In this chapter students read about the first government of the United States—the Articles of Confederation. Before long, the weaknesses of the Articles became clear, and delegates were sent to Philadelphia to make needed changes. After debate, the delegates decided to completely rewrite the plan of government. Their efforts during the summer of 1787 produced our present Constitution. Some of the new nation's most prominent political thinkers were out of the country; others refused to attend. Those who did attend, however, brought widely differing views on crucial issues.
Students will visit the National Archives and Records Administration's Web site on the Constitution of the United States to read an article describing the events of the Constitutional Convention. They will also select one of the delegates and read his biography. Finally, they will write a speech that their chosen delegate might have made about one of the important issues of the Convention. Students might be encouraged to present their speeches in class, or to pair up for debate on the issues.
- The learner will be able to describe the important issues of the Constitutional Convention.
- The learner will be able to discuss one issue from the point of view of one Convention delegate.
Student Web Activity Answers
- He was suffering from rheumatism, his brother had died, he needed to oversee Mount Vernon, and he had doubts about the convention.
- 74; 55
- Rhode Island; the state was dominated by men who highly favored paper currency, low taxes, and popular government, and so they refused to participate in what they saw as a conspiracy to overthrow the established government
- Students' speeches will vary.
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