Madison & Constitution#8 - Moral Drivers of united...

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Moral Drivers of united States of America Project (Declaration of Independence) Self evident moral truths God & Reason support All humans equal Equality = Free Decision Equal Dignity manifest as Rights & Agency Life Liberty Pursuit of Happiness 5/the-final-text-of-the-declaration-of-indep endence-july-4-1776.php 1
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Moral Drivers of united States of America Project (Declaration of Independence) Moral status not dependent upon blood/birth Government Depend on “consent of governed” Tends to tyranny Dignity Operationalized as rights/process/government Thought Religion Association 2
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The American Revolution is over…but now the colonists have to decide how to frame their government. Take 5 minutes & imagine that you were a colonist that just fought against the British. Identify four points for George Washington to remember when the delegates are “revising” the Articles of Confederation .
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Quick Background Declaration of Independence Second Continental Congress Approved July 4, 1776 Fought war with ad hoc congress/executive The Articles of Confederation 1777, first constitution Very weak federal government Each state had veto—unanimous vote required No power to raise troops or taxes
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The Articles of Confederation Foreign nations testing boundaries & free trade Internal trade collapse—each state sets tariffs at borders No ability to pay off debts Inflation and paper money Internal rebellions over debt & safety failure Shay’s Rebellion, 1786-1787 Boundary safety against Indians and Predatory nations FAILED STATE ?
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Strengthening the National Government 1787—Elites and the middel across states see a failed state State legislatures or conventions send delegates to Philadelphia to fix A.O. C Merchants, middle sort, land owners and plantation owners want regular tax code and protection Nationalists want strong central vs state’s rights advocates Rhode Island refused to attend: many identified with their state and feared strong central government after just revolting against one. Future “federalist” vs. “anti-federalist” splits
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The Constitutional Convention May 25, 1787 Independence Hall, Philadelphia An extraordinary group of men 55 white well off men Well-educated Most experienced local politicians; many had fought in revolutionary war Lawyers, merchants, college presidents, publishers, doctors, generals, governors, politicians, & planters with considerable political experience
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Who was there? Benjamin Franklin 81, oldest—leads informal groups George Washington & James Madison ( later Presidents) Alexander Hamilton Brilliant, driven outsider, protégé of Washington as is Madison Thomas Jefferson & John Adams ( later Presidents) Antagonists in Europe negotiating treaties Patrick Henry Elected; did not attend; ”I smell a rat .” Much informal discussion
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