Unit Three
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Developing a Framework for Government:
From Confederation to Constitution



Unit Outline
 
Day One
The Articles of Confederation: "A Firm League of Friendship"

Divine, pages 166-71 and 175-76 
Supplement: The Articles of Confederation

What is a "republic"?  Republicanism? Did the Articles of Confederation create a republic? 

Identifications: 
republic, republican, tyranny, liberty, order, civic virtue, primogeniture, entail, property requirements (for voting), Virginia Statute of Religious Liberty. 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. Define republican.  Why did many see a republican government as a radical notion during the 1780s? 

  2. In what sense did the Revolution unleash a desire among some for greater liberty and equality?  Why?  To what degree was the expansion of liberty and equality realized during this period? 

  3. Why might some have feared the expansion of liberty and equality?  Discuss in terms of both white men and women and blacks. 

  4. What sort of relationship did the Articles of Confederation create between the central government and the state governments?  What powers did the Articles of   Confederation give to the central government? 

  5. In what ways did the Articles of Confederation limit the power of the central government?  Under the Articles, what important powers did the central government lack?

Day Two
The Articles of Confederation: A Firm League of Friendship?

Divine, pages 176-183  and 184-5  (on Shays' Rebellion) 
Handout:  Articles of Confederation Simulation

Why did some Americans come to believe that the Articles of Confederation needed to be replaced? 

Identifications: 
Northwest Territory, Land Ordinance of 1785, Northwest Ordinance of 1787, Shays'   Rebellion 
 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. Why was western land such a major problem for the nation? How did the government under the Articles systematize the settlement of western lands? 

  2. What were the main provisions and the significance of the Land Ordinance of 1785?  What were the main provisions and the significance of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787? 

  3.  In what sense were the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance designed to be democratic/egalitarian? 

  4. Why did Americans increasingly criticize the Articles of Confederation as too weak?  Be sure to mention both economic and political concerns. 

  5. What is the significance of Shays' Rebellion for the drafting of the Constitution? 

  6. How does the traditional fear of tyranny make the Articles of Confederation a "weak" attempt to construct a national government?  Whom does a weak central government help?  Whom does it hurt?

Day Three
The Constitutional Convention: The Spirit of Compromise

Divine, pages 183-190 (including tan pages) 
Constitution, Preamble (in appendix of Divine text, page A9) 
Bring Divine text to class 

Why did the framers of the Constitution believe that the Articles should be replaced?  What compromises were necessary to produce agreement on the final document? 

Identifications: 
Baron de Montesquieu, James Madison, Shays' Rebellion, Virginia Plan, New Jersey Plan, unicameral legislature, bicameral legislature, Great Compromise (Connecticut   Plan), 3/5ths Compromise, Slave Trade Compromise, fugitive slave clause, original intent, Preamble, popular sovereignty 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. What did the delegates at the Constitutional Convention see as the main problem with the Articles?  Why had a government based on state sovereignty proven problematic? 

  2. What was Montesquieu's critique of representative government?  How did James Madison respond to Montesquieu's critique? 

  3. Why were the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention kept secret?  What might this indicate about the concerns of the framers.  How has it impacted our search   for the intent of the framers? 

  4. What was the Virginia plan? How did it reflect Virginia's desire and concerns? What was the New Jersey plan? How did it reflect New Jersey's desire and concerns?   How did the Great Compromise settle the differences between the two plans? 

  5. Why was slavery a source of controversy at the convention?  In what ways did pro and anti-slavery delegates reach compromise at the convention. 

  6. Why is the word slavery not used in the Constitution? What does this indicate about the way the framers viewed slavery? 

  7. How might the Preamble to the Constitution indicate that the Constitution is a response to the Articles of Confederation? 

Day Four
The Legislative Branch: "I'm Just a Bill, Sittin' Here on Capitol Hill..."

Constitution,  Preamble and Article I  (Divine, pages A9-A11) 
Supplement:  Debate Over Representation in Congress
Supplement:  CONSTITUTION CHECKS & BALANCES CHART
Supplement:  The Constitution- Some Facts at a Glance
Bring Divine text to class 

How does the structure of the legislative branch manifest a fear of democracy? 

Identifications: 
Article I, legislative branch, Congress, House of Representatives, Senate, Speaker of   the House, President of the Senate, necessary and proper clause (elastic clause), enumerated powers, implied powers, impeachment (and removal from office), interstate commerce clause, bill, law, veto, pocket veto, ex post facto law, bill of attainder, writ of habeas corpus, reserved (residual) powers, concurrent powers,   delegated powers, limited government 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. What are the members of the House of Representatives?  For members of the Senate?   How long are the terms for Representatives? Senators?  How are members of the House chosen?  How are Senators chosen (according to the Constitution)? 

  2. What powers does the Constitution grant to Congress (in Article I, Section 8)?  What powers does the Constitution deny to Congress? 

  3. What powers does the Constitution grant the states? What powers does it deny the states? 

  4. How does a bill (a proposed law)  become a law? 

  5. How is the Constitution constructed to address de Tocqueville's fear of the "tyranny of the majority"?

Day Five
The Executive Branch

Constitution, Article II (Divine, pages A11-A12) 
Divine, page 190
Supplement: Debate Over the Election of the Executive
Supplement: The Constitution- Some Facts at a Glance
Bring Divine text to class 

What are the powers of the President according to the Constitution? How is the president chosen according to the Constitution? Why did the framers construct such a system for electing the president? 

Identifications: 
Article II, executive branch, commander-in-chief, electoral college, elector, Vice President 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. According to the Constitution how is the President chosen?  How is the Vice President chosen? 

  2. What are the qualifications to be president?  How long is the presidentís term? 

  3. What powers does the Constitution grant to the President?  What powers does it grant to the Vice President?

Day Six
The Judicial Branch and Articles IV Through VII of the Constitution

Constitution, Articles III-VII (A12-A14 in Divine) 
Divine, pages 188-189 
Bring Divine text to class 

What is the role of the Supreme Court according to the Constitution?  What does the Supremacy Clause indicate about the relationship between the federal government and the states under the Constitution? 

Identifications: 
Article III, Supreme Court, Chief Justice, Associate Justices, original jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction, independent judiciary, Articles IV-VII, guarantee clause, supremacy clause, constitutional amendment, amendment process, ratification process, judicial review, Marbury v. Madison (1803) 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. What are the qualifications for Supreme Court justices?  How long are their terms? How are they chosen? 

  2. According to the Constitution, what is the function of the Supreme Court?  What types of cases are within the  jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (what types of cases are they allowed to hear)? 

  3. What is the process of amending the Constitution?  How is an amendment different from a law? 

  4. What impact does Article VI have on the balance of power between the federal government and the states?  How is this different from the Articles of Confederation?

Day Seven
Principles of the Constitution: A Limited Government

Supplement: Madison, "Federalist #51"
Divine, pages 188-189 and 191 (chart) 
Bring Divine text to class 
Write out answer to homework question 1 (last names A-M)
Write out answer to homework question 2 (last names N-Z)

How do checks and balances, federalism and separation of powers interact to    limit the power the central government?  Why did the framers create these mechanisms? 

Identifications: 
separation of powers, federalism, delegated power, concurrent power, reserved (residual power), checks and balances, limited government, 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. How does Madison argue that the strong central government established by the Constitution assures the "preservation of liberty"?  How does the organization of the branches of government reflect Madison's view of human nature? 

  2. What is Madison's concern regarding the rights of the "minority" in the U.S.?  How does he predict that the nature and composition of the American republic will prevent the rights of the minority from being threatened? 

3.  How do the checks and balances draw upon the English constitutional tradition?  How do they represent a transformation of this tradition?

Day Eight
Federalists and Anti-Federalists: The Battle Over Ratification

Divine, pages 190-95 
Supplement: Selected Arguments of Anti-Federalists
Bring Divine text to class 

Why did the Anti-Federalists oppose the Constitution?  Why did the Federalists prevail? In what sense were the Anti-Federalists more democratic than their Federalist opponents? 

Identifications: 
Federalists, Anti-Federalists, The Federalist (Papers) 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. Why was the ratification of the Constitution so hotly contested? 

  2.  What types of individuals tended to be Federalists?  Anti-Federalists? 

  3. What strategies did Federalists use to gain ratification of the Constitution? 

  4. What arguments did anti-Federalists  use against the Constitution?  Why were they suspicious of the government it created?  How did the Federalists respond to anti-Federalist critiques?

Day Nine
The Bill of Rights

Divine, page 194 (reread) 
Bill of Rights, Amendments I-X of the Constitution (Divine, page A15) 
Supplement: Petracca, "What Americans Should Know..." 
Bring Divine text to class 

What liberties does the Bill of Rights protect?  Whom does it protect?  From what?  Why was the Bill of Rights not originally included in the Constitution? Why is it so revered today? 

Identifications: 
Bill of Rights, Amendments I-X, individual liberty, selective incorporation 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. What liberties does the Bill of Rights protect?  Whom does it protect?  From what? 

  2. Why did the framers of the Constitution initially oppose a bill of rights?  Why was one added? 

  3. Research an assigned amendment: 
  How is the amendment interpreted today?  What are boundaries of your amendment?  What are some important instances in which the liberty it protects does not apply?  What are some examples  of contemporary issues which call into question the scope of the amendment?

Day Ten
The Constitution and the Problem of Factions: Madison's Republican Vision

Supplement: Madison, "Federalist #10"
Bring Divine text to class 

Why does Madison question the practicality of a pure democracy?  Why does he support republican government?  What does this suggest about the way the framers of the Constitution viewed democracy? 

Identifications: 
faction, republic, democracy, popular sovereignty 
 
 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. According to Madison, what has, historically, led to the downfall of popular governments? 

  2. What is a faction?  What are the possible "mischiefs" of factions?  What are the two possible remedies for the causes of factions and why is each impracticable? 

  3. Why does Madison say that a "pure democracy" can "admit of no cure for the mischief of faction"?  What does he propose that a republican form of government does propose such a cure? 

  4. What does Madison see as the advantages of a republic? Why are extensive republics more favorable to guarding the common good? 

  5. In sum, how much faith does Madison seem to have in human nature?  Does he seem to be targeting any particular group of people as "wicked"? 

  6. How democratic did Madison intend the Constitution to be?

Day Eleven
A Constitution for Whom?

Supplement: DBQ: The Constitution, A Democratic Document?
Supplement: Commager, "A Constitution for All" 
Supplement: Staughton Lynd, "The Conflict Over Slavery" ADD 
Supplement: Charles Beard, "The Constitution: A Minority Document" ADD 

Bring Divine text to class 

How democratic were the framers of the Constitution? 
Develop thesis statement for DBQ #2 

Identifications: 
none 

  Homework Questions: 
  1. As you read the documents in the DBQ, consider how you might use each to defend or refute the following statement: "The Constitution was an undemocratic document designed to protect a minority of wealthy men from the potential tyranny of the masses." 

2. How might Charles Beard interpret the significance of Shays' Rebellion using his   economic analysis? According to Beard, what is the class basis of the Constitution? 

3.  You have read three interpretations of the Constitution, the economic (Beard), egalitarian (Commager), and sectional (Lynd).  Which one, or what combination do support?

Day Twelve
Test on Unit Three