Chapter 5 - Section 2 Drafting the Constitution


Chapter 5 - Section 2

Drafting the Constitution

Main Idea – At the Philadelphia convention in 1787, delegates rejected the Articles of

Confederation and created a new constitution. The Constitution remains the basis of our government.

Nationalists Strengthen the Government

Shays’s Rebellion – farmers in western Massachusetts rebelled against taxation policies and attempted to close courts to prevent farmers from losing their homes and farms in 1786-1787 o No national army, so Massachusetts state militia put the rebellion down o SIG – convinced many people that a stronger national government was needed


Constitutional Convention (1787) – 55 delegates from 12 of the 13 states (RI missing) met in Philadelphia to discuss changes to the government o First decision - reject the Articles of Confederation and form a new government o George Washington - president of the convention o other key players = James Madison, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton

Conflict Leads to Compromise



James Madison (VA) – “Father of the Constitution” o Virginia Plan – called for a bicameral (two) house legislature with representation based on each state’s population

Gave the advantage in representation to the most populated states

Opposed by the smaller populated states


William Patterson (NJ) o New Jersey Plan – called for unicameral (one) house legislature with each state having an equal vote regardless of population


Roger Sherman (CT) o Great Compromise – called for bicameral congress with equal representation by state in the upper house (Senate) and representation by population in the lower house (House of Representatives)

 the people would elect members directly to the House of


 state legislatures would elect members to the Senate


if the House of Representatives was based on population figures – should slaves count toward population? North said NO, South said YES o Three-Fifths Compromise – three fifths of a state’s slaves would be counted as population for representation purposes in the House of



Congress was not allowed to interfere with the slave trade for 20 years

Creating a New Government

federalism – def. - powers of government will be divided between the national government and the state governments o powers of the national government = delegated or enumerated powers

 control of foreign affairs

 national defense

 regulation of trade between states

 coining money o powers of the states governments = reserved powers

 education

 marriage laws

 regulation of trade within a state’s border o powers of both national and state governments

 right to tax

 right to borrow money

 right to pay debts

 power to establish courts

separation of powers – def. – powers of the national government will be divided into 3 branches of government o legislative branch = make laws o executive branch = enforce laws o judicial branch = interpret laws

checks and balances – def. - system created to prevent one branch of federal government from dominating the others o executive branch - can veto laws of Congress, appoints federal judges o legislative branch - can override veto of president by 2/3 majority, can impeach or remove president, Senate confirms Supreme Court judges o judicial branch – lifetime appointments on Supreme Court, can declare acts of Congress unconstitutional

electoral college – def. – system for electing the president o each state chooses a number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives from that state o those electors then vote for the president o people do not choose president directly

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