Chapter 7 A More Perfect
Section 3 A New Plan of
Roots of the Constitution
• Constitution written in 4 months
• Unique American, but had
roots in many other civilizations
• The Framers of the
Constitution were familiar with
Parliamentary system of Britain
• They valued individual rights
• They respected many of the
British traditions (cultural
beliefs and practices)
English Influences
• Magna Carta- Placed limits
on the monarchs
• Parliament controlled the
funds for wars and gov.
• The colonial assemblies
worked the same way
• The assemblies had some
control over colonial gov.
• Framers used ideas from
Enlightenment philosophers
John Locke and Montesquieu
John Locke
• Believed people should
have natural rights:
– Life, liberty, and property
• Government based on
agreement between the
people & ruler
• Americans agreed with
these natural rights.
• Protected the peoples’
rights by limiting the
government’s power.
Baron De Montesquieu
• Said powers of gov should be
separated and balanced
against each other.
• This would keep any person
or group from gaining too
much power.
• Powers of government should
be clearly defined and limited
to prevent abuse.
• Framers specified and divided
the powers of government.
The Federal System
• Federalism- sharing
power between federal
and state governments.
• Under the Constitution,
the federal government
gained powers to:
– Tax, regulate trade, control
currency, raise an army,
and declare war.
• Also can pass any law
that is “necessary and
• Important powers were
also left to the states
Debate and Adoption
• 9 of the 13 states had to ratify the
• Supporters of the Constitution were
called Federalists.
• Madison, Hamilton, and Jay wrote
essays called the Federalist Papers
• People opposes were called
• Also wrote essays called the
Antifederalist Papers
• Antifederalists argued that strong
national government would take
away American liberties.
• Antifederaists favored local
Protecting Rights
• The biggest criticism
about the Constitution
was that it lacked a Bill
of Rights
• Many states refused to
ratify (agree to it) with
out a Bill of Rights
• Federalists feared
disorder without a
strong central
• Antifederalists worried
about oppression that
might result from a
strong central
Adopting the Constitution
• New Hampshire became
the 9th state to approve on
June 21, 1788
• The new government could
go into effect, but New York
and Virginia had not ratified
• Virginia ratified after being
assured a Bill of Rights
would be added
• The Bill of Rights was
added in 1791
• The final three states (NY,
NC, and RI) approved the
Constitution by May 1790
• Change of plans:
• Articles of Confederation & Constitution Packet
• Read Chapter 8, Sect. 1 (pg.258-262)

Chapter 7 A More Perfect Union(1777-1790)