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Study Guide - Part VI
Two Hundred Years of Constitutional Change
1. Which group should get credit for getting the Constitution ratified
(means - approved)? Explain.
The Federalists. Their organization, wealth and persuasiveness prevailed over
the arguments of the Anti-Federalists. They published what are now known as
the The Federalist Papers, which consisted of 85 essays trying to convince
voters to support the Constitution.
2. In the early months _5_ states (of the nine required) ratified the new
Constitution. The state of _Massachusetts_ demanded compromises on
some issues before ratifying.
3. Although nine states had voted for ratification by June of 1788, two big
states, _Virginia_ and _New York_, were slow to ratify. Eventually these
states voted for ratification and other smaller states followed to make it
4. What was in the Bill of Rights that made people want to add it to the
Protection of individual rights and limits on the national government’s power
5. Name three amendments added to the Constitution since the Bill of
Many things you could write here as there are now 27 amendments to the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights make up the first 10. Here are a few:
a. 27th Amendment – says that when Congress changes their salaries that those
new salaries don’t go into effect until after the next election.
b. 13th Amendment – abolished slavery
c. 19th Amendment – women’s right to vote
6. The Civil War was not fought over the question of slavery, but over a
constitutional issue. What was that constitutional issue?
States’ rights – the idea that states should have great power compared to the
power of the national government. In this case, the Southern states wanted to
protect what they saw as their right to have slavery in their states while the
Northern states, with great power in the national government, were threatening
to abolish slavery.
States’ rights – think about the Articles of Confederation, it gave great power to
the states and the Anti-Federalists argued that a strong national government
should be feared and instead great power should reside with the states.
7. There was disagreement between the North and the South on several
issues. Where did each stand on these issues?
Right to reject laws
Right to secede or leave
the union (country)
Didn’t believe states could
reject laws passed by
national government
because of “contract
theory” (see below).
Believed national laws
come before state laws.
Didn’t believe states had
the right to secede from
the union and cited the
“contract theory” – states
give up the right to claim
independence or
disregard national
government when they
joined the union.
Believed that states could
reject laws made by the
national government if
they judged them to be
Believed states should
have the right to secede
from the union (leave the
country) and cited John
Locke’s “compact theory”
– the right to revolt against
an unjust government.
8. Most Americans thought that the framers of the Constitution were not
acting selfishly when they wrote the Constitution. Historian Charles
Beard disagreed. Explain what he said about the framers.
He argued that the framers were motivated to create a new constitution to
protect their financial interests.