THE CONSTITUTION – We the PEOPLE
1. The constitution is a bundle of compromises and a living document.
Slave Trade Compromise
Bill of Rights
Fugitive Slave Law
2. The constitution is broken down into 7 parts called Articles and an introduction called the Preamble.
3. The constitution limits the power of the federal government through the principles of popular sovereignty, separation of powers, and checks & balances.
***Main Principles of the Constitution***
1. Popular Sovereignty (through indirect democracy)
2. Separation of Powers
3. Checks & Balances
4. Federalism (division of power into state and federal with federal power being supreme)
5. Flexibility (ability to amend)
Separation of Powers
Checks & Balances
· Shays’ Rebellion was one of many factors which illustrated the weaknesses and ineffectiveness of the nation’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation
· The Articles of Confederation gave too much power to the state governments because Americans feared a tyrant (strong ruler) following their experiences with King George III of England
· The initial purpose of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was to revise the Articles
· One of the main beliefs of the framers of the Constitution is that the government should have limited powers, so an not become tyrannical
· James Madison is known as the “Father of the Constitution” for his role in helping to create the document
· The goals of the nation’s Constitution are listed in the Preamble
· At the convention in Philadelphia many debates about representation arose, and were settled by several compromises
· The Great Compromise created a 2 house (BICAMERAL)legislature: one based on population, the other gave each state 2 officials
· The Great compromise was a blend of both the New Jersey (small state) and Virginia (large state) plans
· The 3/5 Compromise helped to answer how slaves would be counted in a state’s population for governmental representation
· The Constitution created 3 branches of government (the legislative, the executive, and the judicial), which is also known as the separation of powers
· The legislative branch writes laws, the executive branch enforces laws, and the judicial branch interprets the law.
· The executive branch is headed by the President of the United States
· The division of power between the national, state, and local government is known as federalism
· Under the system of federalism, delegated powers are left to the national government, reserved powers are left to the states, while concurrent powers are shared between both levels
· The Constitution also created a system of checks and balances, which allows one branch to check the power of the other two braches to make sure they do not become too powerful
· Be sure to understand some of the governmental checks (veto, override, impeachment, judicial review, etc.)
· Judicial Review is the idea that the Supreme Court can decide whether a law violates the Constitution
· Federalists are those individuals who wanted to support the ratification (pass) of the Constitution
· Federalists believed in a strong central government, which would provide stability and order.
· The Federalist Paperswere a series of essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, which helped to give support for the cause for the ratification of the Constitution.
· Antifederalists were those individuals who were against the ratification of the Constitution
· Antifederalists believed that the national government was too strong, and that the Constitution needed a Bill of Rights added to protect the basic rights (natural or unalienable rights) of the nation’s citizens
· The Elastic Clause gives Congress the right to make all laws it deems “necessary and proper”, which allows the Constitution to adjust to situations that the framers were not anticipating when the Constitution was written
· The Constitution, is a “living document” which can be changed either by the amendment process, or through its interpretation by the Supreme Court
· The first ten amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights, which protect the basic rights of all Americans
· The Bill of Rights protects such things as freedom of speech, religion, the right to bear arms, the right to trial, and the right of due process of law.
· The Constitution is based on the principle of Popular Sovereignty, which means that “The People” have the final say in government.
· The ultimate authority from our form of government comes from the people (We the People …)
· The government of the U.S. is a representative democracy, which means that citizens elect representatives to serve office for them.
WAR of 1812, JACKSONIAN AGE, & MANIFEST DESTINY - Life in the New Nation
· The supreme court received the right of judicial review in the Marbury vs. Madison case (1803), which allowed them to decide the Constitutionality of laws
· The United States doubled the size of the nation when President Jefferson purchased Louisiana from France in 1803, and expanded the United States west of the Mississippi River
· The U.S. purchased Louisiana from Napoleon for 15 million dollars because France needed money to fight Great Britain and Spain in a war in Europe
· President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to Louisiana to gather information about resources available, and also to explore and map the region
· Sacajawea, a Shoshone Indian, helped Lewis and Clark on their expedition to Louisiana
· Impressment is the act of forcing foreign sailors to work on warships of the British Navy
· President Jefferson’s Embargo Act weakened the U.S. economy by hurting both American merchants and sailors
· War Hawks were Congressmen who wanted to wage war with Britain to seize Canada, take Spanish Florida, stop Britain from impressing our sailors, and stop Native American attacks on the Frontier
· The U.S. fought the War of 1812 (nicknamed the Second War for Independence) against Great Britain
· The U.S. and Native Americans came into conflict because white settlers threatened the Native Americans way of life (culture)
· The War of 1812 ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, which basically returned things to the way they were before the war was fought
· The war ended in a tie, but helped increase U.S. nationalism, or pride in one’s nation
· Following his lopsided victory at the Battle of New Orleans Andrew Jackson became a national hero
· Following the War of 1812 sectional differences began to emerge in the nation
· Sectionalism is the idea that one favors the needs of one's area of the country over the needs of the entire country
· The invention of the Cotton Gin by Eli Whitney in 1793 helped industrialization because it allowed cotton to be cleaned quicker making it more profitable; however, this would mean southern plantation owners would expand the slave system to keep up with the demand for cotton
· Early industrialization began in the textile mills of New England in the due to the abundance of waterpower. These mills employed mostly young women and children
· Steamboats helped to revolutionize travel on waterways in the early 19th century
· The development and construction of the Erie Canal allowed western farmers to ship goods cheaply and quickly to New York City, which became a center of commerce (trade)
· The Erie Canal allowed farmers to ship and sell their goods to many markets along the east coast
· The Monroe Doctrine (1823) warned European powers to not colonize the Americas
· The Monroe Doctrine reinforced George Washington’s idea of American neutrality by attempting to avoid armed conflict with Europe
· John Quincy Adams defeated Andrew Jackson in the election of 1824. The election was nicknamed the “Corrupt Bargain” because the election had to be settled by the House of Representatives
· When elected to the Presidency in 1828 Andrew Jackson gave his supporters and loyal party member’s jobs in the government. This was known as the Spoils System.
· Nullification is the idea that a state can veto (abolish) or cancel a law of the federal government. The Nullification Crisis results from Southern hatred of a tariff passed by the U.S. government.
· President Jackson passed the Indian Removal Act, which forced the relocation of the 5 civilized tribes of Native Americans from the Southeastern U.S. to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma)
· President Jackson was the hero of the common man, and helped increase democracy in the United States by extending the right to vote to many Americans (not females, African-Americans, Native-Americans – well you get the idea)