Chapter Two:

Constitutional Foundations


Factors leading to creation:

̃    British rule of the colonies

̃    American Revolution

̃    Articles of Confederation


The Declaration of Independence

̃    Comparable to Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government

̃    Locke states “men being by nature all free, equal and independent”

̃    Used concepts from English Common Law


Major Parts of the Declaration:

̃    Philosophical Basis: “unalienable rights” and as a result establishes limited governments that receive power from the people governed.

̃    The Grievances: For example: taxation w/o representation, unjust trials, quartering of British soldiers, abolition o f colonial assemblies

̃    The Statement of Separation: Announcing to the world that the colonists had no choice but to revolt.


Articles of Confederation

̃    Recognized need for central government

̃    Two levels of government

o       Weak national government

o       Dominant state governments

̃    Huge Problems with this system

o       Congress had no power to tax

o       Amendments need unanimous state approval

o       No chief executive

o       No national court system

o       Legislation had to be passed with 2/3 majority


The Constitution

̃    Constitutional Convention

o       Philadelphia, 1789

o       55 delegates

o       every state EXCEPT Rhode Island represented

̃    Big Disagreements = Big Compromises

o       Connecticut Compromise (The Great Compromise)

*Represented equally by the states (the Senate)

*Represented by pop. (House of Representatives)

o       Three-Fifths Compromise

*Every five slave will count as three people for pop. and tax purposes

o       Dealings with the economy

*Congress given power to tax

*regulate foreign and interstate commerce

*create a national currency

*elastic clause


Formation of Political Parties

Federalists- upper class, bankers, and rich property owners.  In favor of Constitution as is.


Anti-Federalists- middle class, represented farmers and “common” people.  In favor of Constitution only if Bill of Rights added.