Roots of American Democracy Essay
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America is a country whose emergence is contributed to many sources. More specifically, the American form of Democracy stretch back beyond the formation of the United States, having origin in ancient Greek thinking, the Enlightenment, as well as the English and their injustice, The United States owes its birth as a country to many areas of influence. The Ancient Greeks were the first to put the power of a nation in the hands of the average citizen, they created the idea of the democratic government, practiced as a direct democracy. Voting, political assembly, and official citizenship are all concepts that can be traced back to Classical Grecian ideas .The Romans developed the concept of the representative democracy .This was best…show more content…
Natural Rights (Locke) appear in the declaration of Independence as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Jean Rousseau developed the idea of the social contract and the notion of replacing a government that fails to maintain consent is cited as justification for the American Revolution against the English. Another field of influence for American Democracy lies in the English .English rule passed the English Bill of Rights in 1689, a similar declaration of which can be found in the American Bill of Rights. The English were also the first superpower to institute rule by Parliament. Parliament is a form of legislature in which power is distributed between two "Houses" (House of Commons and the House of Lords). The American system of Checks and Balances between three separate institutions (Judiciary, Executive and Legislative) owes its existence primarily to the English Parliament. Over the centuries, English influence on American government has been great, and today these influences can still be seen in everyday American life, The Colonial Experiences encountered by early American citizens before the revolution have impacted contemporary United States Government. For example, The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first instance of representative democracy in the New World. It involved a form of Congress, with 2 representative politicians per state. Smaller towns and outposts held town meetings, in which a fairly primitive form of
Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3: The Roots of American Democracy"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 3: The Roots of American Democracy
Mr. Albandoz7th Grade Civics
2 P R E V I E WTake the Greece, Rome, or Home Challenge. Examine these photographs of buildings from ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and Washington, D.C. In your notes identify each as “ancient” or “United States.”Check your answers as the correct locations are revealed.
3 Washington, D.C.: Supreme Court
4 Athens: ParthenonB
5 Washington, D.C.: Department of Treasury
6 Rome: PantheonD
7 Washington, D.C.: Jefferson Memorial
8 Washington, D.C.: Capitol Building
9 Now answer these questions:
1. What do you notice about the architectural style of the buildings in Washington, D.C.? Can you think of any other buildings that reflect this style? 2. What ideas about government might the ancient Greeks and Romans have contributed to the world? 3. Why do you think so many U.S. government buildings reflect Greek and Roman architecture? 4. From where else do you think the United States got ideas about government?
10 The ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans are just a few of the many ideas that shaped democratic government in the United States.In this lesson, you will learn about the key documents, political philosophies, historical figures, and important events that contributed ideas and influenced the development of democratic government in the United States.
11 3.1: IntroductionRead Section 1 in your Student Text (Page 41 & 42). Then respond to these questions:What historic events did the two bicentennial celebrations in the United States mark?Of what did the bicentennial events remind Americans? Why were these events so powerful?What ideas do you think gave birth to the world’s first modern democratic nation?
12 3.2 : Ideas That Shaped Colonial Views.
Read section 3.2 (pages 42 to 46).As you read, identify at least two ideas that shaped colonial views on government.Describe each idea, and explain why it is important.
13 Religious and Classical Roots
Ancient Judaism stressed that people should seek to create a just society based on respect for the law. Colonial thinkers based their notion of justice on this idea.Christians believed in natural law, the idea that a universal set of moral principles existed. Many colonists believed that a human law that violated natural law was unjust and should be changed.Ancient Greeks introduced the idea of direct democracy, or decision making by all citizens. Direct democracy took root in New England’s town meetings, where citizens gathered to solve local problems.From ancient Romans came the idea of representative government, or decision making by elected officials. This idea would be the basis of U.S. government.
14 English RootsThe Magna Carta defined the rights and duties of English nobles, set limits on the monarch’s power, and established the principle of the rule of law (i.e.: government principle which states that no one is above the law, not even a king or president). The colonists had great respect for the traditions of English government.The Petition of Right demonstrated the idea of limited government (i.e.: powers exercised by the government are restricted, usually by a written constitution)by affirming that the king’s power was not absolute. The idea of limited government was one of the principles that colonists admired in English government.The English Bill of Rights reaffirmed the principle of individual rights (i.e.: rights and liberties by virtue of being human) established by earlier documents. One reason the colonists rebelled was to secure their individual rights, which they believed had been denied to them.
15 English Enlightenment
Thomas Hobbes first introduced the idea that government was the result of a social contract between people and their rulers. His social contract theory laid the groundwork for the idea that government was formed by the consent of the people.John Locke wrote about the idea that all people were equal and enjoyed certain natural rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property. This idea exerted a powerful influence on colonial thinkers and would be used to justify the revolution.
16 French EnlightenmentMontesquieu introduced the idea of separation of powers, in which governments are organized to prevent any one person or group from dominating others. Americans applied this idea to their colonial governments, hence the three-branch system of government (executive, legislative, and judicial).Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed in the idea that a government formed by a social contract was legitimate if it was based on popular sovereignty. Some colonial leaders, including Thomas Paine, agreed with this idea that the government should be based on the will of the people (The people are the ultimate source of authority and legitimacy of a government).
17 3.3: From Ideas to Independence: The American Revolution
Create a timeline that extends from 1619 to On your timeline, plot the following events with the correct year:• Mayflower Compact• Virginia House of Burgesses• French and Indian War• Stamp Act• Battles at Lexington and Concord• Declaration of IndependenceWrite a brief description of each event. Then explain how each event influenced the development of American government.
18 1619, Virginia House of Burgesses: This was the legislative branch of the colony where elected officials made decisions. The House of Burgesses was the first elected assembly in the colonies; other elected assemblies would follow.1620, Mayflower Compact: Before settlers from the Mayflower landed, they drew up this compact for governing their new colony. They agreed to live in a civil body politic and obey just and equal laws enacted by representatives. This was the first written framework for self-government in the colonies.1763, French and Indian War: After the war, Britain reversed its policy of “benign neglect” by imposing new taxes and restrictions on the colonies. Before this time, colonies had been accustomed to managing their own affairs, with Britain rarely interfering in the day-to-day business of government.1765, Stamp Act: The British government required Americans to buy stamps to place on various documents. Colonists felt that, as British citizens, only their elected representatives could tax them; with no colonial representation in Parliament, the taxes were illegal.1775, Battles at Lexington and Concord: Massachusetts militia troops clashed with British soldiers, marking the beginning of the American Revolution. This event revealed that tensions between the colonies and the British government were so high that armed conflict was inevitable.1776, Declaration of Independence: This document called for a final break between the colonies and Britain. It set forth a vision for a new kind of nation in which the government is formed to protect people’s unalienable rights and gets its powers from the consent of the governed.Timeline
19 Creating a New Government During Wartime
After declaring independence, Congress appointed a committee to prepare a plan of government known as the Articles of Confederation. This plan was approved by Congress in 1777 and sent to the states for ratification, or formal approval. The states did not get around to approving the Articles until 1781, just months before the fighting ended.By the war’s end, many Americans were skeptical of Congress’s ability to govern the new nation. Some believed that the country needed a strong ruler to ensure stability. The obvious choice was George Washington, commander of the army and hero of the revolution.
20 3.4: Putting Ideas to Work: Framing New Constitutions
The Articles of Confederation was only one of many new plans of government drafted during the war. Each of the 13 states also needed a constitution. As leaders in each state set about this task, they found few models to guide them. The Americans were on their own.
21 State Constitutions: Giving Power to the People
In framing their new plans of government, state lawmakers demonstrated their commitment to constitutionalism, or the idea that government should be based on an established set of principles.These principles included popular sovereignty, limited government, the rule of law, and majority rule (i.e.: the idea that decisions approved by more than half of the people in a group or society will be accepted and observed by all of the people).The lawmakers also separated the powers of government by creating executive, legislative, and judicial branches, just as Montesquieu had described.
22 State Constitutions: Giving Power to the People
All state constitutions began with a statement of individual rights.The governments created under the new state constitutions derived their power from the people. However, they were not completely democratic.The states typically limited voting rights to white men who paid taxes or owned a certain amount of property.None of the original 13 state constitutions specifically outlawed slavery, and all states south of Pennsylvania denied slaves equal rights as human beings.
23 Governing Under the Articles of Confederation
The national government created under the Articles of Confederation was much weaker than the governments established in the states.The Articles emphasized that each state would retain its “sovereignty, freedom, and independence.” Any power not specifically given to Congress was reserved for the states.The government created under the Articles consisted only of a congress, with members chosen by the states. It had neither an executive to carry out laws nor a judicial branch to settle legal questions.
24 Governing Under the Articles of Confederation
At least one landmark piece of legislation was enacted under the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance of This law established procedures for the creation of new states in the Northwest Territory, a region bounded by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The Northwest Ordinance served as a model for all territories that later entered the Union as states.The government created by the Articles of Confederation was a failure. Lacking the power to levy taxes, Congress could not raise the funds needed to support the Continental Army. It had to borrow heavily to fund the revolution. After the war, it had no way to raise funds to repay those debts.
25 Governing Under the Articles of Confederation
By 1786, it was clear to many of the nation’s leaders that the government formed under the Articles was not working. That fall, they issued a call for a constitutional convention to meet the following year in Philadelphia.The purpose of the convention was to revise the Articles of Confederation. Once the delegates met, however, they decided to scrap the Articles and create an entirely new constitution.
27 Convening the Constitutional Convention
On May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention began. The delegates represented a wide range of personalities and experience.During the convention, no one played a greater role than Madison. Although he was just 36 years old, he had already served in Congress and the Virginia legislature. He was a serious student of politics and democratic theory. As the meetings got underway, he took detailed notes of the discussions and worked tirelessly to promote the new plan.For his role in shaping the new framework, he is rightly called the Father of the Constitution.
28 Reaching a Compromise on Representation
The Virginia delegates, who favored a strong national government, put forth a plan for a new constitution. The Virginia Plan, written mainly by James Madison, was clearly designed to replace the Articles, not to revise them. It called for a government of three branches. The legislative branch would make the laws, the executive branch would carry out the laws, and the judicial branch would interpret the laws.Under the Virginia Plan, the new government would have a bicameral, or two-house, legislature. The Virginia Plan proposed that representation in both houses should be based on the population of each state. This would give the more populous states more representatives, and thus more influence, than states with smaller populations.
29 Reaching a Compromise on Representation
William Patterson of New Jersey introduced an alternative approach. The New Jersey Plan proposed a series of amendments to the Articles of Confederation. These changes would have created a somewhat more powerful national government with a unicameral, or one-house, legislature in which all states had equal representation.Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed a compromise designed to satisfy both sides. His plan called for a bicameral legislature with a different form of representation in each house. In the Senate, states would have equal representation. In the House of Representatives, states would have representation based on their populations. Sherman’s plan, known as the Great Compromise, resolved the thorny issue of representation in Congress and allowed the convention to move forward.
30 Compromises on Slavery and Commerce
Other issues also divided the delegates. Those from northern states differed sharply with those from southern states on questions of slavery and commerce. Many northern delegates wanted the constitution to include a provision for abolishing slavery. But most southerners opposed ending a system of labor on which their agricultural economy depended.After much debate, the delegates reached another important compromise. For purposes of both representation and taxation, a slave was to be counted as three-fifths of all “free persons.”The Three-Fifths Compromise helped hold the new nation together. However, by treating a slave as less than a free person, this provision contradicted the basic ideal of equality set forth in the Declaration of Independence.Delegates also reached a compromise over commerce. Congress would have the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce, but it could not tax exports, and it could not outlaw the slave trade until 1808.
31 Creating the Executive Branch: One Head or Many?
Another major issue concerned the formation of the executive branch. Some delegates wanted a single executive to head the government. Others were concerned that giving power to a single leader might give rise to a monarchy or tyranny. Instead they favored an executive committee made up of at least two members. In the end, however, the delegates voted for a single president.The next question was how to choose the president. Some delegates thought Congress should do it, while others favored popular elections. They finally decided to set up a special body called the Electoral College. This body would be made up of electors from each state who would cast votes to elect the president and vice president. Each state would have as many electors as the number of senators and representatives it sent to Congress.
32 After reading the section, answer these questions:
1. How did state constitutions lay the groundwork for the U.S. Constitution?2. What were the main weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation? What did these weaknesses mean for the national government?3. What were three of the major challenges that the Constitutional Convention delegates faced, and how was each resolved?
33 3.5: Ratifying the Constitution
The Constitution included a provision for ratification. To go into effect, the new plan of government would need to be ratified by at least 9 of the 13 states.The pro-ratification effort was led by supporters of the Constitution who called themselves Federalists. They favored the creation of a strong federal government that shared power with the states. Their opponents were known as Anti-Federalists. These were people who preferred the loose association of states established under the Articles of Confederation.
34 Federalists Led by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.
They were supported by urban centers (merchants and such) and small states.They defended the Constitution.
35 FederalistsThey published a series of 85 essays called “The Federalist Papers”They analyzed and explained the Constitution to their opponents in order to undercut their claims and convince them to ratify the Constitution.
36 Anti-Federalists Led by Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and John Hancock.
Supported by rural farmers and large states.In their minds, the Constitution represented a betrayal of the democratic ideals that had motivated the American Revolution.
37 Federalists v. Anti-Federalists
As you read section 3.5 (pages 55 to 57), create a T-chart to compare the main arguments of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Identify at least three arguments for each side.
38 Federalists Anti-Federalists
Favored the creation of a strong federal government that shared power with the states.Believed that because the national government represented so many people, it would be less likely to fall under the sway of factions.Believed that separation of powers in the Constitution kept the national government from becoming too powerful.Anti-FederalistsPreferred the loose association of states established under the Articles of Confederation.Feared that a strong national government would lead to tyranny.Believed that states are better able to represent people’s rights and preserve democracy.Were concerned that the Constitution did not contain a Bill of Rights.
39 The Constitution Goes into Effect
By January 1788, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey had ratified the Constitution. Georgia and Connecticut soon followed.
40 The Constitution Goes into Effect
In Massachusetts, however, the ratifying convention deadlocked over a key issue: the lack of a bill of rights.Massachusetts agreed to ratify after receiving assurance that a bill of rights would be added after ratification.By summer of 1788, all but two states had ratified.This meant that the U.S. Constitution was now in effect.
41 The Constitution Goes into Effect
A date was also set in February 1789 for the first presidential election.The winner of that election, by unanimous vote in the Electoral College, was George Washington.
42 3.6: Adding the Bill of Rights
43 Proposing a List of Rights
In 1789, Madison introduced to Congress a series of proposed amendments. His list of rights drew from the many different proposals made at the state ratifying conventions.Madison also pulled ideas from other documents, including the Virginia Declaration of Rights, adopted in Another was the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson in The English Bill of Rights was a key influence, as well.After months of debate, Congress approved 12 amendments and passed them on to the states for ratification.
44 Ratifying the Bill of Rights
Most states quickly ratified the Bill of Rights. By the summer of 1790, nine states had approved at least 10 of the amendments.Shortly afterward, Vermont became the 14th state in the Union, which raised the number of states necessary for ratification to 11.On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the 11th state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
45 SummaryThe United States was founded on a set of ideas and principles developed over many centuries. Those ideas helped give rise to a system of representative government based on the rule of law and a respect for individual rights and liberties.Ideas on government American colonists drew their ideas about government from various sources, including classical civilizations, English law, and Enlightenment philosophy. They combined those ideas with their own experiences in colonial self-government.Declaring independence Accustomed to self-rule, colonists were quick to react when Great Britain tried to impose taxes on the colonies. In 1776, the colonies declared themselves to be “Free and Independent States.”Framing constitutions While fighting for independence, Americans wrote state constitutions and a national plan of government called the Articles of Confederation. Weaknesses in the Articles led to the framing of a new constitution that gave more power to the national government.Ratifying the Constitution By 1788, enough states had ratified the Constitution to make it the law of the land. A new government, with George Washington as president, was installed in 1789.Adding the Bill of Rights To satisfy critics of the Constitution, James Madison drafted a series of amendments to protect individual rights. The Bill of Rights was ratified by the states in 1791 and became the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
46 ProcessingWrite three journal entries from the perspective of a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Date each entry. Address each of these topics in one or more of your entries:• Which ideas most influenced you in the development of the Constitution? Where did these ideas come from?• What were the greatest challenges in developing the Constitution? How were these challenges resolved?• Do you think the states should ratify the Constitution? Why or why not?