8th Grade American History

8th Grade Notes

Notes for Lesson 12

 I.                    Who attended the Philadelphia Convention?

A.      The purpose of the convention was to search for ways to improve the Articles of Confederation.

1.       All were young men (the average age was 42 years old) who had been involved in their state governments and the American Revolution.

2.       Three fourths of them have served in Congress

3.       Most are rich or upper middle class and no one is poor

B.      James Madison of Virginia is known as the “Father of the Constitution”C.      George Washington is going to be the most respected and honored man in the country.

D.      Benjamin Franklin attended as a delegate from Pennsylvania.

E.       Gouverneur Morris is from New York where he served in the state militia and the New York Legislature.

II.                  Who did not attend the Convention?

A.      Thomas Jefferson was in France

.B.      John Adams was in England.

C.      Patrick Henry refused to attend

D.      The Rhode Island state legislature refused to send delegates to the convention.

III.                What rules did the Framers agree to follow during the convention?

A.      Not try to find ways to improve the Articles of Confederation as Congress has asked them to do.

B.      Keep the record of what was said at the convention a secret for thirty years.

C.      Give each state one vote in the convention proceedings, no matter the size of a state’s population.

IV.                What ideas about government did the Framers agree to include in the new constitution?

A.      The national government should be a constitutional government that is, a government of limited power.

B.      The purpose of government should be to protect fundamental rights and promote the common good.

C.      A strong national government was needed to protect fundamental rights.

D.      A republican form of government of elected representatives was needed to make sure that government served the common good

E.       A system of separation of powers and checks and balances was needed to prevent the abuse of power.

Lesson 13 notes:

One of the most important conflicts at the Philadelphia Convention was about representation.The small states feared that the states with larger populations would control the national government.The delegates from the states with larger populations thought that equal representation was unfair.

Virginia Plan:

·         Proposed a strong national government

·         Two governments would govern the people, power from the people in a federal system.

·         Divides the government into three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial.

·         National legislative will have two houses: House of Representatives and the Senate.

·         Representatives will be proportional.

New Jersey:

·         Favors a weak national government

.·         One house of Congress.

·         Each state would have equal representation.

·         Congress will have the power to collect taxes, levy fines and collect money from the states, if they refused to pay their taxes.

·         Congress would also have the power to regulate trade among the states and the other nations.

·         Proposed executive and judicial branches of government.  Congress would appoint several persons to serve in the executive branch.  The executive branch would appoint the members of a U.S. Supreme Court.  Great Compromise:

·         Congress would have two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

·         Membership in the House would be based on proportional representation.  The House would have the power to develop all bills dealing with taxes and government spending. 

·         Membership in the Senate would be based on equal representation.  At first, the Senate only had power to accept or reject bills related to taxes and spending passed in the House.  This is later modified to let the Senate make changes to bills involving taxes and spending developed in the House.  The small states got equal representation in the Senate and the large states got proportional representation in the House.  House has the power for taxing and spending.  Passes by one vote.  

 Lesson 14 Notes:



North Economy

1.       Diverse: fisher, farmers, bankers, merchants.2.       Does not depend on slave labor3.       Compete with Great Britain for manufactured goods4.       Center for ship building and trade with other nations.5.       Want a tariff.  Believe that tariffs were necessary for businesses to prosper.
South Economy1.       Agricultural2.       Slave Labor3.       Slaves are not citizens4.       Trade goods with Great Britain and other European nations.5.       Manufactured goods from Great Britain6.       Do not want a tariff.  Increase the cost of goods from Europe

 Northern states had put an end to the practice of slavery.Many Southern farmers were financially dependent on slavery and wanted it to continue.

Section 8:

·         To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imports and Excises.

·         To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes.

Section 9:

·         The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to year one thousand eight hundred and eight.   

Notes for lesson 15:  

A basic problem with the Articles of Confederation was that Congress did not have the power to act directly on the people.  James Madison:

  • Powers should be kept the same for Congress as under the Articles.
  • Give great power to the national govt. over the state’s and people.
Many delegates opposed giving Congress the power to veto laws made by the state legislatures.  The problem with enumerated powers was that a constitution might leave out important powers needed by Congress to deal with unforeseen situations.  Article I makes up more than half of the Constitution.  Powers given to Congress include:
  • Impose and collect taxes and duties
  • Borrow money
  • Regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states.
  • Coin money
  • Establish post offices
  • Declare war
  • Raise and support an army and navy. 
Also includes two general statements:
  1. provide for the common defense and general welfare
  2. make all laws which shall be necessary and proper. 
Limits on the powers of Congress:
    • banning slave trade before 1808
    • suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus except in emergencies.  Example:  Patriot Act ( Guantanamo Bay)  in 2001 following Sept 11 attacks
    • passing ex post facto laws
    • passing bills of attainder
    • using anything exported from a state.
    • Taking money from the treasury without first passing a law to do so.
    • Granting titles of nobility

Congress divided into two houses to allow a check on Congress to pass laws.  Ex: Senate must approve a bill passed in the House and vice versa.  Executive branch can sign a bill into law or veto it and require both houses to carry a 2/3 majority to override the veto.U.S. Supreme court can declare a law unconstitutional.     I. What Challenge did the Framers face in creating the Executive Branch?

A. Americans feared a king or royal governors, since they felt their rights had been violated.

II. What powers does the Constitution give to the executive branch?

A. Article II of the Constitution created the executive branch

B. Powers given to the executive branch.
            1. Carry out and enforce laws made by Congress.

  2. Make treaties with foreign nations.                      

  3. Appoint certain government officials.                       

 4. Act as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.                 

       5. Veto laws are passed by Congress

III. How does the Constitution limit the powers of the executive branch?

A.        Appointments- the President has the power to nominate people for important jobs in the government with the advice and consent of the Senate; the Senate approves appointments.

B.        Treaties- The president has the power to negotiate treaties with another nation.  The Senate has the power to approve or reject these treaties.

C.        War- Only Congress can declare war and provide money for war, even though the president is commander in chief.

D.       Veto- The president may veto the laws passed by Congress.  Congress can override the veto with a 2/3 vote in both houses.

E.        House of Representatives has the power to impeach the president, bring charges against the president.  The Senate will hold the trial, only two presidents have been impeached and neither was removed from office.

IV. How should the president be selected?

A.       The Framers took for grant that George Washington would be the first president.

B.      A president shall serve a four year term and could be reelected any number of times.

C.      This is changed by the Twenty-second amendment (1951); every president would serve two terms like Washington, except FDR who is elected four times.

D.     The first idea to elect president is to allow the people to choose directly.

E.      The second idea is to allow the state legislatures to elect the executive branch.

F.       The solution is the Electoral College to be created every four years with each state sending the number of electors to the college. The president will receive the majority of votes in the Electoral College, if this fails then the power to elect the president goes to the House of Representatives.

V. What powers does the Constitution, give to the judicial branch?

A. Article III-The judicial branch was needed to decide disputes between the state governments, between citizens of two states, and national government and a state or citizen.           

 B. Judges should be appointed, not elected.

C. Judges should keep their positions “during good behavior”.

D. There should be a Supreme Court with two types of jurisdiction.

1. Original- the cases go directly to the Supreme Court.

2. Appellate- The case has been tried in a lower court, the Supreme Court decides if they want to hear the case.

E. The Supreme Court can overrule state laws that violate the Constitution.