Febuary 21, 1787-Congress called for delagates to meet
at a convention.
a. Purpose was to revise the Articles of Confederation
b. Characteristics of the "Articles"
1. No National Currency (each state had thier own money)
2. No power to tax the people (Had to rely on the voluntary
donations of the states)
3. No National Defense (each state had thier own militia)
4. No National court system to settle disputes between
5. Government had no power to enforce National Laws.
c. Delagates soon realized they needed to go beyond
the Articles of Confederation
d. May 25, 1787 Constitutional Convention opens in Philidelphia
Your assingnment: You need to find a copy of the Articles
of Confederations on the internet. You then need to read it. Once you have read it, you need to do the following.
a brief description of its history how it was created and who created it.
it works (president, congress, how laws are made etc..)
3. Then give a list of some of the problems, as well as reasons as
to why they felt it needed to be revised.
A. Virginia & New Jersey plans
1. Virginia Plan called for a National Legislature comprised
of two houses
2. New Jersey plan called for a unicameral congress
a. Small states have the same say as large states
b. Congressional members elected by state legislature
not the people
B. The Great Compromise
1. would have two houses of Legislature
2. House would benefit larger states
3. Senate would give small states a good voice
C. The issue of Slavery (3/5 compromise)
1. Southern states wanted to increase thier house representation(use
2. Northerners argued that slaves were property (not
3. Compromise-Slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person
in the house
D. The Slave Trade
1. Northerners wanted to abolish slavery completly
2. Southerners said it was necessary for thier economy
3. Importation of slaves would end in 1807
A. The Whiskey Rebellion(1794)
1. Secratary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton proposed a tax on all distilled liquor
2. Farmers in Pennsylvannia rebelled
a. used whiskey as money-none existed yet
b. Farmers saw thier profits shrink
3. President Washington wanted to show the force of the federal government
4. Troops were called in to stop the riots
5. Rebellion was stopped without a shot fired
6. Showed the federal Government could intervene in state matters
1. ALIEN ACT- REDUCED THE INFLUENCE FOREIGNERS OR RECENT IMMIGRANTS HAD
ON THE U.S.
a. INCREASED RESIDENCY REQUIRMENTS FROM 5 TO 14 YEARS
b. DEPORTED FOREIGNERS DURING WAR (still in effect today)
2. SEDITION ACT- MADE IT A CRIME TO PUBLISH "FALSE, SCANDALOUS, AND MALICIOUS
WRITING AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OF ITS OFFICIALS.
a. WAS OVERTURNED IN 1801 WITH THE ELECTION
- THE LOUSIANA PURCHASE
- 1800-SPAIN GAVE BACK THE LAND CALLED LOUISIANA TO FRANCE
- JEFFERSON WORRIED NAPOLEON WOULD USE LAND AS A BASE FOR HIS WESTERN EMPIRE
- FEARS GREW BECAUSE FRANCE WAS AT WAR WITH ENGLAND AGAIN
- NAPOLEON MIGHT CLOSE NEW ORLEANS TO U.S. SHIPS
- JEFFERSON SENT DELAGATES INCLUDING JAMES MONROE TO BUY NEW ORLEANS AND WESTERN FLORIDA, AUTHORIZED MONROE TO SPEND
10 MILLION DOLLARS
- FRENCH REPRESENATIVE ASKED HOW MUCH THE U.S. WAS WILLING TO SPEND ON THE ENTIRE LOUISIANA TERRITORY.
- AGREED ON 15 MILLION- WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF CONGRESS, TURNS OUT TO BE 4 CENTS PER ACRE IT HAS BEEN CALLED THE LARGEST
LAND DEAL IN HISTORY.
- NAPOLEON AGREED TO SELL BECAUSE HE NEEDED THE MONEY FOR HIS WAR WITH ENGLAND, AND HIS DREAM OF A U.S. EMPIRE WAS SHATTERED
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PURCHASE
ADDED ALL OR PART OF 13 FUTURE STATES TO THE NATION
JEFFERSON DID NOT BELIEVE THE CONSTITUTION GRANTED HIM THE POWER TO MAKE SUCH DEALS, HOWEVER HE DID WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS BEST
FOR THE COUNTRY.
THE PURCHASE REMOVED THE FRENCH THREAT FROM NORTH AMERICA
1. Niether France of the U.S. knew the exact size or boundries of the Louisiana Territory.
2. Meriweather Lewis and William Clark led 45 explorers on the journey, left St. Louis May 1804
A. Were instruced to record all observations "with great care and accuracy"
B. Were aided by American Indians particularly the Mandan and Shoshone
C. After first winter hired a Canadian Fur Trader and his Shoshone wife, Sacagawea, proved invaluable to expedition
a. Showed expedition best places to fish, hunt and find wild vegatable, also helped in negotiations with natives.
D. Expedition travelled up the Missouri River crossed the Rocky Mountains and canoed down the Snake and Columbia
Rivers to the Pacific Ocean.
E. Returned after two and a half years with plants, animal specimens , animal bones and pelts ans various soil
and mineral samples.
I. War of 1812 was fought between the United States and
Britian between 1812-1815 on land and sea, American Indians were also involved on the side of the British.
1. Why War?
A. France was at war with England
B. Americans remained neutral, continued to have trade
relations with France.
a. Angered the British, impossed trade restrictions on
C. Americans declared war June 1812, for the following
1, Frustration over imposed trade restrictions
2. Outrage over American sailors being pressed
into service in the Royal Navy
3. Alleged British military support of American
Indians against U.S. settelers to the West.
2. Battle of Washington D.C.
A. U.S. Navy was no match for the Royal Navy,
attacked at Cheasapeake Bay moved up toward Washington D.C.
B. Inexperienced U.S. Militia gaurding D.C. was
destroyed in Battle of Bladesburg opening route to D.C.
C. Dolley Madison saved valuables from White
House, while President James Madison fleed to Virginia.
D. British Commanders ate supper which had been
prepared for President Madison, before they burned the White House and numerous Gov't buildings.
E. Brought U.S. morale to an all time low
3. Fort McHenry
A. British marched up toward Baltimore.
B. Planned to coordinate with ground forces to
attack American Fort.
C. Bombed for 25 hours straight.
D. All lights were extinquished in Baltimore the
night of the attack.
E. The only light given off was from exploding
shells over fort, which gave proof the U.S. flag was still flying over fort.
F. The Defense of the Fort inspired American lawyer
Francis Scott Key to write poem that was eventually turned into the Star Spangled Banner.
4. Treaty of Ghent/Battle of New Orleans
A. Dec. 24 1814 diplomats from U.S. and Britian
met in Ghent (present day belguim) signed peace treaty of Ghent.
B. Unaware Gen. Andrew Jackson moved U.S. forces
to defend New Orleans
C. Jackson forces decisivley defeat British killing
over 2000 and losing less than 100, victory made Jackson a national hero and would eventually propel him to the White House.
5. Results of the War of 1812
A. No land was gained or lost by either side and
all land boundries went back to pre war status.
B. Never again would the Americans think it could
always beat Britian
C. Never again would the British fail to treat
the U.S. as a world power
E. The campaign was to be the last time the United
States was directly attacked by another country until the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 during World War II.
What some of the Framers really thought.
What did the Framers think when the Philadelphia Convention ended?
The Constitution has been described as "a bundle of compromises." As you have seen, such prominent features of the Constitution
as the different plans for representation in the House and the Senate and the method of selecting the president were settled
by compromise. Compromise, however, means that everyone gets less than they want. There were enough compromises in the completed
Constitution that nearly every delegate could find something he did not like. During the four months the delegates had spent
putting the Constitution together, there were some strong disagreements. Some had walked out of the convention. Three refused
to sign the finished document.
Benjamin Franklin argued in support of the Constitution. George Mason argued against it. Mason was one of the three
delegates remaining until the end of the convention who refused to sign the document.
How did Franklin defend the work of the convention?
On the last day of the convention, September 17, 1787, Benjamin Franklin prepared a speech intended to persuade all the
delegates to sign the completed Constitution. The speech was read by James Wilson, because Franklin's age and illness made
him too weak to deliver it himself.
"I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve.... [But] the
older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.... In these sentiments...I
agree with this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us...[and]
I doubt...whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number
of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions,
their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be
expected? It therefore astonishes me...to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does.... Thus I consent...to
this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best.... If every one of us in
returning to our Constituents were to report the objections he has had to it...we might prevent its being generally received,
and thereby lose all the salutary effects and great advantages resulting naturally in our favor among foreign Nations as well
as among ourselves, from a real or apparent unanimity.... On the whole...I cannot help expressing a wish that every member
of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility,
and to make manifest our unanimity put his name to this instrument."
Why did George Mason object to the Constitution?
Less than a week before the convention ended, George Mason wrote a list of objections on his copy of the draft of the
Constitution. The list was later printed as a pamphlet during the ratification debate. The following are some of his more
- The Constitution does not contain a Bill of Rights.
- Because members of the Senate are selected by state legislatures, it means that they are not representatives of the people
or answerable to them. They have great powers, such as the right to approve the appointment of ambassadors and treaties recommended
by the president. They also have the power to try the president and other members of the government in cases of impeachment.
These powers place the senators in such close connection with the president that together they will destroy any balance in
the government, and do whatever they please with the rights and liberties of the people.
- The national courts have been given so much power that they can destroy the judicial branches of the state governments
by overruling them. If this were to happen, and the only courts available were federal courts, most people would not be able
to afford to have their cases heard in these courts, because they would need to travel a great distance. Rich people would
have an advantage that would enable them to oppress and ruin the poor.
- The Constitution does not provide for a council to serve as advisers to the president. Any safe and regular government
has always included such a council. Such a council would take the place of the Senate in advising the president on appointments
and treaties, and the head of the council would take the place of the vice president. Without it, the president will not get
proper advice, and will usually be advised by flattering and obedient favorites; or he will become a tool of the Senate.
- The president of the United States has the unlimited power to grant pardons for crimes, including treason. He may sometimes
use this power to protect people whom he has secretly encouraged to commit crimes, and keep them from being punished. In this
way he can prevent the discovery of his own guilt.
- The Constitution says that all treaties are the supreme law of the land. Since they can be made by the president with
the approval of the Senate, together they have an exclusive legislative power in this area. This means they can act without
the approval of the House of Representatives, the only branch of the legislature that is directly answerable to the people.
- The Constitution only requires a majority vote in Congress, instead of a two-thirds vote, to make all commercial and navigation
laws. The economic interests of the five southern states, however, are totally different from those of the eight northern
states, which will have a majority in both houses of Congress. Requiring only a majority vote means that Congress may make
laws favoring the merchants of the northern and eastern states, at the expense of the agricultural interests of the southern
states. This could ruin the southern states' economies.
- Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to make any laws it thinks are "necessary and proper" to carry out its
responsibilities, there is no adequate limitation on its powers. Congress could grant monopolies in trade and commerce, create
new crimes, inflict severe or unusual punishments, and extend its powers as far as it wants. As a result, the powers of the
state legislatures and the liberties of the people could be taken from them.
Mason also had made other criticisms of the Constitution during the convention. Some were accepted by the Convention; others
were incorporated in the Bill of Rights, which was added in 1791.
What changes in the Constitution would have satisfied George Mason's objections?
How did Franklin describe the significance of the convention?
The final entry that James Madison made in his notes on the convention describes the scene as the delegates were signing
the document they hoped would become the Constitution of the United States.
"Whilst the last members were signing it, Doctor Franklin looking toward the President's Chair, at the back
of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish
in their art a rising from a setting sun. I have, said he, often in the course of the Session...looked at that [sun] behind
the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know
that it is a rising and not a setting Sun."
Write the Questions along with the answers to the following.
What do you think?
- Describe Benjamin Franklin's attitude toward the Constitution. What reasons did he give for his view?
- What changes in the Constitution would have satisfied George Mason's objections?
- Why is the Constitution sometimes described as "a bundle of compromises"?
- What was Benjamin Franklin's opinion of the Constitution crafted by the Framers?
- Why did George Mason refuse to sign the Constitution?
1. John Locke
2. Shay’s Rebellion
3. James Madison
4. Edmund Randolph
5. Roger Sherman
6. Alexander Hamilton
7. Whiskey Rebellion
8. Judiciary Act of 1789
9. Bank of the United States
and Sedition Act
War of 1812
Activity: Research the
War of 1812 and its results. Imagine that you are an American who has a friend in Great Britain. Since the restrictions against
Great Britain have been lifted for the first time in years, you can now write a letter to your friend. Tell your friend about
some of your experiences in the war and explain why you supported it. Below I have listed some good website that you
can use for your research, but feel free to search for your own.
The War of 1812: A Chronology
Reliving History: The War of 1812
Star Spangled Banner and the War of 1812
War of 1812 Time Line
Wikipedia Info on War of 1812