A New Plan of Government

A New Plan of Government
Objective: identify the documents, ideas, and people that
influenced the creation of the Constitution
• Britain provided the Framers with the most background knowledge
European Influences
• English Magna Carta (1215) – limited the power of the king or queen
• English Bill of Rights (1689)
• John Locke – believed people had natural rights and government is
based on an agreement between people and ruler
• Baron de Montesquieu (France) – governments power should be
divided and balanced making it difficult for one person or group to
have too much power
• Federal and state governments share power
• States: control trade inside their borders, set up local governments
and schools, make laws about marriage and divorce
• Federal: tax, manage trade, control the supply of money, form an
army , declare war, pass laws that are ‘necessary and proper’
• Shared powers: taxes, arrest and punish criminals
Supreme Power
• Constitution is the highest law of the land
• States cannot make laws that go against the Constitution
• Disagreements between federal government and states settled by
federal courts
• Decisions based on what the Constitution says
Government Structure
• Based on Montesquieu’s ideas of division of power
• Federal government divided into three branches: legislative,
executive, and judicial
Name 3 branches of government and their
• Draw a tree with three limbs – one for each branch of the
• Draw leaves(4 per branch) to show which Article of the Constitution
explains the powers, what the powers are, and who is in charge of
each branch
Use textbook page 197 to find the information
Checks and Balances
• Each branch has ways to check or limit the power of the other two
• Prevents any branch from having too much control in the government
• Explain the principal of Federalism.
• Why is the system of checks and balances important?
• What is the supreme law of the land? Why is it called that?
Activity Suggestions: create a venn diagram showing the powers of the
states and federal governments and the shared powers; create a chart
showing sources of influence to the Constitution: compare/contrast the
Locke’s and Montesquieu’s ideas about government