American Heritage 100 :: Fall 2006 [/\\] BYU

my student notes and resources from amh 100 at byu. i can make mistakes, so corrections are welcome.

use 'search this blog' above to search through my notes.

as an international student, i don't know much about american heritage either.

Oct 18, 2006

The American Constitution 

Day 2:

I. Creating the Constitution
A. A Remarkable group of men
B. Absent but influential
C. Purpose of the Constitution

II. The Need for Compromise
A. Representation
1. The Great Compromise
2. Federalism
B. Slavery
1. The Compromise on Slavery
2. Unfinished business

III. Protecting against abuses of power
A. A structural solution: Checks and balances

Announcements: Bring your copy of the constitution to the friday lab


The Founding Fathers were a good group of guys

MEDIA CLIP: Gordon B. Hinckley says
"founding fathers were people who prayed to God, wanted to do his will"
They were raised up for this purpose. Risked their lives to do good.
There has not been before or since so large a group of talented and dedicated men to compare with the Founding Fathers.

Some of the founding fathers:
John Adams
Samuel Adams
Ben Franklin
Thomas Jefferson
George Washingon

Architect of Constitution: James Madison

Purpose of Constitution:
- "to form a more perfect union"
- to establish justice
- ensure domestic tranquility
- provide for the commond defense
- promote the general welfare
- secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity
(source: the preamble)

They made the constitution (in Philadelphia) at the Convention

Two most important issures:

Virginia Plan
-Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph presented the Virginia Plan on behalf of James Madison
-strong central government necessary to make the USA succeed
-bicameral legislature (two houses)
-proportional representation (representation by population)

Rhode Island doesn't have a lot of population (small state)
Virginia has a large population (large state)
The small states didn't want proportional representation
The large states wanted proportional representation

The New Jersey Plan
-Proposed by William Paterson
-Single-house Congress, all states equally represented

Virgina Plan vs. New Jersey Plan
a debate.

MEDIA CLIP: from "a more perfect union"
-James Madison talking to George Washington at a table
-Washington: "We have achieved a great deal at this convention"
-Washington: "Now we need to compromise on the composition of the senate"
-Roger Sherman- may have the key in compromise

Compromise is difficult to do
-if they weren't able to bring in the small states the convention would fail

Roger Sherman- proposed:
-Bicameral Legislature (2 houses)
-House: proportional representation by population
-Senate: equal representation by states

"Federalism"- One of the great achievementss of the Convention
-Sovereignty divided between states and national government


Conflicting view on Slavery

Southern states have a hard time compromising on slavery

MEDIA CLIP: "Movie: 1776 A Musical"
-black slaves
-jefferson vs. [some guy]
-south carolina is a cherished way of life
-abolishing slavery destroys the economy of certain states/colonies that use black slaveries
-a lot of singing... about molasses, rum and slaves

The North said, we are being moral people trying to abolish slavery
The South said, it will destroy our economy, AND don't you (the north) have slaves too?

They had to make a compromise
"Bound to service" - means slave
Slaves counted as 3/5 of a person when doing representation by population

They said they will limit international slavery and quit it in 1808

Many people who disagreed about slavery, decided not to worry about it because they figured they'd eventually abolish it.

Checks and Balances-
MEDIA CLIP: Wells tried to force Helms (through extortion) to nominate Weld as an ambassador to Mexico
this is an example of checks and balances
the executive branch nominated an ambassador (weld)
the legislative branch did not approve the nomination (helms)

Another example:
Gay marraige
-some states not others
-should you get married in california and then force utah to recognize the marriage
-checks and balances
---amend the constitution
---supreme court


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