A New Constitution
The Constitutional Convention
What to do?
Revise or Scrap the Articles?
 Nationalists wanted a strong
 12 of 13 colonies sent
central government:
Washington, J. Adams, Franklin,
Hamilton, Robert Morris, and
James Madison very influential.
 1786-Madison convinces Virginia
to hold a convention to discuss
problems with trade and
taxation. Known as the
Annapolis meeting, only five
states “showed” up.
 Alexander Hamilton, NY, called
for another convention to be
held in Philadelphia in May
1787.
delegates to the Philadelphia
Convention which would
later be known as the
Constitutional Convention.
All except R.I.
55 Heroes
 Shrewd
 Distinguished
 Lawyers (majority), planters,
and merchants. Experienced
politicians:
 7 state governors
 39 members of the
Confederation Congress
 8 signers of the Dec. of Ind.
Thomas Jefferson, who was not
there, was an ambassador to
France, called it an “assembly
of demigods.”
 Who’s Who
 George Washingtonpresiding officer
 Ben Franklin, at 81, oldest
 Alexander Hamilton
 Roger Sherman-Great
Compromiser
 James Madison-record
keeper-Later known as Father
of the Constitution
 Meetings were closed to the
public!!!
Dueling Brains/Plans?
Virginia Plan
New Jersey Plan
 Edmund Randolph, VA
 William Paterson, NJ
 Scrap the Articles
 Modify the Articles (keep)
 Favored Large States
 Favored Small States
 2 house legislature (bi-
 1 (single) house legislature
cameral)-both based on population
 New National government
with power to make laws
binding upon the states and
power to tax
(uni-cameral)
 Strong central government
with power to raise taxes and
to regulate trade
Virginia vs. New Jersey
Randolph vs. Paterson
The Turning Point-The Connecticut
Compromise a.k.a. The GREAT
Compromise
 Small state versus large state and North versus South
fighting threatened to end the Convention. Fighting
continued throughout the long, hot Summer over
representation and what to do about slavery.
 A neutral committee, with Ben Franklin in charge, was
appointed to find a solution.
 Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed an idea that
the committee put forward.
The Man from Connecticut-The Great Compromiser
The only man to sign the Declaration of
Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and
the Constitution.
The Constitution-A Bundle of
Compromises
 In addition to the Connecticut Compromise…
 Three-Fifths Compromise-every five enslaved people
would count as three free persons. Northern delegates
insisted that if slaves were to be counted for
representation that they must be counted for taxation
as well.
 Slave trade Compromise stated that slavery could not
be banned for 20 years until 1808 and that exports
could not be taxed.
Do or Die? Or go back to the
drawing board…September 1787
 39 Delegates signed the new Constitution
 Now it goes to the states for their approval
9 of 13 must approve (ratify) the new
Constitution for it to become the new law of the land.
What is in that newfangled
document?
 Popular Sovereignty-rule by the people.
 Federalism-divided government between the national
or federal and state governments.
 Separation of Powers:
 Legislative-Congress
 Executive-President
 Judicial-Court System
Checks and Balances-each branch had the ability to limit
the power of the other
Presidential, Congressional, or Judicial
Power
 President (Executive) Can
 Propose legislation, appoint judges, put down rebellions







(call out the military), and veto or rejects acts of Congress
Commander in Chief of the armed forces
Congress Can
Could override presidential veto by 2/3rds vote
Approve or reject presidential appointments an treaties
Impeach officials in the executive or judicial branch
Judicial (Courts) Can
Hear all cases, President and Judiciary confirm or reject all
nominations to the Judiciary which serves for life with good
behavior.
Amending the Constitution
 Two-step process-proposal and ratification
 Amendment could be proposed by a vote of two-thirds
of the members of both houses of Congress or twothirds of the states could call a constitutional
convention to propose new amendments
 To become effective: ratified by three-fourths of the
state legislatures or by conventions in three-fourths of
the states.
Success of the Philadelphia - now
Constitutional Convention
George Washington
John Adams
 “little short of a miracle”
 ‘the single greatest effort of
national deliberation that the
world has ever seen“
Fun and Interesting Facts about the Constitution
Established on November 26, 1789, the first national "Thanksgiving Day" was originally created by
George Washington as a way of "giving thanks" for the Constitution.
One of the amendments in the original Bill of Rights that the states considered was a requirement that
each representative in the House of Representatives only represent 50,000 people. It did not pass and
that is a good thing because that would mean today that we would 5,990 representatives! Today we
have 435 representatives because that is the number of chairs that will fit in the House chambers in the
U.S. Capitol. So every ten years, after the census is taken, Congress divides the population by 435 and
decides how many representatives each state gets.
Virginia was the most populous state when the Constitution was ratified and today it is California. Six
states have only one representative. Rhode Island, which was the least populated in 1787, now has two
representatives.
At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention and
at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest.
The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When the
Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping.
More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty three have gone to the states
to be ratified and twenty seven have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become
amendments to the Constitution.
For more fast and fun facts, to www.constitutioncenter.org .
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Chapter 5, Section 2 Power Point