Focus: Shortly after the Constitutional Convention adjourned, Robert Morris said to George Washington, “No Constitution is the same on Paper and in Life.” What did he mean be this statement? Student Objectives



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Anti-Federalists:

  • Felt the new government would be too strong

  • Favored more power to the states

  • Constitution was an assault on individual liberty and states’ rights-needed a Bill of Rights

  • Patrick Henry

    • No such thing as American people, only Virginians, Pennsylvanians, etc

    • “Have they said, ‘we the states’…this would be a confederation….The question turns, Sir, on that poor little thing, the expression ‘We, the people,’ instead of the States of America.”




Bill of Rights:

  • First 10 Amendments

  • Many reasons were argued why there wasn’t a Bill of Rights, but the real reason was the delegates were tired of debates and by the end they wanted to go home

  • Would the Bill of Rights be dangerous-would the list ever be comprehensive enough?

    • Thomas Jefferson-“half a loaf is better than no bread.”

  • James Madison-Father of the Bill of Rights

  • Madison tried to create an Amendment ensuring federal standards for agreed-upon human rights at the state level. Doesn’t get in. “And history proved Madison right when, as he had predicted to Jefferson, more abuses of individual rights would occur at the state than at the federal level.”


What the Constitution is and means:



  • “In a world hitherto ruled by hereditary monarchs, traditional dogmas, or military might, nothing like America’s republican experiment had ever occurred.”

  • George Washington: “a new phenomenon in the political & moral world; and an astonishing victory gained by enlightened reason over brutal force.”

  • Multiple ambiguities make it a living document-Constitution was intended less to resolve arguments than to make argument itself the solution.

There are 27 Amendments





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