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Origins of American Government Our Political Beginnings The Coming Independence Chapter 2
Basic Concepts of Government • Our first settlers brought with them the customs and laws from England • The first settlers organized their towns based on those common laws using a sheriff, coroner, justice of the peace, and grand juries.
Basic Concepts of Government • Babylonia – Hammurabi’s Code • Greece – direct democracy • Rome – 12 Tables which spread throughout their Empire in Europe • English Law • Native American Law
Basic Concepts of Government • Land was divided into counties and townships. • They brought the idea of limited government • Because they were far from the king, they began a representative government in Jamestown
Basic Concepts of Government • The new government was based on English law and tradition from the Magna Carta, Petition of Rights and the English Bill of Rights • Wealthy men still ruled these local governments
Limited Government • Absolute monarchies lost some of their power in England beginning in 1215. (Magna Carta) • The idea of limiting the power of government was brought with the early colonists.
Magna Carta • In 1215, English nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta, making the king share power with them • It included a trial by jury and due process before taking life, liberty or property.
Petition of Right • Almost 400 years later, in 1628, Charles I signed the Petition of Right which gave rights to common people. • This document further eroded the power of the absolute monarchy • It challenged the idea of divine right saying the king had to obey the law.
English Bill of Rights • After the Glorious Revolution in 1688, William and Mary agreed to the English Bill of Rights • This required the elected Parliament to share the power of government
English Bill of Rights • It gave the right to a fair trial, freedom from excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment and prohibited a standing army unless authorized by Parliament. • The absolute monarchy was dead in England
Representative Government • Colonists also brought with them the idea of electing representatives to serve for them in government.
Jamestown • The first permanent English colony was started as a jointstock company, the Virginia Company. • The first inhabitants were employees
Jamestown • Far from the King (3 months by ship), local decisions were made by management leading to self-rule.
Massachusetts • The Pilgrims settled in New England to escape religious persecution • The Puritans believed all other faiths were damned to hell.
Georgia • To relieve overcrowding in debtors prisons, Britain sent victims of the Poor Laws to Georgia • It was set up as a military colony to buffer Spanish Florida from the Carolinas
Royal Colonies • Of the 13 colonies, 8 were under direct control of the Crown – NH, MA, NY, NJ, VA, NC, SC, GA • The king named a governor but the lower house was elected by the people
Proprietary Colonies • Three were proprietary colonies: PA, MD, DE • Lord Baltimore – Delaware • William Penn – PA and MD • Major decisions were made by the king while day to day business was controlled by elected representatives Penn
Charter Colonies • Connecticut and Rhode Island were charter colonies and largely selfgoverning • They had a bicameral, two houses, legislature
The Coming of Independence Chapter 2 Section 2
Britain’s Policies • The 13 colonies were separately controlled through the king, by means of the Privy Council or Board of Trade • Except for trade, the colonies were left to govern themselves under the watchful eye of the Crown
Britain’s Policies • The Crown hired royal governors to oversee policy, but colonial taxes paid his salary. • Usually the governor went with the wishes of the town
Britain’s Policies • The Crown provided for a national currency and made foreign policy for the colonies. • Parliament made few regulations regarding trade and taxes were low
Colonial Unity • For the first years, there was no unity among the colonies. • Trade, transportation, communication, etc all went between Britain. • The first attempts at unity, the New England Confederation and one devised by William Penn, were unsuccessful.
Albany Plan of Union • Ben Franklin wanted each colony to send delegates to an annual meeting • They would have the power to raise a military, regulate intercolonial trade, and dealings with the Indians • It was rejected
Albany Plan of Union
Stamp Act 1765 • Parliament passed a new tax law for the colonists • It required that a tax be paid on almost all paper goods; newspapers, legal documents, etc • A stamp proved the tax was paid
Stamp Act 1765 • The colonists petitioned the king, boycotted British goods and hung effigies of tax collectors • Parliament repealed the tax.
More Taxes, More Protests • Colonial boycotts continued when Britain imposed other taxes • Their claim, “No taxation without representation. ” Tar and feathering
More Taxes, More Protests • On Dec. 16, 1773, patriots threw chests of tea into Boston Harbor • King George III imposed the Intolerable Acts • It was time for the colonies to join forces.
More Taxes, More Protests • In April 1775, British soldiers headed for a colonial munitions stockpile west of Boston • The “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired and the American Revolution had begun
First Continental Congress • Delegates from 12 colonies, (not GA) met in Philadelphia • They discussed the worsening situation with Britain and looked for a way to solve the conflict. • They planned to meet the following summer.
Second Continental Congress • By the meeting of this Congress, we were at war with Britain. • All 13 colonies sent delegates, which devised America’s first government.
Second Continental Congress • John Hancock was its president • George Washington was appointed Commander in Chief • They raised an army, borrowed funds, dealt with foreign nations, and created a money system
Declaration of Independence • A committee of 5 was charged with writing a document explaining our grievances against King George III • Thomas Jefferson wrote the document which was approved on July 4, 1776
Declaration of Independence • The Declaration of Independence lists the numerous acts that King George III did to America without any representative from the colonies in Parliament.
United States of America • After 5 years of fighting, America was independent • States began writing their own state constitutions, each featuring popular sovereignty, something the patriots had fought for.
United States of America • The state constitutions had many similarities – Governors had little power – Most authority was given to the legislature – Elected offices had short terms – Landed men had the right to vote
Origins of Our American Government The Critical Period Chapter 2 Section 3
Vocabulary • Articles of Confederation – first plan for America’s government following the Revolutionary War • Ratification – approval • Presiding officer – person leading a meeting
Articles of Confederation • The first state and federal governments of America were reminders of what colonists had lived through under King George II • They based these documents more on what they did not want
Articles of Confederation • The Articles of Confederation is a government which gave states exactly what they wanted – Strong state’s rights – Weak central government – Unanimous decisions to change the Articles
Articles of Confederation • The Articles of Confederation was ratified by all 13 states by 1781 • The presiding officer had no decision making power • Congress could declare war but not raise troops • Congress could spend money but not raise revenue
Articles of Confederation • The states promised to send money and troops to the federal government when it was needed • Nothing could force them to do it when the time came, however • The govt had ‘power’ but no ‘authority’
Articles of Confederation • Congress borrowed heavily to pay for the war and those debts had not been repaid • Not a single state came close to repaying their share of the debt and Congress could not mandate it
Articles of Confederation • Because 9 of the 13 states had to ratify any amendments, it was impossible to get them to agree so no amendments were done • States bickered among themselves and many acted like an independent country when dealing with foreign countries
Critical Period, 1780’s • “We are one nation today and 13 tomorrow, Who will treat us on such terms? ” G. Washington • States taxed one another’s goods and banned trade. • Debts went unpaid • Violence broke out
Shays Rebellion • Daniel Shays led farmers in western Massachusetts in violent protests against losing their farms • There was no army to stop them
Shay’s Rebellion • The farmers rampaged through Massachusetts but no one was able to stop them without an army or trained military.
Shay’s Rebellion • American’s realized that they needed a stronger federal government • States agreed to meet to discuss a plan to settle the problems
Constitutional Convention • Delegates met in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787.
Origins of our American Government Creating the Constitution
The Work • Upon arriving, most delegates expected to “fine tune” the Articles. • Within days, they majority knew they were writing a totally new document. • Some delegates were prepared for this turn of events
The Virginia Plan • Virginia was the largest, most populated and most influential of all the colonies. • Their plan favored large, populated states, wanting a legislative body whose membership was decided on by total population
The Virginia Plan • Their plan also called for 3 branches of government; executive, legislative and judicial • The lower house, based on population, would select members of the upper house • Federal laws supersede state laws
The Virginia Plan • Congress has the authority to admit new states • Congress would choose a “National Executive” • The small states thought these ideas were too radical
The New Jersey Plan • William Patterson of NJ presented the plan for the smaller states • The plan called for equal state representation regardless of size • Congress would be limited in their ability to tax and regulate trade
The New Jersey Plan • A panel would make up the “federal executive” office • A “supreme” tribunal would oversee the judicial system.
The Connecticut Compromise • The large states expected to dominate the new government • The Connecticut Compromise joined the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan into the Constitution we have today.
The Connecticut or Great Compromise • Two House Legislature –Upper House, the Senate, would have 2 members from each state –Lower House, House of Representatives, members would be based on population
Three-Fifths Compromise • Northern states had few or no slaves and did not want them counted for southern population • The 3/5 Compromise allowed states to count only 3/5 of their slaves as noted in the 1790 US Census
Three-Fifths Compromise • Notice that slaves made up 43% of the population in some southern states. • Massachusetts had outlawed slavery • Not surprisingly, the arguments over the compromise were loud and long
Separation of Powers • The 3 branches of government, executive, legislative and judicial, have duties and responsibilities given to it in the Constitution that is their job that no other branch can do. • Example - Only Congress can declare war, only the President can move troops.
Checks and Balances • Because each branch has its own duties, the Constitution set up this system to make sure no branch assumes too much power. • Example - The president nominates a Supreme Court judge but the Senate must agree.
Sources of the Constitution • The framers of the Constitution used early writings from Greece and Rome, and books written by European philosophers of the 1700 s. • They also used their experiences with colonial governments and the Articles of Confederation.
The Constitution is Complete • On Sept 17, 1787 the delegates approved and signed their work • James Madison gets credit for writing the document
Origins of our American Government Ratifying the Constitution Chapter 2 Section 5
Ratification • Two groups emerged • Federalists, who supported a strong, central government, approved it • Anti-federalists, who supported state’s rights, did not.
Federalists • George Washington • James Madison • John Adams • Alexander Hamilton Anti-Federalists • • Patrick Henry John Hancock Samuel Adams Thomas Jefferson
Concerns • 1. Increased powers of the federal government (which means less state’s rights and local control) • 2. Lack of a Bill of Rights
Concerns • Nine states ratified the Constitution, but two of the large states, VA and NY, did not • Without their support, the Constitution would be doomed.
Federalist Papers • Essays, for and against ratification, were printed in newspapers • Once gathered, all 85 essays comprised the Federalist Papers • After including a Bill of Rights, all states ratified the Constitution.
Ratification • They decided that the States would choose electors to vote for a president who would assume power in March 1789. • Even today, electors, not individuals, elect our president.
President George Washington • Washington was elected president unanimously • John Adams was selected as his VP • Inaugurations were held the first Wednesday of March • The President moved to the new US capital in New York City