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Size and diversity of the USA
When looking at the constitution we must
look at the size and diversity of the USA.
This is important because with size brings
its need for decentralisation. With diversity
comes the need for laws that differ from
state to state about varying matters, such
as, crime, elections, punishment etc.
Within the country there are also varying
ideological viewpoints.…read more

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Events leading to the
Philadelphia Convention
There were originally 13 British colonies that were strung along
the east seaboard of America. All had their own written
documents setting out their form of government and rights,
which included little democracy. In these times women and
black people were excluded from voting. There was growing
resentment towards Britain as the American colonies were
paying tax to Britain but received no representation in
Parliament. This led to the War of Independence in 1775. On
4th July 1776 there was a declaration of Independence issued,
this declared free and independent states. The articles of
Confederation were ratified by the 13 states in March 1781,
this set up a loose collection of independent states rather than
national government. The most important fact about the
government created by the Articles of Confederation was that it
was weak. The colonies had successfully achieved
independence but had failed to create a nation.…read more

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The Philadelphia
It was made up of 55 delegates representing 12 of 13 states (not Rhode Island).
The convention was held in Philadelphia from 25th May to 18th September 1787,
presided over by George Washington, which framed the constitution. Its original
purpose was merely to revise the Articles of Confederation, but the delegates
decided to draft an entirely new document. This was in order to create a new
form of government that had a strong centre whilst preserving states' rights. The
answer was a bill of rights and an intricate set of checks and balances between
different levels and branches of government. The convention initially considered
2 plans: the New Jersey plan and the Virginia plan. The New Jersey plan was
favoured by states with small populations and was designed merely to
strengthen the Articles of Confederation. The Virginia plan was favoured by
larger populations which were much more radical. The Convention was deadlock
and so came about the Connecticut Compromise. The plan recommended that
new national legislature will be made up of 2 chambers, a lower chamber (House
of Reps) that would be representative to states population and an upper house
(Senate) that would be represented equally. On September 1787 the US now
has a codified constitution. (a constitution that consists of a full and authoritative
set of rules written down in a single text)…read more

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Articles of the Constitution
Article I - Established Congress as the national legislature,
defining its membership, the qualifications and method of
election of its members as well as its powers.
Article II - Decided on a singular rather than plural executive
by vesting all executive power in the hands of the President.
The President will be chosen indirectly by an electoral
Article III - Established the Supreme Court. The court
established Judicial review in 1803.
Article IV ­ Federal-state and state-state relationship.
Article V ­ Amendment procedures.
Article VI ­ Miscellaneous provisions, including the
`supremacy clause'.
Article VII ­ Ratified procedure of the Constitution.…read more

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The amendment process
The Founding Fathers realised that amendments would be necessary but
wanted to make the process difficult. They made it to be a 2 stage process
that would require super majorities. Stage one is the proposal and stage two is
the ratification.
Amendments proposed by: Amendments ratified by:
Either: Either:
Congress: Two-thirds majority in both houses States Legislatures: Three-quarters of the state
required legislatures must vote to ratify
Or: Or:
National Constitutional Convention: Called by at State Constitutional Convention: Three-quarters of
A lot of the success of the amendment process depends on whether the
least two-thirds of the states (Never used) states must hold conventions and vote to ratify
executive have control in the two houses required to propose legislation. It
also depends on the issue in hand because if it is a very ideologically
controversial issue such as gay marriage when the two parties are clearly split
and are very loyal to the party stance then it is harder to pass the legislation.
Once an amendment has been successfully proposed by Congress, it stands
a good chance of finding its way into the constitution. Only 6 proposals have
failed at the ratification stage in 210 years.…read more

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Minahil Khan


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