. To declare to the world that the colonies were free from British rule. 3. To let England know that they were no longer in charge. When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve their political bands which have connected them to one another

4 America: The Story of Us

5 Main Ideas of the Declaration of Independence When it becomes necessary to get rid of one s government, you must explain why you are doing so. The colonists considered it to be clear to everyone that all men are created equal and that God has given them certain basic rights that can not be taken away. These basic rights include life, liberty [freedom], and the pursuit of happiness [the right to do whatever makes them happy.] Governments are built for the sole purpose of protecting these basic rights. Governments are given their power by the people they govern (i.e. you cannot rule without the consent of the people.)

6 Main Ideas of the Declaration of Independence (cont.) If a government becomes corrupt, the people have a right to change or get rid of it and put in place a new government. Governments should not be gotten rid of for small or unimportant reasons. In the case of the colonies, they have put up with years of abuse and misuse of power, and they therefore have the right to overthrow the British government and to establish their own government in its place. The King of England has a long history of abusing power [the colonists then went on to list the ways in which King George had abused his power and hurt them.]

7 REVOLUTION!!!

8 Before, During, and After BEFORE THE REVOLUTION: The colonies functioned as 13 separate countries before the American Revolution. DURING: The colonies united against a common enemy during the Revolution. AFTER THE REVOLUTION: The unity dissolved once the Revolution ended they each had different visions of the new America.

9 The Constitutional Convention Philadelphia, 1787 Who was there? 55 white men Most under 50 years old Well-educated Lawyers, businessmen, and plantation owners All at least moderately financially successful. George Washington (President) Benjamin Franklin James Madison Alexander Hamilton

10 We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union

11 The Constitution!! Starring: Three Branches of Government A Federal System

12 Main Ideas of the Constitution 1) The govt. cannot rule without the people s support and consent people are the source of the govt s power. (A novel concept in the 1700s when most govts. assumed that people exist to serve the govt.) 2) Government is not all powerful; it should only be allowed do things that the people have given it the power to do 3) Separation of powers: Rather than one person holding all the power in govt., three distinct and independent branches of government share power (more on that in a minute ) 4) Each branch is checked by the other branches, meaning that no one branch can act alone. Each branch has the power to balance out the power of the others. (This is known as checks and balances.)

13

14 The Constitution s 3 Branches

15 They also established Checks & Balances Which meant that each branch could check and balance every other branch. For example, If the President (Executive Branch) appoints a new justice to the Supreme Court (Judicial Branch), Congress (Legislative Branch) can veto the appointment. The President (Executive Branch) must ask Congress (Legislative Branch) to declare war before he or she may wage war as Commander in Chief of the Armed Services.

16

17 More checks & balances: Federal vs. State Govt.

18 But it wasn t that easy... Delegates couldn t agree on a few things: How to determine state representation? Should all states have an equal voice regardless of their size? Is it fair for California and Rhode Island be treated the same? OR Should states receive seats relative to their population? In this scenario, CA would get many more seats (votes) than RI. WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHAT IS FAIR TO ALL?

19 The Great Compromise solved this dilemma

20 Now, the next problem Southern states wanted slaves to count towards their population count, because more people meant more representatives in the House of Representatives. Northern states didn t want slaves to count towards the southern states population count, because that would give the South more say in Congress.

21 The Problem & the Solution

22 To Review The Three-Fifths Compromise A slave would be worth three-fifths of a person. Three-fifths of a person for population count, which determined how many representatives each state could send to Congress.

23 Three-fifths of a person?

24 Three-fifths of a person?

25 There was just one more problem to solve...

26

27

28 Should slavery and the slave trade be legal? They decided to talk about that later, hoping that that issue would resolve itself.

29 When the delegates finished writing the Constitution, It was sent back to the 13 states to be approved. By the end of June 1788, 9 states had ratified the Constitution. Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island refused to sign it because they felt that there wasn t enough of an emphasis on individual rights in the Constitution.

30 These states finally agreed to ratify the Constitution with the promise that a list of specific rights and protections would be added to the Constitution at the earliest possible moment.

31 One Last Smart Addition: Amendments The Constitution also explained how it could be amended (changed) in the future, if any unforeseen additions or alternations became necessary.

32 In 1789, Congress met again to discuss which human rights should be added to the Constitution. In 1791, the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was the first ten amendments to the Constitution Freedom of speech, press, and religion Right to remain silent Right to a lawyer and a jury Right to be secure in your home, free from unwarranted searches and seizures.

33 Some great amendments have been added since then: 13 th : Slavery is abolished (1865) 15th: Blacks can vote (1870) 19 th : Women can vote (1920) These are NOT considered part of the Bill of Rights (which is only the first 10 amendments to the Constitution)

34 People are still proposing amendments today. Prayer allowed in schools Non-natural born citizens allowed to become president if citizens for at least 20 years Abolishment of the Electoral College

35 We still use the Constitution today. It is the rule book for the American Government! What a lasting document. Those Founding Fathers really made history!

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