Study Guide for Chapter 7 and Constitution

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Montessori 7th Grade

Describe the Articles of Confederation

-It was pre-US Constitution
-Establishes a firm league of friendship among 13 states
-States retained their sovereignty, freedom & independence
-Articles denied Congress the power to collect taxes, regulate interstate commerce and enforce laws.

Name and elaborate on 3 reasons the Articles of Confederation failed.

- Articles denied Congress the power to collect taxes, regulate interstate commerce and enforce laws.
- no real power
- no means for Congress to enforce the laws it made
- no power to implement taxes to pay for the programs
- no universal monetary system

The Articles were horrible and below are some of the reasons why. The Articles of Confederation had a list of weaknesses and problems. The Articles had problems with Currency, Interstate Commerce, Foreign Trade, and Foreign Affairs. The problem with the Currency was that many states printed their own money so the national currency became almost worthless. The problem with Interstate Commerce was states placed tariffs on each others goods which combined with currency problems led to a decline of interstate commerce. The problem with Foreign Trade was that other countries placed tariffs and trade restrictions on United States goods, and the United States were not able to respond. The absence of a strong navy also left United States merchant ships vulnerable to pirates. There were many problems with Foreign Affairs, such as the inability of the national government to raise an army left the US vulnerable. For example, the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, was not enforced. As a result, the British continued to occupy forts in the Northwest Territory which were parts of the US. Some weaknesses were that the government was unicameral. There was no executive branch in the government and there was no court system. The national government could not collect taxes, could not raise an army, and could not regulate trade. Other weaknesses were that each state only had one vote no matter how big the state was. The government would need a 2/3 majority to pass legislation and the only way to amend the articles was to have a unanimous vote. Those are the four major problems with the articles of Confederation.

What is the Great Compromise?

The Great compromise was a blend of the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan.
Virginia Plan = strong national government with 3 branches.
Legislature with 2 houses; 1 directly elected by the people; 1 selected by the 1st house from the state legislature. President and National Judiciary chosen by the legislature.

New Jersey Plan = more decentralized government, amending the old articles, yet allowing for a somewhat stronger government. Each state would have one vote in Congress.

So it was a blend of the two or a compromise on the two:
2 senators per state. Congress people from each state based on the population, Elected President and appointed judges.

What is the 3/5ths compromise?

It was a compromise between the Northern and Southern states on how many representatives would be allotted each state based on population. Slaves couldn't vote but were to be counted. So the compromise was that only 3/5 of the slaves would count or for every 5 slaves only 3 would count as individuals.

What and when was the Constitutional Convention?

The Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1787, in the same place the Declaration of Independence was signed 11 years earlier. 55 delegates spent 4 months with the intent to frame a Constitution for a federal republic that would last into "remote futurity."

Describe the ratification process of the Constitution

(1) submission of the Constitution to the Confederation Congress,
(2) transmission of the Constitution by Congress to the state legislatures,
(3) election of delegates to conventions in each state to consider the Constitution, and
(4) ratification by the conventions of at least nine of the thirteen states.

Describe the powers of the Legislative branch as outlined in the Constitution.

The two houses of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, make up the Legislative Branch.

Congress has the power to levy and collect taxes, borrow money, regulate commerce, coin money, declare war, raise and support armies, and make laws.

There are 100 senators and 435 representatives.

Senators serve six-year terms, and representatives serve two-year terms.

Each state is allotted two senators, and the number of representatives is determined by each state's population. For example, California has many more representatives than Rhode Island.

Describe the powers of the Executive branch as outlined in the Constitution.

The President heads the Executive Branch.

He oversees his cabinet, which includes the secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Education, Energy, and Veterans' Affairs, and the Attorney General.

The President's responsibilities include enforcing and carrying out laws passed by the legislative branch, appointing or removing cabinet members and officials, negotiating treaties, and acting as commander in chief of the armed forces and head of state.

Describe the powers of the Judicial branch as outlined in the Constitution.

The Supreme Court heads the Judicial Branch, which interprets the meaning of the Constitution and federal laws, upholds the laws, or invalidates them.
There are eight associate justices and one chief justice. The President nominates the justices to the Supreme Court and the Senate approves them.

What is a Federalist

The Federalist Party was the first American political party, from the early 1790s to 1816, the era of the First Party System, with remnants lasting into the 1820s.

The Federalists controlled the federal government until 1801.

The party was formed by Alexander Hamilton, who, during George Washington's first term, built a network of supporters, largely urban bankers and businessmen, to support his fiscal policies. These supporters grew into the Federalist Party committed to a fiscally sound and nationalistic government.

The United States' only Federalist president was John Adams; although George Washington was broadly sympathetic to the Federalist program, he remained an independent his entire presidency.

The Federalist policies called for a national bank, tariffs, and good relations with Britain as expressed in the Jay Treaty negotiated in 1794.

Their political opponents, the Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, denounced most of the Federalist policies, especially the bank, and vehemently attacked the Jay Treaty as a sell-out of republican values to the British monarchy. The Jay Treaty passed, and indeed the Federalists won most of the major legislative battles in the 1790s. They held a strong base in the nation's cities and in New England.

The Democratic-Republicans, with their base in the rural South, won the hard-fought election of 1800; the Federalists never returned to power. The Federalists, too wedded to an upper-class style to win the support of ordinary voters, grew weaker year by year. They recovered some strength by intense opposition to the War of 1812; they practically vanished during the Era of Good Feelings that followed the end of the war in 1815.

Describe the Bill of Rights

The first 10- amendments tot he Constitution of the United States are known as the Bill of Rights. It GUARANTEES many rights such as:
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Press
Freedom of Assembly
Freedom of Religion
Right to Trial by Jury
Right to a speedy trial with a lawyer

It was removed from the Constitution during the ratification but later the anti-Federalists insisted on amending the Constitution and so the Bill of Rights was created.

Name 3 key players in the Constitutional Debate and their contributions to the Constitution.

Roger Sherman: he helped engineer part of the "Great Compromise", it was decided that the legislature would be two houses (as in the Virginia Plan) but that representation in each arm of the legislature would be determined differently. In the Senate, representation would be equal with each State having one vote and the Senators chosen by the State Legislatures. While, the other branch, the House of Representatives, would have representation based on population, and the Congressmen would be elected directly by the people. This is also known as the Connecticut Compromise.

James Madison:he helped draft Virginia's constitution and was a principal architect of the US constitution

Alexander Hamilton: He wrote 51 of the Federalist papers during the ratification of the Constitution, wanting a strong central government.

How does a Bill become a law?

Anyone may draft a bill, but only members of Congress can introduce, or sponsor, a bill.

When a senator or representative introduces a bill, he or she sends it to the clerk of the Senate or House, who gives it a number and title.

From here, the bill goes on to the appropriate committee.

Committees specialize in different areas, such as foreign relations or agriculture, and are made up of small groups of senators or representatives.

The committee may decide the bill is unwise or unnecessary and "table" it, meaning it is never discussed again. Or it may decide the bill is worthwhile and hold hearings to listen to facts and opinions presented by experts and other interested people, which can be presented in person or in writing.

After members of the committee have debated the bill and perhaps changed it by adding amendments, a vote is taken. If most committee members vote in favor of the bill, it is sent back to the House.

Members of the full House debate the bill and offer amendments. The House votes on the bill. If the bill passes, it goes on to the other House for debate, possible amendments, and a vote. If it is defeated in either House, the bill dies.

Sometimes, senators try to defeat a bill by filibustering. This is when a senator or senators give long speeches in an effort to delay any measure, motion, or amendment before the Senate. (There is no limit to the amount of time the Senate can debate a bill.) The tactic is often used by the minority side, or the side that opposes the bill that would likely pass if it came to a vote. The thinking is that the majority side will withdraw the bill or give in on key points after enduring hours of dull speeches. In the Senate, a process called cloture ends a filibuster and forces a vote. To use cloture, a senator must file a cloture motion that has been signed by 16 senators, and at least 60 senators must vote in favor of cloture. Filibusters aren't allowed in the House of Representatives because there is a limited amount of time a bill can be debated in the House.

Oftentimes, the House and Senate pass the same bill, but with different amendments. When this happens, the bill goes to a conference committee, which is made up of members of both Houses.
The conference committee works to resolve differences between the versions of the bill passed by the House and Senate. When a majority of the committee members agree that it is ready, the bill goes before the full House and Senate for a vote.

If a majority of both Houses vote for the bill, it goes to the President for approval.

After its final passage by both Houses, the bill is sent to the President. If the president approves the bill and signs it, the bill becomes a law.

However, if the president disapproves, he or she vetoes the bill by refusing to sign it and sending it back to the House of origin with reasons for the veto. A veto can be the end of a bill, or Congress can try to override the President.

If the sponsoring House decides to try to override the veto, the objections are read and debated, and a roll-call vote is taken.

If the bill receives less than two-thirds of the votes in that House, it is defeated and goes no farther. But if it passes with at least a two-thirds majority, it is sent to the other House for a vote. If that House also passes it by a two-thirds majority, the President's veto is overridden, and the bill becomes a law.

Describe the checks and balances between each branch of government.

Delegates at the Constitutional Convention also wanted to divide power within the federal government. They did not want these powers to be controlled by just one man or one group. The delegates were afraid that if a small group received too much power, the United States would wind up under the rule of another dictator or tyrant.

To avoid the risk of dictatorship or tyranny, the group divided the new government into three parts, or branches: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch.

legislative: Headed by Congress, which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. The main task of these two bodies is to make the laws. Its powers include passing laws, originating spending bills (House), impeaching officials (Senate), and approving treaties (Senate).

Executive: The president carries out federal laws and recommends new ones, directs national defense and foreign policy, and performs ceremonial duties. Powers include directing government, commanding the Armed Forces, dealing with international powers, acting as chief law enforcement officer, and vetoing laws.

Judicial Branch: Headed by the Supreme Court. Its powers include interpreting the Constitution, reviewing laws, and deciding cases involving states' rights.

What rights are afforded to citizens when arrested under the constitution?

Right to Trial by Jury
Right to a speedy trial with a lawyer

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