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Chapter 2: Origins of American Government


Chapter 2: Origins of American Government 2.1: Our Political Beginnings 2.2: The Coming of Independence 2.3: The Critical Period 2.4: Creating the Constitution – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter 2: Origins of American Government

Chapter 2 Origins of American Government
  • 2.1 Our Political Beginnings
  • 2.2 The Coming of Independence
  • 2.3 The Critical Period
  • 2.4 Creating the Constitution
  • 2.5 Ratifying the Constitution

2.1 Our Political Beginnings
  • The colonists used many English documents (Magna
    Carta, Petition of Right, English Bill of Rights)
    as resources when creating Americas government.
    They took things that that liked and disregarded
    the rest.

Basic Concepts of U.S. Government
  • 1. Ordered Government government is needed to
    keep order in society every governmental
    position is important (president, congressman,
    mayor, sheriff, coroner, etc.)
  • 2. Limited Government government is not
    all-powerful every individual has rights that
    the government cannot take away (the government
    is restricted in what it can do).
  • 3. Representative Government the government
    exists to serve the will of the people the
    people decide what the government should/should
    not do.

English Colonies
  • The 13 original colonies were settled over 125
    years Virginia was the first / Georgia was the
  • Each colony was established by a charter a
    written grant of authority from the king. Over
    time, other types of colonies emerged

Types of Colonies
  • 1. Charter largely self-governing leaders
    were elected by property owners could make many
    of their own laws (Conn / RI).
  • 2. Proprietary organized by a proprietor
    (person who the king had granted land) governor
    was appointed by proprietor less freedom than
    charter colonies (MY / DE).
  • 3. Royal royal crown organized most of
    government all new laws needed approval least
    freedom of the 3 types (8 by time of Amer. Rev.)

  • Americans would draw from these methods when
    creating the new government of the United States
    they would keep the good and lose the bad.

2.2 The Coming of Independence
  • In the beginning, colonists were given a decent
    amount of freedom and self-government. Over
    time, England (King George III) began to restrict
    this freedom.
  • The colonists had no representatives in English
    Parliament, which they greatly resented.
  • England was more than 3,000 miles (and 2 months
    journey) away.
  • When England began passing restrictive laws, the
    colonists soon considered a revolution

The Final Straw
  • The Stamp Act England required all tax stamps
    on all documents within the colonies. The
    colonists felt that this was taxation without
    representation and several smaller revolts
    (Boston Massacre/Boston Tea Party) soon followed .

  • Colonists sent delegates to the First (1774) and
    Second (1775) Continental Conventions in order
    voice grievances, and eventually declare
    independence, to England.
  • In 1776, 56 delegates signed the Declaration of
    Independence, which created the United States of
    America, and severed ties with England

2.3 The Critical Period
  • The Articles of Confederation was the foundation
    document of the United States.
  • It established a firm league of friendship
    between the 13 states and was ratified
    formally approved in 1781.

  • The Articles of Confederation
  • Congress was unicameral its powers were very
    limited and each state had one vote (regardless
    of its population).
  • The States agreed to follow the acts of
    Congress, provide funds and troops requested by
    Congress, treat citizens of other state fairly
    and equally, and allow open travel and trade
    between states (among other things).

  • Its Weaknesses the powers of government were too
    limited could not tax (could only borrow or
    request ), could not regulate trade between the
    states, and could not make states obey its laws.
  • The Articles could only be amended if all 13
    states agreed

  • States instantly became jealous and suspicious of
    one another (Congress couldnt act). States
    refused to follow Congressional decisions, taxed
    each others goods, banned trade, and organized
    their own militaries and currencies. Violence
    and economic chaos broke out.
  • Very quickly, leaders realized that a new
    foundation of government was needed. In 1787,
    state delegates met in Philadelphia in order to
    construct this new foundation. This meeting
    became known as the Constitutional Convention.

2.4 Creating the Constitution
  • 55 delegates travelled to Philadelphia in order
    to create a new constitution. These men became
    known as the framers of the constitution and
    included some of the most famous thinkers in
    American history (Washington, Madison, Hamilton,
  • Each state had one vote in each matter
    sometimes disagreements occurred.

The Virginian Plan
  • Called for a national government with expanded
    powers and three branches. Congress would be
    bicameral and representation in each house would
    be based on each states population or on the
    amount of money it donated to the central
    government. This plan favored larger, wealthier

The New Jersey Plan
  • Called for a national government with limited
    extra powers. Congress would be unicameral, with
    each state represented equally. This plan
    created an equal playing field for smaller, less
    wealthy states.

The Connecticut Compromise
  • Created a bicameral Congress in the smaller
    Senate, each state would be represented equally.
    In the larger House, representation of each state
    would be based on population.
  • This plan satisfied both large and small
    states and became known as the Great Compromise.

  • When it came time to determine each states
    number of seats in the house, the question arose
    as to whether or not slaves should be counted in
    population totals. Southern states said yes,
    while northern states said no.

The Three-Fifths Compromise
  • Stated that all free persons would be counted,
    and so would three-fifths of all other persons.
    Taxes paid by each state was based on
    population this compromise came at a price for
    southern states.
  • The U.S. Constitution became known as a bundle
    of compromises. While details were often
    argued, the major principles were unanimous
    limited government and popular sovereignty.

2.5 Ratifying the Constitution
  • Many people opposed the new constitution two
    opposing sides quickly emerged
  • Federalists favored the new constitution
    believed the Articles of Confederation were too
    weak and that a new government was necessary.
  • Anti-Federalists opposed the new constitution
    believed the new government had too much power
    and that there should be a bill of rights that
    guaranteed individual freedoms.

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  • After much debate, the Federalists won the
    argument and the U.S. Constitution was ratified
    in 1788. New York was chosen as the nations
    temporary capital and George Washington was
    elected president by unanimous vote.

Is Flag-Burning Free Speech?
  • Review the court case given on p 59
  • 1. What is the background of the case.
  • 2. Why was Texas v. Johnson important to this
  • 3. What are 3 arguments in favor of the U.S.?
  • 4. What are 3 arguments in favor of Eichman?
  • 5. What was the Supreme Courts ruling?
  • 6. What do you think? Was this the right decision
    or not? Explain in a paragraph.

Group Activity
  • In groups of 3 or 4 describe the following
    arguments that took place when creating the
  • 1. The Virginia Plan (how was government set up?)
  • 2. The New Jersey Plan (how was government set
  • 3. The Connecticut Compromise (how was it
  • 4. The 3/5 Compromise (how were slaves dealt
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