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POLSC301: American Political Thought

Unit 2: The Constitution   The Constitution serves as the single governing document in America.  In order to understand current governance issues, you will benefit from understanding this document, the basis on which the American structure is built.*  *In this unit, you will study the roots of the Constitution and the major debates that surrounded the process of constructing this framework. You will explore some of the theoretical underpinnings of the Constitution, such as republicanism, separation of powers, and checks and balances.  In looking at the debates that surrounded the drafting of the Constitution, you will uncover not only the viewpoints of  those who succeeded in their arguments, but also on the  ideas were not accepted in the final version of this foundational document.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 16.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.1.1: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.1.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.1.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.2: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.2.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3.1: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3.3: 1 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.4.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.5: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.5.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.5.3: 1 hour

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the key features of the Articles of Confederation, including their limitations and deficiencies.
  • Compare and contrast the governing plans put forth at the Constitutional Convention.
  • Discuss the major issues in the Convention debates, including the compromises that were reached.
  • Describe the governing concepts of checks and balances and separation of powers inherent in the U.S. Constitution.
  • Analyze the ratification debate of the U.S. Constitution, including those arguments put forth by those who supported and opposed it.
  • Discuss the debate over the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
  • Assess the key features of the Bill of Rights.

2.1 The Articles of Confederation   2.1.1 Constitution Building   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 4- Constitution Building” Link: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 4 - Constitution Building” (Adobe Flash)
 
Also available in:

[Transcript](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson04/l04_t01.htm)
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Watch the first two sections (“Articles of
Confederation” & “State Constitutions”) of this three-part
presentation.  Be sure to watch both topics within the lesson by
clicking on the advance arrow in the top right-hand corner of the
player (under the “Help” link) after you view the presentation on
the first topic.  For both portions of the lesson, click on the
picture links under the “Explore” heading to learn more specific
information on Constitution building.  Finally, feel free to use the
glossary to highlight and review important terms discussed in the
presentation.  
    
 Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. 

2.1.2 Sovereignty of States   - Reading: Yale University: Avalon Project’s version of “The Articles of Confederation: March 1, 1781” Link: Yale University: Avalon Project’s version of “The Articles of Confederation: March 1, 1781” (HTML)
 
Also available in:

[Kindle](http://www.amazon.com/Declaration-Independence-Constitution-Confederation-ebook/dp/B003LL3MSW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1289495516&sr=1-1)
($0.99)  
 [EPub format on Google Books (p.
26)](http://books.google.com/books?id=1ZdFAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA26&dq=articles+of+confederation&hl=en&ei=AiTcTL7iKIT7lweP573ACQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false)  

[PDF](http://www.glencoe.com/sec/socialstudies/btt/celebratingfreedom/pdfs/040.PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the text of the Articles of Confederation.   
    
 Note on the Text: The Articles of Confederation served as the first
form of government in America after it declared independence from
Britain.  The text was heavily influenced by the colonists’ fear of
a strong executive branch or anything that might resemble the
monarchy from which they had just escaped.  Accordingly, the states
are the primary power-holders under the government established by
the Articles.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.1.3 Limitations of the Confederation   - Reading: University of Chicago: The Founders’ Constitution, on-line version of Alexander Hamilton’s Letter to James Duane, “Deficiencies of the Confederation” Link: University of Chicago: The Founders’ Constitution, on-line version of Alexander Hamilton’s Letter to James Duane, “Deficiencies of the Confederation” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read the text of Hamilton’s letter to James Duane.   
    
 Note on the Text: In this letter to James Duane (Mayor of New
York), Alexander Hamilton, founding father and federalist, discusses
some of the problems he has identified in the Articles of
Confederation.  Hamilton demonstrates not only the weaknesses of the
Articles, but discusses what he believes would make for a stronger
government.  Hamilton was not alone in his feelings about the
Articles of Confederation; in the summer of 1787, there was a
convention to revise the Articles in Philadelphia.  This convention
did not revise the Articles, but instead created an entirely new
form of government which resulted in the U.S. Constitution.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is available in the public domain.

2.2 The Constitutional Convention   2.2.1 The Constitution   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 4- Constitution Building” Link: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 4- Constitution Building” (Adobe Flash)
 
Also available in:

[Transcript](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson04/l04_t01.htm)
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Watch the final section (“The U.S. Constitution”) of
this three-part presentation.  To get to the final section, click on
the advance arrow in the top right-hand corner of the player (under
the “Help” link).  Additionally, click on the picture links under
the “Explore” heading to learn more specific information on the
Constitutional Convention. Finally, feel free to use the glossary to
highlight and review important terms discussed in the
presentation.   

 Note that this presentation will cover the material you need to
know for subunits 2.2.2-2.2.3.  
    
 Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. 

2.2.2 Constitutional Plans and Debates   - Reading: William Paterson’s Constitutional Plan (the New Jersey Plan) Link: William Paterson’s Constitutional Plan (the New Jersey Plan) (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the text of the New Jersey Plan. Paterson, the state’s leading delegate, proposed the plan on behalf of the smaller states. How does the plan address their concerns about representation?
 
Terms of Use: The material above is available for viewing in the Public Domain.

  • Reading: Edmund Randolph’s Constitutional Plan (the Virginia Plan) Link: Edmund Randolph’s Constitutional Plan (the Virginia Plan) (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the text of the Virginia Plan. As governor, Randolph proposed this plan on behalf of Virginia’s delegates, which was notable for setting the overall agenda for debate at the convention and putting forth the idea of populated-weighted representation (which would benefit the larger states).
     
    Terms of use: The material above is  for public viewing in the Public Domain.

2.2.3 Constitutional Compromises and Outcome   - Reading: U.S. Department of State’s About America: The United States Constitution: “The Great Compromise and other Compromises” Link(s): U.S. Department of State’s About America: The United States Constitution:The Great Compromise and other Compromises” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the historical background on the Great Compromise and other compromises at the Constitutional Convention.  While reading the text, think about how the compromises addressed the major concerns of the delegates, particularly as they related to  representation and slavery.
 
Note on the Text: The reading is accessible through the U.S. Department of State website, America.gov.  Much of the content is available in other languages. 
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

  • Web Media: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 5- The Constitution” Link: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 5- The Constitution” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Also available in:

    Transcript (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Watch this two-part presentation to learn about the core principles behind and the structure of the Constitution.  Be sure to watch both topics within the lesson by clicking on the advance arrow in the top right-hand corner of the player (under the “Help” link) after you view the presentation on the first topic.  For both portions of the lesson, click on the picture links under the “Explore” heading to learn more specific information on the Constitution.  Finally, feel free to use the glossary to highlight and review important terms discussed in the presentation.
     
    Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: National Archives’ on-line official transcript of The United States Constitution Link: National Archives’ on-line official transcript of The United States Constitution (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the Preamble and then scroll through the text of the Constitution.  The Constitution was, in significant and profound ways, influenced by Enlightenment thinkers such as Locke and Montesquieu. While reading the document, consider how it reflects the governing concepts of these thinkers, particularly as they relate to separation of powers and checks and balances.
     
    Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

2.3 Federalists   2.3.1 Federalist Papers as National Support for the Constitution   - Reading: U.S. Department of State’s “How the Federalist Papers Persuaded a Nation” Link: U.S. Department of State’s “How the Federalist Papers Persuaded a Nation” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this short excerpt on the Federalist Papers, which explains how advocates of ratification tried to convince the public to support the Constitution.
 
Note on the Text: This reading will provide you with some background information on the Federalist Papers.  It is accessible through the U.S. Department of State website, America.gov, and available in a variety of other languages. 
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

2.3.2 Federalist No. 9 and 10: Danger of Political “Factions”   - Reading: Yale University: Avalon Project’s version of Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist No. 9 and James Madison’s Federalist No. 10 Link: Yale University: Avalon Project’s version of Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist No. 9 (HTML) and James Madison’s Federalist No. 10 (HTML)
 
Federalist No. 10 also available in:

[PDF](http://www.glencoe.com/sec/socialstudies/btt/celebratingfreedom/pdfs/045.PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the texts of Hamilton’s “Federalist No. 9” and
Madison’s “Federalist No. 10.”   
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.3.3 Federalist No. 51: Benefits of a Large Republic   - Reading: James Madison’s "Federalist No. 51" Link: James Madison’s Federalist No. 51 (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the text of Madison’s “Federalist No. 51.” 
 
Terms of use: The material above is available for viewing in the Public Domain.

2.4 Anti-Federalists   2.4.1 Anti-Federalist Position   - Reading: Constitution Society’s version of Anti-Federalist Papers: “The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania to their Constituents” Link:Constitution Society’s version of Anti-Federalist Papers: “The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania to their Constituents" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the text of the Anti-Federalist’s dissent from the Constitution.  Note that this reading will cover the material you need to know for subunits 2.4.2-2.4.3.
 
Note on the Text: This reading will provide a general overview of the major concerns of the Anti-Federalists, who did not support the Constitution and the formation of a stronger central government. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.4.2 Campaign Against Excessive Federal Power   - Reading: Constitution Society’s version of Anti-Federalist Papers: “Brutus, No. 3” Link: Constitution Society’s version of Anti-Federalist Papers: “Brutus, No. 3” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the brief introduction to the “Brutus” papers and then click on and read the html or text (red or yellow box) versions of No. 3.   
 
Terms of Use: This resource is available in the public domain.

2.4.3 Protecting Individual Liberty: The Need for a Bill of Rights   - Reading: Constitution Society’s version of Anti-Federalist Papers: “Brutus, No. 2” Link:Constitution Society’s version of Anti-Federalist Papers: “Brutus, No. 2” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on and read the html or text (red or yellow box) versions of No. 2.   
 
Terms of Use: This resource is available in the public domain.

2.5 Drafting the Bill of Rights   2.5.1 Drafting the Bill of Rights   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 6- The Bill of Rights” Link: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 6- The Bill of Rights” (Adobe Flash)
 
Also available in:

[Transcript](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson06/l06_t01.htm)
(HTML)  

 Instructions: Watch this three-part presentation on the Bill of
Rights.  Be sure to watch all topics within the lesson by clicking
on the advance arrow in the top right-hand corner of the player
(under the “Help” link) after you view the presentation on the first
topic.  Additionally, click on the picture links under the “Explore”
heading in each topic to learn more specific information about the
Bill of Rights.  Finally, feel free to use the glossary to highlight
and review important terms discussed in the presentation.  Note that
this presentation will cover the material you need to know for
subunits 2.5.2-2.5.3.  
    
 Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. 

2.5.2 Following Examples from States’ Bills of Rights   - Reading: National Archives’ “The Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776)” Link: National Archives’ “The Virginia Declaration of Rights” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read the introduction and text of Virginia’s Bill of
Rights.  

 Terms of use: This resource is available in the public domain.
  • Reading: The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York’s online version of the “New York State Bill of Rights” (1787) Link: The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York’s online version of the “New York State Bill of Rights” (1787) (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the text of the New York State Bill of Rights.
     
    Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

2.5.3 The Bill of Rights: The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution   - Reading: The National Constitution Center’s “Interactive Constitution” Link: The National Constitution Center’s “Interactive Constitution” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Go to the above website and read about each of the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The text of the amendments can be found in the upper section of the webpage and a more detailed explanation is given in the lower box.  Click on the “Proceed to Amendment” link to view the next ones.
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.