APUSH The Constitution and Ratification

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Philadelphia Convention

Beginning on May 25, 1787, the convention recommended by the Annapolis Convention was held in Philadelphia. All of the states except Rhode Island sent delegates, and George Washington served as president of the convention. The convention lasted 16 weeks, and on September 17, 1787, produced the present Constitution of the United States, which was drafted largely by James Madison.

Alexander Hamilton

1789-1795; First Secretary of the Treasury. He advocated creation of a national bank, assumption of state debts by the federal government, and a tariff system to pay off the national debt. Hamilton emerged as a major political figure during the debate over the Constitution, as the outspoken leader of the Federalists and one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. Later, as secretary of treasury under Washington, Alexander Hamilton spearheaded the government's Federalist initiatives, most notably through the creation of the Bank of the United States. Died in a duel with Aaron Burr.

George Washington

First president of the united states, supported Federalists but was fairly moderate. Kept the US out of war.

James Madison

"Father of the Constitution." The fourth President of the United States (1809-1817). A member of the Continental Congress (1780-1783) and the Constitutional Convention (1787), he strongly supported ratification of the Constitution and was a contributor to The Federalist Papers (1787-1788), which argued the effectiveness of the proposed constitution. His presidency was marked by the War of 1812.

Great Compromise

At the Constitutional Convention, larger states wanted to follow the Virginia Plan, which based each state's representation in Congress on state population. Smaller states wanted to follow the New Jersey Plan, which gave every state the same number of representatives. The convention compromised by creating the House and the Senate, and using both of the two separate plans as the method for electing members of each.

Checks and balances

A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power

Three fifths clause

Southern States wanted to count states for electoral college but not for taxation; North objected. A compromise was reached: Slaves were counted as 3/5s of a person for both, prevented states from abolishing slavery for 20 years.

procedures for Amendments

An amendment to the Constitution may be proposed if 2/3 of Congress or 2/3 of state legislatures vote for it. The amendment may then be added to the Constitution by a 3/4 vote of state legislatures or state conventions.

Beard thesis

Charles Austin Beard wrote that Constitution was written to protect the economic interests of its writers and benefit wealthy financial speculators

The Critical Period of American History

John Fiske called the introduction of the Constitution the "critical period" because the Constitution saved the nation from certain disaster under the Articles of Confederation.

Antifederalists

They opposed the ratification of the Constitution because it gave more power to the federal government and less to the states, and because it did not ensure individual rights. Many wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation. The Antifederalists were instrumental in obtaining passage of the Bill of Rights as a prerequisite to ratification of the Constitution in several states. After the ratification of the Constitution, the Antifederalists regrouped as the Democratic-Republican (or simply Republican) party.

Supporters of the Constitution

Known as Federalists, they were mostly wealthy and opposed anarchy. Their leaders included Jay, Hamilton, and Madison, who wrote the Federalist Papers in support of the Constitution.

Opponents of the Constitution

Known as Antifederalists, they were the less affluent who were afraid of strong central government and being taken advantage of. They included Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams.

Patrick Henry

Antifederalist

George Mason

American Revolutionary leader from Virginia whose objections led to the drafting of the Bill of Rights (1725-1792)

Bill of rights

The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, containing a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.

The Federalist Papers

This collection of essays by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, explained the importance of a strong central government. It was published to convince New York to ratify the Constitution. Signed as "Publius."

The Federalist, 10

Written by Madison, argued that a large republic is not only feasible but beneficial to country.

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