7.4 - Development of the Constitution

From EngageNY

The newly independent states faced political and economic struggles under the Articles of Confederation. These challenges resulted in a Constitutional Convention, a debate over ratification, and the eventual adoption of the Bill of Rights.

Throughout the American Revolution, the colonies struggled to address their differing social, political, and economic interests and to establish unity. The Articles of Confederation created a form of government that loosely united the states, but allowed states to maintain a large degree of sovereignty.

7.4b The lack of a strong central government under the Articles of Confederation presented numerous challenges. A convention was held to revise the Articles, the result of which was the Constitution. The Constitution established a democratic republic with a stronger central government.
  • Students will investigate the successes and failures of the Articles of Confederation, determine why many felt a new plan of government was needed, and explain how the United States Constitution attempted to address the weaknesses of the Articles.
  • Students will examine the New York State Constitution, its main ideas and provisions, and its influence on the formation of the United States Constitution.
7.4c Advocates for and against a strong central government were divided on issues of States rights, role/limits of federal power, and guarantees of individual freedoms. Compromises were needed between the states in order to ratify the Constitution.
  • Students will examine from multiple perspectives arguments regarding the balance of power between the federal and state governments, the power of government, and the rights of individuals.
  • Students will examine how key issues were resolved during the Constitutional Convention, including:
                        • state representation in Congress (Great Compromise or bicameral legislature)
                        • the balance of power between the federal and state governments (establishment of the system of federalism)
                        • the prevention of parts of government becoming too powerful (the establishment of the three branches)
                        • the counting of the enslaved African American community for purposes of congressional representation and taxation (the Three-Fifths Compromise)
  • Students will examine the role of New York State residents Alexander Hamilton and John Jay as leading advocates for the new Constitution.

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