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They didn’t want a strong central government because of their bad experiences under British control. It couldn’t pay the soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War. This made them really angry with the new government. It couldn’t repay France and Spain for the money they loaned us. This made them really angry with the new government. Sooo….. Our “Founding Father” held another big meeting which they called the “Constitutional Convention.” They held this convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They elected George Washington to be the president of the convention. What is a Constitution? A plan for how a government will work to do its job. There were 2 BIG DEBATES! 1.How much power should they give the new national government. 2. How would they have small states and large states represented that would be fair? James Madison came up with a plan called “The Virginia Plan.” (Guess where he was from.) This plan divided the power of the government between the national and the state governments. This sharing of power was called a Federal System. The Constitution of the United States of America established a federal system of government based on power shared between the national and state governments. Structure of the New National Government How much power should they give the new national government? (#1) Three Separate Branches of Government Legislative – Makes the Laws Executive – Enforces the Laws Judicial – Interprets the Laws (Decides if laws are constitutional) Checks and Balances Each branch can check (or block) the power of the other. These checks keep any one branch from gaining too much power. The Great Compromise How would they have small states and large states represented that would be fair? (#2) The Legislative Branch would be divided into 2 parts (or “Houses”) The Senate – Each state would have 2 senators The House of Representatives – Based on population Our government Signed and Ratified The Constitution was signed at the end of the convention. George Mason would not sign it until he was promised that amendments would be made to protect individual rights. Nine of the 13 states had to vote in favor of the constitution for it to be ratified. Ratified – Become the law. Bill of Rights ◦ James Madison was the author of the Bill of Rights. Based on George Mason’s “Virginia Declaration of Rights” and Thomas Jefferson’s “Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.” ◦ The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America guarantee individual rights (e.g., freedom of speech, freedom of religion).