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New Nation
The foundation our government can
be traced to three documents:
The Mayflower Compact
The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution
(including the Bill of Rights)
Mayflower Compact
• The Mayflower Compact:
• When the pilgrims were still on the Mayflower,
anchored off of Massachusetts they knew they
need to have a plan for a government for their
new settlement. The men on the ship help a
meeting and wrote a plan for a new government.
This plan was called the Mayflower compact. It
was the first time these people were going to
govern themselves and not be under rule of a
king or queen.
Declaration of Independence
• Document explaining why the colonists
should be free from British rule
• Before the Constitution the Continental Congress
wrote a plan of government called the Articles of
• The Articles of Confederation called for a weak
National Government (why would they want a
weak National Government)
• By the middle 1780’s the weak government was
causing problems the states were not working
together, and people started to worry the United
States might not survive.
• In 1787 representatives from all over the United
States met at the Constitutional Convention.
• This was a meeting to set up a new plan of
• Constitution is a written plan of government
• The United States Constitution was signed in
September of 1787.
United States Constitution
• The constitution starts with an introduction or
• The Preamble starts with the words “We the
• This introduction or Preamble states the goals of
the Constitution
• These goals are: form a strong nation, to protect
peoples freedom, and improve people’s lives.
• Rest is a plan for the government.
Plan of government
• Plan called for three separate parts or
branches of government
• Each branch of government would share
the power so no one group or person would
have too much power.
• (why do you think the leaders didn’t want
any one group to have too much power?)
Three Branches of Government
• Executive – (President) enforces the laws,
commands armed forces, acts as head of
state, makes treaties
• Legislative – (Congress) makes the laws,
sets taxes, declares war
• Judicial – (courts) interprets the laws
(decides if they are fair), Interprets
Bill of Rights
• In 1791 a section of the Constitution was added
or amended
• An amendment is an addition
• The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to
the constitution that states basic rights people of
the United States have
• 13th amendment ended slavery
• 19th amendment gave women the right to vote
First President
• General George Washington was chosen
as the first President of the United States
• At this time the Capital of the United
States was New York City
• In 1790 Capital was moved to Philadelphia
Important New Yorkers
• Alexander Hamilton named by Washington
as the Secretary of the Treasury (takes care of
the nations money)
John Jay named by Washington as a chief
justice or head judge of the Supreme Court