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PinkMonkey Study Guide - American History

3. 8 The Formation and Ratification of the Constitution

The members from all the states, met at Independence Hall in Philadelphia (May - September 1878). After a lot of debate and proposals, finally one plan called the Connecticut Plan was agreed upon. This plan advocated the need for a two house national legislature. The Lower House - the House of Representatives would be elected directly by the people from each state, in proportion to its population. i.e. if a state were bigger in size and population more delegates from that state would be sent to the Lower House. In the Upper House called the Senate, each state legislature would send two elected members (regardless of the state’s size or population). Moreover, the Congress was given the right to regulate both foreign and internal trade. It could tax its citizens and it alone had the right to mint coins, print currency notes and fix their value.

This proposal, once agreed upon by the convention in Philadelphia, was sent to the states for ratification. Many people in the States feared that the new proposal threatened the rights of the states. Some states especially New York proposed the need for a Bill of Rights protecting the civil liberties of all citizens. The debate between the supporters (the federalists) and those who opposed it (the anti federalists) raged on through newspaper articles and within state legislatures. Finally, when the voting began on the ratification question, eleven states voted for it within a year. The other two, namely, Rhode Island and North Carolina joined after the new constitution started working.

Thus, on 4th March 1789, the first Congress under the new constitution met in New York city. But not before the 10 amendments collectively known as the Bill of Rights were made in the new constitution. According to this Bill, the Congress could not deny free speech, interfere with religion, and deny the people’s right to carry arms and make the people provide essential services for troops, or allow houses to be searched without valid search warrants. Under the Bill, suspects could not be forced, denied trial by jury or deprived of the right to life, liberty and property. This was a unique document which for the first time in the history of the world recognized and ratified laws protecting the natural rights of men. The new Congress unanimously voted George Washington as the executive head: the President. The Vice President was John Adams.

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Table of Contents

3.0 - Chronology of Major Events in this Period
3.1 - Causes
3.2 - The Events Leading tothe war of Independence
3.3 - The First Continental Congress
3.4 - The declaration of Independence
3.5 - The Course of the War
3.6 - War and Peace
3.7 - Articles of Confederation
3.8 - The Formation and Ratification of the Constitution
3.9 - Points to Remember

Chapter 4


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